And the Journey Begins ..

And the Journey Begins………
It was yet another day in New York City. To every other person, it was just another Monday, the beginning of the week. I have a wonderful perception; for me, it was another special day in itself-a day that begins and never ends.
After reluctantly leaving the bed, I prepared myself for the day this morning. A cup of cereals with milk and a glass of orange juice, typically Tropicana with some pulp, marked the beginning of Monday morning. I caught the early morning train to work. The M-train to Delancy Street where I make a transfer to F-train to the Bergen Street and a couple of blocks on foot to the Provence en Boite, the French Bistro and Patisserie where I work. This has been my routine for the past two months of summer. It is Monday, when I do the ‘full day’ duty, meaning double shifts which starts at 9 AM in the morning till 11 PM in the night. But unfortunately, the night goes as far as 12 midnight generally, and it’s almost past 1 AM in the morning when I reach my room. So, at 7 in the morning when my cell phone rang as an alarm for me to wake up, I saw myself back home, exhausted, and having had a ‘not-so-good’ Monday business, and hence not very heavy on the pocket either. But then it was 9 AM and I was already there, eager to face a new day, with all the challenges welcome.
I love surprises every now and then. And this beautiful morning had some for me. I was off the schedule. I was free, emancipated as I would prefer to call it. I don’t care what reasons the owners explained to me about why I was off the schedule, that it was my end of the job. But how I interpreted it matters more to me. What I heard in my mind was, “Hey boy, this is the end of the summer for you. Now that it’s already the beginning of the fall. Go get prepared. You have some research proposal to do. You have some writing stuff to do. You have got to go and research about financing your studies. You have not visited some beautiful parks in the town. Go, have some fun. Enjoy life. You should understand that life is not all about bussing the tables all summer.” I was just enlightened.
It was second day in a row I had been enlightened. (How interesting that I get enlightened again and again!)
Just the previous day, I had been taught how important a person I was, that it was not worth giving myself up for trivial reasons. I was encouraged that I had higher dreams to rely on, that my present perceptions could not be my limits. It was good to know. The story had begun when I got enthused to a stranger. I know it is weird to be, but it is equally logical at times. Sometimes, it works out well between strangers. Sometimes, it makes sense to know what others are, and to let others know what you are, and then to realize that you have just done the right thing. It sometimes turns out that having missed an opportunity is an opportunity gone forever. You might not regret about it anytime in the future, for the reason that you never know what it was, or would have been like. But may be, that it would have been the best thing that ever happened to you. It could be worse either, but I don’t have the habit of looking behind the shadow. And with me, nothing can ever be worse. At least I believe so. I believe in speaking my heart out. And I did, as I have always done. I heard it in my mind, “Hey gentle man, you have a long way to go. You deserve more than what you are aspiring for. I don’t fit on the scale you measured with. You had a bad dream. Wake up and get going, go further.” I am not schizophrenic; I don’t “hear” sounds. But, I am pretty good at understanding things my way, so that I can keep smiling everyday. I believe in dreams. So, I also believe in nightmares. And I accept both. This morning when I woke up, I was a different person.
So, it was 15 minutes past 9 AM in the morning, and it had already been 15 minutes since I had been freed. I immediately followed my intuition, and was on my way to the biggest park in town I had not been to. Central Park was a nice place to be, especially on a day like this when every single thing looked different. It’s not because I had never seen the leaves falling off the trees, not because I had never seen a beautiful lake. It’s not because I had not seen the rocks, or that I had not seen people jogging, or walking on the sidewalks. Not also because people were playing football and lawn tennis, or because mothers were walking their adorable little kids. It was not the first time I had seen kids playing on their strollers, not definitely the first time I had seen an ice-cream stall in the middle of the