There is something extremely beautiful about road trips- something my limited vocabulary in this language is unable to express. A speeding machine swallowing miles and miles within minutes, an old tape stuck in the cassette player meaning no music, intimidating 18 and 22 wheelers, truck literature ,and yes, even that the urgency to pee! And of all the things in the world that could be thought about in a road trip I was reminiscing my physics classes from +2 days, wondering about the speed of the vehicles before and after us, thinking vaguely about vectors and wondering how physics could be so lifeless back then when it seemed to be explaining practically everything around me. Everything seemed to be physics at play, right from the pressure on the urinary bladder to the speeding machine to the number of wheels in the intimidating Maruti-Suzuki vehicle carriers. But the purpose of the journey was anything but close to the ‘real science’. It was literary. A road trip from Delhi to Jaipur on the National Highway 8 with the sole purpose of attending the Jaipur Literature Festival said to be ‘The greatest literary show on earth’. I am not sure if it ‘is’ the greatest but it is definitely a good experience. Here are pictures from the road trip before I discuss the festival in the next entry. Enjoy..or just make an attempt at it (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Travelogues’
Tags: Delhi-Jaipur Highway, India Travel, NH 8, Road Trip, Travel, Travelogues
Tags: Mahindra Scoripio, nails, Nepal Yatayat, public vehicles, Travelogues
“I would like to tell my story,”
Said one of them so young and bold,
“I’d like to tell you my story
before I turn into gold.”
Tags: Kamlesh Pandey, Travelogues
By Kamlesh Pandey
The man behind me was drunk. The man in front of me was dumb. The woman across me was dirty, anybody could see that, and sick. She had tied a dirty scarf around her head, just above the forehead. I had seen her throwing up when the bus had stopped for the lunch and since then I had been looking at her. I sort of developed some sympathy for her. She was traveling alone and I wondered where her people would be. I too was traveling alone and I knew where my people were. I don’t miss my people much, but that woman somehow made me miss the folks at home. I nearly phoned them but there was no network at that place and time of the day. While I was trying to make a phone call I happened to look at the time in the phone. It was 14:14. That reminded me of the date way back to 2007. I had received a message from one of my friends reminding me what a special day that was. That was 07-07-07. When I remember things I sort of become happy, because most of the time I think I don’t have a good memory. I am sort of happy even now. I can very clearly remember that sick woman, that drunken fella and that poor dumb guy. Whenever I see things that I fear of, I become melancholic. The drunken fellow made me feel guilty, reminding me of my own drunken babbling, and almost made me think over my plan of the day: a beer in the evening, after settling down in a hotel. The dumb guy stir something in me. For a moment I thought I too had gone dumb and just to make sure I hadn’t I asked the man sitting next to me if he was in the army. We hadn’t spoken to each-other before that. He said ‘yes and no!’ ‘Ok, so you are retired?’ I kind of prolonged the talk. He laughed and turned his whole body towards me and said ‘I am not in the army, if you mean to ask if I am in the Nepal Army; but, yes, I am in the army, if you know that there is a greater force and it’s called P.L.A. But how did you know I am in the army?’ ‘I too would be if I were as strong as you are!’ that was my now-shut-up-I-am-not-dumb sentence in plain disguise. He was trying to say something but I took out the book and started reading. And later in the evening I appreciated his sense of understanding to not to disturb someone who is pretending to read! I closed the book soon enough and looked at the sick woman on the sly. She had closed her eyes and she was sitting uncomfortably, or may be she was in comfort with one of her legs on the seat and one of her hands on the head.
The bus bumped against the stone (perhaps) and I almost fell off the seat. My water bottle wasn’t lucky enough, though; it fell down and rolled down underneath the seat of the dumb guy. As I had expected, he gave it back to me. I said ‘thank you!” and he nodded “not at all!” I overheard the drunken fellow complaining “if you don’t know how to drive ask for the help from me! Bloody murderer! Is not he?” I told myself, ‘No, he isn’t!”
