Saturday, January 28, 2012

Letter to Kathmandu

Dear Pratish. I tried to find the Nepali writer again; our Nepali writer, remember?
But going over my copy of “New Nepal, New Voices: An Anthology of Short Stories,” I felt lost, somewhat overwhelmed by all the strange sounds of the Nepali names; I could no longer recognize our writer among them.
But how could I forget? We have a much stronger claim over her than her father, or husband, or maybe even her lover! We were her sisters in life and struggle; her victories were our victories (or so, we’d like to think!) even if she never knew us, she never knew me, she never will. We were her readers; and that’s the most important thing of all, isn’t it?
The first time you showed her to me, and I read the first lines of her rapturous writing, I had gasped with delight. I tucked her name to memory; in a special place nobody could enter. I promised to read her again until she will become part of my body. We both promised to return to her over and over again, when reality is hard to bear; or when we were half dead struggling against the yoke of our daily coverages: the fightings, the wars, the politics. She would be our refuge, a sanctuary, a place so deep, so safe, no one could probably touch or harm us there; a place where our exhaustions vanish; a place where we start to forgive ourselves and we can be friends with the world again. But two summers afterwards, I have forgotten her name. Wasn’t she the daughter of a royalty who had once outraged her father by joining the street protests against the monarchy? Was she a recluse, who once retreated to the forest to write her first novel? Or were we just making up stories, turning up fictions to escape the tyranny of facts in our lives? I know that our link to our writer is made of a more lasting stuff. Even if I can’t remember her name, I still can still find her in her writings.

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