garden. I had also seen cyclists race along the road, and children playing on the sand. A number of times that I had seen couples sitting on the grass, and being mushy or guys sitting on the bench, reading novels or newspapers. But honestly, it was the first time a leaf ever fell off a tree as gracefully, revolving and rotating and swerving and swirling and swaying and comfortably landing on the ground, being turned upside down, and around before being swept away with the dust by a puff of wind. I could not exactly figure out what stage I was going through, whether I was still there growing on some branch as a plumule in the spring, or staying fixed, mature and strong, or falling off loose, weak and pale. I did not know how many turns I had to take, how many rotations and swerves, or whether my landing would be as comfortable, what puff of wind would blow me, on which direction, to what destination. I did not even know whether I was the tree losing a part of it, or a leaf been freed. I did not know whether the tree was missing its leaf, or waving it a goodbye with honor. I did not know whether it was happy about a new one that would take its place, or worried about the dear one that it lost. But I prefer to believe that I am the leaf still there, affixed, beatifying the grace of the tree.
After a few hours of wonderful moments at the Central Park, I was on my way to another of my favorites, the Union Square Park. Union Square Park has its own charm. With a number of art stalls laid by the sidewalk, and painters and designers showing off their artwork, with craftsmen selling their handicrafts and full of people with their eyes stuck at the beautiful paintings and designs, this park has its own specialty. Public gatherings, of women collected to share the experiences of maternity, or those to talk about the reality behind 9/11 attacks, or the people from societies against cruelty to animals displaying “Adopt Me” dogs and cats, Union Square Park is a unique place in its own. Also because of the vegetable and fruit stalls on the other side, or the flower shops on the other, because of the café at the back, and because of the famous statues that attract pointed fingers, the park is a beautiful place to get lost into nowhere. Whether you want to sit down on the lawn and be engulfed in thought or walk around to see the art and paintings, and plunge into the world of imagination, this is a wonderful place to be. It had my beautiful morning glorified. Having spent the morning of a life time, I came back home.
Sitting down with my computer now, I am looking at my journey in retrospection. The transformation from a decent student to a sandwich maker to a stock boy to a delivery boy to a waiter to a cashier to a busboy and runner, and the tremendous changes I went through in every transformation. The way I learnt to live life through the journey, and to find areas to take a rest on the way, to revitalize and to rejuvenate for the long way yet untrodden, as everyone has to, under his own circumstances, walk it till the end. Beyond the journey from Myrtle-Wyckoff to Bergen, or from Rolla to New York City, or from Kathmandu to Rolla, or even beyond that from Kathmandu to Bhopal to New Delhi, or that from Sunsari to Kathmandu, I am trying to conceive the journey of life, and the turns it takes every now and then. I am trying to understand how your choice of the right path at the crossroad leads you to the destination. I am trying to fathom that mystery of life which always leaves you with a choice of multiple paths at the crossroad, and saves you from the dead ends. I am trying to see the beauty of life in the way journey continues. I am trying to solve the conundrum, of meeting strangers round the corner, befriending them, walking along some distance together, and departing at the crossroad that comes.
I know it’s never about the destination. It’s not about where you are heading to. It’s only about the journey you traverse, and more so about how beautifully you do it. It’s only about the precious moments when you forgot how far you had come or what pain you went through to reach there. It’s only about the time when thorns pricked your sole, and you knew what pain was. It is only about the euphoric nap you took on the shade of a tree by the road in the middle of your journey. It’s not about where you reach, when you reach, but only about how you walked your way. For, life, to me, is a journey- well, a series of them. When it seems to be the end of one, it is, but the beginning of another. Sometimes, some days, begin, and never end.
Signing off,
bipul (Aug 6, 2007, NY)

