Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Nepali people

A random Nepali chilling on a mountain (by Ram Chandra Sedai)

Written by Tiphaine Texier

Writing an article about Nepali people is both very fun and risky (as my boss is Nepali and is sitting just next to me, and as 99% of my colleagues are locals). I will try to choose my words carefully! But anyway, globally it’s all positive J

Globally, Nepali people have the sun stuck onto their face. They seem to be never complaining, even if most of them have some good reasons to do so (from the western point of view). They are giving us a beautiful lesson of happiness, taking satisfaction from being alive, surrounded by their loved ones, while we need a super job, a super house and a super family to pretend to the « happiness status ». Here there are no such statuses. Happiness is a daily decision, that you are free to take or not !

Nepali people are also VERY curious. I remember my very first private Nepali lesson, when the teacher came to my flat. She sat down, asked for a drink. Once the class done, she asked for a visit of the flat. Ok… Then she asked for the price, for the name of the owner, the place he lives… Then later on, during the lessons, she ended up asking many personal questions, such as where and how I met my boyfriend, what was my religion, if my parents were happy together… In the end I found it funny and started returning the questions back, but I must say that the first feeling was a bit… confused!

What is very enjoyable with Nepali people is their sociability and ability to talk to anyone about anything at anytime. I have been experiencing life in a few countries before coming here, and I can tell you that it is totally different. Because in Nepal relationships are easy : people smile to you, start a random small talk in English, and you end up having a meal together at the person’s place, very often surrounded by his/her own family, being served rakshi (a local SUPER STRONG alcohol, could be the object of an article). This is just normal. An everyday story, really.

So if you come to Nepal to meditate and live in the silence, get yourself in a remote place. And even there, some people might come to you and ask you why you are sitting here, without having any thought back in their mind, just to know. Nepali people are truly interested in you, because you are exotic to them, and because they think that you can teach them things. That’s it!

When it comes to work, dealing with locals can be quite… different from what we are used to in our extremely rational societies. As I said, I am working each day with 99% of Nepali, which means 99% of uncertainty, of improvisation and of “but where the hell is X (name is changed)? We had a meeting at 9.00 today!!!”. But in the end, somehow, everything always works out. For a control freak like me, I must say that my relaxation abilities have seriously increased. I’ll mention it on my CV.

Important note ! Nepali rarely says « no ». So even if they have no clue where the place you’re asking directions for is, they will find an answer. Do not get irritated if you get lost : they just desperately want to help, and « I don’t know » is not an option. So keep calm and keep asking until someone will actually bring you to the place. But I must confess that this trait is sometimes quite (very?) annoying.

Another important note ! All what is said above is cancelled when a Nepali is driving. Therefore you get a permanent concert of impatient klaxons or drivers negotiating (politely) with other drivers to find out who will pass first. But isn’t it a bit the same everywhere ?

Last important note ! The problem is not to meet Nepali in Nepal, but to come back home. I’ve heard many Westerners telling me how hard it was to come back after their stay and to face the individualism/materialism/incivility of our western world. What if we all try to import some « Nepali lifestyle » to our cities ? Better than a mini Buddha statue or a pashmina, don’t you think ?

In the end, Nepali are genuine people. They just want to be happy, as we all do, but have a strong sense of solidarity that is missing in our societies. They are truly interested in people and will do their maximum not to hurt anyone. It is commonly said that tourists come first in Nepal for the landscapes, but always come back for the Nepali. Be careful, it’s an addiction!

And now let’s send this article to my Nepali boss and see how he reacts ;)

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