30 Minutes of Traveling: Deep Fried Crunchy Samosa

I told myself it’s okay to
want to go all by yourself,
to take little chances to discover
pieces of you scattered here and there,
to have people stare
when you’re sitting there
waiting for no one in particular to appear.

I want to eat a samosa,
that deep fried crunchy samosa
I’ve always loved,
as a child, as a teen and as an adult. 

I told myself it won’t rain hard,
drizzles are merry times,
that sprinkle your shoes with a little water.
Even if it does rain
home is nearby. 

I told myself it is okay to explore alone,
to walk the roads you’ve walked with others,
newly blacktopped roads
welcome me with narrow bends.
Maybe it wasn’t a bad idea after all.

I want to eat a samosa,
deep fried crunchy,
but end up ordering its variant.
Right after I lay my eyes on it,
it feels like a bad idea.
Yes, it was a bad idea.
I hurriedly order a lassi
to improve the taste,
I end up receiving a drink
with sugar particles instead.

I tell myself it’s okay to make wrong decisions,
food is a little thing,
there are mountains to conquer.
All this for a deep fried crunchy samosa.

Re-creators of the Magic

I was halfway through Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun when a thought suddenly struck me. Murakami is a master storyteller and I have been awestruck by the scale of how he imagines great patterns in simple lives. His first person narrative is haunting. It feels all too real. But this is not what struck me in this particular moment.

It was his Translator with a capital T.

South of the Border, West of the Sun is translated by Philip Gabriel.

I have been reading translated works for a long time, but surprisingly the idea never struck me before. Some people choose to live as translators, in the shadows of the author so that we may be able to relive the magic of stories that would otherwise have rarely reached us.

And I’d always thought that it is the author’s book. It is, it definitely is. But may be it is not just the author’s book anymore. It is not just Murakami’s words anymore. It also belongs to Gabriel, whose translation takes me as close as possible to what Murakami intended.

To the re-creators of the magic.

Why Teaching is one of the most Incredible Jobs on Planet Earth or even in Mars!

No, I am not kidding. Sure I didn’t do the finances and while teachers may not appear much on Forbes list, they undoubtedly had hands in getting the names on top.

No sugar, no chocolates. No butter. Only what I’ve felt for a few years, not because I teach, but because I had the opportunity to step into some classrooms I wish I could replay time and again. And with the belief that so many more are yet to come. 

Let us begin.

First thing first. It’s Guru Purnima in Nepal, our Teachers’ Day. Yeah! Wishes to all my beloved teachers!

Let us begin again.

A few months back, one of my high school teacher put up a Facebook status that read something like this: My students think that teaching is a boring profession, but I love it anyway. (Great!)

Can’t say I wasn’t that student once. But I no longer am. If you still do feel that way, here’s an invitation to swap your eyes!

Let us really begin now.

Here’s why Teaching is one of the most incredible jobs on planet Earth (if you could find one in Mars, it would still be equally spectacular!):

LEVEL: DIFFICULT

You think it’s easy to have 80 eyes staring through you throughout 90 minutes, watching every tiny little detail of you, noting down every word you say? If you think conquering kingdoms in Age of Empires was hard, think again! Our teachers would not even need extra alliances to get through all this and win! You are victorious!

VORACIOUS LEARNERS

The one that cracked the most witty jokes in class, the one who taught without teaching at all, the one you learned to truly respect, have worked REALLY REALLY hard. It certainly didn’t happen one fine day. They are the absolute voracious learners.

INDIVIDUAL MARKETEERS

Well, this one is my favorite (one of my favorite!).

Each year a new set of students arrive in class, with freshly pressed uniforms that are smeared with mud and sand by the end of the day. Each child is different, each class is different. Some classes are noisy (I’d have to admit ours is!), some are too quiet. It’s different everyday. (We are quiet sometimes!). Teachers are the best individual marketeers in the world. She remembers what will make Sanima happy and what will irritate Rahul, which toy is Raj’s favorite and why Rima won’t do her grade two homework.

YOUR FIRST MARKET

If some of my best teachers wrote books, I’d stand in line to buy them, get them signed, not because “they are my teachers and the need to buy their stuffs”, but because they are so great that anything they touch is going to be golden. (Did it get a bit cheesy there? If it did, enjoy the free cheese. If it didn’t wait for the next cheesy line.) (While I hope they’d buy mine too! *cough*)

CHANCE TO INSPIRE THE WORLD

Loaded with cheese.