It was yet another day in New York City. To every other person, it was just another Monday, the beginning of the week. I have a wonderful perception; for me, it was another special day in itself-a day that begins and never ends. (more…)

Independence of Heart: My Philosophy of Life

Independence of Heart: My Philosophy of Life
It’s yet another gloomy day. Gloomy because the sun refused to show up, gloomy because the clouds hovered over the sky all day and gloomy because the people are not happy at heart. It might be the Independence Day in the United States that people are celebrating with fireworks. But unfortunately, not everyone is independent yet. People are enslaved still, in their own worlds, in their own mind and within their own heart, demoralized, discouraged and disheartened, low on their self-esteem, depressed and let down. They have their heart on ‘fire’ stopping them from the ‘work’. What good it is that you light your house when all the darkness looms over within the heart?
It might seem to us that the world is full of troubles. Looking at it from one perspective, it is. Each and every following moment, something goes wrong, which obstructs us. Time and again, that befalls on us which we so badly wish that it would not. And at times when we so badly expect something to happen, never does. Many a times when we give our best efforts, we still end up making no progress. Every now and then that the BAD guys take you over, when you are trying to be the GOOD guy. Here and there we notice that the falsehood works, and that we are penalized for telling the truth. Something we do innocently ends up taking us to yet another problem and that we get punished for it. Every time we try to explain something, we are not understood and quite often even misunderstood. Before we could have taken care of one problem, there is yet another fresh one at the doorstep knocking. Your Boss shouts at you because he lost a contract with a client, or his son failed in the school or his wife filed for a divorce. Your parents think you are born without a purpose and are good for nothing. Your friends think that you have gone crazy, and that you are living a life of shame, that you are a looser. Round and round you see around, and you will find yourself tied, and entangled, within the web of these ‘troubles’, and be frustrated, unhappy, depressed, downcast and in blue. Let me tell you that YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, that you are mentally ILL. I know it sounds bitter, but so is the truth.
You have accepted at one point of time, that you are good for nothing, that you are born without a purpose and that you are a looser. You have viewed yourself down there, fighting and trying to get out of the unfathomable vast matrix of social, economic, political, religious, moral and spiritual principles, and given up. You have decided that you are never going to come out of it, and that it’s almost useless to give it a shot. You have cursed yourself for not being able to pay for your child’s education, or not being able to help your aging parents, or take care of your wife’s needs or not having been able to pay the credit card debt or buy yourself a beautiful car. You have seen all the problems wandering on your way, obstructing your vision, and you find your limbs bound by the heavy chains. You can’t walk and you shuffle your way into the unknown destination, that you can’t speak and you stammer. I am sorry for you, but its all in YOU. You accepted yourself as who you are, because YOU BECOME WHO YOU CHOOSE TO BE. When you are there seeking SOLUTIONS, I am here trying to convince that there are no PROBLEMS. It’s just your perspective. You are sedentary, fixed at that end of the cylinder which shows you the circle, and you regret that everything is void. I am here going around it trying to tell you that it has a face surrounding the void, and that it’s not just a circle. You have accepted yourself as the CATERPILLAR and want to crawl with itchy spikes on your body which everyone hates. And I am here trying to motivate you that you are a BUTTERFLY and that you can FLY if you can transform yourself through a phase of life. You are there sitting down miserable because all that you can see is pain and suffering. I am here to tell you that “PAIN AND SUFFERING IS INEVITABLE BUT BEING MISERABLE IS OPTIONAL”. I am here to tell you that LIFE IS LIKE THAT. But it’s up to me whether I want to accept it that way, or accept it MY way.
I choose to believe that there are NO problems. I choose to believe that hard work pays, and choose never to give up. I choose to believe that truth wins, and continue to keep promises. I choose to be HAPPY. I understand that LIFE IS NOT EASY. But it’s OK with me, that it is not. I still love it. I know my Boss shouts at me in the office, because a wrong file I created the other day caused a delay in the process. I MAKE mistakes at times, but I never REPEAT them. Next time he will shout at me for something else, and it is acceptable for me because I am learning everyday. I live almost the same life you do. But I differ from you in the fact that I am elated when a plant I watered blooms the next day, in the fact that I can always find some time for a cup of coffee with a friend, that I watch out of the window and hum a song when it rains, that I sit down by the river one evening and afford to miss the news on the television, that I sit down one fine winter day under the sun and read ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, or listen to music, or sit inside the house one Saturday afternoon and watch a beautiful movie and not worry about what my electricity and gas bills for the month might be. Once in a while I sit down with the love of my life in a café round the corner, sipping a cup of coffee over mushy conversation, listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing “They Can’t take that away from me” or Don Williams singing “I believe in you”. That’s where I find LIFE. Sometimes when I am returning home from a tiring day’s work, I pause to stand by the wall of the bookstore and look at the torn poster of W.H. Auden’s “O Tell Me the Truth About Love”:
When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.
Once in a while, I take a casual leave for nothing, and take my family to a park and have fun in watching how my daughter enjoys the slide or the swing. More often, I sit down alone, and DREAM. That’s one thing I can do with the best of my freedom. I live my life one extra hour everyday and live it twice as beautiful. Everyday I wake up with a smile on the face, thinking how good I have always been, and how well my life has been. It’s the equal number of stones you and I trip to and fall down. You curse on the stone and walk away; I move it aside and watch my step and feel good about the fact that I wouldn’t have learnt to watch my steps, had there been no stones on the road.
I know you haven’t dreamt for months now. You haven’t sit down at the park wondering how life would have been, had she been there with you. You haven’t stopped over the bridge, to see how it feels when the cool breeze glides past your ear. You haven’t slept under the open sky one clear night, and wondered where the stars and planets might be. You are still there sulky, dejected and doomed, seeking the SOLUTIONS. And I am here cheering you up, still trying to convince that there are NO PROBLEMS.
Believe me, there are NONE. Let the rain fall, let the cloud scatter, and let the sun come up. Start your independence from right within. A light inside shows you a clearer path than the fireworks outside do. Let it be the end of the gloomy day.
Signing off,
bipul(07.04.2007)

