Kathmandu knows me too well.

Kathmandu doesn’t flinch
when I openly flirt with Patan and Pokhara.
He doesn’t show any sign of envy or anger,
he pretends not to notice.
But when the night comes
and the cities are fast asleep,
Kathmandu slides into my bed and hugs me tightly.

“When I closed my door for you,
I didn’t want you to go and open your heart
to the next city you meet,”
he says,
“Instead,
I wanted you to explore the world,
experience new thing,
meet New York,
have a summer fling with San Francisco,
date Rome
have a one night stand with Istanbul
and possibly settle down with London.”

Before I could protest,
he kissed me softly,
making me change my mind.
Kathmandu knows me too well.
Kathmandu knows me too well.

You and I

I want to trace the map of Kathmandu on the back of my hands with the stories you’ve told me. But you were never a storyteller and mapping Kathmandu on the back of anyone’s hands, no matter how big they are, is not possible at all.

I want to retrace the path we’d walked, in the three cities. The galli where you kissed me when we thought no one was watching, the chowk with a dead end which looked like a haunted place and the falcha in the middle of the pond where we wrote stories in form of poems, eating aloo-chips we bought nearby.

Then I realized as we mapped Kathmandu with the stories we’d known and the stories we were creating, I’d long forgotten how it felt like holding your hand and simply enjoy your presence. For many moments I’d found special, we were busier trying to find a new opening to the galli we’d just walked. Or find the darkest galli there is or the chowk with the most beautiful windows.

I wish I could write songs instead of this piece. At least I could then trace our story, step by step, chapter by chapter, song by song. And we could finally see the pattern. Of how we went on from being a head over heels lovers to unrecognizable strangers. Now, we, or rather I can just read fragments of story formed in my head making me suddenly realize, I don’t even know what you feel.

So I want to trace the maps of Kathmandu and retrace the path we’d walked in the three cities. I want to rewind everything so that this time, it’s your narrative. It’s your monologue. It’s your story. Will you let me?