I have been in Kathmandu for just over three weeks now and have started to refer to this city as a HER. I don’t know exactly why, maybe it’s just a guy thing that whenever we have endured physical pain, stress, old fashion blood sweat and tears restoring that vintage Swhinn bicycle, stripping the haul of a 30 foot sloop (Sail boat), or that Samsonite briefcase that you refuse to through away, we always refer to it as a HER sometimes even coming up with clever cliche names like Betsy, Matilda, or even Brown Sugar. Throughout short and long periods of time you might have on a few occasions let your anger out on your prized possessions by possibly kicking it, cursing at it… sometime in several languages (even if they are made up), and even coming up with ideas so absurd by spitting empty threats of blowing up (what ever it is that means so much to you) with dynamite. But no matter what the outcome might be, that connection will always remain and hold strong.
Kathmandu has been an immense roller coaster of emotions. Emotions that turn on and off like a water faucet and at times just as sudden. This amazing city can sometimes be pouring crystal clear everything is going fricken fantastic awesome, then there are those days where you wish someone would do you a favor and take that facet and sink, magically transform it to cast iron, and drop it off a 39 storey building directly on your head and save you the trouble of going through the pain that lies ahead on that particular day/week. It is sometimes hard adjusting in a place where the people, the culture, the society, and even the government’s policies sometimes do things where even it’s own citizens are scratching their heads along with you, no one ever has a valid reason or understands why, in Nepal along with other places you just have to accept it. Without set-backs, bad days, GREAT days, or even getting a few gallons of street juice splashed all over you kind of days, this would not create those special connections we have for what we take pride in or for the love of what we do. We cannot grow individually without these experiences and from there, we cannot move forward and fix that vintage Shwinn by getting it back on the road where it belongs. So this one is for you Kathmandu, I hate you but I REALLY LOVE YOU, so much, that I would never blow you up with dynamite.
To be continued…
Rajesh Shah is a patient at Sukraraj Tropical & Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu. He is HIV positive.
A medical student examines a cat scan of a patient at Sukraraj Tropical & Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, Kathmandu.
Slums along the Bagmati River in Kathmandu.
A young child wakes up in the slums along the Bagmati River in Kathmandu.
A Father and his family wake up along the slums along the Bagmati River in Kathmandu.
A group of men haggling over produce to be sold in the Kalimati Market in Kathmandu.
A local Nepali guarding his watermelons.
Kalimati Market in Kathmandu.
Kalimati Market in Kathmandu.
A boy runs his mother's vegetable stall in the Kalimati Market in Kathmandu.
A young boy learning his ABC's in the slums along the Bagmati River in Kathmandu.
A mother and her children in the slums along the Bagmati River in Kathmandu.
Going for a rickshaw ride.
An old woman begging for money in Bhaktapur.
A young man sands bed frames to be sold in the local markets. He makes 200 Nepali rupee's ($2.70) a day for a ten hour day.