It’s yet another gloomy day. Gloomy because the sun refused to show up, gloomy because the clouds hovered over the sky all day and gloomy because the people are not happy at heart. It might be the Independence Day in the United States that people are celebrating with fireworks. But unfortunately, not everyone is independent yet. People are enslaved still, in their own worlds, in their own mind and within their own heart, demoralized, discouraged and disheartened, low on their self-esteem, depressed and let down. They have their heart on ‘fire’ stopping them from the ‘work’. What good it is that you light your house when all the darkness looms over within the heart? (more…)

New York Memories: Nepalese Conference and Street Dance

NEW YORK MEMORIES-NEPALESE CONFERENCE AND STREET DANCE!
It was my first week in New York. For the whole week, I had been going around the city, appreciating its development, and wondering about the skyscrapers built on top of the ground, below which a vast network of subway train runs inside the womb of the city. New York is the city of people around the world, from diverse culture, religion, language and ethnic groups. People of various standards of living, various levels of education and knowledge, and various economic standings dwell in this crowded city of 12 million people. Being in New York is an opportunity to see the different facets of life at the same place. I had been passing my days looking at this wonderful place, and enjoying life.
It was one of such normal days when, inspired intellectually, I followed a few so called intelligent people to a Conference of Nepalese people. The conference was organized by the India-China Institute, and some so called “leaders” had been called all the way from Nepal to speak on the contemporary political situation of Nepal. The conference was on “Inclusive Democracy in Nepal”. Intellectuals from various fields had been invited to present on the topics of their specialization, ranging from the rights of the indigenous groups to the democracy and federalism. Unfortunately for me, it was not very interesting of a program. I was either irritated at times by the biased views of so called “intellectuals” and ridiculed at times by the lack of knowledge of the so called “leaders” of our country. Whenever there’s a genuine topic raised, and people start discussing, they starting speaking in different languages, each of them speaking in language which only they understand. In fact, the view that the ‘third eye’ presented was more appreciable. And this ‘third eye’ being the foreign nationals either studying on the politics of Nepal, or those who had been living in Nepal for some years in some kind of social organization/GO/NGO. It was almost obvious. It can not be expected to have an unbiased view from these people when biasedness of their view has been deciding their progress. How unfortunate for us. I even don’t want to mention about the speeches of some of the ‘leaders’ from major political parties, and those representing the government of the country (poor them, the program was supposed to be in ENGLISH throughout!!). Some of them had come just to stand ‘naked’ in front of a group of people. (what else would you say when he does not understand what he is invited for, what he is supposed to talk about, or what he is being asked and what he is answering?). They might have returned with wonderful headlines in the tabloids back home, but the reality that I saw makes me ashamed forever. It was kind of funny, but I feel more ashamed. Because I can’t make fun of my country, its our weakness that we elect people like them to the government. It was good to hear that some of them could not make it up to the conference because the US embassy rejected their request for the VISA. Saved from being more ashamed!!
It was a whole day long program; I had landed at the wrong place.
And then there was a lunch break. Wow!! I don’t see a point in being stranded when I have the possibility of opting out. I just came out of the ongoing hullabaloo. And to my amazement, there is a different world outside. This is such a beautiful world. Manhattan is celebrating the ‘First Annual Street Dance Festival’. There are thousands of people dancing on the streets of Manhattan. That was an opportunity to see the world in one place again. There were Ballet, Contra, Country, Tango, Salsa, Waltz, Jazz, Disco, Hip-hop and break dance. There were skate dancers, belly dancers and samba dancers. There were people of different cast, creed and color, presenting their own specialties in dancing. There were Yoga Dancers, Osho Dancers and Fitness Dancers. And there was huge crowd of people being entertained, lined up all across the streets of Manhattan, almost all of them tapping their toes, and swaying their bodies in rhythm. It was an environment even “I” almost shook my body. It was again an opportunity to see the life twice as beautiful. There was a wonderful world outside, and I had nearly missed it!! I was happy about my choice.
And after an hour of observing the street dance festival, I went to the Union Square Park where I found the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the symbol of persistence perhaps! A light shower started when I was still sitting down on the park enjoying and not trying to remember what was still going on inside the conference hall. There were probably a bunch of people still talking about what they think only they know, and I think they also know but still don’t know it to the best of their abilities. I am not trying to be the opposition party leader, but few things are so unacceptable. And what I still believe is that the bunch of people present in there hardly contribute to the upliftment of the situation of the country in anyway. They are not helping the country out of the middle of nowhere. In fact, they are just trying to prove in different biased opinions, how well they understand that the country is in the middle of nowhere.
The shower has subsided, the crowd has fallen loose and each single person is beginning to catch his own pace. Drops of rain still trickle down my forehead, rolling down the chicks and dropping down the chin. It’s euphoric. It’s a day gone, and memories left. One more day when I lived the life twice as beautiful!!
Signing off,
bipul (NY, Jun 24, 2007)

