It’s insane to wish or expect that my son will choose Nepal over India in the future
‘Isn’t this beautiful?’ I asked my five-year-old son early one morning, showing a Golden Machhapucchre and the Annapurna range on video chat. ‘Wow, that is beautiful!’, he said , waking up in Kolkata.
I felt elated.
I was at the Meshram Barahi Temple, a half-hour trek from Ghandruk, a famous trekking destination in the Annapurna area. It is an amazing place to be. I almost felt like I could touch the ‘Fish Tail’ mountain, by extending my arms.
If my happiness had been measured at that time, I would have beaten Matthieu Ricard, the Buddhist monk originally from France who is now living in Kathmandu, who has been called “the world’s happiest man.”
It’s beautiful. It’s exotic. It’s serene. It’s the most beautiful thing on earth—to watch the mighty peaks shine out of darkness; dark shadows first, then white misty shapes and then, finally, the majestic crown of the world in pure gold.
‘Your country is beautiful!’ said one of five British ladies, at the top, brimming with joy in the golden sunshine. They had reached before me with a guide and a photographer. I was almost blushing, as if their awe was not for the Himal but for me.
I humbly thanked them, accepting the admiration. Exalted by the rush of pride and happiness, I video-called my wife, who lives in India, and tried to impress her with the immense beauty that Nepal’s landscape is.
I have this secret agenda, which is not a secret anymore. I have to make my son accept Nepal as his own country when he grows up. My wife has decided to retain her Indian Citizenship despite being married to a Nepali and I respect her choice. But I have this deep desire that my son should choose Nepal over India. And I want to do it without forcing anything on him, or us.
This strange predicament forces me to proactively look for positives in our troubled nation. And that makes me arrogantly flaunt whatever little I manage to find. More for my own selfish interests. And ego boost. Also, for remaining sane in this chaos.
In reality, it’s almost impossible to remain sane in present day Nepal without being drugged. And probably, it’s insane to wish or expect that my son will choose Nepal over India in the future, despite the exotic beauty of our landscape. But for reasons unexplainable, even to myself, I simply can’t help it.
I know. Nepal’s exoticness can charm you, or even inspire you for a while, if you are an outsider. But living here, thinking about Nepal as a Nepali, is difficult.
For many, it’s difficult to cope with the pace of life here. If one refuses to slow down and lower one’s expectations, one breaks down. The rampant inefficiency of things—the government, the corporations and the society in general—is suffocating. The never-ending political scuffle is maddening. And the ill-informed battles, over issues that should belong to the past, are disheartening.
A friend who has made the decision to return to Nepal after getting a degree from a highly esteemed university in the US tells me in an emotionless manner: “I might go away one day just to escape.”
I exactly know what she means by that.
In most interactions here, I bump into bundles of negativity. Those who are tied to this place are mostly depressed and frustrated. Those who have options, and those who haven’t invested too much to pull out easily, are moving out. And this realization scares me.
The same friend had asked me once, ‘What is your biggest fear?’ And every time I come across something I don’t like in Nepal or every time I feel disappointed with something, including myself, I go back to that question.
What is my biggest fear?
I am scared to the core to think that my own son might say, one day, ‘Papa, your country is beautiful!