The tale of the candle, the liberty and the sacrifice

A candle’s lit by my side and the transistor adds to that romance of the yellow light on a wax structure with some station tuning to some country song. There is something about the country song, the candle and peaceful evening, a tripartite agreement bringing with it calm , patience and moreover hope.    

I have never been in person to witness the statue of liberty but the candle by my side is merely more than its souvenir. A long standing power crisis in the country has hurt my nation like never before. The power crisis is a reflection of all that’s not visionary, not thoughtful and quite valiantly regressive. The candle’s just an emancipation of the frustration and signifies the freedom, “the liberty torch”, from long standing darkness.

Like all South Asians we are all eternal optimist that’s why we complain less and soon forget them to get on with daily choirs. May be we are so much engrossed in the tragic relations of the bread and stomach like that of the Romeo and Juliet and in unrelenting quest for long lasting peaceful settlement that is “happily ever after” we just get on. Long live my freedom! long live my democracy!!, even I have no such complains.

Optimistically the candle allows me to be inspired instead and be liberated of all my fears, tears and anguish so that I wake up to a fearless and enlightening sun the day after. In the meantime the candle has grown shorter my few centimeters. Wow! How sacrificing how giving like your and my mother as it burns itself down to my cause.

The candle might just have been that enlightened one embodying sparks of freedom in the sights of all the great men of times as they gathered to jot down the destiny of mine and yours and the great nation in the making. The tale of the candle, liberty and the sacrifice lives on but now it’s time to turn on some lights.

 

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Pictorical interpretation of the sublime grace

Pictorical interpretation of the sublime grace

After having written about the grace that the women and girls who ride bicycle in the plains of Nepal. I thought a pictorial interpretation of my vivid memories as they passed by my vehicle would be a fitting tribute to their way of life. I have always been fascinated by colors as they they produce overpowering emotions with their mere presence. As colors continues to fill my canvas they will have in turn inspired me to overcome my deepest fears

Salvaging self pride

Today I happen to turn the pages of my office diary not because that I miss office. But tomorrow will turn out to be one long day as I return to desk work after five days of field work.  The top left of the page that I turned read 2012,November, Thursday, 22  which reminded me that I had come across a rather simple looking, small eyed, appearing to be in his late forties, approximately 4 feet 6 inches tall fellow from Mainapokhar of Bardiya district in west Nepal. A pair of glasses in his shirt pocket was indicative of his long sightedness.

 We were on schedule and the clock had just ticked nine. We had stopped by to grab some breakfast. Luckily we had luxury of accessing some fresh donuts and cup of tea in rather small glass cup. I had nothing to complain about the glass though. The shop owner seemed to have great start to his day as shop was jam packed, thanks to some other stop by travelers. It was during this time that I happen meet the guy he too was sipping his morning tea. Although we were complete strangers to each other until that moment but he gave me a frown and went in nearby shop to deposit some cash. The shop was an outlet to a branch-less banking service operated through mobile phone. Upon completion of his cash deposit we happen to chat and what struck me most was his simple logic to life and humility of an enlightened sage. He had been running a photo studio for the past 19 years and in his own little world was a champion businessmen. He seemed quite satisfied with his little business. He shared with me that he has been making savings through the branch banking service. While he shared about his savings a resounding sound of self pride echoed in my ears.

Self pride has long standing relations with Nepalese way of life. Our brave forefathers paid with their lives to purchase self pride. But in today’s context the core values of the Nepalese sentiment has eroded and embezzled at the hands of by our self earned slavery to invisible foreign masters. The photo studio owner suddenly made me rethink about status of self pride.

Often lack of resources to seek once dream can be a great opportunity to achieve par excellence but at the same time the situation comes with compromises attached and that is where thin line between salvaging self pride and surrendering becomes magnified. We have thousands of reason to defend our every instances of lost self pride. Since that moment I began to wonder  of all the compromises that I am having to make to salvage self pride. Compromise as the word suggests is always fiercely uncompromising and camouflaged as practical and innovative ladder to success. But the question is how practical and innovative can we be.