It was my first week in New York. For the whole week, I had been going around the city, appreciating its development, and wondering about the skyscrapers built on top of the ground, below which a vast network of subway train runs inside the womb of the city. New York is the city of people around the world, from diverse culture, religion, language and ethnic groups. People of various standards of living, various levels of education and knowledge, and various economic standings dwell in this crowded city of 12 million people. Being in New York is an opportunity to see the different facets of life at the same place. I had been passing my days looking at this wonderful place, and enjoying life. (more…)

Summer Blues: Breaking the Stalemate

Summer Blues–Breaking the Stalemate
Summer in New York has been pretty COLD. Cold because things have frozen. Cold because life has been static. I am missing the fluidity of human life.
Job hunt for the summer has been a BIG chapter of my life. I am just one more added person in this 12 million population of the city. New York is a BIG place. Living in the city of Brooklyn, where do I go find a JOB? I have gone into almost all of the restaurants and fast food cafes of Brooklyn heights. I have left my phone number and name in some hundred places (literally). I burst into laughter when people ask for a couple of years of experience for a DISHWASHER position. I have more than 8 years of experience. I have been doing it since I started living away from home. Unfortunately, that doesn’t qualify me. There’s no reference. There’s no name of an owner associated. Sometimes, I am asked if I am legal. Unfortunately, I am not. Initially, when I went inside a restaurant, I would be puzzled when they asked me what position I was looking for. I don’t know any position except waiter, cause I can’t do the kitchen. Well, I can, but it’s a RESTAURANT. I will be IN, and everyone else will be OUT. Then I had to do some research over the internet, to know that there are bussers, and runners, and barista, and etc. positions to look for. The next time I go into a restaurant, I have a number of positions to look for. But they don’t want me IN, for some good reasons, but I need to work. Either there’s no manager, or they don’t need anyone now, or they just hired some guys few days back, or i should check back in a couple of days, or I don’t qualify, or if the best can happen, I should go and give a try if I can do the work. WOW!! That’s great. I would love to.
Well, I believe everyone can’t do every job. Thats why there are different fields, and specialized people for that. Anyway, even though not my kind, I started well with it, and was a kind of satisfied. It was going good with me, only to be called by the owner within next two weeks. I was FIRED. I didn’t ask a question, as I see no point in asking. Well, the quest begins once more. A hundred places to visit, leave my name and phone number and etc..
Roaming around the city, I see “HELP WANTED” on the doors. I have been used to with it now, I can go into any store or a cafe or a restaurant anytime and ‘irritate’ them asking if they are hiring. I would probably go mad if someone came in like that when I was so badly waiting for at least one customer for the evening. I like the way they tell me that they just hired someone a week ago. At times I come across advertisements for “FLYER GUY”. Its a position for distributing flyers in front of the store, and SHOUTING at public “Cell Phones Inside, Check them out”. “You have to be “REALLY LOUD”, says the owner. Well, this in not the job for me, it is better for one of those RAP guys roaming around here. I am better jobless. And few more hours on the Craigslist.com, mailing to tens of advertisments. Nothing works. I know I need a few more days of stroll around the town.
