GOOD OLD ONES in here.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Once upon a time;
Once upon a time,
in a land far-far away,
Not actually a Land, A Lake,
with drizzling snow-flakes,
No no, a lake has very few water Comparatively,
There is more water, a lot - lot more.
As much as there is water in the sea, So, once again,
Once upon a time
In a SEA far far away.... Nah, even more water,
Whatever, there is a lot of water.
So amidst this water,
Lived a fish
I don't know what breed of fish it was.
It was a fish ok.
We call it “Fish”.
So, Fish had a Family.
I should first build you up a bit. Tell you what kind of story it is.
It’s a tale of love, and hate and the ultimate goal of human ness= Revenge.
No, that’s one of the goals, its about Happiness. Yeah.
It’s a fun filled story with you message seeking people,
“The moral of the story is:”
As if I am a prophet and you are my follower.
There are characters,
All kinds of Characters,
There is this city dweller
who lives in a rented apartment, and
Has bought some land in the outskirts
of the city and now is building a house there.
He toils every day because he has no money.
There is this Farmer in a remote Nepali village
who has a small land,
And wants to try some different crop this time around
That’s Because he has quite a lot of money,
So, the Farmer has a wife;
who is sort of a Marijuana Addict,
She began smoking after her two daughters got married off are now working in Qatar.
Her Sons are in Dubai and Iraq cleaning plates for the American Army.
They send her money every month,
She's just bored out of life.
She does nothing all day but roll up a joint.
Her Husband works in the field all day,
and she stays home and smokes that Dubey.
I don't know who calls Marijuana a Dubey.
Sounds like an Indian Name :
Putting it down in a sentence: Mr. Dubey I like it when your wife wears a saree, makes her look, sooo... umm feminine.
Mr. Dubey: Really?
Unknown man who just told Mr. Dubey that his wife is hot: Yeah Man, super feminine.
Mr Dubey: I calling her now... oh PARVATI where you be huh suite-hart?
Mr. Dubey: I cannot be hearing you.
Indians have better English than Americans. They are superior Beings in every way.
It’s just that they have a lot of hair.
If it’s some consolation, the Normal Nepali's English is also Good.
It’s just our PRO-NOUN-SIA-SON; for the lot of us, a Wii is a WAI, not a WEEE.
I guess Dubey’s wife Parvati actually turns out to be this
Really hot grade school class teacher.
You know, the one every student has their first crush on.
But then after a few classes,
all the students start hating her because of her attitude.
She calls a poem a poem,
and a story a story and when a student writes something like this,
you know, like
What I am writing to you right now,
and what you are reading right now.
It would mean Disaster,
a “C” or a “D” or
even an “F” if she had a fight with her husband last night.
Deviating from the topic a lot; not cool.
Ok, getting back back back back now.
I was telling you a story about a Freegin FISH.
So, once there was a Fish.
The fish lived in a sea and had a family.
Not really, he was in a process of making a family.
He has a fish-wife.
And he has eggs that he and his wife took care of.
They planned it a lot more before taking the plunge and
must have been a hard decision to take,
your life stopping for some new beings you give life to,
I don't know I am just a story teller.
So one day, a snake falls off a boat.
So, the ocean is Indian Ocean, and thus the snake is a cobra just so that we are all clear.
I know a few breed of snakes, unlike fishes,
but I like Cobras, can relate to them easy. mmmmmm Sridevi.
So, a cobra fell off a snake Charmer's boat,
and it landed right outside Fish’s home, when he was not there.
Now the cobra would Normally eat the Fish's eggs,
But the cobra was well fed by the Snake charmer.
But the Cobra was trapped inside the box, and
Was living in a prison,
It turns out that the cobra is actually
You know, all those years
being trapped in the Snake Charmer's box,
and having nothing to do all day but dance to a tune, just made him a maniac.
So, he did what any extremely sexually frustrated cobra would do.
He ended up having an affair with the Fish Wife.
So Fish, our Main PROTAGONIST comes back home,
and finds this huge snake in bed with his wife.
Angry at both, he goes out to the nearest Gun Store,
and gets himself a gun.
Then he Photocopies his citizenship card,
sits in line out of some government office,
Gets the police to approve of this,
and finally gets a license to shoot the gun.
Just so everything is legal.
But both of them had died already-
The Fish's wife and the snake.
I don't know how they died.
