Tag Archives: nostalgia

Project Happiness 365: Day 234

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I have been humming this song all day long today. Stuck in my head! Picture of a friendly figure playing guitar singing this song in a slightly accented English, forgetting the lyrics here and there, I step in correcting: ‘It’s not creating, it is caressing, caressing!’

Monsoon days, damp moldy smelling room, green color blinding my eyes outside of the window and chill wind blowing my skin.

Here I am, yet another rainy grey day. Green forest out of my window. Sweet smelling room and a loving figure playing chess and humming along with me.

‘Nothing’s gonna change my world’.

Project Happiness 365: Day 161

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My sleep cycle has gone crazy again. Have been going to bed at 7 in the morning and waking up at 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Oh well,  my body doesn’t like it so, I will have to change it back to normal. Soon…
But I was sleepless this morning and I just had a thought of logging into my old forum pages. So, I went to my old soundclick page after many years.  It was a surprise that I remembered the password.  😊 So, there I was scrolling through the memory lane and I found so many gems.  Like the one above.  It’s a music page of my very talented guitarist friend. He had so many instrumental projects going on then. We were very active members of online Nepali rock and metal music forum called ktmrocks.  It was very nice to go through the music.  Brought back memories of good old days.

Project Happiness 365: Day 106

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Turbulent Mind

When I am wide awake,
I’m still drowning in my dreams.
When I am sitting somewhere,
I am distracted by the voices.
When I am looking,
I am day dreaming.
When I am reading,
I am swimming in the words.
When I am writing,
I am contemplating emotions.
When I am eating,
I am trying to feel the deep taste.
When I am walking in the crowd,
I am searching for my identity .
And when I am sleeping,
I am lost in the labyrinth of my nightmares.

My mind…
it never seems to rest.

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[I came across this poem I wrote a long time ago. 3 years ago to be precise. It is a bit paradoxical to post this as my project happiness post. But this post somehow awakened something in me. A consciousness about my turbulent mind, which doesn’t seem to be getting any better, anyways. But I guess that’s what living is, living is a struggle.

I am all alone in my cozy room listening to music and trying to read a bit. I am thinking about my thesis almost all the time now which is good. Oh these phases you go through when you are working on your research is overwhelming. But keeping myself real and my mind healthy is important than anything else I guess. 🙂 ]

Project Happiness 365: Day 72

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I came across a picture on the internet. It is the picture of my old college. I spent a year studying Physics there which I didn’t like at all to be honest. But I really cherish the time I spent with my best friend skipping classes, going for a hike and roaming around the woods around the college.

Day 72: Batase Danda

The picture of my college almost hidden in the beautiful mystical fog brought back memories.

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The difficulty rising up in a cold winter morning after heavy study session past midnight, the night before. My dog Saturn opening the door of my room, pulling my blanket with his teeth, making low whimpers almost as a request for me to get out of the bed. My dad insisting that I should finish the breakfast he prepared, usually a plate of fried rice with egg curry at 4:30 in the morning.  My reluctance to bundle up in ugly winter clothes for the half an hour walk to the college. My brother accompanying me to my friend’s house because it’s still dark outside and not safe for a teenage girl to be walking around alone.

Memories of the early morning walk with my friends and all the chatters we had. The purple hues on the Himalaya range with beautiful grand sunrise in the east, on a cold January morning. The smell of fresh tea and the freshly made doughnuts at the college canteen.

The sound of the radio playing loudly in the distant village on the mountain opposite to the cliff where we were sitting. The wild lashing rain and thunderstorms and the two of us running to find a shelter under an huge peepal tree. The lush green steep Valley lighted by the spring sun. The concert on Valentine’s Day and a group of us sitting with our back towards the stage watching the sunset and the surrounding mountains instead of the bands. Almost background scores to the story of our lives then!

The sadness when my close friends especially my best friend decided to go to India for further studies. (He later admitted that he was madly in love with me that time but never had the courage to express his feelings). The weeks of lonely walks to and fro college hating the class, the  teachers and the very existence.  The final decision to stop trying to delude myself that I enjoy physics and taking a year long sabbatical. Pursuing English literature and archaeology and starting from scratch all over again.

Most importantly, the change that brought to my career, thought pattern and life path.
Everything came back as a flash flood. But everything makes sense now. I feel happy for the lessons I learned.

Sometimes I thank these accidental encounters on the internet.  It makes me realize how lucky and strong I am to be able to go through all those things I went through in my life.

Project Happiness 365: Day 4

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I woke up this morning with the thought of Kathmandu.

The city where I spent almost 8 years of my life. The city where I realized my own strength, my weakness, my power and my limitations. The city that taught me to be independent, fierce, uncompromising and dreamer. The city that taught me that it’s okay to sit in the corner of one of the temples and cry all alone,  on one of those evenings, overwhelmed by despair and frustration. The city where I met the warmhearted angels and also faced the vicious demons. The city where I learnt that reality and illusion are two sides of the same coin. What you see is in fact the matter of your own perspective!

Kathmandu is not my birthplace. But it’s my Karma place (as Nepalis would say), the place where you work, where you fulfill your duties, where you realize your dreams and where you attempt to build a home.

It’s funny when I say homesick, it’s actually my longing for Kathmandu. Despite its ugliness and pollution, both external and internal, that makes me sick to my stomach, I miss that place so much.

