Seven days in Nepal
A natural intertwining of life and death
Here men live mainly from agriculture, work the land, live off its resources.
Here men and women are hands and arms, prayer, gestures, offerings. It is an alternation of physicality and soul, of desolating landscapes of poverty and misery and temples where rites and ceremonies in honor of the God Shiva and the Goddess Kali raise us beyond the earthly condition.
Here the sacrifice is not only valid in an abstract sense, it is not only a sacrifice of time, energy, mental and emotional resources. It is very real, at times raw and irrational, it is the sacrifice of animals, it is blood spilled, it is giving up childhood, it is the best years of a child offered to a divinity in the incomprehensible observance of an ancient custom.
Working in the fields
On the back of an elephant
Here life takes on a different value, it seems to be worth less, or perhaps definitely more for those gentle ways, for the confidence in becoming, for the placid acceptance of the present. Life and death intertwine in an inevitable, natural continuity.
The lifeless bodies are not scary, they do not arouse disgust, there is no resistance or fear in touching them, in handling them, in entrusting them to the flames. Wrapped in an orange cloth, they are deposited on the pyres of the Kathmandu crematorium, in a public ceremony, visible to all, ready to be burned, to be consumed in the fire along with tears that we do not see, perhaps held back, perhaps evaporated.
"It's too strong for me" are the words of Sofia, they are the same as mine, unspoken. It is too strong, too difficult to understand and feel close to certain customs, to those rituals that appear tribal, and at the same time one is magnetically attracted by that diversity which reveals itself to us in its most authentic essence.
Krishna tells us for seven days about his land, his religion, the prayers at the temple in the early morning, the rigid division into castes, what it means to study in Nepal, how he learned Italian at the Dante Alighieri school, what it is the average life. He speaks in a neutral, equidistant and aseptic way, so much so that he seems to live outside his nation, in a suspended place, he talks about his people and does not let his full membership be leaked. He wins us over for his delicacy, for his calm way of reacting to every situation, for the ability to anticipate and grasp the smallest needs. He is the bearer of his culture, sometimes he smiles at ours, showing that he knows and respects it. Krishna knows how to distance himself and then fully reunites with his land, and we are surprised and enchanted by the naturalness with which he undresses, immerses himself in water that has the color of mud and then climbs astride an elephant. And this is how he makes us feel love and adherence to his people.
Seven days in Nepal. Kathmandu which still bears the wounds of the earthquake, Bhaktapur and the beauty of its medieval buildings, Patan and the senseless tradition of the child goddess, Pokhara and the majesty of Annapurna behind it. The Chitwan National Park, the jungle, the Taru people who dance and give us the harmony of bodies that move in unison.
A journey that has the features of a dream, which mixes sleep and wakefulness, which has the warm colors of a sunrise and a sunset, which returns the fullness and meaning of words such as gratitude and beauty, in a suspended time in which the imagination seems real and the things seen and people encountered an impression.