Letters and Letters · Places · The Paths Travelled

Learn. Unlearn. Repeat.

Dear Lieblingsmenschen,

It has just been a week that I got back home. And as soon as I put down my bags and looked around the room, I understood that home held an entirely new meaning. Do not get me wrong. I still love my bed and my room. My study table and yellow daisies above it are still the places where my soul wanders. Nothing has changed but the feeling of home. I am home and I am home-sick.

I remember writing about this in my journal (which has been confiscated by a Pride and Prejudice loving freak) few weeks ago when I was still in the village. I wrote how “I” was home. I felt like I could be my own home and that way I could never ever be home-sick. It turns out that it is kind of hard to knock on my doors to let me in sometimes. I keep losing my key! And it is not a bad thing. At least, I know I have lost my key. Anyway, this letter is not about that. I will find home again. This time at a new place with new people. I will survive.

Survival is the key word here. In past two months, I’ve learned that you can learn anything if you have to learn it. I’ve learned to survive. I’ve learned to push myself so hard because there was nobody else to do that for me. I’ve learned to be brave enough to smile even when I wanted to cry. I’ve learned that love flies like soul and touches the clouds around you. And even when those clouds burst out storming water and thunder, it is okay to be outside smelling the earth. And rocks crumble like sugar but they also rip your trousers if you slide in them for too long. I’ve learned that under the river there’s something more than sand and rocks because why would I still feel them underneath my feet after all these days that I’ve been away from it? I’ve learned to stay in the ground even when my pride flees in the jungle of praises. I’ve learned life in ways that I never could learn before.

In contrast, I’ve unlearned things too. I think I forgot how to stay. And I’ve found new ways to escape. Remember how I used to run off into fantasies and have my mind in the clouds all the time? I still do that. However, the clouds are new and real. They are so approachable that I can taste them and hug them. I can be among them. I am on the edge of something and I can either fall or fly. I do not know which will be true. If I fall I get to be on a rock bottom where I can build a new foundation. But I am scared what life will mean when I am there. Will I still be this positive? Will I still have the strength to stand up? Or will I wither away like leaves in autumn?

All these questions lead me to the fact that I am still unknown to far too many things. For instance, I do not know how strong I am. I do not know how to say no; how not to be too generous. I still cannot control my tears. I wonder if I will ever learn to do that. But then I know that I don’t know all these things. Yusra used to demonstrate how we don’t even know what we don’t know. She tells it in a better way. Someday I’ll ask her to make an inspirational video out of it.

And then there are things that haven’t changed. I am still a worrier gently trying to fold into worrying warrior. Trying without succeeding. I aim to change in this cycle by trying to let the air into my lungs until it displaces the worry which, leads me to the information that I will be leaving again. Very soon. In another village. And I do not know how it will be like. It will be much different and more challenging because this time I am going as a Team Leader. That would mean a lot of responsibility, patience and resilience. I am still to conquer all those things. However, I know that nobody is born a leader, they become one. So I am going to try to be a good one.  Wish me luck!

Until then!

P.S. I promise I will try to sneak in more blog posts. Please don’t give up on me!!

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Places · The Paths Travelled

Glance of our home away from home: Meet our family!

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Our Family!!

Home was a family.  We were a family of ten. A mom and a dad. Six sisters. And two of us. Yusra and I. Our family woke up early. As soon as the sun touched the sky, we heard Aama and buwa’s phone conversation. Buwa works in Gorkha and Aama calls him every morning. Most mornings, I sat down in a muda overlooking floating clouds and green leafy hills with my silver diary in which, I wrote pages and pages of memories. Kalpana is same as my age and is the eldest daughter who sings in the voice of an angel. Samjhana is married and has a son. She visits regularly. Sabina is Yusra’s Taekwondo guru as Yusra is her Yoga guru. In evenings, they practiced their yoga and Taekwondo. Sajina is a genius and she is an amazing dancer too.  Kareena is a star and does amazing splits. She also never stops talking. In the last few days, she would not leave me alone in the room. She insisted on watching me sleep and I let her.  Kabina is the youngest. She is our tinker bell. She danced and she sang with her little lips curled up in a smile so endearing that we fell in love with her every day.