It must be the love making- that kissing and biting and stuff.
Well, The cobra was obviously poisonous.
So, the cobra's poison just transmitted to the fish's wife's body
and you know, the fish's wife bit back.
They are dead, end of their story.
Fish was distraught, you know in utter despair.
Fish threw both the dead bodies out.
Fish saw the bed sheets got angrier, and removed them too.
That was moment when the fish saw them.
Eggs: so many of them, right under the bed sheets.
Fish had once read an article on National Geographic on how to fertilize Eggs.
And this was it.
This was the process.
You place a bed sheet over the eggs and you do it over,
and that's how you make babies happen.
Fish could now understand the Fish's wife's psyche.
She wanted her off-springs to have the better hormones of the snake.
There were 500 eggs in total and not even one belonged to him.
The fish's anger brought out the worst in him.
He takes his gun out, loads bullets into the gun and starts firing away.
With loud Bang he shoots the first egg.
A fetus' brain splattered all over.
Another shot, and another and another and another.
He kept on shooting until his anger subsided.
His anger did subside.
He had destroyed about 50 eggs.
He sat down and thought about what he did.
Time healed wounds faster in this part of the world.
3 months after that incident,
The Fish was attending this conference on safe parenthood,
He meets this wonderful fish with white fins and a golden halo.
He thought she was Angelic, and Extremely Like able.
They became friends pretty fast,
and she helped him out with his eggs, took care of them,
and they got Married.
Pretty Fancy Ceremony.
So, The whole world actually got better after he knew
this Angelic, and Extremely Like able Fish.
And his eggs hatched.
Out of the 450 Eggs remaining, weather and everything permitting,
only 100 survived.
Because of his care, and, support and also the presence of
Angelic, and Extremely Like able Fish's help,
all of the eggs hatched into small fishes, except one.
One of the fish turned out to be a Snake.
But both the fishes accepted their fish and snake offspring,
they were growing them up just the same.
But one day, after all the fishes and the snake was old enough,
Fish remembered that the snake was a cobra,
and it was possible that their son too was poisonous.
So, Fish went through all the issues of National geographic ever written on cobras.
So, he finds out, that even if the cobras’ parents are poisonous,
the offspring might not be.
Sort of like AIDS.
"A Poisonous cobra can be recognized.” Said the National Geographic,
“It has fangs with Poison Glands, however the more distinguishing feature is that a Non Poisonous cobra has a red colored mole below its neck."
The fish now had a lead.
He went to his sleeping son with his torch, and checked the fangs.
There were there, he had fangs.
And now to look for the mole.
A red mole.
The Most deciding factor in his life.
He checks in the front, there was no mole.
He checks left- No mole.
He checks Right- No Mole.
He then checks the back of his neck- MOLE.
A red mole.
Fish is now officially happy.
He wakes Small non poisonous Snake up, his offspring
and hugs it tightly.
For the first time in the reptiles’ life,
the snake was hugged by his father.
Both of them were happy.
At night, when the Fish returned to his bed
he kissed his wife and the mother of his children
the Angelic, and Extremely Like able fish,
He is happy. She knows he is happy.
He tells her everything.
His wife then says "even if he was poisonous, we would have loved him just the same wouldn't we?"
The Fish thinks about it a while,
almost and hour,
He thinks about stuffs.
About the Cobra who messed up his life,
He had grown up since the incident.
"Yeah. I guess so.”
He said after a half an hour’s interval.
Then he thought some more.
Upbringing is their part.
You grow up a child, turn it into a poison spitting cobra or a cute fish,
Its all up to you.
“Yes we would have" he replies, his conclusion of his Big thesis.
And he falls asleep.
After a while,
the wife gets up from her bed,and flushes the red ink bottle down the toilet.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
It was mid 90s in Kathmandu... right before the turn of the century. You know, the New Millenium. I think that was the best time period for Kathmandu. For a couple of reasons.
I am not going to romanticize Kathmandu just because I was born here and I grew up here.
Its a beautiful place for me.
What was good about Kathmandu, and my child-hood I think it would be more suited if I say "my teenage", I had just entered my teens, and I scored like 80 percent in my exams and father bought me a FM radio. What? It was a huge deal for me. I used to be a really bad student. Like really bad.So, 80 percent was something really great. Of course that was grade 6 in galaxy public school and they gave marks for homeworks, and classworks, and tidy text books, and everything else. My father really thought I had done good in class.
