3 and 0. That is, 30. A life that is THIRTY-year-old (or young?). Whatever. Thank you for encouraging me to post this entry.
Jorpati! Okay, I am kidding.
It’s been quite a while that I haven’t seen this site! Too busy with reporting for my newspaper, fixing and translating for international news organizations and following leaders in their campaign trails in Kathmandu and then keeping myself updated on the election results from around the country. After I returned from Karnali, I went to Gorkha for a day- as a translator for a foreign newspaper. So many things to write about: all those journeys, the personal experience, those fcking tired and exhausted moments. But where is the time? 24 is not enough, I need at least 35 hours in a day.
Anyway, this is a season of political activities and making a choice based on political ideology many other factors. A reader of UWB asked me about my political affiliation and I found that question very interesting. I am republishing the conversation below: Continue reading
It’s now time for me to be away from the city of Kathmandu and go back to one of my favorite domains: the hills of Nepal. Being a workaholic ass in the city of Kathmandu means I must take break from regular life to refresh myself and inject fresh energy in the soul of Dinesh Wagle. Yes, that’s true. And the fresh air of Nepali hills (mountains for many) definitely helps me retain the energy!
Wagle with new Canon digital camera that displays his own image- the first photo that was taken by the camera on the day he bought it. This photo and the one displayed were taken by Suraj Kunwar on 31 and 19 October. Clicking on the image will display the its enlarged version.
19 Oct [Kathmandu]: I vividly remember that day, some four years ago in the same shop in New Road where I bought a brand new Canon Digital Camera today, I had gone to buy a digital camera. That was Canon A370 camera, two 128 MB memory cards, two pairs of rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. I paid Rs. 27,000 for all that (the camera was 3.2 Mega Pixel).
The camera I bought today the camera is 7.1 Mega Pixel (Canon A570) and the pack included a slim 2 GB memory card, a pair of rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. The LCD is bigger and has more shock resistance capacity. The total cost: Rs. 19000. I could also add the inflation in Nepali market and currency over the last three years. Continue reading
Time for me to go to yet another trekking. This is more hiking than trekking actually. For about four days because there is no work for me in the city as the office of my newspaper is closed for that many days. Feels good to return back to one of my favorite domains: trekking on the high hills of Nepal. This not only gives me a great excuse to get away from the city life but also takes me nearer to the ground reality of my society that is poor but honest and kind. The best thing about the village life is: WYSIWYG. I haven’t been there before but hope the Helambu lives up to my expectation. Apples and soltini ko syau jasto gala!!! [Soltini’s aka brother’s wife’s sister’s apple-like cheeks!) For those who will be emailing me or trying to contact me: I am not carrying laptop so no chance of getting connected. Thanks to Suraj for accompanying me. We will definitely have fun 🙂
I think I have mentioned it already, don’t know where and when though, that work and fun come hand in hand for me. Work is fun and fun is work. Even when I am in stress, while writing stories, I try to enjoy. I feel like man you love this job, don’t you? If you love, why be overwhelmed by the pressure. Don’t buckle down under pressure. Be cool, think hot and decide and do accordingly. When deadline is approaching and you have finished only two (out of possible 5 paragraphs story), you feel the pressure. When you have to edit another story (sometime a badly written one) after finishing writing yours, you feel the heat. But to be calm in such moment is what a reporter needs to do. This much of lecture for the time being. I was about to talk about fun in the job.
Tomorrow, I will be going to Chitwan National Park (Sauraha) to report an event: Elephant race. Isn’t that exciting? I wanted to write more about the event here but I don’t have the paper now and I am not that bright to remember all the stuffs that I read a week ago. But there are some things that you hardly forget. I was in Sauraha years ago (1998) and the only thing I remember is sitting atop an elephant and roaming around the jungle. Rhinos were hanging around. Past several weeks have been disappointing as I have been reading news of rhinos being killed one after another.
So the elephant race must be exciting. I will have to file stories for my newspaper so evenings will not be all fun (though I might say that writing news is also fun!) This is one such special situation reporters find themselves in. They enjoy the game (any game like football or cricket) like all other spectators in the stadium. When the game is over, other spectators go home (or bars) talking about the match. They enjoy. But reporters go to office to work. For reporters, work begins at the same time when others start celebrating! To being a reporter is a kind of celebration in itself! (Afno job ko prasansha ta garnai paryo ni! What’s harm is praising your own job!)
So I will be celebrating my job and enjoying the Hatti Daud (elephant race) in Sauraha. Just remembered, its Christmas time. Timing is not bad too!
