Category Archives: Around Nepal

म साँझको पाहुना

House in the morning

बिहान

“त्यै सरको अोछ्यानमा सुत्नेभए पाइन्छ,” उनले भनिन् ।

त्यो सुन्दा म साह्रै ढुक्क भएको थिएँ । त्यसअघि थुप्रैबाट मैले निराशाजनक जवाफ पाएको थिएँ । तैपनि झिनो अाशा राखेर मैले उनलाई सोधेको थिएँ, “वास पाइन्छ तपाईकहाँ ?”

हालैको एक सप्ताहन्त म जापानले बनाइदिएको बन्दिलो साँघुरी राजमार्गमा केही समय दौडिएर दिन ढल्किनै लाग्दा मास्तिर उक्लिएको थिएँ । दिन घमाइलो र सुख्खा थियो । म बहकिएको थिएँ । रात यतै कतै डाँडामै बिताउने मेरो योजना थियो । बिहानै उठेर सूर्योदय हेर्ने अनि मानिसले कसरी दिन थाल्छन् त्यो अवलोकन गर्ने मेरो रहर थियो, योजना थियो । यो डाँडो चढ्नुअघि मैले अर्को पाखो उक्लिन खोजेको थिएँ तर त्यताजान तर्नुपर्ने रोसी खोलामा पक्की पुल थिएन । म खोला किनारमा उभीएर गम खादै थिए, बाबुछोरा जस्ता लाग्ने दुईजना एउटा अल्छे राँगो घिच्याउँदै जघाँर तरे । त्यो दृश्यलाई मैले भिडियोमा खिचेँ तर होन्डामाथि बसेर आफै खोलो तर्ने हिम्मत गरिन ।

डाँडामा होटल पक्कै छैनन्, वास पो पाइएला नपाइएला । घुमाउरो उकालो चढ्दा बाटोमा भेटिएका केहीसँग मैले त्यो संशय बाँडेको थिएँ । सबैले मलाई अाश्वस्त पारेका थिए, पाइनेमा । भनेका थिए, यहाँभन्दा माथि झन् ठूलो गाउँ छ । वास व्यवस्था सजिलै हुनेछ । एउटा बस्तीमा महिला र केटीहरू मकैबारीमा काम गरिरहेका थिए । उनीहरू अघिल्लो रात ढलेका मकैका बोटबाट घोगा निकाल्दै थिए । मैले विनाकाम र घुम्न अाएको भन्दा उनीहरूले पत्याएनन् । बरु एउटीले म आफन्तकहाँ या ससुराली आएको हुनसक्ने अड्कल काटिन् । उनीहरूले मलाई अल्लिमाथि हाइस्कुल भएको अावादीमा जान सल्लाह दिए ।

त्यही सुझावमान्दै म यो माथिल्लो बस्तीमा उक्लेको थिएँ । वास पाइने जवाफ दिँदा ती महिला दोस्रो अन्तिम थाल माझ्दै थिइन् । काम निप्ट्याउँदै गर्दा उनले मलाई त्यो भेगका अरू थुप्रैले जस्तै खै गरेकी थिइन् । त्यतिन्जेलसम्ममा मैले ती सबै चासो स्वाभाविक हुन् भन्ने निष्कर्ष निकालिसकेको थिएँ ।

कहाँबाट अाउनुभएको ? एक्लै ? के कामले ?

पहिला दुई प्रश्नमा मेरा जवाफले कुनै प्रतिप्रश्न जन्माएनन् । सुन्नेहरू सन्तुष्ट भइहाल्थे । तर अन्तिम प्रश्नले मलाई अाच्छुअाच्छु पारेको थियो ।

“हेर्नु यो गाउँमा छिरेयता मैले चार जनालाई भनिसकेको छु,” मैले हल्का भूमिका बाँधेर थाल पखाल्दैगरेकी महिलालाई भने, “तपाईलाई पनि त्यही भन्छु । म कुनै काम विशेषले अाएको हैन । न म यो वा नजिकैको कुनै गाउँमा अाफन्तकहाँ नै अाएको हुँ । सिर्फ घुम्न अाएको हुँ ।”

“यहाँ यो घरमा चाँहि कसरी अाइपुग्नु भयो ?” उनले सोधिन् ।

“त्याँ पर पसलछेउ भेटिएका दुई जना केटाहरूले यो घरमा [छेवैको स्कुलमा पढाउने] एकजना सर बस्नुहुन्छ भने,” मैले बेलिविस्तार लगाएँ, “मास्टर बस्ने घरमा कसो वास नपाइएला भनेर अाएको ।”