No, I do not plan on introducing a ‘Room Series’ in my blog. Sad? I do not have any explanation for this room blog series but I will surely blog about this light pink room I am at the moment. I am in Narayanghat. I want to name this guest house I will be spending my night in but let me refrain from doing so. There’s no proper explanation for that either. I should be writing on the farmers’ rights provisions in ITPGRFA. (Well the full form is too long and I don’t expect anyone to be interested in it either but I am tempted to complete this room blog first.)The curtains are nice. They aren’t great but I like them. It’s a red, light red and yellow checked curtain covering the entrance to the verandah while the cloth covering the window is red, light red and white. Does curtain (obviously) mean the cloth that covers windows? Or does the same word do for clothes that do the same for doors? I think curtains have no relation with the part of the room they cover… Whatever. It’s dark now. Let me turn on the lights first.
Tags: boats, Fewa lake, pokhara, Travelogues
Tags: comrades, Nepal Yatayat, public vehicles, Travelogues
I have a history with Nepal Yatayat!
Sounds a little out of the ordinary but couldn’t think of anything closer to the truth than this. It all began some four years ago, freshly out of school (10 yrs of bordered life) after S.L.C which was around the same time NY began its services. NY was my first acquaintance with public transportation services in the valley. So I have gone through all the stages of development of this popular NY Services: the supersonic NY (which resulted in a nasty experience of me falling into a puddle of dirty water as I got off the bus, the fateful day I got my Citizenship), the snail paced bus everyone complained about and as of some days ago the most efficient transportation in Kathmandu. And my experience as a regular commuter of the bus for the last two years and a frequent one before that portrays NY as a world of its own.
Once it was travelling with a stranger, who offered me hints about studying Science in +2 who even paid my fare stating he knew the financial woes of a student. In yet another event, a man with glasses giving that serious and cultured look, a fine wrist watch (status symbol in my book of fashion) gave me the shock of my life grabbing my waist!! Thank God! Was clad in the uniform blazer, though unfortunately was too appalled at 17 to do anything other than constantly shove his hands off me. My first harassment experience. Recently I gave a “Tapain Ko problem chahin ke ho”dialogue (though in between laughs) to a guy mocking me in NY last seat passing comments on my watch! Mission Vengeance Accomplished. Grew up with the experiences in NY, you could say that again.
Out of +2, was time for university, I chose a college located in a place best expressed by the term “ Ajakalto” to which no direct transportation was available other than NY. That meant being totally dependent on NY (but it never crossed my mind until the services were ceased until yesterday). I took it for granted. So did many of my friends residing in Koteshwor, Minbhawan, Shantinagar, Anamnagar, Putalisadak. Get on the bus and though initially it might have been the conductor yelling “Seat cha” (meaning everyone else is seated on it other than you) we were sure to get one before reaching college. I t was plain luxury, a public bus stopping right in front of the college gates. Even being on the bus at 6:40 when college gates closed at 7 calmed our nerves with the fact of being dropped right on the spot. But now 125 of the NY buses have gone into hiding, along with 75 of the Kantipur Yatayat ones. The street almost looks empty without the light brown machines on wheels. 200, does the number look funny to you? It transported a hundred thousand passengers everyday i.e. FIVE ZEROES after a one. Ring a bell? Comrades.
What do those 1, 00000 do now? Is anyone even concerned about them? We have to change two buses, as if our lives weren’t already hectic enough. My friend Emma has to make it from Thimi to Baluwatar by 6:45 every morning. Earlier leaving home at 5:45 was fine. A bus till Koteshwor and then NY Jindabad. Now she needs to get on the Shahidgate bus, 2 buses, the case is the same but the uncertainty of reaching college in time has her hurrying to college earlier. And even the No. 27 microbus from RNAC only goes till Bhatbhateni. Baluwatar is close by but she has already developed the habit of getting off right in front of the college gate, Remember? She isn’t the only one. Rosina ( Balkumari), Kabita ( Gwarko), Kamlesh ( even Baneshwore), Manisha ( Anamnagar) all have their share of woes.