On Books By the way, I had said in this blog that I would be writing my impression of the book that I was reading last week: Kafka on the Shore. That was a good read though occasionally that gave me the impression that I was reading a work of pornography. Some of the scenes were graphic but at times the writer discusses on philosophical and world issues that makes the not just another pulp fiction.
From today, I have starting reading “The Story of a Nobody” by Anton Chekhov. This is my second attempt to read the book. A few months ago, I read the book up to somewhere in the middle and stopped turning pages. Not that it’s dull but just felt like not continuing with reading it. This time it’s slightly different. I have started enjoying it. First few pages are full of great lines. Here I quote a few of them:
“I wanted peace of mind, health, good air, a full stomach. I was becoming a dreamer and, like a dreamer, did not know what it actually was that I needed. At times I wanted to retreat to a monastery, sit there for days on end by a window and gaze at the trees and fields; at other times I imagined myself buying a few acres of land and living like a country squire; at other I swore to myself that I would take up academic work and without fail become a professor at some provincial university.”
Exactly my sentiment. I have decided to take this book along with me in Chitwan trip. I hope to find time to read most of the pages if not all.
By the way, here is yet another line from the book:
“Tell me what you read, they say, and I will tell you who you are. That may be so, but to judge anything about Orlov from the books he read is absolutely impossible. It was just a mishmash.”
I have no comment on this.
Yesterday was the coldest day in Kathmandu as we experienced the first sign of the arrival of winter: it rained and, according to what I read in papers, mercury dropped to 4 degrees Celsius. The rain made impressive front page headlines in today’s papers but for me, though, the cold had arrived a few days earlier. From the very morning in last Friday, I was starting to feel uneasy in my throat. I had taken shower that morning and wasn’t wearing warm clothes. Throat was getting worse by the evening and I was having difficulties to sallow water. My priority was to gargle with salty water as I reached home past 10:30 PM. I knew I would be unable to wake up in the morning. I will be having fever, I told myself, so I must take care of my fragile body. With that decision, I went on to dream about a healthy life.
I was pleasantly surprised to find my throat healed. It was getting better! Never before like this had happened. There was no fever and I was feeling less pain. Still I decided not to take any chance. Wagle babu, you must get well, I told myself, so no venturing outside this concrete building for the day. Read the book, or sleep as much as you want but no going out. But, the other me countered, you are supposed to interview a celebrated Pakistani mountaineer this evening (9th December). You have to be there at Malla Hotel at 3 PM to meet this man who has climbed Everest and K2, worlds second highest mountain, because there is no way you can cancel the appointment just because you are sick. Yes, in journalism I work on my terms most of the time: I do reporting when I feel like doing (and fortunately, I feel like that writing most of the time). Sometime you can’t really say you don’t want to do this or that because there are some appointments that are difficult to cancel. I hate calling and canceling the appointments, I don’t know why. And I can’t imagine not showing up in the scheduled venue on time without first informing the other side.
No worries boy, you will be rescued.
To my relief, Nazir Sabir calls at around 10 AM to request that the appointment be deferred to the next day, about the same time. Wow, I told myself, that’s what I wanted. “Thank you sir,” I tell him. “I have absolutely no problem. Please enjoy the film.” The chairman of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, who had arrived earlier this week to take part in the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMF), wanted to see a movie “of my friends.” He says that he just realized the timing of the movie screening had collided with our appointment time. No problem, you want to see the movie and I really need to have rest for the day.
I grab the book that I was reading and continue turning pages. I didn’t watch much TV and didn’t go in front of computer very often. I stayed inside sirak most of the time and kept reading the book. Yes, I slept a lot. “It’s been 72 hours,” Email said this morning (Dec 12), “that you are on the bed. I hope your ribs are all fine.”
“Well, I needed this much of sleeping, didn’t I?” I replied, defensively. “I was waking up early in the morning and leaving home as if the world would stop functioning if I didn’t do so. I was tired of waking up early and sitting in front of computer whole day.”
I don’t remember when I stayed like this in home last time but this is quite fun. Especially the book made my stay in home really a good experience. I must be thankful to that American girl who left the book to me as she went back to the States. I hope to write more about my impression of the book, Kafka on the Shore, by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami after I finish reading it. My initial impression was that the book is just a popular fiction but as I turn the pages, I find it slightly more than that. Story is a bit weird (cats talk and fishes fall from over the sky) but overall combination is okay. I am half way through the book so I don’t think its now time to give my full verdict!
