“Extra Josh” that’s what the person receiving your blood will get in bonus. Why do you always have to act insane? Its raining, why do you want to go out in the first place? These words of my dearest twin were echoing in my ears as I headed for Baneshwor.
2:10 I reached the “Himalyan Whitehouse College”. My “Andolan Jeans” looked as though I had waded my way to the venue. Plain wet.
The guard showed me the way. The blood donation program was going on in full swing.
“Hey Miss D.N” I called out to my friend.
We both went to the same school It was totally unexpected.
She looked at me, kept on looking for sometime.
What? I inquired.
Look at you. The braces.
I laughed. Last time it was Sofiya, now her.
Eight months and I’m quite used to it now. People around me aren’t. How can they when they have barely seen me in these 8 mths in the first place?
Her eyes kept lingering on me. On my body, focusing on my tummy. Hehehe
I remembered Kumud who never misses to tell me “You have no tummy.” Poor she, guess nobody’s ever told her how many plates of chop, chola-batura and fried rice we gobble every day in the canteen.
Dhare moved on to say “ You’ve grown thin.”
You have too, I told her.
Know anyone called Avinashi? I asked her.
Nope. I only know an Avinash Sharma. A cousin.
Avipsa then. Anyone named as such in Youth Initiative, Martin Chautari?
(Another dead end in the Track down Avinashi mission Hysh)
So here for the blood donation?
Yes I replied. She handed me a form. I filled it up.
Your weight? The man asked me.
47-50 maybe. I haven’t weighed myself in a long time I replied. (Truthfully speaking I last took my weight some 7 yrs ago!)
He looked at me. 45 kgs he noted down.
Blood pressure? He inquired.
Its normal I replied.
“Let me check.” He took my hand. “You’re cold. It must be low,” he continued.
He wrapped the instrument around my arm.
And as he was checking my blood pressure a photographer popped up right out of the blue.
Oh God! I though and cringed with discomfort. I hate, Hate And Just HATE to be photographed. Don’t worry he’ll be gone in a jiffy I was consoling myself. But the hell of a man kept sticking his camera on my face. I didn’t even glance at his direction. Yah! But peripheral vision I knew it was a HE.
It felt like ages. Snap..snap..snap.
Didn’t Mr Dilbhusan say they have 90 snapshots for news? I was wondering if the guy intended to put my pic on the Front Page!
I wanted to punch him then and there but we seldom act on our impulses. Do we?
Get loooooooost I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs.
“They (photo- journalists) try to capture the moment”, a journalist once told me.
But my point is when you stick that terrible camera on sb’s face for such a long time the moment exists no more. Nothing you capture is real because the camera phobia or mania already overtakes the person. The camera does away with the moment. Nothing can replace the vision of the naked eye. The first ray of the sun captured in the sleekest of cameras is never ever as good as watching it yourself.
“ It is low.” The man brought me back to my senses.
“What?” I couldn’t believe my ears.
“ How could that be???” After walking all that distance, getting soaked to my skin it was the last thing I expected to hear.
I was there because I was desperate to make a tangible contribution to the ongoing movement. Blood donation would be the best thing ever I concluded after receiving the YI email. And there I was disqualified to do the same.
“How about I wait here for sometime. I’ll be warm and then maybe the BP will be normal,” I continued.
“No, its not possible” he replied.
“Oh come on,” I pleaded.
“Maybe next time.” He ended the conversation.
So much for being the universal donor.
It was really frustrating for me. All my “Take my blood, take it all” spirit gone to waste.
“ I wish a huge leech sucks all my blood!” I had poured out my frustration in Hysh’s blog on being sick and tired of staying back at home doing nothing. I couldn’t even get a tiny needle prick me. Fat chance of meeting the “Blood Drainer” Leech!
An ex-student of my college informed me about a meeting that was being held in a few minutes. I climbed up the stairs and reached the meeting room. I took a seat. The discussion began.
There are about five hundred thousand students in Kathmandu that study in private colleges. And anytime I converse with the student political leaders what they say is you are the Bourgeois. You stay passive in times like these but fail to acknowledge the fact that “private education” itself is the outcome of democracy. You don’t contribute to the struggle but merely enjoy the benefits. So today YI is facilitating the program in this gathering mostly comprising of private college students. We have heard most complain: this is not the way things should be done, we need something different, and we need to do something. To answer that “What Can we do” this program has been organized. Let me begin by asking what comes to your mind when we talk of the protest the facilator asked the crowd.
“ I have not been able to understand the difference between Loktantra and Prajatantra in the first place,” a voice asked.
“ Yah” another agreed. Is it only propaganda of the political parties as in saying as “Prajatantra” ended up this way they came up with this new term “ Loktantra” just to fool people they were bringing up something new.
( “Praja” refers to subjects. When there is a king then we talk of subjects. So Prajatantra . But “Lok” refers to the general mass. It is rule of the people unlike “ rule of the subjects”. I remember this from Chintan’s class. Still when translated in English both refer to Democracy. So I don’t see any depth in this debate of word play)
Do the political parties have a clear agenda? What after all this? We need to know.
Do we need to be out there on the streets to say we care?
