Had they chosen not to smile…

The significance a bloody war often lies in the peace that prevailed following it. Somebody lost, somebody stood victorious but I don’t know who won, who prevailed. I guess it’s the overpowering and omnipresent emotion called peace that prevailed. Moreover, the holy silence following the last gunshot, the last cannon fire, the last brave soul that left the physical self, the last sting of blood lost, the last wish of the last fallen that remained unfulfilled, the last words of the last fallen that echoed…the smoky battle is what prevailed.

The author has feeling of hollowness today…may be the commemorating music of the bagpiper arising right out the grave of those fallen may have been a factor. I along with Raffy, a rather serious looking, with a composer matching a master musician, soft spoken with gentleness of a martial artist, formally dressed Philippino doctor…., went to attend ANZAC day Parade at the Federation square, Melbourne. ANZAC day, commemorates the sacrifice of the brave son and daughters of Australia and New Zealand, who went down fighting for their motherland starting with the battle of Gallipoli. But interestingly as I was watching the commemoration services of ANZAC day over the television I found the memorial services were being attended with utmost emotions by the friends and the then adversary, the Turkish Army.

It was then I realized that the greatest awakening of our time is not E=mc2, the famous equation of Albert Einstein, but consciousness of peace that arose from the mushrooming clouds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The realization of importance of peace is defining moment of our time. In the eyes of the marching veterans, the prevalence of glory and pride was quite evident. But the march was not just glorification of the battle but the satisfaction of peace and everlasting smile that prevailed following the fall of their honorable comrades. They were rejoicing not because of the accolades but by the realization of fact that it is better to live with the guns laid to rest than the men who operate them.

The painting is tribute to all those honorable men and women who sacrificed their life for the realization of peace past their living self. It is a salute to all those people who dared fight their selfish self and come out brave out of their discomfort within. Had they chosen not to stand, had they chosen not to come out of their comfort zone for the comfort of the generation to follow, had they chosen not keep their head held high when rest though that it all over…we would still be engulfed within the bloody smoke….searching for the meaning of our existence and identity….Had they chosen not to smile in adversities when rest had forgotten to smile…. We would still be awaiting the greatest realization of our time…

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Melbourne diaries: the shift…

Melbourne diaries: the shift...

Life has always been about the shift. Some strings of transition that nullifies the possibility of status quo. We transit from being happy at one moment and sad in the other which continues to and fro, while some other time we make a paradigm shift. It was February 25th, 2004 when I underwent one such shift that was to change my life forever. It was 8:50 am that fateful day when my father’s heart beat one last time. The shift was sudden but not totally unexpected and shook me like an 8 on the Richter scale. But shift is like an unwelcomed Santa it comes with bag full of uncertainty. Moreover uncertainty is like the beloved girl friend, I guess, whenever she is not around the miss is quite evident and when she is around…the wish… is to wait to miss her again. Some of the most inspiring stories are born out the ashes of uncertainty; they haunt, test and prevail. It is always great to discuss about being in one such situation over the afternoon tea but actually facing one is challenging.

Coming to Melbourne, was a great shift and the anxiety surrounding the new place, the uncertainty. But the early uncertainty has been worth an experience. Some familiar looking unfamiliar faces have become actually familiar now just helping me calm my nerves. In the land of unknown there is nothing more soothing than familiarity. But I have some idea about her erratic weather by now. She is almost like a poet, expelling the emotions as wind and rain every now and then. Hopefully we can do business. Melbourne as of now is my new friend whom I know by name but I am yet to have an extensive chat. We both are testing out each other and taking a feel of the other. It’s been a month since I first met Melbourne and we both have something in common we are both willing to explore new possibilities and we both are growing…Moreover I am thankful

The painting is the pictorial representation of the shift. The shift from Kathmandu to Melbourne…

Melbourne diaries: The arrival

Melbourne diaries: The arrival

It was 10:45 am and I gave a last minutes check to my luggage’s weight, four hours before the flight time. My ticket reads- 30 KGs luggage allowed. The measurement reads 35 KGs. Just about set for the romantic climax of the separation of the boy and his beloved extra 5 KGs of luggage. Offloading 5 KGs was a challenging ordeal. Last minutes hiccups can often be nerve-wracking but given the emotions of the last minutes kisses and misses I had to keep my calm. Yes the calm, but the calmness of the word calm may often be misinterpreted as in my case calm was just the absence of expressive anxiety and nervousness.

Never before this day had I headed towards the International terminal. Well I never had the opportunity to travel outside my country except for few Indian cities. As a first timer the worrying factor for me was not the lack of previous experience but the information overload about the musts, do’s, should do’s and better do’s. Lucky me that I had so many resourceful people to guide and saying thank you would be lesser a term for the unfathomable gratitude that I owe to each one of the them who wanted to ensure that I had all the resources in my armory for the upcoming ordeal.