Anyway, I got the radio, and I used to listen to Hits FM. Even before grade 6 I used to listen to hits FM. Of course most of the VJs of Hits FM left, and I dont know which frequency they are running in right now. There are so many FMs today.
I think there were a few back then, just the right number. Come to think of it, Kathmandu was in its peak at 90s. Some of you might disagree, you might say that Kathmandu reached its peak when Cat Stevens and Bob Serger sang about it and when hippies came and discovered Marijuana thus boosting the tourist economy.
But I was not around in the 60s. So, for me, Kathmandu saw its peak at 90s. Why do I think so? Well, first, there were not many people in Kathmandu. Less cars, smaller roads, and cheap transportation. Cross the cheap transportation part out. Because, it might not be relevant; and it might sound stereotypical too. Anyone asks you what you remember about the past, you say"ah, we used to buy the whole house for Rs. 200 or so."... you know.
Anyway, There were not many people around, Kathmandu was not overpopulated, Kapan, Budanilkanta was peaceful, there was no maoists, all the news was boring and it came from Nepal TV.. but the people who presented it looked really professionals. Ever seen that "She's the BOMB" guy present news?? Its just so wrong. Just really really wrong.
And we used to listen to FM. Kantipur FM was ok, from the start. ANd then came Image FM... I bought Rappaz Union... "In da House"... I think... it was an album cover with paper. Later I realized Lattu Hip-hop was much better, "YEI HO MANAVTA KO NATA? HUH?"
You could really guess image and kantipur wanted to develop themselves into this huge corporate house from the start. If you read the signs... They played contemporary music, both English and Hindi, and all of you being mindless ZOmbies sang those songs. Yeah, remember Backstreet Boys, and Boyzone, and Britney Spears?? Yes, I sometimes sang them when I went to school. Later it was Eminem, Avril Lavigne... yeah.. we all had our share of rough childhood. And hindi songs. I am proud to say the first cassette I bought was "Dil Se"- the guy won an oscar like after 10 years of Dil Se. See I have good taste.
But Hits FM was different. It had a different Image to that of Kantipur and Image (hehe that rhymed). Hits FM was not contemporary. It was more classical and off mainstream than contemporary. I think it was Hits FM where I first heard Janis Joplin, Elvis, CCR, the whole 50s 60s, 70s, 80s, era. Which was not really norm for Kantipur and Image because they served the mass.
I have this theory you know, never think about serving. You can always GIVE the people what they want. But in doing that, you will always be making them dumber. What I think one as a human being should do is share.
Not preach. Never preach. Just try to assimilate and share.
Anyway, Kathmandu was a great place to be in at that time. I was a teenager and my hormone were realizing girls. I started noticing girls in grade 4-5. My friends in Elites co-ed had girlfriend in grade 3... "will you be my girlfriend??... Yes... come on lets hold hands and sing a song..." .... You think that's weird? Well girls in Nepali Villages get married at around age 13-14 and they are mothers by the age of 15.
I bet you (people who can read english) were still watching cartoon network and saying "PICKA-CHOOOO" at that age. So, next time you flinch to a villager and might think about calling them ignorant, think about how you would have coped if you had their life to live.
But you would have survived. We all adapt to our situations thats what makes us humans. For example, if Kathmandu is really dusty and dirty, we complain, and protest, and maybe show our frustrations by cleaning Bagmati, but at the end of the day, we all wear face-masks. Its not because of just swine flu though.
I wonder off all the time. I was talking about 90s Kathmandu. The golden era. The time when girls started wearing jeans pants. The time when eating out was slowly becoming a culture, MoMos had established itself into Kathmandu's tastebuds, Gairidhara Nan sekuwa Corner was establishing, Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket was to be the biggest building around. ANd girls. Girls... started wearing jeans pant. Before that they might have been in salwar, or maybe they were already wearing jeans and I only noticed them later. But they didn't have those shapy jeans that girls wear today. You know those tight ones which you cannot take your eyes off once you look at them... hehe... It was more masculine jeans. Wearing pants was not only fashion then, it was more of a statement, that girls and guys were equal. This is one of the reason I respect my school Principal- Geeta Rana. I think she had that influence in that decision... see, Girls wore skirts until grade 5 Some of my friends still remember the colors of some of the girl's panties from back then... I came in at grade 6; so you cant blame me at all.
