I am proud of being an abstainer. Nevertheless, I like the smell of marijuana and I do smoke once or twice a year. The occasions are none other than Shivaraatri and Holi.
The Shivaraatri time again. And I am just wondering how I would celebrate it this time.
Recalling my first encounter with the grass after three or four years in 2004, I wrote the following piece for The Himalayan Times in the Midway section when I used to work for the very paper.
The next day it was published, Anil Shrestha, a medico, called me up and asked who as that “medico” mentioned in my article… Did he think that it was he?
I remember the day when I wrote it. I was stationed at the Newspool, where my job was to translate news coming from outside the Valley into English, which I never liked.
Enterprising Narottam Regmi, assistant editor, at the Editpage, where later I was transferred and worked till I resigned, edited a 2000-word-article into 450 or so one effectively! Truly speaking, keeping the originality of my piece, he reshaped it in the following way.
This is Shivaraatri time again. I wish I smoke the green again. However, my exams are in the offing and I haven’t completed writing report on Genetics and Biochemistry experiments. Directional cloning and that stuff… I don’t want to remember that all right now!
So it would be unwise to be stoned and be down even for a couple of days. (I know if I take to that stuff the hangover will not go at least for two days, which would, for sure, not let me complete my assignments.)
Hence, this time, I have decided not to…………..
(I am trying to copy and paste the article here but Damn! I have lost it somewhere here in my messed up PC)
Now I got it. It’s in the folder !Myreports.
I, Shivaraatri and marijuana
Keshav P Koirala
It was on the eve of Shivaratri that I had my first encounter with the infamous marijuana. The first few puffs were no different than that of tobacco, or so I felt. But I began to “see sound and hear sights!” Not that I did not try to stay calm. I was not the person I used to be. I knew I was hallucinating.
Good god, the world began going around! People appeared gigantic, trees flew by and the body disobeyed me. But I had not lost consciousness; an unknown fear gripped me. A total abstainer of such stuff as I was, I dreaded that my friends might find me.
The Pashupati area was flooded with sadhus and visitors. Some were busy peddling drugs, others were with lovers and loitering. I was observing the bizarre sadhus even as some wrongly called me a Kuirey — something that I enjoy pretending even now. The crowd was a motley mix of aghoris, fruitarian Vaishnavas, the Krishna followers and the ash-clad naga-baabaas. There was no room for a wedge.
I saw a foreigner tape-recording the voices of the sadhus. He asked me something about the ongoing mela. He was amazed at my reply and said he too had taken me for a foreigner. Jeff Greenwald as he turned out to be, was a noted American travelogue writer and the author of Shopping for Buddhas and Mister Rajah’s Neighborhood. When we saw a sadhu selling drugs, he asked if I had ever tried them. I lied tongue-in-cheek: “Nope, and never would!”
An intoxicated sadhu in saffron was busy demonstrating penile contortions at a temple. The cops too were enjoying the live presentation! An acquaintance, a medico was smoking marijuana and chanting “Bum Bholey” and “Jaya Shambhu” at the next stop. He said his colleagues used to grow marijuana in the University hostel campus abroad, and smoked in stealth. I declined an invitation to join him. On my way home in the evening, I saw a sadhu flirting with his young lady-disciple. He was euphoric and busy demonstrating the Kaamasutra postures! Sadhu and sex had mingled for once.
On the other side was a sadhu’s bonfire in progress and they passed the pot for the bystanders as Lord Shiva’s Prasaad. Uninitiated as I was to this, I choked on the smoke and nonetheless remember jumping and howling. I went home heavy in head and regained my self after four days of Jayashambhu reverberating through my conscience.
And as another Shivaraatri is round the corner, I relive the marijuana memories with it. A time I strengthen my resolve not to get anywhere near the pot in future!