KATHMANDU, Oct 20: Dashain time is family time, right? But not for the lovebirds!
The so-in-love, unmarried couples of Kathmandu find a way to make time for each other even during this festive season.
For those lucky couples with liberal parents, meeting up with each other is no biggie. Shraman (name changed) is a 19-year-old who has been going out with his school-sweetheart for five years now.
“During Dashain, me and my girlfriend usually take walks around Anam Nagar, Maiti Ghar, Durbar Marg or Lazimpat, snacking on pani-puri, chana chatpate or whatever is locally available,” shares Shraman.
The couple who normally go on dates three to four times a week compensate for the time they can’t spend together by keep calling and texting each other.
But for those whose romance is still not out there in the open, at least where family is concerned, making time to see each other is not so simple. Sneaking out of the window, Rapunzel-style, is too dramatic and walking out on your own in a house full of nosy aunties and drunken uncles without giving them a hint of what you are up to requires strong alibis.
But lovers always find a way.
Girls especially are required to help in the kitchen and have their hands busy with chores during the festivity. Hence, they can’t slip away as easily or as often as they want to for long hours.
But that doesn’t dishearten 24-year-old Aditya Malla who has been in a relationship with his girl for two and half-years. Chances pop up for the couple and they aren’t slow to grab them.
Illustration: Bigyan Prajapati
“She often has to run errands, buy this thing or the other, and hence she gets out of the house. So I meet her during that time and also drop her off,” shares Malla. It is not so difficult for him to get out of his house during family gatherings but his girlfriend mostly has family commitments. “So we meet up whenever she’s free,” says Malla.
Malla also feels that one has to spend time with family and tend to other obligations.
“It makes the relationship interesting, actually, “he says. “We get a chance to miss each other and realize the value of the other person more. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you always have to be together in person.”
Manisha Shakya, 22, has been together with her boyfriend for about 11 years now. They have had many Dashains come and go.
“My boyfriend is not originally from the Valley, so he goes to his ancestral home every two years during the festival,” shares Shakya. In the early years of their love, technology wasn’t so accessible. “We didn’t have mobile phones or internet facilities back then and we were afraid to call each other on the landlines. So we took the Dashain time as a break from one another,” she says. “But sometimes, he would get his cousin sisters to call at my home and then we would talk briefly,” adds Shakya.
In recent years, however, things have been different for the couple.
“Nowadays, even when he’s away, we keep in touch through calls, texts, and of course, the Internet. We Skype almost every night,” says Shakya.
Their relationship has been accepted by both her and her boyfriend’s parents, so things are much easier, but earlier it wasn’t so.
“During the years that he spent Dashain in Kathmandu, we would meet once in a while around Baneshwor to have pani puri and momo on the streets,” recalls Shakya. Now that her relationship has been official even with family, she and her boyfriend visit each other’s family to receive tika as well.
To those who aren’t in a relationship or who haven’t been in one for quite sometime, the idea of having to meet the “special someone” even during this one mighty festival, which is largely a family affair, might sound ridiculous. But for those in love, the clear October skies, the empty Kathmandu roads and the happy air around has romance written all over it.
Sigh! But we, too, shall get there. Until then, have a happy Dashain with your family!