When You’re at a Total Loss for Words…

Hello all. Some of you may know me from my previous blog ‘Kay in India’—it was mostly silly but sometimes serious narration of my experience of moving to India. The blog’s now obsolete as I’m comfortable enough to say I’m pretty used to things here. In fact, I’d probably face a reverse culture shock of sorts if/when we do move back to that side of the world.

I’d started on this blog, Pink Paper Bag a year or so ago—trying to fill it up with positive energy. We moved cities, we started businesses, my poor cat was shipped across the world where she inevitably died (of an undiagnosed genetic condition that suddenly caught up) and this blog kinda just lay there with no action.

After a long and unplanned hiatus, I’m here to blog again. Unfortunately, I cannot start on a positive note. A horribly drastic earthquake hit my country of origin, Nepal, on April 25th. Kathmandu valley, my place of birth, is no longer the same. Irreplaceable historical monuments and temples have turned into rubble in a matter of seconds. BBC estimates 8 million people have been affected severely by this incident. While I’m happy all of my extended family and friends are safe—it is clear that the city will go through turmoil for months to come.

I kept meaning to visit Nepal ever since I landed in India in December 2011 but something or the other always came up. Initially, we decided to visit on a weekend trip—but that didn’t make sense as there were too many people to meet and places to see. Then there we decided we should spend, at the very least, a full week—but there was never any time. There was only so much time we could take off in a year and other trips kept coming up. It felt like we could visit Nepal any time—we were so close—a trip there wouldn’t require too much planning, would it? Ironically, we never did plan anything concrete and therefore, we never went.

And now, we can never go. It’s never going to be the same place. I’ve learned a valuable lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I can’t exactly put into words what exactly my lesson is—but the feeling of regret is immense.

The moment I saw the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla crushed and on the ground is when I realized that the city is never going to look the same again.

The moment I saw the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla crushed and on the ground is when I realized that the city is never going to look the same again.

Please donate to the various established charities helping Nepal as every dollar counts. I will also implore you to make sure you donate to legitimate charities that will actually help the region. As with other major tragedies, a number of people/ organizations who want to use this terrible event for personal financial gain will pop up. I’m sure there will be fundraising events such as auctions and what-have-you conducted in the name of the earthquake. Please be super, super careful to scrutinize the organizers of such events and make sure everything is legit.

As cynical as this sounds, I would not trust donating directly to the government of Nepal. While I would like to believe that they would not keep the funds for themselves, the last few decades of political upheaval prove that they’re not the most organized establishment going (definitely not at a time of crisis like this).

Charities that are well established and trust worthy:

Red Cross

(Prabal Gurung &) Sikshya Foundation Nepal


Save the Children


Here are a couple of articles that might be helpful:

Times article about donating wisely

Charity Navigator

Excellent article in Slate about rushing to volunteer