Each perfectly working machinery has to be powered by a dependable engine. Despite difficult weather conditions, electricity blackouts or small damage to its parts it has to be efficient and always operational. The same rule applies to the engine of the Nepali family and society – women.
Coming from an European family where there are no male or female chores, where men cook, clean and iron clothes and women drive cars, earn money and repair whatever must be repaired, I was a bit surprised to see this very strict and unequal family model. Of course, each family is different and every single one has its very own little habits. Nonetheless, I was an eyewitness to many shady customs.
Most of the Nepali families I know are those that live in the Northeastern part of Nepal in a rural area, which is difficult to cultivate. Life here is savage and dependent on the weather conditions as well as your own strength. As a woman or a girl in the family you are supposed to fulfill several household duties every day. Cooking on an open fire stove, carrying water barrels, cutting and carrying grass for animals, preparing kids for school are just several of the countless chores that are supposed to be fulfilled before 9:00 a.m. All of these tasks are difficult, although, what struck me the most was the way of serving meals. You would think that there is not much to it. Guests and the male head of the family are privileged to eat first. Later on, the other members of the family are invited to the table and at the very end women, who nota bene cooked the food, can eat only what is left of it.
Each day I was able to see all of those hard-working women and I couldn’t help to think how easy it is back home. We have running water, washing machines, electric stoves, supermarkets and most importantly equality at the table.
I had a bit of free time in Kathmandu a while ago and I couldn’t resist the idea of seeing a movie. At this point I need to say that I miss cinema and the possibility of letting myself forget the world around me and sink into the movie story is irresistible!!! Therefore, I was very fortunate and I saw two movies during my second, short stay in Kathmandu. Unfortunately, I do not speak Nepali or Hindi so I was forced to see one of the available American productions. I picked “Wonder Woman” and afterwards I was extremely happy with my choice. You may ask why, if you knew that superhero movies are not my favorites. Maybe because it is told to be the first female superhero picture? No. There are many other women I would call superheroes, less unrealistic ones.
I loved it because for the first time in my life I was exposed to the dreadful concept of censorship. I mean I learned about it at school, studied it at my university but experiencing it personally brought me to a completely different understanding of it. Imagine, you sit quietly in your chair and eat delicious popcorn, on the screen amazons fight against evil Germans (btw it’s always Germans in those kind of movies) and one men gets captured – an allied spy. After some rest in a stone bathtub he wants to get out and get dressed but instead of his, as I assume, naked body all you see is a gray blurry egg-shaped spot. What a disappointment. Moreover, when the action gets more dangerous and the main female and male characters are finally in a love scene it all gets cut and what you can see is only an awkward morning after… And finally, we all know that smoking kills but we do not need to be reminded about it by big bold letters every time when cigarettes appear in the movie. Somehow, at that time, it was all dreadful but still quite funny.
In retrospect at the end not much harm was done but what bothers me the most is a simple, fundamental question, not directly connected to this particular movie. Why would you censor art at all? To protect morality? To manipulate the context? To control society? I’ll leave the answer to you.