Suffused with Love

>> Tuesday, July 29, 2008

By Ajay Pradhan | July 29, 2008

As mist lifts
figures of speech glow,
drawing attention
to a mind in turmoil,
and making it obvious
the meaning behind.
Observer asks,
halcyon a charade?
King a drama?
A part of him
already dead;
he has no strength
to stage a drama
or a charade;
halcyon, king
any name you give him,
he waits, with hope
for the return of
his crested soulmate,
in whose eyes
he finds his world;
and whose absence
has made him pensive,
has made him feel
a deep sense of loss,
and deeper sense of sorrow.
But, he's there
with hope intact,
his heart suffused
with nothing but love.


गन्तब्यको खोजी मा

>> Friday, July 25, 2008

अजय प्रधान | जुलाई २५, २००८

आज मेरो मन उदास उदास छ।
जीवनलाई बुझ्ने र
जीवनका सुमधुर सपनाहरु लाई
समेट्ने चेस्टा गर्दा गर्दै
जीवनका पीडा सँग जुध्न
वाध्य ब्यक्ति भएको छु।
लाग्छ म आज पनि
यो जीवन को
चौबाटोमा उभिएको छु।
म आफुले आँफैलाई
प्रश्न गरिरहेको छु आज,
मेरो जीवनको गन्तब्य कहाँ हो?
लाग्छ म अझै पनि
अतित, बर्तमान र भबिश्य लाई
बुझ्ने चेस्टा गर्दै छु।
लाग्छ म आज
कता कता हराएको छु
अनी आफुले आँफैलाई
खोज्ने चेस्टा गरि रहेको छु।
म आँफैले आँफैलाई
प्रश्न गरिरहेको छु
के मैले आँफैलाई
भेट्टाउन सक्छु?
समय को कठोर्
कालचक्र लाई
बिपरित दीशामा
धकेल्न नसक्ने बिबसतामा
म बाँधिएको छु।
समयको जटील अन्तरालले गर्दा
लाग्छ आज मैले आफ्नो
सुमधुर सपनालाई हराएको छु।
म अझै आफ्नो जीवनको
गन्तब्यको खोजीमा छु।

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the above text, "poem" is written in Nepali. You can hardly call it a poem and this is pure fiction. It does not really reflect my sentiments or feelings. I just wrote it when I was trying out Unicode Nepali Converter, which is a nifty little software that allows you to type in Roman (i.e., English) and get instant, almost real-time, conversion of the text into Devnagari (i.e., Nepali). It took me about 15 minutes to write this, which probably explains the sophomoric, even juvenilistic, character of the "poem". Don't pay attention to the "poem", but I want you, the readers, to think about the technology, without which it would have taken hours for me to write what I wrote. My keyboard doesnt come in Nepali. I understand the Unicode Nepali Converter program was developed by Deepak Khanal, a software engineer. My congratulations and a big thank you to him. I love this software.

Link to Unicode Nepali Converter:

Link to Unicode Nepali Converter and Tools:


Kingfisher's Love

>> Thursday, July 24, 2008

By Ajay Pradhan | July 24, 2008

He was a Common Kingfisher
she, a lovely Crested Bulbul;
when he first met her
he heard a calling
that came from his heart
and so he followed it
and did what it told him to do -
he began to love her.

Four seasons ago,
his love had pulled her to him
she'd flown to his little nest
from ten thousand miles away
from a faraway place
where apples grew big
and trees were taller
than anywhere else on earth.

Kingfisher's love for Bulbul
grew deeper each new day;
his love for her was unbounded
when it was his turn to fly to her in Spring,
he flew in sea storm, against all odds
yet he crossed seven seas
to be with his beloved Bulbul
because he loved her deeply, dearly.

Now four seasons later
the day had returned,
that he'd hoped would be
their first anniversary, that he'd
hoped would be a milestone
that'd see them fly into their future,
side by side and together
high up in the blue sky.

Sadly for Common Kingfisher
the anniversary was not to be
the milestone that never was
arrived, but without Bulbul's love
he'd followed his heart, but she followed
her dreams to the land of big apples
where Common Kingfisher had no place
where an Uncommon Heron held her dreams.

Perched alone on a tree branch,
part of him dead, pensive Kingfisher
looked around at the vast emptiness
and tears rolled from his eyes
lonely and feeling unloved, yet grateful
to Bulbul for lifetime's fondest memories
Kingfisher still followed the same calling
heartbroken, yet he kept on loving "his" Bulbul.


