I’ve been in Kathmandu for a little over five months now. I’m moving back to Karachi tomorrow, after bidding farewell to a place that had, between 14 June 2010 and now, become home to me — ‘homier’ than Karachi ever was, for the most part.

Culturally, I assimilated with Kathmandu within days. In Pakistan, I’m still the “crazy-outsider-who-doesn’t-understand-‘our’-culture” to many. I still remember the first thing that I saw in Kathmandu — women selling cigarettes — a sight that mesmerised me, and made my heart soar within an hour of landing here and getting out of the airport on 14 June. ‘Perhaps this will actually feel like home some day,’ I’d thought. And I was right. ‘Some day’ was actually less than two days, and I felt like I’d been here forever.

Many people here told me that I’d feel differently once my ‘honeymoon’ with Kathmandu was over, but it turned out that they were wrong. :-) Even after I had started worrying about bills and groceries and making ends meet every month, I didn’t love the place any less. I couldn’t.

I did get bored very often, but that couldn’t be helped — Kathmandu shuts down early, and I’m used to an 18-hours-a-day work cycle at daily newspapers in Karachi, a city that not only ‘never sleeps’, it is rarely ‘calm’ or ‘peaceful’ in the general sense of these words. Kathmandu, in that (among many other) aspect(s), is as different from Karachi as, well, really different. :-) The serene monthly-news work-cycle and the lack of ‘major untoward incidents’ (say, bomb blasts or gang wars) in Kathmandu is something that I haven’t been able to get used to, regardless of how much I adore both, Himal Southasian (where I work), and Kathmandu itself.

I’ll write more later. Meanwhile, to everyone I’ve known in Kathmandu (Himalers in particular): thank you for being the way you are; thank you for the mountains, the acceptance, and for allowing me to be myself and grow as an individual.

To Kathmandu: you will be missed. Some day, I will perhaps bring my children back here in order that they might share the experiences that I have had here, at the ‘roof of the world’. :-)

Farewell, Beloved Mountain Home.

  1. November 23, 2010 at 08:00

    Karachi is super cool city and even unforgetable :)

  2. D
    November 19, 2010 at 05:47

    Welcome back. :)

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