Living in Kathmandu is like living in a bubble. Immune to our surroundings, we hardly pay attention to the minute little details. That have such big impact on our world. You pass by a street child; it is nothing new. It’s just another common sight in Kathmandu. The garbage piled up high. All you do is cover your nose, may be cringe a little and move on. It seems no one has the time to stop, observe and take in.
May be that’s why living abroad lets you see things back home in an entirely fresh perspective. You don’t realize until then what they really meant, when they put you in the bracket of a third world country citizen. It dawns on you the true gap between the rich and poor. Something that was limited to words, and something you thought you knew very well stands evidently distinct from you. That’s when the questions arise. And they keep coming. You question the authority, the people, yourself, the whole system. It turns into this endless vicious cycle. You think you know the answer still it feels so out of reach and hard to fathom. You don’t know where to begin or even end. Then on, whatever follows – stays in the back of your head until you decide to peel it off one layer at a time.
One such issue that is symbolically connected to my arrival and departure from Kathmandu is the heart-wrenching picture of migrant workers lined up at the airport. If you are one of those people who have returned multiple times in Nepal after visiting the opulent abroad. You might have noticed the grimmest of the grim realities lie right at the gateway; at the departure unit of the Tribhuvan International airport.
You are surrounded by the future laborers donning the distinguished hat with their consultant group’s emblem affixed on the front-center. I am not sure if I can articulate it enough to describe how I feel. But a part of me feels heavy. This sight raises many questions. I wonder what’s happening to the country. I wonder if anything at all is happening in this place. But surprisingly, many of their faces exude a rather happy story. I guess the prospect of making money overshadows the hard days waiting ahead. I don’t know if they are aware of the dangers; the social, the political, and the emotional risks of working aboard. Albeit the bitter fact they move on in hopes of a better future. Witnessing this naivety printed all over their faces makes me hate myself even more. Even though I may have all the solutions enlisted in a form of bullet points [I could even give you a fancy PowerPoint presentation]. I very well know, it is not as easy as how I’ve laid it out. Then, I quickly try to divert my attention. Look at the clock ticking and wait for the call.
Then it’s time to board the plane. I take the stairs – look back one last time, my Kathmandu- the place I was born. I wish the moment stayed still forever. I make my way in. Thereafter, everything that follows hits me like a tsunami all over again. I feel like a loser running away from the problems of this nation. This exact feeling replays every time I take off from Kathmandu. It’s not one of those pretty sites, like your family members waving you goodbye. It’s actually a reminder this place needs you. This is where you belong and you need to be back. I try my best to listen to these voices. And I try to follow them. But I know no matter how pretty a picture I draw in my mind to the extent of overtly romanticizing this place. I know the monotony of everyday- Kathmandu life unfailingly continues, with or without me and slowly nothing seems to matter.