Revisiting Nepal Journey: Kathmandu City

In July,2013 after working a year with Eco Tourism & Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS) I decided to quit work due to mental health issues, some events had triggered paramount fear, an unexplainable terror, always felt creepy  dark souls  hovering around me  & suffered from insomnia.Considering our family history with mental illness I consulted same Psychiatrist in Gangtok, who treated my mom. He recommended medication & personal care.

At that point my professional life had also come to a standstill. I felt undervalued in my organisation & tasks  given were not challenging. The decision to quit felt  right thing to do   but I was clueless about the future with only  gut feelings that I had to figure out   & pursue goals I was passionate about.

I retuned home with two suitcase, bedding and a gas stove.I cut off myself from social network, friends and spent a month in rigorous  praying.I am not a religious person but prayer helped me navigate during those difficult mental phase. I  used to burn sage, switch off the light & sit in my room chanting mantras for an hour. It was not easy for me as  every time I closed my eyes I felt extreme fear &  sometimes at night I heard crawling sounds on the rooftop.  We had already failed in coping with my mother’s mental illness so, I had to fight it for my family, by myself. During those time I read holy scripts from Buddhism, visited monastery, met with some Lamas ” Spiritual teacher’ and continued praying which eventually helped me.

By then August monsoon had already set in with heavy downpour causing frequent landslide & roadblocks. But I decided to travel Nepal which had been on my wish list since school days. I had some savings and my  best friend was there in Kathmandu.  I started on my  solo journey with  red backpack & payers bead, from Kalimpong I took a jeep to Kakarvita, there spent two/three hour had a lunch in  small hotel. I was anxious, excited & felt very independent. In the evening around 5pm I got in the bus for Kathmandu which was a  two seater bus not that comfortable to sleep fully but lucky to have a window side. On my left side there was a guy who might have been in early 30’s but I avoided any communication both for safety reasons & to be able to enjoy my privacy. Around 9.30 pm there was  a stop for dinner in a small roadside  dhaba which served small fresh fish from Koshi river with flattened rice, chicken curry and rice. Then the overnight journey  reassumed with bumpy roads.

In an early morning beautiful  landscape stretched before me with few houses on 10390946_737975832907167_1466976475670225890_n
the hilltop, paddy fields, boys playing football, steep turns and river running along the road.I got an adrenaline rush  that my dream finally materialised.

Coincidentally my Nepal visit was at the same time when our Prime Minister Modiji was scheduled to visit. In 2014 I had an opportunity of meeting him ( handshake ) in Sikkim, though I am not a fan of him but I must say  meeting personalities from esteemed position is quite intimidating. Hence,Nepal government geared up security & tightened traffic movement & many public were upset about it.

It took me few days to settle in after which I did all things touristy.I consider myself lucky/privileged that I was able to visit these heritage sites before the devastating earthquake of 2015.Currenlty, most of the sites has been destroyed & some are still under renovation.I was simply awestruck by the  architectural beauty, intricate designs for me such heritage sites are gateway to understand history & appreciate life.I conclude this blog post with much love for Nepal.

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Boudha
Kathmndu valley from Swayambhu
View of Kathmandu city from Swayambu

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Not a book review: Reading Classic

 

 

Book

I had this book in a shelf for more than a year, every time I picked it up I was not able to get through more than a word because I found it too boring.One fine day as destined I started reading it there is a saying ”you don’t choose which book to read, its the book that chooses you”to get into my reading elements I always  read start a book from  backcover, acknowledgement & introduction.Well, I was enthralled & read voraciously  early in the morning, picked it up as soon as my daughter left for crèche & continued reading during afternoon siesta.

Reading this book  I gained  perspective on social, gender, class during  victorian era from the perspective of  a woman writer.It was also fascinating to find author using nature such as landscape, moonlight, wind to reflect various moods & for dramatic effect.( reference below chp 23, pg 243)

Note 1
Nature: Skies, sun, passenger birds, green & shorn, white & baked,treed in their dark prime, full leaved & deeply tinted, sunny hue, cleared meadows.

 I related  with Jayne Eyre strong headed personality.She demonstrated courage &  maturity in navigating crisis from  her  early childhood .  It’s a powerful character but without screaming on top’ she is resilient, compassionate and  makes just decisions.Her desire to  to find  shared love & connections reflects an intrinsic human nature.( Reference below Chp 33, pg 382)

note 2

It left me with these lingering thoughts ‘In todays world of glamour- it’s not ok to be simple, show sadness or failures.Social influencers/celebrities/ media mostly promote self love, self belief through make up-made up images. Thus, reading characters like Jayne Eyre help us to understand beauty exists in purity of thought, heart & action. It’s beautiful to be simple, plain looking person, perplexed, not knowing all the answers in life  but living ethical life with good intentions. We cannot compare our life journey with another person because each our  path’s twist & turn is unique.

