I lifted my bag and went outside Tribhuvan Airport in Kathmandu, chilly night air gently caressing my skin which usually exposed only to tropical weather. I saw many people outside, either waiting for the arrival for their loved one, or to pick up a tourist like me. I found my pickup car which I’ve booked before, then I was on my way to the hostel.
Dusty and old and romantic; that was my first impression of Nepal.
After two weeks I spent in the mountain conquering the Everest base camp, I was back again in Kathmandu. Early in the morning, I walked to my usual breakfast place near my hostel, a small cafe named La Thamel Brasserie. I like the atmosphere there, and the black coffee also very strong and aromatic. Usually I enjoy my breakfast while reading the adventure of Edmund Hillary, on his quest of becoming the first man to conquer Mt. Everest. After reading I update my journal, then with a full stomach I went outside to start my day.
Thamel area in Kathmandu usually very crowded with trekkers and backpackers, but not in the morning. That’s why I like a morning in Thamel, and the people usually more friendly that time. I don’t know whether it was because the sun that brightly shine with cool breeze of September that makes frowning almost impossible, or basically Nepalese are morning person. There was this old man that always greet me with a smile whenever I pass along his tea shop, I greet him back even though I never buy anything.
At noon usually people starting to go outside. There was this music everywhere, I almost always hear it every time I was outside. A serene melody, a chanting… If I listen closely I can hear the words “Om Mani Padme Hum” in the song. Prayer flags which dangling up above my head, like a spider web dance freely with the afternoon wind. When the sun started to go down, I put on my jacket again.
Silently walking in the alley of Kathmandu, I listen to my iPod, which that time played Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. I remember Pasang, my guide in the trek, really like Bob Marley. It was one of the song that he enjoy listening in my iPod, which was full of jazz music that maybe he didn’t like.
The weather became colder, and I zipped up my jacket. Passing through the old man’s tea shops, I saw him preparing to close it down.
Then suddenly… All building was vibrating, a quake! The ground below me felt shaky, I couldn’t find a firm hold for me to stand. I looked around and saw people ran in panic, while a building started to fall down, like Lego building destroyed by an angry child. It was total chaos! Everyone was screaming and running, I tried to run towards an open area which I remember not far from me, when I heard a shouting “Help! Help”
I turned around and I saw the old man, trapped under debris of his own shop. I ran to him, hurriedly moving the bricks and stones which cover his leg. When I almost finish, there was another quake! Again I felt the ground was shaking, and my perception was blinded by dust and screaming of people.
I pulled the old man, and together we tried to walk to safe area, when I saw the building next to me fell down very fast towards me. I tried to pull the old man with me and ran, but I just realized it then that my leg was also bleeding, all the strength gone from it. I could see the building came down to me very fast, an array of bricks which would hit me in a matter of milliseconds…
Then I woke up. I was in my bed, in my home. It was a terrible nightmare, but a dream is just a dream for me. While people in Nepal now struggling for real, in the major earthquake that took their home, tear apart families and took the life of loved ones.
I went to Nepal and I came back a different man; I left a piece of me in Nepal, a piece that someday will make me come to see Nepal again. A piece that made me love Nepal, and be sad about the tragedy that befall on it.
I hope the song will reach to their heart, ride the eastern wind to the beautiful Kathmandu valley…
“Don’t you worry, about a thing
cause every little thing, is gonna be alright…”