 All of our superhuman teachers are just normal people. They have crazy dreams (like owing an original Rolex Constellation, opps! its Omega Constellation! Hope you get it soon!) and they feel the pains of the world just like we do (taking about the tragedy of the commons and politics, and just plain rain pain on a motorbike). Amidst all these, they teach not just calculus and the Allegory of the Cave, but also speak of dreams, fears and courage.

गुरु ब्रम्हा गुरु विष्णू

गुरुः देवो महेश्वरा

गुरु शाक्षात परब्रम्हा

तस्मै श्री गुरुवे नमः

(The Sanskrit Mantra that says teacher is the equivalent to god and the universe.)

Bonus Point

ANYONE CAN BE A TEACHER

三人行,必有我师

(Confucius’s saying that if there are three people walking, one of them must be my teacher.)

Applying some partial rule of logic, if we can learn from anyone, then someone must be able to learn from us too.

To all my teachers out there, from the ones at home, to elementary school, high school, university and beyond. Each one of us must be honored to walk down this path of yours, to have met in this path.

P.S. Teachers have access to some best libraries around.


Wishes on Guru Purnima again! While my words will never do justice to the wonderful people and their profession, it was worth giving a try.

Til’ the next post

A student who asked too many questions in an attempt to ask the good ones,

Alfa

30 Minutes of Traveling: Stories from the Streets of Kathmandu #3

1993: 2003

1993

Rushing to college, every morning Monday through Friday, walking fast towards the slightly moving bus at Patan Dhoka. The closer I get, the faster it moves. Finally the conductor makes this unique bang at the door and sends signal to the driver to stop.
I get on the bus, no signs of seat so I stand holding on to the top metal bar with approximately six inches of gap with people next to me.I try my best not to be sandwiched between the crowd during the stop-motion jerk. Somehow the conductor manages to slither through the crowd. I hear the clickety-clack noise coming from the coins. The conductor’s hand is full of coins and ticket. He is moving his hand in a unique way to produce that noise which is a signal to pay the fare.

I tell him, ‘Not right now, let me find a seat or I will pay you when I get off.’

2003

On my way to my first job, Mundelein Bus stop, Chicago, IL. I get to the bus stop 10 minutes early, the bus arrives with the display of routes in the front. Automatic door opens, I get on the bus with no struggle. After climbing two steps, I exchange greetings with the driver while I slide a dollar bill into the machine next to the driver’s seat.
Then in an air conditioned bus, I see the privileged handicapped seating. I walked little further and get a seat near the window. I admire the view outside while I hear the automatic announcement of next stop.

Memories went flooding back 10 years, Oh where is the clickety- clack music and the Big Bang signal on the door? Where is that stop-motion jerk that alerted me from being sandwiched? Oh it’s only in my memories now. My stop arrives and I pull the string above my seat which signals the driver to stop. I get off the bus.

What a transition of transportation!

-Sarana Shrestha Parajuli


एकजना आमाले भन्नु भयो- “बाबु, यस्तो च्यातेको पाइन्ट किन लगा’को?”

अनि खलासी दाईको गुनासो- “मैले यो च्यातेको पाइन्ट लाउँदा ट्यापे भन्छन्,यहि पाइन्ट केटीले लायो भने हट भन्छन्। केटा हुन नि सार्‍है गार्‍हो छ।”

-Rojina Shrestha


Bhada Vs. Bhada

A curious little girl along with her father got inside the bus. They sat behind me. Her innocence stole my heart. She became a reason for my smile. Her fascination towards the things happening around left me dumbstruck. She gazed around and bombarded her farther with questions. She sang all the rhymes her teacher had taught her. Her mother tried hard to make her daughter stop talking, to keep her little girl from being the center of attention. But the girl didn’t fail to clear all her doubts.

As their stop arrived the conductor asked her farther for money ‘Bhada’(bus fare).

She immediately said, ‘Baba bhada ta kotha ma huncha yo dai lae kina mangi ra ko?

As they got down her farther answered her question and handed over the bus fare. The little girl proved to be different from all of us inside. She ignited enthusiasm to keep learning.

-Sefali Agrawal


Ladies and Gentlemen! It’s 31st May and the last chapters for 30 Minutes of Traveling (for now of course!) has arrived. Gratitude, gratitude and more gratitude towards everyone who read, followed and put their time to write and share their travel stories. 

I hope you enjoyed reading, reflected your good and bad times on the road inside the people packed buses. May be you got lucky with the window seat, may be you offered your seat for the elderly, and may be sometimes felt like the tuna inside the sandwich! 

They are but memories now, once the moment goes by, even after a fraction of time. 

Till then keep traveling, keep living, keep giving, keep writing, keep sharing the stories ignited inside the flames of your hearts!

Alfa