Rough Days ahead after the storm..

On Sunday evening, while my father and I were leaving from the factory, the clouds had covered all sky and then there was lighting with no sound; I know, this seemed really weird but i let that thought go being no expert myself. We reached home and i took to the bathroom. While i was taking a bath i could hear loud banging coming from the roof. I couldn’t make anything of it. I came out and went to the balcony. It was raining hails like anything. The hails were banging the roof and the road…thud thud thud…The hails as big as stones fell so hard that it bounced a feet after touching the asphalt. It was so dense i couldn’t see buildings but only dispersed light rays coming from them. And then the wind picked up and took all the lights away with it. It was pitch dark and nobody to be seen.

Anyway, i had a missed call from our operator at the factory and he sounded helpless and beat; he says,’all is gone, Sir, nothings left.’ I was stupefied and completely blank. The network was so bad we couldn’t carry on the conversation. Following, that my father and i called other staff to know the situation and all of them sounded completely beat and helpless, waiting for instructions. We got to know that the tall concrete electric poles at the entrance had fallen into two pieces, one piece fell on the roof of the mandir in our compound. The tinned roof sheds in both the plants had blown away leaving the place completely naked with poles running from one wall to the other.

All this information was enough to get us tensed out of our minds. We couldn’t remain patient and stay put but the storm was still brewing outside. We waited till it softened and left the house on a bike prepared with torches, water, raincoats and portable battery. We had just reached the clock tower when the hails started falling again only, this time it hit me on my head. We had only one helmet and since my father was riding he was wearing it. We turned around from there and returned home. The storm wouldn’t let us leave after that until around 11.30, we again took the bike and left for the factory. All the way, it seemed calm, the surrounding didn’t feel like it was hit by any kind of strorm, especially from what scale we heard from our staff at the factory although there were several sirens of police cars and ambulance ahead of us. But as we were nearing our place, slowly the images rolled and we could see how devastating the situation really was. On both sides of the highway tall electric poles were bent or fallen, we saw a car fallen into a ditch and several buses overturned and all glasses shattered. It was dark so not much could be made out but whatever we could see it seemed like with the light in the morning we are going to be astonished with the damage. The road to the factory was blocked by the electric wires from the fallen poles so we parked our bikes outside, jumped over the wires and went inside. We took a round of our compound with torches in our hands to see what we had heard. The place was in ruins. The boundary walls had fallen, entires roofs blown away and electric poles destroyed. There wasn’t anything that wasn’t touched by the storm and there was nothing to be done in that dark. We left the factory and were quite on the ride all the way back home. We were waiting for the first light in the morning to head back and what we saw after i will let the pictures talk.

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The long line of fallen poles on the highway

 

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People gathering to spectate

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A entire village got destroyed

 

 

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Imagine air did it.

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Razed walls

 

The entire industrial belt of Parwanipur, one of Nepal’s most important, has been severely affected; leaving all mills and factories dysfunctional. The electricity board is so ill-equipped that it could take almost one month to get the lines running for industrial purposes.

 

People that were affected were mostly in the villages who lived in shelters that were made of straw, wood and mud. There are incidents of even concrete blocks cracking. So, i decided to go and visit a nearby village that i heard was worst hit. While i walked around under the sun, people were generally jolly. Some were busy with their daily routines, groups of old men sat on their porches discussing the governments steps in supporting the storm hit, while children were running around naked. There were men working on electric poles trying to get them running while the army was leaving the village walking towards the main highway. I saw mostly, the roofs of houses were completely blown away while to a large extent the structure itself was intact.

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Army Personals walking around

There was a camp where people were served meals and i also saw a policeman speaking to each house owners about the damage and noting it down; probably for governmental work.

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Working on his roof

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Bend it like bamboo

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Electricians working on getting the lines running

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Collecting material to build his roof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ILLAM, Nepal

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My family and I visited Illam for the new years’. For four days I was in the green lush hills, driving down beautiful roads around heavenly landscape and yet it felt like it wasn’t enough. It felt like the feeling of being on a trip was missing or more like I did not feel free enough to do things I was imagining, though I know I can be impractical sometimes. I believe these trips are memorable when you get into uncomfortable situations and scenarios and how you get out of and remember how it all happened. It needs be tenuous. But, it was a family trip, comfortable and limiting. Anyway, since my father was the pack leader which meant I wasn’t making the choices but he was. He decided when it was time to get up and go, where to stay, what to eat and what not to eat, and when we were going back and most importantly, all the conversations with the strangers. Maybe, I wasn’t involved and I was feeling sick about it. Thank god it did not come out directly on him but in a very silent nuanced pulsating revolt. It meant that I was indirectly directing my suppression by talking brashly or ignoring, and rebelling against his decisions or what not.


