Click through the gallery by Dan Szczesny
India is beautiful madness. India is harsh, abrupt, relentless, and raw and alive with living. She is a gorgeous sin, wrapped in tikka and fire and aluminum and she does not at all care what you think of her. India scoffs at New York City or Paris and makes you question everything you think you know. And in the end, at the edge of your ability to comprehend your place here, India is a baby and a great-grandmother laughing.
[Above] A few pics from a day that tested my belief that true living begins when your comfort zone ends, for if that is the case then I lived BIG this day. We traveled only 150 miles in nine hours and went by car, rickshaw, horse cart, motorcycle, on foot, police wagon and plane. We were abandoned in the middle of nowhere after our motorcycle driver was scared off by a gas blockade mob, rescued by a bank security guard on a bicycle, then my father in law had to talk his way onto a police wagon to get us to the airport on time. Amazing material? You bet! Fun? Not so much. But I am in my comfort city now, my beautiful City of Temples, and can’t wait to wander the streets to regain my balance. Till then, here’s a few pics from the day. Peace from Nepal!
We are all connected. From the other side of the world, you helped me reach out and we touched the lives of a bunch of kids that have nothing but dreams. Through the help of the amazing Amy Pennybacker, we were put in contact with a monk who knew of an orphanage for HIV positive kids who lost their building to the earthquakes and were now struggling to rebuild a new orphanage before winter arrived. The monk took us down to the site, outside city limits, and we had an emotional meeting with the kids and founders who showed us how rebuilding is going. We donated the money you all helped raise at our Nepal events and over the next few months we’ll follow their progress as they use the money to begin building a roof for the new orphanage. From thousands of miles away, all of you who cared about a country and people you never met, made a commitment to do something to ease human suffering. Thank you my friends for honoring me to deliver your gift. A remarkable day of love and connection, crossing culture, language, boundaries and religion to make the world just a tiny bit better. We are all connected.
My poor, sweet Kathmandu, how it pains me to see you so hurt. Brick temples torn and leaning like red, broken teeth. People collect at the base of monuments that once represented Nepalese culture and strength, now only open air. Open gaping wounds in the body of a people, exposing a heart that still beats strong, but for how long? Children play on the platforms where once rose living history and now know only piles of brick, and dust, and cracks that tear at the very identity of this beautiful and proud place. An old, bent woman, climbs over piles of building debris and trampled fencing to make an offering to Shiva and it makes me wonder if Shiva cares, or perhaps I’m missing the point. Behind a broken fence atop the leaning Temple to Krishna a group of worshippers sing mantras and chant and smile, oblivious to the crumbling pillars that surround them. Maybe that’s Kathmandu? Maybe that’s a beginning? Meanwhile, all around me, the City of Temples weeps.
Travel writer and journalist Dan Szczesny is a writer who lives and works in Manchester. He is married to Meena Gyawali and together they are chronicling their adventures of parenthood and as members of the human race. This post is about their trip, with baby Uma in tow, as they travel through Northern India and Nepal, visiting family, returning to Dan’s adopted city, Kathmandu, and lessons learned about fatherhood on the road. From the back of a motorcycle to hunting down a needy orphanage with the help of a friendly llama, Dan’s journey is becoming epic. Here’s a few of his Facebook posts and pictures. We are rooting for more posts, upon his return.
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