The inspiration to write this poem came to me very strangely... from two birds, actually. I think one was a Common Kingfisher (top photo) and the other was a Crested Bulbul (bottom photo). For the last one year or so, almost every day, the two birds came to my house ... always in the evening time. They'd always stay perched on the deck railings or window ledge or the roof, always together... playing. They'd stay there for about half an hour or so and then fly away, only to return the next day. But, recently... for the last one month or so, I have only seen the Kingfisher, not the Bulbul. I don't know where the Bulbul has gone. But, Kingfisher still comes every evening and just sits there, sometimes on the railings, sometimes on the ledge and sometimes on the roof… just sitting, not playing. I think the Kingfisher comes there in the hope that the Bulbul would return one day. The sight of the pensive and lonely Kingfisher is so sad that it prompted me to sit down and write this poem at this late hour of the night... or very early in the morning. This poem is dedicated to the Bulbul who has gone missing. (Photo courtesy: Unknown)


Travelogue: Kathmandu 2008 - Part 2 (Reminiscence of My Old Kathmandu)

>> Sunday, July 13, 2008

By Ajay Pradhan | July 13, 2008

My journey to Nepal started with much excitement, yet with one uncertainty. I purchased air ticket for Cathay Pacific through a travel agency in Surrey. The agent could not secure me a seat on the return flight on the date I needed. I needed to return to Canada on March 6; the best the agent could do was to get me a seat for March 11. The agent said, "Don't worry, Sir, you'll easily get the seat in Kathmandu." Boy, was he wrong or, worse, disingenuous. I had much problem getting a seat to return on the desired date. But I'll tell you about that later. I had to return to Vancouver on the 6th at any cost; I had a duty to fulfil, a promise to keep, an important reason to come back to. It was a promise I could not, would not fail to keep. There are certain things a man driven by promise has got to do. Despite having not seen my beloved mother for ages, for me the promise to return to Vancouver was an important one to keep.

The Cathay Pacific flight took me from Vancouver to Hong Kong on February 17. The flight from Vancouver International Airport departed on time around 10 PM. The economy class was crammed with passengers. The seats had little leg room. When I was awake, the seat didn't feel bad; but when I was sleepy and wanted to stretch my legs, I felt tortured. On more than one occasion during the long flight, I dreaded at the prospect of having to endure the crammed seat for the rest of the flight and doubted that I'd reach Kathmandu in good enough shape.

The economy class of Cathay Pacific was a microcosm of ethnic diversity. There were Punjabi-speaking people, there were Caucasians, there were people who, to me, looked like Chinese. In the beginning of the flight, I tried to entertain myself by flipping channels on the tiny video screen in front of me. For a first few minutes, I fiddled with the remote control, not being able to do what I wanted to do. I felt foolish but pretty soon I managed to learn how to use the remote control and flip the channel back and forth. There were channels showing movies and other programs, but nothing really caught my interest. At some point, the stewardesses brought dinner. I ordered a drink of Chivas Regal. After dinner, I ordered a Hennessey and sipped the cognac as I flipped the channels some more and when I found nothing really interesting enough, I decided to catch some sleep.

In the middle of the night (well, at least according to my watch that still showed the Pacific Standard Time), I woke up to see some Chinese-looking passengers around me gobbling steaming Ramen noodle from Styrofoam mugs. Now, I had never been too keen on Ramen noodles before; for me it was too bland. But, when I saw these passengers hungrily enjoying the noodle, I decided that I'd give it a try myself and ended up ordering one. For the first time, I didn't hate the venerable Ramen, which, I hear, is as much a staple for many students in North America on limited money as rice is for people in much of Asia. I finished the whole little mug and I didn't make a face.

Two Punjabi-speaking gentlemen two rows in front of me caught my attention. It looked like they were ordering every kind of alcoholic beverage that the plane had on board--Scotch whisky, brandy, vodka, beer. When the stewardess was not around, the gentlemen would walk to the stewardess station and come back with more alcoholic beverage. I began to wonder if they'd not pass out on the plane.

After 13 hours or so of being airborne, the airplane landed at the Hong Kong International Airport early in the morning (local time, of course) of February 18. I felt like a VIP when for an interesting reason I was surprised to be greeted by a cute-looking young airline staff, holding a cardboard with my name on it. I smiled at her. She asked with a disarming smile, "Mr. Pradhan?" I confirmed, "Yes." I did not know why she was there waiting for me, but I didn't want to look silly by asking. Then she told me herself that she was there because I had ordered non-beef Hindu meal. Well, I hadn't ordered a Hindu meal (I'm not that religious); I had only ordered meal with no beef. Anyway, apparently based on my meal preference, the airline had assumed that I needed assistance at the airport. Did the airline think that because I ordered non-beef Hindu meal, I was illiterate? But, I was not in a mood to pick my brain thinking about it; I was grateful the young lady was there to help me. God bless her; I did not have to stand in long lines to clear the immigration.