Anyway, there feels an empty void that nothing could fill but being alone. Being alone, on the road, that’s when I am completely on my own. Deciding all the crazy ideas I get up my head. Walking. That’s most important. When travelling I like to travel on foot. That’s my favorite conveyance. Anything else is just too fast. Meeting strangers and seeing places and eating food and just doing whatever the hell you can imagine and not needing someone else to accompany you on it.


We all to need to be doing solo trips, once in while; guess that will only prove how much we agree with our ideas. I will definitely do a hiking trip. It could just be a small stretch or something, like I would go in the morning and return by evening. No, but that is not something that would be enough or something we should go slow and build ourselves. I want to do something big. That way I would really test my ideas in a huge way. Otherwise, it would be like shaping your mind to come around your own ideas and settling yourself into them when it is all about testing your ideas with the rest of the world’s.

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The famous tea gardens of Illam

Anyway there are things to talk about Illam too. The place is absolutely beautiful and the drive even better. I wish we did more walking but anyway, the tea gardens, for me, was a first. They look like grasslands, mesmerizing. Women cultivated them largely. We all know about how pretty Nepali women are, but they are also the ones running the country here, the men are outside in other countries doing all kinds of jobs, while the women irrigate the lands, cook food, bring up their children, teach them and all sorts of things. These women from the hills and villages are surprisingly very upfront like they are not shy speaking to men. I have seen or heard that girls from villages are shy talking to men and all that but they are not. I was the shy one around.

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The Long range of Kanchenjunga

We drove all the way to eastern territory of Nepal, Taplejung, beyond which there were no roads. It was bordered by Bhutan on the east and China in the north. We were surrounded by the tall and snow covered peaks of the Kanchenjunga Range. Even from a distance, that we were, they looked gigantic. I couldn’t take my eyes off them until the sun had set and it was out of sight until next morning. People usually come here to make a pilgrimage to a famous Shiv mandir of Pathibhara. We didn’t go there because there were no proper roads and only habituated local drivers can take that route. We would have to hire a Scorpio which we did but eventually changed our minds because it was another 5-6 hours journey and a steep trek that my father completely signed off from. It was situated at a mighty 4000mts and really cold since it was wintertime. Well, that’s that.

Bands from the 70’s

It’s hard not to reminisce that age of music that was harnessed by a symbiosis of the mind and an instrument; not how electronic beats and bass thump every loud speaker these days. The beauty of it lied in the live performances. How a band, on stage, could get the entire crowd thumping to its beats in unison. Ever wondered why people say ‘old is gold’? Well for first timers it probably is because in the old days life was a teeny-tiny bit difficult. Work was done by hand and it took time, practice and patience to become really good at it. And anything that takes time I believe gets more beautiful with age just like how whiskey gets better with age. You would know if you had ever picked up an instrument how many years it takes to ease into it and really get a flow. I of all have always adored the sound of a guitar. Not because it was cool but because I naturally glided into my own world when I heard a tune play. So, here I would like the present the era that really took guitar seriously, the Rock & Roll age. The infamous times that truly was cool not just in terms of popularity but in its achievement in musical expressions and sound. Here, I am going to share those bands and artists that defined the age of 70s’ rock and roll that changed the way music would be perceived upto modern times i.e 21st century.

Led Zepplin
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The first choice would undoubtedly be Led Zepplin. They owned the 70s’, and no band could ever put up almost 10 albums in a decade. Actually, most of their work was done in the 70s’ or so until their drummer collapsed on stage of choking and the other members got busy with their own lives. Jimmy Page, one of the worlds best guitarist, put together the band, after he dispersed from his previous band, The Yardbirds. He had nearly 20 years of experience on the guitar before starting the band, and enough knowledge in reading music and most importantly music production. When electric guitar was becoming a phenomenon in the United States and everybody in the rest of the world was drooling to Elvis, this young chap took to it.. Also, over the years, he was pretty inspired by the Blues, which spoke to him. His vision was to set up a fusion of Blues and Rock & Roll and I suppose the band really lived up to it. If you haven’t seen Jimmy Page play the guitar you got to on youtube. The power riffs on the electric guitar are so quick that it becomes impossible to follow his fingers and a nightmare for the band drummer.
I would recommend you start with the first album and go in that order because back in the day it was albums that mattered and not single on top billboards.

