I tend to procrastinate a lot. I have to work on a paper but I find myself at a seminar that has nothing related to my subject, or in the kitchen, cooking lunch for tomorrow or here, beginning to write this post. But there has been something on my mind since the past few days…and I wanted to write about it.

Outside my window, across the road, is a cemetery. I wake up and roll up the blinds and I see rows of headstones each morning. I watch the mist slowly floating past the cemetery and the leafless trees that surround it.

In Kathmandu, when I went to Pashupati, I would look down at the ghat each time and watch for a few minutes. I would allow myself enough time to feel that shiver pass through my body. I dared to watch the cremations along Bagmati’s banks and to watch families and friends mourning and then, look at the foreigners on the other side of the river and wonder what they were feeling or thinking of. It’s such a public yet intimate experience…at least for me. There I was, looking at a stranger’s cremation yet feeling deeply disturbed inside. It’s a weird feeling – the reminder of death and thus, of life and how fragile it is.

These past few days, the topic of death has popped up several times. I was talking to a classmate about one of her photographs, which showed a white piece of cloth laying on the ground, covering something beneath it…but we both didn’t know what it was. Perhaps, the remains of a tree…we guessed. But at that instant, my mind went back to Pashupati ghat. A day later, I found out that one of my classmates from school had passed away in Nepal. This is the first time I had to hear such a news of a friend. Then I learnt out about someone else’s passing away this morning…of someone I don’t know, but the news was still disturbing. And again, at lunch time today, an Iranian friend told me about the shooting of an Iranian band members in the US. She was upset and suddenly, so was I….about so many different things. I left my lunch half-eaten.

I don’t know the point of writing all this is…but I feel strange. Life is unfair and so is death, but they are both real.


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