Heartache for Kathmandu



Homesick for a place I’ve never been. It is a very strange feeling to feel called home to a city that has never been my home. I’ve never looked at its streets, I’ve never smelled its air, I’ve never heard its sounds. And yet, somehow, I can sit here in my living room, close my eyes, and hear the cars, voices, and rumbling of some music somewhere. How clear, the smell of earth, spices, smoke and something familiar I can’t quite place, like the smell of my first elementary school…I can feel the ringing of bells in me better than I can hear them and the sound of all the chatter sounds like an upbeat song, lifting my spirits. I can see it so clearly and just as soon as I glimpse my street, it all goes out of focus as if my glasses have fallen.

The vision is there, its becoming more vivid every day. Each morning as I walk my daughter to the bus and we pass the Buddhist monastery on our way, I turn the prayer wheels. One by one in the row, they get started. With the first touch of each one, I can hear bells chiming in my soul, they turn so effortlessly, as if they have been longing for a finger to come and just barely set them to a spin. I walk around the large dome surrounded by wheels and take my last step down to the final row along the path.
When I get to the end, a part of me longs to stay, to go inside, to remain in the presence of the homelike warmth that surrounds these moments of my day. I feel as though there is a bubble here, one that brings Kathmandu to me. For a moments each day, I am home with these spinning prayers.
I accept that my life is heading ahead without me and that if I tarry too long, I’ll miss the bus. Then, upon leaving with a smile, I wonder how I can feel so strongly about this place, Kathmandu, this country Nepal. With Shiva far away, and no solid reason to continue the fascination  my heart won’t let go. What is there that my soul is pulling me to? What is the whisper in the wind, begging me to fly to a city where I have no family or ties?

Is it an itch because so many people I know are in, heading to, or just returned from Kathmandu?

Is that  in many places I’m stumbling across Nepal as a topic of conversation and I can’t help but feel my heartstrings tugged at the mention of the word.
I’m reminded of the feeling I had for the city I live in now. The magical sound that embraced its name long before I thought to live here. And somehow, before I came to visit, I knew this was my home after college. I came, I saw, I vowed to return. My current city tugged me 3000 miles and its heartstrings were much softer and quieter than the ones singing the praises of Kathmandu. These heartstrings bear more weight, and pull with much more force, the song is louder and the lyrics are becoming clear, that 3000 miles was only part of the way home.


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