Favourite Pick: Albums Led Zepplin I, II, III, IV

AC/DC
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The aussie band is popular for hard rock that doesn’t fade into noise, inspite of being terribly loud and that’s the beauty of it. How difficult it could showcase your rage and rebellion into an expression so strong. I mean you need to listen to know it.
The band has been around for nearly 5 decades now but within themselves the band has had a fair share of ups and downs. The 70’s were AC/DC’s high point with back to back chart topping albums like, ‘Back to Black’ and ‘Let There be Rock’. Things cooled off in the 80’s after the lead singer Bon Scott passed away but in the 90’s the band was able to maintain its status with successful albums through. The Founder, Malcom Young passed away in 2017, but the band goes on with Stevie Young taking place of the lead. Yes, Stevie Young is the kid who wears a school uniform on stage.
The band had lately been reincarnated in movie soundtrack for Iron Man 2 with chart topping songs like shoot to thrill and highway to hell. But I am sure you would like other albums too if you gave a listen to this hard rock punk ass band.

Favourite Picks: Let there be rock, Highway to Hell, Shoot to Thrill

Pink Floyd
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There is a lot to appreciate about this band much so because it is simply a unique band with a unique expression of sound. It has been here for a long long time and people mostly remember its most distinguishing feature, the echoing and reverberating sound that bulbs from a memory, where you were pushed into a space of your own world where everything is dead quiet and calm. Moreover, might I say transcending psychedelic music or space rock, a dichotomy nobody could explain. Their songs are the type people ask ‘what song is this bro?’ It might be an old band but mind you their music is quite modern. The fondest memory I have is participating with a young crowd of school kinds chanting ‘Another brick in the Wall’ that was covered by my school band(and I, honestly, knew no lyrics of that song) The most famous album ‘Dark side of the Moon’ remains vivid in my mind bacuase of its art cover where white light is passing through a prism and spreading into a rainbow; only Pink Floyd could conceive such deep allegories. By the way, many don’t folks don’t know that the name comes from two American bluesmen of the name Pink Anderson & Floyd Council, as a tribute to the music they loved.

Favourite Picks: Another brick in the wall, Marooned, Hey you

Queens
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You might remember the name from the famous feature film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and its lead Freddie Mercury but the band has more to offer than what a hour and a half movie can cover. It was known for its live performances and getting its audience to chant their anthems like ‘We are the Champions’ & ‘We will Rock you’. Freddie was a special and unique mix of an artist and moreover a performer. His energy pumped stage performances were so lively and his improvisations so much fun that the crowd couldn’t get enough of him. The story of the band is no special from other rock and roll bands and how it portrays unapologetically the instinctive need to perform. Queen has paved way for its own type of stadium rock. Moreover, it is important to reiterate the band’s philosophy of believing in spontaneity. The story begins when Freddie on spot auditions in front of Brian May and Roger Taylor being a famous duet band before. Moreover, the unplanned collaboration with David Bowie led a chart topper ‘Under Pressure’ reiterates that philosophy. It is definitely a band not to miss. Every band member has written songs that have been a success. It has believed in creating something unique in each album and cross boundaries with all types of genres from pop to funk and more so.

Favourite Pick: Under Pressure, Another one bites the dust, Love of my Life and I want to break free.

Black Sabbath
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The band that introduced the world to metal and hard rock, with Tony Iommi on the guitar, Ozzy Osbourne as singer, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward. Each member comes from a humble background of working class chasing a dream of becoming a superstar someday. Tony worked at a factory and did several odd jobs while Osbourne, his junior in school, worked at a factory too.
Tony lost his middle and ring fingers to an accident at the factory and he was severely depressed that he could not play the guitar anymore. But time passed and he got motivated to continue playing and see what became of such a story. They received recognition with their very first album, ’Black Sabbath’ in 1970 but the next two albums, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Master of reality’ guided them to stardom all over the USA and UK. Their last album released back in 2013 was called 13. Although, the band spilt on several occasions and Ozzy found success in a career as a solo artist but they always came back for some performance or compiling an album up till now.

Favourite Pick: Paranoid and Iron Man from album Paranoid 1970

Lastly, I understand that there are ample of good bands and artists that haven’t been covered by me but I sincerely have only stated the opinion based on my limited knowledge of that era. Also, I believe that this list in itself is a good tribute to the bands and the era and for anybody who wished to be introduced to rock and roll that was fused with blues and metal. I hope some of us enjoy this music.

Fools Day-out

Once upon a while, if you can remember it, the wise and the fool (and often the narrator that is me) are having the most important kind of conversation; they are talking about life and aint that a treat for ya’ll knowledge hungry wise asses. Well, just like life is a bitch so is this conversation so keep your ears wide-open, pun intended, for any advice.

Fool: You know what wise man! only once in a while my mind explodes with creativity. Every moment in that period sparks with such sick ideas and observations that I feel so wise. But, in that very period I have certain unimportant things to do that cannot be postponed. You know, like taking a leak, eating or studying for school. And you know what, I can’t focus on either; and you know what happens after- I start raising questions on life. It has actually become quite a pastime you know. Like, if anything about our existence don’t matter, you know, in that grand and larger context of the universe then why so confused- unimportant tasks to do or following your fired up brain into unchartered territory. I cant be happy, and I’m so confused you know; everybody around me wants me to act responsibly, if only I could ever get a hang of it. Anyway, it has been such a menace for all the fools out there too.

