Long-distance Dashain

October 11, 2016 , by Mahima Poudel, Leave your thoughts
Long-distance Dashain » My Dreams Mag

“This is such a Dashain weather”
“The sky is clear and the sun is warm. It get’s chilly but it’s not cold, and a nice breeze does not let the days get too hot. So it’s pretty much the perfect weather.”

I say this every year, around October. I never really realized that I was so attuned to the changing winds that signaled the arrival of festivities in Nepal. Not until I had to move away from home and miss out on it. Now, I can tell it’s Dashain time simply by feeling how warm the sun is, and by a certain smell in the air…probably hay.

It’s my sixth year being away from home during Dashain, and the longing to go back especially for the festival never lessens. Pictures of parties where everyone’s playing cards, food and drinks, and happy faces of your friends and family only add to the urge. But what is so special about Dashain? The good food? The new clothes? Being with your family? One can argue that, for many of us, all those things can be attained almost any time of the year, too. So, there must be some magic in the jamara that lulls us into a happy mood throughout Dashain.

Of course, I miss everyone and everything about Nepal during Dashain. A time of the year where everyone tries to forget their woes and happily celebrate with whatever they have.
While for many of us, Dashain is the highlight of the year; it is also the most dreaded time of the year for many families. For those who have lost a loved one, who have their families living abroad or those who do not have enough resources to celebrate at all; Dashain is a constant reminder of their struggles. Especially, since last year, with thousands of families that have been displaced by the earthquake living in make-shift tents in the capital, it would be nice if my Nepali families could compensate for those living abroad by making them feel like no one gets left behind during Dashain.

Dashain to me is the most romantic version of Nepal, the best of Nepal and Nepali people. And although I am away from home, the small Nepali community (Indian and Tibetan, too) at my new home is the best version of Nepal, too. We are there for each other, support each other and celebrate together. With us, a little bit of that Dashain magic is everywhere in the world. So when I feel that warm sun and the nice breeze together, I send a message “Dashain aayo, Dashain party kahile garne?”

Mahima Poudel is a student pursuing her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Development Economics at Westminster College. She likes eating piro aalu, and hopes to travel to all 14 zones in Nepal one day.

Photo: Bikkil Sthapit.
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