30 Minutes of Traveling: The Longer Route Home

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What is the feeling between sadness and happiness called? On a balancing scale when you stand right in between of the two, not moving an inch to the left or the right. It’s like an empty feeling of odd satisfaction creeping inside, and you place yourself at the center of the cosmos, in full control.

I get down of the broken tempo which stopped after a few minutes. Its broken, the driver announced. For some unknown reasons I was ready to stay there, watching the passengers get down, one after another. I get off eventually. As I walk back, a few drops of rain hits the ground, filling the air with the smell of wet earth.

I take the longer route home.

It was suddenly cold. I was dressed for snow. But it doesn’t snow in Kathmandu. May be it is a good thing, or else we’d freeze during our sleep without heating. You can’t have the snow without the cold, or can you?

I am still warm and fuzzy with my big oversized jacket so I get onto another tempo, almost half empty but just perfect to place my belongings on the seat.

The abstract thought takes over my mind again. It is getting colder. Two young girls in front of me are shivering. But they are young, and the cold doesn’t bother them much. The air flow is almost perfect, enough to carry the smell of rain. I am still warm, and the ride seems magical, the roads seem different.

The first rain of winter that brings me the smell of wet earth. The feeling of absolute void comes back again, while I think of the hot chocolate I will make in the evening as I continue traveling into Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Macondo. I think of the greetings I need to email.

January 2 is still new year. 364 days ahead is still new year.

But there is a screen dividing these two line of thoughts. The absolute void exists in its own while everything else is playing by its side, unaffected of each other.

I still think it is the weather.

30 Minutes of Traveling: The Shoemaker Under The Big Purple Umbrella

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There’s a shoemaker by the road, who sits under a big purple umbrella. I take my broken shoes to him, when I want to prolong their life. His set of tools captures my mind. They are his arsenals. He pastes thin layers of shoe shaped tyres over the outer sole of my shoe.

His sturdy hands are smudged with shoe polish, dendrite and dust. But they are artistic, indeed. They repair things.

If they created new ones instead of repairing broken ones, what would they be called? Hands of the designer. If they made strange looking designs what would they become? Labels flashing all over glossy magazines. But they are just a pair of hands, of a shoemaker under the big purple umbrella.

He always brushes the dust off my shoes that I take. He doesn’t have to. But he does. The pair of hands that repair things we do not know how to. Does he know that?


What’s 30 Minutes of Traveling? It’s a lot of things. A writing prompt, a journal, a reflection point. Something I want to write about the streets of the tiny little city I live in. 

30 Minutes of Traveling: The Man With The Black Goggles

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The dust has become an indispensable ingredient of the road. I hear it is more horrifying on the other edge. A scarf over the head, a big mask covering half the face will do for now. It has worked for years down this route.

I was far ahead of the rush hour, so there was no need to hurry for the tempo. It would be waiting under the brazing sun. I get in and take the first seat on the right. There’s leg space beneath. Suddenly a man with big black goggles gets in. His hands confusingly ramble around the legs of those seated. He carries a folded stick. He takes the corner diagonally opposite to where I am seated.

The tempo gains momentum and we head out, back home. The traffic’s moderate so there’s no stopping in between.

Yeta ko bazar pani Ratna park ko jastai rahecha,” the man says when the vehicle reached by the side of Lagankhel. He seems to be enjoying the sound of the place, unique to its origin while comparing it to the other bazaar at the other side of the city.

“Hmm,” “Uh..” the other passengers inside show their agreement.

A few meters ahead, the man searches for something inside his pocket. He pulls out a few notes.

Yo pachas ko note ho?” he asks to the person seated in front of him showing the note in his hand.

“Ho,” the other replies nodding.

Yo bish ko ho?” he asks again holding another note.

“Ho,” the other replies nodding, again.

The man puts the fifty rupee note back into his pocket and holds the twenty in his hand. He holds his head high every time he talks. He doesn’t struggle. He doesn’t hide.

I get down. The tempo moves ahead, so do the people inside it.


This December, let me take you through the streets of Kathmandu one more time through my everyday travel routes which last for about 30 Minutes. If you look at the dust settling over the surface of the window you’re seated next to, you’ll find a story. If you look at the children dressed in school uniforms, you’ll find a story. If you close your eyes and listen to the horns of the big vehicles, you’ll find a story there too. What are we but the stories we tell each other.

The Blue Rabbits

“Nobody likes girls….who like to beat the gentlemen,” she said, streaks of tears streaming down her cheeks.

“And who told you so?”

“Do you have to speak such things out loud?” she asked, wiping her nose violently as if not conscious.

“What must I deduce of these fine tears of yours?”

“Anything you wish to.”

“So the young man who talked about stars, dreams and your favorite blue rabbit did not speak to you tonight?” “Am I right?”

She nodded.

“Look at the stars.”

“Do the stars have the answer?” “I must have done something stupid or looked less prettier than…”

“Why does it always have to be about yourself?” he asked.

She remained stunned.

“Do you come to mock my situation?”

“I do not. Who chooses to stay and who leaves does not make you any less of who you are.” “Look at the stars.”

She bent her neck and stared at the sky. It was not filled with the finest stars, but it wasn’t empty either.

“Will they not shine because you don’t go out and gaze at their beauty?”

“No.”

“Then why shouldn’t you?”

“Look,” she pointed. “Here they come.”

“So he’s walking with her…Wait, isn’t she your..”

“Friend. Sakhi.”

“Ah, she’s a good girl, isn’t she?”

“Why does that matter?”

“Do you like him?”

“Not that I know off.”

“Then why do you fume so bad?”

“I..I must be scared.”

“Scared that he wouldn’t talk to you about the blue rabbit you read last week?”

She did not reply.

“This is not the time for rabbits, Arki.” “When it will be time for rabbits, he will come to you with the thick black book.”

“And what if he doesn’t?” “Sakhi reads about rabbits too, you know.”

He did not reply. Arki turned around, but he had vanished. “What if he likes Sakhi’s rabbit story than mine?” “What if!” “Where are you?” “Where have you disappeared to!”

Arki turned left and right. But he was no where to be seen.

“Know that your rabbits are better,” he said in her ears. Arki froze.

“At least you should,” he whispered again. “Just the rabbits, mind you.”

Arki tried to grab him. But her hands remained empty. He had vanished again.

“Just the rabbits,” she said to herself.