And Icarus falls again

Facing the door
He runs towards the window
Staring at the polluted sky
His heart choking
A big bang
Remains scattered on the floor
The Icarus falls again
Not from the sun’s heat
But from its own heartbeats.
I couldn’t sleep till 5 a.m.
But then I was roaming the dark, silent streets of Thamel—
Icarus falls again—
Staring at the dark souls—
Running towards the broken edges of this city
And Icarus falls again
Between midnight and 5 a.m.
The time when the sun begins to poke this soul
Foolishly
I can feel the winds growling outside my heart
I close the door.
They throw tantrums. I plug my ears with earphones.
I shut my ears and become a lotus-eater.
I shut my eyes, and the world drops dead.
Boom. And the Icarus falls again.
From dream.
From sleep.
From chaos.
From the deep pangs of darkness and drunkenness.
From the tremors of loneliness.
And the Icarus falls again—
Waiting for Spring and Summer
To forget its fall.
I can’t wait until 5 a.m. today
I shut my ears, and the world drops dead.
— Arun Budhathoki.

City of dust

This is the city of dust
When it rains
When it doesn’t rain
When the road is pitched
When the road isn’t pitched
 
I’ve become a raconteur
This city’s madness tires to winkle me
Out of the old man’s sanity,
What is left to discuss the anomalies?
 
This city has a foul tactile
A feeling you can’t get anywhere else
 
This city soon will parlay my inability
To distinguish between dust and fresh air.
 
 
— Arun Budhathoki.

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
Curse at the metaphysical bodies, and bloody stars
That look at me and throw a party for the universe

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
For tears in the heart have dried up
Like the power-cuts in Kathmandu

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
Have you seen the moon laugh at your heartbreak?
I wonder how long can the heart endure

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
And let the heart do tango
Entangled with cold, dark butterflies

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
Strum my pain with invisible fingers
For the soul speaks a foreign language that no can understand

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
And drown in the saddest songs of Mariachi
I broke the ukulele’s wretched strings

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
For the tongue no longer can speak language of love
I guess I dumped my heart deep into Phewa Lake.

Waiting for the Coffin Box

CHARACTERS

SHANTI: Twenty, and a gold-digger. Beautiful.
PRAKASH: Thirty, six feet tall. Ugly.

SETTING

The country’s only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), witnesses thousands of nationals and internationals leave and arrive every day. It is Monsoon and the clouds appear morose…rain hits the windows between the intervals of thundering and lightening. It’s ten a.m.

[At rise: SHANTI stands in front of the departure gate. Her kinky dress easily attracts onlookers and taxi drivers. She’s wearing a one-piece, red shoes, by the side of the road, and carrying a small black handbag. She is young, fit and sexy to make anyone crazy. She wears pink lipstick, crochet, heavy makeup, purple eyeliner, and an expensive looking watch. She checks her departure time and then sits on a chair, inside the maudlin waiting room, checking her smartphone. Shanti is busy checking in. PRAKASH enters the room, dressed in an expensive-looking suit, spots Shanti. Prakash sits next to Shanti, crossing his right leg away from her.]

PRAKASH: I love rain, do you?

[Shanti is busy engrossed in checking someone’s photo, little cares what the other person is saying, forcing Prakash to look around and glare at few teenage girls walking towards Gate 4.]

PRAKASH: Everyone wants to go abroad these days. Are you going too?

SHANTI: What you staring at? Leave me alone, uncle.

[Continues to like Facebook photos and crosses her left leg away from him. Prakash doesn’t feel berated but seems interested.]

PRAKASH: Do you have time for coffee?

[Prakash knows she won’t refuse. Shanti immediately turns off her phone and puts it inside her handbag.]

SHANTI: Coffee? Why not lunch? You think I’m cheap, huh.

[Prakash laughs.]

PRAKASH: I think you’re rich, fashionable and beautiful. Dinner?

SHANTI: Yeah, freaking rich. If I was rich what the hell would I be doing at this hour, huh? Dinner sounds good.

PRAKASH: Great.

[They get distracted.]

PRAKASH: The restaurants suck in this airport. I wonder where would be the best place to take you out for dinner. Oh wait, why is that lass walking upside, down?

[Shanti scratches her head and ignores.]

PRAKASH: I am one of the richest men in Nepal. You have no idea who you are talking with. But I’m sad today because my wife is returning.

SHANTI: I am really sorry about that. You should be happy she’s back.

PRAKASH: I don’t know how to explain. I even had decided to build the new 10 storeys hotel for her.

SHANTI: Wow! Isn’t that romantic? I wish someone would do that for me.

PRAKASH: Is money important or love? How would you measure happiness?

