My favourite coke studio song

I am obsessed with this song ‘Alif Allah’ from Pakistani coke studio. Apparently, it is the most viewed Pak video on youtube. And I just stumbled upon this song yesterday. The song connects you with your spiritual self and kinda reminds you not to get lost in frills and frivolities, to share, to be pure in deeds and thoughts and to believe in and love the higher power.

There are so little things, if any, that make you reflect and think. You are disconnected on so many levels, religion being one of them. You believe in God. But rare are the times you connect. And then you listen to a song like this and you feel happy and guided. You know on some days, you have that feeling that you are lost, a song like this gives you hope. It makes you feel that you are okay and you are only a human being. You are gonna make lots of mistakes, and repeat them, do bad things even when you know it is not right but you can find your way back to where you want to be, all you need to do is be loving and thoughtful and do your work, go through life caring and connecting with self and soul.


I was listening to this song

I like the new song ‘Mitti di khusboo’ by Ayushmann khurana. We were having  bad luck when we were returning to Kathmandu from Phidim. First, we had  postponed our journey by a day because my bro. R only booked the taxi tickets but didn’t go and get them. And our tickets were sold to other ppl. The next day, we nearly didn’t get bus tickets for Kathmandu from Birtamod because we had cancelled the previous tickets and it was a holiday season.

We had to take the very last seats of a bus and it was an unforgettable experience. It was a long long 16-17 hours journey. We were bouncing up and down our seats. My younger sister(cousin) is petite and she had taken the window seat right below the rack for luggage. I don’t know if it was the driver or the road conditions or the seat positions, we were bouncing very high and then ‘thud’ before landing on the seats. Everytime that happened, my sister will hit her head very hard above on the rack and scream in pain. I laughed a lot….She cursed a lot!!!… I told her we were getting the experience of horse riding on a bus ride. I only hit my head on that thing once when I was bounced at an angle…It hurt a lot!! We were having back aches, our buttocks were sore and legs were swollen. When the bus stopped for tea at a roadside restaurant after sometime, we got some relief; only 2-3 hours of bus ride felt like much more. Listening to this new song in full volume in repeat mode helped me distract myself and made the ride a little tolerable.

I don’t understand Punjabi very well and so looked up the lyrics meaning in google. I could totally relate to the song. Love the song, love the video but love them more separately. I didn’t find any romantic angle while listening to the song but love and nostalgia for one’s hometown contrary to the video. Here’s the song

I went somewhere amazing

This year we were planning to go trekking to ABC (Annapurna Base Camp) but most of my friends couldn’t get holidays from their jobs or universities and the plan fell through. The friend who was in charge of organising everything said it was not feasible for just 4 or 5 of us to go as the trip would be expensive for a small group. So, I went somewhere else, somewhere amazing, a temple on top of a big hill in eastern Nepal, close to my home district. A temple of Goddess (Devi) Pathivara which is very well known and revered in these parts. It was what I really needed most.

A little back history. The eastern part of Nepal is the Limbuwan region. Initally, these were Limbu kingdoms before King Prithivi Narayan Shah conquered them and made a unified Nepal. Predominantly, the Limbus which is my tribe, live here. We are one of the ethnic people of Nepal and have our own language, script, scripture, culture and religion. Though we are influenced by Hinduism, we are not entirely hindus. Kirati rituals are different from Hindu rituals; especially the birth, marriage and death rituals. Also, the people of the hills and mountains are in someway nature worshippers, they worship the rivers, mountains, the forest God etc as mothers (mata, mai, devi).

But Pathivara mata(mother) is worshipped by all who know of her; the Hindus, Kiratis and the Buddhists. I personally think if a person believes in all Gods or a God and respects every religion and wants to pray in a monastry, a church, a temple or a mosque, irrespective of his/her religion, he/she should be allowed. It seems anyone can go to a church or a monastery, there are no restrictions but some temples and mosques are stricter on rules. I have seen boards outside some temples in Kathmandu prohibiting foreigners (people of other religions presumably Christians and Muslims) from entering. Similarly, non muslims are not allowed in Mecca and Medina. It must be because people while visiting these places, which are not their holy places see these as tourist attractions first and foremost. I speak from my own experiences ofcourse. When I have gone to churches and monastries, and the first thing I did was say “How beautiful!!!!” Maybe someday we will change.

The temple of Pathivara mata (mother) is in Taplejung, a neighbour district of Panchthar. But for all the years I have lived in Phidim I had not ventured beyond Hewa river. My mom and dad have made the journey to this temple once, albeit separately many years ago. It had taken them many days as the roads were rough then, and the site was not even developed as a temple.

