There are mornings when the mist lifts and another rhythm sets in. Life is noisy, busy, almost frantic.
In Katmandu I was surprised by the constant crying of crows. When I asked a Nepali why crows were so welcomed and tolerated in the city, his reply was the crying of crows made people happy: it was a reassuring sound throughout the night and a familiar greeting in the morning.
When the crows fell silent, silence too, filled their hearts with the dread of some ominous event coming around the bend.
When the mists rise, rhythms change, faster, slower, the pace is dictated by each individual. Distances are relative, especially in the hills.
In Summer, there are rains and mists, planting of fields and after the sowing of seeds, time to gaze. At leisure, at one’s will. Time is relative they say and in Nepal, time slows down as distances turn into metaphors which escape me.
In Gorkha, we asked how long it would take to reach the Gorkha Royal Palace, one of the most popular sites in Gorkha. A mere 20 minute stroll we were informed. Well, that was perfect! We would walk to the temple, enjoy the atmosphere and still be back before sunset in order to catch up with work. And so we set off, arms swinging, enjoying the views and stretching of legs. Yes, it felt good to be out of vehicles and actually walking!
Twenty minutes passed by quickly. An hour passed by quickly as we walked upwards and ever higher, with the aid of 1,700 steps. With sweat running down our backs, flushed faces and sweaty hands, we finally made it to the top. It had been no 20 minute stroll – rather an intense climb which lasted a couple of hours, for how could one not stop and gaze out and lose one’s ramblings among the paddies clinging to the hills?
Loss of time or mis-use of time?
Time too is drenched with cultural implications, cultural expectations and demands. Time too affects education, with its framework of pre-designed tasks, deadlines and assessments. If I was I to contribute positively towards education in Nepal, I needed to learn Nepalese time – i.e. how time is perceived, felt and dealt with.
For tomorrow I leave.
Two days later, a call to meet.
I am far from these hills, south, where the paddies mingle with banana trees and buffaloes roll languidly in muddy ponds.
Which part had been lost in translation?
Beyond the bends of hills, there is bending of time.
Are bridges possible between different perceptions of time? Are translations of time ever possible to build?