KATHMANDU, July 2: When I first arrived in the Kathmandu after my SLC exams, I didn’t know how staying away from home felt like. Before my arrival I lived with my parents at home.
I didn’t have any idea how to prepare food, wash the dishes or clean the bed sheets. ‘But it won’t matter much’ I thought ‘At least I will enjoy the personal freedom and maybe know myself better’.
My sister and cousin had a small rented apartment in Kathmandu and I was supposed to stay with them. We had two small adjoining bedrooms on one side of the apartment and a kitchen at the end of a narrow passage.
On each sides of the passage lived families with whomwe had to share our bathroom with. My sister had maintained a small garden of discolored flower vases on our balcony facing the ever dusty road of Minbhawan. In no way was it like our home but I didn’t know I was going to spend five years of my life there.
The initial days of staying away from home are worth forgetting. I didn’t like the smelly, dusty city for various reasons. There were filthy bus conductors who derived fun in using the F word on every incident inside the bus and on the road.
These guys would instantly recognize any newcomer in the city and try to overcharge them or simply harass them. As I was away from my family and had no friends, a sense of insecurity in the big city always haunted me.
I hated waking up at 3AM in the morning to fetch drinking water. I also remember how awful the food tasted when it was my turn to cook. I missed mum so much that I wanted to pack my things and run home at once.
I have been staying away from home for seven years now. The new Nepal hasn’t turned into Switzerland or Singapore yet but a lot of things have changed in my life.
The conductors are still the same today too but somehow I am used to their ‘corporate culture’ and I know how to handle things when they try to overcharge me on the bus . In my kitchen I cook edible stuff now.
On her visits to Kathmandu, mum has often praised my cooking. “You’ll make a good family man” she remarked on my love for the kitchen. I still miss her when I cook her favorite aalo ko aachar. Staying away from home has changed me from a stubborn teenager to a young man who loves to explore the goodness of life.
It looks good from outside but staying away from home at a certain phase of your life prepares you for every challenge in life. Finding a cooking gas during fuel shortage becomes a Herculean task for you and you can’t simply ask dad to get it for you.
You have to manage the money for rent, electricity bills, kitchen expenses and other unlimited personal expenses. You’ll spend your money wisely after you realize that the money you paid off for booze was the money to pay your rent.
Things like this happen all the time and each time you get to learn a lesson. These lessons are far beneficial than the case studies you solve in universities or the knowledge you get after memorizing hundreds of books. These are experiences we gain from life itself.
The writer is a recent Bachelor of Business Administration graduate from Tribhuvan University.