Ujjwala Maharjan


Ratnapark to Lagankhel
Ratnapark ko akaashepul uslaai tarnuchha
Lagankhel ko last microma khaali seat pakadnuchha
Aunsi ko adhyaaro aakaash ra loadshedding ko kaalo raat paschaat
Es sunsaan sadak peti ma
Sabhya sahariya jantukaa malmudra chhalikana
U sarasar hindchhe, tukutuku hindchhe ra ali ali dagurchhe pani
Kinaki
Gojiko mobile ma usko paune aath bajisakyo
"Samaya ramro chhaina,chhori, dherai raat parisakyo"
As she then speedwalks the sidewalk
the roadside chiyapasal at the bottom of the bridge calls it a day
the few last men still stand sipping their rangkada tea, as she
makes her way
past them and past their scouring eyes
that scan her up and down, left and right
that follow her footsteps till she's out of sight
when she's turned, swerved and climbed up
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Breathe
She slows down as two little boys approach her
Hands on each other's shoulder
Carefree,these street buddies, the two best buddies
share their lives tonight in one bag of dendrite
Atop the bridge
the smell of piss once again invades all atmosphere
she turns, tries to wave it off when suddenly she's seized by a sight
Rani Pokhari-it's silhoutte- beautiful against the distant city lights
She smiles, Kathmandu could still surprise
Just then
From the corner of her eyes
She's caught a glimpse of a figure at the far off side
Watching her
and watching her every move
She holds her breath
Fixes her gaze straight
And walks as if unwavered
But still aware of those watchful eyes
she glides past his shadow
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Breathe
The other side
Lagankhel, lagankhel,lagankhel
Her transport passes by
She rushes and dodges a girl with too much makeup and an uncle walking
side by side
A thought crosses her mind
But nevermind,
She's got her own van to catch
Bhai seat chha?
"Seat ta chha didi khaali chhaina"
Tero tauko chha gadha,gidi chhaina- she curses- inside
as she squeezes into the crowd and stands
her body bent
taking in the Kathmandu scent
of sweat, grime, dust, petrol,people, and everything that the wind blows in
As the van now speeds past familiar landscape
she steps back, and calculates
the minutes walk home she's yet to take
and prepares herself
................
Breathe

 

Fighting monsters
I wish I could tell you that monsters weren't real
That they didn't exist beyond pages of fiction and movie scripts
That nightmare villains would disappear in a blink of an eye
And twisted minds never got down to practicing what they preached

I wish I could tell you that walking the dark alleys were as safe as hugging
your favorite teddy bear
That there was nothing to fear
No lurking shadows behind you
No claws that could grab you
Pull you under tear you up and drag you down to your phantoms
of the deep dark holes

I wish I could tell you all of this was unreal

But everyday I hear, see and read about the victims
Their cut flesh, broken bones
Violated bodies, raped souls
And the extremes of horrors that sick minds put them through
Stuff about mutilated clits, tits and all the tortured bits
That make my nerve endings split
And I wanna go psycho
Who'd like to take a sledge hammer and go on a spree of squashing every bit and
balls of manhood
into pulp

But I can't become a monster too

Girls, I don't really know to how you fight these monsters when you face them
But I know we can't let them grow and we've gotta learn how not to fear them

And it will be tough for sure –
They're gonna blame it all on you like they always have
It's your fault they'll say
That your skirt was too short or the kurta too transparent for their innocent eyes
It's your fault they'll say
That You were the tempting five year old or the feeble fifty nine with a seductive
hole between your thighs
It's always your fault, they'll say
But you know it's NOT
It never was

So you can't let your head drop in shame that they should be feeling in the first
place
You can't let your soul die down in suppression
You've gotta speak out and of course, they're not gonna like your pretty mouth
for the words that come out
You'll probably become the nautanki girl of the town
As they'll wonder - Whatever happened to your ladylike patience and purity
Well, Fuck that
Let em call us - bitch- a boksi-slut-a randi
But you can't back down

So when they undress you with their stares
Jeer and shout our profanities
When that pervs in the bus/road/home/ work
Try to pull any stunt on you
When the monsters come out
Know that the knights in shining armors are real too
And they're all inside you
You've got all the strength you need
To bring this to an end
Put a stop
And it starts
with your voice

 

And Guernica goes on
Picasso, in his masterpiece
Shows to me, we, us
Guernica

In black, white and grey
In lights and in shades
In lines and in shapes
He shows
Wars and horrors of war

The monstrous presidential bulls
The wounded horse warriors
The dying birds of peace
And the victims, the suffering people

He shows
Severed limbs, exploding bulbs
Broken swords, breaking news
He shows
A dejected dragging his leg along
A woman trapped, burning alive
A small child dangling dead
In the lap of the wailing mother

He shows
People dying, people dead
People crying, hands raised
Asking why?
Why this?
Why me?
Why we?
Why us?

Picasso painted Guernica
In 1937
Look how far we've come
And Guernica's still going on

You see the numbers in the headlines
1 shot, 20 dead, 1000 killed, 10,000 bombed
See those numbers, they're not numbers
Those numbers, they're people
Like me, we, us
But we still just see numbers

So picture this,
People you love, people you hate
People you barely know, but remember their face
People around you, people beside you
Can you picture
All these loving, laughing, living people
Dead?

Burnt black
Ashened white
As your picture turns grey