Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The year was 2007.

 There was fierce rain that day , barging into our bus through its flaky painted green windows. ''Shower facility'', a Nepali boy of about twelve told the foreigner next to him.
I was making a bumpy ride from Kathmandu to Nagarkot so that I will be in a scenic quiet place where I can turn twenty one in peace.
When you are traveling there are a few strangers who live in contexts so different form your own but there are very few you remember years later because they said so much about the place you were in , sometimes even about what tourism has done to that place.
The green was wet , gaudy and offset brightly by the red buildings with newari style brown wooden roofs. Childrens' peeping faces were framed by ornately decorated windows. The local bus was packed and precariously chugging along the hairpin bends that will lead us to the hilly heaven of Nagarkot.

The boys talked to CQ , my travel partner and another white guy , Jim. The boys asked the foreigners when they could escape to America. Jim told them kindly that they could attend college in America. One of the boys counted with his fingers , years left for him to be eligible for college and sighed loudly that there were nine years left for him to leave Nepal .

They had adopted the humour that is typical of white tourists in India/Nepal - laughing at the electricity problems, the bad roads
and the state of the country in general. They sounded proud that they could laugh at themselves.I don't remember the details about the boys but just that they sounded so grown up.

But to me , they reminded me of Indians and how Indians too self depreciate in front of white people . I wasn't sure whether that is a bad thing in itself but these boys were so young and so sharply cynical in a somehow innocent way.

Do you know what I mean?

They asked me if I am unmarried - instead of asking if I am married.I replied that I am  .

We reached when the rain had greyed the little town with the exception of a few green stains from the hills. We went to a shack and drank hot chai and then found an old bungalow turned into a hotel to spend the night in, to turn 21 in .


1 comment:

chrisq said...

Eh, I don't believe in mountain air.