How to miss Kathmandu?

May 5, 2010
3 min read

When I was in overseas, there was a person from Shangai.  She said she missed Shangai.  I asked her what she missed about Shangai?  She said, “I miss the city.  It is such a beautiful city.”  As she said those words I felt my mind transported to this place in her mind.  I could feel the beauty of the city in the morning, the clean streets, the monuments, the safety and so on.  I had never been there.  I saw a few shots on TV.  But I could feel and see her Shangai.  The pleasure derived from the tone of her voice linked to those memories of Shangai. 


Now I am in Kathmandu, my city.  I was walking along the streets last day and this thought came to me.  Would I miss the air of this city?  Or the streets? Or the monuments? Or even the people?  I don’t know.  I don’t think so. 


It is difficult to miss the pollutted air, the bad, narrow and crowdy roads,  and squares where monuments are.  I can’t miss the holes in the streets, the wires hanging from pole to pole all over the city.  It is difficult to miss the loss of dignity while one get’s on public transport being crammed like cattle and having to bargain like in a fish market.  It is very hard to miss the lack of lights at night making traveling within the city after 7 risky. 


For all its flaws, something still keeps millions of nepalese like me in Kathmandu.  Not that we can’t go overseas and leave this so called bad place to live.  No there is a different charm to this city.  Hey, people in other countries still choose to live in slums even after getting rich. 


That something is a sense of freedom, of self-contentment , of bliss.  There is nothing physical to substantiate this claim.  But having lived in many countries I think that these three things are there.  Could it be because I have property here?  May be and this thesis would need to be backed up by some strong statistical research. 


However, this perception of mine must be publicized with research.  Someone doing a PhD in city development could undertake this theme. 


In the end I too want to be singing like Alicia Keys sang ‘New York’ , ‘Kathmandu’.  My god the passion and love that was apparent through her voice when she sang that song, I can’t find a parallel in my life now.  I want to, one day. 


So let us make this country a place we can be proud of , where we want to stay back, where expats want to come back to, of which we can sing so fervently and all the nepalese would too feel the same love for the place.