Wise: Firstly, it needs to be well understood that being happy is like being in a bubble of delirum, more like an illusion or a matrix, and it bursts with the slightest touch. But being content, brother that’s the real ball game. And you know what, there is a trick to it that I will let you on on later.
Well, you know all this talk about ‘we don’t matter nor does we doing anything matters, so why can’t I just spend my day in my couch eating and watching TV’. You know that talk, right! We call that utter laziness (a.k.a existentialism in the wise fraternity). It’s the perfect ground for boredom, depression and anxiety; the three evils. You’ve got to fight it with all your might and rise and shine! You know what I mean, right?

Narrator: The wise man goes on and on and on about it. He conveys all his knowledge in general phrases that sound like clichés. But, oh wait a second, don’t you think life lead on clichés be fun? C’mon, don’t you think so? Well, for starters, we keep saying that the ignorant are the damned blessed folks. They keep going on without troubling themselves with consequences of what they heard or saw or read. And here I am, narrating and wondering if the title ‘the ignorant bastards’ a reflection of how much sex they are getting.
Anyway the wise is only talking in clichés and more. He has in fact broken a record of using 20 cliché phrases one after the other. It would be ridiculously painful to get a single original idea out of the wise and if it ever struck him, ever so it would be as useless as the pool of human knowledge. It is only fair to say that the wise and his advice is as useless as my poo is to me. The poor fool will remain in his puddle today. I really think so. Think about it. The pool of human knowledge, within it billions and billions, or maybe trillions, of research papers, articles and critiques on literature, history, science and what not, phony videos of man on the moon or saucer ufo’s flying in our sky. The pool of human knowledge is vast, almost as big as your head and just as useless. You know why, because just like you have the most wavy and bouncy strands of hair on your head there are perfect round droplets of knowledge in the pool and just like a single strand of hair, as perfect as is, can’t make your bald head look pretty; a droplet of water cannot quench my thirst. Anyway, coming back to our conversation between the mighty wise and a ignorant fool.
It seemed like everything the wise man said was making sense to the fool but the fool was tired of the wise man’s monologue. More importantly he hated the confidence with which he was delivering it so he shot up and said:

Fool: Oh my, my…you must really be in awe of yourself to be so wise and smart. But you know what I think, you are just the man that I am, nothing less and nothing more. We are being rocked around on the same boat so be a good lad to your co-passenger, that’s me, and behave yourself.

Wise: Oh, I am really sorry if I said anything that offended you.

Narrator: The fool was sick to his guts with wise man’s sincere manners. He was about to reckon a full blown serial attack on behalf of all the fools out there.

Fool: Just so that you know, I think you are 4 quarters wise i.e. 100%. And from what I have learnt from life 100% doesn’t exist, it’s a myth. You are like all those superheroes who just show off their unreal powers and lure all the girls.
They don’t exist and so do you. Just like them you are a tiny figment of someone’s imagination and just like them you are taken a way bit too seriously. Why aren’t epitome fools, a 4-quarter fool i.e 100%, treated with respect? We are alive and as real as any being, you would see 1 in every 3 like me. When somebody makes a fool of himself, he makes a 100% fool of himself. He goes all the way home and doesn’t look back. He makes a bunch of people laugh in the process. Isn’t all that worthy of a lil respect.
And what do you do? You create problems in the first place and then seek solutions that take a millennia to come through. You are a curse to yourself. You seek answers that are incomplete, and then you make everybody pay for the consequences of your practice. Where is the might in that? Also, I have never heard anybody say,” So you made a 100% wise of yourself”.

Wise: For real, is this really happening. I am not going to take this seriously but I am swayed. It sounds wonderful to be a fool; atleast 1quarter fool i.e 25%. It would really take the pressure off my shoulders.

Fool: Try 3 quarters fool i.e 75%, its better than any drug you will try.

Wise: I am serious. I could just kick back and relax and don’t worry about thinking ahead. Live chiefly in the present and go with the electrons i.e go with the flow.

Fool: I’d say 3 quarters fool i.e 75% and 1 quarter wise i.e 25%. That could mean with every one wise moment you have you will have to counter it with 3 foolish moments to be sane and alive.

Narrator: The fool is paying no attention to the wise for he is captivated by the combinations he can make of fool and wise but so far he can come up with only 1 such combination.
And I need to worry about making a living you know. Like, I got better things to do than narrate you some gossip between two grown up men. I have exams coming up and I need to study or else they will throw me out. I need to get a job and get married have kids then grandkids and maybe die peacefully when nothing new happens. The people around me will not let me live I don’t follow this exact path. I am doomed. But, hey I guess I will leave all that to my 1 quarter of wise i.e 25% to take care off while I am having 3 quarters i.e 25% of foolish fun.

