A different aspect of their life. I had never thought of a story that could be hidden behind those dirty hands, empty cans and hungry eyes. It wasn't that I despised them, but never before did I have a feeling of sympathy towards them. And that's how it was until one day a music video changed my mind.
A girl of around 14 is playing hide and seek with a man of around 35 on a busy overhead bridge of the busy Kathmandu city. He's telling her to 'go and beg somewhere else', but she's enjoying her play with him. She does go, though.
He is visually impaired and has black goggles over his eyes. But his charming personality attracts you the moment you see him. He laughs around and never lets you feel that he has this immense grief of being neglected by the society because of his inability to see the beautiful world. But you could feel at the very moment you see his expression that though he cannot see through his eyes, he can see through his heart and feels the beauty of the world he is in.
The girl has a dream that one day she gets to ride a bicycle with him and tour around the city, dancing on top of garbage pile, crossing a dirty river and just roaming the city. But that's just a dream. Yet, she doesn't give up dreaming.
Finally she does find a bicycle, an abandoned one, under a bridge. No tyres, not in good shape, rusted and…well, basically totally unrideable. But she is content on what she's found. She's found her dream. And though she can't ride the bicycle, she takes it around the city with him following her, grabbing the rear part of the vehicle. After a moment though, she loses him because she was so excited to have found the bicycle and to roam around the streets that she forgets to check on him if he's still with her. She loses him. She never wanted to lose him, but she does. In desperation, she abandons her 'dream' and rushes back to find him again. That moment she realizes that she could give up even her dream for him.
It's the story of an ordinary 'homeless family' in an ordinarily busy street of Kathmandu city. For survival, they have to collect sympathy going here and there around the city every day, in the form of coins or bills, of 'unnaturally' busy people. If they are able to convince people, they get to fill their empty stomachs. But if they fail, their stomachs stay empty. That's all we know about from surface.
However, hidden inside their empty cans are their own beautiful worlds; the dreams they have and the relationships they share. Their energy to stay happy and smile, despite what little they have, teases us who forget our own children, parents and friends for something that we think makes us happy. But there's nothing happier than a happy family, a family in harmony.
She teaches us not to stop dreaming, however little chance we may have to achieve it. It's not that whatever we dream will come true in the future. But that should not stop us from dreaming. There is hope only if we continue dreaming.
When we see the street people, one thing comes to our mind: they're there to beg and they survive by begging. That's from the surface. However, if we explore deep into their lives, completely new aspects open up. And those aspects sometimes inspire you to stay positive and optimistic in life. They teach us lessons that can never be taught in schools. They teach us life itself.
(Inspired by the music video 'Kathor' by 'Night' band, directed by Bibhusan Basnet)
By Akash Maharjan
(The writer blogs at www.hamropaalo.blogspot.com)