Finally it was time to enter the terminal through the departure gates and I saw my mother and rest of the family members through rather translucent glass windows as far as possible. The absence of emotions in each one their faces meant that all their emotions had mingled and enlightened by the sense of realization that I was leaving. On the inside I met my school friend, Abhishek and his smiling welcome liberated me of all my fears. Sometimes when you have helpful faces hovering around your deepest fears it’s when you feel the presence of a heavenly intervention.

As the plane made its way through the air only then a sense of disbelief started sinking in about the first international flight. 25th February, 2014 should go down in my history books as the day of revolutionary changes when things take their course in a whisker of a moment. Twenty days prior to that I did not know I would be taking this flight I was rather preparing for a field visit for my work. It was a brisk ride the scholarship offer, the confirmation, the VISA applications, medical tests, handover of works at the office, last minutes office duties to complete, shopping, paying out my annual bills at home, visit to the relatives, last minute phone calls, paper works….and there’s lot more.

But the more than fast pace of events it was also about me-the questioning self, as I questioned myself time and again, am I capable? am I up for this opportunity? Will I be able to make it?. But my deepest fear was not that I am incapable. The sense of altered self confidence brought about the lack of disbelief about the things happening around me was the diagnosis. Many a time endowment of an opportunity is beyond the perimeter of the sensible thoughts and imperfections of self. It is that time when we grow and rise above the thinking self, attaining the worldly “Nirvana-the enlightened one”. On the plane though it all felt like a dream as the fondest childhood aspiration of getting on board an international flight had been materialized.

I believe dreams do have their inception in the womb of utter confusion, chaos and soul searching. The birth of which is sublime, nullifying all impossibilities encapsulating all adversities. We all have a dream- A cinematic experience, transcending beyond one’s significant self, visualizing facts beyond ones factual self. In 12 hours time I had landed at the Melbourne Airport, a true cinematic experience, too good to be true… I had woken up and somehow been teleported right through my dream. It was time to wake up and smell the coffee I guess because the subtle anxiety and nervousness of touching down in a new country, new city was almost deafening. But in an unknown land it’s always so much relieving to find some familiar faces. The familiarity was only limited to email correspondence though but it felt like as if I knew him for ages. Tall, lanky, blonde hair, with a gentle specs, and soft spoken… there I go I finally meet Ken after a look out for some time, wow!!! Wasn’t that relieving… he is Ken Wallis, born and brought up in Melbourne. I could not be more thankful as he gave me a ride to the place I will be residing. So after 26 years into being, my address suddenly changed from Siddharthamarg, Anamnagar, Ward 32, KMC to 4/28 Acacia Street, Glenroy, VIC 3046…

Acacia street has been a home away from home, Roshan “dai” (meaning brother), and Mukta “di” (meaning sister). I feel humbled and thank god that I came in confluence with such beautiful people throughout the journey. The painting above depicts all those face that helped me out and became a part of my dream ride. Thank you for the rainbow of emotions that they showered on me…The painting is simple dedication to their gesture. Thank you would just be a formality……

How about trying one….think about it

How about trying one….think about it

She passed left of me, sometimes to the right and sometimes just behind me. She was there, just there, watching me and all the comrades around me. Yet she was eloquently unseen just about visible to my wandering emotions and to my thoughtful senses. I was unaware if she was hiding from me or if it was my nervousness that kept me away from her invisible omnipresence. More often visibility is subject to vision of our eyes which sometimes might default owing to our greed, likeness, characteristics, inherent biasness, prejudice, intent, willingness and most importantly one’s desire rather than the biology and physics behind it. She was cold as if arising from the graves, filled with hostility prolonged passed the life after death.

But her hostility had the grace of the royalty as she touched me gently and with respect. The “She” is the cold weather. I met her during my childhood as the snow queen, sometimes as the haze and the rain filled clouds, sometimes as the leaves ridden tress, sometimes as my cracked lips, sometimes as my motherly and holy quilt, sometimes as the delayed flights, sometimes as the cold H2O, sometimes as the unfortunate news of casualties resulting from the dipping mercury, many a times as the hot coffee and vapors of the boiling water, sometimes as my unhygienic self and more often as the wandering cold breeze and the shiver, the avatar which I am often not comfortable meeting.

But my fate was that I had to meet her, that too on a Saturday afternoon. During the afternoon I was attending a book launch ceremony. But the event was not joyous to me as I had to wait outside the hall, as on the inside, the hall was filled to its full capacity where some enlightened scholars were busy talking about the new entrants into the literature club. But the sorrow of having to fight the cold outside was in a way subdued owing to bunch of friend who if not more but were equivalent to the scholars inside as we shared a lot of things from chit chats to work and to behavioral science. Meanwhile while I was in conversation I just wondered if the hall itself might have been amused to the overwhelming response. We never know when the hall makes its mark in the history for having organized the first book launch of its then promising and to be legendary writers.