I don’t remember dreaming but I kept imagining all sorts of things. Kafka Tamura, the 15-year-old protagonist of the book was central in most of my imaginations. Mind is amazing, it is so bid. You can imagine so many things that I wonder if it were a hard drive, it could be possible to store trillions of terabytes of information. Sometime it is so much fun to imagine, imagine being on the moon at one moment and swimming in the sea in the next. Everything comes into mind. Lying on bed, covered by sirak, imagine everything you please! Would I opt for the adventurous life that Kafka chooses at 15? I just imagine being Kafka for the moment and decide not be one instantly.
Coming to reality, I went to see Nazir Sabir on Sunday and talked with him about his mountaineering experiences. “Mountains are like beautiful women,” he said. “You can’t really compare them.” Here comes the connoisseur of the Himalayas, I tell myself, with a lead line to my story. I had asked him which mountain he liked the most: Mount Everest or Mount K2. He climbed both mountains in second attempts. First attempts in both himals failed and he considers mountains the Mecca. “These both mountains are equally beautiful and challenging to climb.” He said. Equally challenging like impressing beautiful women? I wanted to ask but that would be too much, I thought and kept listening to him. Then he described in detail about his Everest and K2 adventures, emotions attached with climbing attempts on both mountains. I hope to write the story for my paper this evening. I washed my hair and made my tauko dandruff free. I am ready to move out. I decide to keep the book inside my side pocket of North Face jacket. It will be useful in Nepal Yatayat. The jacket is warm and I hope it will keep me safe from the chill. When I was in Malla Hotel to interview Nazir Sabir, I was quite embarrassed to see myself in this big jacket where as he was wearing a light jacket. I was like who is the real mountaineer among us? Who climbed Mt. Everest and Mt. K2?
Yesterday (Dec 11, Monday) was a complete rest day. Throat was getting well and I wasn’t feeling bad anymore. I was hooked to the book and I spend sleeping in the afternoon. In the evening, power went off because of the weekly load shedding schedule. I continued reading book with candle light. Then the time came for the Indian reality show on Sony (Bigg Boss). I have become a regular viewer of the show but I am not in a position to say if I like the program much.
Last couple of days were quite interesting and engaging. And a first-time experience of working in front of a TV camera. A crew of Japan’s NHK Television was following me as I blogged and reported for United We Blog and Kantipur respectively for one of their programs. They wanted to tell the Nepal story to their viewers through me and my works. First day, it was in a cyber cafe in Thamel where I told them how it feels like working as a blogger. Then they were following me as I covered the Feb 1 demonstrations in Basantapur and Lagan. Folks Devendra and Deepak Adhikari also participated in giving their blogging experience.
I was somewhere in Dakshinkaali. Then a call came from by editor. I was needed within an hour in a program that was going to be organized by Kathmandu’s Missionaries of Charity to welcome their Calcuta-based head Sister Nirmala. I was keenly following her Nepal entrance for the last few days. She had entered Nepal via Jhapa and flights cancelled because of foggy weather. Her team hired a microbus and was scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu today after an overnight stay in Hetauda. An hour of time to reach (Mitrapark) Kathmandu and, thankfully, a cab was waiting for me or so it appeared.
I arrived on time but Sister Nirmala was no where in sight. People at the Charity’s office were anxiously waiting for her arrival. Children and women from a welfare organization Maiti Nepal were queuing up to extend their warm regards to the nun.
She came and she patiently received all flowers, garlands and khadas from the hosts. Being the close relative of the Sister, Nepal Students’ Union leader Biso Prakash Sharma was working as a cameraman to take the entire scene in this digital video camera. But his not-being-so-tall problem was causing his a bit problems to capture some of the important moments.
Sister finally entered the office, went up to the floor and entered into a room to offer a quick prayer to the Christ. Photographers wanted the Sister to come outside, stand in front of the door so that they could shot a picture with the Sister’s idol Mother Teresa’s photo on the background. With the help of Maiti Nepal’s Anuradha Koirala, photographers mission to bring the sister outside saw a success.
That was the moment for reporters to file a few questions. And I found myself the only one asking her questions. And they were not very special. How was the journey to Kathmandu? How does it feel to be here? And stuffs like that.
