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This is why I keep remembering you!
By Kapil Anjan [Nepal]

What makes human look beautiful? Face, appearance, garments, discourse or behavior! Of course, it differs as per individual’s observation. Ever since I started reading other poems, I have fallen in love with leaves, stems, spikes and roots. A flower is a flower in itself. It is everybody's choice. It feels as if life is an orchard decorated with flowers. Such a garden where everyone has his/her own existence. There is nothing here that can’t transform. After a certain time, everything from time, day to season gradually changes. Everything transforms.

People give enormous gifts. A gift means a memory. I only know to take those gifts, I don’t know to give. For example, if I take something good from someone, I don’t want to give it back at all. I feel like keeping it with myself and I feel that I would not have to give good things away. But if it is speech and laughter, they be taken, as they have not been scarce to this day. I feel like why it should be called as a gift.

One of those memorable meetings was the memory of meeting Ilse

After leaving Kathmandu’s lifestyle for about 3 years, there was news about returning to Kathmandu to take video / photos. This time I felt that it would mean something special to go. On one hand, going there meant fulfilling a selfishness of meeting the lovers of that place, and on the other hand, it was a commercial medium of earning a living. The main mission was to move back and forth around the Princess of Belgium, her husband and the members of the visiting party. The means to make their journey safer was through photos and videos, for which I had to go.

Two days before the arrival of the princess (January 16, 2020 A.D.), I went to the capital. There only was the information about the arrival of Belgium's Royal Family. According to the organizers that such a visit was taking place years later. While hearing this, my interest also kept on increasing. The organizers were saying that all the codes should be matched. I wondered what kind of code needed to be matched. Work, dress, etiquette or others. What could be more to manage than walking while carrying a camera? However, there were instructions from the office that things should be done as per the organizers demanded. I thought we would move forward adjusting things likewise. I hoped that there would be someone to help.

Winter’s month. Cold waves of the plain area (Terai) cooled the mind. Needed to walk with ice in winter and fire in summer. You can call it the compulsion, destiny or routine of the people in those areas. No matter what happens, everyone is aware of this situation. In addition, a heart-wrenching cold even in winter season. When we talk about the cold, the heart again starts shivering. And if the sky cries in December and January, it becomes doomed. It ends everything. Can't even think. It becomes misfortune for everyone.

It remained as the most novel experience in my mind today

It is always a hurry for me if it means going outside the district carrying a camera. Office work becomes chaotic. Even then, need to go after sorting out all the things. Foggy sky. If you could see the sun in winter, it would feel like winning a war. It was an evening plane ticket, from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. I had already packed everything that I would need while staying in the capital, half an hour before arriving at the airport. I felt that this life has not been able to rise above carrying bags. Or maybe I didn’t want to change that. My only interest became to carry, grief, pain or bag. I lived a life just out of bags and kept on disappearing somewhere in the fun of this life.

The pleasure of running barefoot is now forgotten by shoes and slippers. I am sure about the whereabouts of every tree on the Kohalpur-Nepalganj road and can honestly say that I bear that self-confidence in my heart. The soil here may know my footsteps. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to live an unforgettable journey of 12 kilometers for the first time in my life. The clothes dripping wet with the sweat from the scorching heat of the sun and even though walked with fire, I had already faced the cold that shakes the courage. This body is a witness to many such examples.

As I think back, I feel why I remembered. An irksome journey from Kohalpur to Ranja Airport. The phone calls were frequently coming from the airport. To get there on time, I started the journey from here thinking that I will arrive on time. I asked a colleague from my office to bring me on the bike. It was already freezing and that also a cold bike ride and when we reached Parbatipur, it rained heavily. There was the fear of missing to board the plane on one hand. On the other hand, I never liked getting soaked in winter water. Still, there was hope that the water would stop.

I mingled with the people sheltering in the waiting room from the rain. Even the temple of Shiva-Parvati nearby didn't hear my prayer. Even when I arrived, half of my body was drenched wet. It made things difficult. A great ugly experience. The cold waves on one side. On another side, fear in heart about missing to board the plane. Me as a passenger trapped in the midst of fear. Even so, in a half-wet body, I felt the necessity to travel immediately accompanied by a camera, laptop and a bag of clothes. Even after that bike broke down amid the way without neither any house or trees to shelter.