From grade 6, Galaxy girls wore pants. And I think I started noticing other girls who wore pants. Of course in KU, girls wore skirts, its a different Story all together. I believe Pants a symbol of control.... You know, a symbol of masculinity... of Manhood. Men wore pants above their waits on their belly buttons to hide that bulge of a stomach. Girls (unmarried of course) too wore pants but they were below their belly button right on the weist. Because they did not have that bulge of a stomach they looked very classy. Girls had them altered and made most men stare at the perfect shape... which is actually an illusion created by the master tailor... anyway, pants symbolized masculinity... sort of an equal-ness and girls did it with flair and sophistication... guys later followed suit with choose pants... geeta rana called it drain pipe pants... they go great with converse shoes.... Nowadays, Married women wear pants around the house. I think I would call them the boarding school generation.
You see. After every political revolution, there is this huge wave of change in Nepal... i think It was after the 1990s revolution which brought Kathmandu into a more westernized ( of course India influenced westernized) world.The introduction of cable television, people looking to go out and explore... and I think It was after that era that Kathmandu had more schools like Little Angels, Galaxy Public School, GEMS, AVM, ... which had many girl students and you know a sort of a patriarchal society was being transformed into a society where people believed that girls should have a chance to have good education. Girls went to St. Mary's school instead of Mahendra vidhya... you know the white dress school beside sano gaucharan. There were very cute girls studing there back then. But parents were under the idea that private education with more money investing has a more secure base for the future.
And of course, Co-education.
Now, if you remember, we have established earlier... like 2-3 paragraphs back that Nepalis are horny from their teens, and combine that with the FM culture which thrived from dance parties, and discos and concerts, you know events which helped young people get together. Also, there was a lot of influence from Hindi Cinema. LOVE was being explored. Amir Khan Escapes runs away with Juhi Chawla to have a romantic song after college. It was established. Of course, some films like "Bobby" had established it for people of older generations and maybe Amir KHan and Juhi chawla films only strenghtened the feeling more... Anyway, So, it was a great time for Nepali teens to explore cultures.
I was never a part of those events... I hated discos. I went to a few video game arcades; and that was that. But more so, I went to concerts. But I never played an instrument. I wanted to. But you know, its one of those things you want and you have to work hard to get and you dont want it anymore because the work seemed tedious. But There were many guys who played instruments. Who were good at sports. I never played any sports. I never saw any point to it. Of course we played some cricket in Tudikhel. But its a different story.
Overall, I think it was a great era. It ought to be. I grew up in this era.
It was also the era of cordless phones.... and... Well... I heard this conversation once. I woke up real early like around 4 am to do my Samajik Sikchya homework. And, you know, i was tuning my radio.
ANd i heard this conversation....
since I am paraphrasing, I might not get it exact.
It was between a boy and a girl, so you can guess what kind of relationship they had.... well, its
Its in Nepali.... so, i hope you guys have fun eavesdropping....
girl: bihana 4 baji sakyo hai 11 baje dekhin 4 baje samma 5 hours phone mah guff
boy : naya record hai. aajhai badaune ki yeashmai banda garne (keta lai nindra lagna thaleko 1 hour bhayesakeko thiyo)
girl : je gare pani huncha
boy : bichari timilai maile raat bhari uthaye hai.
girl : chyaa haina come on. jabardaasti uthayeko haina ni.. malai sutna mann bhayeko bhaye mah aginai saade 1 baje sutthiye (exact time when the girl wanted to sleep)
boy : laaaa. aaba suta hai. timilai rest chahincha ni.
girl : la timi pani suta.
boy: lah aaba phone rakha.
girl :nai timi rakha,
boy:haina rakha phone mah last samma sunne timro aawaz.
girl : haina timi rakha.
boy : hyaa rakhihala nah kehi hunna kiii.
girl : timi rakhna nah tah uso bhaye kehi nahune bhaye.
boy: haina mah narakhne re.
girl : ke mah pani rakhdina uso bhaye.
boy: rakha nah hyaa.... pheri bholi college janu parcha nindrai pugdaina timilai.
girl : je sukkai gara mah rakhdai rakhdina.
boy : lah lah sangai rakhne lah.
girl : lah lah
boy : 3 ganne ani sangai rakhne.
girl : ok suru gara count garna.
boy : nai timi suru gara.
girl: nai mah suru gardina timi gara suru.