कच्ची सडक छेवैको त्यो पसल सामुन्नेबाट मकैबारी छिरेको गोरेटोमा ढोड सम्याउँदै म यहाँ यो घरमा आइपुगेको थिएँ । यो घरसँगै अर्को घर जोडिएको थियो जो नयाँ र बन्दै थियो । एकजना अधबैंशे पुरूष झ्यालको खापामा ठोकठाक गर्दै थिए । उनले र मैले मुस्कान साट्यौं ।

मैले उनलाई त्यसरी बेलिविस्तार लाउनुको कारण थियो । केही मिनेटअघि मात्र एउटी महिला मसँग झर्केकी थिईन् । ‘किन आएको?’ भन्ने उनको प्रश्नमा मैले ‘घुम्न’ भनेको थिएँ । यो मान्छेले मलाई विश्वास गरेन या ढाँट्यो भन्ने उनमा परेको मैले ठानें । अर्कीले ‘आफन्तकहाँ आउनु भएको होला, तेस्स्स्सै घुम्न त पक्कै आउनुभएन’ भन्दै मलाई अविश्वास गरेर बाटो लागेकी थिईन् । भोलिपल्ट बिहान म आधा घण्टा जति उकालो चढेर फेरि तल फर्किदै थिएँ। बाटोमा एकजना अधबैँसे पुरुष भेटिए । उनले मुसुमुसाउदै, मसँग आँखा जुधाँउँदै, नरम स्वरमा शिष्ट ढंगले सोधेका थिए, “नाप्न आउनु भएको?”

मैले पनि मुसुमुसु हाँस्दै उनकै आँखामा हेरेर भनेको थिएँ, “हैन हैन। नाप्नु पर्ने के छ र?”

“ए, मैले त बाटो नाप्न आउनु भएको होला भन्ने ठानेँ,” उनले भने । फेरि सोधे, “टावरका लागि आउनु भएको?”

“हैन हैन।” मैले फेरि भने, “कुन टावरको कुरा गर्नु भएको?”

मलाई थाहा थियो, उनी कुन टावरको कुरा गर्दै थिए तर पत्रकारितामा मैले सिकेको थिएँ उत्तर थाहा भए पनि प्रश्न गर्न नछोड्नु किनकि जवाफ सर्वथा अनपेक्षित आउन पनि सक्छ ।

“त्यै मोबाइल टावर,” स्कुलसँगैको दूरसञ्चार टावर इङ्गितगर्दै उनले भनेका थिए । त्यो टावर नेपाल टेलिकमले हालसालै ठड्याएको तर पूर्ण संचालनमा आइसकेको रहेनछ । त्यसैले ती गाउँलेले बाहिरियाको अपेक्षा गरेका थिए ।

“हैन हैन,” मैले भनेँ, “म यहाँ घुम्न आएको। कुनै काम छैन ।”

उनले मलाई हेरे। उनले आफ्ना आँखा मिलिक्क मेरा जुत्तामा पुर्याए र फेरि मुस्काए । मैले उनको अनुहार पढेँ । उनले मलाई पत्याएनन् ।

त, म वासको अपेक्षामा ती महिलाको जवाफ कुरिरहेको थिएँ । साँझ झमक्कै हुन अब २० मिनेटजति बाँकी हुँदो हो । उनले सबै भाँडा पखालिन् । आँगनको डिलमुनि एउटा भैँसी र दुइटा पाडापाडी थिए । एउटा अर्को बस्तु अटाउने ठाउँ थियो त्याँ । एकछिनको मौनतापछि मैले सोधेँ , “पाइन्छ वास?”

उनले फेरि मलाई मेरो कपालदेखि जुत्तासम्म नियालिन् र भनिन्, “त्यै सरको अोछ्यानमा सुत्नेभए पाइन्छ । आज हुनुहुन्न उहाँ । आफ्नै घर जानुभएको छ।”

मैले लामो सास तानेँ । आँगनछेउ उभिएर अस्ताउँदो सूर्यका किरण ठोक्किएका पूर्वतिरका रङ्गीन बादलतिर मेरो ध्यान केन्द्रित गरेँ । आँगन खासै साँघुरो वा उति फराकिलो थिएन । त्यसको किनारको डेढ हातजति ठाउँ डिलमुनि बाँधिएका बस्तुलाई घाँस हाल्न छुट्याइएको थियो। एउटा ठुलो मोटो बङ्गुर मुलढोकामा टाउको घुसारेर केही खाँदै थियो, घरकी अर्की महिलाको हातबाट । उनी घरमुली रहिछन्, बेलुका थाहा पाएँ ।

हेर्दा हेर्दै अध्यारोले छोपिहाल्यो । एकजना पुरुष आएर दलानमा टुसुक्क बसे । उनको जँघेलोको एउटा खुट्टो घुँडासम्म बेरिएको थियो । सुरूवालको अर्को खुट्टो हिलो र माटोले लतपतिएको थियो। उनी थाकेका देखिन्थे । उनी घरमुली पुरुष रहेछन् । उनी बारी जोतेर अाएका रहेछन् । मैले वास पाएकोमा उनीसँग कृतज्ञता प्रकट गरेँ । गफ गर्दागर्दै साढे १७ सय मिटर उचाईको त्यो डाँडोमा हल्का चिसो सिरेटो लाग्यो ।

