Nepal should help Indians understand our society and people better

promoting nepal in india kathmandu post 8aug10
click to enlarge

Excerpts of an article published in the Kathmandu Post today:

Despite being so close and sharing a border there is an unimaginably high level of misunderstanding about Nepal among Indians. Some of those misunderstandings are based on rumours and hearsay (all Nepalis smoke pot) while others are created by the Indian mainstream media that is most of the times frighteningly immature and trivial when it comes to covering Nepal.

Tens of thousands of Nepali students study in India—right across the country. They are more likely to meet educated and influential Indians (some with misinformation about Nepal) all over the country. That is why these students, not the diplomats, are the real ambassadors of the Himalayan republic in the world’s largest democracy.

Sometime the arguments turn into unreasonable blabber. “When they have nothing to support their argument, they just try to bring in nationality and say ‘you Nepalon, keep quiet’,” said a student who studies in Delhi University. “In such cases when they just argue nothing but keep repeating about the size of their democracy, we also say: if you are the largest democracy, don’t forget, we are also the highest democracy,” said another student at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Lesser known or politically and economically less powerful countries try to promote their interests in important foreign societies and markets through various means. But Nepal hasn’t found ways to promote itself among the Indian public.

[Here’s the full version of the article. Or, click on the photo above.]

Related links:

1. Face Value: Being a Nepali in India

Only a person with a flat nose and, I hate to use the word here but I must, “chinky” eyes, passes as a Nepali for many Indians…..Going by their reactions and comments, I have come to the conclusion that only those with Mongolian features are considered Nepali in India.

When I hear the same from educated Indians like journalists, software professionals, bank employees and university students, I seriously try to explain to them the diverse nature of Nepali society that lives at different altitudes, eats varieties of foods, speaks many languages and sport different looks.

2. Chance Encounters (with Nepalis) In India

It was the lunch hour and the concrete shade, not very far from the showroom, was his favorite spot to eat. Not that they didn’t let him eat in a corner of the showroom itself; but, he said, he found peace here. “And some time to rest,” he added. Hundreds of thousands of uneducated, unskilled and unemployed men (and women) from Nepal come to several Indian cities to take up low-wage, laborious and sometimes humiliating jobs. One can find such Nepalis almost everywhere in India.


a cup of tea
A cup of tea. Hot, sweet and satisfying.

The day before yesterday I went to Khanna Market (which is not very far from Khan Market that, unlike Khanna, targets rich customers) to eat at a south Indian restaurant. I had been hearing about this restaurant for long. Several people had sworn that the eatery serves excellent south Indian food at reasonable prices. (“AC and cheap menu.”) It took Satish and me no time to find Chidambaram’s New Madras restaurant.

We went upstairs- in a windowless hall with plain and clean tables. There were four tables on one side, two on the other (our side). Three of those four tables were occupied by three couples. Three men- perhaps in their mid-40s- were furiously eating on the fourth. There was another couple just behind me. Initially I felt little bit odd as I was with a man. That oddness disappeared as we ordered food. I decided to eat Masala Dosa while Satish wanted to taste Onion Idly. Food was not the only reason for me to visit there. I wanted to see the restaurant and the market- Khanna Market. You don’t get out of a restaurant without eating something unless you are deeply dissatisfied with the menu, no? Moreover, I was hungry. Continue reading “Cuppa”

Khan Market Magazine Stall

I am posting a photo that I tweeted a few days back. A man walks past a magazine store in Delhi’s Khan Market. khan market magazine stall

This post is a part of my continued effort to give the site a Twitteresque feel. Recently I reactivated the P2 theme that its creators- Automatic- think will be useful for short updates like this one.

Whenever I go to Khan Market I make it a point to visit this and other magazine stalls. You can spend awhile browsing magazines of all kinds at these stalls. A few months ago I was surprised to see a magazine called Blogger’s Park (third issue, I think), collection of blog posts from a certain blogsite- printed in the magazine format. I always wanted to do that- once upon a time- when I used to blog almost full-time. No Nepali magazines is available at these stalls though. Nepali newspapers also don’t come to Delhi and other Indian cities where as Indian newspapers are circulated everywhere in Nepal. But a south Asian magazine that is published from Kathmandu is available here. I had bought the July issue of Himal Southasian from this stall last month. The magazine had carried an article that I wrote.