The young lady zipped me through all the counters and led me up an escalator, then down another escalator, and further down a third escalator to a just-arriving shuttle bus that took us from the arrival terminal to the departure terminal, all in the same massive airport building. Once in the departure lounge, she took me to an airline counter, told me this is where I should ask any question that I may have, and that the departure gate number would be announced only around 1 pm or so, and until then I had time to do whatever I pleased, and left me there to fend for myself. It was early in the morning, probably around 6 or 7 AM Hong Kong time. I had the whole day ahead of me and could have gone to the city for a quick visit, but, because I was tired from a long cross-Pacific plane flight, I decided to just stay in transit at the airport.

Because I had time to kill, I did everything that a passenger in transit could do at an airport--sat down doing nothing, rested, caught a nap, went online on the laptop, checked emails, found no new emails, read online news, found no interesting news, walked the length of the terminal, got tired, rested more, checked out duty-free stores, bought two bottles of Johnny Walker Red Label for my brothers, window-shopped almost all the haute couture franchises, took hundreds of photos (ah, the wonders of digital camera), waited, and waited for the huge video consoles to display the departure gate number for the Dragon Airline flight from Hong Kong to Kathmandu.

While I lounged, sitting on a plush, comfortable sofa chair, reading a newspaper and waiting, a group of Indians walked by me towards the sofa close to where I was. One guy from the group came over to my lounge table, stared at me with no hint of smile, grabbed a plush sofa chair without a single word of courtesy to me, and pulled it away to his group. Fortunately, almost at the same moment, the video console in front of me displayed my gate number. I quickly got up and walked away from there. When finally I arrived at my departure lounge, I felt like I was already in Kathmandu; there were about a dozen Nepalis waiting in the lounge and more started trickling in as the departure time approached.

I felt that the Dragon Airline jet plane was surprisingly more comfortable than the Cathay Pacific jetliner. But, I'm sure I felt so because I was increasingly excited that I was in the last leg of my journey. The plane didn't have the video screens, but I couldn't care less. The time to arrive in Kathmandu was 5 hours away. Not surprisingly, the plane was filled mostly with Nepalis. After the airplane dinner, I dozed off, woke up and dozed off several times. When the captain announced that the plane was approaching Kathmandu, I looked out the window and saw the city below with not much light coming into view.

When the plane landed and taxied to a halt, a group of young Nepali passengers from the far back seats of the jet pushed, shoved, and jostled their way to get ahead of everyone, obviously determined to be the first ones to get ouf of the plane. When I finally got my turn and descended from the plane, I felt exhilarated, elated. I was on my native soil after ages. During the flight, I had told myself that once I were on the ground, I'd bow down to touch the ground with my hands. But, in my moments of exhilaration, I completely forgot to do that.

Once inside the arrival lounge and in a hall with immigration counters, my heart sank. I didn't know if it was how the lighting was, but I found the lighting far from being sufficient. The hall looked dark to me, in fact, quite dark. When I was handed an immigration form to fill out, I could barely read the form in the dim light. I found those at the counters curt, less than pleasant, unfriendly, and less than helpful.

Once I cleared the immigration, I arrived at the luggage collection area. Two porters grabbed my luggage, put on a cart, and whispered in Nepali, "Hajur, thulo swor le bhanna mildaina, tara hajur bidesh bata aunu bhako, esso 10-20 dollar dinuhos na hai, hajur." (Sir, I cant say it out loud, but you've arrived from abroad, please do us a little favour and give us $10-20, sir). I gave the guys a 20 Canadian dollar note; their faces beamed. It felt good that I made them happy. I wanted to reward them not because they deserved it, but because I was excited that in just a few seconds I was going to see my family.

As I walked towards the exit, I saw almost 2 dozen of my family members waiting to greet me. I burst with joy. After years, I saw my beloved mom, standing, waiting, approaching me with a face consumed with emotion. When I hugged her, we both burst into tears, we both sobbed, and I didn't let her go from my embrace for several minutes. I had finally arrived home, to my mother, in my motherland. I felt blissfully at peace.

[End of Part 2]


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]


About This Blog

Humanature Journal blog is maintained by A.S. Pradhan.


Opinions expressed on this blog are personal opinions of the writers, not of the organizations they are associated with.

  © Blogger templates Shiny by 2008

Back to TOP