My 8-years old cousin and I were hanging out on our rooftop. The winter month of Paush had pushed all Kathmandubasi upwards – to rooms on the top few floors, where the sun temporarily showed its face in the afternoon, and to semi-open spaces like a hanging balcony or a veranda, where tall neighboring buildings could do little to stop the warm rays from reaching the small corner. Or the rooftop, if you had an access to one.
Buwa was lying down on the foam carpet. The muda next to him created its shadow over his eyes, allowing the sun to soak just the rest of his body. Buwa was a lover of banters, and the quiet moment of this particular afternoon deemed perfect for his personal amusement.
“Mune, do you remember anything before you were born?” he said, his eyes still closed. His bald forehead gave a reflected shine of the sun.
Mune’s eyes were fixed on the Zenga tower. She was trying her best to parse out a loose piece from the 23-storeyed structure. With firm concentration on the game, she replied, “This buwa also asks useless questions. Why think about the past? Bhawisyako baare sochne ho ni! We have to think about the future!”
She used her index finger to pull out a side piece from the 4th floor of the Zenga tower. The unstable structure cowered at the tiniest bit of force that her finger had induced, and hence, it toppled down. “Hatteri,” she whispered in annoyance.
The Oli gang had unconstitutionally dissolved the people-elected parliament. Trump had pulled out from the Paris Climate Accord. Joe Biden had said that he would not ban fracking. I wondered what kind of future she was thinking about. Hatteri.
Nepali words and phrases – translation.
Paush – the 9th month of the Nepali calendar
Kathmandubasi – the residents of Kathmandu
Muda – a hand-made Nepali stool made from bamboo sticks and nylon thread
Mune – a nickname given to a small child or a cute animal (often baby-goats)
Hatteri – damn it, but a more toned-down version; used to convey annoyance