….त म त्यो साँझ घर फर्किरहेको थिएँ, गाडी बिछट्टै प्याक थियो। एउटा स्टपमा मानिसहरू ओर्लिंदै थिए, छतबाट पनि एक तन्नेरी झर्दैथियो। छतमै पनि भीड भएकाले ऊ भर्याङबाट होइन बीचैबाट ओर्लिंदै थियो। कसोकसो उसको खुट्टो झ्यालमै नअडिएर झ्यालसँगैको सिटमा बसेका एकजना अधबैंसेको मुखमा जोतिन पुग्यो। ‘थुइक्क,’ ती अधबैंसेले चुक अमिलो आएझैं अनुहार पार्दै मुखमा छिरेको हिलो निकाल्न खोजे। तिनले हतारमै सर्टको बाहुलाले ओठ र मैले देखें, जिब्रो पनि पुछ्न खोजे। बाहुलामा खैरो–कालो धब्बा बस्यो तर तिनको मुखबाट हिलो सबै गएन। तिनी ओ हेनरीको कुनै अतिव्यंग्यात्मक कथाको एउटा पीडित पात्रजस्तै थिए। विडम्बना उनको मुखमा जुत्ता पुर्याउने युवकलाई ती अधबैंसेको हबिगतको पत्तोसम्म थिएन। ऊ आफैं संघर्ष गर्दै जसोतसो छतबाट झरेर अँध्यारोमा घरतिर लम्किसकेको थियो। पाँच मिनेट पछि पनि ती अधबैंसे जिब्रो निकाल्दै, ओठ चलाउँदै, मुख पूरै बिगार्दै झयालबाहिर थुक्दै थिए। तिनको अनुहार म प्रस्ट पढ्न सक्थें– तिनी सिटमा बसेर गरेको यात्राप्रति खुबै पश्चाताप गरिरहेका छन्।
(कान्तिपुर कोसेली 2008/08/23)
I wrote that article four years ago. The situation hasn’t changed a bit. Two days ago an impromptu afternoon strike in Kathmandu (and elsewhere in Nepal) forced people to commute in the same pathetic condition that I describe in the article. In all these years we have seen tall promises made (and never fulfilled), new men heading one government after another (and delivering nothing but disappointment). Things remain same. Buses continue to be crowded and dangerously unsafe to travel for women (and men). This city lacks infrastructures that make a city a city. In fact I don’t feel comfortable to call Kathmandu a city. It’s a mess as portrayed in the article above.
When you have lived in a mess for most of your life, the sight of anything that is functional and working makes you amazed. But one doesn’t have to be a citizen of a third world country and its capital city to notice the excellent infrastructure of the city that has hosted Olympics three times. So if I say here that London has everything and most of those things are in order that statement will be totally influenced by my experience with Kathmandu. With such statements, I’ll be unknowingly comparing Kathmandu with London which is not the point of this entry. Continue reading
Here are some photos from my bus ride on what people are forced to call a ‘highway’ that connects Rukum with Dang. In between these districts is Salyan. The road isn’t blacktopped which meant a bumpy ride that lasted for about 7 hours. The funniest thing is that I ended up, albeit reluctantly, sharing a hotel room with a man I met in the bus, at the end of the trip, and disagreed on the need of the road networks in Nepal. The bus halted at
Tulsipur, the final destination, where I got off along with the person. It was too late for me to go to Ghorahi (and stay there) to catch a bus from there to Rolpa the next morning. So the man took me to the hotel that he knew as he also stayed nearby and ate there when his wife didn’t stay with him.
…a passenger who noted down the boy’s phone number….there’s a small story behind their on-the-spot friendship and, according to the boy who confided with me later, plans to meet later 🙂
Kathmandu: A small group of criminals set a passenger bus on fire at the Manohara bridge early in the morning today (around 4:30 am). The bus was coming out from a garage in Balkot, Bhaktapur, to ply on the Nepal Yatayat route, according to my colleague Makar Shrestha who reached at the stop some 15 minutes after the incident. There are two Nepal Yatayat services- one begins from a planned settlement three kilometers away known locally as Town Planning near Old Sinamangal which itself is referred to as Pepsi Cola because the place hosts the factory of the cold drink major. The other begins from near Koteshwor. I am a daily passenger of the first Nepal Yatayat service. By the time I took this photo the bus had already been taken to Koteshwor traffic police post. Seemed to me that the engine hasn’t been destroyed.
