“Who are you waiting for?” she asks.

I take a good look at her face. Her dark brown hair is tied up in a bun, but not in the way you usually see those young girls of her age do it. Her tied bun looked more like maa’s hair tied into a bun. There are a few strands frizzy and dried, flying off as if they are naked wires, searching for plugs. I laugh remembering how mother always complained that she looked like a grandmother from behind when she tied her bun like that. She must be looking like one even now. My eyes fall on her forehead. It is covered with tiny indistinct spots, almost invisible if you aren’t concentrating hard enough. There are dark bags hanging  below her eyes because she had lost sleep for a couple of weeks. Although a sleep lover, she’d been refusing to sleep for some unknown reasons to both of us. Her nose is sunburned and a little tanned than the rest of her skin. There are light speckles and scars in her face. Sometimes, I feel like if I looked hard enough I could find more furrows. But right now, she looks tired and worried. Even as she looks straight back at me, I somehow feel that she is looking beyond me, searching for answers, seeking escape, looking for a way out. She is tired and worried.

“You,” I finally say with a sigh. “It’s time for you to come home.”
Because I’ve realized that even the girl in the mirror needs a reminder of the love you have for her. Especially during time like this.


घरमा बसिराख्दाको कुरा हो,
उहाँलाई पर्खिराख्दाको कुरा हो,
घरको फोन एक्कासि बजेपछि,
मन फुर्किन्छ।
फोनमा अपरिचित स्वर सुन्दा,
“यो उहाँको घर हो?” भनि उताबाट प्रश्न अाउँदा,
मनमा चिसो पस्छ।

“हो” भनेँ मैले,
“को?” भन्यो फोनले,
“छोरी। तर बुवा त काठमाण्डोैँमा हुनुहुन्न”

“नानी तिम्रो बुवालाई अस्पतालमा राखिएको छ,
उहाँ बेहोस हुनुहुन्छ, तुरुन्तै आऊ”
भनेको सुन्दा मन झल्ल्याँस हुन्छ।

बाटो भरि मनमा अनेक कुरा खेल्न थाल्दछ,
“कहाँ गएका होलान् बाउ,
के भए होला उनलाई,
लडे कि,
घाऊ भाछ कि,”
कति सोच आउन थाल्दछ।
अस्पतालमा पुग्दा
वार्डमा नभई
मुर्दाघरमा लग्दा
छाँगाबाट खसे झैँ हुन्छ,

“धरहरामा पुरिनु भाको थियो,
बचाउन सकिएन।”
भनेर पुलिसले भन्दा,
खुट्टाले भुईँ छोड्दो हुन,
चितवन गएका बाउको,
घर फर्किने तीन दिन अघि
प्रहरीले यसरी लास थम्याउँदा,
दिमागले काम गर्न छोड्दो हुन।
“उनको झोला यो” भनेर हरियो ब्याग हातमा थम्याउँदा,
ब्याग भित्र नोटकापीमा “अाज छोरीको जन्मदिनमा उसलाई चकित पार्छु,
निउ रोडमा गएर उपहार किन्छु”
भन्ने वाक्य पढ्दा मात्र मन भक्कानिदो हुन।



Things I tell myself.

If you haven’t been following what’s happening in Kathmandu, then you wouldn’t know why I had been walking to work almost every day. So this is what I told myself whole way (45 mins) while walking to work from home.

1. It’s so suffocating to see all these people in the streets. Why couldn’t they just stay at their homes? Today is supposed to be a public holiday. Dammit, I am so claustrophobic. But wait, I don’t mind crowd in Ason or Indrachowk. Why am I having problem in RNAC?

2. This road from Tudhikhel to Tripureshwor is the worst way ever. I mean, there aren’t much for entertainment besides Army men practising in the barrack (who are nowhere to be seen right now).

3. I wish I had Nightcrawler for a best friend, so that he can teleport me to work. But wait, best friends always leave right?

4. Dear Professor X, why did you never come to pick me up? I could be Storm or Jean Grey. You never know. I also never got my Hogwarts letter till last year. My life is sad.

5. (After crossing Thapathali bridge) I don’t think I can walk anymore. But I have to, I am almost there. I always give up on things, people, dreams after almost reaching.

A journey.

He walked me home tonight. Not exactly home, but then the entrance to Thamel has always been home to me. And on the way, the moment we passed Indra Chowk and its going-to-be-closed shops, he excitedly told me this was the place where he grew up.

These were the roads he first stepped on, the area where he first went to buy pau with ek suka. There was a twinkle in his eyes that I couldn’t miss. Although, I too had been walking these very road since I was a kid, although, this too was in some way a home to me; I knew what he felt about the road from Indra Chowk to Ason, with Janbahal and Balkumari inbetween was totally different from what I felt. I just passed those areas, he grew up playing in them.

“Do you wanna go and see my house?” he asked suddenly.
“Sure,” I was excited.
“Do you know which is my favorite home?” I asked him.
“Of course. Right there, that.” he said.

We took the small
galli behind the temple in front of my favorite home. Right on the small door, he was stopped by an elderly woman. “Babu, you are home?” she asked. “Well, technically.” “Are you sleeping here?” “No, have to go back. I just wanted to check the house.”

We entered the galli and turned around the corner. “Kaka, are you alright?” he asked a shopkeeper. “Oho, babu. Yes I am. How have you been? Are you going to spend your night here tonight?” “No kaka, I have to go back.”

I could see his smile getting wider each time we encountered someone he knew on the way. They would exchange greetings and he would be asked the same thing. Someone would ask him about his family, someother wondered when they were coming back. After few steps, he showed me a big white washed house with tiled roof and perfectly crafted windows. But the house was dead. With windows shut and no one living in, it felt as if the soul of the house has been lost.

“That’s my house man.” he broke the silence. “That’s where I grew up as a kid with 32 members.” The smile that had been there the moment we stepped on the streets of Janabahal was long gone. A sadness had replaced it. “This was the house that used to be the brightest in this chowk. This was the noisiest house in the tole. Now, it’s dead. It’s the darkest one and it’s the quietest one.”

The journey towards home

The journey towards home is never easy. You get out of the building after saying “see you tomorrow” to as many people as you remember. You have to go back, if you had forgotten before and then you remember. Then you walk down the road, and wait for your bus. The bus comes after almost ten minutes, but all the seats are taken so you stand. While you stand and watch the bus passing the bridge (you say hi to Bagmati and smile), and other places, you take another journey inside your head. The journey of what life could be and would be. The journey of what to cook after reaching home or tomorrow. The journey of how your day went. Then you get down at the normal stop. Sometimes, you have to get down at a stop before so that you can walk down the crowded road, find you way through people pushing themselves and go to a shop to buy what your mother wanted. Most of the time you don’t remember at all. So you calculate everything while walking. Soap, shampoo,  gofuki, rubberband. If you don’t remember till you’ve reached the large square turned small thanks to the crowd, people and shops on street, you turn right and come home empty-handed. If you do remember, which happens only sometimes, you go the shop, try to talk in Newari (sauji, ‘insert an object here’ dula?) hoping that you will get an extra discount, say you don’t need plastic bags when they offer to put the objects in one and then turn around and walk down the road that takes you home.

I always get surprised when I reach home. There are so many things going on my mind, that most of the times, I am sure I will never reach home. Most of the times, I am sure I will be walking certain path and before I realize, would have taken the wrong turn and got lost. But I always reach home, like my legs have certain sensor that leads them home.

But yes, the journey towards home is never easy.