Curfew Days

April 07, 2006

This is my scribbling in the Koteshwor Chowk, my handwriting in the Paperline notebook is more of Hen- writing, comprehendible only to my eyes. It is 5:17 am April 8, 2006 and I am tuned into the BBC as I am writing this. Some interview is being aired. Einstein and Newton. The man just said.. N I am posting it before my version of April 6,2006 1st day of strike as all the part below was written on my notebook. It’s easier when u only have to type. Will put the April 6 one later…arrange it to be before this.. Take a read, the digitized version of my scribbling.

More hustle and bustle in the Koteshwor Chowk. People are busy looking at the pictures of models in the Saptahik, others gulping down today’s edition of Kantipur. I just bought a THT (The Himalayan Times). Protestors running to escape tear gas the photo caption reads but it looks more like ordinary people enjoying the run. The main news has “Dasan Yadav” mentioned on it. His name is Darshan. A letter and it is all different. Thank God it isn’t “Dozen”. A little while ago some people came from the Bhaktapur side carrying a dead man on their shoulders. Only 4 or 5 people were there, all barefoot. You can’t stop death by a strike. You can’t stop life as well. A man just walked past carrying vegetables on his Kharpan..People need to sell and consume vegetables.

“Janos afno gantabya sthan tira. Ramro Mukhle bhaneko ta mandai mandainan.” (Everyone go back to ur destination. No one obeys if requested) A policeman just drove away the people standing near the railing.

What does the government want? Ensure normalancy or do away with it. It is confused like everyone on this chowk, everyone in Nepal.

The government employees can be seen hurrying to their offices, rustling their saris, in well-ironed cotton and shirt combination. No one sees the way out through this strike. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes the Maoists, other times the parties and the government with its curfews. They all decide what people want. They have absolutely no idea of what the people want. No one wants to debate about the constitution, no one the polarization of power. All everyone seeks is the life they’re used to living. And that’s the only reasonable demand to make. It’s the selfish gene. The fulfillment of each selfish desire leads to a satisfied society. Lets talk of jobs, let’s talk of the vegetable vendor that just passed by. Question people about democracy and they will answer as did a man yesterday “ Prajatantra ta cha ni”. (Democracy exists). Who cares of the debate if it is dead, alive, half functioning? It’s a fact, why do people talk big?

Why can’t everyone agree on one thing? Why don’t we have a march singing songs hand in hand like did the South Africans? Why don’t we have a huge silent protest rally like did the Spanish when there was a terrorist attack on their trains? Why not something like the South Koreans, a black band tied on the head, hundreds of fists raised in unison? Were all the South Africans, Koreans present in such protests? Complete participation is over expectation. All this defying the strike by every single pedestrian on the road, attempting to carry on the life they are used to: selling milk, selling vegetables, selling newspapers is a passive resistance. Why discuss constitution, why discuss the 12 point agreement, let’s discuss life. Let us discuss the vehicles of ICIMOD, UN, and GTZ on the road. They’re the donors. We are donor dependent. “KMC eyeing EU funds” reads news. The agencies aren’t ours. We let them defy the strike. The pedestrians are us.

“S.L.C prasikshyathiharu” (S.L.C examinees) a vehicle with that pasted on it just passed by. We seek the identification of our own folks. We throw stones at our vehicles. We burn trolleys run by our taxes. We are fools.

Someway or the other the war has turned invalids of us all.

We discuss the dead.

We forget the living.

We’ve turned into foreigners in our own land.

I scribble by the railing. An hour, I have been standing. Analyze someone recommended. I am not heeding the suggestion, just pursuing my interest. Any do this is an order. Hahah. I don’t take orders. My face is covered with Dhungana’s gift, handkerchief with my name on it, covering the portion below my eyes. I am sitting on the railing now. Feels more comfortable. A policeman is on the railing too just across the road. My hankey falls, I tie it up. Allergy on my face. The sun hurts it. I could be at home reading Jhumpa Laheri. I could be at home listening to my music. I should be at home preparing a report, reading the 10th plan. I could be at 100 different places, doing a hundred different things! But I am here in Koteshwor Chowk scribbling since the last half an hour. On the railing, like a crank. I’ve turned into an invalid myself. The policeman just got off, maybe I should too. Its an uncomfortable seat. My side has the circular iron railing with a straight metallic line protruding above it. (The Maoists attacked Butwal yesterday nite, tuned into Nepal FM91.8. Sher Bahadur K.C was reporting 6 unarmed people were hurt, does anyone know of the Humanitarian law?)

