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,
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.



I finally realized what they meant when they said people will forget what you did or said but will always remember how you made them feel. Because right now, my memories aren’t haunted by what we did or said but how you made me feel when we stared at the tall temple counting the terracotta Buddhas and discussed about how lions must have entered Nepal. I don’t miss holding your hands or seeing your face or talking to you but I do miss how I felt – the feeling of being loved, cared and cherished – that there is a smile slapped across the face no matter how messed up life is at that time. I remember those feelings all too well, as we walked around the long narrow gallis of Patan, holding each other as you would pull me close. As you looked at me while I tried working, sitting in a cafe, sipping perfectly made chiya but couldn’t concentrate because I could feel your stare and thus my cheeks were warming up and turning various shades of pink bit by bit. What you made me feel that day, I wonder if I would ever feel it again. But what you made me feel that day also made me realize that I don’t miss you at all. Just the feelings. And the feelings will guide me one day to find what I have been looking for.


After the shake

Kathmandu will never be the same. Well actually, Nepal will never be the same. But because I was born and bred in Kathmandu, I will focus this post more on the place I have fallen in love with since I was a kid.

I don’t have the exact memory of the first time I went to Kathmandu Durbar Square (Basantapur/Hanumandhoka) or Bhaktapur Durbar Square (Khauma) for while my home is in the former city, my maternal home is in the latter one. But I remember the first time I went to Patan Durbar Square (Mangalbazaar) and getting mesmerized by it. All of these Squares and the cities have their own importance for me. Kathmandu is home, Bhaktapur is my haven and Patan is where all the memories were made. I have memories of each galli and chowks in these three areas and there peripheral regions. I remember walking hand in hand with my friends, making noise and not giving a shit about anyone here. These squares have seen many stories made, history created and moments unfolded. They have seen Kings being changed, power crumbled and life molded. And now these squares have been destroyed by the earthquake that took place on April 25, 2015.

If you ask me how I feel right now, I will probably end up keeping quiet. But give me some time and I will tell you how I feel right now. How I dread going back to these places knowing that they don’t exist the way I knew them to. Because life as I knew is never going to be the same. I feel like I have lost my beloved and realize I will never get him back.

A.N. To know what Kathmandu looked like before the quake, here is a video for you all. Thanks to the NYTimes for this one.


I am imagining myself sitting on the top of this cliff. It’s brown in color, yes just like in the cartoons and it’s hard. The bottom part of my body that touches this rock has gone numb because of the very reason. The wind is blowing fiercely trying to make me blow away with it. But I don’t. The 48 kilos me is now wighing almost 60, thanks to the backpack that consists of more number of books and diaries and pens than clothes. I am staring at these tall white mountains who make me feel so tiny that I don’t think I exist. But I do, because I am suddenly panting for my breath.

I find myself not on a cliff watching the breathtaking mountains but on my favorite spot in Mangalbazaar. I am panting for breath because I am choking on my own thoughts.

This is the very first place you took me too. Because it was your favorite spot to. We held hands. My tiny hands fitted perfectly in your big hands that it disappeared. The memories of you running after me because I tickled you flashes by. We passed this spot at that time and many times after it. I also see myself once again holding your hand, pulling it towards the chiya pasal in front of me. The shop has always disappeared beneath the vapours of boiling water and noises of people from all over the city. And we’ve always loved tea. You always wanted the one with lemon. I, with milk. And we would always argue on which tea is the best, giving numerous stupid reasons we’ve lost track of.

But now, I am sitting here alone. Wondering about things, wishing I was far away instead. Like probably staring at that mountain. Mainly because you are not here. And you will not be here from now. You have left me alone without a proper goodbye. “But I deserve a goodbye, no?” I had once asked you. “Well, probably he doesn’t have guts to see you cry if he’d said his goodbye.” You’d told me. An almost best friend ghosted me because he didn’t want to see me cry. Instead, he left me with sleepless nights because of worry, sadness and mainly a shattered heart.

And now, you’ve done the same.


I wonder what I will tell my daughter when she will ask about you. She wouldn’t know what you looked like even if I am sure people will tell her, “You look like her Maa.” She will be dark skinned and pretty, with short curly hairs. She will have your eyes. Now, she wouldn’t be able to come to you and complain about me. You wouldn’t be telling her stories and singing her lullabies if she too cannot drift back to sleep. She won’t know your favorite spot to sit in the kitchen, she will never know that you’re the best cook in the world. She will not hear your stories, or the ones about your mother or the grandmother from your voice. I might tell her all of these, but it will never be the same. Her winter vacation will not be the same like mine.