The trick of contentment from the wise:

– just widen your nostrils like when you take a long breath, lift your upper lip like a pout and give a very subtle smile. It’s has been widely accepted as a stamp of contentment and smartness in, and around, the wise community but they are still debating on the pros and cons. Some are saying that it actually makes you look ridiculous but if you believe me I think it really works. Atleast everybody thinks you are really fulfilled.

Only this Time

Alas! What clarity,

The mind is settled,

Thoughts in control

I seem more determined.

 

But what brought tis.

It may seem cliché

To say, that something

I encountered very often,

That hurt me always

 

Only this time I did not

Cry or beg or lose my esteem.

 

Only this time I knew

It won’t work, and something

Within me wanted it not to work.

 

I need a lesson

I need be disappointed

I need know if I can carry on,

All by myself.

 

Enough, this time

I don’t convince myself

That its all right.

I let fall, only this time

I don’t bother.

I don’t play the blame game

Because only this time

I know it is and

Always has been, my fault.

Building of a Romance

“If we desecrate nature’s creation, then we should build something even more beautiful to replace it.”

These lines are sometimes just a trifling string of words, isn’t it? It’s just stupid to be affected by them. However, accidently so, if it begins to heedlessly prick our brain, becomes a constant reminder, then maybe we give it another read; then another…. then once more… one last time and then we are incessantly obsessed with it, like an infatuation that constantly flashes in and out of our minds. Ha these careless words! They have us engulfed in their cause.These string of words envelop one thought and aligns them to a chain of several deeper thoughts. Mind you, now we are involved; an affair, very similar to the regular ones but slightly more honest. There are moments of disagreement, then a ruthless fight that turns into a sleepless night. Then there are moments of intelligent conversations, honest reflections and a close connection.Even time sways away without ticking. Oh these mindless reveries, a classic romance, they lead us to some very unlikely places, both known and unknown; they overwhelm us with sentiments, both beautiful and sad. What can I say I am an admirer.

Anyway, I remember, when I first read that quote somewhere and got caught in its spiraling understanding. I just burst out with newfound realizations about buildings around me. I observed them wherever I went, letting my eyes guide me. I tried to notice the designs and patterns of buildings in my colony. I tried to figure out its blueprint. It was only a pass time, a mindless reverie then.

Gradually, it developed into affection. Affection, not for just any building structure, but for something rather exquisite and well crafted. Mostly, ravishing and elegantly decorated houses or government buildings in rich neighborhoods; but, with time, I uncovered even finer details and delved deeper into fascinating revelations about certain ideas and where they were inspired from and then everything I had read and experienced about religion, culture, history and geography came into application. It was a grand feeling. Lastly, when I exposed the real genius plan, it was those simple and uncomplicated plans that blew my mind right into the clouds; it is true, simplicity really works. Besides, that is when I truly appreciated the genius and logic of the man behind it. I realized, that sometimes these men were exhibiting their philosophy in these structures but other times they were just making a statement. I become a silent spectator in their affair. All in all, these buildings became a pure delight to my eyes, a comforting corner in times of chaos.

Just like most relationships, it starts of as a healthy flirtation, but no sooner does one get entangled in the webs of passion. Similarly, my amateur recreation transformed into a serious affair. It has taken over my afternoon reveries as a beautiful idea. It arose in me a strong sense of formally pursuing architecture; like it’s has been my true calling. It goes out of hand and I have never stopped to reflect and reason; and maybe that is why, it reoccurs all the time but I have taken real delight in them. Anyway, that’s a far cry to even talk about right now but at least I can absorb as much of it as I can right now.

In that search, I came to Nepal. I might not have discovered as much about architecture as I have in these past fifteen days. It has been quite a fulfilling ride and yet, it remains unfinished.I spent several days exploring palaces and temples in and around, Kathmandu; wandering aimlessly from one part of the city to the other. Honestly, a major part of my wandering was occupied with buildings, apart from the Nepali language I was trying to learn. I used to spend several hours of my day in the library reading and then taking off in the evening to explore a different part of the city. I had learnt all the major routes and roadways of the city and I cannot imagine the distance I might have covered on foot to accomplish that.