boy : lah lah sangai garne hai
boy: khai rakheko???
girl: timi pahila rakha nah.
boy : hera yesto taal le hundai hundaina. phone bill dherai aauncha.
girl : ho ni mero last month 3900 aayeko thiyo.
boy : mero tah 4500 aayo last month.
boy: kasto gali khaye bhane.
girl : mero tah internet chalayera huncha ani tessaile dehrai aayeko bhanera bhanchu.
girl: aaaba rakha hai ekdum thakiyo.
boy: phone mah guff garda kheri pani thakincha ra?
girl:thankincha ni. pheri bholi college janu parcha.
boy: lah bholi bhetumla ni uso bhaye.
girl: aaba rakha nah lah
boy: lah timi rakha
girl: ha ha. jhagada nagara kya rakhihala.
boy : lah lah aaba rakhne laa...............
girl : timile saas phereko sunirachu maile.
boy: timi rakhe pachi mah rakhchu bhanera kurirako thiye.
girl: lah hai tah rakhnne lah.
boy: ok aaba serious hunu parcha.
girl : bye
boy: good night
girl: good night
boy : lah hai
girl: lah bye bye...
boy: bye bye.
girl : lah rakha aaba
boy : haina timi rakha
Sunday, June 20, 2010
केही हुल बटुल्न सकेको चटक देखाउनेहरू,
कामबाट फुर्सद भएकाहरू,
कुनामा दम दिनुपर्ने स्टोभ माथि
Personally, I dont think people should be divided into groups. But that's how the world works right now. Black Skin, White Skin, Arabs, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Communist, Congress, Liberal... You always belong into a group... and you bad mouth the groups you don't belong to... Everyone is a racist pig. I guess that's how Nepal would be working... separate state for Newars, or Magars, or Tamangs...
Nepal is too big for me to talk about. I wanted to talk about Kathmandu. I believe Kathmandu has a culture.
I know you studied in grade 9 "सामाजिक शिक्षा" that Kathmandu is a metropolitian. You studied that it was traditionally a Newar settlement, but then it became the capital of Nepal.
Well, people from all over the country come here, begin forging a dream of Building a home in the valley, and as we can see from the population NOW that most of them have made their dream a reality.
We have always been taught that there exists so many different nationals- casts and creed, there is no single Kathmandu Culture. But there is. Certainly among the Youths of this place. My primary argument is based on very specific feelings I get from different hangouts within the valley. My Analysis may be Subjective, Biased, Racist, or Downright Stupid. But Hell with it, I have freedom of speech!!!
There is this huge surge of big looking buildings everywhere in Kathmandu. I don't think architects design 3 storey buildings anymore, especially if its a roadside plot. And most of these buildings are malls. UWTC, City Center, Kathmandu Mall, Bhatbhateni Supermarket. You will mostly find the stereotypical 'lets go to a mall because I speak ENGLISH with the "Huncha Ni Like..." Phrase and accent' people.And I am always Amazed by the number of turnouts in those places.
I have a theory. People in Kathmandu, have a LOT of MONEY. Yeah... Pulsar, Ambition, Unicorn, Karizma, Yamaha FZ, R15, all those bikes, commonly seen in Kathmandu... at an average, they cost 2 LAKHS easy. That's 5 zeros... notice the cars the next time you go out. Not the small ones, The big ones. Tuscon, Pajero... more than 20 Lakhs... a new green pajero costs 1.3 corores. 7 zeros. Just for Fun sake, go to Kumaripat or those underground parkings in malls or in Durbar Marg, and count.
Last week, I went to Sherpa Mall for the first time. There were those 'English speaking Nepali Citizenship, never been outside Kathmandu.. But I am going abroad' people, but worse, they are label addicted. Even guys. In movies, in most movies, if guys are Label or Brand conscious, they are usually homosexuals. I don't know if media mirrors the society, but those guys looked shiny. Very weird. But, There is nothing wrong with women being BRAND CONSCIOUS. I have always supported branded ladies underwear.
Course there is the Anna-casino. Do not go in there if you love money!!
KFC and pizza hut, I heard that you don't have to stand on a line anymore but haven't gone there yet. I had KFC in Delhi, but I don't know if I had Dhoti chicken or Brazilian chicken. I was in great stomach pain, 2 chicken leg pieces and my Gastric juices overwhelmed me. Had to take medicine then. But I am ready to try again.
