A night in the streets

I did not know that the port (of Tallinn) would be closed at night and that people would not be allowed to stay inside. I thought, simply thought, that it would be open 24 hours, and had decided that I would spend 4-5 hours inside the port, because I was reaching there at midhight. But, a guard came and told that the office was closed and I had to go out! [This was during this One week solo travel]

So, I decided to spend the rest of the night in the streets. After getting tired, I sat on a bench in one of the bus stops and started writing. Here ( 1, 23) are the pages from the diary, and below is the audio of the same writing.

A night by the Eiffel Tower

I had no plans to sleep or even to lie down. “I will go to the Eiffel tower, and then just wander through the streets of Paris the whole night”, I had thought. I was reaching to the CDG airport at around 22:00. And it would take one more hour by the train to reach Paris. I had to look for a locker to store my luggage, eat dinner and find out the way to the Eiffel tower, where I was going for the first time, alone and reaching at midnight! The only aim for this time was to reach to the Eiffel tower.

Yes, most of the things went as planned more or less. Using the underground metro for travelling is no longer a mystery now. I had spent probably more than a day (meaning 24 hours) to figure out where and how to take the right train and where to get down if I needed to change another one when I had gone to Stockholm alone for the first time. The process was similar in Barcelona. And I had expected the similar procedures for Paris too. And it worked out. Maybe, it is the same throughout Europe.

It was already past midnight when I reached there. The tower which I used to see only in photos, was right in front of me! It looked magnificent with lights glowing all over.

But after some time (maybe at 1:00), the lights went off.

Anyway, mission accomplished! I reached to the Eiffel tower. 🙂

Then I started strolling around as there was nothing to look at to the tower after the lights went off. What I found after changed my plan of wandering around the streets for the whole night. There was a grassland nearby where a lot of other people were drinking, chatting and some lying down. I decided to lie down for a while.

The sky was clear, stars visible, gentle breeze and soft grass on the ground. And I was in front of the Eiffel tower! Well, that was another ineffable feeling.

Two other visitors were lying nearby. We just started talking, and kept talking and kept talking and kept talking… until morning! Yes, we did not sleep at all. They had come from Bordeaux with a plan similar to mine :). Only that they arrived in the afternoon and also climbed to the top of the tower. I will do that during my next visit probably.

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How we spent the whole night… Photo: That friend, who just started talking and we spent the whole night talking!

Yes, the tower is impressive, but maybe the grandeur of the tower is too glorified that we expect too much that we do not find it as we expect it to be. Like those friends as they were saying, and me too!

That 15-year-old drunk girl!

“How old are you?” the first question that little girl asked me was my age, as soon as I stopped my bicycle. I was going home from campus.

I got confused.

“Why?”

“How old are you?” she repeated her question.

“Why?” I repeated my question.

“Do you speak Finnish?”

Oh, she did not understand how I pronounced the word ‘why’. “No, I do not. But why do you want to know my age?”

There were two girls. The other one, who was a bit taller, did not speak anything. The smaller one was asking my age. There was some tear rolling down one of her cheeks.

“But how old are you?”

“Seems like you are drunk, right? 🙂 I am 26. But why do you want to know?”

“Where are you from?” I later realized she was trying to please me first. 🙂

“I am from Nepal.”

“Nepal” she repeated. “Do you want to drink?” Not exactly the same question, but she asked something like that, that if I’d like to drink something.

“No, I do not drink alcohol,” I said.

“Could you please buy some for us. Because we want to drink.”

What! I never drink alcohol myself. Will I buy alcohol for others?

“But you already seem drunk,” I smiled.

“We want some more. Please…!” she was almost pleading. “We will give you the money and you buy for us, okay. Please.”

Oh, I get it. They will bear the cost themselves. I just need to buy it from the store and give it to them.

Yes, I got the point. I knew why she asked my age first.

“How old are you?” I asked.

“Fifteen.”

“So YOU cannot buy it right?”

“Yes, please buy it okay. I will give you the money”

“See you are already drunk. You should not drink more.”

She was not interested to listen to any advice, it was obvious. She was not extremely drunk but was at a level enough to stop a stranger and ask for help to buy them some alcohol.

“Please…,” she was still trying to stop me when I pedalled my bicycle ahead, saying “No, sorry.”

—- —- —- —-

See, how smart she was. First, she asked my age to make sure if I was at least 18. Then she asked if I would like to drink, probably thinking I would buy some for them too if I wanted to. At last, she told that she would bear the cost herself.

She was so beautiful, talking fluently and so friendly that I would have probably made her my beloved sister if she was sober and was asking for some other help. But she was an underage little girl, asking to help her buy alcohol!!

It was only after an hour or so a question came to my mind – “Can underage still get drunk even if they cannot buy alcohol here?” Because I do not drink alcohol, I did not take note of alcohol laws here (Finland). I googled and understood that they can drink but only under their parent’s supervision. But the amount they can drink, the level they can get drunk were not clearly mentioned.

Should I have informed the police? I do not know. Probably I should have done. But it is already late now. I do not know where they have gone by now.

That Footpath University!

I was rambling in the streets of Kathmandu when a stray dog started leading my way one day.

I got confused. “Did he know that I was like him; nothing to do, nowhere to go?”