I know that I’ve told you millions of times I won’t have kids. But this is all because of seeing you toiling around for me. I was always the first one you’d think of. I was always the first one you’d keep. I grew up seeing you giving up your favorite things for me. That last piece of the bread. The rasbari. The last sip of tea. And how you’ve always worked so hard to make sure I didn’t need to do the same. You wanted to give me things you never had – toys, books, Barbie dolls, copies, pencils, frocks. And you worked day in and day out for it. You washed the dishes at Kancha Uncle’s place and washed clothes at Rashmi Aunty’s home. You cooked dinner for Santa Ram and his family. In your free time, you would knit caps and mittens to sell during the winter.

I don’t think I will be able to do the same for someone else. I don’t think I can give up my favorite food or work so hard that I didn’t even have time to settle down and rest. Because I don’t want to end up being you. I don’t think I can love someone better than me or put that person first. But I know, if you had another chance and choice, you would do everything happily again.

I also didn’t think I would ever have kids because I don’t think I will ever find a man who will love me deeply. And even if he did, I am sure will just push him away. I don’t think I will find someone who had the same insecurities and who loved me not because of how I looked, behaved, worked, created or how I am abused by myself but for something I don’t know at the moment. But now sitting here, watching the sun finally settling down, staring at the brick road paved with patterns and watching at the people rushing towards home, tears run down my eyes. In case I will ever find a man who will make me fall in love with a dog, you will not meet him. He will not meet you too. You will never see his handsome face, wavy hair, green eyes, freckles in the nose and the hard bones. You will never hear our story, the first time I saw him and how my heart skipped a beat. How we were in this expedition together, staring at the tall mountains and feeling tiny and how he told me some clichéd line and I liked it. You will never get updates about our dates – the chiya pasal I took him to, the momo pasal he took me to, the kisses we shared inside the galli of Paltan Ghar. You will never hear me babble about how I asked him to leave or how I wanted to leave or how I almost left or how I did leave but he still waited for me. Outside my office, sitting on a pavement, looking at a window with a flower in his hands. And how I let him in again – because I saw how his eyes twinkled when he saw me, just like yours did. And how he was always there when he said he would be despite of having his heart broken by me many times. How he always took me back even when I ran away from him. And you won’t be able to laugh at me and say, “You’ve finally found the guy you will stay with.” And I won’t be able to laugh at you when you’d say that. “No mama, I finally found the guy who will never leave me without a goodbye.”

But little did I know that you’d be the one to leave me without a goodbye. The one to heal all my broken hearts, scarred cheeks, wounded knees and shattered minds. The one to listen to all by rants and pants, mumbles and grumbles. The one who would be the first one to know my newest crush and my ever-changing dreams and the people I’d come across. The one who would cook me tiffin because the food from the canteen always tasted horrible. And the one who soothed me, singing me lullabies when I couldn’t go back to sleep.


Today, I woke up to find you gone. Disappeared from my life. Well not exactly, because your body was still in your bed and you looked like you’d gone back to sleep. You were sleeping, but just never to wake up again.

I stared at your swollen face, not being able to cry. I touched your cold body. I combed your hair like I used to do as a little girl whose hand were tinier comparing to your big ones that it fitted perfectly. I even thought about putting up lipsticks and eye-shadows and doing up your nails but I stopped. I couldn’t do it. You’re the one to leave me without a goodbye, I won’t do it. So I ran away to our favorite spots and started to dream about the tall white mountains. Before I was panting for the breathe.


I still can’t breathe. I feel suffocated, choked inside. I try moving but my hand has gone numb. I can’t move my body either. There is something blocking me. I try opening my eyes because I realize I am not staring at the temples and the bricks at all. I have been just dreaming about them. I realize you are probably still there back at home, waiting for me in the kitchen and whatever I had been feeling was just my thoughts and not the reality at all. I try to remember where I am. The last thing I remember was walking down the mountains and slipping. I remember falling into a block of ice and plunging inside the glacier that was slowly melting. I remember that I was stuck inside glacier, slowly drowning. And I realize, I am the one who’s leaving, without a goodbye, this time.