It’s early in the morning in front of RNAC, very few people in the otherwise human crammed pavement. One can see the orange sun slowly rising through the open fields of Tudikhel but my friend doesn’t want to observe it. She tells me, “This is awful. If it was only one problem whether it be load shedding, Maoist insurgency, hike in prices or the blockades some consideration could be made. But its everything and no Nepal Yatayat to add to it. What kind of place do we live in?” I’m half listening, half engrossed in enjoying the serene vehicle free environment around me. She brings me back to senses and I feel ashamed for being half-attentive. I hate this extra positive mindedness in me. I’m thinking “Its alright. Now because of travelling in a different vehicle I’m getting to know what another part of Kathmandu looks like in the early morning. Less pollution, less horns to irritate my senses.” But keeping cranks like me aside, it is absolutely no fun to walk in the midday scorching heat from Baluwatar to Anamnagar. The NY bus stop was right in front of my office but I see no use in travelling all the way to Ratnapark to come back to Anamnagar. It is waste of money. You could argue it is waste of time. Obviously! It is bounded rationality way of decision making in practice, the need to save money is vital here. When you have boasted your folks at home to fulfil all your personal needs with whatever little you earn including the ever so expensive dentist fees walking is the only choice. Your reputation is in question!
Students, we always suffer the most. On one hand it is the pressing need to be financially independent making you ill at ease with the mere thought of begging alms for every petty expense you make while with the constant price hikes, there is never enough money. Problems are on the rise in every sector and being a youth in Nepal is a problem in itself. In the villages you are the perfect choice for the so called People’s army (where the person is never given the choice). In cities, the exposure results in making you over ambitious, you dream too big everyone remarks. When the reality is even an MA doesn’t fetch you a job. I recently read an article where a MBA graduate was planning to try his hands in poetry (his mom still the breadwinner). That makes it obvious why every one in two youth here aspires to go abroad. Whether it is a tile making factory in Dubai or dishwashing in Japan it just doesn’t matter.
And every time I tune into the news: the increase in hours of load shedding, price hikes in petroleum products, 80% rise in prices of vegetables, the flooding of roads with fresh milk makes me wonder if is it the last straw? Nothing seems to be the last straw for us. We eventually get used to everything. Thanks to our Comrade well-wishers who have increased our tolerance limits. I try to reason it out from their perspective. How can the government increase petroleum prices? How dare NY and KY run vehicles in a Nepal Banda called by us? An ambulance on the road during a blockade, how dare people fall sick during a blockade! It must be shot. Monarchy in Nepal sucks but still I draw my inspiration from the great PN Shah. His blockade tactics to conquer the capital should work.
Ah…Comrades it is the 21st century. You need the people’s support to rule. The “cut the noses of the soldiers who didn’t take off shoes” style gets you nowhere. It only shows that you don’t even exercise control over your own aggressive senses. You seem to be over concerned about us Nepalese. You so well understand us; we love Nepal Bandas so why the hell run buses during one. I think you even expect a pat on the back for your style of cutting the head itself because the mouth spoke something foul. Will that ever stop all the other heads from talking? You can’t take of peace by gagging us all. Mind you, even the hushed silence talks of a passive revolution slowly gaining momentum.It is just not the way things are done. We need change in your ways and not merely hyped interviews with headlines “We want no bloodshed, we are all for what people want”.
The issue raised by your own so called “unnecessary by products of revolution” hasn’t missed the mark either. You talk big; keep your children aloof from all the hazards in a nation you intend to bring to ruins. But what about the millions of children of an average Nepali citizen like us? We can’t escape to some Harvard or Cambridge by mere choice. And many of us have opted to be here anyways, opted to find that bright future our friends are seeking abroad. We are here as we want to be a part of this historical moment , we want to make sure that people like you live up to your words of changing the system for good this time, starting by you changing your ways first.
Politics is what a layman understands, what s/he experiences day in and day out. It is not big talk, but little actions that influences our lives. It is the price of tomato, the closure of school, the death of a pregnant woman due to the banda and every little thing a person can comprehend on the grounds of being a citizen of this country. And sometimes I feel as though politics is everything else but what our government, the parties, Maoists and the monarch ever care to think about.