A sudden trip to the hilltop that is famous for the views of sunrise.
So that is how my day started. I wasn’t prepared when my colleague at Kantipur Girish Giri asked me to join him on a motorcycle trip to Nagarkot in the afternoon while I was calmly browsing web and reading blogs. Plus, batteries in my camera had died, cell phone batteries were dying and there was this story about the screening, the actress and her mother to be written. And Girish’s plan to Nagarkot included a long bike ride in the chilly/windy evening. The only thing that didn’t discourage me of thinking the trip to the hilltop was the down jacket that I was wearing since the morning. That, I thought, will save me from the wind should I decide to take the one-hour-long ride.
A training workshop for aspiring and relatively new indigenous filmmakers was being organized in the View Top Hotel in Nagarkot. Girish wanted to write about that. We reached the hotel in the evening, at around 7, and started drinking to make ourselves warm. Nabin Subba, a prominent filmmaker who was organizing the workshop and instructing the participants, was our host of the evening. Girish and Nabin soon immersed themselves (if I may say so!) into the glasses with honey and whisky (?) or something like that while I started feeling hot drinking chicken soup. We were seated near the bar where wood fire at the front was providing us the additional warmth. There was a foreign girl on the other side of the fire who was talking with a man (who turned out to the owner of the hotel.) As the lady left the dining room for her room another foreigner women came and started reading while ordering coffee. Meanwhile, we continued talking and drinking and talking.
This second lady also excused herself (“time for bed”) but she soon returned (“no, it’s too early for bed actually”). Somehow the conversation among us started as she came with that realization! The Canadian woman, she told us, was currently living in Dubai (Abu Dhabi actually) as a sports teacher, was here in Nepal to enjoy the nature and do some trekking in Annapurna. She appeared to be excited when she heard me introducing Girish and Nabin (as journalist and filmmakers) and telling about the workshop that was going on downstairs. But that happiness disappeared when I casually told her, while updating her about the current Nepali situation, that a foreigner tourist was beaten up by the Maoists two weeks ago. “Don’t tell me that was in Annapura,” she said. But there was no hiding of the truth. The Swiss guy was indeed thrashed by the former rebels in Annapurna for refusing to pay the illegal donation but we told her that that was completely an isolated incident and assured her that it was safe for her (and her sister who she said would be coming a day later) go to trek in the region. She also got some updates about the recent political developments in Nepal from us. She told us her experience of working in the Muslim country and life in Dubai.
She was planning to take a hike up to Changu Narayan Temple the next morning. When the owner of the hotel, Dinesh something (I remember the first name because that’s my name too), heard her plan about Changu Narayan, he told her that the other girl was also planning to go there in the morning. He suggested the Canadian to talk to her in the morning and encouraged her to go together.
As we were preparing to sleep (on different bed of course!), I told this to Girish: “Only if we didn’t have this motorbike with us.”
“Well, then we could also have trekked up to Changu Narayan!”