भित्र घरकी कान्छी छोरी खाना पकाउने सुरसारमा थिइन्। पाहुना आएकोले के पकाउने भन्ने निर्क्यौल भैसकेको थिएन जसको चाल मैले पाइहालेँ।

“तपाईंहरू जे खानुहुन्छ म त्यै खान्छु,” मैले भने ।

“हामी त ढिंडो खान्छौं,” घरमुली महिलाले भनिन् । ” मकैको।”

“मलाई साह्रै मिठो लाग्छ,” मैले भनेँ ।

यो लेख फोटोहरूपछि निरन्तर छ । तपाईँलाई इमेलमै पछिल्लो ब्लग, लेख र तस्बिर पठाउँदा म खुसी हुनेछु । बाकसमा आफ्नो इमेल ठेगाना हाल्नु होला । यो लेख इमेल इन्बक्समै पढिरहुन भएको छ भने केही गर्न पर्दैन । धन्यवाद 🙂

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

खाना पकाउँदै

खाना पकाउँदै

Continue reading

Thanks to the IMEI number, I got my phone back

Keep your phone’s IMEI number safe. That could help you find your lost phone.

Five months ago I lost my dual SIM Android phone while traveling to Biratnagar from Ilam. I mourned the loss but continued my normal business with my other phone. But I wanted to get the phone back. And, a month ago I got it back.

I wasn’t aware of the importance of the International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number before I lost the phone. So I didn’t keep it. This was my third phone that I had lost. (An iPhone in 2011 and in 2006 a Samsung phone.)

I didn’t believe that Nepali police would be able to track and even recover my phone even if I provided them the IMEI number. But one day I found the phone box where IMEI number’s printed. (Dial *#06# or go to About Phone section to find your IMEI number and keep it safe. Also keep your receipt or the phone box safe.)

If you lose your phone and are in Kathmandu, go to Hanumandhoka. For those out of Kathmandu, go to district police office. Give them your IMEI number. (Android and iOS operating systems allow you to make your lost phone unusable but IMEI tracking helps retrieve your phone.)

Here I am withholding one crucial information that will determine whether your phone can be found. That’s because I don’t want thieves and people who find phone but don’t give that back to the owner to know this.

As for my phone, a guy in Jhapa had been using it for months. He had even put a plastic cover to protect the screen.

PS: If yours is a feature or smart phone, don’t just save your contacts in SIM card(s) or the phone. Sync them with your email or cloud account. My both phones were synced with my Google account which meant I didn’t have to worry about the contacts.

Chitlang revisited

A farmer in Chitlang with his plough

A farmer in Chitlang on way to field with a plough on his shoulder

27/28 April: A hike up to Chitlang over the weekend. Passed through this village back in 5/6 May 2010 with Suraj on his motorbike.

The Maoists, still angry with President Yadav and Prime Minister Nepal almost a year after their exit from the government, had imposed an indefinite country-wide general strike with lofty aims of correcting the ‘regression’ and capturing Kathmandu (the Valley AND the Power Center). They had brought thousands of people in the Valley from different parts of Nepal (and, as we found out, Bihar). Some of these people, frustrated by the uncertainty that the ‘indefinite’ nature of the strike posed and mismanagement of the agitation program by the Maoist party, were fleeing Kathmandu. They were returning to their homes. They had to walk for as long as two days because no vehicles were plying on roads, thanks to the strike. We followed some of those people who were ‘escaping’ out of Kathmandu via Kulekhani/Bhimphedi. They were people with diverse backgrounds- reflective of the country itself. And most of them had pressing works to attend. Based on our conversation with them we filed a story for Kantipur. Here’s the report titled “गुराँस टिप्दै फर्किए आन्दोलनकारी“:

दिनेश वाग्ले/सुरज कुँवर Continue reading

Jaleshwar, Mahottari

Holy dip: A man sought respite from the heat by taking bath in the pond at the back of the Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple.

Holy dip: A man sought respite from heat by taking bath in pond at the back of the Jaleshwar Mahadev Temple.

24 June 2013: Journalists have the best office building in Jaleshwar, headquarters of Mahottari district. Mahottari chapter of the Federation of Nepali Journalists constructed their office building on land provided by the district administration office last year. President Yadav inaugurated the building. Rest of the office buildings in this town look utterly depressing (the Municipality Office building should top that unenviable list).