9:41

Am walking with two other HR (Human Rights Monitors) to Lokanthali. I am tuned to the BBC on my cellphone. Lopa Kothari, hope it’s the correct spelling. No Nepal in the headlines.

10:6

At the Manohara pool. A lot of vehicles on the bridge. Am listening to the news from Nepal FM. The news just got over, no mention of Lokanthali. Journos aren’t perfect, even in this age of technology! (Took pics didn’t write then, there was shouting slogans and burning tire going on) . These guys were really bold. When some of them were moving away as the police arrived, I heard the others remark “No. Why should we run away?” (Kina Bhagne)

Am tuned into Hits FM..a song “ Saher ki ladki” is being aired.

Hat milake mujhe hi how’re u

Annkhan milake mujhe how do you do..

Style pe uski, smile pe uski.

Hai Tabiyat badti saher ki ladki

Hehheheheh

At the Lokanthali Chowk. The army van is empty. No one caught. (It’s Chamma, chamma now) Life’s weird, I am at a “Tanabgrasta chowk”. There is somebody out there in a sound proof room in a FM station entertaining Kathmanduites. And I know the listeners are much more in number that anyone caring about this strike. Why does this always happen? Why doesn’t everything come to a standstill in times of chaos? Why should it?

After this I went home had lunch. The friendly and helpful NTC guy activated my account. So I conversed with my long time no see buddy Sajjan, with Mr. Deepak Adhikari of hairstyles and lippot haaha, send a silly SMS to Sajjan and then walked back to Koteshwor.

1:00

I am walking towards the Balkumari Bridge. The other Human Rights Monitor seem to be nowhere in sight. Nepal FM is giving me the latest news of the andolan. Patan, my partners must have gone there. “Upakulpati ko office todphod, gherau, no police allowed to enter, kamkarbahi thappa in many places it says.” Thank God the CDMA guy was working!

“Ke lekhya ho” a man just remarked. I am almost at the bridge. A photo, yeah of the white in the black waters. I gotta have it.

1:08

I am returning back to Koteshwor. A guy in a red T-shirt just walked past me. His T-shirt read “ Life’s too short, kiss me fast”. Mine reads “ Your future depends on your dreams so go to sleep”. The news is over. Lucky Ali is singing “ Gori tere aankhen kahain rat bhar soye nahi” . Somebody is talking to me at least. Heheh.

I’m not alone. The scorching heat is burning my neck. Passions have their price. I am reaching the sign board that reads SOS Youth Village (Estd 1983) My neck must have turned all black. Poliracha, gham le.

Anmol ice-cream. I am remembering Lakhan and Dhungs. If they were here, they’d never miss the baraf in this scorching heat. They must be wondering, “ Where is Intel Pentium 6 aka Net ko kira?” What a name to be given? Maybe I’ll beat em up when I college starts on Sunday ha.ha.. Sweat is forming a “junga” behind my hankerchief. Sweating like a pig, walking like a crank.

God! I am crazy. Life’s crazy. Where the hell is everyone?

1:22

“Enthusiasm is not an accessory to life. It’s a necessity.” A poster I just walked past read. True, maybe I’m being over enthusiastic about nothing. Maniac?

I am not wearing the HR jacket but a person just walked past saying HR Observer. Oooooooh.. Somebody sure has been observing the self-proclaimed “Da Observer” in action. Right now I am leaning against a pole in the bus stand. I am not a superwoman. I need a break too. Where the hell are all the Human rights monitors? Traveling?

Check out the photos…this is so not user friendly check out the photos in the photo album day 2 ..so irritating..whtever..uff…have fun.

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