Last month I was a guest at my friend’s place in Kathmandu. Late in the evening, we had candlelit dinner of simple and delicious steamed rice, dal, sautéed potatoes, cabbage curry and fried chicken. The hot meal in the biting cold of the dining room was very comforting.
We had barely started eating when dogs on the street began barking. Everybody stopped still looking at each other nervously. No one knows when the next earthquake will hit: it could be in years, next month, next week or right this moment while we were having dinner. Eventually the dogs stopped barking and we resumed our dinner enormously relieved.
The evening went well and I got a lift back to my hotel in Thamel. This hotel like so many other corners of Nepal, is a reflection of the resilience of Nepalese people. It sustained damage to an entire wing during the quake. The owner swiftly knocked it down and replaced it with a pretty garden almost overnight. The ever-smiling Nepalese people will not give you the faintest idea of the hardships they went through.
At Bhaktapur, an ancient Newari town about 12 kms from the city of Kathmandu and one of the three kingdoms of Kathmandu valley, I stopped by a souvenir shop drawn by a rudraksha bracelet. The steep price quoted by the shop keeper instantly put me off the idea of buying it. However we got to talking and a conversation ensued on the hardships post the quake.
She claimed Lord Pashupatinath (Lord Shiva), will help them tide over every crisis. I mentioned I had happened to pay my respects in the Holy Temple the same morning as it was my birthday.
“Oh really?” she exclaimed. She went back to the basket of rudraksha bracelets, picked one and handed it to me.
“This is a birthday gift for you.”
The above post has been adapted from an original story on TheHindu.com. Click below for the full article: