Five Years Old

What did you think of dreams
when you were five years old?
The first time you could count all
your fingers on one hand,
because thats how old you were.

Did you think about Ali baba and the treasures of gold
or the Knight that marched down the road?
Did you see the mountains that surrounded you,
one thousand years old.

What did you think of dreams back then?
Perhaps it was a parrot’s cage or a lion’s den,
or that blue inked pen
now completely broken.

Tell me my friend,
what did you think of dreams
when you were five years old?
The first time you could count all
your fingers on one hand.
Legs too short, hands too tiny
and yet dreams so bold.

Did you not want to be the hero?
A cape across your back
jumping into life straight from your bookrack,
colorful pages scribbled across,
some things that did not belong to you
like that little pink frock.

Stupid was I
when I was five years old,
unknown to the idea that papers when once fold,
draw scars over them like stories untold.

What did I think of dreams
when I was five years old?
The last story before the silence of the night,
the new shoes because the old ones got too tight.

May be I am still five years old,
even when my age does not fit into my hand, finger or toes,
and I still think of Ali baba and the treasure of gold,
the mountains that surrounded me
one thousand years old.

When I was five years old,
dreams were what I saw at nights,
when the owls opened their eyes and the cats danced,
the dogs slept and the mouse ran.

When I was five years old,
dreams were what I saw at nights,
with eyes closed
and lips tied.

Dreams were what we saw at nights,
with eyes closed
and lips tied.

The Festival of Reminiscence

“What does a rhombus look like?” the teacher asked.

“A Kite!” the students replied unanimously.

A rhombus in our heads was always represented by a kite. And a kite, was and will always be about Dashain, one of the most important festivals of Nepal and Hindu devotees around the world.

Lately, I have been trying to remember what is it about this festival that I absolutely adored as a kid.

Perhaps it was the month long holiday (which is now only being cut shorter and shorter as we step into adulthood!), or perhaps about the cramped shopping with my mother and aunts. May be it was about meeting my cousins after a long summer at school, flaunting our new dresses and making plans weeks before on what we would do the day we finally met. May be it was the kite flying tradition at the last moment that we always lost, because some other neighbor always had sharper and stronger thread. Or perhaps it was the amusing game of cards that the adults played as we counted the number of years when we would be able to join along.

We learnt about cards in probability or probability in cards. Whatever it was, it was certainly worth the wait.

A big part of the festival was always about my cousins. Some of us have moved abroad, some of us in the city are studying and busy chasing our respective lives, others- the younger ones, the new generation is growing up and living the times we once lived. Some of us have joined the cards table, borrowing a couple of hundreds from our parents to marvel at the game while it lasts. The younger ones are demanding kite traditions and traditional clothes, moving their tiny heads away from their iPads and tablets.

It was simple. And it still is.

As I watch from the observer’s seat, the child like excitement may have faded away, but a new set of perspectives are on the rise. For each year, it means a different thing. For each set of transitionary period, it represents a new angle of life.

It is about the buzz in the town, the shades of new color that paints the city for a short while, the conversations in the table, an anticipated break from the routine that we are accustomed to, the new set of photographs in social media. Behold the time has come and gone in a flash, what have you seen? What you have seen is all that counts.

Wishing everyone celebrating a prosperous, lively and meaningful Vijaya Dashami. May this festival bring you closer to what you’ve been looking for.

Best Wishes,

Alfa

Becoming a year older: List of self reflections 

Turning 20 was fabulous. Turning 18 was like forever. Turning 16 was simply the best. Since then it has been about growing up. Taking charge. And that is not really sweet, eh? 

Growing up is never easy for anyone because it involves change. And while we often advocate change, it always manages to freak us out if we meditate over it for a few minutes. Growing up is not easy also because it includes expectations-both self and from others (or may be we overthink that it does?). 

Its always fun talking about something until you get there, after that its time to face the music. What next? 

When we are kids, dreaming is fun. Because we do not have to sweat to get there, not yet. The moment we realize about the sweat, thats when it starts to freak us out. And dreaming is fun when a kid also because we make ourselves believe that we got tons of time in the bank. And we cash it out every time we get a bit older. 

Honestly we’d rather not do anything and rot than toll all day to see the sun. Because the night has been comforting all long. Because the dreams about the sun were sweet. It didn’t burn anyone of the dreamers. But that shouldn’t stop us from trying to reach out to the sun. 

I’d rather sleep all day and rot than see the sun. But I don’t want to anymore. 

It was a reflective birthday this year. As I tried to keep check of my anxiety and hold on to the future. It was nothing like turning 18 or 16 or 12 and it never will be. It will always be different, and its the different that makes it worth having all the way now. 

Its fun to imagine climbing Sagarmatha (Everest) and conquering its massive height, but its not quite fun when we think about the trainings and the labor that goes into. Those who want it, do it anyways. 

The following is a checklist I thought of on how I can do something new the coming year and be proud of next year when I turn older one more year. And we can all use it! 

FOLLOW THE DREAM. And it doesnt have to be fussing over the major you chosed or leaving the job you have. Sometimes it could only mean to have to do a little extra work. I’ll be blogging my days and dreaming about animal stories for my cousins despite my school schedule and assignment. 

ACTIVATE THE BRAIN. I will continue learning Mandarin and read a book entirely in Mandarin. We got brains to use them, right? 

TO TRY TO MASTER SOMETHING I THINK I’M WORSE AT. Since nobody’s perfect, we shouldn’t let the fear of being bullied back get the best of us. Just make sure I got the major facts right. 

PATIENCE. Rome wasn’t built in a day is a famous saying. Everything just looks like an overnight success thanks to the glitz of the television and computer. I’ll make sure I don’t believe it. Overnight sucess has years of ‘night’ in it. 

EITHER YOU RULE THE DAY OR THE DAY RULES YOU. No explanation required. 

ONE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT ONE’S ACTIONS TREATS ONE FAIRLY. Try not to count the fruit. Sometimes the only control we have is over our actions and the work we put up. 

HOPE. HOPE. MORE HOPE. But after actions of course. 

Lastly, a very happy birthday to all the folks celebrating out there! 

I’d like to quote Mark Manson from his blog post about the things he learnt during his twenty somethings, ‘Nobody really has the idea of what they’re doing.’ 

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I hope you enjoyed the post. And feel free to drop comments. 

We are always learning. 

Cheers! 

Alfa