Walking in the streets of Nepal

By: Upasana Shrestha

Poetry, 2019

I do not remember when I was taught that
Everest is the tallest mountain
In the World
For me, it is a fact I’ve always known
The sky is blue, the clouds are white
And the tallest mountain in the world
Is Everest
And my country proudly boasts it
And in this Nepal I wear my Nepali clothes
Not the Hakku Patasi of my ethnic group
Or the Gunyo Cholo that is our national dress
Just the normal jeans and tee
Of course I have to make sure
That my jeans aren’t jean shorts
Because we are in Nepal-
The land of the tallest mountain
The land of delicious chiya
And taxi drivers that whistle at me
when I walk past
The group of three on the road home
That always should things that make
me uncomfortable
Or that creepy guy that stares
at my tummy
When my shirt rides up even a little when
I hold the bars on the bus
That is always overcrowded
And let’s not forget that middle aged man
Who’ll make that haitta noise
Leer at everything but my face
As he takes in my summer clothes
Sometimes I blast on the Ramones
And wear my short shorts anyway
And I know I am Nepali
Because my aunt nudges me
Tells me I should clear the cups
That my uncles used
As a chori manxey, a daughter
Nepali culture, you know?
And I know I live in Nepal
Because I spend an extraordinary amount of time
In lines
In banks, government offices
And if the roads are rocky, the traffic jams are heavy
Everyone will say,
What to do?
This is Nepal

I can’t decide if I’m patriotic or not"
Some days I get angry at the lines,
The awful men in the streets
The way I’m treated as a woman
And I say I hate it
Other days I smile
Looking at the small things-
The kids on the street
The old lady with her toothless smile
The view….
It’s just so damn beautiful
And I wonder how I can ever
Tear myself from this place
That is home
So, I put my headphones on
Ignore the guy with the badly dyed blond hair
Catcalling me
Hold my head up high
Walk in the road of the bearer
Of the tallest mountain
In the world- Nepal.