Thursday, August 19, 2010

In that almost palpable eternity

Life goes on.

Funny how that happens, no? Day after day, evening after evening, morning after morning.

The days pass...

We saw Ezi last two months ago. Off to the airport and a tender, bitter-sweet goodbye, then, whoosh and he was off to America at the end of June. Now, a few emails, blogs and trips around Nepal later and it's already two months.

Yet there is this unseen, deep bond that belies the distance in space or time. A reflection of the years and memories and tenderness that held us together for so many years. A shared childhood -- while Shakun and I practiced at being parents without a handbook or driver's manual. The boys were too little to realize, completely, what amateurs their parents were at this business of creating people, raising children, embuing them with values, spirit, resilience and courage.

Sorry to say, Josh and Ez were our experiments in living...

(How did we do?)

So I'm here with Shaku and Leah asleep on Ezi's bed (transported upstairs by Tek to Leah's room...), nearly midnight at this oasis, Josh rummaging around downstairs in his room, one other live spirit in the house, while the crickets twitter with their friends outside in the dark, and Tek takes his occasional night-guard stroll around the house tamping his stick on the brick porticos and stone paths around the house.

I'm just floating above, half-asleep myself, thinking it's been too long since I wrote Ezra out in his desert solitude, feeling a father's instinct to communicate, reach out, touch the soul of a distant, much loved son.

That's it.

Typing away (trying to beat that unresponsive 'w' key into submission...) in the quiet of the night, hoping that he will be pleased and charmed to see a message when he next opens his mail.

"You've got mail!"

We had a delightful weekend last week w/ James, Caroline and Alexa, here from Geneva to visit their old Kathmandu friends. A lovely dinner party on Saturday night courtesy of Shakun. Karma, Pia and Silash. Christopher and Francis (Dale was in Vietnam). Lucca and Camilla. The Good-Arnolds and us. Excellent food, drinks, tokes and good cheer. Old friends delighted to be with each other again, more memories, more history, more simple joys.

Amazing, of course, to see Alexa in her fulsomeness of 16 years, thrilled to be back in Kathmandu, planning on doing her IB paper on modern Nepali politics, youthful wrists covered with bracelets and memories of all varieties, reading your "Alchemist" and rushing off to 'Fire and Ice' to meet her friends. Alexa and Josh had an even later night than the parents, up to nearly 3 am, talking and watching a movie late on Saturday night.

Such a profound, almost inexplicable joy seeing friendships develop among our teenage offspring... count it among the subtle, lasting joys of parenthood and this aging process...

[Has anyone read 'Fatherhood for Amatuers' by Michael Chabon? Ez gave it to me. Brilliant, funny, ironic, wise and tender, ever tender...]

Then, Sunday, mid-afternoon, Karma & Pia strolled over and we all went for a walk over to the French cheese factory in Tokha Chandeshwari, an hour from here, for fresh, home-made cheese, lemon tea and some saucisson. Back in the rain, watching the clouds encircle Shivapuri and our homes as the drizzle drizzled while we chatted, mozied along, enjoying the NEFIN bandh in the peacefulness of our little hamlet up in B'kantha.

The week before, Josh and I took a three day 'gumne' (trip) together to Hetauda from Wednesday through Friday. Josh was keen on attending the Tamsaling Federalism Dialogue my team had organized as he and his colleague, Tejendra Lama, from the Nepal Tamang Ghedung (NTG) have won a $1,250 small research grant from our project to do a background paper on the proposed Tamsaling province. We flew down to Simra airport together and shared a room at the Avocado Motel in Hetauda.

Since there were some of our Constituency Dialogues going on at the same time (we are doing these in all 240 electoral constituencies around the country), Josh and I spent one day driving to Birgunj, on the Indian border, to hear 70+ constituents tell their elected Constituent Assembly representatives what they want in the new constitution, and give them grief for not finishing the constitution when they were supposed to last May. Good political theater, of course! But, Josh got fed-up when the local politicians spoke at the end and basically gave their own stump political speeches, instead of concentrating on the real-life issues presented by the local people.

Still, Josh really enjoyed, as he has a keen political and social conscience, particularly with regard to things Nepali -- plus he was with some of his NTG colleagues, practicing his rapidly improving Nepali and observing a unique, national, historical, once-in-a-lifetime, political process outside Kathmandu.

Vat's not to like??

Dear sleeping Leah is more caught up with the real-childhood struggles to keep her young kitten, Coby, away from our household dogs and negotiating (unsuccessfully...) with Mom to keep Coby in her bed at night. That, with the daily dramas of school and her friends, keeps her pretty occupied.

Plus, Leah's really happy with her new Lincoln teacher, Mr. R. (Ryan). He seems like a sweet, caring and insightful young man. He's just recently married and came from Khartoum (with Phil Clinton, the new director). A real find for Lincoln, it seems, recruited to come with Phil. Leah' 4th grade has been divided into two sections of about 12 kids each -- a wonderful size for this age. Tragically (in her mind...), she's separated from her 'best friend', Aarya, and Tapashri, but, fortunately, her other dear friends, Anna and Purnika, are in her class. It's great to see how motivated and positive Leah is about school. That's still the best indicator of her overall state of being and mind.

Whoosh, again!!

I'm out to Dhulikhel for a couple days for our Newa province Federalism Dialogue. I've also been invited to present a paper at a conference of Himalayan scholars and professionals on our Federalism Dialogue work in Madison, Wisconsin in October this year. My friends and colleagues, Professor Krishna Khanal and Professor Krishna Hachhethu and I will co-write the paper and, hopefully, if funds are found, travel together for the presentation. A new experience for me after all these years of my development work.

Ok, it's 12:40 am and time to get ready for another day...



Til the last tomorrow...

When we sleep with G-d

In that almost palpable eternity,

Between our breaths.

Anicca. Anicca. Anicca.

'When the earth was unformed and void...' [Genesis 1.2]

More Whoosh!

This Circle Game.

Shanti Shalom,

... once again!

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