Nepal and Parents!

There’s going to be a lot of back and forth in the next few posts. Last weekend we were in Baroda and that draft is saved in my email, which I don’t currently have access to because my data card is mysteriously not working. Therefore, I’ll continue with other posts and backtrack later.
I have to backtrack to further into last week when I finally decided to do something I’d been thinking about since college, getting my nose pierced. I wanted to get it done after the marathon, as a kind of marker or something; the weekend after I was supposed to get it again with Kritika but our timings got missed up and if I didn’t get it on that Tuesday, I was going to call it quits. We ran into her cousin who had just come from getting her nose pierced from the same place. Apparently it’s the place to go. The jeweler sharpened the ring, held my nose with the tongs and pointed out what the problem was with my nose in order to distract me from the fact that a ring was piercing through my nose. It didn’t really hurt, not more than for a few seconds, and then it was done. I hated it the first few moments but by the time I got home I was already used to it. It’s been 2 weeks now and it’s healing well (knock on wood).
What I find strange is that most folks didn’t comment on it when I saw them afterward. In my office, some of my friends, and I’d say 90% of the kids I work with didn’t comment or maybe even notice at all. What a lot of people said after I pointed it out to them is that they noticed and wanted to say that it was looking nice but were distracted by work or didn’t get around to it yet. Only a handful of people said something as soon as I saw them. Many gave an excuse that my face is very fit for a piercing so it just seemed natural that I’d have one. I also think that nose rings are so common here that many people just don’t see them anymore. There are reasons why people get their nose pierced. I’m still not sure if it has something to do with caste. Many kids get it done when they’re 4 or 5, some younger, some older. I heard that the old wives tale says that there are health benefits in getting your nose pierced. In the north, they pierce the left nostril, in the south, the right. No one I asked knows why. Mine is on the left. Maharashtra is considered northish.
The big news is that my parents are here! Well they’re not here they’re in Delhi. They arrived on Sunday and have been being tourists in the north waiting for me. I’m on my way tonight (tomorrow early morning) staying up so that I don’t miss my flight. I’ll regret it later, but I have writing to catch up on, work to do, and last minute packing and cleaning. I’ve been working even more lately. I got a promotion, which is super exciting but also a bit overwhelming; it’s great and exciting. Back to my parents, I’m so excited to see them; I’m excited that they’re having fun in Delhi

We’ve landed in Kathmandu. It’s a very interesting experience because I want to compare it with India; it has many, many similarities, but is also very different at the same time. It’s definitely much, much more polluted than anywhere I’ve been in India. People here are concerned about it enough to walk around with facemasks on. People wear similar clothing, but different. There are so many foreigners, mostly European and American. I’m staying in a pretty classy hotel thanks to my parents. I’m pretty happy about that. It’s supposed to have internet connection, but it’s so slow nothing will connect, therefore this post will continue to grow until my dashboard can load.
I ran into my parents as I was checking in; it was really exciting to see them. They were done already and waited for me to check in. We got food and chatted about this and that as if no time passed between now and last December. It was really nice. I miss them. Due to my bad sleeping habits the previous night – I didn’t sleep for more than an hour – I passed out on both plane rides as soon as I hit the seat. The ride to Delhi I had a stopover in Nagpur and I didn’t even wake up as they were cleaning the plane, only when they shook me to ask if the bag above was mine. When we arrived in Nepal, I had to stand on the line to get a visa, bare getting the worst picture ever taken and attached to my visa, and we were taken to our shmancy hotel. It’s not really that fancy but it is pretty nice. It’s beautiful actually. The décor is very elaborate and “ethnic.”
The original plan was to go to the jungle and go on a safari type thing. Apparently the hotel my mom was booking through stopped responding to phone calls and this brought about a change in our plans. I’m a mountain person, and, I feel like I don’t want to be led around by some enslaved elephant, even though I know that at some level their lives aren’t that bad and maybe better than living in the wild with fears of being poached. Anyway, we’re now reworking it to go to Pokhara! I’m very excited about the prospects of seeing the Himalayas, I wish I could go trekking, but I won’t; instead I just get to stare in awe at their beauty. I’m so excited!
Tomorrow we’re meeting Manoj for lunch and a walk around. He gets to travel whenever he wants as long as he has a computer to work. Am I jealous? Very! I wish I could just take off right now and hike throughout the Himalayas, venture through the conservation area and live in the woods for a few months. I miss space and open air and breathing knowing that I’m not ingesting soot, chemicals, and burning garbage that might potentially harm my health in the long run.
After dinner tonight I went on a walk in search of a small bottle of cocoanut oil for my nose – I’m supposed to apply a little in the morning and evening to help healing. Instead I found caccha mango candies. We looked for this candy in over 5 shops in Baroda to no avail. Instead, I happily find myself sucking on little caccha (raw) mango candies in Nepal. I don’t think I ever thought I would think or say a sentence like that in my entire life. It’s funny where life takes you.

  1. Hi Ana! Wanted to reply back to the post before heading over to facebook and checking pics to see the nose ring. Congrats, and yes, it does have health benefits. You remember how my mum has one on her left side too? Well, mum suffered for years from foot eczema during the monsoons and them someone advised her to get a nose ring, (I think it was related to a particular meridian point in acupuncture). Mum was super desperate and tried it and next monsoon season, the eczema magically disappeared and she has not had a recurrence since. (Side note – I still remember my brother refused to speak to my mother for 3 days after she got the nose ring!)

    Mum also told me that traditionally it worked like a bindi, i.e. as a marker. So young girls (aka virgins) wear nose rings and then after they are married, its a tradition after the first night, for the mother-in-law to give the girl a nose pin/stud 🙂

    BTW, that’s also why in pics of Indian brides, they all wear nose rings not studs – its a sign they are still virgins (and yes, the phallic symbolism isnt lost on me!)

    So will u get toe rings next? And do you know their significance?

  2. Hi Ana! Hope you post new pics with the nose ring soon (didnt see any on facebook?). Congrats, and yes, it does have health benefits. You remember how my mum has one on her left side too? Well, mum suffered for years from foot eczema during the monsoons and them someone advised her to get a nose ring, (I think it was related to a particular meridian point in acupuncture). Mum was super desperate and tried it and next monsoon season, the eczema magically disappeared and she has not had a recurrence since. (Side note – I still remember my brother refused to speak to my mother for 3 days after she got the nose ring!)

    Mum also told me that traditionally it worked like a bindi, i.e. as a marker. So young girls (aka virgins) wear nose rings and then after they are married, its a tradition after the first night, for the mother-in-law to give the girl a nose pin/stud 🙂

    BTW, that’s also why in pics of Indian brides, they all wear nose rings not studs – its a sign they are still virgins (and yes, the phallic symbolism isnt lost on me!)

    So will u get toe rings next? And do you know their significance?

    BTW, Is kacha mango candy also called aam papad?

  3. Kanchan, you’re awesome! But no toe rings any time soon. Kaccha Mango bite is a little candy that tastes like kaccha mango. It’s just yum. Your mom is so cool for getting a nose ring. Tell her I say hi and that I love my nose ring too. Check out facebook. I just uploaded some photos.

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