I miss walking through the early morning crowd of Ason. I miss Pemba and Sabina running towards me screaming ‘Didi’ and hugging me every time they saw me in Basantapur. I miss the aroma of my favourite tea in that tiny cozy Organic cafe. Sayan knew exactly what I wanted each day I went there: Milk tea with ginger and an organic goat cheese sandwich or a chocolate croissant.  I miss those beautiful latte art Ranjit dai or Bijay made to cheer me up every time I was tired or down while working with them in Magic Beans. I miss pretending we were pro barista, joking around making mock videos of latte art on our phones. I miss going to Osho Bajey’s second hand book store. Moreover, I miss his warm smile and a humble Namaste every time walked past his store in Thamel. I miss roaming aimlessly around Durbar Square all alone or with my dear ones. I miss drinking evening black tea at Pasang Didi’s place with friends, watching artists draw the city square, listening to boys play guitar and sing their hearts out,  and watching life slowly slip away in the noise of hundreds of people walking by.

Day 4: Kathmandu: Clouds catching fire

I was learning photography with my ex. We had a DSLR camera and we roamed around taking pictures. At the same time, I also liked taking pictures with my crappy old mobile. Somehow it still managed to capture beautiful moments. I used to joke with him saying that I can take a better composed picture with my crappy mobile than him with that DSLR. 😀

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Today I stumbled upon this picture early morning on Facebook. This picture is one of such moments captured by my mobile cam. I took it some 3 years ago. You can see the silhouette of the temples and buildings in Basantapur Durbar Square. The pagoda temple seen in this picture is no longer there. The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal recently took that temple away. So, this picture is sort of a memory now. The evening sky of Kathmandu is truly beautiful. Like this one, when the sun is about to set in the horizon  the whole sky is lighted up in its radiant orangeness. I call it ‘clouds catching fire’. And this picture, my friends, is the reason for my happiness on this day because its a reminder of the bittersweet stories of my life in Kathmandu.

Book Review: An Artist of the Floating World

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I wrote this book review couple of months ago for an art magazine back home in Nepal. I wanted to post it on my blog as well.

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

During my university days, I went through a reading phase when I was fascinated by literary works of Japanese writers.  Novels by Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, Koji Sujuki and Shusaku Endo topped my reading list. That’s when I came across a book titled “Pale View of the Hills” by Kazuo Ishiguro.  The book was intriguing and despite the disturbing plot about haunting memory of a Japanese widow, Ishiguro’s poignant yet peaceful narrative provided an edge to it. Instantly, this Japanese-born British novelist became one of my favourite authors.  A couple of months back, I got hold of one of his older novels called “An Artist of the Floating World” in a book fair. Published in 1986, this book was the winner of Whitbread Book of the Year and was also shortlisted for the 1986 Booker’s Prize.

book-coverSet in a post-war Japan, this book travels through the time period of two years between October 1948 and June 1950 when Japan is rebuilding her cities after the devastation of World War II. The protagonist Masuji Ono is an eminent Japanese painter, who spends his retired days tending his garden, repairing his house and drinking with his old acquaintances in quiet dark bars of his former ‘pleasure district’. Written in first person, Ono’s narration follows his life and his relationship with his two daughters Setsuko and Noriko and his grandson Ichiro. Against the backdrop of changing perspectives of post war Japanese people, Ono’s personal and professional history slowly unfolds. His evening drinks at Mrs. Kawakami’s bar, his interactions with his grandson Ichiro and his nostalgia-filled conversations with his former acquaintances especially his student Shintaro reveal his childhood life, his early struggles as an artist, his professional life as an art teacher and a subtle hint of his controversial involvement in propaganda poster art in jingoistic Japan. In first half of the book, Ono’s narration portrays a very innocent picture of an aging artist who seems to be struggling with the miscommunication and generation gap with the younger generation. In war-era Japan, his works are very much admired for encouraging young Japanese men to fight for the dignity of their country. However after 1945 defeat, the post war Japanese young generation show anger towards older generation and people like Ono are discredited for being “a traitor.” The subdued conflict of ideas between Ono and his son-in-law reflects the changing scenario of Japanese social relationship where younger generation resents older generation for their active involvement in war which resulted in huge loss of lives (including Ono’s son).

Throughout the first section of the book, there’s a subtle hint that Ono’s previous controversial involvement is the reason behind the failure of his younger daughter Noriko’s marriage negotiation. So when Noriko enters a new marriage negotiation, she and her elder sister Setsuko keep hinting Ono to avoid repeating the past mistakes.  Although at first Ono denies that his attitude has anything to do with it, his reflection of the past events reveals his inner psyche and personal guilt over the errors of his past. As the plot develops, readers are left in dilemma as Ono’s image continuously becomes more contradictory and confusing. Among his living contemporaries, he is a patriotic artist and respected ‘sensei’ whereas for younger generation, he is “one of the traitors.”   Throughout the book, there is a lingering feeling that despite his constant effort to justify his actions as ‘patriotism’, even Ono himself is struggling to overcome his guilt, accept his past and recognize who he really is.

Like other novels of Ishiguro, memory serves as the central theme of this book. Flashbacks, nostalgic instances and conversations about past provide a strong basis to the plot. The book also depicts the art scene of Japan before and after war.  It also deals with the issues of changing role of women in Japanese society, influence of American culture and Westernization among Japanese youth and the increasing gap between older and younger people in modern Japan.

Ishiguro’s writing style is beautiful and calm. His other books  ‘A Pale View of Hills’, ‘Remains of the Day’ and ‘Nocturnes’ have left a lasting impression on my mind. The plots of his books aren’t very dramatic and the characters are usually modest. The latent theme of his books maybe dark and haunting, but the description is so gentle and understated that even the most disturbing of events, like war and its aftermath, can be perceived by readers in a peaceful way.  So, although I would not describe this book as Ishiguro’s best, I would definitely recommend it for the sake of its brilliant portrayal of an aging Japanese artist’s life and the ever-changing ‘floating world’ he is in.