Saturday, June 25, 2016

One Year Later: Missing Nepal

I know my bags were not packed for Nepal weeks ahead in anticipation of the journey, because I had water filters and donated clothing to take, that to me were more important.  The trip was a form of giving - of myself and also the kindness of others. One year on and I long for that place again. It's the people, the feeling. It is not easy to explain, but I have that twitchiness back that reminds me of the woman in the movie "Chocolat". Some of you will know what I mean.

Yesterday my friend Narayani sent me photos taken of her planting rice in the fields below her village. She was sending them as they were taken.

 It struck me how here she was, up to her knees in a soggy rice field thousands of miles away in a third world country where a great proportion of the population live very close to the land and exist on very little. 
She was planting rice so she and her family could eat because that's what generations of her family have done before her - yet she was documenting this via phone to a person half way around the world.  
The monsoon season is upon them now and so it is vital to get crops planted. I miss the view of Nepali women head down with backsides hoisted in the air, as they pulled grass for their goats or harvested rice. 

I miss the old wrinkled women I would see lugging heavy overloaded cone-shaped baskets on their backs as they walked a well-worn path between field and house. 

Often their animals would be in their homes and they would need to bring food from the fields for the animals to eat. 

Every bit of usable land is used for food crop production - not for animals to graze upon!
I miss the laughing, mischievous kids with their big wide grins and brightly coloured clothing. 

I miss the way they could have hours of fun with an old bike tyre and a stick. I miss the colour and vibrancy of Nepal. I miss the way they conduct their business any time and place - just right there on the street in amongst the rubble and the dirt and the flies.

I miss the smell of Nepal; a mixture of rain, dirt, spice, smoke ... it's indescribable. I miss the warm, open hearts of the Nepali; people who would give you everything even when they have nothing.

When I go back (and I will), it will feel even more like home. Things will have changed I hope; the clean-up from the earthquake(s) will be noticeable and there will be more of an energy in the air that comes on the back of rising tourism. I will take my sunrise coffee and sit on a rooftop of a house in a small village overlooking Kathmandu and watch as pinks, oranges and purples dance on the tips of Ganesh Himal in the distance. I will watch as village men come to a tree that overlooks the city and perform Puja as the sun comes up; uttering their offerings as they circle it; all the while unaware of how completely beautiful they are. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

He Fell

IIt wasn't the falling that was the problem; it was when the falling stopped. That's when the friction set in. No elastic potential energy to reduce the shock - just a cold hard THUD. When he fell, you fell too. You felt it in your gut, but mostly you felt it in your heart. The impact tore it to shreds. You are not sure when it will fully recover because even though he has stopped his falling, you haven't. 
His face has lost the black bruised and beaten signs of trauma; and his eyes are no longer blood-stained and sad, but he hears no more from one young ear and his brain fights to locate his body in space like a worn out gyrocopter. It also struggles to think.
It wasnt the falling that was the issue - it was when he landed, you see. He perhaps should have just kept falling - and never landed; forever in that space between "where am I?" and "this isn't going to end well".  
Right then at that moment - that very moment of knowing, everything falls to a screaming, kinetic energy-filled halt. And just like that he is your 9 month old again, falling down a flight of stairs; grazing his face and knees for the first of many times as he negotiates his way into walking; screaming tears of pain as you bundle him up into your arms to kiss his wounds well again. You set him straight, back on his feet and off he toddles ... until the next time.
Landings are over-rated. Newton's Apple probably had no complaints, but when he fell, his head broke and his brain bled a bit in protest of the landing. If only there was no gravity - or maybe if earth had the gravity of the moon - maybe then the landing would have been permissible.
Maybe then you would not still be falling.