All foreigners like rap, right?

One of my favorite holidays in Nepal is definitely Tihar. Holi – yeah – it’s fun but I don’t really enjoy running or being splattered with colors and water I don’t know origin of. Dasain – sure, the kites are nice, but I am not much of a goat meat eater so half of the fun is gone right there.

Tihar (or Diwali, or Deepavali) is something else. First of all, let’s talk about sel. Sel is a thin donut-shaped sweet rice flour dough fried in lots of oil. It is so bad for you, but so good. On the day I knew sel was being made at home, I rushed from work already salivating at the mere thought.  Pretty quickly I lost count of how many I ate that day. When they get cold you are supposed to reheat them as they become pretty tough. I suggest you do that. I broke my tooth this year on one of the cold ones. Yet, that didn’t stop me from continuing to eat them. Good stuff.  Honestly, why don’t people make this more often?

Another reason I love Tihar the most are the lights. There is something so special about the lights all over the house, and small candles lit up. It’s festive, and it reminds me of Christmas. For me, it’s kind of the beginning of the Christmas season, when Tihar comes. Oh the joys of living in an inter-religious marriage!

During several days of Tihar, children go around the neighborhood and sing songs for money. They’re pretty pushy about it too. If you don’t open your gate for them, they throw firecrackers at the house. That incident happened to us last year, but this year we were ready and opened up the gate for all the singing groups that came. I understand zero of the songs they sing, but I was told that they pretty much give blessings to your house, family, and so on and on. So it’s very festive and in some ways religious I suppose. The first group that came to our house consisted of 7-ish boys. They were pretty high-tech. They had a CD player, a speaker, and a microphone, and Mr.B helped them hook everything up. Finally, after an extensive set up, they began their song. They were not very tuned, or actually not good at all, but at least they were trying. I was listening and watching from the top floor window, and later I decided to join Mr.B outside. Once the kids saw me, they were so flustered. They didn’t expect a foreigner. Their Nepali blessings song ended abruptly, and after lots of whispering (“English, English”), they settled on a new song. What seemed to be a leader of the group took the mic, the song was ready to go on the cell phone (CD player stopped working), and two boys were ready to dance. I thought to myself:”This will be good.” And I wasn’t wrong. Well, maybe I was. It wasn’t good in a literal sense, but it did give me and Mr.B laughing material for the evening.

The song started and to my utter shock it was an English rap song going something like: we just wanna smoke weed, we just wanna have fun… The two “dancers” were doing breakdance which included all kinds of stunts, like head spins, and even flips. I was mortified. Mortified because of the lyrics of the song on such a wonderful festive occasion. Mortified because I thought those boys were going to break their limbs or fracture their skulls right in front of our door. The whole performance went on and on and finally I whispered to Mr.B: “I think this is enough.” He stopped them by shoving the money in their hands and had them pack up and leave. I was laughing all along not at the boys, but at their potential thought process: “Oh, a foreigner, she definitely must like rap. Let’s rap and do breakdance for her; she will be impressed for sure.” It was really sweet, yet terribly terrifying at the same time.

Nepal, you never cease to amaze me.

Reflections

What a better time to reflect on one’s life than the New Year’s Day? Hence, here I am reflecting. The past year was exciting, to say the least. What with quitting the job, moving to Nepal and starting my newly married life with Mr.B. It was definitely not easy. It was emotional, and hard, and happy, and exciting, and crazy, and confusing, and scary, and amazing! The past year has brought so many changes to my life and left me breathless at times. I now look back at how my life changed in just several months and I can hardly believe it. But I am happy and satisfied. I live with my husband after so many years of distance. It might not be perfect. It might be difficult at times. It might be confusing and all sorts of crazy. But I get to go to bed with him every night and I’d say that’s pretty much what life is about – being with the one person who makes you complete. So here’s to even more love and happiness in 2014! Cheers my friends!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Goat town

You see what I did there? It’s not ghost town, it’s goat town. Witty, huh? I know, I know, pretty lame, but in all honesty Kathmandu has turned into a goat town for the past couple of days. And it is not surprising given that on coming Saturday Hindu people celebrate the 8th day of Dasain called Maha Asthami. This is the day when the most demonic of Goddess Durga’s manifestations, the blood-thirsty Kali, is appeased through the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of buffaloes, goats, pigeons and ducks in temples throughout the nation. Blood, symbolic for its fertility, is offered to the Goddesses. Really, people don’t only do the sacrifice in temples but also in their yards.

I have been seeing goats all over the place these days. They are bleating everywhere I turn. This morning while driving to work, I realized a huge part of the road has been made into a goat market. It’s kind of cute and really morbid at the same time. People can be seen everywhere picking goats up to test the weight, inspecting them for fat and meat quality, and walking them around on a leash. Also driving them around on motorbikes and in taxis. It kind of looks hilarious, but when I remember the poor destiny of these animals, it’s not funny anymore.

What to say? Outlook is not positive. Sorry goat.

What to say? Outlook is not positive. Sorry goat.

I do like goat meat, or popularly known as mutton around here, but I’m not sure how I feel about meeting the origin of it in person. I’m a city child – I never had to kill an animal myself to eat it. But I do remember times when I would be dragged to chicken and pig slaughters (for a lack of better word) in the countryside when I was a kid. I suppose it’s not much different than goat sacrifice that will happen on Saturday. Yes, it’s cruel and probably unnecessary, but on the other hand it’s tradition and eventually a circle of life. Argh, it’s a tough one – it’s hard to pick a side.

What’s your take on the whole thing? Do share.

Goat or not, happy Bijaya Dashami everyone!