No Comments on Nanglo... or hot breads though.
But for people who have Durbar Marg- as a frequent hangout area, my kind of place would be pretty cheap... it may be compared to a Bhatti. I dont care.
It does not have to be a real Hareeyo Parda.... with white, red, green, blue alcohol. But it has some requirements to fullfill. It has to serve a large number of Traditional Newari Dishes, chhoyala, sapu micha, Bara.
Everyone knows HONACHA behind Krishna Mandir, or Everest MOMO in Naxal.
What?? I grew up around those places.
I went to KU after grade 10, so, haven't grown up in Kathmandu to really relax in expensive areas. And besides, Green Curtains are the real cultural thing.
And I guess if the experiment on Federal States work, then we might get to see more Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Maithali, Bhojpuri versions of the Green Curtains. That would be great. If everyone doesn't kill each-other first.
But Kathmandu is Truly represented... for me, by Newroad.
Everyone goes to newroad at least once a month I guess. Or Once a year for sure. I go to mahabouddha, or soda pasal, or Chatamari Chee.... a lot of green curtains in those areas... or I would be there just to see the wonderful... weird... sad... and beautiful faces in Kathmandu. You don't know anyone there... and everyone seems to go somewhere... and you have no time to concentrate on one passerby...
I mean.. you feel like you know so many people... in real life.. because of college, or school, or Dashain... or facebook even.. but go to Newroad.. and then you will feel humble and say something like ... you know very few people...
Saturdays, I guess at about 10-11 am, below the RNAC building, you get an orchestra of Sarangies. ...Yeah sure you might have heard a lone sarangi player in a bus... once or twice... but think about 4 to 5 players sitting on the bench and singing and playing is a completely different experience. Even if you are not into the music. It would be like a smaller version of Kutumba. Its fun to listen to if you are not in a hurry. Don't blame me if they are not there every Saturday though.
Then Enter Newroad. To the left Gudpak, to the right, Mahaboudda- the mountain of Movies. Move Ahead....Jewellery shops, to the right.... ex momo king, not so expensive resturants... Left Khichapokhari... to the left... sheesha hooka... to the Right Ranjana Galli Soda Pasals.... The Peepal Tree Newspaper and Magazine stall, BHUGOL PARK and Juddha Samsher's statue...
I was born in BhatBhateni, (its actually a TOLE whichwas named after a temple. The supermarket came later.) And I love Kathmandu, and Newroad is the one of the strong reason.
I dont know how to end this.. so i thought of ending with New Road's history.
1990 BS... the whole Kathmandu was destroyed by the greatest earthquake ever to strike. Everything was destroyed. So Juddha Sumsher whose statue stands firm in Newroad... planned this road. This HUGE road... which starts from the gate to the Durbar Square... was to mark the Beginning of a New age. High Rise Buildings were adjacent to the roads to mark a DOWNTOWN... Kathmandu was fated to change.
Bhugol Park... which still exists today, and I guess most of you don't notice it to be right opposite Bishal Bazaar or right below the revolving restaurant... was actually the place to gather if there was another one of those earthquakes. If you walk past Juddha Samsher's statue.. towards Basantapur Durbar Square, to your left, along the line where they sell Flags, Maps, Buttons... in the footpath, inside the building's channel gate, ... you can still see a very old... beaten... battered... FIRE-ENGINE.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Loner: Yeah. My Granmaw.
Complete_Stranger: I'm Sorry.
Loner: Don't worry about it.
She was quite old, and diseased.
Complete_Stranger: What Disease?
Loner: Brain damage, and a Very bad liver cirrhosis. She was a heavy alcoholic for three decades. She started in her late twenties, but she quit very late, in her fifties.
Complete_Stranger: She Quit drinking? What made her do that?
Loner: I think, It was a someone she met in a cruise ship.
Loner: A Woman.
A French Woman. She used to tell me about their conversations. She always called it her destiny to meet Nicole.
You know, they went to the same University when Granny was a student in London, in her teens. and, they even lived on the same street. But they never met until the cruise ship.
Complete_Stranger: Wow, Small world huh!
Loner: Yeah. and, they shared so many things in common, Both married very young at 23, and were in their late twenties when they lost their husbands, grandpa died, Nicole's divorced her.. and both never got remarried.
Complete_Stranger: ah, your grandmother lost her husband quite young.
