These girls were heading to their home for the Dashain vacation. They had reserved the bus because no vehicles were plying on the 9th day of Dashain.
20 October (Timbu): We started walking on the unpaved road from Kunta Beshi in the morning: the target was Melamchi Bazaar where the administrative site offices of the super-talked about drinking water project in Nepal are located. Just as we started the walking we saw some kids playing ping. We wanted to play and take photographs. That was the first time I had played ping after almost a decade. It was like riding a bicycle after a long interval. I started having difficulties in walking.
French tourists camping in Timbu
Boys play cards and carom board in Talamarang
Boys play cards and carrom
Wagle at Talamarang Khola bridge
A lady near Talamarang Bazaar, along side a bridge that’s being constructed.
An elderly woman smokes as two guys wash thier bike in a stream near Talamarang
Wagle smiles at camera as two boys are busy in cleaning thier bike in a stream near Talamarang
Wagle, Ajambar Rai Kangmang and Suraj Kunwar
The triple ride on the bike. Ajambar Rai Kangmang gives us a ride from near Kunta Beshi to Melamchi Bazaar. “…dhukhera kya hairan bhako,” my bums will always remember this ride because they were the one that suffered the most during the triple ride.
Then came Ajambar Rai Kangmang riding his bike. We had met and talked to him the previous evening in the Kunta Beshi hotel. He had introduced himself as a political activist associated with the CPN UML. He said he was the chairman of the youth front of the UML: Democratic National Youth Federation (DNYF). (Read more about Rai here.) He was riding Hero Honda 100 bike that he had bought some 13 years ago. Ajambar was on a quick trek to Helambu. He offered us a ride. Now his ‘dependable’ bike was carrying three people. It was pretty much difficult for us to adjust ourselves in the bike. As the bike bumped, my bum was weeping! But then we decided that it was still okay to continue with the ride because that would help us to reach Helambu by the end of the day. Occasionally the bike would struggle to move ahead and at times would stop moving. We would get down, walk a little bit (which was a big relief to our bums) and get back to the bike again. Repeating that chore, we finally arrived at Melamchi Bazaar, 17 KM from Kunta Beshi. There were no vehicles plying on the road because it was the 9th day of Dashain festival, the day when people worship their vehicles.
A cultural program in Kavi Kunga, Keyul Village
Wagle walks past a bridge (not seen in the photo) in Keyul village, near Timbu
Only if they were true to their words: a Maoist graffitti in a village near Timbu. The graffiti says: Lets go caste vote in the hammer and sickle symbol of the Maoist party. The CA election scheduled for 22 November is canceled because of the Maoists unwillingness to participate.
Suraj Kunwar inspects the Rice fields on way to Melamchi Bazaar
There we ate Rice and fish and Rai moved ahead with his bike while we continued with walking on the road enjoying the sceneries. After walking an hour or so on the scorching heat, a bus came. We stopped and entered. Two girls were sitting next to my seat and I took their pictures. The bus soon came to it its destination (apparently it was reserved by the passengers who were not going to Timbu, the last point of the road).
We got off the bus, started walking. Another ping arrived. We played and took pics. We started walking. A group of girls arrived. We started the conversation. I found story in a girl called Maya Lama and talked to her in detail about her life. (Here is the story that appeared in Kantipur.) Maya and her friends were heading to attend a cultural program that was organized in a public house (club) that was attached to the road we were walking on. We saw the program as we interviewed Maya. After bidding good bye to the girl, we headed upward Timbu.
Suraj Kunwar watches people working at rice field while a destroyed signboard of put up by the Maoist party is hanged on the tree.
We finally arrived at the town at around 4 PM. We were wandering around, looking at the French tourists who were camping near our hotel and enjoying the surrounding, we saw Ajambar Rai Kangmang coming down from Kakani hill. He was little bit sad that he couldn’t complete the trip. The hotel at the top of the hill was closed and the nearby house didn’t allow him to stay for the night. He was in hurry to stay more than a day in the region. He said he also couldn’t cross the jungle as it was getting dark. He said he would come back again to complete the trip. He didn’t stay in the hotel we were staying in because he had parked his bike further down, near the bridge.