SHANTI: I hate money. Love is what I need.

PRAKASH: Exactly, right.

SHANTI: Yes.

[Silence as Prakash stares at the television. Shanti moans; stretch her arms.]

PRAKASH: I hate televisions. They tell you to do crazy stuff.

SHANTI: Like what?

PRAKASH: It wants me to divorce my wife and marry you.

[Shanti’s eyes widen, starts walking away, stops at a coffee shop. She orders for two Americano. Prakash reaches the spot.]

SHANTI: Stop following me. Go away.

PRAKASH: I love coffee. Why don’t I buy one for you? Let’s talk calmly.

SHANTI: Okay, give me one reason.

PRAKASH: Well the television told me to divorce my wife and marry you.

SHANTI: Don’t you understand Nepali!?!

PRAKASH: I speak French, German, Hebrew, Malayalam, Chinese, and Japanese.

SHANTI: Impressive! You must be a big shot. Let’s sit for coffee then.

[The waiter brings two Americanos to the table.]

SHANTI: I already ordered for both of us. Look how charming I am.

PRAKASH: I think that waiter wants to kill me. I better call my security.

SHANTI: Don’t be silly. You were saying about marrying me. Will you love me endlessly?

PRAKASH: Love is an incurable disease. Do you know how much money I got?

SHANTI: How can you attribute such nonsense to the meaning of love? I have been loved multiple times.

PRAKASH: I have no idea where my wife is. Do you know where she’s coming from?

SHANTI: I have no idea.

[Silence. Both of them enjoy their coffee while getting distracted again.]

PRAKASH: What do you do for a living? Fashion designer, perhaps?

SHANTI: Yes, you are right. How did you guess it? I am one of the renowned international designers in Nepal right now. Look how beautiful I am.

PRAKASH: Why are you here? Are you waiting for someone?

SHANTI: I was, apparently, but looks like he might not be coming any soon.

PRAKASH: Husband? Boyfriend?

SHANTI: Just someone. Nothing serious. You have no idea how your wife is coming?

PRAKASH: I don’t give a damn. She left me, you know.

SHANTI: She must be a mad woman to leave your wealth…I mean you.

PRAKASH: That’s all right. I have met you know. Isn’t life wonderful? My wife deserted me and now I am meeting you. This is just awesome.

SHANTI: I like your suit. What plans you have for marriage? Won’t your wife kill me?

PRAKASH: No…she is returning for good. I’ll protect you.
SHANTI: How sweet of you! I wish I had met you a long time back. Propose me, won’t you?

PRAKASH: That’s what worries me. What if you leave me behind for someone else?

SHANTI: I won’t. So where do you live? I want to come to your house.

PRAKASH: My house is so beautiful. I am darn sure you will enjoy your every moment.

SHANTI: What about your wife?

PRAKASH: I have no idea. The last time I heard she told me she had come in a box.

SHANTI: What do you mean? Is your wife a doll? Mannequin? Don’t joke.

PRAKASH: [laughs hysterically]] No, she left me and was sleeping with this Arab guy in the middle east. And she returned in a box.

SHANTI: What box?

PRAKASH: Coffin Box. 2015.

SHANTI: You fool.

[Nepal police and the staff of Patan Hospital arrive at the café. Crowds gather around.]

Stranger 1: What happened?
Stranger 2: Oh, the girl is arrested for hoodwinking migrant men, and the guy is suffering from schizophrenia.

END OF PLAY

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

माइक्रोलाई मान्छेहरु बटुलेर खै कता जान हत्तार

काम गर्नेहरुलाई घर जान हत्तार

मंत्रीहरुलाई प्रधानमन्त्री हुन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पैसा कमाउन सबलाई हत्तार

काम गरेको पैसा नदिन कम्पनीहरुलाई हत्तार

जनताहरुलाई देश छोड्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

युवाहरुलाई रमाइलो गर्न हत्तार

राम्री केटीहरुलाई झन् राम्री हुन हत्तार

विदेशी हरुलाई हिमाल हेर्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

खोलालाई बग्न हत्तार

१७८६ देखि देश उभो नलाग्न हत्तार

१८०० देखि इंडियालाई नेपाल पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

नारायणहिटी दरबार लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

देशको ढुकुटी लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

सबलाई शक्ति र पैसा पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पानीलाई पानी पर्न हत्तार

रक्सी खानेलाई मात्न हत्तार

सपना देख्नेलाई सपनाको हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

अनसन बस्नेलाई जितको हत्तार

चोर काम गर्नेलाई चोरीको हत्तार

मार्नेलाई मार्नुको हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

माइक्रोलाई मान्छेहरु बटुलेर खै कता जान हत्तार

काम गर्नेहरुलाई घर जान हत्तार

मंत्रीहरुलाई प्रधानमन्त्री हुन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पैसा कमाउन सबलाई हत्तार