Bhawana’s call was coming. She must have been worried. I told her that I would call her after reaching the airport. I informed her about the wet condition as I felt that she would be concerned. A friend's call also came through: 'Kapil, it is raining, are you wet, I am wet my friend Shanta.' I felt like telling that one day I will create a plantation here as I didn’t find even a tree to take shelter’. I was soaking wet. After reaching Piprahawa, a small bus came. When I got into the vehicle, I found the eyes of those looking at me a little strange. They may have thought, he is soaked wet, how cold he must feel.

Anyway, my colleague was waiting at the airport. He and I were going to Kathmandu together. Fortunately, he was just a little wet. I was completely drenched. It felt like there was no dry place left in my body. There was this compulsion to reach Kathmandu in wet clothes, but I don’t know how the camera and laptop were saved. However, I sent a wet jacket back home.

If there is a team leader, that should be like her, who gives encouragement

Journalism is purely a work of hard labor for me just like in farming. I get a different kind of joy from the journalism I practice. Happiness means the same thing for me as the efforts required for the preparation of a farmer's plan before planting the crop, the entire preparation till the time of collecting the crop after planting. I have recollected very different experiences during the period of this area. Sometimes a cliff, sometimes a big stream, a forest, sometimes a serene atmosphere, sometimes ear deafening harsh kind of sound. Occasionally, there are also experiences of destructive riots, dilemmatic situation, and sometimes life-threatening floods, landslides, wildlife, and similar fear, terror, etc. If you tell these things to your family, they will definitely tell to quit this job and start another business right away. Till today, these experiences are safe with me. She thought it's necessary to tell.

It's fun if you say it as something fun. The felicity during work and after work is amusing. You just need to initiate something, you will never know when and where it finishes but it gets completed. I myself take work as a golden opportunity. I keep on putting efforts to give justice a chance as much as possible. Furthermore, I definitely feel that the work that I have been involved with should be valued and reach its height of success.

In every December to January’s month, the cold waves of the Terai not only shakes the body, but also the whole mind. I can't even get out because of the cold. It was so cold that due to the winter of December-January, 2020 A. D., the office had to be closed for seven to ten days. On one occasion, I had to call the forest office at New Road in Kohalpur to ask for firewood to warm my hands and feet. In addition, my fingers stopped working as they failed to type news on the keyboard and edit videos. Alas, the misery of our journalism. I wonder how long this journey will last!

It is the incident of about 5/6 months ago, a little before the arrival of the Belgium Royal Family to Nepal. Dr. Sushil Koirala of the foundation telephoned Nanda Sir in the office and told him that he would have to work on a project around January 2020, so we were called for the video photography. It was an old relationship with Dr. Koirala from the time of being at Nepalgunj. It was a lot of fun to work for him. That fun is still there. We had volunteered for him many times. And we also made a video of his campaign a little while ago. We did that as much as possible in order to help those who were better and had possibilities to reach the success. In several cases, money is not accounted for in a relationship. And I also think that it shouldn’t be so. But, a big question mark arises in professionalism regarding how long such volunteering can be done. Sometimes it feels that it is not a big deal if there is no profit, but the invested efforts should at least be recovered.

In the meantime, we have volunteered many times for him and others like him. There is more of an emotional relation to it than just money. I feel this relationship will continue. At his invitation, I went to a program organized by his association Damien Foundation in Nawalpur and Parasi on January 29, 2018 A.D. They must have been convinced that any one person would do the video and photo work due to the old relationships. They reminded us to take the photos and videos of the program to help diagnose and treat leprosy in skin patients. I found out about that thing after my arrival. It was a lot of fun even then. I am persistent that the work should be completed without any compromise till this day. This opportunity to work also came as a coincidence.

It wasn't long before I learned that the Damien Foundation Association was related to the country, Belgium. Exactly two years after the first visit, Koirala called again for a job of the same nature. As it was the visit of the Royal Family this time, he said that it is special. Nanda Sir was talking about this in the office. I arrived at the capital, thinking that the rest would be known after reaching there.

