Saturday, August 2, 2008

Leaving

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I fly home tomorrow.

Kathmandu is a strange city, sometimes I hate it, no, absolutely loath it. It's filthy. The people are conniving. I don't fit in the culture. But, at the same time, I guess there have been times when I really love this city also. When, for an instant, I actually "get it" and feel confident and comfortable on my own.

I think now that my time is ending, I hate the city. Perhaps because I love it and I feel hurt that now we must "break up" hhaha.

I ducked out of all engagements this morning, dropped off one last load of laundry, and had lunch by myself in a cafe in the very back of a bookstore. It was a welcome quiet from the streets where people from all sides speak at you constantly. Rickshaw drivers say, "rrricksaw?," cab drivers say, "taxiii madam?," drug dealers creep up behind your back and purr "meeeruijuaaana?" or "hashish, didi?" (hash, sister?) All this mixed with shopkeepers relentlessly trying to entice white people into their shops, offering items for four times the actual cost.
While I was in the bookstore, I bought the book The Snow Leopard, which documents an exploration into the Himalayas to find an elusive white leopard. I think it also has some sort of an emphasis on personal development. In reading a little bit, I was struck by one comment by the author, "Yet in Varanasi there is hope of life that has been abandoned in such cities as Calcutta, which seems resigned to the dead and dying in its gutters. Shiva dances in the spicy foods, in the exhilarated bells of the swarming bicycles, the angry bus horns, the chatter of the temple monkeys, the vermillion tikka dot on the women's foreheads, even in the scent of charred flesh that pervades the ghats. The people smile - that is the greatest miracle of all."

I was impressed with his ability to capture so much of Kathmandu in two sentences.

Another instance of eloquency towards this complicated city was by an American girl about a month ago. She was leaving the next day, and someone asked her to sum up her experience in Nepal in one or two sentences. (She was actually really delightful, my age, from Idaho, had been here for a summer trip also). At first I groaned at her response, thinking it was cheesy and too, I don't know, quasi-philosophical or something. But, it stuck with me, and now I am reminded of what she said. It was, "Nepal is full of beauty and full of filth. But, at the same time it is very pure." I still am not quite sure how I feel about that, but for whatever reason, I have not forgotten it.

So, one night left, and then home home home. I am sad, and just feel like I am in a strange shock, or state of limbo - this could also partly be due to a very intense and lingering hangover from last night. (Caroline, oohAAHooh) Now, I will pack, buy a few scarves, and maybe walk around a bit to feel the city one last time on my own.
I may finally punch on of the shopkeepers, just for good measure and payback for all their talking at me all summer. We shall see.
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2 comments:

Caroline said...

ooohhAAHHHoohh!!!!!

Suresh said...

Hi Dear,
I am sorry to bother you. My Name is Suresh Karanjeet I was just wondering if you could pass Vivek’s email id to me. We were High School buddies and lost contact long time ago. I have been trying to trace him from long time. I just saw his picture in your blog and I was over the moon. I will really appreciate your help. Mr email nishu50@hotmail.com.
Thanks
Suresh