काम गरेको पैसा नदिन कम्पनीहरुलाई हत्तार

जनताहरुलाई देश छोड्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

युवाहरुलाई रमाइलो गर्न हत्तार

राम्री केटीहरुलाई झन् राम्री हुन हत्तार

विदेशी हरुलाई हिमाल हेर्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

खोलालाई बग्न हत्तार

१७८६ देखि देश उभो नलाग्न हत्तार

१८०० देखि इंडियालाई नेपाल पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

नारायणहिटी दरबार लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

देशको ढुकुटी लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

सबलाई शक्ति र पैसा पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पानीलाई पानी पर्न हत्तार

रक्सी खानेलाई मात्न हत्तार

सपना देख्नेलाई सपनाको हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

खै, म पनि के को हत्तार गर्दै छु?

मलाई पनि थाहा भएन

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

 

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

खै, म पनि के को हत्तार गर्दै छु?

मलाई पनि थाहा भएन

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

Her Lipstick

I carry her lipstick inside my pocket
To remind the hectoring heart
That she loves you with no intentions whatsoever
Its embonpoint structure makes my heart jump
Like a young kid travelling from the US to Kathmandu,
I carry her lipstick and advice the heart
That that’s the door to her heart,
Sometimes I am aghast with the heart’s furphy cacophonies

I carry her lipstick to remind myself
That I am at times a ramshackle
That I am a complaisant child

So I carry her lipstick inside my pocket unintentionally
And let all the kisses pacify me

I carry her lipstick
I carry her love
I carry her inside my pocket

I carry her.

A Man’s worth

Late night when darkness has enveloped the weary eyes
And soul stoops low enough to dread the vagaries of life,
You ponder deeply on what you have gained and what you haven’t
A man’s ego after all drives him to the deepest, darkest pit of life
What does he wish to improve a ninnyhammer life?
To survive you toil
But you don’t toil to survive,
Late night I make sketches of an abstract painting
Where you and I are alive for eternity,
What is a man’s worth?
His valor, strength, prowess, wealth, health, or his heart?
How do you measure a man except attacking his abrasive ego?
To understand a man
You need to observe the ways of a tiger.
A hungry tiger will devour you in the darkest, silent night of life.
A tiger will study all your moves and then make the last move.

If a man’s worth is measured by what he has,
Then there’s no thing called happiness and love.

A tiger has nothing and takes nothing in the end.

Supporting Football Teams

How does a human behave and how can we evaluate a person’s behaviour? I still struggle regarding this question. I do not even remember when it was that I started to support Chelsea Football team. I tell myself it was the late 90s and the dawn of the millennium turned me into a fervent fan. After supporting the same football team for more than a decade I am still trying to find as why I supported the club initially and why I still do when I have never visited the famous Stamford Bridge nor do I have any physical connection. I guess it’s only emotional.

Sports pundit state that supporting a football team, not within your locality or periphery is something like attributing yourself to a cult. But why even football lovers are so captivated by the English Premier League in particular? The league is unpredictable and the standard is high. It can be said same for La Liga and Bundesliga, however, those leagues tend to have the same winners repetitively. Now that’s a bummer. In EPL anyone can become a winner—that’s the real beauty of the English football. Moreover, EPL is also popular worldwide, has millions of viewers and earns a lot through advertising. In short, EPL is a religion like other sports. But what legitimacy does it hold for fans worldwide to be so faithful to one club?

I have questioned myself over the years as why I have been faithful to Chelsea Football Club. Once I told a female friend that I simply liked the colour blue. And yet I do not understand the absurdity of being an ardent fan since I lived in England for a while—I never visited my favourite club but toured Liverpool FC, Manchester United and walked past West Ham. I still do not comprehend my behaviour that time but perhaps I had the fear of being intimidated or disappointed by the very club I fancied so much. Why didn’t I visit my favourite club of all time? I still do not have answers for it.

me1

The interesting part of supporting football teams is that we live in an age where most people are not faithful, either in marriage or any sort of relationships, and yet we want to stay faithful to one team. Why not switch to teams that have outperformed the ones you support? When players, managers, and owners can easily switch football teams, why not fans? I think it’s much more difficult for fans to switch teams because loyalty to a football team is erratically obscure than being faithful to another human being. A person can disappoint, and fail you but a football club can always give you the mixed results. Maybe that’s why being in a relationship with a football team is easier than being in a relationship with a person who might drag you to hell or stand before you on the course of success or failure. The idea of being dependent on something so fallible terrifies us. But giving your support for a faraway team only increases your inveterate spirit and will only result in minimum disaster if it doesn’t work out. Our souls are puckish after all.

