#BeBoldForChange: A letter to my Girlfriend

8 March,2017
Dear Rekha,
I wished you this morning marking the International Women’s Day. During the day, I was part of an event celebrating it. It was then it occurred to me that I write to you and make it public through a blogpost. You know I surely do not need to write a letter to you because it probably undermines the abilities of the Facebook messenger or the skype to connect with you 24×7. My sincere apologies to both the applications. But jokes apart, I thought that for once I let my feeling go public. Trust me! it will be more mature than the tweets of the #American President.

I learnt that the campaign theme for the International women’s day is #BeBoldForChange. As an audience, I thought it made more sense to the mankind then it did for the womankind. Yes, I understand that it pretty much wants to inspire women to act in a way that challenges the status quo, unleash their full potential and thereby expedite gender parity. But you know what, women all over world are already doing that, don’t you think so? Meanwhile, when I make that statement I know I am no gender expert and I do not bear the rights to extrapolate my assumptions on the entire womankind. But I can I safely say that I have seen a woman and talked to her for hours and hours who continues to epitomize the meaning of #BeBoldForChange and that’s got to be you. A girl from a rural Nepal who did not study in an English medium school currently interacts with people from all over the world in one of the busiest airports in fluent English representing one of the finest duty free in the world. So, you have literally lived the campaign theme. I might be biased in my opinion and observations but I assume that your journey so far cannot be subject to any influences of opinion and observations.

Coming to the point #BeBoldForChange is also a call to all men. Men have always been potrayed as strong and macho. Unfortunately, this brand identity of men takes away all the courage that is required to bring out the vulnerable side of my male counterparts. I cannot speak for others but I can be weak, vulnerable, be worried about being judged, be confused and inpatient. I may not have answers to lot of questions. I can be stupid and depressed at the same time. I do have that urge to lean in. I need you to mentor me on my dressing sense and release me of my guilt. I know I am not that SMART and I can accept that without any ego. It’s foolish to think that men don’t need a hand. Yes, of course I do. Hence in allowing myself to talk about my weakness, my vulnerabilities I hope I permit at least one other person to do the same. So, for me the theme of the International Woman’s day means #BeBoldtobevulnerable #BeBoldtobeweak because the women like you are already strong enough.

Thank you for allowing me to become part of the change that you are. As you go ahead fighting the gender barriers and narrow mindsets I will certainly be bold enough to stick by your side. My mother’s generation went down fighting people’s mindsets, but in my generation, I cannot allow that to happen.

Yours Truly
Niraj

I will wait for her……

I will wait for her......

I think this will be my last couple of meetings with her, yes I am sad but I know she will remember me and I would like believe that she is also equally eager to meet me the next time. She …I mean the monsoon rain…she had come down heavily over the last couple of days in Kathmandu and I do fear of her ever reducing strength as the days pass by. Last Sunday Hindus across the country celebrated Nag Panchami (an occasion to worship the Snake God). That day after the religious ceremony was over, my mother told me about the importance of occasion and highlighted that the day marks the end of the monsoon and start of the winter and suddenly I begin to realize that it will be beginning of a long wait till the next monsoon. But the anticipation of the next meeting is always more humbling than the quintessential departure. My patience is the key, but I think every unavoidable instances of departure does build up to the romanticism of the next meeting.

My romantic relationship with the monsoon has been almost a decade long starting from my high school days when I chose to place my umbrella in the bag rather than use it during a downpour or a drizzle. Although for most of couple the rain would provide the perfect opportunity to walk alongside each other with their arms cuddled but in my case it was just a little different I just needed to get rid of the rain proof object to hold her in my arms. The approach had both a thrill and fear associated. The thrill was my opportunity to interact with her, pamper her, embody her freshness and tell her about my day’s happening, my sorrow, my deepest fears, my failures, my frustrations, my tears, my little ambitions and all about my day to day challenges. I tried to extend the conversation every possible way and in many of the occasion taking the longest route home was the most suitable option. Yes when it all started age could have been a factor but I guess my continued excitement of her seasonal presence transcends across time and space.

In the meantime it was not was long before my deepest fears were realized. Back home I had my mother waiting with a broom and interestingly my father with a towel. May be my father had an idea about my romantic relationship I cant say much but it was just one of those occasion I did not mind the scolding as I had just had a wonderful conversation with my lady love. I believe her greatest quality is her ability to pacify me and at least for a moment keep me away from all my fears, sorrow and anguish. The soothing effect of the drizzle or downpour is something that we might all have felt once in while unless we are not struck in damp condition or muddy pathway.

