Girl at Delhi Airport

Dai, will they put me in jail?” The girl, probably in her mid-20s, asked me after I showed her the gate that would open after a couple of hours for her flight to Kathmandu.

“Who? Where?”

“Indian police here. Or Nepali police in Kathmandu.”

I looked at her. She was pretty; dressed in worn-out jeans. “Have you studied in college?” I asked her.

“No. I got off with a boy when I was in last year of my school; he turned out to be a drug-addict and I left him to go to Gulf.” She said, now more frank and honest with me. Earlier, when I asked her name and address in Nepal, she stared at me a couple of minutes before uttering a name and an address.

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The Birthday Muddle

I was born on August 24, 1978 AD. It was Bhadra 9, 2035 BS and the day, according to astrological calculations, was Krishnastami – the birthday of Lord Krishna.

In Nepali, they are known as tarekh (for English calendar day), gate (for Nepali calendar day) and tithi (the astrological day). They all fell on the same day in 1978 but then onwards it’s always a mess.

I only remember one instance when both English and Nepali calendar matched otherwise the tarekh, tithi and gate are all on different days – leaving me with a question: when exactly do I celebrate my birthday?

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The Great Red Roadshow!

Welcome to Nepal – a nation rich in diversity. And, to ensure that you get taste of many of the cultural aspects of the country in a short span of time, ‘we’ bring you the Great Red Roadshow!

The Great Red Roadshow is a blend of culture, music and more [more is a surprise… witness it yourself as it could be anything].

It’s called Great because everything associated with the organizers are great [great organizer, great history and great individuals]; it’s Red, because this year everything will be colored in red – even the t-shirts of the performers who have been brought to Kathmandu from far flung districts for your entertainment. And, the city is waving with red event flags everywhere.

Since it’s a Roadshow – it will be staged on the road – everywhere – and the organizers have made it clear that there would be no vehicles [well, except those which carries either heavyweights or no-weights] to disturb you during the event.

Best of all – the entry to the Roadshow is completely FREE!

[Errr, are you thinking what benefits the organizers get from the event? It’s a little complex. If the Roadshow is organized well-managed and best possible way, they will be called good organizers and will get chance to earn through other businesses. Else, they are ready to bear the loss for the betterment of the people and nation’s cultural diversity.]

The government has ensured your security and will be deploying more policemen to ensure that you all are safe. If required, the army could be sent in to protect you.

The organizers however believe that the security arrangement is ‘waste of resources’ as the event will be as peaceful as possible.

What to expect? Expect dances, songs, traditional (and non-traditional) musical instruments, chants, hymns, march past and runs at every nook and corner of the main streets. Meet people of every walks, race and dresses – brought in especially for you.

And, the Great Red Roadshow is happening just a few months shy of 2011 – the year of tourism for Nepal and the hopes are high the event will ‘really’ help to bring the country in news headlines thus affecting the tourist flow during the year.

Nepali people are so ‘enthusiastic’ about the event that they will close down all their business outlets, shops, schools and offices to ‘support’ the event.

So, what are you waiting for? Welcome to the Great Red Roadshow!

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5 Road Rules of Kathmandu

Based on my experience on riding a scooter for a month, I have here the 10 things that all drivers, bikers and pedestrians should know (most of them already know) in no particular order:

1. No Traffic Officers, No Rules

That is first rule and most important rule. You are free to ride three on a bike or U-turn on ‘No Turn’ sign or park anywhere (even at places with no parking signs) or move ahead in completely wrong lane or go into one-way or overtake from wrong way if you see no traffic officers ahead!

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Little Steps for Big Leap!

Blog Action DayA tree stands a few yards from my house. It houses two crow nests. And whenever I see it from my roof, I feel proud that I had, in my childhood, planted the tree that has become house to at least two crows.

Sometime, after working long hours on computer, I feel tired and in search of fresh air, I go to the roof. And, the green tree soothes my eyes like nothing else. I feel like I should have planted a few more of the trees.