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Kareena the star!
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Sajina the Genius
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Kabina the Tinkerbell

Ours was a pastel pink house on top of the hill. The window of our room faced the maize field and the dried leaves rustled every time breeze touched them. It felt like music. The attic was house to magic: Dry garlic and dry corn lined up in rows and columns. I never found spaces to walk across it, so I walked barefoot on piles of stalks that felt like uncomfortable roller-skates. At night, stars appeared and we hugged them from afar noticing how close they were and how beautiful than the stars back in the city. Sometimes, there would be fireflies in our room and it looked like moving stars. It was delightful to see stars fly in the room like that. I felt blessed every day.

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Our Pastel Pink Paradise.
Places · Poems · Stories · The Paths Travelled

Cravings

I crave the river bank

where lying upside down

I forgot my doubts and fears

grasses smelled of rain

and so did the mud

but they were always quite about it,

like

sophisticated angel eyed butterflies

that flew, flew, flew

befriending dragonflies that had rainbow hues

in their wings

as they went up, up, up

around a farm with pearl teethed buffalo

who lost her pearls

but still gave milk,

still chewed the dried maize plants,

still breathed out aggressive carbon dioxide

as she saw us climbing down a small narrow path

where the pink pastel house waited

like

a tree that waits for her birds to show up at night

I crave the river

under the bridge

that brought clouds right next to my nose

making me sneeze but smile

I was one among the clouds

and I had no full stops

only semi colons

of days that went

by bye bye

in blink of an eye

there was a hill with two rainbows,

one moon and one woman

who had lived a drought in a forest with no water

she was washed into a village

with no blue water bins and

 she talked, talked, talked

but did nothing to change the dresses

that marked the up and down

of that village and town

I crave the banana groves

gated greens of mulberry trees,

a mustache man with strong hands

whistling tunes into basuri

and his family in the rice fields

digging beneath the earthy soil

growing soul in rocky hills

DMCs in a room with fireflies

tinkerbell’s knock, knock, knock

and smile that opened all the locks

windows facing happiness

night prowl of brown-white cat

gazing stars and planets

that blinked, blinked, blinked

stretching in a yoga mat

I crave all those things

that made me breathe the misty mists

I believed in the mysteries

the calling of never-ending melody

and I crave all those things

daily prompt · Odes to people I know and don't know · Prose · Stories · The Paths Travelled · Weekend Coffee Share

The Week Story (and one bad thing that happened)

There are times you forget that you are living. The only thing you realize is that you are breathing. The only thing you feel is the scorching sun burning your body and sweat plastered in your clothes that stick like rice cakes. This was one of those weeks. However, I wouldn’t say it was a bad week. I got many things done. For example: we organized Science Awareness Day in one of the schools in the community. We taught students about miracles of Science and we taught them how to extract DNA from a banana. They were an amazing bunch of students. Enthusiastic and diligent. I loved every moment of that day!

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The group photo after the program 

Bad things happened on Thursday. Someone stole my purse in the crowded Zebra Crossing. It had all my belongings and money. It would have been alright if it was just my money. But it had the money of our organization too. Total of Rs. 4000 and my ID cards and bills, all got lost in a moment. I felt devastated, scared and vulnerable. I don’t know what I would have done if Rabbu wasn’t there. Rabbu is one of my best friends. And she was there with me on Thursday. She has been there this whole week. We have been doing the official works together. She is one of the kindest souls I know and I would literally be lost if she wasn’t there. We went to the police station to file a complaint. It was overwhelming. The security cameras in the road faced the other direction, so it is kind of impossible to track the thief but they said that the lost identity cards sometimes turn up in the station. Someone brings them in eventually. I don’t know if anybody will bring mine. The whole event happened so fast. I was sad and angry. Angry at the sinful thief and angry at myself for not thinking about the safety of my purse. I wanted to cry but there was work to be done. Rabbu held my hand the whole time. We somehow managed to go through the official works. While heading to the next office, Rabbu asked me not to blame myself for things that happened, because she knew I was. She was still holding my hand and we were walking towards the bus station to catch another bus. I realized how lucky I was to have such a friend who understands so compassionately, the unsaid, invisible words and feelings. That was the moment, the anger somehow faded bit by bit. I was still sad. But sadness and anger are different. Anger is like a heavy bag you carry around your shoulder. Sadness is just sadness like happiness is just happiness.