I will definitely recommend this book to my daughter so that she understands in the world of male based superman, batman there are female power house which are equally inspiring & cool to look up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alas it’s only important to eat, love & pray

Manipur  recorded it’s 1st confirmed positive COVID-19 on 24th March,2020. Prior to that day i.e on 23rd Marc, 2020, Government of Manipur announced one day lockdown and a sense of uneasiness had crept among the public, calmness waiting for the storm as the government. I had a field that day with anxiety I practised  hand washing, sanitise & maintaining social distance  but at the end of the day I become stressed out& decided to postpone the work. Towards the evening we set for home not knowing what would happen tomorrow. Until then COVID-19 felt distant, at least a false sense of mental security was there that COVID-19 has not reached  Northeast  & with lockdown we might never let in. It was a naive thought because early next day all sense of tranquility was shattered, panic struck us, and the very fear came true Manipur now was struck by COVID-19.

Social media journalism started with public circulating  patients photos, family details, fake videos blatantly.  Patient had travel history of travelling from UK thus, second wave of rumours were  about her irresponsive behaviour i.e. she attended numerous social ceremonies, meeting & greetings with her friends & relatives, and also to avoid the isolation she had travelled in bus from Guwhati to Imphal. Panic stricken I called up to find out if that person had attended the wedding of someone with whom I worked on Monday. Phew, she was not invited by them at all. Meanwhile social media journalist started verbal abuse, shaming the family some orgasmic video was also being circulated to highlight how the patient was suffering to breath. That day I could not sleep, peace was non existent until and unless I spoke with one of my bestie. 

Next day, I din’t follow social media or  news just enjoyed a daily life of Mou ( daughter in law), wore a kajal, read a book, played with my daughter and lived. Gradually, the truth was revealed that the patient was educated, responsible and had been undergoing home isolation, with definite history of travel from UK & had travelled by air & not by bus. They had sought medical attention by calling up the helpline for contacting the frontline.

This incident highlights  ‘systematic failure to deal with such emergence/crisis situation’ because  there was absence of national urgency hence national level preparedness to mitigate COVID-19 was inadequate with delayed facilitation of  SOP from central to states. Reluctancy in conducting mass testing/strict screening for foreign travellers without proper isolation facilities with further delay in providing adequate medical equipments & resources to frontline workers resulted in COVID-19 entry to Northeast or let say in India.

This pandemic illustrates instead of fighting for religion/caste/class we must fight for better healthcare infrastructures.Frontline team is inclusive of doctor, mental health counsellor, nurse, ward boys, sweepers/cleaners & those handling garbages. It taught us to care for our neighbours is equally important as ones safety. Above all in life food, shelter, water is not only basic requirement but the most important privilege  to live with dignity. This also highlighted persistence inequality exists for people at the bottom of pyramid. Any socio/political/natural calamity/pandemic occurs they are the first one to bear the hardest brunt.

There is heightened community panic/stress/anxiety and anger toward the patient/family. There is need for transparency & accountability in dealing with the situation along with equipped frontline team, otherwise this may led to violence.

This is not an individual fight/religious fight/political fight but its a fight for human to continue its existence.Instead of panic we need financial/non financial resource mobilisation, adequate medical equipments, professional attitude, empathy, adopt strict social distancing to break the chain. 

For some its a privilege to experience slow life, but for some it’s a war like situation to put up meals for their families.  Some may Re-charge ones thought/soul , some may unwind or get torn apart, some jolted, shaken and forced to re think ones choices , some sensing  their purpose  in life, and some continue to  dream. For me it has put a much needed brake to my consumerism  lifestyle & social pressures of conducting/attending irrelevant  social ceremonies. We must HOPE to overcome, demonstrate  resilience with communal harmony and loads of love.

Tales @ Noon

The small activities like brushing your teeth, drinking tea, sleeping, washing utensils, watching tv is an important ritual in our daily lives. These activities are not imposed but of natural occurrence for a person. Yet, when someone dies these same activities become of profound importance because in these actives we feel their presence.

I have come to an age where I know truth of life is in our daily chores, errands we run,nonsensical talks & being prepared for facing death. It’s also the age to be comfortable in our thoughts & body. The lockdown has given us hassle free life with no work/social stress just enough time to be present sharing meals, watching tv with family & realising family is an universe in itself.

Social distancing is what I have been doing since I finished my colleges, or changed workplace, or moved out from my hometown after marriage, or since giving birth.Isolation is a tool through which I came to recognise my support systems, with whom I feel connected even with distance, joy of sharing, growing, healing and I also those recognised with whom I never connected, never will & decision taken its a full stop with them. Its a balmy day with sun or rain sometimes, sometimes dry & howling wind but I know I am alive in this slow life.

The material thing only becomes of importance when emotions or memories are attached to it, otherwise, it’s just a thing. So it is imperative to understand how a person becomes motivated to acquire something,  what steps one takes & how one feels after achieving it. 

I want to work  hard but not more, work less but not without passion. I want to share my joy with those who love to share theirs with me.

 

Soliloquy of love

I am putting out in the universe, I have tucked you close to my heart since the time I have known you. I continue to love you without expectation & condition. Toast to the memories of what I have now and those I have lost. I can’t reach out to call you nor go back the time you gave me your muffler to keep warm during the winter days. Nor can I forget looking at you wearing grey t-shirt & not knowing it was the last time I would  ever see you.