I decided to follow him. Yes, I said I decided to follow a stray dog. Because I was like him.

After some five minutes, the dog stopped, turned his head back, raised his eyes up to mine, blinked once and resumed his journey again. Maybe he was glad that he found a partner! I kept following him.

Sometime later, a next dog from the verandah of a house barked towards him. There was no reason. As soon as he saw, he started barking.

“Why should he bark towards a being same as him? Son of a bitch! (Pardon me here; I really meant to offend him but how was a dog offended when he was said a son of a bitch. He was the son of a bitch indeed) Maybe he should have learnt this elitist manner from his owner” I thought. “Just because he is sitting on a sofa inside a house, he thinks he is superior? Otherwise, why should that elite dog bark without any reason?”

I wished I could understand their language and know what that elite dog barked for! But my partner did not care. He did his dog-business at one of the corners of the gate and moved. And I loved that.

He always became the leader and me, the follower. I would advance for a short time when he stopped for his dog-business but he would leave me behind in no time. It went on like that until he saw some other dogs playing on a ground, and twisted his move towards them.

Oh, I had thought that he was just wandering, nowhere to go. Like me. But he had an aim? An aim to reach to his companions?

He moved towards them and they discussed something I did not understand.

Did you really have an aim?” I wished to ask.

Has he headed here? Has he really aimed this location or just because he meets someone to get engaged with, he’s stopping here? Is that why he did not argue with that elite dog who barked at him? Because he knows that he wouldn’t reach his destination in time if he started debating with each of the dogs that bark at him?” Again, I wished I could understand and speak their language.

Will I ever find some place/people to get engaged with? Like this dog?

I just leant against a wall and watched them with a blank mind for a long time. None of them cared my presence.

Being ignored by somebody who you think cares you is the worst feeling.

Some swallows flew over my head. I shifted my gaze towards them. My eyes swooped with them in the sky for a long time.

I heard some giggles. I turned around. On the other side of the road, just beyond the footpath, there was a park, The Fiction Park. A couple was laying down facing towards the sky. She raised her hand and pointed towards the sky. He did the same. I looked up to see what it was. There was only a moon in the deep blue sky, smiling. Maybe because the moon also heard their plans she was smiling. I smiled with the moon for some time. But I could not stop from bursting into laughter for long. The couple stood up and moved away.

I heard a faint, flute melody far away. But that faded in no time. Maybe, the gust of the wind that just passed away brought it!

I turned towards the swooping swallows. But they also had already flown out of sight.

“Oh, where am I going?” I got confused.

“Ah, I was following him. The dog. Where would a derelict go!”  But now, the dog had met his companions. When he met his companions, why would he give a damn care to me! He did not even turn back to look at me now. I expected that he, at least, turned towards me once, and felt sorry that he was no longer my friend.

I was alone. Left alone even by a stray dog!

Nobody cares a derelict. Not even stray dogs!

There was no point in staying there. There was no point in leaving the place either because I had nowhere to go. But I did not feel like staying in the place where I was being ignored even by stray dogs. I moved. Moved towards a place I found yesterday, nearby a temple, where I could sleep comfortably and could even get something to eat if the prayers were kind enough like the day before.

Representative photo; from Rajana’s blog

But, to my great surprise, the dog came following me. I became speechless. Even if I had something to say, he would not understand. This time, he only followed me. If I stopped, he would stop and look up at my eyes and down to the ground as if he was looking for something around. I kept leading and he kept following me until we reached my destination this time. There was nobody. I lay down. I saw the moon again. I recalled the couple’s plans and laughed again. The dog sat beside my feet.

Sometime later, in the evening, I got two loaves of bread from a prayer. I gave one to the dog and ate one. Had I not given him a single piece, he would have neither demanded, nor protested. I just felt like giving a whole. I didn’t know why. That was all for our dinner that day. And we slept.

Early in the morning, the dog got up. I got up. He looked at me as if he was ready.

Does he want to go for a morning walk?

He had already reached quite far when he turned back and looked at me. “Aren’t you coming?”

I began to follow.

“Hey! Jungey, wait!” I heard like someone calling me. I turned back. There was a fat man jogging hastily.

“How did this man know my name? I don’t think I have seen him before. I don’t even know who named me Jungey. Who is this man actually?” I stood still, confused and waited for him.

But to my disbelief, the man jogged past me even without looking at me once. “What the hell is going on here? I am cent percent sure that he called my name and even waved at me to stop. Is he sane?”

But he left me behind and kept jogging. He reached to the dog, who I was following, picked him up and held in his arms, patted and spoke in a quite scolding voice, walking, “Why did you leave home, you rascal?”

There was nobody to lead my way.

मुक्तक

फूटपाथका जीवनहरु पढ्नमै अभ्यस्त छ 

सधैँ यसैगरी चल्दैन भन्नेमा पनि बिस्वस्त छ 

प्राथमिकताहरुको एउटा निर्वाचन गर्न नसकेर 

आफैँ चाहिँ आजकल पूरै अस्तव्यस्त छ ।।  #माई_डियर_जिन्दगी 🙂


Is accustomed to reading the footpath lives

Is sure, just this way, it never survives !

Being unable to conduct an election of priorities

Itself’s a mess now! Still, there’s something for which it strives !!  #My_dear_jindagi 🙂

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