Sometimes freedom is a walk around your neighborhood. It is strolling with your sisters in the muddy streets, it is laughing at private jokes, running away from a café after you’ve spent few minutes taking pictures. It is going to a random shop and bargaining for the clothes and realizing none of you actually like them. It is eating pizza with coke (and fanta). Because you’ve been craving for pizza. And freedom. Air filled with street dust and smoke.
Freedom feels like the blood rushing over your veins
when you run away from a cafe just after taking pictures.
At Delima’s Garden Cafe.
Freedom tastes like Mississippi Mud melting in your mouth on a hot summer day.
At Baskin and Robbins, Mandala Street.
Sometimes freedom is dancing in an empty restaurant and in a filled up shop. It is choosing food before gifts because all you’ve been craving is a different taste from the normal dal-bhat-tarkari. It is commenting on a book you’ve found and drooling on the books about your favorite character (ahem, Mr. Darcy). It is talking about your life, how you’ve fallen so fast for a guy you told yourself you would never fall for; talking about your life, how you’ve realized all you need now is experiment and living it as it goes.
Saw this board while laughing with sisters and we laughed more after that.
Freedom is loving the potato on our chicken pizza because
the potato taste different than the one we’ve been eating back at home.
At Alchemy Pizzeria
Sometimes freedom is all about you needing to be happy. It is spreading your wings, even if you’ve stepped outside to the place you call home. It is asking a random stranger to take your pictures because you’ve been tired of taking selfies. It is forgetting to pay for ice-creams because you’ve been way too busy taking selfies. It is laughing for no reason. Teasing each other for no reason. Loving for no reason.
The best fries ever. Ever. Ever.
At Shavi’s Fries.
At the end of the day, freedom, it seems is eating, laughing, strolling, talking, dancing, and repeating. With your little girls. It is. Feeling loved. Feeling home. Feeling free.
Featured image, image of pizza and fries by Grisha Pradhan. Rest by me 😀
I sometimes wonder what a city means. To its people. To outsiders. To itself.
What makes a city a city? Is it people and their stories? Or is it the buildings and the business?
What becomes a city? How does the landscape change from a laid-back space to heavy traffic place?
As I wandered around the art pieces in Taragaon Museum, Patan Museum, Nepal Art Council and Siddhartha Art Gallery for Kathmandu Triennale, Nepal’s international contemporary arts festival that took place from March 24 to April 9 this year, these questions haunted me more.
From left: Stickers of Kathmandu Triennale found in a random wall. Artworks by Yudhisthir Maharjan, Mekh Limbu and Saurganga Darshandhari (Up to Down).
As I roamed around the gallery space of Taragaon Museum, I was struck with the idea of spaces and maps. What is a space? What is a city if there were no places pinned on the map but only streets and rivers? Would we get lost? Or would it be easier for us to find our way around the city? What if the city you know is depicted in an art style that isn’t from the city but very far away? What if the city writes you letters? At Patan Museum, it was the idea of stories of the city – of the city-scape in a blanket, of mother’s purse – thaili, of the everyday stories, of women, of reflection. At Nepal Art Council, it became more specific with stories of a place, of a house, of a feeling and stories of people. While Siddhartha Art Gallery had a different story on birth, death, and boundaries.
My city is not my city anymore,
It belongs to souls who weren’t born here
It belongs to hearts who don’t know how to love it
It belongs to people who just want to escape.
My city is not the city I fell in love with,
just like the people I’ve loved changed over the course of time
just like how I’ve changed in last few years,
my city has changed too.
I am not sure if I like my city anymore
just like I am not sure if I love me anymore.
– At Patan Museum.
The exhibitions that I went to along with, the conversations I had or eavesdropped into, talked about story of a city and its people. It somehow came back to migration, as if for a city to be, migrating is a must. There must always be a flow. It also came to how a city changes and whether we should allow it to be changed or resist. The debate on what will be the identity of the city if it changes every day or how will it ever become a city if it never does, went on. For someone who’s never lived outside Kathmandu, I don’t know how a city retains its identity despite the flux of people and how do those cities keep their memory intact while welcoming new ideas and people.
What these exhibitions also managed to do is make me realize that Kathmandu and I are having some issues with each other. That I no longer feel home here. That I feel as if Kathmandu wants me gone. As if I want to be gone. Nowadays, every time I meet Kathmandu, I find it to be more scarred. I feel like there are more holes in its soul, more wounds, more bruises. And it refuses to heal. I feel like it is on its way to destruction and it refuses to be saved. Maybe it refuses to be loved too.
And maybe that’s how a city is born. And that’s what a city mean.
When March arrived, everything fell apart. I got crankier. I felt more restless. Starting March 1st, I wanted to journal but I failed. No matter what I did, I failed to express what I was feeling. For a second, I thought I didn’t know what I was feeling. So I went back to what I always when I felt like that – I ranted out. Because S. wasn’t around, I ranted out to A. And few other folks too. A. read my words patiently as she could. She has always been good at things like this – , hearing the right tone of my voice as I screamed and wailed through these words. And then she told me this:
“Challenges are good and necessary when you’re too comfortable. You’re in an uncomfortable position right now, you need all the sorting and venting. To feel comfortable, to love yourself. Instead of looking outside and trying to be someone else look inward and vent how you vent best. The world existed outside you but you stood as a single entity who really tapped into what she was feeling and you wrote few but powerful lines.
Appreciate other methods by all means but don’t let them define how you should journal. Life isn’t tailor-made, you can’t decide you’re a failure. For a week try journaling without inhibition. Don’t set deadlines or rules or expectations.”
And that’s how I went back to words-only journaling method I am comfortable in. I dropped the idea of all-in-one bullet and art journaling and went back to Planner and a journal and few notebooks method for two months. I think I am ready for bullet and art journaling back again, but I am taking time. I am not forcing myself. I am not setting up deadlines. I am just going with the flow. And maybe this time it will click. (Fingers-crossed).
collecting; batuldai is an attempt to collect scattered pieces of my life, one musing at a time.