The devghat spot in Nepal, where Kali Gandaki and Seti Gandaki river meet

Nepal, mero Maya – a love declaration

समुद्र [samudra] – ocean
नदी [nadii] – river
सेतो [seto] – white
शान्ती [shaantii] – peace

This is a very heartfelt blog post from 3 years ago. I wrote this, when I finally made peace with the fact that there are definitely things that I do not like at all about Nepal, but that at the same time, Nepal will always be dear to my heart.


 

Nepal I have been your lover for eleven years now. We had good and bad times. But somehow talking about you, brings this melancholy to my heart.

Mountains in SoluKhumbu in the Gokyo Valley
Mountains in SoluKhumbu in the Gokyo Valley

My love for you is passionate. I speak of you with fire in my heart. I have experienced some of my happiest moments when I was with you. And I know you love me dearly, tenderly, fiercely, passionately, playfully. Your love just reflects back to me my love for you.

But there have been times of great pain and suffering as well while I was with you. Memories that I am now ready to dust off and let go. I am ready – Nepal – I am ready to love you as you truely are – in all your beauty, imprinted in my soul. Forever growing.

Rampur Bajaar, Shanticowk Nepal
2 1/2 generations in Nepal

Do you remember when I heard your calling for the first time? I was 18 years old. Fresh out of school. Just happy to have escaped the suffocating climate of my family. Tasting the first glimpses of Freedom – with Beer and the German समुद्र [samudra] around me. And in my lap fell this book, that told the love story between a young Sherpa nun and a Sherpa monk. I didn’t know anything about Nepal. But this book had set the path and only eight months later my plane landed in your airport.

It surely was not love at first sight for me. I was so scared of you. And you came unto me, with full force. I wanted to hide from you. Run from you, back to my mother. I was ill. On the very first day, I fell from the back of a motorbike on the most crowded road of your big Capital: The Durbar Marg. But nothing happened, except some bruises. But for the first week, I walked around in shock.

Nepali Bangles
Bangles on sale

When did I start to fall in love? After a month, when suddenly I found myself in your arms and realized my newfound freedom. Your embrace made me free. You had just been testing me before – so that when finally those friends that I had been travelling with in the first month, left me all alone with you, I looked around me and I really liked what I saw.

Oh yes, maybe I fell in love when you taught me to sing my first song in Nepali: Kushume Rumal. Oh now all the memories come rolling back from those early days. Those tender innocent days. Young love!

Do you remember how you let me wait for 7 hours, while I constantly got told, that the bus is late? It took me years and several visits to the same bus ticket counter in Kalanki to realize, that the bus had not been late, but that you had just for whatever personal reasons delayed our departure.

Oh so many memories. I could fill books with you … Just from our first time together. Christmas at the नदी [nadii]. Drinking rice liquor in the middle of the Jungle. Jogging through the village. My rice paranoia. Rishie’s सेतो [seto] clothes. The beer bottles. Teehar. The Rhinos. Lumbini. Me and the kindergarten class. The tiger. …

And I was so heartbroken when fate seperated us earlier than I had planned. The pain was so intense, when I sat in that Taxi that took me to the airport. Back in Germany I was a Zombie – not knowing how to ever walk and interact in this now alien homecountry of mine.

Oh Nepal, tears are dwelling up in my eyes. I kiss you, gently on the green cheeks of your hills and softly touch the white forehead of your mountains and tenderly caress the fertile loins of your plains. Source spoke through you to me in many ways, teaching me about freedom and happiness, teaching me about myself.

Do you remember how proud and happy I was when I introduced you to my younger sister? I was so nervous, but the two of you got along really well right from the start. And how fiercely I protected her from your not always gentle advances?

Singing Dohori songs at Devghat Nepal
Singing Dohori songs at Devghat Nepal

Nepal, mero Maya! At times I have been also your jealous lover. Wanted to keep you seperate from some people, who I believed would not be capable to perceive your beauty, would spoil your beauty for me. I cried several evenings when I heard that a particular loathed person was planning to romance you.

And I have also been a dependent, confused lover, thinking that the bliss I felt with you – I would not find without you. That I needed you. But I don’t need you and I also don’t have to be jealous, since I have access to the beauty I find in you at any given moment. I only have to remember you as my soul knows you. That is all it takes.

And later on in our relationship when I grew very tired of you, I judged you very harshly. I called you manipulative, dependent, cheap and greedy. And I felt entitled to do so. I thought, I knew you better than anybody else. I had seen you from within and from outside. I was ready to cut the tie forever – not to return in your arms again.

But Nepal, no matter where I am on this earth, in this life. In your arms or elsewhere. My love, my appreciation for you is eternal. I am crying now, not out of sadness, but from love.

Sunset in the National Park in Chitwan
Sunset in the National Park in Chitwan

My dear One, what is it that I love about you? That is the only single question that is really of importance for me by now. Past is past. Now is Now. And there is no tomorrow. So let us dance.

I love the green-ness of your rice fields. The curvy shifting forms. It’s poetry.
I love the sound of your language. The sweetness of it.
I love your love for dance. Your willingness to dance at any occasion that you can make up. And you are very inventive.
I love your knowing that the name of the God doesn’t matter, but that the belief in God does.
I love how you burn your dead Ones. And set their souls free.
I love how you turn around in circles around Bouddhanath as if you are on an eternal journey – never arriving, but always walking.
I love how you playfully tease me when I walk on your streets. Always ready to fall in love with me.
I love how you always support and protect me, when I go off on one of my risky adventures.
I love how you taught me to accept the inevitability of death and make my शान्ती [shaantii] with it, be happy about it.
I love the joy I feel riding on top of your busses and tuk-tuks. The wind in my face. Laughter. Singing songs.
I love how you get so excited and playful when I tease you and flirt with you.
I love the speed and strength of your rivers.
I love your stamina when walking – almost running – up and down your steep hills.
I love your self-love, your desire for freedom and respect.
I love your voice of the mountain crows. When you are so calm and speak with this clear, powerful voice.
I love the beautiful, loving eyes you turned to me in the mountains of Manang. I was struck there in the middle of the mountain path by the intensity of my love for you.
I love that I will never know you. And that every time I turn my attention towards you, you expand with my knowledge of you.
I love that I can be with you in my soul, no matter if I am far or close.

Mero maya.

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