They came back with so many great tales that we listened to with awe. How there were money and gold everywhere in the holy site, that people had offered to the Goddess and they had to step on those to get to the praying place. It is believed that She will grant you your wish if you go to her temple and pray. You know how you are not supposed to lie when you promise. And then there’s ‘Mother promise’ which you believed as a kid, will effect your mom if you broke it. And then there’s ‘Pathivara promise’ which is the most fearsome of all. People rarely if ever use it. That is how powerful the Goddess is believed to be.
If you say you will visit her temple then you must. This is the reason we must never utter our intentions to go. If we say it outloud then we must go anyhow. It’s like a promise we make her. Few years back, my aunty asked me if I wanted to go to the temple with her. When I asked my mom for permission she scolded me for even asking as I was going to return to college in few days and I shouldn’t have harbored such thoughts.

So this time since, we had an extra day before we returned back to Kathmandu, we set out to go the temple. It was an impulsive decison. And I didn’t inform my mom, dad or aunties… Only my brothers (cousins) knew of my plan. You are one lucky sister to have brothers who love you and do everything for you. My brother R’s motorbike had some problems so his friend lent us his. No problem there but they (he and my bro) had some work in Kathmandu and were going to take the same bike all the way to Ktm the day after so we had the bike for a day only. We were to go to the temple and come back in a day.

I was gonna go with my kid brother Abhi. He was with his friends for most part of the day. When he came home I told him “Let’s try to go to the temple and return. Eveything is set. We are leaving at 5 or 6 in the morning.” My kid brother loves riding. And because he loves me too, he was excited. But more because a biking opportunity was presented to him, I think.


My brother “Abhi”

There are so many tales about mother Pathivara. They say people who have sinned beyond redemption cannot make it to the temple. They fall ill or even die on their way to the temple. My cousin (sister) taught me to say it like “I will go and return back”. Apparently some woman promised to bring her child back to the temple if she was blessed with one.  And when she brought the child to the temple, the child died. You are supposed to say I will bring and take back.

We started our journey without declaring our intention. This was my first time and my brother’s second time going to the temple. He had gone before with his parents when he was a little child. So, basically we didn’t know the way to the temple when we set out. This is how our 90-95 km of bike ride on the spiral road up and down the hills began.


Beautiful scenery on our way

We were going to the top of the hill like this one. I thought this was the one my brother pointed out to me. Apparently, I was mistaken. The one we were going to was more pointy and taller which I didn’t photograph. This is near Kabeli river where Mechi ends and Taplejung begins.

Let me tell you about my hometown

So, we reached our hometown Phidim after travelling for close to 24 hours, by bus and then by taxi from Kathmandu, covering 900 km or more in distance. Phidim is in the hills between the plains and the himalayas, in the eastern part of Nepal. It is a small town surrounded by hills on all sides. But it is not a valley. I remember asking my favourite teacher, Sir Kulman why Phidim was not a valley like Pokhara or Kathmandu although it fitted the description of a valley. He told me it was not a flat area but an uneven rolling land surrounded by hills.

We were in town for some official work. So, after we finished that we went to the local river called Hewa. There are not many places one can go in a small town. But the river is a popular picnic spot. It is one of the places student bunk school to come to on hot summer days. We had fresh river fishes in a small riverside shop. Then we tried searching for crabs (we found three), skipped stones, did the regular stuff and had fun!!

IMG_0788.JPGOn our way to the river

IMG_0780-0.JPGFish dish was tasty

IMG_0785-1.JPGFound these crabs

IMG_0747-0.JPGAlso saw a truck that had overturned in someone’s rice field.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve grown up in this place that I feel at peace there. Other places are more beautiful and more fun but there’s something heart-warming about my hometown. On the way to my hometown, when the terrain changes from plains to hills and the road become spiral, going up and down the hill and up and down again, like a roller coaster ride, I hate it. But when you are on the last leg of the journey and descending down the hill, you get a view of the town and your heart leaps with so much joy!!!! “Home”…your heart says and this is exactly where you feel the crappy journey was actually worth it.

IMG_0826.JPGExhibit A


IMG_0768.JPGI can see my home

It’s a small place where everyone knows everyone. It’s so small that sometimes I hesitate to call it a town. There is one or two of everything like 2 colleges, 1 hospital, 1 cinema hall, 1 prison and so on. You can go anywhere within the place on foot. So, of course there’s no internal transport service, only in and out of the place. We used to walk everyday to and from school. Nowadays, motorbikes are quite popular. It’s a must have for a young male. Boys with bikes earn big points with girls. And Saturday is bazaar day, a day when there’s a Farmer’s market and people from nearby villages come to sell their produce. There’s nothing for a tourist to see here; the river, thakle temple which is at the top of a hill among huge rocks, a nearby tea estate, tupi salla which is a pine trees filled hill with a tower (another popular picnic spot) are not exactly tourist attractions. Still, there’s something about my hometown that I told my brother it’s a perfect place to live in, if only the health and education facilities were little better.