On one such run, I happened to visit Bhaktpur, a city of devotees. It was only a mere coincidence, a lucky accident and an impulsive decision that landed me onto a bus to Bhaktpur. I was told that it was an old town of historical significance but nobody told me that it was an architectural extravaganza and as soon as I stepped into the narrow lane that led to the Bhaktpur Durbar, I knew I had something grand in store for me. I was ready to soak in as much as possible. Slowly, I walked the narrow lane between red brick houses on both sides. Some of those houses were new, with polished wooden window frames and doors, while others were falling; long steel bars were diagonally fixed to support such walls. The 2015 earthquake had done some pretty serious damage to this city. There were small kirana shops at every corner; children rushed in out of them with cheerful faces. Men, largely aged, sat in their verandahs smoking and looking on. I reached an open area. There, I walked to center to view all the temples, cafes and shops that surrounded me. They were mostly Hindu temples, built according to traditional Newari architecture. Most of these temples differed in size but their basic layout was the same. They had squared boundary and were built on several plinths, high steps, which raised the structure. The elevated platform not only gave the monument a colossal height, but also provided for enhanced stability in this extremely seismic region. The building itself was raised only two or three floors at the most and as it moved upwards, with every succeeding floor, the floor area narrows down like an inverted cone. Externally, the aesthetics of such temples were their sloped roofs that encircled each floor. They protrude from the ceiling of each floor and were supported by wooden struts on each side. The slopped roofs themselves shrink, just like the floors, as we ascend. The entire edifice was decorated with detailed wooden work on the window frames, the struts and the doors. Usually, these struts were scrupulously carved with images of god; the window frames displayed a variety of patterns while the doors were chiseled with both type of artwork. Some big temples had added aesthetics of stone and terracotta sculptures of mythological animals at their entrances. In its entirety, the city filled me with a deep sense of wonder to see art and religion have such a timeless romance. Again, I was only a silent spectator to this affair and yet I was so deeply affected. I had found new meaning to my art; it was inspiring. Only stepping into that lane took me back centuries. I was unreal to experience such a strong presence of history that still bound the walls of these temples and the lives of its people.

I left the city thinking to myself if we still have the gift to build such spectacular towns or the artistry to work on wood or stone. But the right question would be, do we have enough people to appreciate it?

My walks on the streets of Kathmandu had a deeper sense to it. Usually when you take a taxi, everything flashes in and out of the window with such intensity that a traveller does not get enough time to soak in the city. They miss out on a lot finer details of the city that lie outside the usual tourist spots and are dedicated to the regular city life. Soon, I was included as its member and not an outsider. I became versed with simple and useful Nepali terms, I found out good places to eat and drink and most importantly, I discovered some new styles in buildings that I never thought had an influence in this valley. I spotted a few temples with large domes that were influenced by Mogul style. There were palaces, libraries, ministry buildings and offices that were set to imported ideas from the British. A wave of neo-classical and Edwardian architectural styles abounded the valley. Personally, I explored very little of such styles and consequently, I have very little to say about it; but, there was this one garden, the Garden of Dreams, that I have wanted to visit since the time my brother had mentioned about it as a lover’s point in the city. Unfortunately, I had to go in all by myself but in retrospect, I don’t think I had a less intoxicating affair than any couple around. As soon as I stepped in I was at a loss of words for this garden. I gave it a second glance and came to believe that it was for real; that, in this bustling part of the city a garden so calm and tranquil was ironic and as magnificent as this was unfathomable. I walked around quietly as though I was hit by a profound realization of this possibility. Moreover, it felt as if I walked into a new country; a country of different tastes and styles. It had no likeness to the culture, people and history I had previously been exploring but I simply appreciated every aspect of this natural and architectural flavor that I had found. The architectural style of the garden is formally called Edwardian, I had no idea what it meant, so I called it ‘European’. Founded in 1920 as a private estate, this garden had six pavilions, each dedicated to one of the six seasons of Nepal. Sadly, only three of the six remain but they have been restored as per the original concept and were overwhelmingly beautiful. Moreover, it has a café, a bar, a tea salon, a pond and an open-air theatre apart from other attractions like the garden itself.

But honestly, the high point of this architectural specimen was its amphitheater. It stood out as the only austere layout amidst these grand and complex settings.

The indiscernible boundary of the amphitheater imitated the shape of a rhombus; the seating and stage was spread along its wider sides in a semi-circular outline, like ripples in water. The seating was only slightly sloped with leveled terraces of grass for each row. There was a narrow water drain encircling the semi-circular staircase that led to the stage. It separated the seating from the stage. The water in the drain diffused a lime green pigmentation of natural ponds. It was completely enchanting but hypnotizing if you stared too long. The semi circular staircase had low-rise steps and it narrowed down as it ascended to the stage. The marble that covered these steps looked more or less one piece. One got a feeling that that hot liquid marble was poured on these steps and later let cool. There were no unwanted decoration or any kind of engraved designs or patterns anywhere in this open-air theatre. Utmost attention was paid only to the most important requirements of this structure. The open-air theatre was a perfect example of a minimalistic philosophy. Earlier too, I had mentioned about how some simple and sober designs stand out.

