The first time I went to Nepal it was May and the days were already long, hot and rainy. During the day Nepalis were hurdled in houses, staying as far away from the sun as possible. Just like the majority of houses in Kathmandu, Mr.B.’s house has a flat roof that’s easily accessible. At night, when the heat would subside and clouds would disperse, we would go up to the roof with cups of masala tea and gaze at stars, talking longingly about our future together. I loved being on the roof, looking down on the neighborhood and wondering about the life people lead in houses around us.
Next time I visited Nepal it was December. The weather was much cooler and days were shorter making people long for every single ray of sun. Nepali houses do not have central heating installed so during winter time it gets pretty chilly inside. It seems like at that time life moves outside – in the streets, in front of the houses, in the sun and warmth. Roofs of Kathmandu then become the happening places. Every morning I would look out the window and would see roofs full of people, seemingly undisturbed by gazes of others, going about their everyday chores. Kids would brush their teeth, women would wash their hair, clothes would be washed and dried, children would be bathed and fed… Older people would slowly climb up metal stairs leading to the roof, draped in many warm layers of clothing soaking every sun ray, warming up their bones before the sun, all too soon, disappears behind Himalayas.
Life led on the roofs of Kathmandu seems to be of a completely different dimension than the one led on the streets. The roof life is laid back, slow, and private yet public. It’s quiet and peaceful, tucked away from the chaos and hustle and bustle of the roads. I like this, often unnoticed, living on the roof. I even find it a little mystic, and it makes me wonder what other surprises Kathmandu is hiding behind its pandemonium.
Hidden life on top of Kathmandu inspired me to give it tribute through the name of my blog. I am excited to become a part of “the roof life” and share my fascination with all the new things I discover about Kathmandu.