Stilled Souls

Features Issue 81 Jul, 2010
Text by Nandita Rana / Photo: Kishor Kayastha

Belief in higher power and divinity is integral to human nature. Prayers and worships       performed with hopes of prosperity and strength to move forward are symbol of devotion. A typical morning starts with a prayer of guidance and the day ends with the same. Faith keeps life running even in the most adverse of conditions. Especially in a country like Nepal where mysteries and superstitions are weaved into the social fabric, traditions still dominate people’s behaviors, faith and prayers seem even more justifiable.

This is one reason why the attitude to challenge the myths is lesser asacceptance comes easy. The people here have accepted life as it is. Whether it means surviving on the wavering lights of a lantern or living a life raising cattle in the ruins of an old village, people here inadvertently believe that better times will befall, if not theirs’, on the lives of their progeny. They never cease to appreciate what they have at the moment. They sing songs of devotion and rejoice, they visit temples feeling blessed and they perform rituals despite the harshest of weather conditions to feel spiritually empowered. It is not materialistic possessions that strengthen them, but the challenges of reality that supports their survival.  Their hopes and patience are the answers to their prayers and a reason to dream for changes.

The cycle continues starting from a child who turns into an adult and finally into an elder. It seems that life places each of them in a spotlight, but they are the unsung heroes who have struggled and survived on their own. Each of them has separate responsibilities, yet each looks on with a hope and waits for things to change. A child may see with her eyes of innocence that speaks of vitality and enthusiasm. A woman busy with her chores shyly conveys her demeanor, while a man speaks of his struggle and ponders over the long journey he has taken so far. Each of them seem to have different perspectives to look at things, but they reflect the same story and the same anticipation for a better tomorrow.

As the country itself is in a process of transforming itself with emerging new political scenario, it seems that the long awaited changes have initiated at last. It seems as  he dark clouds have finally cleared. People are much relieved and have started to open up and express themselves. What seemed like their aloofness and agony in the long wait have finally started to see light. Despite living in different realms of life, the fervor of changing times seems to have affected each of them. Finally it seems as if their prayers have been answered. The spotlight which was focused only on an individual is now coming down, spreading to a wider dominion, touching more lives and bringing unity among people. Out of their struggles against the downtrodden conditions of livelihood, they have started to free themselves up, and are apprehending the new changes with hopes of a better future. Traces of hesitations and doubts still meander in their dispensation; however they are beginning to discover what they were searching for, that is, a change. Their tired eyes continue to dream and their hearts still search for answers.

Hope fueled by faith drives them towards a transformation, which is beyond the realm of present, but its eventuality is firmly entrusted inside the still soul of believers.

Photographer: Kishor Kayastha (98510.52.778) Email: