“What’s for lunch today?” I yelled from my room.
“Bhyanta. Eggplant,” my dad shouted back from the kitchen.
The news calamitously landed on my ears. My brain felt abducted – where was freedom in this house? But I was free too. I had all the agency in the world to get up from my bed, go to the kitchen, and make some egg curry.
There was a pattern to this type of thinking in my head. I grew up with other people cooking for me. My only job was to study – not just study but to study hard. Whenever thoughts about agency to do whatever I wanted came to my mind, I was nothing but a mere dreamer in a foreign land.
Today was no different either. I had planned to study advanced algebra. Lagrange theorem, Hudde’s rules, and Perron’s irreducibility criterion. The goal was to transform my mind’s blank state to its antithesis.
But did I study? No. Did I lie to mamu when she asked me if I had studied? Yes. Guffai guffma chaleko sansar. The world runs with toothless talks.
“When can I travel?” my mind was constantly fixated on this question. I have been studying all my life. I have been drunk on the idea of attaining freedom of mobility that the dreams have become a sort of hangover effect.
A part of me tells me to stop being egocentric; to think about my family and their goal to have enough expendable income to not worry about medical bills in the privatized health system of my dear Nepal. The guilt of individual freedom hits me constantly but I try to cancel the feeling. But what can stop a buzzing brain and a heavy heart?
Maybe the key to the answer was running. I had heard that the writer Haruki Murakami ran extensively everyday before starting his writing, and that was the secret of his magical craft. I had no particular rahar or maya for running but sometimes even the most scientific person has to believe in witchcraft. And therefore I removed the boot polish lying carelessly on top of my sneakers, wore the shoes, and headed outside the small blue gate.
The day was okay. Some people claim that their soul gets rejuvenated from the peace and positive energy of the morning but I feel bamboozled throughout the day. People around me look sad, dejected, and struggling to make ends meet.
I feel the same way about academia too. All the allegorical shenanigans that they teach within the ivory towers called university is nothing but mere intellectual chakchak. “What is freedom?” they ask. We all know what freedom is. To not be exploited and to not have the need to exploit others. Simple.
But can my youthful exuberance while critiquing academia result into anything meaningful. Of course not. People who love pepperoni in their pizza cannot be told to substitute the flakes for slices of pineapples. Systems are rigid, seemingly unchanging and temporally perpetual in nature. All we can do to feel good is to adore more, respect for sure, and stay strong as the sea shore.
The goal is to not get lost amidst this pradushan. There might be a way out or at least a way to celebrate.
This bite-sized short story was crafted by sourcing words through my Instagram community. Here is the list of words and their authorial source.
bhyanta – @shweta.achar
calamitously – @binay.thedebacle
abducted – @gurung. rashmi_
a dreamer in this foreign land – @sharmila_rijal
Lagrange theorem – @vishad_p
blank – @infi.x
guffai guffma chaleko sansar – @bhumika______
hungover – @prashanti00
egocentric – @ayushi.khatry
guilt – @manjil.sthapit
cancel – @hashtagasmita
key – @phoenic_mic
running – @mamata.___
rahar – @smritiiiiiiii_
maya – @aayuussshhh
witchcraft – @konegin_
boot polish – @zeeshanzaf_
morning – @shreeja.yay
soul – @theannoyedone_
peace – @theannoyedone_
energy – @shashinkarki
bamboozled – @ikiyang
allegorical – @priyalamichhane
shenanigans – @had_enough_shits
chakchak – @prakash_jimba
what is freedom? – @rawal_sumit07
exuberance – @prabujung
pepperoni – @broccolibroccoli
adore, respect, strong – @zeenaa_rey
lost – @situ1_