A glimpse of the Shangrila

I had traveled some 400 kilometers through the length and breadth of two prominent districts of west Nepal just before the sun called it a day. On the day as our four-wheeler hustled and  bustled through prime market locations of Nepalgunj my eyes scanned through each of acts on display. The talkative tea shops, brightly lit jewellery shops, hardworking sage like rickshaw operators, champion businessmen who had no time to pay attention to new face in town,street smart hawkers who could possibly win an Imageapprenticeship in New York’s trump tower, neat utensil shops, temples and mosques, heavily decorated Manhattan like tall structures being sold for upcoming Muslim  festivity,hotel on wheels, sweet shops, some window shopper ladies and their quarrelsome little once, festival laden  electric shops with mesmerizing lights on display are possibly the most notable visuals that struck my memory.

As the day’s activities were coming to close my eagerness to go back home was all time high. But it felt that in the past three days of travel I had developed a romantic attachment to insignificant and abstract aspects of the city which I called a holy love. Suddenly the roads were much more familiar and so were the faces and it was sad to have left them when they were beginning to embrace me with open arms. I believe it was selfish on my part to have thought so as I had taken my mother completely out of the pictures who was waiting for me to come back home.

Although my little love story had a sad demise but as eternal optimist I cherished the positives. Back  in school one of my friend had graced me with her part of positivism and I guess I repay it back with every act of optimism. As the plane took to the skies at 5:31 pm this evening it was confronted with gust of wind and think layer of cloud. After fifteen minutes in the air the plane was above the clouds into the sea of tranquility. The cloud was below me and I felt like playing a part in some mythological Indian serials. Suddenly the sky was purple and had mixtures of violet, orange, brown, light red just above the horizon which made me wonder whether I could interpret them onto my canvas.

The visuals out of the window continued for next 30 minutes. It was a glimpse into the  Shangrila and suddenly the thoughts had lost it ways and felt like an enlightened one with no desire, without containment in promises and responsibilities, no anger and self earned ego, no likes no dislikes, no commitments, no aspirations , no dreams, no jealously , no action to equal and opposite actions, nothing to lose nothing to gain simply meditative.

The journey could not have a better ending than this. let me live happily ever after.

My legendary bicycle

Bardiya, a district in western Nepal, borders the neighboring India. Since it was my first visit to the district I carried along some predetermined sketches and visuals of the lush of green overpowering all the others colors, big river Babai flowing past the green way and above it some quiet roads toddling along natures’s tunes. 

Bardiya stood guard to my latter expectation but I had some invention to do with the first two. First, the greenery had some what lost its way as per the locals and to my amazement Babai had nothing to boast of her presence as she was flowing all time low. It seemed like she was depressed, barren of any thought and deserted of all sources of life  but it may also be that she was on to deep sleep and hibernating to allow the locals villagers ease past her banks, the luxury they would have otherwise not enjoyed when she was on song. The sand full lane of the river was in fact a seasonal exercise of mother nature but to my emotions they seemed like river’s way of saying sorry to it neighboring human residents who come under heavy scrutiny every now and then. 

The never ending fields had gone past the horizon out of the vehicle window which was tuned up and down with passing gust of wind. But I didn’t mind that all. It was fresh with the hint of smell of the burning woods and dung. As a urbaner, such insignificant events are true a luxury .The vast stretches of land, with people working on the field in a sea of yellow, which was evident all along the journey.

Among such luxury my mind interestingly was not without thoughts. In fact,  the rectilinear road of the plains of Nepal and the ladies on the bicycles have a romantic connection which played on my mind through the day light. I have been a bicycler for almost six years of student life right through my high school to under graduate which may be the primary reason of fascination with it. It has been almost two and half years since I last rode it on a regular basis. Since then my feet has been willing partners of my power walk and my legendary bicycle found a new owner. It was sad to know that the new owner was careless with its handling and my two wheeler has found use to some thieves instead. Since the bicycle was an eye witness of my rainy days I have a strong bonding to its memory. The tragic story of a small boy and his lost cycle could have easily made its way into a Shakespearean tragedy. As I recall the chains of the cycle used to be huge problem and sometimes I was late for college or had black handkerchief upon returning as I found its best use in repairing them. Sometimes the breaks didn’t work and I clearly remember bumping on to a newly bought car. The driver was furious and sorry me, but the owner at the backseat was kind enough to let me go. 