I heard that some vandals attacked a van belonging to Kantipur TV. The attackers identified themselves as the activists of a fringe group called Chure Bhanwar Rastriya Ekata Party (presided by Himalayabhakta Pradhananga), according to a report in eKantipur.com.
This is the first instance of a bus being attacked in Kathmandu valley during banda (general strike) in many months. Today’s strike is called by a Hindu group that seeks to restore Nepal’s status as the world’s only Hindu country. But it seems they are not the only groups that have called banda today because Chure Bhanwar group has also claimed the ownership of the strike. Various outfits calling themselves Chhetri Samaj (a group of Chhetri communities) had also called for strike today only to take back that, according a TV network, yesterday.
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[This post has been revised.]
When insanity strikes a lover and his heart!
Many of us may have seen those often funny and rhythmic lines written on the back of trucks. Articles have been written about them. But I hadn’t seen (or don’t recall seeing one) such lines written right on the sun shade of a bus. Usually drivers and their assistants known as khalasis (gadi sahayak) put photos and posters of Bollywood and Nepali film actors all over in the driver’s cabin.
Red ink has been used on a white sheet of paper to write no more than six words. (But red is everywhere.. look at the rear-view mirror!) Pagal premi ko/ pagal chha yo man. [पागल प्रेमीको/ पागल छ यो मन. A crazy lover’s/ heart is crazy.] Wasn’t clear if the driver fully agreed with the lines or if he was the one who wrote that and pasted on the sun shade. But I had no time to ask him if that was the case. Seen first when I got into the bus in Baneswar and photo taken at Maitighar.
Seen inside a bus plying between Delhi to Banbasa (Indian town bordering with Nepal's Mahendranagar): "Emergency Exit". Seat for MP, MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) and Freedom Fighter.
This is clearly one of the most uncomfortable bus journeys that I have undertaken in recent times. I have to spread my legs to form a huge V so as to avoid rubbing my knees on the back of the seat in front of me.
The bus is filled with Nepalis who are returning to their homes to celebrate Dashain festival. Some of them told me that they work as security guards in Delhi. That was what I had expected when I asked them about their jobs in the Indian capital.
Uncomfortable it is but I am happy that I am finally making this trip to Mahendranagar (or is it Bhim Datt Nagar?) from Delhi a reality. I always wanted to travel with these migrant workers, my fellow citizens. This overnight journey that began from Anand Vihar bus terminal in Delhi will end at Banbasa tomorrow morning.
I am sharing this seat with two young guys from Mahendranagar. One of them says he spent three months in Delhi working at an office. He said he didn’t intend to return without completing his college education.
Many of my co-passengers were engaged in animated conversations until a while ago. “Ashtami ko din ghar pugine vaiyo” said the boy seated next to me.
Meanwhile a Nepali folk song is blaring somewhere at the back of the bus.
वाग्ले स्ट्रिट जर्नल
यो लेख आजको कान्तिपुर कोसेलीमा प्रकाशित भएको हो ।
हालैका साताहरूमा युद्ध जर्जियामा पो देखिएको हो तर केही महिनायता काठमान्डू सहरमा डुलिहिँड्दा प्रश्न मनमा आउँछ– के हामीमाथि आक्रमण हुँदै छ? मानिसहरू गाडीमा कोच्चिएर, तिनका छतहरूमा बसेर यात्रा गरिरहेका छन् मानौं उनीहरू आपतकालमा छन् र जसरी भए पनि सहरबाट निस्कन आँटेका छन्। स्टिभन स्पिलबर्गको सन् २००५ को फिल्म ‘वार अफ द वर्ल्ड्स’ का दृश्यहरू झल्झली भइरहेका छन्– टम क्रुज अभिनित रे फेरियर नामको पात्र आफ्ना बच्चाहरू रचेल (ड्याकोटा फ्यानिङ्) र रब्बी (जस्टिन च्याटविन) लाई बस्तीको एउटै मात्र काम लाग्ने गाडीमा हालेर न्युजर्सीबाट अर्को अमेरिकी सहर बोस्टन भागिरहेको छ। त्यस्तै अवस्था चित्रण गर्ने अन्य हलिउड फिल्महरूमा जस्तै त्यसमा पनि गाडीमा भागाभाग र अत्तालिएका मानिसहरूको हतारोबाट सिर्जिएको ट्राफिक जामले उनीहरूकै यात्रा अवरुद्ध गरेको छ। लगभग त्यस्तै जाम, जो हालैका महिनाहरूमा काठमान्डूमा बारम्बार देखिनु सामान्य भएको छ । Continue reading