By Bibek Kapali
Gunsa village is itself a beauty, a reminder of a beautiful lifestyle and an unquestionable friendship, union and full of sentiments.
A few kilometers away from district headquarter Melamchi, Gunsa, a small village in Sindhupalchowk, is a living memory where children rules.
Children here roam the village–rolling hoops, playing with hand-made toy cars and chungis made from grass. They toss and turn collecting mud, turn any round object they find in their path into made-do football and run kicking it around. What a fun! What a friendship! What a childhood!
Indeed, the village makes me think of the beauty underlying in the little and simpler things of life, particularly these children.
Most of the youth have already left the village seeking jobs either in the capital or for foreign employment. And the rest know how to manage a little time for fun out of their hectic schedule be it sports or a drinking sport.
Local booze is a part of their life here. I remember feeling offended when I was offered a drink that I even questioned their morality. But when I reflect upon their daily lifestyle, having a little relaxing time with local ale on their side is worth given the efforts they have to make on regular basis just to manage a little food on the table. You should visit Gunsa during the summer season.
The village is indeed an abandoned beauty. The kids carrying ‘dokos’ (bamboo baskets) on their back loaded with firewood or fodder will follow you everywhere if you ever reach there.
It is both sorry and beautiful. The children of this age are compelled to carry the burden of households. If you see them, you can’t help think about the children in the urban areas where children are pampered and put in the bed of roses everywhere. Amazingly, these children are the champion in keeping themselves happy in the middle of hardships.
I can say, these kids will someday grow up to be contented and hardworking humans ready to cope with every challenge that comes their way. By the time they’re in their twenties, they will have already known enough of what one should know about life. The fight in them is admirable.
One of my students, now in ninth standard, shared his story of how he and a few of his friends fled to the capital while they were in fourth grade.
Asked the reason, he replied: “Nothing will happen in life if we stay here forever.”
Fortunately, they were led back to the village by one of the dwellers temporarily living in Jorpati. The kid seems to have regretted the decision they took in spontaneity. Still, it must have taken them a lot of guts to step onto that bus like that under no guardianship.
Gunsa reminds me of friendship. The words ‘Samdi’ and ‘Mitini’ are quite normal. These samdis and mitinis love and admire each other. Their bond is indestructible and they constantly seem to be reaching for each other–whether it is a few women knitting together or two kids with their doko laden backs. The connection is real.
After years of experience of fixing doors, locks and many other things on their own, building their own abodes and growing food to feed their stomach, these people are the original survivors.
These are people who turned the wild into livable and lovable and whose spirit is unbreakable. Gunsa is a delicious concoction of the green, the strength, the love and the perseverance.
(Written by Bibek Kapali, Photos by Prashneel Nepal)