Loner: I guess, that's why she started drinking. And then my parents died in a plane-crash, when I was six months old.
The computer fan took a few seconds to stop, then it was completely silent. She took a deep breath, and thought about lighting the bedside candle.
She lit the candle and saw her grandmother's picture. In The picture a grey haired woman was holding a paper boat, and behind her was vast water. And she was smiling. As Though, she was in love for the first time. "The only time", she thought.
It was a picture Nicole took, and the only picture her Granny had framed in her life. Granny had never framed her parents' pictures, her parents' hated Granny for being an alcoholic. But she loved her because Granny was just a sad woman. And everything changed after the cruise.
She placed the picture back on the shelf, and looked at the time in her cell phone.
It was 4:15 in the morning already."Shit!!!" was her reaction.
She had wasted her time.
"Complete_Stranger" was a stranger to her. She didn't know the person's age, or even if the person was male or female. nothing. She didn't want to know.Conversations she thought, are REAL if they are among strangers. There would be no emotions involved, no obligations, no attachments no embarassments. The purest form of conversation.
She goes to her cell phone MENU>APPLICATIONS>ALARMS. And stares at it- 12 P.M. She smiles at her stupidity.
"12 AM idiot, 12 AM" she says when she changes her alarm to 8:30 am.
She then checks her INBOX and CALL REGISTER. There were no messages, no missed calls, nothing.
She places her cell phone beside her bed, puts her head on the pillow, covers herself with the blanket and says, "Happy Birthday Loner, You are 29, and all Alone in this world".
She would be late for work. But She didn't care. This was her day. After her bath, and her ritual infront of the mirror, she opened her birthday gift she bought for herself, "Christian Loubatins". Even though she found it on sale, it cost her a fortune. and Even though it was a bit tight for her, she bought it. She would wear it on special occasions only. It was sparkling red, and 3 inches. She owned it.
She took a taxi to her office today. She needed to feel like a queen, or at least a lady, just for this day. And she had no one to do this for her. When the taxi stopped, she acted as though the door was stuck, and politely asked the taxi driver to open the gate from outside. He did. She thanked him with a nice smile.
She had a bit of trouble walking with those tight shoes. When she reached her office she would open them and let her feet breathe.
She opened her shoes, hid it, and put on something comfortable and went for the the formalities in her office.
She first reports to her seniors, to let them know she is there, she makes passive small talks, then she moves to her desk along with people her age.
Her peers, every woman peer in there had the usual loud, showy, over-exposed way of greeting each other. Everyone was performing with the fake smiles, and fake hugs. Everyday!
She was close to these people, But She never shared with anyone there. Once, she made the mistake of saying her Grandmother was sick and in a hospital, the conversation carried from her grandmother to old torturing women to old men farting to motorcycles to lipsticks. That was the last time she really opened up with them.
"This is work, only work." She tells herself everyday.
The men were worse. She could always notice the men ogling at her breasts first before saying hello.
The seniors were too professional. They only cared about how much money you are making them. That was her only motivation to stay in that place.
"Hey... Lunch?" one of her male peers asked her.
She didn't want to go out. Not with him, and not with those tight shoes.
"I'm fasting today. Tuesday"
She planned to have a party at night for herself.
When everyone went out for lunch, she went to the terrace, lit a cigarette and released a tail of smoke. This was her first one today. And she always loved the first smoke.
She never thought about her everyday life when she was smoking. She believed that the cigarette would make her mind wander away from this empty-lonely life.
She sat down on cement fence of the terrace.
She had started smoking after a very nasty breakup with her third boyfriend. All men she knew were chauvinists, sexists... everyone wanted to prove their manhood, and always say "women don't do this, and women don't do that", or "you could do this, this would suit you better". Like they knew what they were talking about.
She had no strength left in her to try again and again and again for some fairy tale, Cinderella ending to her life. She was turning 30.
Sometimes, she would take home a bottle of wine, and finish the whole bottle watching Animals on Discovery or National Geographic. It came to her a while after She lit another cigarette with red ashes first one She was turning into her granny.
Her Granny was the world to her, but she was an alcoholic to the world.
She smoked the last tail of smoke, and looked as the cigarette bud fell 5 floors below. "Life could end so easily if you give up."
She waited till everyone else left the office. She couldn't wear the shoes in front of her peers. She wore the shoes for herself, she didn't wear it to show off to the brand vultures. She planned to go to Newroad for her birthday treat.