Later on, a fatty man tried to block us from entering the premise. Us include Sangeeta Rijal of the Kathmandu Post and myself. He was like, ‘no you can’t see her now, come back tomorrow.’ You always find people like that fat man who try to work as obstacles between the press and the source. After we introduced ourselves, he changed his mind saying that though other newspapers haven’t covered the Sister’s visit properly, Kantipur had done fantastic job. He was referring to reports published in the paper in the last few days. I wasn’t much impressed because of his pervious behavior. “This old woman in a white saari and sandal is so down to earth and simple that I don’t think if she even care about if anyone has written about her trip or not,” said Sangeeta. “But people like this man are more interested in such stuffs and they are the one who are best at selling the Sisters name for their benefit.”
I saw stars and the whole of a black hole. The formers were bright and the later, as the name suggests, was black. How did I saw those things? Well, the credit goes to Ajay Shah, a dentist in Kantipur Hospital at New Baneshwor. He gave me the tour of the outer world this evening by putting some spoon and fork like materials inside my mouth and giving terrible pain to my teeth. Oh…I had gone there to seek a swift treatment of a small problem that had arisen in one of my 32, I guess, teeth. (I really do not know how many teeth I have. If that is shame, then let that be. I do not care.) One teeth started behaving abnormally as the surrounding pulp started swelling. Recently terrified by the pilo (boil) on the nose, I thought it was pilo in different avatar. I waited for at least two days to see if the problem gets fixed itself. But this evening, as I finished writing a small piece of news, felt like running to a nearby hospital. Not because it was giving me too much pain, but because I just feel like going. I went and waited for about 15 minutes for the arrival of Ajay Shah.
I though he would just see my teeth and prescribe appropriate medicine. Instead of doing that, his two lady assistants showed me a bed like machine. What the hell these people are going to do with me here? Is this an operation theatre? I really felt like that as the lady pointed me toward the machine. I went, slowly, as if I was worried about the safety of the machine. That was the dental chair, as I was later told by Shah. I sort of conducted a small interview with him as he was giving me terrible pain. The process of cleaning teeth was so painful that Ajay had to inject the medicine to make my lip insensible.
I have heard many stories of the painful process from my Kalyan (father), Meera (mother) and my brother Email. And there I was going through the same experience. The unexpected one. Health is such an issue that you just can’t ignore your doctor’s suggestion. Ajay said I need to clean up my teeth. I couldn’t say no. Okay, I said, as if I was cleaning up my teeth by Close-up toothpaste every morning. Then, after cleaning my teeth, he said that I need to fill up the teeth in question with cement. Why?
Okay, they also performed an x-ray of my tooth. Ajay said there was small problem, like hole and materials stuck into the hole and that need to be filled up. X-ray of tooth was a first experience for me. And I was amazed to see how fast they did that. I had habituated with the long process of x-ray of chest, for example. It would usually take at least 24 hours to collect eh x-ray card and report. There it was instant. Ajay told me that every x-ray was quick but technicians needed to go through the x-ray, prepare the report and that will take time. There, no need of report and technicians. Ajay did all and that’s what happens all the time there, he said.
The filling process was also painful. Its more than four hours and I am still feeling pain. May be, I am experiencing a slight fever. But I ate bhat and tarkari. What else could I do? I couldn’t have stayed hungry for the whole night. Not even aching teeth can bar anyone from eating, I learned.
Now, the original pain has shadowed by the new one. The whole jaws are aching because of the cleanup process. I can feel the original pain of swollen pulp but that, it seems, is hidden under the second layer. Ajay has prescribed me a bag full of medicine. One of them is antibiotic tablet called Amoxycillin. I hate to use such medicine but then I also hate to suffer through pilo-like pain. I have to gargle thrice a day. How do I do that in the afternoon? I think I should carry the medicine with me. Tablets, I can. I have done that before. But now, the bottle. Okay, I am ready.
By the way, before I forget, I think I should mention one thing here. As he was cleaning my teeth and studied the x-ray, Ajay suddenly turned into a byapari (merchant). “You have to fill up the tooth,” he said, “and it will cost you Rs. 1500.” What was I supposed to do? First, I was like punching over his nose. But later I realized that he was just asking my opinion. He wasn’t forcing me for that. I told me that was fine with me. I though I had that much of money in my wallet. No, there wasn’t. I searched through the wallet and managed to find a few hundreds. But in this world of credit and debit cards, the money was just a few meters away. I told them I can bring money immediately. He seemed to be satisfied with 8 or 9 hundred because I have to go see him again in the next few days. The process of filling up tooth has just started. But I went to the ATM machine pulled out a few thousands money and paid Ajay and bought medicines. Later I knew from Email and Meera that I paid too much. The same process could be done at around 7 hundred in a nearby dental center. Okay, no problem, I told them, I just need this problem fixed as soon as possible. And they agreed.