the wonderful world of veena.

06 August 2012

grateful to not be a goddess.

When I arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday, Jack was gracious enough to meet me at the airport and accompany me to my guest house. We decided to go for a wander and were cutting through Durbar Square on our way to Thamel when Jack pointed out the house where Kumari, the living goddess, lives. We noticed her chariot was outside, and we stepped inside to see the inner courtyard and for Jack to pass along whatever information he knew of her, including the fun little tidbit that her feet are not allowed to touch the ground. We decided to hang around for a few minutes to see if we could get a glimpse of her up-close, but eventually the police shooed us outside.

We stepped out to see that a large crowd had gathered, everyone attempting to find a spot where they could glimpse this small child who is thought to be the living incarnation of the goddess Durga as a child. By default, we ended up with front-row spots for the spectacle, as there was no way we would be able to make our way through the ever-growing crowd.

As we stood, we discussed what it must be like to be worshipped / gawked at as a young child, only to be told once you get your period or suffer a major injury that you are no longer holy, and that the life you have led thus far is no longer yours but is now someone else's.

It was a bit of a bizarre experience, because we were torn between kind of wanting to see her - she rarely leaves her house - but not wanting to be part of the spectacle. In the end, we stayed, mostly because there was no way we could get out of the crowd. She passed right in front of me, and she looked just like any other lost little child, except she was surrounded by hundreds of people clamoring to get a glimpse of her.

In the end it was over quickly, and Jack and I set off on the rest of our wandering. But it was certainly an interesting way to begin my visit in a new city.

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