A few “interesting” things that I noticed while wandering around in London and York.
Here’s my Edinburgh entry (now with photos).
It was Amit’s idea. He knew someone who worked there. That someone, I later came to know, was Bhaskar Adhikari (PhD from University of Edinburgh). Bhaskar worked as a researcher at the “Flora of Nepal” section of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. He had agreed to give us a tour of the Gardens. Fantastic. Thank you Bhaskar ji. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्
उनन्सत्तरीमा सबैभन्दा जनपयोगी काम काठमान्डूमा बर्षको अन्तिम दिनमा भए जस्तो लाग्यो । सहरमा सार्वजनिक बस सेवा साझा यातायात पुनर्जागृत भयो । अहिलेलाइ १६ वटा बसले दुईवटा रूटमा सेवा दिने भनिएको छ । तर आशा गर्न सकिन्छ सेवाको विस्तार हुन्छ- शहरभरी, देशैभरी र विदेशसम्म पनि । सञ्चालकहरूले पनि त्यो प्रतिज्ञा गरेका छन् । साझा यातायातको सेवा विस्तारबाट भन्दा ठूलो आशा मैले यो प्रयासले नेपालमा रही आएको नीजि यातायात सेवालाई ‘राम्रो हुन’ प्रेरणा र दबाब दिने छ भन्ने हो । एनसेलको आगमनले एनटीसीलाई कसरी प्रेरणा र सकारात्मक दबाब मिलेको छ भन्नेकुरा सहरमा हालै खुलेका एनटीसीका सेवा केन्द्रहरूले प्रष्ट्याउछन् ।
काठमान्डूमा सार्वजनिक यातायातको दुर्दशाको चित्रण/बर्णन गरी के साध्ये । निकै अगाडीको एउटा लेख र केही अगिको एउटा ब्लग इन्ट्रीमा मैले त्यो प्रयास गरिसकेकोले अहिले दोहोर्याउदिन । त्यो दुर्दशाबाट अलिकति भएपनि मुक्ति पाइएला भन्ने आशा भएकैले अहिले यति लेख्न जाँगर चलेको हो ।
हाम्रो देशमा अहिले सबैभन्दा ठूलो समस्या भनेको प्रबन्धनको हो । स्रोत, साधन, जनशक्ति र ज्ञान नभएको हैन । तर उचित प्रबन्धन क्षमता अलि कम भएको देखिएको छ । माइतीघर-तीनकुने सडक विस्तार हुनथालेको महिनौं भइसक्यो । पैसा नभएर काममा ढिलाइ भएको हो ? कि बेरोजगारीहरूले िभत्ता रंगाएको यो सहरमा त्यो सडकखण्डमा काम गर्ने मानिसको कमी भएर ? यसअघिका प्रमले प्राथमिकतामा राखेको सडक विस्तार कार्यको सबैभन्दा सुरूवाती प्रयास यति धीमा गतिमा चल्नुमा प्रबन्धन क्षमतामा कमजोरी देख्छु ।
अपेक्षा के हो भने साझाको व्यवस्थापन र प्रबन्धन कुशल र चुस्त छ अनि त्यसले साझा बसमात्र चलाउदैन नेपाली सार्वजनिक यातायातको सुधारमा प्रेरणा, दबाब र योगदान दिने छ । हिजोको कान्तिपुर को लेखमा साझा सहकारी यातायातका अध्यक्ष कनकमणी दीक्षितले पनि त्यस्तै गर्ने योजना रहेको उल्लेख गरेका छन् ।
दीक्षितको प्रसंग आइहाल्यो अबको भाग उनकै ’boutमा ।
यो लेख तल निरन्तर छ । तपाईँलाई इमेलमै पछिल्लो ब्लग, लेख र तस्बिर पठाउँदा म खुसी हुनेछु । बाकसमा आफ्नो इमेल ठेगाना हाल्नु होला । धन्यवाद 🙂
थुप्रै नेपाली र नेपाललाई नजिकबाट चिनेका विदेशीले समेत उनलाई पत्रकारकारूमा चिन्छन् । साझाप्रति मेरो यति धेरै उत्साह र अपेक्षाको मुख्य कारण त्यो प्रयासको नेतृत्वमा यी पत्रकार (पत्रकार) को सहभागिता नै हो । हुन पनि कुन बस सेवाका प्रमुख कोलम्बियाका ग्य्राजुएट छन् ? हो काठमान्डूमा बस चलाउन आइभी लिग डिग्रीले खासै अर्थ राख्दैन र दीक्षित काठमान्डूका सार्वजनिक बसहरूका यात्रु पनि होइनन् । हुन त गरिवी निवारण गर्न गरिबै हुनुपर्ने पनि हैन । त्यसैले म बसमात्रै चलाउदिन सहरको सार्वजनिक यातायात प्रणालीमा सुधार पनि ल्याउछु भन्ने लक्ष्य राख्नुले केही न केही अर्थ राख्छ ।
So the Speakers’ Corner hasn’t been deserted after all. After I posted an entry on the place portraying it as an empty place James (call him Sir James or James Chambuwan 😉 ) suggested me to go there on a Sunday afternoon. That’s what I did and, lo and behold, there was another James, slightly taller than the one who suggested me to go there, I must admit, talking animatedly about various crises in the world but mainly focusing his lecture to European affairs. A few middle-aged men surrounded him as he continuously spoke, leaving little chance for others to interrupt, moving both hands and his whole body furiously and occasionally jumping a few inches from the ground (or may be just raising is both ankles) to make a particularly important point. Some of his listeners were trying their best to interrupt him, correct him and to counter and add their own views to what he was saying.
