Kathmandu:

After a seven-hour journey over rickety roads, we finally reached Kharbang village in Baglung, and luckily found an ideal accommodation — a Thakali family’s ‘lodge’ that served rice and chicken on order.

The lodge was a beautiful two-storied house with wooden walls and staircase that it trembled when vehicles passed by.

In the corner sat a little boy (the owner’s son) doing his homework. A little girl (the owner’s daughter), probably younger than the boy, came and placed a fancy ceramic tea cup in front of me.

I pointed to the boy and asked her, “Do you go to school like him?”

She looked at me blankly and quickly shook her head in the negative before running back to the kitchen.

The lights went out, and the owner explained this was nothing new in Kharbang. The girl appeared with a candle and reached for a black switch. The room was flooded with light, and the owner with great pride told us how he had installed the area’s first lighting system in the lodge.

The dinner that was served surpassed all our expectations and the landlady ignored our “enough” pleas and fed us until we almost burst.

When I asked, “Didi, what is the present situation in your village?”, she refrained from answering, but looked at her husband as if seeking permission to speak.

After getting his nod, she said, “We have a big road now. We also have electricity and a school nearby for our children. They (Maobadis) don’t ask us to feed them these days. We are happy and content with our life.”

We had to leave early the next morning, however, I wished I could have stayed a longer in Kharbang and listen to the stories of the people here. The small little things (at least for me) that they narrate with such enthusiasm. I feel I have lost touch with the simplicities of life getting caught up in attaining materialistic comfort that I no longer seem to pay attention to the little joys of life: my mother’s home-cooked food, my father’s stories about old Palpa and my two-year old nephew’s giggle.

I’d like to thank the people of Kharbang, especially the Thakali family, for a reality check and making me realise that life is much more than big houses and fancy cars and restaurants.