The visit of the Belgium Princess, Astrid Joséphine-Charlotte Fabrizia Elisabeth Paola Marie, her husband Lorenz Otto Carl Amadeus Thadeus Maria Pius Andreas Marcus d'Aviano, and others was being held. To strengthen the old connection of the two countries, the Government of Nepal had arranged this program in association with Damien. Two days prior to their arrival, the high-ranking officials, Ilse Françoise Gilberte Marina Errygers from the Foundation, and the Belgium Ambassador of Nepal and India, François Delhaye and other dignitaries had already arrived for making prior arrangements.

All the preparations were also made by the Government of Nepal. A meeting with the President, Ministers and others was already scheduled. It was expected that this would ease to improve the relations between Nepal and Belgium. Before the arrival of the Royal Family, Ilse had come to manage the team of media. Accompanying her were Martin, a Belgian journalist, and Rabiraj Baral and me from Kathmandu. Ilse was the leader of our team. Others were talking about her long experience of service in Damien.

She used to say, language is just a medium

We met her the previous day. At a glance, she looked like an actress who had played many roles of some Hollywood heroine. Tall stature, smiling face, blue eyes, slow and sweet speech could attract anyone's heart. Her every word on every occasion seemed to teach a lot. I thought, the one coming with the princess is also a princess. We talked for a while. I don’t know how she felt about my hardly spoken English language. But I didn’t feel embarrassed. She used to say, language is just a medium. For example, even my main language is not English. Don't feel embarrassed in this matter. In the meantime, while we exchanged numbers, she said: 'You write in Nepali, I’ll read by translating.' It became easier for me in addition. After that I didn't feel embarrassed to speak Nepali and to get stuck while speaking English. However, she kept correcting my weaknesses in further interactions. If there is a team leader, that should be like her, who gives encouragement.

The meeting of that day was fine. As the princess and others were coming the next day, the State Minister, Motilal Dugad, had reached the Tribhuvan International Airport on behalf of the Government of Nepal to welcome them. He was accompanied by high-ranking officials of the Government of Nepal and necessary security personnel. Her arrival brought a brightness at the airport. From time to time, Minister Dugad had referred me as colleague and asked me to send the photo to him. I said yes to him with a smile. Their stay was fixed at the Naxal's Marriott Hotel. Arrangements were made for a day-long meeting, visiting religious, cultural and touristic sites and finally coming to the hotel in the evening. During her stay of about a week, she inaugurated a hospital to be set up for the treatment of leprosy patients at the juncture of Massooria of Kailali and Nawalpur. She met lepers, ministers, and others. Before returning to her homeland, she fulfilled her dream of seeing the highest peak, Mount Everest, through airplane with her husband.

It was my job. I carried the camera following them everywhere. During the visit, I captured their memories on camera. It was a work that I completed. But it remained as the most novel experience in my mind till today. The team leader I had the opportunity to work with, Ilse's respect for her work, her speech, behavior and style, left an impression. After sitting in a team, it made me feel that I got an opportunity to learn many things about discipline first and then commercial religion. It felt like that she was also a princess, who left a lasting impression on the rest of the team members. Only a few people can leave lasting impression in your heart. She was one among them. While traveling with her in Swayambhu, Pashupatinath, Bouddha and other places, she looked very excited along with being very happy.

In life, there came and went some risks. Some such sweet moments came and became a sweet dream, reminding every moment. One of those memorable meetings was the memory of meeting Ilse. We met and parted, time has its own way. The familiarity of a few days with her became sweet and memorable. Just a week's stay will now seem like years of learning. She came to Nepal and saw many things. She roamed with utmost pleasure. She used to say: 'I got an opportunity to come to an Alakapuri.' Her interest remained in many things of Nepal. She said that she is taking many memories captured like in a camera that can't be taken away. I wonder what kind of things they are that she has taken with her. But you have also left a lot with us. Hey distant princess, hey lady with positive thinking and smiling face, dear Ilse! This month is September. This is your happy day, happy month. A very Happy Birthday to you!

Originele publicatie in Nepal:

Translated from Nepali by Jyotshna Raj Bhandari


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