This morning, I went to the tree and touched it, and stood beneath it as proud as an adult be of his childhood deeds as the crows above me started looking at me suspiciously. Then, I remembered I have received an email yesterday reminding me that I had signed as participant of the Blog Action Day with a promise that I will write something today about environment.

I am neither an expert nor activist to write something scholarly or important enough on the issue… but wait can I say that? Can I ignore environment because I am a journalist? Can WE leave the issue to those working for it only?

Of course not, because environment is something that we live on. But then what can I do? As a child I have planted a tree and now the tree is big and green! I am happy but is that enough? Maybe not, but if we all do small things like that then we can change everything. Maybe decreasing the font size by one step so that a page in decreased while printing; or not using plastic bags when not absolutely needed can help.

From within a busy schedule we have, let’s take out a minute everyday and think about environment and how can we make it better, or at least keep it as of today’s, can change our future. Little steps for big leap!

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A Pandora’s Box Called YCL

Young Communist League (YCL) is a Pandora’s Box! You never know what’s coming out of it. But be ensured that something always comes out of it – be it good or bad.

The youth wing of Maoists has done a lot of things since the safe landing of it’s mother institution. Sometime their deeds are good (and we all praised, afterall, New Nepal needs new heroes). Sometimes they did bad (we kept quiet, because we still fear the Maoists).

YCL had found ways to stay in headlines. ‘All for cheap popularity,’ some commented when they were seen thining down the tree branches in ringroad green belt. ‘All YCL,’ many thought when they see youngsters blocking the roads during strikes. They have engaged themselves.

Two day ago, our Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala (the great man who loves controversy and if sees its not coming he would say something that would surely spark one) defined YCL as Young Criminal League.

May be true but said on the wrong time. YCL has just arrested Sitaram Prasain and handed over to Nepal Police. Prasain, for records, is a long wanted man for ‘incurring a loss of Rs 280m in wrongful investment decisions’ as the chairperson of the Nepal Cottage and Small Industries Development Bank.

Kudos to YC… just wait before you salute them! ‘It’s all money game,’ said a self-claimed analyst. ‘Tell me why they didn’t handed over him to police on the day they took him?’ How am I supposed to know that?

He would gladly offer me an explanation. ‘It’s all money, had Prasain agreed to pay them the demanded sum, they would have left him, but since he declined they gave him to police. Otherwise what’s the reason to keep him for a night?’

Good or bad, it happened. Koirala was angry because ‘Prasain is his distant son-in-law otherwise wouldn’t he show same agression when the Chief District Officers’ were beaten and their offices vandalized.’

And, Koirala’s remarks are surely going to have some effects. How YCL are going to react (they have already burnt something on street) but what next? I will just keep guessing the outcome of the Pandora’s Box.

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New Buddha!?

From 40m away, he is an almost-deity like figure and that’s the least distance from where the normal people can watch Ram Bahadur Bomjam, the ‘new Buddha’, who is meditating under the pipal tree for last 6 months and 23 days – that is more than 200 days without food and water, if you believe there can be miracles. ‘Its impossible’ is the first reaction from anybody. Then there are suspicions – he eats at night or there is something being hidden.

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Why I Donated to Maoists?

After reading Kantipur’s main news today (Army Warns Against Donation), I remembered the events of those days when I was chief of the administration at a school some four years ago. It was all about the donation and our position at the time. I admit that we donated a sum for the national conference of a sister organization of the Maoists but not before thinking of informing security officials and then deciding against it.

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Teashop Gossiping: Rumor City’s Favorite

What things actually make Kathmandu a rumor city? There are probably a few answers, but without teashop at the chowks, rumor city would probably lose its essence. Teashop gossips seem to be a favorite morning activities of people – from unemployed youth to high class official and from a ‘know-nothing common man’ to ‘know-everything man’. Tea in morning is essential for us and at teashops, where there would be gathering of the people; it becomes tastier by the tasty gossips.

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