“As if there still weren’t enough of reality, of that awful reality…”
– Henri Michaux
It’s been about 20 years now. Why do I continue to come back? As an answer, nothing comes to mind but beginnings of speeches about the youth—their rather sorry energy, their smiling resignation—before I falter, failing to offer anything consistent or convincing. Disorder.
But if I were to pause for a moment on this word—“disorder”—and question it, I would perceive a certain link between my own disorder and that which characterises these towns and villages I keep returning to, season after season. A link with this territory that does not know the void and where auspicious stones have been erected in the few places left untouched by the secular hustle: this territory that appeases me.
Emerging from the airport on each return, surrounded by heady traffic, non-stop racket, the lead and the nitrates, I simply slip into a world where I already existed, soothed in the shadow of its chaos. A world in which I feel recognised. A glance, a dog, a line of ragged walls, a ladybird on the half-open window of the car, a butcher’s shop, the spasms of a bus, the light burn of tea on the lips… these offer me solace. Death, violence, fever, air heavy with dust and metal, the crunch of space, none of it offends. I am in the right place, a place striving for balance between order and disorder.
On that basis, lingering on what sits next to the facts, or under them, or behind them, or who knows where else in their vicinity, it will perhaps be possible to build up the beginning of an answer to that elusive question: “Why Nepal?”