Travelogue: Kathmandu 2008 - Part 1 (Reminiscence of My Old Kathmandu)

>> Saturday, July 12, 2008

By Ajay Pradhan | July 12, 2008

I've been meaning to write about my now not-so-recent trip to Kathmandu for a visit with families and friends, ever since I returned to Canada from the trip in March. I had not been to Nepal in ... well, let's just say, in a long, long time.

The main reason of my trip was to visit the family and relatives, most of all my beloved mother. The last time I had seen her was in Baltimore many years ago, when she was returning to Nepal after a year-long visit to the U.S. to be with me and my brother. My brother had just graduated from Johns Hopkins and I, couple of years earlier, from Duke. A year is too long to have passed without seeing my mom. I feel numb just to think about it, but I don't know how I let all these years pass without seeing her once since I bid her farewell at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Living in an adopted homeland has its opportunities, but it's certainly not without huge sacrifices. It's a price that, I'm afraid, many immigrants pay year in and year out. It's a price that I'm not sure anymore is worth the sacrifice at all. Life away from home and family comes with much ambivalence.

The second reason of my trip was to see my friends, many of whom I had simply lost touch with over the years. Some were still in touch with me, but the contacts were much too few and far between. I guess we all got caught up in the rigors of our own lives and life's exigencies and urgent demands. I looked forward to seeing them, relive our past with them, maybe share a drink or two with them, and reclaim the friendship we had, sadly, kept in hibernation for many years. I needed to feel the deep bonds of friendship and feel once again that friendship is as important in life as anything else... like being in love. Okay, maybe not quite, but you get my drift, don't you?

The final reason was to see the city I grew up in ... and walk it's streets again, like I used to in the past. Not just the streets and the buildings, the temples, the rivers, the parks, and the bridges in the city, but people that breathe life into any place. I needed to go sit in restaurants and buy things from stores... just for the heck of it. I needed to rediscover my old Kathmandu, my beloved hometown... the town that taught me how to find my spot, stake a claim as a young man with ambitions, and my own standing in the circle of friends, acquaintances and relatives. After years of being away from my native land, I needed to rediscover myself in it. I needed to see it, breathe its air, and feel its vibrancy with my heart, my guts and my nerves.

[End of Part 1]


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