Saturday, November 17, 2012

It took music to find Native love in London

(This article was published on the Living Magazine. You can also find this article on

Photo Credit: Karuna Gurung

It was definitely a much colder night than usual in London, I thought and regretted having said yes to Chanda. My fingers were feeling numb for I was holding the phone trying to Google direction to the Japanese restaurant called Akasiro. This was where the secret Nepali gig was happening and since it was my very first native gathering in London, I was looking forward to it. However, I also had another dinner plan later in the night with college friends; so I was a bit frantic. It had been more than an hour already and we were still going round in circles in Piccadilly Circus. I felt hopeless, knowing that I would have to make my friends wait for dinner and also disappoint Chanda for having to leave early. After a good amount of walking and disagreeing, we did eventually find the place.

The entrance had a note with a rough handwriting indicating that it was a private party. The place was rather small so we directly headed to the basement. At a corner, a few musical instruments and speakers were being set up while at the other end, young Nepali were murmuring bashfully in Nepali and British English. I thought to myself that I would leave soon but the night had something else in store.

Slowly the artists began to arrive and the crowd grew in number. People began to sit on the floor to accommodate newer arrivals without any word being whispered to them. Thirty minutes in and we were all behaving like a big family, bonded by the very fact that we were Nepali, gathered for a good laugh and a good traditional music.

The gig commenced with Nattu aka Nottie star telling her story through jokes and songs. A talented young girl with a smoothing vocal whom I believe is also better suited for a stand up comedian. You can find her in YouTube, she is hilarious. There were many other talented performers from London that night like JPT rockerz, Sonam Lama, Karuna feat Yellow Ink, and Bhunatic & Mastamind. They all sang various songs. And while Nabin Gurung was crooning Narayan Gopal’s Kehi Mitho baat gara we all seemed to have drifted to a small village in Nepal.

Although earlier I sensed a haughtiness of some kind in the crowd, I understand now that it possibly came from the very fact that most of these Nepali are descendents of the brave Gurkhas who have long been serving the British Army. Recognised for their bravery, ferocity and strength of character, I felt a sense of pride being in their presence. We all felt some kind of affinity for one another based on our common ancestry. The sense of connection among us was very intense and the best part of it was that it all came so easily. The fact that we were Nepali in a foreign land sharing similar culture and language is what connected us. After all, how much of what we really are is based on roots and that can take quite a struggle to change.

Being in Nepal we have a propensity to overlook many good and important things our heritage carries. We tend to take for granted our culture, tradition and customs and are easily attracted by western lifestyle and philosophy. Perhaps, Nepal is not the best country in the world and yes it might have its share of problems. However, it should not take us away from our land to remind us about its significance or an outsider’s fascination towards our country to acknowledge its uniqueness.

My greatest lesson out of this small gathering was, no matter how dysfunctional or messy we might think our country is, it is where our identity is attached to and that can never change. This feeling was reflected among the faces of the non-resident Nepali that night. We talked nostalgically and romantically about our proud legacy which we hardly did when back in Nepal.

I recall that night and remember the unique faces, faces that I had never seen before and yet retain the pleasant feeling of solidarity. I know for a fact that at that moment in space we all felt special being Nepali and the love and pride for our root was as high as the peak of Mount Everest, and it took a small Nepali gig in London to remind us that.

No comments:

Post a Comment