Related posts:
1. Oh Jangpura!
2. Hustle and Bustle of Chawri Bazaar, Old Delhi

Delhi Rains

tree leaves and droplets

Woke up this afternoon to see the neighborhood soaked in rains. Went outside, down the street, and walked around for a while. It was drizzling. Raindrops fell on my glasses. The view was partially obstructed. I was slightly annoyed but there was no hint of heat. That made me happy. It was refreshing. Back in the balcony on the third floor, I came close to the tall tree that is attached to the building. Rain had washed away dust from its leaves. They looked so clean. They were shining. I could see droplets sliding down those leaves and falling on the ground. Splash! Oh, I could almost hear that sound. It’s a peaceful day.

Man at Work. #Delhi

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On a recent afternoon I woke up to see this man at work in a nearby building. A lot of construction work is going on in Delhi. Not just the government but private citizens are also fueling up the construction boom. This building along with the adjoining one, was built earlier this year. There were two old house here that they demolished and erected these houses. The new houses are better looking and stronger compared to the older ones. But the problem with houses here in Delhi is that they don’t have enough parking space for cars that their owners own.

Bharat Bandh

facets of india kathmandu post
Facets of India. Kathmandu Post (15.07.10)
Bharat Bandh happened on 5th July. The following is a part of an article that appeared in the Kathmandu Post yesterday. The first part of the article, available here, is about the India that is rapidly modernizing. Indian democracy is dictated by the flourishing middle class, says a professor.

So you thought bandas solely belonged to us Nepalis? India saw a Bharat Bandh (the spelling used here) last week in protest against soaring inflation and rising prices in recent months. As it happens with many Indian things, this also got world attention. The term “Bharat Bandh” was the top topic trend on Twitter on July 5 meaning most Twitter messages posted that day were related to the Indian strike. Many opposition parties including Bharatiya Janta Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) had called for a strike that would affect normal life and economic activities throughout the country. But India is too huge be completely banda (closed). It was just like a normal day in large parts of Delhi while protestors demonstrating in other parts disrupted the Metro rail service for several hours at some stations. Public buses, many of them operated by the Congress-led Delhi government, were on duty as were the privately run auto-rickshaws. Mumbai, the ultra-rightist Shiv Sena’s bastion, was perhaps the most affected. Delhi where the ruling Congress party is strong was less affected. Many shops remained closed in some markets, but many others were doing business as if it was a normal day. Even a cinema hall, newly opened Eros of Jangpura, was running shows without any sign of Bharat Bandh. I went there to watch a movie called “I Hate Luv Storys”. I loved the fact that the theatre was open during a banda, which is unimaginable in Nepal. But I hated the movie.

(This article, first appeared in the Kathmandu Post yesterday, continues here.)

New Delhi of Old India

a car sails through waterlogged delhi road
A car sails through waterlogged Delhi road

It was not surprising when the company that build $3 billion terminal at New Delhi’s international airport recently decided postpone the beginning of the operation of the landmark building by at least two weeks because of lack of “confidence”. After all this is India, the land of contrasts and paradoxes that is being touted as the next big thing on the world stage. The construction of such a lavish structure at the airport is a sure sign of India’s arrival but the reported lack of confidence is the proof that India still is very much a third world country that has millions of hungry beggars roaming on the streets. Contrast. Paradox.

Delhi’s Metro Rail is a $4 billion (and counting) mass transit system that provides excellent service on the world class infrastructure. More than a million passengers ride in the metro daily. So it’s not really surprising to see the large crowds waiting for the train at the Metro stations. Sometimes the crowds get so large, even by Indian standards, that passengers have to struggle hard to enter inside. Pushing, screaming, pulling, swearing and yelling are parts of the process. Some days are more animated than others. Like today (yesterday actually- Monday 12 July). The sudden downpour meant unexpected surge in the Metro ridership. The rush  resulted in delaying of the Metro service. Continue reading “New Delhi of Old India”