The story of how i picked up english


One day, (I can’t remember how old I was) I was cruising around our tole on my bicycle. My bhai wasn’t with me, I can’t remember why either. And so I was biking alone and I wasn’t paying attention to the street so much because I was busy enjoying the sight of clouds slowly rising above the Shivapuri hills. It was then when my front tire struck on a big stone. I lost my balance and fell onto my right side.

I was angry at myself because I had just changed into a clean dress that morning and Renu didi was going to be pissed at me for ruining it so soon. We had (and still have) water scarcity in chandol. Let me remind you that this was a time when the roads in chandol weren’t paved and dust blew around abundantly.

So anyway, to continue with my story. I angrily reached out my hand to grab the stone in front of the tire and flung it off into the dusty bushes on the roadside. Lo and behold! As soon as I threw the stone, I noticed a shiny object it had been holding underneath itself. Intrigued and excited, I stood up, propped up my bicycle on its stand (nothing had broken, thankfully) and went to take a closer look at this shiny object.

It was a thin shiny strip that had these letters spelt out: E-N-G-L-I-S-H.

And so that’s the story of how I picked up English, once upon a time, in chandol, ward no. 4, kathmandu, nepal.

Author’s note: This story is based on a real incident. It is her response to the question ‘Where did you pick up your english from?’ 



a post i never posted..or completed..i wrote this in july and it had been sitting in my drafts since then:

for a moment yesterday, i didn’t feel like returning to göteborg. sitting at home, in front of the tv, waiting for the calamine lotion to stop burning the rash spread all over my body, for some reason i didn’t want to leave home again. my cousin and i had just returned from a trip to our village in lamjung and i now had only two weeks left in kathmandu.

taji, of course, felt different without baje. he was gone and so was his bed on the porch. his radio was put away in the closet and all i had was memories of him. i kept imagining what he would have said had he been there. what we would have talked about and what new videos he had shot since our last visit, exactly a year ago.

taji also felt different with its new roads. roads that have cut through maize terraces and destroyed old chautaris. familiar stone paved paths, chopped off and separated by the dozer. it’s true that the dirt roads have made our journeys easier. the jeep rides take us hours closer to taji in a single day, but it also makes one sad that soon we will forget the old way to the village – the one that went up and down and through the hills.


I once read that we shed
thousands of dead cells each day

The dust collected under the bed must then carry my dead cells.
And I must breathe them in as I sweep
and try to collect them in piles.