20 October (Timbu): One of the best things about staying in trailside guest houses is that you meet so many people (Nepali and foreigners) who have so many stories to tell. You learn from then and you also share your experience with them. I was waiting for food in the evening listening to the guys talking in the dining room. By the topic of their conversation, I figured out that they were guides or Sirdars from the French team that was camping on a round a little further from our hotel. “Dinesh Dai,” Suraj told me. “He is the guy who rescued Kanak Mani Dixit.”
A quick background: Kanak Mani Dixit, a celebrated journalist of Nepal was trekking in Annapurna circuit a few years ago. He fell from a cliff over the Marshyangdi River and severely damaged his body parts. He was rescued after a few days during which he managed to survive by drinking droplets of water and fighting with various creatures even though he couldn’t move his body. The rescue was actually a miracle.
Though we had read Kanak Mani’s description of his accident, it was quite an opportunity, in such an unexpected place and time, to hear from the guy who actually rescued him. An excited but little bit disappointed Raju Gurung, 40, told us the story. He had just returned from a trip to Dolpa that day when his boss at the office summoned him and asked him to go to Lamnjung in a rescue mission. “I was tired but I went,” Raju said. “And it was by luck that I saw him [Kanak Mani Dixit]. His brother [Kunda Dixit] and the other guy in the rescue mission had already crossed the point. I was walking behind. I saw him. I went down and found him still alive. That was the fourth day he was stuck over there. I was terrified. I was afraid. I hurriedly came back (climbed up to the trail) and called the porters who were walking by. We brought him up.”
Raju said that he was happy that he was able to rescue (actually save) one of the most prominent journalists in Nepal. But he also said he was quite unhappy because [Kanak Mani Dixit] didn’t live up to the promise that was made to him on that day. “He told me that he would do something for my family,” Raju said. “Ma timilai heridinchhu bhaneka thiye.”
“Thula manchhe kura matrai garda rahechhanm,” Raju said. “Big people only talk.”
Raju, who is illiterate but a marvelous guide according to his sirdar who was listening to this conversation in the Timbu hotel, told that he had expected Dixit to help his kids study in a good school. Raju said that he had heard about a school called Rato Bangala that was in some way associated with Dixit. “I have four sons and a daughter,” he said. “It would be really nice if they get good education in a good school.”
I told him that Kanak had done many good things (after the accident) like opening a hospital and stated that Dixit would promptly response if he knows about Raju’s grievance. Then Raju said that Dixit had invited him to attend a ceremony (of what he doesn’t know but may be something related to that hospital) but he couldn’t attend because “I had to go to trekking just five days before the event.” Raju told us that he had tried to contact Dixit but was unable to get through. He had gone to Dixit’s office only to be returned by the security guards. “Thula manche kura matrai garda rahechhan,” he said. “Big people only talk.”
“I couldn’t contact him,” Raju said of Dixit. “But he can contact me at 9803503889 if he wants to fulfill his words.”