My indulgence in architecture has only begun but places of history such as forts, tombs, palaces and temples, the humble abode of the royalty, are scenes where indulgence has no limit; it is a different level altogether. Your attention is held under the command of these inspiring edifices. They play with your emotions and all you can do is simply observe. Most of the times you are flooded with sheer awe and respect for whatever stands before you and what it had stood for in its glorious days; now and then, you also sympathise with its decline.

Me? I simply flow into the past and relive it.

ART YOU & I

Me: Oh Dear! I want to go to a place new, surround myself with people few

And, maybe set my art to brew.

Her: Ah! Well, I wish I would really know, if art is anything or just a show;

Then, I could go looking for, and sing my mind a peaceful lore.

Me: Yet a blooming sunflower you are, leaping to rays afar;

I can’t help but kiss

but you ask, why?

Let me tell, that

we are art, that

Art is nothing but everything we explore,

It is but a creation before, hidden though.

Oh! It’s truly sublime, a timeless stroke;

A thing of beauty needs a soul kiss, that is why.

Her: My darling, your talk is such fictional tales,

Also, you are my moon so pale.

Tell me

What you really mean;

Show me

Why you are so keen;

And take me

Where you have been.

Me: Forgive if I lead you astray, but it is the only way I can say.

A story of a thousand acts, yet only a story;

An imagination of a thousand colors, yet merely an imagination;

But if one unique experience, then a reality, an enlightening truth.

Her: It is the experience I crave; grab me while I rave,

And only just take me to the place you have saved.

Me: Oh poor fellow! Take this one journey

By yourself.

Seek it and experience it,

Art is thus wisdom, a journey of thousand kingdoms.

Feel it and love it,

Art is thus a child, beautiful and mild.

Diverseness in Buses

The bus came to a halt. It was out of fresh air. I had been sitting in an upright position for as long as I can remember and I needed to stretch my legs and let them breathe. Also, I needed an escape from Nepali songs. They all had a very common tune that I was initially enjoying but it got to my head after a certain point of time. I got down and paced along the Hetauda bus park while keeping a constant look out for my bag on the seat.

I had taken a bus for Birganj from Narayanghat, which was approximately a four hour long journey counting for the half an hour stoppage at Hetauda; both these towns belong to the great nation of Nepal but they scarcely show any likeness. Narayanghat comes under the southern-central part of Nepal. It is set on the slope landing of hills and lies on the left bank of Narayani River. It carves itself a spot in the lush green forests and the low hills of the Chitwan Conservation Area. While Birganj, the town I was headed, is set on the plains and touches the border of Bihar, a state of India. Forests and hills is a far cry for the inhabitants of Birganj. They are simply happy being a transit for goods and people between these two nations.

Anyway, the bus dropped many occupants in Hetauda Bus Park and picked up even more on its way out. Suddenly all the new occupants of the bus looked Indian. I distinctly noticed it because I had spent my last month in the company of Nepali looking and Nepali speaking people and suddenly the bus bursted with Indian looking men and women, who were conversing in Bhojpuri, a dialect popular in Bihar and its neighboring Indian states. All this while, outside by the window, I could observe the hills, slowly and gradually, making way for plains; the forest cover, unhurriedly, clearing out for barren land and the Narayani river, little by little, running its course away from the road and soon losing out from plain sight. As the bus paced along, everybody had noticed that the landscape changed significantly. It was not a grand disclosure to me too, since I had done this road previously in my father’s car; but it wouldn’t have hit me to notice that people and their languages are also gently drifting, from one locality to the other; the type of clothes were the same: jeans, pants and shirts for men while salwar kameez for women but their preference of colours transformed remarkably. Also, the songs in the bus switched to Bollywood tunes to adjust to its new occupants liking.

This immense transformation tuned me to the awareness and appreciation of diversity that we read in books but never really experience in its entirety. A mere bus ride did not expose the subtle changes of this grand conversion but I am glad I took a ride with diversity; these buses are usually full of it and an observant eye always cherishes it.The point is, that this bus journey was a small, and yet a beautiful ride of revelation. I experienced, in progression, the transformation of culture, language and architecture as we traversed together towards the border.

Colours

I like the colour white, just like a cloud
That kites in the immense blue shroud.
But i like the colour blue too, for its modesty
To give the colour black, a chance to woo,
As it veils the sky at noon.
Nothing gives as strong a sense of eternity,
As the black night sky that stretches into infinity.
And yet, i like the colour green most, and
All the shades that it boasts.
The trees, the plants and the grass,
Are the most beautiful creation that had been sown,
and their patience, is yet to be known.
But what is favourite is relative,
Just like your own high regarding perspectives.
That is why, the colour ‘gold’,
Stirs in me, a memory that long lost its hold,
Of a ‘golden’ sun spreading its ‘golden’ rays,
On a golden beach; and enveloping me in the glory
Of the creator’s humility for his own creations.