The book has eight short stories bringing into light the way of life of the marginalized section and communities of Nepal that’s what its editor note says and that is all that I heard peeping from the outside. I am yet to read the book though. The book is titled “Hulaki” meaning postman. During my childhood days growing up in the rural areas of the country I remember letters being delivered by postman.  But today the transfer of letters in its physical form has been limited to official letters. There is no any sadness associated with the statement made as the writer is much more excited and opportune to use the latest means of communication.

But the term “Hulaki” just about allowed my mind to ponder on the emotions associated with hand written letters delivered.  Since in those days, some two decades ago, the means of communication was very limited in Nepal, with landline phone service just about there but that too was quite difficult to own.  So basically the hand written letters were the cheapest means of communication. But for me more than the expenses or the means of communications it’s about the emotions associated. Previously the hand written letters had basically all the ingredients of the incisive humors with the embodiment of social realism of the George Bernard Shaw’s plays but with rather pleasant simplicity that would make the flamboyance of the Victorian era to rethink its lavishness. Basically people wrote with their minds and left the heart attached for they never knew when the letter would get to their loved ones and when would they will have the chance to write their next. Probably every letter should have been engulfed in the unfathomable sorrow of the last words they will ever share. The letters used to be long, pages after pages written with the holiness of a sacred text and with description which can surely form the basis of an award winning biography. Moreover I remember the letters being kept as living mummified memories and being read again and again.

No wonder the writer was too small to have written one such letters but it is one such fondest childhood memories that suddenly haunted his sub consciousness as the word “Hulaki” came before him. It’s an interesting dilemma to have, it’s like the subtle pain or worry that occurs when four wheelers traverses a trekking route. It may also be romantic relationship of the writer with his fondest childhood memories and writing a mere tribute to it.

But today things have changed we have all the possible means of communication and in turn the contents of the communications has shortened and often abbreviated. Hopefully with it the emotions have not curtailed or shortened. The curtailing of my emotions will make me less of a human and more of a mere living object with a consciousness of just me and nothing more in doing so my life will have been shortened to end at that fateful moment.

The painting presented is a mere depiction of the emotions associated with the distance communication when there were limited means to fill up the physical distance. The writer is in no way wishing to go back in time but is just about lamenting on the all lost emotions associated with the hand written correspondence…How about trying one….think about it…no wonder it sound stupid…

 

Miracles do happen……

Miracles do happen......

Wow!!! A sense of achievement is almost addictive; enchantingly inviting and most importantly deeply satisfying after all it was no minor achievement, especially when it comes at the backdrop of some physical labor. Cleaning window panes, brushing off the algae from the walls, sweeping the floor and every other thing that I could do to clean the house, I will have to say that the satisfaction of completing this task was more satisfying than office work, because here there was no checklist to tick off the task, no deadlines, no performance evaluation, basically I had no one to prove non to disapprove, non to agree no one to disagree. It was simply me, the bucket laden with detergents, some ragged piece of cloth, a broom, an iron teeth brush and most importantly a cloud of dust to give me a “soothing company”. Despite the nature of work I was just happy and some incentives though a smile to carry off, some smile for which you simply don’t have to twitch the facial muscles.

The end of the day was more rewarding. I attended the Ncell Literature festival unlike some boring lecture sessions supplemented by some literary jargons it happened to be some meditative journey having graced prominent litterateurs of Nepal and India and quite often nodding my head in agreement or in difference. The vibrancy of the youth was evident there the term which I believe should in no way be limited to age. For me a mad excitement of something that transcends an individual, basically an epidemic thought, that aura that inspires other to act or think in the same manner is enough for a youthful nature. That was what I felt there, people of all age group full of life and thank god none had the geeky outlook marked by you know what I mean some ragged hair, overgrown beard, some sideways jute bags, over thinking maniacs who often sound introvert or pretend that way I don’t know.

The first session that I attended was of an upcoming Indian writer Mr. Ravindar Singh. During his interaction he was highlighting on the amplifying nature of happiness. It was then it occurred to me that I write a few lines myself on the elusive word called “happiness”. Happiness for me is like an omnipresent miracle and more than the surprise of it happening there is greater surprise for it be happening but yet not realizing that the miracle has happened. As humans we all have our own share of pain, anguish, frustrations, tragedies, sorrow and all the other emotions that one can think of explaining the sad part of one’s story. But despite all the emotional upheavals in life we still manage to gather our thoughts and head on now that’s a miracle. We still manage a smile somehow despite a grueling pain haunting us from within that’s miracle. We never stop longing for the elusive happiness despite continued companionship of sorrow at present that’s yet another miracle. What I would like to believe is that the eternal optimist within all of us is greatest proof of existence of miracle. We are all living miracle in flesh and blood trying to live normal lives despite our ability to perform miracles.

