“Timilai kasto cha?”
That was the first phrase that I learned from a Nepali classmate in college. There were a number of foreign students from the university that I attended and among them, I became friends with the Nepali because I felt more connection with them. They have this kind of “no mean bone in their body” attitude. They were generous and hospitable as well.
One of them was my neighbor in Sanitary Camp. He was good in class and did not hesitate to offer tutoring me for some lessons that I did not understand.
“Okay, Iris, this is how you graph it. Use different colors of pen for each coordinates” he would say. Those were the days of manual graphing when using Microsoft Excel was not yet the norm.
He was older than me by three years and acted as my “kuya” everytime I had love problems with my college sweetheart.
“Don’t take love seriously yet,” he would say.
The other Nepali that was close to me was equally generous and hospitable. We became close during the thesis-making days and we would storm at his apartment to do that.
There was a time when he and his friends cooked “momo” for us. There was a beer-drinking session after. I was never a fan of beer so I headed to one of the rooms to continue doing the thesis. His dog named Arki was there in the room with us. Arki was used to seeing us at the apartment.
The third Nepali was also a neighbor and a classmate who was generous enough to welcome me and a female classmate at his apartment to do some projects. The friendship did not went deeper because he was from another engineering course and we did not have sufficient time to bond after the semester that we were classmates.
My mother, who at that time, had never seen a Nepali before asked me how they look like. I said, Nepalis are beautiful with round eyes but some have Chinese eyes but their greatest character is their friendliness.