James the Speaker of the Imperial College, London (a student of Chemistry who plans to go into finance and politics- finance more likely than politics, he admitted- in future and thinks it’s good to be grounded in pure science while making career in one of the aforementioned areas) was one of about seven speakers who were पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्
Things that you didn’t see or experience while growing up often generate curiosity in you whenever you come across them. The level of curiosity increases if such things are not yet part of your daily routine. They invoke a desire in you. The desire to own, control or use them. Rail network is one such thing that we don’t have in Nepal. Many in Nepal want to see a functioning railway network in their country. They want to travel in trains.
Many of us get our first rail experience in India because of the country’s geographical proximity and other socio-economic reasons. My first real train journey (not counting the metro rail commutes in DC and NYC) was in India in 2008 when I traveled to Trivendram in south from Gorakhpur. It was a long and tiring journey that also gave me a story to write for my paper at the time. More than anything else, that particular journey provided me an important glimpse of the wonder that the Indian railway network is. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्
It was a friend of mine who asked me if I wanted to go to York and, through that question, encouraged me to go to the place where he had spent 10 years of his youthful life procrastinating and photographing the walled city and, in his last years there, taking time out to earn a PhD from the University of York in Environment and Politics. He connected me (Thank you, MP!) with a young and energetic man who, like my friend, had recently finished his PhD from the same university and was living in York along with his family. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्
There are so many things to write about. This evening’s bus ride, branded shops of Oxford Street with ridiculously high prices of the products on display and malls that sell things surprisingly cheap stuffs. The famous bridge of London, museums that I visited, television studio that I liked, portraits that I saw, food that I ate and people I met including the hobbyist singer with whom I just exchanged email address in a pub. But I don’t have enough time to write about all these things and select, edit and post photos. Will try and do that when I am back in Kathmandu.
Now I must get some sleep. I have to wake up early tomorrow morning to catch a bus that will take me to a northern city of York via Leeds. And then to Edinburgh in a train.
Last two entries have given the impression that the city is so very cold, that I am freezing here in London and that I am about to die of hypothermia (exaggeration). That’s obviously not the case. Last week was all normal. I mean I needed a jacket but going out was no problem at all. Plenty of sunshine and less wind. Evenings were friendlier to walk weather-wise; didn’t need to wear two caps (again that’s for me only, not for the brave bald heads that I mentioned in the first entry). So for me it was all ‘normal’ week- cold but bearable.
But not for my friend from Bahrain- he was shivering most of the times when we went out together last week during lunch hours and was complaining how cold the city was. I had to tell him that this week was nothing compared to the previous one. So the cold, as I learnt, is dependent to your resistance capacity/ability. I think this capability is partly determined by how (conditions including weather) and where you were born and grew up. Kathmandu doesn’t get as hot as Bahrain gets in summer- and it also doesn’t get as cold as London gets in winter- which should explain why my British friend in Kathmandu was surprised to learn through my first post that I found London cold and that I was surprised to see my Bahraini friend complain about the London weather that I had found pleasant.
Just as I was about enter through the main gate, someone waved at me and extended a warm invitation.
“Come, eat,” he said. “It’s a very cold day today. You should eat something. It’s free.”
The white man, with a bald head and a huge tuppi, was wearing a yellowish dhoti. I was in central London at the campus of a well-known British school. I had gone there to see a Nepali-speaking professor. I had reached at the gate a good 30 minutes earlier after tiring myself of walking around and inside Hyde Park for a couple of hours. I needed to kill time.
I was hungry too.
Pasta, very thick daal and an interesting conversation were waiting for me.
The person who invited me for this surprise late afternoon lunch was accompanied by a man who looked like a Southasian and a white lady.
I could instantly recognize who these people were. A small board with words from Bhagawat Gita was stood on the food stall that stood on wheels. But I didn’t need to see that to conclude who they were. I happily accepted the invite. I was instantly given a plate full of food that I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish.
I ate along with other students who were offered the food in the same manner I was offered.
Some Indian students, while eating the same food as they stood not far from the food stall, were cracking some dirty jokes in Hindi.
I quietly listened to them while strolling around to suppress my laughter.
I couldn’t eat that all.
“Can I take a photo of you distributing food, please?” I asked.
“Yes,” said the Russian man. I was just guessing his nationality based on his ascent. Turned out i
I was correct.
“Oh, Nepal,” he reacted after I answered his question. “Ratna Park! I know. I have been there. Budhanilakantha. There is temple.” He was correct. Long time ago, I had gone to interview a Russian at the ISCON temple in Budhanilakantha. As far as I could remember, this man with thick tuppi looked like the Russian that I had met in Budhanilakantha in 2004.
The Southasian guy turned out to be a Sri Lankan. “I have a friend who worked in Nepal,” he said in a very excited tone. “He coached the national Cricket team of Nepal. Do you know Roy Dias? He is my classmate.”
“I know Roy Dias,” I told him, “But only through media. Not personally.”
“I believe he was quite a star in Nepal,” he added. “Many girls wanted to marry him. I understand that the boys (Cricket players, he obviously meant, I assumed) liked him as well.”
Better late than never. Continued from my Feb/March London/UK trip.
I visited the newly refurbished BBC building to see newsrooms and recording studios. Liked the design and overall feel of newsrooms/sections (lobbys to gather and discuss) which are open and very much connected with each other. Impressive glass walls received the highest score. (From a BBC website: At the heart of the building is the newsroom, a column-free space, surrounded by technical areas and day-lit by the eight-storey high atria above.)
A big thanks to Bhagirath Yogi who works at the Nepali Service for giving me a tour of the $1.59 billion building. If you want to read more about the building here’s a Guardian article. Want to read about New York Times’ new building? Here you go: Architecture Blog: New York Times Building Vs Kantipur Tower!).