Noticing the Unusual

Chuck Jones advices us to “eschew the ordinary, disdain the commonplace. If you have a single-minded need for something, let it be the unusual, the esoteric, the bizarre, the unexpected“. These words can be interpreted in many different ways and serves as excellent advice when travelling. So often we get stuck on what guidebooks, official pamphlets from the tourist office, or travellers on TripAdvisor have to say about what we should or should not see, no matter how bizarre or unusual, that we miss the beauty of the mundane or ordinary a place has to offer. In many instances during journeys it is the ordinary that becomes the unusual and unexpected.

The rooftops of Bhaktapur is such an example. These are places where water tanks live, laundry dries, plants grow, people come to feed the pigeons or pray, and where odds and ends are kept or discarded.

The carved stones and water spouts of the pokhari or ponds that dot the city still hold the essence and artistic energy of the past, imbuing the present with a sense of nostalgia. Some are well-kept and in use, others are not. Yet, each and every one tells a story.

Known for its exquisitely carved windows, it comes as no surprise that they often frame living still lives in a city where past and present are entangled and impossible to separate.

And then there are the doors and gates . . .