As I came home and took the stairs to get to my room, I immediately noticed something on our corridor wall. There was a framed photograph of my sister clad in beautiful attire on the wall in front of her room. My mother had got her wedding photograph framed where she looked lovely indeed.
But something struck me. Instead of having my sister around everyday, I would now have to get used to seeing her framed photograph.
It kind of felt weird because I am always used to having my sister around. Having grown up together, we have always been more like friends. Now and then I joke with her, saying that I now have the liberty to use her room as well, which is of course bigger than mine. But I know that I miss her having around. Being the loudest in the family, she always used to amuse us with her talks which we could never get enough of.
But there were times when we could not stand each other, too. Fighting was routine for us. If we did not fight for a few consecutive days, our dad would be worried that something was wrong, literally.
But we kind of took each other for granted, which most siblings do. We also really depended on each other, too. Be it for work-related advice, advice on life, studies, clothes, or just any random suggestions, we just totally trusted each other’s opinion. She even complained that I made her nuts by asking the silliest of advice from her. But that is the advantage of having a big sister. Though you know the answer, you just tend to depend so much on an older one’s advice.
My relatives and friends pull my leg saying that I must be enjoying all the attention from my parents now since I am the only daughter in the house. But I could care less. Though it is unusual not to have a sibling around, the fun part is that since somehow my parents think that my sister has become more responsible now, I can hang out with her till late and we have been catching up more than ever before. We are constantly on the chat, or the phone, or just making up random plans.
Though the sad part is that I won’t get to see her at home everyday, it is quite a relief that she lives just five minutes’ drive away from our home. She makes a point to stop by every now and then and that pretty much fills up the void of not having her around at home.
In the two and a half years of working as a journalist, I’ve made my way in and around different corners of the Valley (and sometimes beyond). For almost every story, the job requires me to get out of my office cubicle and out in the field where the real action happens.
Thanks to this nature of work, I’m now familiar with parts of the city that I wouldn’t normally have traveled to. But getting there has been a challenge.
I was once a girl who couldn’t figure out her way around Thamel. I still remember that it had been just a month or so after I had joined Republica and I had to be at Purano Baneshwor for three consecutive days to meet three different people in three different parts of the area and I got lost all three times.
Well, not exactly lost. I eventually found the place I had to be at after asking for directions to almost a dozen people and another half a dozen to get back. Somehow, I always made it.
But yesterday I thought I would just give up.
I had to go and meet a person in Kapan Pancha Kumari. I had heard of the Kapan Gumba and knew it was very far. So when the girl on the phone told me their office wasn’t that far and somewhere near Suke Dhara, I breathed a sigh of relief.
And so I headed out. From Sun Dhara to Chakra Path in a tempo, then a bus ride from Chakra Path to Suke Dhara and now all I had to do was find a “Modern Photo Studio” or “Kapan Panchakumari Mandir” – two landmarks close to their office.
As of habit and because it’s the easiest way, I started asking people about how to get to the temple from Suke Dhara. “Go straight and then you’ll have to walk a little after taking a right,” a woman told me.
I did as I was told. But after walking for five minutes, I realized I was getting nowhere. I asked another person and she looked at me weirdly and said, “You could reach the place if you go this way, yes.”
Confused, I asked, “How long of a walk is it?”
She looked me up and down and said, “20 minutes.”
I kept walking but there were just too many turns and too many junctions. Which road was I supposed to take? After taking some wrong turns and retracing my steps, I was starting to feel really embarrassed to be asking so many people for directions and I had already called up the office for directions too many times.
I had decided I would ask one last person or for the first time I would have to give up. Then, luck shined on me. A teenage-looking guy told me in his assuring voice, “You’re going the right way” and walked ahead. I silently followed the stranger for a while and then we got talking. Fortunately, he was going the same way. As he led me, I realized that if I were walking this road alone, there was no way I could’ve found the place. There were just too many twists and turns to make and roads to choose from.
Finally, he got me to my destination. One Pradeep Khadka saved me from giving up yesterday and from getting almost lost again.
Thank you so much for the help!
