[This is a bilingual post. यो पोस्ट दुइ भाषामा छ । Read a news report on the quake here]
The scary thing (or good, depending upon how you see things) is that the epicenter of the 6.8 earthquake that rocked Kathmandu and eastern Nepal this evening was, according to the US Geological Survey, 272 kilometers away (east) from Kathmandu. (68 km north west of Gangtok, Sikkim, India). It was so terrifying. (Personally speaking, the Quake Moment was the most scariest I have experienced in a looong time.) Imagine the situation if Kathmandu WERE the epicenter! And think about the people living in mud-and-stone homes in the hills of eastern Nepal that is close to the epicenter. [Three people have died in Kathmandu, and two in Dharan, after the British Embassy compound wall collapsed. Many people have injured themselves as they tried to ran out of buildings.]
डरलाग्दो कुरा (या राम्रो किनकी त्यो हेराइमा भर पर्छ) चाहिँ के भने अघि साँझ काठमान्डू र पूर्वी नेपाल हल्लाउने ६.८ रेक्टर स्केलको भुकम्पको केन्द्रबिन्दू, अमेरिकी जिओलोजिकल सर्भेका अनुसार, काठमान्डूभन्दा २७२ किलोमिटर टाढा (पूर्व) थियो । (भारतीय राज्य सिक्किमको राजधानी गान्टोकबाट ६८ किमी उत्तर पश्चिम ।) ज्यादै डरलाग्दो थियो त्यो क्षण । (व्यक्तिगतरूपमा भन्नुपर्दा त्यो भैचालो क्षण मैले लामो समययता अनुभव गरेको सबैभन्दा डरलाग्दो क्षण थियो ।) कल्पना गर्नुस् भुकम्पको केन्द्रबिन्दू काठमान्डू भएको भए ! अनि सोच्नुस ती मानिसहरका बारेमा जो केन्द्रविन्दुभन्दा नजिकै पूर्वी नेपालका डाडाहरूमा माटो र ढुङ्गाका घरमा बसेका छन् । [काठमान्डूमा बेलायती दुतावासको पर्खाल ढल्दा तीनजना र धरानमा दुइको मृत्यु भएको छ । धेरै मानिहरूले चाहिँ भैचालो जादै गर्दा या गएपछि घरहरूबाट भाग्दा आफूहरूलाई घाइते तुल्याएका छन् ।] Continue reading
My Sikkim impression as published in Koseli: [PDF version]
Young Buddhist monks smile while their friends try to bring down walnut from a tall tree near their Gumba, the most important and oldest in Gangtok, Sikkim.
The word Sikkim evokes a very different sort of image and emotion in us, Nepalis, that is anything but exotic and touristy. Sikkimization is a term often used in Nepali politics. For those of us who are in our 20s or early 30s, it is hard to believe that Sikkim was an independent nation state till 1975. India attacked and annexed Sikkim in a broad day light April that year. [Here is the story about that] The same India that suffered under the British Raj (who reportedly puts signs such as ‘dogs and Indians not allowed’) and fought so heroically to gain independence in 1947. That’s the story of Sikkim that lost its independence to the sinister conspiracy of Indian intelligence agencies and their political leadership. Here are photos from my tour there that portray the present day Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.
Evening at Mahatma Gandhi Road in Gangtok, Sikkim. It seems every major city in India has this road called MG named after their father of nation.
The capital city of Sikkim as seen from the top of a shopping complex
Monks at the top of a shopping complex enjoying the view
The oldest monastery of Gangtok
At the top of Gangtok, this monastery is attached to the palace of the ex Chogyal (king) of Sikkim
A young monk shows the walnut he collected
Smiling Buddhas? Walnut is the secret. Their friends threw stones and sticks towards the tree
He is making sticks that will be used for the affairs of Gumba later
Once the Chogyal used to live in this palace that is now kind of abandoned. The followign story (below) tells how India masterminded the annexation of the independent state of Sikkim.
A dad and his daughter pose for the camera as her mother clicks inside the flower garden of Gangtok, Sikkim
Dear dad and his sweet daughter
A woman goes around the prayers wheels of Enchey monastery.
His eyes fixed on the walnut