Back then I din’t know how to express, respond to our teenage love but Yes every time Linkin Park song plays I still get a flashback. Once I tried holding your hand & asked what time is it?You looked at your black watch & replied forever. I shuddered as my heart was racing so fast, and legs were trembling I just could just touch your hair.

In the passage of canteen  I gave you my number before diwali breaks after that I thought of hundred ways of answering your call. Those time of standing beside you are the moments  I was yours and you mine.

Time pulled us in different directions but I know my heart will respond this way until my last breath.I have the card you gave me with a picture of empty uphill road it signifies we will be travelling together.

Until then reliving these memories, see you on the other side.

Conversation about life is delusional in itself.a

Life has fooled us, taught us made us realise the extent of human sufferings is layered. Even the person with everything worries for nothing, and some for something but at last everybody wants the same thing LOVE,PEACE & HAPPINESS. How do we complete the circle of life? as we are facing each day as it comes.

A series of experiences/triggers/traumatic outburst, people hesitate to speak about it. Mental health people find difficult to acknowledge it or get treated due to fear of being labelled, and faces many prejudices that people rather prefer to stay silent then to express. Frustrating to find suitability with doctor, medication & professional counsellor/support groups in the immediate  ecosystem of concerned person.

Still walking through it till then……….I continue to love you because

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My beloved is soft yet strong even while sailing in the turbulent waves.

Somedays don’t want to come out of bed & utter a single word.

Somedays its difficult to navigate between the highs & lows  energy.

The questions is simple yet the answer needs much contemplating.

The emotions are raw but the conversation is deep.

When thoughts are  cloudy makes them fluffy we have to be the  wiper.

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Being MOM

Motherhood has completely changed my life there are so many curves.It is so exciting to see your child leaping from one milestone to another.  Pregnancy made me feel vulnerable and strong at the same time. It was challenging to cope up with emotional well being away from maternal family but at the end it made me more resilient.  I experienced absurd myths and gender stereotyping even before I introduced my child to the physical world. Few were laughable and few made me angry –

  1. Big bumps means either it’s twin or a baby boy
  2. Lack of interest to put on a makeup indicates one is having a baby boy
  3. Sweet craving – indicates  baby girl
  4. Feeling heavy bumps meant having a baby girl
  5. This is an epic- if your husband right eye is bigger than left it is a boy and vice versa.
  6. Pregnancy is linked with purity, holy it’s the pleasure which enables human to create life and nurture how it can be dirty?

I experienced people perception of beauty lies inherently in the color of the child. A baby girl is supposed to be beautiful only if she is fair with long eye lashes. To  me every-baby is her /his own person and instead of physical beauty  it is important to teach values of kindness, honesty,  minimalism and encourage them to explore their passion in life.

I stressed bringing my child in this world where structural gender discrimination is deeply rooted subconsciously/consciously. Shutting out all the crap every day I  reminded myself to encourage  my child to imagine a world of possibilities,discovery and teach life skills . I know it is not going to be easy to be a perfect mother. I will make mistakes, I am lazy, random hate cooking,I need space but I am her best friend and will guide her to live a meaningful life.

First Trimester (1 week to 12 weeks) I was in hell with nausea, vomiting, fatigue, HUNGER ATTACKS, it was so frequent and my stomach hurt, olfactory sense was so strong that I deserted most of the food items. I could only eat self-cooked non-oily, non-spicy, fresh vegetables and rice in a small quantity. I used to have  food cravings which was an emergency situation for my husband because non-availability or delay made me an angry hungry woman.

Second Trimester ( 13 to 26 weeks ) as months progressed my body gradually adapted to a routine- I ate in small quantity after every 1 – 2 hrs ( both day & night), continued to eat self-cooked food, slept 3 to 5 hrs a  day and slept well during nights. To reduce vomiting tendency I completely avoided sweets, fruits, meats, greasy food items and ditched fragrant cosmetics/home decors.  I became conscious about my eating habit and lifestyle.My appetite increased as my taste bud exploded and enjoyed eating, and gained weight. I felt healthy and excited to become a mom and had no physical discomforts.

On reaching  21/23 weeks baby bump became prominent and none of my clothes fitted.  I suffered from Urinary Tract Infection ( normal for preggers) it caused frequent urination and sleep deprivation. Increased weight caused swelling in the feet and I had frequent leg cramps (it’s a bitch) because these cramps occur mostly during early morning. My husband helped me by massaging it with an ointment prescribed by the doctor. I slept on the sides mostly left with a pillow  supporting my belly as it was extremely difficult to sleep on the back. I felt ‘gravitational pull  ‘ as with increased bump I  felt heavy on my hips, legs and could not  sit or stand for long hours in one position.

I became aware of my baby movement and started developing relationship with her by stimulating her senses by listening to music,  giving pats on my bump. I had trouble sleeping so I used to read and  have late nights.

Fourth trimester (27 to end of pregnancy) I prepared maternity check list, prepared budget,took advice from friends and went for a grand lunch. Doctor insisted to go for C-section as Aarunya had erratic heartbeat, and weighed more than 3 kg.

Moments with Arunya