The office was located in a silent part of the city. It was a strange place. It rained as we reached the red building full of files and old looking young people. It was as if the sun allowed the clouds to take over the sky to relieve all the heat for a moment. It was as if the sun knew that we were having a bad day. The rain made the whole place look beautiful. We had to wait for an hour but we made it through by stalking celebrities on Instagram. We were extremely hungry so we had puff with tea as we loudly wondered about how the thief was using the money. The sadness seemed to wash away with hunger. We were refreshed again and thankfully, the work for the day was done. I ended up at Rabbu’s home again and we ate and watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode where it ends with one of Phoebe’s iconic lines “He’s her lobster!” I went home with mixed feelings.

So many things had happened in a day and I was indebted to so many people: the police-woman who wrote the complaint and was so polite and assuring; our senior who sent the required money immediately and helped us through the whole process of the work; the chartered accountant who answered each of our repeated questions; the rain and the small house across the red building that felt like a tender hug. And most importantly, Rabbu, who stood by me through everything understanding my silences and smiles. I am grateful that she is in my life. In some ways, she has always been there: as an unknown childhood neighbor to a best friend, we might have a history and lineage we don’t even know about. I do regret that I lost my belongings and money but I don’t feel hatred for the thief anymore because that one bad thing made me notice so many other good things in the world. And I am thankful for all those good things in the world.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Tender

 

 

 

Stories · The Paths Travelled

A Silly Story

Once upon a time, in a world where nothing was complete and nothing was perfect, walked a person who was both complete and perfect. However, since the world around her was so broken, she felt like she was supposed to be broken too. Hence, everyday she started breaking pieces of herself to fix things around her. She never realized that the things she wanted to repair were so far gone that nothing and no-one could ever fix them. Each day, she became smaller and smaller. Each day, she was wrecked a little bit more. On a chilly December morning, she was walking by a road full of fallen stars. She felt lost, alone and hollow. She did not even notice that the sky and the earth had somehow changed their positions. The earth was as clear and blue as the perfect night sky and the sky was green that smelled of mud. She had no idea where she was going. Each step she took, it felt lighter as if she was flying. Suddenly, her feet were not in the sky looking earth anymore. She was floating somewhere in between. The world she tried to repair with pieces of herself looked so unfamiliar and distant. Nobody tried to stop her and nobody held her hands to make her stay. She floated for what seemed like hours and at a point where oceans became rolling balloons and clouds became mountains, she stopped. There was a low hum of music and its waves were thrashing the Cloud Mountains. Everything else was perfectly still except the rolling ocean that was moving very swiftly towards her. At any minute, it could crash into her and it did. She was now inside the blue water but the thing was she did not feel alone, lost and hollow anymore. Somehow, she felt complete again even though she was far from it. The parts of her were still missing. A wreck she was but a happy one because she knew where she belonged now. All she needed to do was swim and everything would fix itself. In case it did not, things would still be okay. She enjoyed the low hum of waves crashing the mountains made up of clouds while her ocean rolled away.

Moral of the story: We might be floating in this undeniable mess of things and waiting for our rolling oceans to crash into. I desperately want to stop floating and start rolling.

Other moral: I am good at making things up. hahaha