Traveling in Kathmandu isn’t always easy. Actually it’s never easy especially in public vehicles. It’s different case if you own a bike or, perhaps, a car. Even if you have a bike, you will become a musso (mouse) when it rains. If you have a car, you will soon become a bankrupt buying fuel that is becoming expensive every next day. And the traffic is such a mess in Kathmandu that it will be quick to walk in many cases than take a gadi. Public transportation system is in such a terrible condition that you are almost certain to become gundruk as drivers and khalasis try to put as many people as possible in a bus. They won’t hesitate for a second to put 70 people in a bus with passenger capacity of 30. Once I counted 30 heads in a three wheeler with the standard seats for 13 passengers and a driver. Yesterday I was traveling in a bus that was over packed with several people. I was seated. I saw a fancy car passing through. There were some foreigners and they were all looking at our bus with curious faces. “What the heck am I seeing?” they must have thought. The situation becomes worse when there is sudden scarcity of vehicles on the road either because of abrupt strike or a mass meeting or rallies by political parties and other organizations in the city. Yesterday was one such day when regular traffic was completely disrupted and transportation system (if there is any) in the city of Kathmandu was completely paralyzed. Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) was organizing a mass meeting and their leader Prachanda was scheduled to appear publicly for the first time in 25 years.
Video Ride in Kathmandu: A reporter’s experience
I attended the mass meeting. I decided to leave the venue shortly after Prachanda started speaking because I sensed he wasn’t telling any scoop. While returning to office had to struggle to find space in a passenger bus. There were very few buses and I didn’t want to take a chance to wait for other. I was already tired of walking up to Tundikhel from Tinkune in the early afternoon. (Reporter Suraj Kunwar accompanied me.) I was standing in front of the dais for more than two hours taking pictures and observing Prachanda and his comrades. So I wanted to get inside the bus though my photojournalist colleague Shailendra Kharel was a bit reluctant. We somehow managed to put our legs (one leg each) inside the bus, grabbed a bar and hung our body in air. We were barely standing. Amidst that adventure, I managed to take out the digital camera after Shailendra expressed his interest in taking a video. Thus a video was instantly produced. [Here are other vidoes and photos from the event]