Throughout those six years as I rode the bicycle I used to imagine whether I was riding the thing out of need or out of fantasy or could it be that I was not able to afford alternative choices. When I look back the third option could best fit but paddling those chains grew my desires of owning a car day and day out so as to be able to look at a bicycle rider through my car window. It kept me grounded, made me humble enough to fix the tacky chain that crumbled down its track in emergency conditions such as while going to an exam center.

The bicycle did hurt my ego to some extent when it was parked besides some swashbuckling motorcycles on campus’s parking lot. But I believe my self pride was enough knock the devil down. It saved me lot of penny and with it provided my single mother with a financial cushion of some Nepalese Rupees thirty a day, which in my world was huge. 

Today as well I met the fairies in the bicycle with the same sublime grace as I went past some undulating road of Bardiya.  Wow what a beauty. I took time to think what if the ladies had the same thought going into their mind which I had, that same desire, slight frustration and slight hurt of ego among others. That may be true to slightest possible degree but in places wheres bicycle rule the roads as a major means of transport unlike the cities where they are referred to as “exercise machine”.

The vast presence of bicycle in the plains of Nepal are an open sarcasm to urban dwellers and policy makers who hire consultant to materialize the dream of a cycle city. A cycle city exists in practice already. I feel that the  bicycle themselves feel humbled as they participated in hardships of my friends elders and fairies in the plains of Nepal. 

The sublime grace on the bicycle

The bumps of the roads weren’t worrisome but the black topped pitch were monotonous and seemed like they had forgotten to take a steep turn. I was speeding thorough a 8 km long rectilinear road before reaching Agaihiya, a small stoppage in between Kusum and Kohalpur of West Nepal. The green forest flying past my window with heavy armored tank like 4 wheeler booming the highways tracks were nothing new to my visuals. It seemed like the script of the movies in our part of the world with a villain , a hero to save the heroine and happily ever after.

But suddenly things took a interesting turn a group a young ladies flew past the  window with bicycle full of green grass and leaves. The sublime grace was evident in the first sight. Neatly kept hair, a light makeup, a clip keeping the hair intact ,just a little hair coming over to the forehead, few colorful bangles, a simple neck piece and above it all the hurry to reach home was overpoweringly projected in the canvas.

Upon my return the same road back to Nepalgunj, a major city of West Nepal, my eyes feel on the bunch of ladies on the bicycle with study materials on their back, with neat college and school dresses. Some of them were also dressed in their casual wears. The two description speaks volumes of the harsh reality of prevalent inequality even among the female population of my country but thinking optimistically I think neatly dressed college and school going girls were a significant reflection of the changing scenario.

But besides the social aspect of things as young fellow what I noticed in particular was simple grace that the ladies carried with them. One of colleagues at the office shared with me that girls look sublime when they come down an escalator and yes, they do, but i will have to add that the aura of a grace increases that much more in the suburban and rural parts.

The mesmerizing grace at the end of the day may be just a mere reflection of toil, tears and blood in some less fortunate parts of my country but to me they some rainbow ladies who have seen different colors of what is called “life”.

let the hope overcome our fears

let the hope overcome our fears

Several instances of adolescence suicide off late in the country have suddenly aroused the attention of the society towards issues of adolescence depression. The painting in it own little way tries highlighting the issue. The colorful yet darkish cloud on the top depicts the mental status of the teenager placed in the painting depicting sadness, hopelessness, discouragement, loss of self worth and self-hatred. While the bright yellow and whitish color in the middle is that glimmer of hope bursting out the darkness and uncertainty prevailing in the teenager’s life. The teenager in the middle is representative of cases of adolescence depression; she has lost all interest in usual activities and wants to remain aloof from the society. The barbed wise is the depiction of her self imposed imprisonment.