Make the best of what you’ve got
I’m not looking at the larger picture when I say that there’s just not enough time to do all the things you want. I’m definitely not contemplating about life and its complexities and pondering about where I’m headed and what I’m hoping to accomplish. What I’m trying to say is that there are just not enough hours in a day. At the moment, I couldn’t care less about my goals and whether or not I’ll be able to fulfill them, or if life will just pass me by as I live one day at a time.
Recently, a very close friend of mine commented that I’ve become so busy that I hardly listen to what he’s saying anymore. He went on to crib about how I’m not taking relationships seriously and how I’ve started putting work before all – friendship, family, and even my dwindling health.
I argued and fought saying his allegations weren’t true. I even went on and accused him of illogical things just to get the blame off my shoulders. But when I reached home and had sufficiently cooled down after a long, long shower, I got around to thinking that what he had said wasn’t entirely baseless.
I came to the stark realization that given my two jobs, I hardly have time for anything else. Home was somewhere I would go back at the end of a hectic day just to sleep. I would wake up and rush from one place to another until eventually calling it a day, sometimes as late as midnight, before beginning another day that mirrored the one I had barely survived.
Being wrapped up in work leaves me with no time for things that actually matter – like family, friends, and just some “me” time. I also end up hurting those who mean the most to me because I’m so irritated and drained out that it leaves me with zero patience for questions, small talk and chitchat.
Nevertheless, I bottled my thoughts and emotions and sat down to work. When I was about to enter my password to open my computer, I couldn’t remember what it was. I stared at the computer screen for two hours. And I’m not exaggerating. I sat there typing word after word until I eventually gave up and went to bed.
The message was loud and clear. I was overworked and it was messing with my system. I decided I had to do something about it before it was too late. I’m now determined to take time to relax and be involved in things that make me happy rather than always rushing to meet deadlines and worrying about workload even when I’m surrounded by family and friends.
I’m sure most of you reading this can relate to what I’m saying, as my reality is not mine alone. It’s the fact of life for many like me. But what I’ve come to understand from whatever that’s happened to me in the past few days is that you’ve got to learn to prioritize and make time for things that are far more important. Excuses, especially blaming your job, for your inability to sort out your life just won’t do.
Work, weather, and women vs. the System
“Do you see that woman, the one with three kids by her side? She had those three kids from three different husbands and she’s divorced all of them. Now, all three husbands pay for each child’s support separately. And the support money is enough for her to have a considerable New York lifestyle along with raising her kids, that too without working anywhere.”
My mom was getting all the gossips about this strange woman from her friend who has been living in the States for a few years now. Last month, when my parents went there to meet my brother, they were over-flooded by all these different descriptions about people, places and perceptions of the global power city – the New York City.
And the quick phrase they learnt after almost everyone repeating was, “Never trust work, weather and women in New York.”
The earlier gossip was an instance given to support the same statement. About work, there were plenty of people with firsthand experience who would entail the details about the unpredictability of the employment bureaus. And for weather, they didn’t even have to know from other people, they experienced the moody temperature of the Big Apple themselves.
So when they were back, at least my mom was pretty convinced with the popular phrase that warns the denizens of the big city about their means of livelihood, nature and their fellow beings.
I have to admit that I was pretty surprised by that mantra. Many people migrate to the States basically to stabilize their lives. And where the three basic things give up upon you so easily, how can one be so sure about their present and future? Even if you compare with our homeland, many people have pretty stable work, more or less predictable weather and reasonably loyal partner. Yet, Nepal isn’t good enough, not even in pursuit.
To be comparing New York and Nepal would be foolish, you would tell me. But really, I would want to know what are we backward at or in? People, politics and politicians may be a quick answer. But a conversation with my dad made me point out to a certain variable: system.
He said that people follow a certain set of rules and regulations there, certain restraints and discipline. One thing that’s predictable there is system. People can grow and develop themselves, their careers and fortunes while following by the rules, unlike Nepal where people break every possible rule as a token of their success.
I always refused to believe that America is the only land where success stories are nurtured. There are plenty in Nepal, too, the rags-to-riches accounts. But the unpredictability of the system, be it politics, bureaucracy, business or anything else, takes a heavy toll on the patience and motivation of native citizens, especially the young ones.
And therefore, with all the untrustworthy variants, America is still the place where your life can predictably be secure!