After all these years, I have moved around the world and still I hold a high regard for my club. I support because I love the game and also because it gives me the competitive edge I live. It also teaches me to never give up in life—that life is like a football game, you can always change your fate in seconds. I have also learned that hard work needs discipline and success cannot be achieved overnight but needs individual effort and teamwork in any organization. I must say I have learned a lot from this game. In life at times you need to employ tactics and playing styles—football teaches you that. You also need to be diplomatic and understand how finances can change the game. I must confess, therefore, that I have learned all these things from supporting the game.

On the other hand, football also has encouraged corruption, betting, and match-fixing. This clearly shows what a human behaviour is. Since the 19th-century thinkers and intellectuals have worked hard to determine what a human behaviour is. What is acceptable and not acceptable? What is wrong with cheating and winning? What matters if someone is corrupt? The answers, for sure, won’t be universal as all of us have a preconceived notion of what should be right and wrong.

liv

Yet I still ask myself as why I support a football team outside Nepal. I have tried to support clubs from Kathmandu but because of improper structure and lack of leagues and stadiums I have substantially failed to do. Is it my fault? Not really. The irony of this game is there are countries who have proper clubs and stadiums but do not have fans for this beautiful game. I guess sometimes it doesn’t make sense to support a game where 22 players are vying for a ball to hurl it inside the post guarded by the goalie. The madness, though, still goes on.

The level of seriousness and craziness for my favourite club is so severe that I tend to quarrel with my friends and strangers who supports Bayern Munich. They have repeatedly wooed me to support their teams but I have plainly said no. Their craziness too cannot be disregarded as when their team wins a major title they boast about it all over the social media and even organize special events about it. Our logic defies the gravity of being an intellectual human. More than my friends, I am prone to hating random people and friends too who hate Chelsea Football Club and despite our differences, we aren’t fanatics to kill each other. I guess this beautiful game, indeed, instils a level of insanity along with the sheer madness and passion for it.

chelsea

Well, the WIFI name of my home is—you can guess it. The madness goes on without any logical explanation whatsoever. Perhaps we can sum up humanity that way in many levels. There’s no logic on how humans behave and why.

I still have plans of going to London and visit the new stadium of Chelsea in the future. The hesitance in my heart still exists. Sometimes deep inside I linger on the riverside of Merseyside River and wonder if Liverpool was my actual match. I dismiss this, however.

The Future Message

It was the early summer of 2100 when the air of Kathmandu smelt different. The valleys still stood tall and the mountains gleamed. Ashish had just left his college when a bunch of students rushed outside screaming.

“Prime Minister of Nepal got assassinated.”

He looked around, checked his cell phone on the left pocket of the jeans pant by tapping on it. And made quick moves towards his usual hideout.

Two men were waiting for Ashish with a transmitter device. As he reached the usual spot they pressed the button. They disappeared, leaving behind a digitalized note. He picked it up and pressed the on button with his right thumb. It activated, transformed into a bracelet and it locked around his left wrist. Three blue dots went on and secret information got transformed into his brain. He then knew the details of next mission.

He had to retrieve an important document. The coordinates he had received was 27.7145° N, 85.3199° E.

He got into the subway at the Ratna Park and evaded the policemen. Ashish managed to hoodwink a recently imported robot team. It made sure to fulfill special security purposes. The bracelet he had worn had helped him to go undictated by CCTV cameras.

He got off at New Baneshwor to infiltrate the BICC building. People were already kept away from the building. The security forces had encircled it. Other defensive and offensive vehicles protected the premises. It was a tough call as he wouldn’t be able to enter the premises.

An old man was standing next to him. Few people walked past them displaying their frustration and dissatisfaction against the emergency measures.

“Isn’t this a dreadful situation?” said the old man with a large white glass. Ashish remained silent. He knew that the threat from any sources at that particular time would sabotage his mission.

The old man tapped his white cane three times.

He said, “The valley is beautiful with rhododendron”. Ashish ignored at first as he was creating a roadmap in his head. Three gates existed to enter the building. Entering either of the gates was impossible. He was going clueless as how to enter the premise and avoid an unfortunate situation.

The old man tapped his white cane three times on the summer stony floor, took out a purple pill, and swallowed it. His facial expression started to change. Before he collapsed he said, “The valley is beautiful with rhododendron”. A cool crisp wind blew past Ashish, blowing off his shiny hair. He looked at the old man. A big thud. Few pedestrians ran towards and him and phoned the ambulance.

