धेरैपछि फेरी एक पटक दिल्लीको गर्मीमा अाफैसँग सिकसिको लाग्नेगरी पसिनाले फतक्कै भिजेको डेढ दिन के भएको थियो मलाई काठमान्डूका कतिपय कुराहरू खड्किन थालेका थिए ।
१४ सय मिटरमा अवस्थित उपत्यकाको प्रशंसा गरेर नथाकिने मुख्य कुरा यहाँको मौसम हो जस्तो लाग्छ मलाई । सजिलै पुगिने र चढ्न सकिने वरिपरीका हरिया डाँडाहरूलाई पनि म यो ठाउँको सवल पक्ष मान्छु । काठमान्डू खाल्डो घेर्ने पहाडहरूको महत्व मेरालागि अाफू कहाँ छु भनि ठम्याउने कुरासँग पनि जोडिएको छ । पहाडमा पलाएका अनि हुर्केकाहरू सबैलाई यस्तै हुन्छ कि मैलाई मात्र हो मैले खुट्याइसकेको छैन । दक्षिण बग्ने लिखु खोलाको दाईने किनारबाट उम्रिएर पश्चिमतर अडेस लागेको रामेछापेली पाखोमा जन्मे-हुर्केको मेरालागि म कुन उचाईंमा या ठ्याक्कै कहाँ छु भन्ने ठम्याउन सबैभन्दा महत्वपूर्ण सन्दर्भ विन्दु हुन्थ्यो, लिखुको द्रेब्रेकिनारबाट अग्लिएर पूर्वतिर लमतन्न फैलिएको अोखलढुङ्गे पाखोको टुप्पो । पूर्वतिर फर्केको घरको अाँगनमा उभिएर त्यो अोखलढुङ्गे भिरालोमा अाँखा सार्दै टुप्पैसम्म पुर्याएर त्यो पानीढलो पछ्याउदै उत्तर बढ्दा पुगिने हिमालमै पुगेर ठोक्किएपछि मात्रै म निश्चित हुन्थे अाफ्नो अवस्थितिप्रति । काठमान्डूमा पनि पहाडी टुप्पाहरूले मलाई “ए, म यहाँनिर छु है” भनि खुट्याउन साह्रै सघाउँछन् ।
पहाडहरूसँगको सामीप्य त्यस्तो बानी परिसकेको छ ।
जब म पहाड नदेखिने ठाउँमा पुग्छु मलाई अाफू ठ्याक्कै कहाँनिर छु भनि पत्तालगाउन कठिन हुन्छ । त्यस्तो बेला अाकाश अलि धुम्म परेको छ भने त उकुसमुकुस हुन बेरलाग्दैन । कुनैबेला म दिल्लीको अस्थायी बासिन्दा हुँदा पनि मलाई पहाडहरूको अभाव खड्केको थियो । घरैमात्र देखिन्छन् जहीं पनि । त्यो पनि सम्झनलायक अाकार, व्यक्तित्व र उचाई भएका त झन् पटक्कै हैनन् ।
लिखु खोला माथि कुहिरो
सैलुङ डाँडाबाट देखिएका झन् अग्ला डाँडाहरू ।
हो, फोन खोलेर गुगल नक्सामा अमेरिकाले संसारलाई सित्तैमा उपलब्ध गराईरहेको पृथ्वीमा अाफ्नो भौगोलिक/शारीरिक स्थान पहिल्याउने प्रणाली (ग्लोवल पोजिसनिङ् सिस्टम/जीपीएस) मार्फत अाफू कहाँ उभिएको ठम्याउन नसकिने हैन । केही महिना अघि काठमान्डूबाट नेपालका केही ठाउँहरूमा हेलिकप्टरबाट दौडादौड गर्दा मैले फोनकै जीपीएस अनि गुगल नक्साको संयोजनले अाफू अहिले ठ्याक्कै कुन पहाड माथि छु भनि ठम्याउँदा एकखाले रोमाञ्च महशुस नभएको हैन । तैपनि नाङ्गा अाँखाले पहाडको टुप्पो हेरेर अाफूलाई पहिल्याउन बानी परेको र रमाउने मनलाई जीपीएसले पूर्ण सन्तुष्टि नदिंदो रैछ । प्रविधीका कयौं पक्षहरूसँग जीवनले पूर्णरूपेण सहजता महशुस गर्न समय लाग्दो रहेछ । Continue reading
Woman at work.
