From the ashes

‘From the ashes’ was a bi-weekly (later, monthly) column Weena Pun wrote while at The Kathmandu Post. Some of the links are currently broken.

Normal for whom?
Not having any idea about what it is doing might be perfectly normal for the government, but for those who lost everything to the earthquake, it is a nightmare
20 February 2016

Idols we would like
That an award has to be created to show that not every bureaucrat is corrupt only indicates how tainted our system is
18 January 2016

Throw a blanket over
It seems the government is concerned less about helping households survive and more about covering up its own inefficacy
5 December 2015

A past for a present
Whether it is a dog’s bite or deaths in Kailali, caste and ethnicity have become the central issue. And our history of forgetting the past is to blame for it
12 September 2015

Madam Nepali
Women have always been punished for sexual infidelity even when it is their husbands committing it. The discriminatory provisions on citizenship are just an extension of this inequality
15 August 2015

Further othering the other
When women, who have fought for decades for their right to provide citizenship to their children independent of the fathers’ proof of nationality, are slighted in the draft of the constitution, it is unthinkable that the lawmakers would react differently to the issues of the LGBTI community
11 July 2015

Raging against the dying of light
When the doctor let the hammer fall and announced that there was no cure, Sorgato did what hopeless people do: look for a miracle. To avoid losing his mind, to appreciate the difference between sight and vision, Sorgato then turned to his old passion of travelling
10 April 2015

A confederacy of dunces
Unable to process our own fear, what the idiots among us do is try to lay the blame on, or partly blame, the victim when atrocities such as acid attack take place. Because we so naively believe that evil only befalls the evil
27 February 2015

A rock and a hard place
The most heartbreaking fact about her marriage is that Sapana feels trapped—neither able to leave her husband nor return home to her mom and dad
30 Jan 2015

In (lousy) limbo
How peculiar it was that we were travelling so far from our dwelling to mark the passage of time, into a place we had little control over.

Battling on, reluctantly
All of us have our own battle to fight, an everyday struggle for survival and identity. Even though we don’t want to

Robbed of control
When a thief steals he has already won the battle. The war is now between the victim and her mind

The perils of poverty
The most heartbreaking consequence of poverty is the division it creates in society—into the weak and the strong

Always on the make
Once we get educated and move out of the lower class, we think the way forward is the way of the elite

Sleeping under the stares
Cohabitation makes people roll around on their beds nervous. One day, they will look down and realise that the sheets are private matters, stains and all

Caterpillars on leaves
How the living fail to see an army of ants marching to get them

The tyranny of questions
I know I should be ok with the meaninglessness of it all, but I’m not. I wish I could be ok with knowing that I’m not

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t
Trying to understand the disconnection and the tussle between the disciplined and indulgent selves

Amuse me or lose me
Saw too much, thought too much, didn’t conclude much.

Squashing the grub inside us
How do you make small talk with an image that society has fabricated for you? You can’t. Images don’t talk back
24 May 2014

Words of advice, lectures, songs, refined poetry, and even past experiences, nothing prepares us for separations

Twenty years later
He was a child domestic worker and for a long time I struggled with that label. He was an uncomfortable presence, a normal sight in many households but still unsettling

An encounter with a Shiv Sena
She was clearly a religious fanatic, reluctant to have a dialogue and listen to viewpoints that did not match hers

To a Singhing star
By virtue of being human, I am bound to be unhappy and I should just learn to be content with that. No amount of meditation or deep retreating within myself was going to cure that. I gave up

Dust and barriers
Dust is normal in Kathmandu. The residents have learned to live with it. A recent concert was just evidence of the fact that some can also afford to sweep it under the carpet

Farts, fame and sugarcane
When we travel, we open our minds. It’s evolutionary, it’s for protection. We are in unfamiliar territories and the best protection we can find is in the knowledge of our surroundings and of people we run into

The men in charge
The pressure cooker was what had brought us together. The men were in charge and I wasn’t

Crushing verdict
A jogi and I share the state of impermanence in Kathmandu. We don’t own the rooms we live in and any day could be our last in this little city. Of course, there is the other side of the argument: Everything is fleeting, but I could have made the best of it

Poll paralysis
How I learned to stop romanticising and think about politics

The house Srijana Chaudhary died in
Sangita might have been speaking the truth that the Poudel family never mistreated Chaudhary, never physically hurt her. But as she gave a tour of the premises, the discrimination the young girl faced would become crystal clear
16 November 2013

Last words on gender
I used to be proud that I walked unaware of my gender. My sex had no conscious say in what I did. I did not choose to be a writer because women are good with words. I did not smoke because only men are allowed to do so. I did not hate cooking to rebel against patriarchy

A mattress matriarch
In a moment, I was whisked from being a bloated matriarch to Sylvia Plath in a bell jar. It was not fried-blood red tika he was putting on my forehead but pressure

Cracks and history
History is full of these cracks, created by our own unmet expectations, and yet somehow we are asked to keep competing with one another for that spot on the top, knowing very well that the struggle for the top is not worth it, that the top is just another perception, an arbitrary position assigned by our inferior selves

Around the table
The programme was not about which religion gets the limelight—no matter how dim it was—but about the prevalence of child marriage. I did not know how to tell the leaders that and wondered what the Muslim, Christian and Buddhist leaders thought

In conversation with writing on a t-shirt
Everything is beautiful, but beautiful is not everything

The boy is 17 years old and the two have been seen together a lot, once even in each other’s arms inside a locked room. Listen, the girl is not of a good, credible character. She’s not even 15 like she says.

A crane for the women
This time, the cranes flew by with no wish-lists from me, leaving just a familiar tang of anxiety, against a society hypocritically firm against human nature

My Ratnapark guide
Just another walk in the park

Ji, sir-kar
A rant about disrespect

Kano mama
When I first heard of the insurance policy, I was sceptical, mostly because I have little confidence in the government. To think that the government really thinks of the poor is a laugh

Bipuls’ songs
Bipul’s Wildfire flooded back memories of exes once loved, ambitions once harboured, lives once lived

Dalli Magarni, halla nagarni
The word ‘Magarni’ pretended to define me, narrowing down my identity to a Magar woman whose mom’s ethnicity didn’t matter.

Sansarai beimani
Maybe I was eroticising the other, the poor, thinking they must not want to be who they are yet struck dumb to see them enjoying life regardless. Projecting my own deficiencies onto them and surprised to see them survive the blows

Unmet needs
When the floor opened for discussion, everyone continued to focus heavily on the women’s ‘need’ for contraceptives, and not on the fact that it was ‘unmet’