This is my first trip to Jaleshwar (Mahottari). I went to a nearby village (Khaira). There I found a man who had run away from Nepal Police service just before the conflict ended. Afterward he tried his luck in foreign employment but the work he was offered in Malaysia turned out to be different than what his agent had described in Kathmandu. He came back quickly. His brother went. Now he is trying to go as well. May be after Dasain, he said. There was a photo of his father, a Nepal Police ASI who died a few years back while in service, hanging on the wall of a makeshift shop that he maintained near his house.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just a few kilometers straight to the south from this point is Nepal's border with India. Near Malangawa, Sarlahi.

Just a few kilometers south from this point is Nepal’s border with India. Near Malangawa, Sarlahi. 21 June 2013.

malangawa, sarlahi streets on a rainy day

21 June: My impression of Malangawa where I am now for the first time? Very basic bazaar. Feels like nothing here is in good shape. But that’s when you are frustrated. Feel good and you start realizing that the place is normal, like any other district headquarters that have unpaved roads, dilapidated buildings and dirty markets. That’s Nepal, of course.

All together..

All together..

Continue reading

Soviet and Saudi Aid to Nepal’s Development

USSR is no more but the bridges it built in Nepal remain and they continue to make lives of millions of Nepali people easier. I have traveled in the east-west highway several times but I must admit that I had never noticed these signboards and didn't know that Soviets built these bridges (saw three of them) until Peter spotted them on our way to Rhautahat from Janakpur.

USSR is no more but the bridges it built in Nepal remain and they continue to make lives of millions of Nepali people easier. I have traveled in the east-west highway several times but I must admit that I had never noticed these bridge signs and didn’t know that Soviets built these bridges (saw three of them) until Peter spotted them on our way to Rhautahat from Janakpur.

20/21 June: Any talk about development aid can spark a huge and passionate debate about pros, cons of the aid and if and how it should be delivered. In an aid-dependent country like Nepal mechanism through which the aid money is disbursed and delivered matters a lot. This can make or break a society. Or, make some people very dissatisfied with the donors as is the case in Nepal. I do believe Nepal will, unfortunately, remain an aid-dependent country for at least a decade to come because of the way things are now. Of course, it’s better to be in a position where we don’t need aid. But we are not in such a position now. So I think aid is needed. That’s my personal opinion. I am a big supporter of aid in infrastructure projects rather than in something that can be loosely termed as ‘capacity building’ (whatever that is). Continue reading

The God. Whose God?

Religious posters pasted on the wall of a house owned by a Dalit in Pipariya Dostiya village of Rhautahat district.

Religious posters pasted on the wall of a house owned by a Dalit in Pipariya Dostiya village of Rhautahat district.

Many Hindus actively practice, promote and protect untouchability, the caste-based discrimination. There are several layers of untouchability in Hindu society but the most visible is the one against the Dalits (collectively those who are at the lower levels of the caste hierarchy) by the non-Dalits (collectively those who are at the higher strata). Untouchability exists among Dalits too. It exists among non-Dalits as well. Continue reading

Janakpur: ‘परित्यक्त’ शहरमा एउटा ‘राजकीय’ यात्रा

"King" and "Queen" in their hearts. The man on the left, resident of Dhanusha district of which Janakpur is headquarter, camped at the hotel Manaki, Janakuur, for two days to get a glimpse of former king Gyanendra who was in town that has the famed Janaki temple as part of his religious tour in the some districts in southern Nepal. This man had worn daura suruwal yesterday.

‘King’ and ‘Queen’ in their hearts. The man on the left, resident of Dhanusha district of which Janakpur is headquarter, camped at the hotel Manaki, Janakpur, for two days to get a glimpse of former king Gyanendra who was in town that has the famed Janaki temple as part of his religious tour of some districts in southern Nepal. Photo taken on 20 June.

१९/२० जून, २०१३:  हामी जानकी मन्दिरमा पुगेका के थियौं ‘राजा’ अर्को ढोकाबाट निस्किहाले । हराउदै गएको साइरनको अावाजबाट मन्दिर परिसरमा उभिएका हामी पक्का भयौं ज्ञानेन्द्र होटल फर्किए । मन्दिर लगभग खाली थियो । तर संयोगै भनुम् हामी त्यही होटलमा बसेका थियौं जहाँ पूर्व राजाले रात विताउनेवाला थिए । सानो भिड थियो होटल मानकीमा । केही समर्थकहरू जम्मा भएका थिए । उनीहरू बडो उत्सुक थिए । ती समर्थकहरूका एकजना नेताले सफा सेतो कुर्ता सुरूवाल लगाएका थिए । उनी त्यो रात त्यही होटलमा बसेको हुनुपर्छ किनकी अवेरसम्म उनी त्यहीको रेष्टुरेन्टमा हाम्रोसँगैको टेबुलमा खाइरहेका थिए । िवहानै मैले उनलाई होटल परिसरमा माला हातमा लिएर उभिएको देखेको िथएँ । Continue reading