After a tiring day out, and with hundreds of ‘not positive’ responses, frustrated and exhausted, when I come back home, and I have my computer on my lap to play with, some place called hi5 to find people, places to pour down my brain, some friends online to talk to, few things to look at and be happy about, this one hour of the day is not just an hour but an added hour to the 24 we have in a day. I LIVE 25 HOURS A DAY EVERYDAY.
But to make it worse, there is this wonderful nuisance called the Microsoft Windows. This Vista thing they boast about asks for an update, only to leave my ‘pirated’ softwares unacceptable. Now, I can’t access my Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Imageready. There’s no way I am going to buy it. Give me some time, and I will find a way out, and run a ‘pirated’ copy again, a free download over the internet. This is a challenge to Adobe, you can’t afford not to let a person like me use your products. Challege me, and I bear the capabilities of being in the Adobe development team someday. And there is yet another nuisance called the unsecured wireless internet. I really hate it when it disconnects at the most crucial time when I need it. But the best part is, this way or that, things work. The world keeps going. And I keep finding reasons to smile. Be it a beautiful picture over the network, an impressing profile that I bump into, a luring job advertisment in the Craigslist, or a hopeful assurance from a restaurant, or a wonderful joke in a forwarded mail, I come out of the stalemate.
Someone gives me a job. I do everything the BOSS asks me to. Remember, EVERYTHING. When I am polite with the customer, he thinks I am not confident. When I am loud enough, he thinks I am screaming at them. When I am cleaning the table, he thinks I should not leave the register, when I am waiting the register, he thinks I should not be standing still. I know, you are a BOSS, but you are a boss only because you are bossing around. You are not QUALIFIED. But it is OK for the next two months. I work for half a week, and he says “Your training is over tonight, you will be paid now onwards”. “So, what is my schedule for tomorrow?”. “Oh, tomorrow you are OFF”. What a joke. I didn’t come to New York to volunteer cleaning your dishes.
Summer as a student, the ultimate test of your indurance.
My next NEW job is starting this weekend. Its just yet another Busboy, Truckboy, or whatever boy job. (at least someone is still giving me a boy job…lol). Until then I am FREE. This free time is my time for some ‘creativity’ (few words sound better in Nepali though). Some time on the computer to live the best moments of life. Type down some Nepali articles written years ago. Attempt to sketch and paint using MS Paint. Read some beautiful stuff. Listen to music -Bob Dylan, Don Williams, Jagjit Singh. DREAM. Do something. Try to add fluidity to life.
I know “Pain and suffering is inevitable, being miserable is optional”.
“…..Khushi nai ho ki kya ho man ma bhaera aauchha,..chhin ma lahar anekaun man ma uthera aauchha,….Hazar Sapana haruko maya lagera aauchha…Bachne rahar jasto feri bhaera auchha……” …signing off with Bhaktaraj Acharya.
signing off,
bipul
(Jun 14, 200

Summer in New York has been pretty COLD. Cold because things have frozen. Cold because life has been static. I am missing the fluidity of human life.

Job hunt for the summer has been a BIG chapter of my life. I am just one more added person in this 12 million population of the city. New York is a BIG place. Living in the city of Brooklyn, where do I go find a JOB? I have gone into almost all of the restaurants and fast food cafes of Brooklyn heights. (more…)