Today is the 7th and second last day in Bangkok, Thailand. I’ll cross over to a neighboring country tomorrow. [The name the place literally means “Siam Defeated” according to Wikitravels.]
I am not posting here photos of high-rise buildings and glitchy malls of Bangkok in this entry. Will do that, may be, in next posts about the city. Lady collectors in the buses- beautifully dressed and some with their faces covered by masks- were new to me. (I liked traveling in airconditioned buses in Bangkok.) By today, I have traveled in buses, both trains (sky and underground) and over the Chao Phraya River in boat. Enjoyed that boat ride. But no tuk tuk yet. May be their turn will come when I return to the city again in a week. (More later.) Continue reading
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.
New Baneshwar, Kathmndu.6:41 pm NST.
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“We are at their mercy,’’ lamented Rajesh Sehgal, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase II neighbourhood in east Delhi. “The number of monkeys in the locality has increased beyond control in the past couple of years.” Pic by AFP in 2006, Rajpath, New Delhi.
Humans and monkeys struggle for space in the Indian capital
TKP. Click to enlarge
By Dinesh Wagle
It took me a week and three incidents to identify the culprit. I had kept a bucket of household waste just outside the main entrance of my third-floor apartment so that the collector could take it away. One recent afternoon, the collector knocked on my door to show me something. I was horrified. The waste materials were scattered all over the stairs as if it had been done by a monkey. Or could it be the work of the dog that always sleeps at the main entrance three stories below? I wasn’t sure. But last week, I saw him live in action, playing with my kitchen waste, scattering it all over—like a monkey. The culprit was indeed a monkey.
For the first time in 20 months, I got the taste of living in Delhi. A bad taste it was, but perhaps not so bad compared to what residents of many other neighborhoods in Delhi are experiencing. Monkeys are creating havoc in their daily lives. “We are at their mercy,’’ lamented Rajesh Sehgal, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase II neighbourhood in east Delhi. Sehgal is also vice president of the area’s Residents Welfare Association. “The number of monkeys in the locality has increased beyond control in the past couple of years,” he told The Times of India last week.
In June, a monkey entered a high security Metro train in Northwest Delhi and delayed the service by 15 minutes. No one was harmed, but members of the Central Industrial Security Force had to intervene to get the monkey out of the train. A cell phone captured the simian’s antics that were fun to watch later on TV, but Metro officials were not amused. “The animal caused a flutter among passengers with everybody running helter-skelter,” NDTV quoted an anonymous Metro official as saying. Continue reading
Sibling conflict and cooperation: These kids were carrying gallons of drinking water in the dokos from a tap some 400 meters below their home in a village in Makwanpur. The younger one (at the front) was crying when we saw them. His brother was trying to put him inside the basket instead of water gallons! Some sort of fighting between the brothers had ensued. The kid stopped crying as soon as we reached and started smiled as realized we were taking his photos.
The arrival was peaceful, the stay wonderful (minus the #MaoistStrike) and the time has come to go back to the sweltering heat of Delhi. What I’ll miss the most apart from the obvious is the ‘air-conditioned’ climate of Kathmandu. Despite all the problems on the streets and the corridors of powers Kathmandu is undoubtedly the place where I feel at ease to be. Kathmandu (and Nepal in general) presents dilemma to its residents. As Bigyan aptly tweets: “can’t live with it, can’t live without it… #Nepal.” [My Reweet.]
Selfish interests groups and badly manged politics have collectively ruined the economy and state of affairs of the city and the country. Such is the situation that sometime even a staunchly hopeful person like me gets swayed away and thinks we are here to be doomed, that we will never go ahead and catch up with time that is moving so fast ahead of us. BUT that is not the feeling that rules me (and I assume many of us). Just a small opportunity, a moment of peace and the country will surely move ahead. Just a few roads and drinking water projects in villages and the faces of those hills will change for better. Just a little bit of investment, an environment for investors to play with their wealth and the economy will see a turnaround. There is a lot in this country to be hopeful about.
Some of the best moments of my more than two week long stay in Kathmandu were when I ventured out of the valley. Just behind the Chandragiri hills, above Thankot, is a wonderful village called Chitlang. A very old settlement. Suraj Kunwar and I biked through the village one cloudy (and drizzling) noon enjoying the view of farmers busy in their fields, thick forests atop hills, kids smiling and playing with each other and barren lands filled with colorful flowers. It was heavenly- except that on the other side of the hill- below- urban terror was ruling the city in the name of people’s uprising. The so called revolution failed but not before giving the country a bad jolt. Continue reading