It’s been quite busy this week and I’ve had a few unusual experiences to say the least. These include:
1) going to a Nepali wedding (lasts 3 days, on day one all the blokes go to fetch the bride and the women, including me, stay behind and bang drums/wail until they return, which in this case, was over 24 hours. Apparently, we have it easy with our walk down the aisle and cocktail sausages on sticks afterwards). It was lots of fun, they taught us (read: attempted to teach us0 to dance, and there was a bizarre dance done by the grandmother, in drag, acting out ‘bedroom scenes’ with the future mother in law. Note to mum, this is a definite NO for any wedding I may have. Which brings me on to……
2) Getting a genuine proposal of marriage from the man I bought a scarf from a few weeks ago. Apparently, I would make an excellent bride, could help with the accounts, and learn to ‘cook properly’. When I expressed both being flattered, but disadvantage as I leave Nepal in two weeks, he assured me that this was enough time to organisae everything and I didn’t need to worry about anything. Muneer is very gentlemanly (even a tad rugged) but when I firmly explained that I could not acquiesce to his request, he started crying. In the middle of his shop. Needless to say, this was pretty grim. Fortunately, the bar opposite had lots of gin in stock. Either way, this brings my tally of proposals up to four (I got three on geriatrics) and is the first from someone who hasn’t faught in a world war. Whether this shows progression, or regression in my ability to attract inappropriate men, I simply do not know.
3) Having an altercation in the street when the above gentleman saw me exiting a different handicraft store, apparently having committed the sins of covetting another man’s pashmina, also known as ‘scarfdultery’. In Muneer’s eyes, apparently my sinful nature knows no bounds. Good news is that the scary text messages/late night calls (which have no fear, I never answered) have now ceased. Bad news is that I’m a bit concerned I might wake up to a yak’s head in my bed one morning. At the end of the day…..kehgarni?
4) Going to see a Nepali film, which made Neighbours look OSCARworthy and like hardhitting drama, by comparison. There was a very John Cleese type period where I kept asking what films were on/which the best was/were there subtitles/ad infinitum and the man kept saying ‘I am sorry’ which I took to mean he didn’t understand. Obviously, this was in fact the name of the film. Either way, as the first foreigners to attend the filmhouse in living memory, the owners plied us with Nepali cinema snacks (masala popcorn, tibetan bread with sweet butter, other things that defy description but may once have been some form of vegetable…..) and repeatedly asked us if we were enjoying it, which we did immensely, mostly because the other viewers kept crying at the plotline. Best 80 pence I’ve spent in a while!
5) Going kurta shopping. I’ve ummed and ahhed about buying one for weeks, but after borrowing Claire’s spare one for Sivaratri (see photos) decided I needed to seize the day and make a purchase. The shops are like aladdin’s cave, for someone with a love of textiley pretty things like me, with towers of fabrics in every imaginable colour, with every sort of embroidery you can think of. The shop assistants were very helpful and I love the one I purchased, though the measuring procedure was a bit odd (was measuring my groin really neccessary……?). To me, kurtas seem to epitomise the Nepali view of femininity, as they are very modest (everything is covered), but opulent in design. It also is much easier than clothes shopping in the UK as really you have a choice of tunic-with-slits or tunic-without-slits and trousers-with-baggy-legs and trousers-without-baggy-legs – s opposed to the endless dilemma when dress shopping at home of strappy or strapless, sleeved or sleeveless, A-line or empire line, floor length, knee length, mini…..the list goes on. Goodness, being a Western consumer is difficult. Perhaps the Nepali are on to something.
6) Obs and gynae: well, it’s a mixed bag, that’s for sure. I’ve seen some very rare cases – a ruptured uterus, a bicornuate uterus, a molar pregnancy and an intersex woman, which is of course interesting. However, I did find last week difficult after being present at the birth of an anencephalic baby (undeveloped brain, not compatible with life) as the mother wanted to carry to term, rather than terminate. The baby was surprisingly born alive, and after looking at it with complete disgust, the midwives left it exposed on the side, to die, and then left is uncovered for hours, at one stage putting another naked stillborn child next to it. Usually, families take bodies down to the river behind the hospital, to burn on pyres. These babies were destined for a rubbish heap, apparently. I find this difficult to understand, though in Nepal, where infant deaths are not common, but more so than in the West, perhaps their lack of empathy is understandable, as these events are seen as just a part of life. Either way, it reminded me of the importance of a neutral face when delivering health care. No baby deserves to be looked at, like this one was.
That’s probably enough for now! I’m spending my last week writing my report (any suggestions for an ‘original angle’ much appreciated. Considering writing it in iambic pentameter just to see if that meets the med school’s ridiculous criteria….) and buying far too many souvenirs. I think it’s going to be a case of wearing ALL OF MY CLOTHES to enable everything else to fit in. Hmm. This week I’ll also say goodbye to the Swedish friends I’ve made, which will be sad, but also a good excuse to visit Sweden at some stage in the future. I’ve also had lots of time to think about what extra-curricular (or, extra occupational, whoop!) next year. Being out here has enforced my plan to join the Rotary as they do a lot of good stuff in places like Nepal (and I won’t be the oldest, unlike in uni stuff) so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in when I get through finals.
-L and L, can’t wait to see you and congrats on the interviews at Metaswitch! Have sourced Nepali bunting (also known as Tibetan prayer flags) to grace the flat. Too exited for words.
W – hope revision is going well, hope you’ll make it home to see me when I’m back!
Prospects folk – looking forward to seeing you and already planning April’s meeting!
Rowena and rugged heros: man in Nepali film deffo meets criteria. May need to have a Nepali themed night at some stage…..