Stories of Nepal is a collective that brings feelings of hope, sadness, pain and joy. Jay Poudyal founded the page in 2013 with a simple mission which was “to discover and share stories of the everyday Nepali”. Through his journey, Poudyal has not only shared stories but also used the platform to bring support for the stories; the people that you read about on Stories of Nepal. During the earthquake in 2015, the storyteller shared stories of the everyday Nepali and their experience during the challenging time and also led a fundraiser through the platform to support various individuals and communities.
As we mark one year since the April 25th Nepal earthquake, this Stories of Nepal feature on the blog is not only stories related to the earthquake but also of the true Nepali spirit. They have been selected by Jay and shared to be published on the blog.
Please do visit the Stories of Nepal page for more stories.
“There was no animosity during our times. We were farmers. We were strong communities. We were families. No politics. Do you understand? We did not seek employment. Our earnings were the crops that we grew by our own hands. Do you understand? But now, a different kind of age has taken over. No one is equal and no amount of money is enough to satisfy our greed. Do you understand? In our times, we really didn’t need money. Why would we need such a thing? The only thing we needed to buy was kerosene and salt. Do you understand? There was no buying and selling. You grow and you eat. During winter we ate homemade ghee and potatoes and yam from the ﬁelds. Do you understand? We raised animals. All of us. For milk and for fertilizers. And we were strong men. Not like those men of today who have pregnant bellies and boast about strength. They eat bad chicken and drink. Everyone carries some kind of disease. All of these diseases have names. You tell me babu. The thing is we, after all the hard work, walking distance that you won’t believe in, would make it back home before sunset, and before calling it a night, drank the purest of milk. The next morning we felt so light that we could ﬂy. Do you understand? I don’t have any disease. Now money, when will it ever be enough. For a hundred you need a thousand, and then a lakh, and then a crore. And they started farming buildings instead of crops, in this fertile land. They all forgot about nature. We all forgot about nature. Do you understand?” (Dulal Baje, Manthali Bazaar, Sindhupalchowk) How would you describe your life? “Hard. Look.”
“His father is in India. He works in a hotel, as a cook I hear. I know he is doing as much as he can to support us. Every time his father calls, this one jumps to grab the mobile. When he doesn’t call for a few days, I ﬁnd him holding the mobile in his ear and saying, ‘Baba, Baba.’ ” (Krishnaa Nepali and her Son, Bamgha, Gulmi)
“I spent my life happily. I ﬁnd things funny and cannot become serious even if I try. There is always something to laugh at. Even during the earthquake, I laughed at how we all think that everything is in our hands. How we humans go about our daily lives and ignore nature. How we think we are all- knowing and how we act like we know the future. But look, I really didn’t know I would be answering your questions today. I would have come prepared. This is really funny.” (Siddhi Bahadur Pradhan, Shyamsadhu, Sindhupalchok)
What do you want to do when you grow up? “Many things.” (Harnamadi, Makawanpur
“They call me a mad person. But I am not mad. They almost convinced me I was. But I am not. My parents died when I barely had any senses of the world. Those who raised me to become an adolescent died in quick succession. I am left with no one – no family, no friends, no house, no food and no companion. They beat me and blame me if things go bad. They sometimes pelt stones when I get close. Children run after and around me because I have my head covered in excess rags, little do they know that even the smallest of the wind gush gives me a splitting headache. But once in a while someone comes and talks to me. I have concluded that a single person is capable of being good and bad at different times. The same person is capable of generosity and he is also capable of the most dangerous crime.”(Gyan Bahadur Dagar, Dungre 7, Gumtha, Mugu)
“Fear of death has to be the biggest fear. When I realized I had lived, I have really started looking at people, watching them intently and what they do. I watch my son play, and notice his laughters and his cries. I watch my husband eat and he says, ‘What are you looking at, all lost?’ I feel like I am seeing more.” (Sabita Shrestha, Baleﬁ, Sindhupalchowk)
“The earthquake destroyed my house so I walked down to the market to buy a hammer and some nails to try and ﬁx it. And I also bought this nice bag while I was at it.” (Jyurme Lama, Melamchi Bazaar, Sindhupalchok)
“It surprising how some lives are more valuable to you that you do anything to protect them. You forget about your own life too. This thing called love. When everything started shaking, we bent over and covered him while everything fell on our backs.” (Sabina Thakuri, Taar, Kavre)
“After a while the tears also run dry. I thought it’s no use anymore to just sit and cry with the children. So I picked up these tomatoes from the garden to sell at the highway. Maybe I can earn some money and buy spices and rice. Now the children cry in fear but eventually they will start crying for food.” (Mina Tamang, Taar, Jyamdi, Kavre)
“That day was just an ordinary day like any other. I remember there was a little drizzle. We were constructing a new kitchen because there was a lot of smoke in the old one. He was on it from the very morning. After he had ﬁnished work, he was resting. It was time to go to church but he must have been tired, and I remember him telling me that he that I should go and he wanted to rest at home and ﬁnish the work that was left. But I had insisted that he come. “You have committed to the Lord, and it is our duty to give time to the church.” So, quietly he had come with me to church. When the church collapsed with everyone inside, the lord spared me but took him away. This wonderful person, without sin and without any ill feelings for anyone. He never laid a hand on me or yelled. I would sometime shout at him but not him. He always stayed around his family. That day, because I was injured I could not move. I had not seen him until the third day but I knew he had left me. Right before the burial I saw him, I remember touching his face and crying for him to come back but he slept there in silence. I called out his name but he kept quiet. I ran my hands on his face over and over again but he didn’t say anything. As the villagers pulled me and took me away, I cursed my fate. If only I had let him rest that day, if only I had not taken him to church.” (Mishri Biswokarma, Ghumthang 7, Sindhupalchowk)
“When has crying been of any use?” (Met Didi in Nuwakot)
“There is nothing we know, but we all act like we are all-knowing. What will unfold and what destiny we have for ourselves are not for us to decide. I have been taking care of the temple for many years and I see many people queue up to pray to the gods and I have seen them ﬁght to be the ﬁrst. They pray for themselves and as soon as they are out they start scolding their wives and harshly disciplining their children. But that is not why we pray. Not for ourselves. We pray for others and only then God will protect us.” (Gyanu Dangol, Nuwakot)
“I am trying to be a happy person. Every morning, I wake up and decide that I will be happy. But sometimes it is difﬁcult to be happy no matter how hard I try.” (Kanchi Maharjan, Chapagaun, Lalitpur)
“There is no work. There is no money. Life is good.” (Babu Kaji Maharjan, Chapagaun, Lalitpur)
“I lost my only son to a disease. He will never return. My tears haven’t stopped. You came, you are also my son. Come, follow me, take some Perilla seeds home. They make good pickles.” (Ama, Laprak, Gorkha)
“I don’t know (your) language so well. But you can take my picture and you can show it to everyone.” (Laprak, Gorkha
As I was explaining to her with great passion about Stories of Nepal, she nonchalantly said ‘So you take pictures and post it on facebook?’ As I elaborated further, I could see her rehearsing her pose and everything I said probably went unheard. Finally she stood with conﬁdence and exclaimed, ‘I am ready now. Probably this will be your best picture.’ (Anju Karki, Harnamadi, Makawanpur)
“I want to be someone who builds houses but I am not sure if I should build my school ﬁrst or my house ﬁrst.” (Met him in Shyamsadhu, Ghumthang 7, Sindhupalchok)