Rememberances… Reminiscences… Reverberations…

Life & more

Ashmita Acharya
Austin, TX, USA

I do not remember the moment when I took my first breath, nor am I certain that I will know for sure that this particular exhalation will be my last. I am not certain of many things about which I would love to be sure of, but one thing that I am sure of is this life. By this life, I mean my experiences – with myself, with other human beings, with other non-human beings, with situations, with surroundings, with my heart, with my mind, with my soul, and with my version of reality. Although I do write, the maximum I can do and am doing is to simply portray the picture that I have seen through my lens, through the tiny window of my own experiences with the world. I can only share my life through my words. I have nothing else other than these experiences. I can only write my time. I can only share my time. After all, each of our lives is nothing but one of the many minutely minute micro-frames of the largest and the longest motion picture of this universe that is better known to us as The Time.

So, here is Ashmita – attempting to depict her best her own experiences with her life – what she experiences every moment as she floats along the waves of the world – in this gorgeous spacious canvas of NepalNamcha where she saw her own reflection and where she felt she could bring that reflection alive through the colors of her soul – her words.


There are many platforms where I meet people, academia being the major one. Apart from the diversity and differences in opinion, academia is still my comfort zone where I get to interact with like-minded people. Quite contrary to the rigid academia, another comfort zone that is even more special to me is the flexibility that I feel in literature. I have said this multiple times before, and I have even included my take on writing that emotions are untranslatable. In one of my poems titled ‘The Trap’, I write:

’emotions are untranslatable!!!
Restraints are so unusual…
I’m flying without wings!!!’

Yes, this seems vague and abstract; and yes, it is. But literature is where I can best translate myself. Untranslatable – remember? So, this abstraction is how I can translate myself the best. Hence, literature is my language. From this perspective, poetry is my favorite language.

I cannot separate academia and literature when I see myself. There should be a holistic approach to view anything and everything. But this approach has been a difficult choice. I have to constantly be aware of whether what I am writing is an academic paper or a literary piece. You know, you do not sound “academic” enough when it is emotional writing. At the same time, you do not sound “poetic” enough when there is only the dissection of logic. It has certainly been an interesting ride balancing both academic and poetic sides of mine. Not complaining! Not complaining at all! I have had amusing experiences because of this weird amalgamation.

Whenever people have found my take on anything to be uncomfortable, they have always attacked my words – in whatever way possible – and lo and behold! is it hilarious to experience that! I recall a specific incident as I write these words.

Once, while back in Kathmandu, (a school in Kumaripati to be particular! Let’s not be more particular than that for obvious reasons!) what happened was that I had appeared in a job interview for a teaching position wearing western wear (western blazer suit to be exact). The interview went fine and I was offered a job. Then we negotiated salary. Then something interesting happened. The principal of the school asked me if I would wear sarees to school when the classes start. I did not know how to wear a saree; I still do not know. Not that something I should be proud of; but I am not ashamed either that I do not know how to wear one. But that is not the point. Oh, that is what the point is actually. I requested them if they could allow me to wear Kurta at least, if not western formals, to which what and how he replied to me was demeaning, annoying, and upsetting. And why this was a ridiculous thing was because the school had no uniforms for teachers.

Then, I said something like “okay, if there were uniforms in place, that would have been a different case; but there are not any fixed uniforms. Being required to wear a saree, I will be self-conscious of my clothing so much that I will not be able to give my best to the students. I would not be at all comfortable in a saree while having to speak in front of the kids where one is required to be even more confident than usual. Plus, commuting while wearing a saree is an unnecessary inconvenience. This is a very stupid thing, maybe I am doing a stupid thing, but if saree is a requirement when there is no uniform, I will not be able to take the job.” – Not verbatim but something to that effect.

This principal got so offended that a girl way younger than him actually rejected his job offer, he decided that he should ‘reject offering the job’ to me instead – the job which he had already offered to me by that point. So, instead of just agreeing on letting me go, he acted as if he had rejected me for the job even before the interview. His counterattack was not about the uniform, rather it was about rhetoric that I used and how I used it. This attack turned out to be NOT humiliating, BUT flattering rather. I still remember the exact words this principal said. He had said, “probably students are not going to comprehend what you taught, after all, because even the language of your job application contains flowery language.” See, I told you, such instances are, in fact, so ridiculous that they seem hilarious to me. To this date, I cannot make head or tail of the thought process and the logic such people use.

Anyway, my intention of sharing this particular encounter is to showcase the contrast between the spaces I have been in and to showcase the contrast between the types of lives I have come across. I have met like-minded and open-minded people more so than the unreceptive and narrow-minded ones. Yet, I have come across very few people who get me holistically. I have come across very few spaces where I can be myself holistically without fragmenting into pieces. My journals, my blogs, my books, my poetry, my paintings, my meditation, and some other artforms are my own spaces where I do not have to fragment into pieces. Did you notice anything common in all these above-mentioned spaces? They belong to my heart. They belong to my soul. Undeniably, they do deconstruct me, but they do not dissect and dismember me like the rest of the world does to me. These spaces are the ones where my solitude sprouts, and when solitude sprouts, I start blossoming. NepalNamcha is another such space where my solitude sprouts. NepalNamcha is beyond like-mindedness. To my beloved friend Ashok, a big applaud from me for creating a canvas where soulful creators can come and share their solitude amongst themselves. I do not know how to thank you, but I surely feel like I owe you heaps of gratitude for sharing your solitude with me. You truly are an angel – a beautiful soul, an awakened one, an enlightened one. Thank you for crossing paths with me, my friend.

I wrote this poetry more than a decade ago. It’s been published in a journal and also in my anthology. Many have read it, but never have I dedicated this particular poem to anyone before. I dedicate this poetry that speaks of my solitude as a token of gratitude to you, Ashok, Thank You!

The Companion

O shadow of my soul!
In midst of huddled humans
when loneliness haunts me,
with none a soul around
when I hunt for company,
I just close my eyes
to commune with thee
to find thee there
as always, just beside me.

O reflection of my self!
Thou held me in thine arms
and filled my emptiness
with thy charm,
when my heart was broken,
in despair I was or in pain,
when my bound soul
cried out for liberty
but all in vain.

O voice of my inner sole!
Thou can hear
my silent screams,
thou can see
my unseen dreams,
I – a fallen dry leaf
yet thou find in me
that beauty to behold
thine image of damsel.

O Solitude!
Thou art an angel.

Dear readers of NepalNamcha,
Next coming up from me is the experiences of ‘The Little Match Girl’ that has always flickered within me. It is the story that pierced into my heart for the first time in my life. I read this story on my own as a child of probably 3 or 4 years. It is definitely not the first story I read in my life but it is the first story that made me cry vehemently even when I was such a young kid. Next time, I will share my experience with this fairy tale – the story that made me shed the tears of my heart. It still moves me so much every time I remember it – the very fact that I am nothing but also another ‘Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne’ breaks my heart into pieces. Through my words, all I am attempting is to recollect those pieces. I am just trying to light each of those matchsticks through my write-ups. The world is getting freezing cold more and more, and if I do not write my truth now, I will freeze to death soon.

Through my words of smiles and tears, all I am doing is share my experiences and my truth to keep myself warm – to keep my memories alive, to keep my love alive, to keep my dreams alive, and to keep the little match girl in me alive. Because, as I said, it is getting too cold, and I do not know when these matchsticks will end up burning nor do I know which exhalation of mine will be my last.

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