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Covid-19, A Story from Kathmandu: My Life as a Foreigner

Life is filled with obtacles and opportunities. The article is one of such opportunities in this difficult time to spread goodness around


I Visit David in the Morning

I called on David to know if he's safe and sound in the morning on Tuesday, in 24 Nov'20.

His eyes were beaming with joy on his glowing face while he was about to share me his story.

Jason had sent him an email rememebering, how he had helped him to become a photographer.

When the story ended, he showed me the email on the screen of his laptop.

Then he laughed at himself saying, "I couldn't believe it."

At the end of the talk, I asked him if he'd permit me to use it.

He agreed. Here it goes:

He writes a Letter to Ian

"Dear Ian, its 02.58am Tuesday, Nov' 24th 2020.

Just had an amazing letter from the person called Jason Tilley. I had told you about him. I helped him become a successful photographer over 30 years ago. I'm close to tears of happiness and joy.

Sadness now, Ian, I've just had an email from him after I'd sent him, you have got a copy as well. It was sent to all friends:

"A Foreigner in Nepal." It was heart felt but usual, David serious funny!"

He receives a Letter from Jason.

"I recognise and know of what you speak having lived there so much over the previous decade.

Please try and get in touch when you return. I've been sober for three days after being on the piss for 10 years.

Jason, Monday, 23, Nov'2020 5.21AM.

Thanks, I will. I've of the 'pop' for 13 years, Jason.

David, Monday, 23, Nov'20. at 12.03AM.

I just wonder how I get to see images of yours if I can.

Jason, Tuesday, Nov' 24, 3020. at 1.55 AM."

"I was totally dyslexic as well.

David, Tuesday, Nov'24, 2020. at 2.48 AM."

His Way of Help

"I gave Jason, one of my photographs ( present) he's had it on his office wall ever since, as a reminder of Me. Many do that.

His journey was a mirror of mine. He even had the same physique as mine and was quietly spoken .

I arranged and presented his first exhibition in a major ex-monastic setting in Coventry.

I suspended big images of black and white from the rafters. Nothng could be attached. It was a grade 1 listed buildng.

Jason liked the face but kept to music culture contemporary."

His Small World of Catalysts

"In AA, we are all anonymous and all help we give to fellow sufferers is totally anon. We in AA never take or create publicity.

When we talk to others about our recovery, we never mention aa. We give no publicity to media press or TV. The tradition well observed is helping others help themselves, no reward is necessary.
It's a small world. Love to you all."

David's Weirdest Moment

""Do you enjoy writing?" Jason asked.

Then further he added, "I'm dyslexic. I was put in the stupid classes at school."

He like me has just put down the 'pop' and has been off for 13 days with AA help. His new journey is beginning. Withdrawals are horrific. When you try to stop addiction and suddenly stop, the mental pain is undescribable for days, for weeks. It lingers.

You know you have to stop or you die a lonely death in addiction fighting yourself each moment, each day and I mean moment by moment."

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.

- Aristotle


His kind of Kathmandu

Kathmandu is full of humanity, each is included, not just irrevelant sound bites to muddle the confused.

The city has intrigue, danger, maybe charm. All words fit in but none are right.

David, the registered odd ball is drawn to the new, with joy and fear. I'm safe and but alone.

I carry no phone, just a battered passport to explain to anyone that asks with uniform and strange voice, who I am.

The only reply I use is David. No prefix or post script. My age, status will be asked in seconds.

The first I was asked age, I answered like a parrot, 55.

I'm now with solid authority. I answer quickly, but quietly anything from:

"Don't know."



Once I've laughed, got muddled or gone away, I can then walk on and continue with my life.

The only serious way to deal with Nepal, is to have no plans at all.

The clock with numbers round the edge to indicate time, is hardly at best.

But staying awake is a good start. Try to keep sleep for the end of the day in bed you own.

The city has been inhabited for 1000s of years. The roots are historically Hindus, but have had Buddhists, Moslem and Christians influx that have left their marks and will continue

Now it's the tourists wanting anew. It's never been focus for conflict, so has changed, and adapted at leisure.

The population today stands at 1,376, 000.

For me though it's a village.


His Simple Shelter

"I live a guest house complex, consisting of tailor made flatlets with water, bed, cooking facilities and electric almost 24/7 except for power cuts.

I'm comfortable and calm, the only band to look for. I've lived here for years. But still feel a nomad.

I'm connected but not included. Boundaries exist.

Kathmandu is unique and functioning. Each day seems to have a freshness.

The reason I'm here changes with the Government. I can fill a small postcard with what I understand with the village, its people, customs and religions.

I could write endless books about what I've been privileged to witness over the weeks, months and years.

What has happened and repeated a hundred times is no indication for tomorrow.

The sun always shines, but what someone might say, or when he might arrive is politely flexible."

Boundary or Territorialism

The most dangerous behavioural trait in an animal is territorialism and humans are the most territorial of all animals.

- Louis Brawley, No more Questions The Final Travels of U.G.Krishnamurti

His Quizzical Quest

"When I eventually grow up, I might attempt to write the book for any thinking of coming here, for a few life time. But until then, I just make do with complex scribbles. I can barely understand myself.

One quotation to sum up today and life's importance from a man I was with for a time, and had been quizzed extensibly, a few months ago.

After he had done his interview, I said, "Can I now ask you 2 questions, please?"

An excited, "Yes."

"Are you married?"

"Yes." Consideration.

Long pause.


Longer pause.

"Don't know.""


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 gyanendra mocktan