The ambulance came there immediately and took his away. Meanwhile, Ashish received a blueprint of an underground path towards the center. He pressed one of the lights of the bracelet. He went invisible yet again.

He started to walk towards the gate at North. A strange person came to him and told him to walk off. His shield had broken. Luckily he wasn’t exposed. A drone close by had saved him.

At the western gate, another agent was waiting to bring down Ashish. Fifteen minutes later Ashish met the agent from Corps Y.

It was an advanced secret militarized group–which worked for various clients around the world. Ashish saw the logo Y and realized his work wasn’t easy.

He attacked the agent, disabling its weapons, and then deactivating it. The next thing he did was to get under the armory vehicle undetected. He then reached the spot where he would go down the surface.

There was a horizontal ladder which led to the secret bunker where the Prime Minister of Nepal hid. Two agents guarded him, with drones and specialized cameras observing them. Ashish threw a small silver ball inside the bunker. It disabled the drones and cameras and switched off the agents.

Ashish removed the digitalized ventilation, installing a virus into the mainframe system. The building threw off three colors towards the sky: purple, blue, and red. The colors got sent back to the past.

Ashish freed the PM and looked into his eyes to read if there were any viruses in him and wondered what he had to next.

“Who are you? Why am I here?” said the prime minister, exhausted and terrified.

“That’s not important right now.

I’ll get you out of here as soon as I can,” said Ashish. He gathered courage and downloaded the last information.

As he waited he wondered what it mean to rescue and save a life. He couldn’t feel it. He wasn’t programmed to feel any human emotions. He only knew tactical warfare and about robots. At the beginning of his activation, he had chosen to not feel and act like other robots. He had seen a lot of them get corrupt and become like humans.

Ashish hated Artificial Intelligence, though, he got confused. He didn’t know how to react he was okay about it.

Finally, after five minutes he received the last order. He had to kill the prime minister. At that time, his system froze and tried to calculate everything about it. Why was he sent to kill the prime minister in the name of killing him? Who was behind this plot?

He heard sirens coming close. It was the enemy. He  unlocked the bracelet from his left hand and put it on the right wrist of the prime minister. Ashish fell down on the floor and disappeared.

It is December of 2015. There’s a breaking news about three distinct colors flashing in the sky: purple, blue and red. Next to the Bagmati River someone is fast asleep. Three little boys go near him and try to wake up him. He doesn’t move. One of the boys, find a switch and press it. It is on.

The man turned around and look at them and says, “Hello, I am Ashish. I have a message for you from the future.”

The boys look at each other confused.

Ode to Missing

I do not know who you are
Or what your name is
I only have the connection with you as a human being
And even after a year later
You’re still with me
Wherever I go
You are in the air, water, wind and on the tips of my fingers—
You are not missing

You are not missing since the last big Earthquake
You are not missing underneath the rubbles
You are not missing in the bloody sway of the imposter clouds of dust
You are not missing at the corrupted grip of human beings
You are not missing

You are everywhere
Between our conversations and outside
You were before and you will be after the end of humanity
There are no in-betweens
You are at every bell that rings vehemently from the lonely, dark isolated temples
You are at the tips of the fading candle’s wick
You are at the desolate smokes spiralling up from the electrifying pyre of Pashupatinath
You are at the every corner of teashops where young mad men smoke away their lives
You are at every bar and discos where heartbroken girls drink shots to forget their unfaithful lovers
You are at the doorbells of every house where no family is perfect and no couple is perfect
(Where your loved ones remember you in pain and try best to forget you)
You are at every tents and shanty houses where hope stares at life like a cruel fate
You are at every broken and razed houses, monuments and heritages where dreams stare at you like a cruel ticking bomb (I hear the explosion every day)
You are at every school where children only have dreams but no idea about the nation

You are everywhere
You are everywhere
You are in our pain, sadness, joy and laughter
You are in our memories and also not in the memories of politicians and corrupted people
You are in our memories and also not in the memories of those who seek power
You are gracefully entwined around my existence
You are enwrapped around my soul

You are not missing since the last big Earthquake
Only Humanity is missing
Yet you remind us that being a human being means
We are responsible for others
You are not missing since the last big Earthquake
Only Humanity is missing
Yet you remind us to be hopeful and live on
And make a better place for the next generation

You are not missing since the last big Earthquake
For you are living within all of us.

And you’re living within me
As I walk like a dead, lost soul sometimes
In this wild, dusty ravaged city.

I see balloons flying away
It’s time you let go of this place
And rest in peace.

PS: sooner or later we will follow you there so till then chill.