She dropped off at Sundhara. She walked till Kichapokhari. There were very less people in the street, and all the shops were closing.
She then heard loud noises coming from Sundhara. Another "Protest" she thought. She walked northwards, to new-road. Everything was shut. People were hurrying towards somewhere, like a huge storm was about to hit. She had never seen New-Road so empty. There were always people here.
She tried walking quickly towards the gate, but her shoes were tight, and her heels were three inches. Still, she tried walking fast.
Everything happened so suddenly. She didn't know what came first, A huge rolling, Burning Rubber Tire, OR The sound of whistles- artificial traffic whistles, man made whistles and cries of loud noises, OR that faint smell of very rotten egg, or worse, rotten garbage.
"Tear Gas", she knew this smell before. She walked faster, almost in a running speed. with the 3 inches, the shoe seemed to be crushing her fingers. She reached New Road gate, turned left, and saw a bus.
She so wanted to get on this bus. The bus was the only one, and looked like a school bus and some passengers were trying to get in. She wanted to get in the bus.
The bus was beside the new building of Bir Hospital, and she was running opposite the Kal Bhairav Temple.
She walked faster now. Faster. Faster. The bus was trying to move. And there. right there. She saw herself sitting on line to get on that bus.
She was still running from Kal Bhairav Temple to catch the bus.
She was not under the effect of the tear gas. She knows the effects of a tear gas. and this was not it. There are no hallucinations from tear gas. Now this time she saw herself getting on that bus. But it was not her. The coat the woman was wearing was not her's.
She was a different woman, but she looked exactly, in every shape and form, like herself. She had the same face as hers, the same hairstyle as hers... her clothes were different, but she had the same worried look in the face, the same body structure... she must have been 29 too... she wanted to know for sure.... she wanted to know who it was.
So, she opened her Christian Loubatins, and ran. Barefoot in the footpaths. Ran to know the person who got on the bus. Ran to know who the person was.
However, the bus was already jam packed and in motion. She reached the door of the bus, and she cannot get in. The driver will not stop because he is afraid the mob would devour his transport. The bus slowly was gaining acceleration.
She couldn't get in, she was sure of it. So she changed her tactics... She tried looking through the windows, trying to get her to possibly get down from the bus. She didn't find her in the sides, the bus was already picking speed.
At the back however, someone was tapping in the back window. It was her, the woman, the lady who looked exactly as herself... their eyes met.
The lady in the bus smiled, and she replied her smile. The bus started moving away. She was still running barefoot, and smiling with her red shoes in her hand.
Then the lady from the bus broke her gaze, and took out her cell phone, and pointed the camera towards the barefoot lookalike. The barefoot woman was still running, still holding the red shoes in her hands... and still smiling. And she took her picture.
The Bus went away.
The woman stopped running.
She was home. She was looking at her mirror. She had not changed. She had spent an hour thinking about the woman in the bus. And then her eyes fell on her grandmother's picture. Her grandmother holding a paper boat.
"She took my picture" she thought. And she was holding her red shoes. She gifted herself those red shoes for this special day.
Maybe right now, the lady from the bus was looking at the picture from her cell phone. What would she ask her?
She looks into the mirror, she says,"Are you Married?? Do you have a boyfriend? Of course you do, You're so pretty... ha ha ha ha".
She asks again, "You know, today is my birthday... were we like separated when we were children? ha ha ha, but I don't know, that's not possible, only happens in Hindi Movies. Not Possible No???"
She then stops asking her questions, but telling her some things "You know, my Grandmother, went on a cruise once. She met a lover there. Nicole. And they promised never to contact each other ever, because, that sort of love could not exist then, so my grandmother made Nicole take a picture of her, with a paper boat... and today, you took a picture of me with my shoes... Do you know what I am talking about?"
No answer.- The mirror only shows her what she sees.
But she was smiling. She was somehow happy.
"You know, I used to feel like, I am all alone in this world. But you are there somewhere. Living as my self. It was my destiny to meet you. As... you and I have the same hairstyle, the same face, and same everything... I am not alone in this world... I am not... My decisions, my actions, affect others... you know... Yeah... I made you take my picture Didn't I???"
She was smiling. As though She was in Love for the first time. The only time.
Tribute to Krzysztof Kieslowski,"La Double Vie De Veronique" (The Double Life of Veronique)