Well then miracles do happen. Meanwhile, sometime when I get asked “why are you so happy today?” , I find myself in a fix on what answer should I give in reply. I would like to believe that many a times being happy requires no reason. I am happy that’s it, lets not narrow the occasion of happiness into some reason. Festivities are much often the biggest celebration of happiness, when I say so I know you might completely disagree or absolutely agree with me. But lot of my friend might agree that the eve before the festival holidays are some time stopping moments when you want to believe that you can actually stop time and allow that moment to pause. I don’t know for whatever reason for me more than the holidays it’s the eve before it which is actually so worthwhile celebrating as you contemplate all the wonderful things ahead.

Currently my beautiful country is gripped up in festivities and more than the crowding of the marketplace the magical smile in the faces of people is indicative of its presence. Although all the faces that I come across in this hustle and bustle of the festival market may not be happy but I think festival does allow them a little oasis to forget all the pain for a moment at least and be in the gathering of near and dear ones.

Many a times the tragedy of happiness is that we often forget our great fall at the moment of that happy rise. The painting here represents a important part of Hindu festivity which is putting on a tika a celebration of happiness as manifested in the vibrant colors around. Happy festivities to all my friends.

the day I will have lost them…

the day I will have lost them...

The excitement of meeting her kept me awake late in the night. I was busy recalling my last meeting with her. I wasn’t sure if she remembered me, it had been quite some time that I last met her. But anyways I knew my feeling for her were unrelenting despite the gap. No doubt I was blushing the whole way, but the 200 kilometers distance from Kathmandu to Pokhara seemed like one post lunch lecture session in College which I always wished ended in a wink and I thought that the time which was supposed to be running along in its natural pace felt like basking in the sun engraved in all the laziness that could be there in store, some slow motion art film where one would fall asleep before the next dialogue is spitted out. Since I had pretty much too many emotions jumping up and down I did not really feel the jolts along the way nor did I complain. Most of the comrades in my bus were subdued and so was I. But in my case the silence just about allowed me to calm my vociferous excitement.

I don’t know why I was so much excited to meet her I guess she’s my childhood buddy that’s why. My fondest childhood memories go back to when I was 11 years old and I was there at her place to have some ice cream. My mother left me there all by myself while she hurriedly went for a shopping spree, but I did not mind nor was I afraid but instead I quickly finished some four cups of ice cream as she came back. I was in the firing line no doubt but more than the scolding I was much more worried about the embarrassment being scolded in front of her. I don’t know if she listened, “she” that I am referring to is the beautiful Pokhara (a famous tourist destination in West Nepal).

The stone studded house with flower vase, some colorful garden, omnipresent clouds, milky white canal water strolling by the side of the road, the alcoholic greenery and the self injected aromatic ambiance are her signatures looks, as we enter the city. Most importantly…. the wait was over and suddenly I was devoid of emotions may be the thrill, the excitement, the frenzy, the nervousness, the anxiety, the anxiousness, the dilemma on the way to this passionate holy reunion held within it the ultimate sanctuary of my unfathomable emotions drenching me in subtle numbness. But however the ending of this dramatic anticipation does in no way devalue the beauty of this long awaited meeting.

A meeting with an old friend always has the power to dilute the reluctance and awkwardness born of the unavoidable break and happiness within our eyes suggested that we were never away from each other. It felt as if like the conversation started from the last word exchanged during our last meeting. The city has almost grown with me; she was there in my happy times. My father as a Government officer had spent quite a bit of time in the city which in a way allowed me to grace the nook and corner of the city; I will have to say it was some privileged outing. The nostalgia seeps in, the road, the lanes the staff quarter that I once used to stay has some unsung, unspoken very light but yet intense attachment. This time around as well I did manage to visit the staff quarter from the outside. I clearly remember the little Niraj paddling his bicycle through the big lawn of the staff quarter. On this fate full day as well I was in a bicycle. I just stopped rolling my paddles for a while and watched the staff quarter from the outside hoping may be…… may be I just meet its former resident (my late father). I know that’s quite an absurd thought and something beyond the reach of the miracles, I wish it was that easy. I wish I could plunge into one of those memories.

Memories is like my holy soul, it’s always within me perspiring within my physical self, often keeping me grounded, often keeping me innocent. The longevity of the human memories is often subject to aging; don’t know how long will I be able to hold all such beautiful memories but what I know is that the day I will have lost them all it will be time to say goodbye to my physical self.

This time around when I left the city I left with a hope that the city does have its renaissance as some of its pride like the Fewa Lake has been marred by human encroachment. Like any old buddy I just wished that all amongst the urbanization that the city is undergoing hopefully the city continues to hold to its beautiful self….

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…