Arising from the Bay of Bengal, she might be saint of some sort or the enlightened one as she happens to be the life giving force to over billion South Asians almost enjoying a demi god status. As she touches the cultivable land then only does the plantation begins and all the greenery and colors come alive. She might just be our guardian angel and you know what…embracing her may just be equivalent to a dip into the Holy Ganges (a holy river for the hindus). While she inspires all the little buds to rise above mud and become one potent life giving plant my respect for her omnipresence quadruples. I can write a book about my love and adulation for her but despite that I know she cannot stay with me for long but never mind I will wait for her…

The girl in the picture also expresses her love and excitement for the rain as she embraces the drizzle with open arms. She feels at ease with the rain and expresses her emotions to the rain out in the middle of the road as the onlookers watch her in disbelief. The intermingled colors are representative of the outpour of her excitement and all her rejuvenated aspirations. The outbursts of emotions are sometimes difficult to handle as suddenly we are bereft of all the secrets within, which at times is scary. In painting she stretches her arms and feels devoid of all the emotions at least for moment she not thinking about the rest… she is at ease with her self and answerable to non…as if her inherent consciousness has just about decided to get washed with the monsoon rain…

A letter to my Father

A letter to my Father
Note(for English native speakers): Buwa means father in Nepali. The following is letter that I actually want to write to my late father but I don’t know where he is currently so thought of posting it in the internet with the hope that he might receive it at the other end.

Dear Buwa,

I hope you are fine. As per what I have seen of you during my dreams you seem to look much more fitter, younger and healthier to say the least. I guess you are having a nice time free of all the chronic sickness that you battled throughout your lifetime. Your other worry, ahhhh…. me I guess, don’t be bothered Buwa I am doing good. You need not worry about mother as well, as usual you know she’s all in command marshaling her limited resources as ever and just more efficiently than before.

But I do have small complaint Buwa, she still finds every possible chance to scold your chora(son). But Buwa now a days I just love to hear her get agitated as you know when, hahahaha… we both share a common problem its almost genetic to me, misplacing stuffs and littering food stuffs in guest room. May be just a sign that your small chora has matured unlike that small fellow’s instinctive nature of being upset, but to tell you frankly some it still remains and over that my poker faced nature reveals it all something that my friends at the office have been quite used to.

As I write to you probably for the third time in my life, if you forgotten the earlier two let me remind you. The first two were written way back in school hostel when we were made to write to our parents, remember? Never mind Buwa but its just hard to believe that the last time I saw you in person was some nine years back. God! you should have been there to see me now. Your small son now a days heads for office rather than school. But interestingly he carries with him some corporate bag that you were presented in some conference. Hey by the way I forgot to tell you about my work, currently I work for some development agency and a radio as well. About the radio thing, I just miss you as my primary listener Buwa. I wonder how excited would you have been when I first went on air last December. I bet you would have been one proud father. But anyways I hope you must have tuned in some time or the other. Unfortunately I don’t know where you are otherwise I would have told you the frequency.

Nine years Buwa nine long years. Just imagine the amount of things that I have left to say. I certainly hope you remember that I did not miss out telling you about anything from my studies, games, friends and most importantly the school level competitions that I participated and won. I cannot forget the excitement in your eyes while I shared with you about my achievements, they lit up like the stars. Probably the last things that I shared with was about winning an speech competition in Grade 11, you remember I guess, you were in the hospital. It was also the last day that we really had a conversation following that day you were unable to speak. I totally understand Buwa you were really sick.

My plus two results weren’t that great but in my bachelor’s I did well. I was up in the stage receiving certificate from the Prime Minister can you imagine that? I really missed you that day Buwa, sometimes happy news requires a grateful receiver to make it worthwhile. You know…. mother is always subdued she does not show much emotions. Post bachelor’s its been really busy and I don’t know how much I would have been able to chat with you as I return home from office. I guess you remember we talking about everything from politics to sports and films. Your political predictions were immaculate I miss them too.

You know Buwa you just left too early that I just missed out on the teenage part. The self acquired maturity and responsibility is sometimes just suffocating. Even when you were there you gave me every opportunity to make my own little decisions. I sometimes wonder if you were knowledgeable of your early exit that you prepared me to make my own decisions. But Buwa sometimes its hard to father yourself , its almost scary to go ahead with a decision for you aren’t there for a second opinion. But you know Bua your jackets and coat did provide me with the cozy protection from cold as well as from my insecurities. I enjoy putting them on, they are all I have of you to make me feel your presence around me. By the way this winter I tried your coat as well the one one you had bought for function, remember? That grey one. It really fits me well though they are shorter towards the hands but I don’t mind, I guess style statement.

By the way Buwa with the letter I have also attached a painting, you always encouraged my paint work. The painting depicts your importance in my life my tiny feet are supported in your secure hands. The hands were no doubt my foundation. Though the foundation has been shaken and my deep seated insecurities exposed, sometimes it make me want to cry feel insecure and weak. But I am trying to rebuild Buwa and I am trying to make things happen. But the confusion is evident like when I do something I don’t know if I am correct or not, I don’t know if I am right for I don’t have you guide me and relieve me of my insecurities. But I am learning Buwa I have fallen several times and learned to rise. I know I will have some more falls but I assure you a rise is eminent.

Buwa I don’t know when I shall see you next. I know your blessing are with me. Sometimes within my busy scheduled it almost feels that I have forgotten you and the guilt within is unfathomable. But I hope you have a great time. The next time we meet please prepared I have lot questions to throw at you.

