A Silhouette of Memories

An evening at Durbar Square, Bhaktapur

An evening at Durbar Square, Bhaktapur

This blog post, which was meant to be a reflection of my experiences during the second leg of field work in Nepal, comes at a time when I possibly cannot just ramble on about how many new places I went to and how many wonderful people I met or the new culinary delights I had to try. It cannot be about how I travelled to villages which were beyond the reach of cable connection but had Madrasas bustling with girls of all ages.  Yet I wish it could be.

I wish that this blog could only be about how after that intensive home ethnography, our research partners took us to the beautiful Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The place whose red bricked royal magnificence completely absorbed me. The place whose beauty I failed to capture through the flimsy lens of my camera.  Today it stares at me- via posts and articles on Facebook that some of my friends have shared. Friends who, perhaps, never had the chance to know it beyond the dusty debris that they now see. I wish it could be only about how I stuttered for one whole minute before I could pronounce ‘Dharahara Tower’ properly and not its image with pleadings of prayers for Nepal in the background. I wish it could be about that mad, impromptu bike ride from Nepal to India and back in a span of an hour and the innumerable phone calls I made on national call rates from the fuzzy border region. But now the proximity and permeability between the two countries manifests itself beyond overlapping telecom networks to shared destruction and devastation.

Our field work in Nepal ended on the 25th of March- exactly one month from the day that the country was hit by the quake. The same streets that we had roamed around; the same shops and the same buildings. Not quite the same anymore.

While everyone at Vihara is doing what they can personally, on campus we have joined hands with The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to use satellite imagery and mark areas to ensure that aid and relief can reach the affected areas.

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