Society Shackles

I have always wondered if I actually understood words like Liberalism, Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, Conservatism and the listing goes on and on indefinitely. It actually becomes increasingly difficult, especially when this one word is a façade to such diverse ideologies and beliefs. A dictionary is quite incapable to allude us to a full understanding of the matter and hence it is advisable to resort to your own definition after extensive reading on the subject.

One such word is ‘social’ and only recently did i become plainly sensible of its use in religion, politics and economics. The word is excessively used in different context in various fields of study. For instance, Marx uses terms like social conciousness, social ideology and social relations to explain his theory of historical materialism.
Would these terms hold the same meaning if we drop the word ‘social’ from each of them? No, because it instantaneoulsy deviates the subject from an individualist to a collective point of view. What happens is that ‘I’ starts being evaluated in relation to ‘We’ and also, the dictionary meaning is completely aligned with this argument. The dictionary defines ‘social’ as-‘an interaction of organisms to mutually co-exist within a laid down framework of conduct’. Moreover, in order to mutually co-exist, the framework of conduct has to incorporate the attitude and behaviour that take the interests, intentions, or needs of everybody into account. Man is a social animal, and thus it leads to the formation of communities and tribes.
When ‘the collective’ becomes large, no single person can play any role in defining the idea or the principal without the consent of a greater part of members i.e the consent of the majority. The order of the society, that itself borrows from the word ‘social’, is dictated by the majority.

It is a pity when the views and ideas of the majority is upheld as the truth and how everything suddenly becomes ethical and right if it has the approval of the majority; whereas the minority is always forcibly pushed aside to breed on its own. For instance, homosexuality is practised only by a minority and I need not say more about how it transcended from being a blasphemous act to a mental disease and why it still remains unacceptable in many communities. Most of the times, the larger people comprising of the majority are immature and unbending. They just walk behind a certain class of leaders without showing any emotional or intellectual development to appropriate the right side for themselves.

The present task is to explain how the genesis of our societies, that were based on particular ideas and beliefs, borrows the word ‘social’ as a key to the heart of the majority and how it diminishes the freedom of action for individuals over the collective.

I say, that all the intolerable traditions and customs that abides to the ideologies of our society, which were based on the best interest of the majority, have been propogated at a point in history and have withstood hundreds of unforgiving years and are still widely persistent? The majority has ruled us since time immemorial. It has created boundaries to separate us from the queer non-believers; ‘society’ we like to call it. What is a society, if it is not an aggregate of civilised people coming together to the beck and call of the majority?

Though one might feel strongly of the judgement of the majority but wait until your view herds only a minority and then see for yourself- your very ideas turned into sin, no matter how right you felt about them, and every opinion, that you had until a few moments back, turned into an unforgiving crime in your own eyes. That is the power and influence of the majority. Most of the times it is dreadful to see majority at its play. For instance, our clothing that we put on is believed to insulate our bodies from the harsh environment but it is no less a social norm. We would go bonkers seeing a nude person sit next to us in the class or teach us for that matter. Your driver or possibly your boss prefers to wear no clothes to work. How accepting would you be to this kind of bizarre behaviour? I am fully confident that in the eyes our community, that includes you and I, qualifies this outlandish conduct as abnormal and it will be completely unsurprising to outcaste anybody who prefers to wear no clothes.
Further, when we have to live in a society we have to adopt its traditions, customs, morals and rules. So, we become a member of a society only when we are prepared to adopt its ways of living. But the most important aspect of being accepted is sharing the same belief. You will never fit into the puzzle otherwise.

What I am getting at is the fact that we have been a part of this society for as long as we can remember, and it has been a long journey for sure, from an innocent child to an answerable adult. Over these years, whatever we are are from our experiences of our surroundings. These customs in our society have had such an expanse of time to slowly trickel down into our minds that we have lost our tendencies to the society we live in.
Tendencies are not consciously examined, rather they follow no logic because they are involuntary, instinctive and unconcious. We are not perceptible of their existence. Hence we dont even realize that some of our actions were tendencies that had no reasoning to support the act.

Unconcious is what we truly are. It’s the veil to our true selves and the rest is nothing but a farce. Imagine your unconcious will in control of the society, which is futher in the hands of what the majority thinks is right. We are all busy taming our conscious self but we forget that our unconcious mind is bound to everybody around us.

I believe that someone who can question his tendencies is one step closer to enlightenment. Questioning your own tendencies isn’t truly that easy if one may think, even if that question relates to an answer you learnt long before you remember.