Your Chora

The first feeling of love

School love stories
For most of the readers love stories generally took its first steps way back in school. We all have some vivid memories of the first crush, first attraction and for some daring ones that first love letter that first gift and most importantly that first feeling , different to all the other feelings.

No wonder our memories about it might have faded with time and rendered insignificant in present context but I guess we all have special feelings about that first love. As you are reading through these statements you might as well be wondering about your first crush at the least. But is enough to bring instinctive smile, the one the author himself had as he was reminded of some of those instances by his friend from school. The painting in a way is dedicated to that first feeling. Yes they were immature, they may seem rubbish to some but they all make up for one romantic childhood story soothing to the memory.

My sincere thanks to the friend who inspired me to write on this issue.

Will you be my Valentine?

valentine's day
On the eve of the Valentine’s day I made my way through the heart of Kathmandu,Newroad as I was on my way home from office. Newroad, a bustling marketplace stands guard to all the love birds in town. Its lane are for most of time filled with couples of all age groups from teenage to married. I cannot pretty much find the difference in the intensity of emotions that each couples of respective age groups have for each other, may be love transcends limitation of age and the emotions it manifests.

The subtle calm, enduring smile and just heavenly happiness of being with each other made me for once just enticed into having a relationship. As they went passed me some with arms around each other and some with their hands clinging on to each other I also got past some hawkers selling valentine gifts it was just a sea of unending love. Some boys looking for girly stuffs and girls looking for some hunk stuffs I guess the effect of the love in the air was pretty much evident in their changed interest at least for an evening. Moreover the dimness of the twilight hours seemed like as if the air had been intoxicated with all the love brewing in the city. May be the author was just about feeling sorry and lamenting on his single status.

As I got down to painting for some Valentine Special I wondered if the author will be able to realistically able present that fateful emotion and that is best that I could think of. Love generally comes with that feeling of togetherness and everlasting pledge to be together during the sunny and rainy days. No wonder the two people in the painting are reflecting the same emotion and requesting “Will you be my Valentine?”

Last Sunday I was in conversation with a good friend of mine and the friend had questioned me about the basis of paintings and writings especially on love relationships. I guess lot of it comes from my observation of people in love and my inquisitiveness to manifest their emotions. At last Happy Valentine’s Day to all the readers and well wishers.

I love you will you marry me

I love you
Its the month of February and love is in the air. For the love birds it almost feels spring, although the early morning chill and windy afternoon still keep the city temperatures down. “My friend” ,the protagonist of the earlier blog “They once had a love story”, is still sad. The friend is confused and really hurt by the latest developments in life. The friend had been tied up to marry somebody else. The deepening sorrow of the friend’s heart cannot be explained in words. But the friend feels that all love stories should have a fairy tale end.

As a Hindu, I strongly feel about the possibility of rebirth, so I decided to paint something that represents this possibility. The hands, one upon the other, suggests that they want to be together and keep the promises that they made to each other. But since my friend has realistically very little chance to see it happening for real in this lifetime, I thought the promise that they made to each and willingness to live together in this lifetime should have a romantic meeting in the next life. So the romantic tragedy of this lifetime I hope will have a fairy tale ride the next time they meet in the next birth. I believe that the lasting feeling and emotions for each other will transcend time and space and thereby the friend meets the love. In the next life probably all the forces that caused the separation will cease to exit and friend will have the chance to say ” I love you, will you marry me”. Then they live happily ever after.

I believe that all readers will have expressed their feeling for their love soon. In the Nepalese society more often ethnic, caste and religious differences act as hurdles to covert a love story into a lasting marriage. I guess its time for a paradigm shift.

They once had a love story

They never really had love story

“Love story”, the word itself sounds full of emotions, memories and most importantly the willingness of two human to transcend beyond individual differences together culminating into an omnipresent joy. Love story can sometimes be fictitious specially with regards to Nepalese and Indian film love stories. Where we can find music playing in the background, leaves flying past often with gentle breeze, everything going slow motion sometimes even slight drizzle amidst bright sun shine. Yes they might seem quite dramatic but it is in a way reflection of overpowering emotions of the people in love and their utmost desire to be together.

As humans we are all destined to some love stories of our own. Some may have materialized and some not. For me personally only those relationships that had fairly tale end that is they lived happily ever after account for a love story and those relationships that did not quite make it, interestingly does not make up for my definition of a love story. Which includes our infatuations and short term likeness for the opposite gender. While you read this you might be just recalling all those relationships, all the those moments shared with people you liked, you were infatuated or actually had a relationship and just for a moment might make you wonder if things could have been otherwise. I was actually inspired to write this particular blog from a friend of mine. My friend is worried, sad and emotionally moved that a long standing relationship may not just make it to a marriage. While I was trying to paint the emotion that my friend shared with me about the unjustified end to the relationship, I questioned my self, “Did they really have a love story?”, My heart said yes they did have a love story; they did have the emotions there. The painting here is in way my deepest respect for all those relationships that did not have a fairy tale end.

Who knows whose fault was that, just let it be may be it was just not the right time, may be your emotions were not that deep or may be there was different script for them all together. Don’t blame for who knows about the compulsions that he or she might have faced while he or she bid farewell to you.