What when everything is over, it will still be the same old politicians? How can we trust them?
And the Maoists? How can they be accommodated in the new system?
I was remembering an article by Manjushree Thapa in TKP today. Khagendra Sangraula has really pertinent questions regarding this issue. Reiterating what is on the paper:
“To even carry a Khukuri changes people,” he said. “ What happens when you carry an AK 47? When that Maoist puts down his gun, he will have no work. How will the new system accommodate him? How will they organize them? That’s a big issue…If there ambitions aren’t accommodated, there will be looting in each neighborhood. All those guns won’t be given up. They’ll be hidden beneath the bushes, or in other places.” His question to the leaders of the political parties was how they hadn’t been willing to accommodate the youth within their own parties.
Students studying in the political parties don’t have political awareness, political knowledge someone pointed out. (I vehemently disagree with you I wanted to argue. What is awareness? What is your understanding of politics in the first place? Why does everyone think politics is something different from the way we live? Can’t you see the link of “ whatever you perceive as politics” with everything around you?
And when this same “what is politics, we don’t understand politics” guff arises I find it similar to “Gender” overdose. Let’s move on from theory to practice I want to suggest. Because politics is never big talk, it never has been. It is only Politics without Principles that is dangerous. And that is exactly what we demand from our so-called politicians. We are not fighting against GP and Makunes, We shouldn’t mistake them to be the sole ‘democratic era’ image as well. Democracy is a self-correcting system. That’s its beauty.)
The discussion continued. (Though it is not here in the exact chronological order, I neither had a pen nor a notebook with me)
Democracy is like the market. If you demand high quality good you get it. If you don’t then you are stuck with whatever that’s available. We have so many brands of noodles these days around 10-11 isn’t it/ Tell me what you’ll do if when fine day you buy a damaged packet of Wai-Wai. You move on to Mayos don’t you? You can demand in democracy. You can choose.
Maybe this is the case, most of us are just happy with the way things are. Girls catching up on all the soap operas they had missed. The guys loitering in the Chowks, playing cricket and watching it on TV all day long. Maybe they are really not concerned.
Let us be pragmatic, I think the reason why ‘private college’ student aren’t there is because of this: Our parents pay so much for our studies. I myself am a medical student. If I ever participate in the protests and suppose break my hand. Tell me how I can appear for my exams. In government colleges’ exams can be postponed. Who will offer any compensation? It is different in our case. I lose a semester. So we fear.
(I myself had never thought of this. It had never ever crossed my mind. The only reason I saw to my not being out in the rally was laziness. The only reason was I didn’t step out my house. The possibility of being beaten up or caged, the compensation part. Never ever occurred to me. Weird)
Let’s not divert. Come back to what can be done?
We all say this is not the right way. Then why don’t we do it the right way? Let us find the right way first.
I think we should be involved in some humanitarian assistance act like providing water to the thirsty protestors and the police.
“Yah. You provide water, and then on pacifying their thirst they again beat you up. Is that it?” someone piped in.
“That’s their side of the story not ours.” Another clarified.
A guy on my left raised his hand.
“I think nothing is possible without a demonstration. Taking examples all over the world we all see that it has been demonstration in the end that has changed the way things were. Let us take the recent example of the Labor law in France. Students demonstrated and the PM had to change his stance.”
Now, why are we all so afraid to take a stand? I asked. Why always something humanitarian, on a neutral side? Why do we fear taking a stand on democracy, our freedom? If we are to be beaten up, we will be no matter whether we are providing water or marching won’t we?
A man related his Andolan experience. I have been actively involved in all the protests all these 12 days. Last time we were protesting in Thamel and we had an agreement with the police. We said, “ Ok we will protest non-violently and you cannot be violent either.” They agreed. We protested for ten minutes then a police walked up to us and said “It’s been ten minutes now, we will have to arrest you. We have received orders.” We were released the very evening. There was no violence involved.
Yet another time we had only gathered when the police started charging batons on us indiscriminately. I myself gave a fine back kick, he continued. Laughter echoed in the hall.
The discussion progressed. We are planning on a musical concert. That way a lot of youths can be asked to join in. On one hand it will be peaceful while on the other we can express our own stand on democracy.
We need somebody we can look forward too. The youth today have absolutely no leader to follow. Now if R dai ever opted to join politics then I would blindly follow him. We need someone to lead us.
Again who will bell the cat question? Why not you? R .dai suggested.
The regular participant in the protest rallies raised his hand to speak.
I was wondering about the lack of leaders myself. But now I have realized that the face of tomorrow’s leaders resembles the participants of this discussion! It resembles our faces. It resembles your face; it resembles mine.
(Hey guys take a careful look at my face. Who knows you might only get to see me on the TV in future. I was one of the participants’ too. heheh)
Somebody came up with another idea. “ Why not bring together the SPA, King and Maoists all together and organize a debate. We need to be clear about their agenda.
We have no time for that, I wanted to say but didn’t. Let’s not worry about the visionary leaders now. When democracy is restored then with politically aware citizens like us the politicians can never get away with their follies they did in the past.
I went there all alone, only with the intention of donating blood. Though disqualified for it I was glad to have participated in the discussion that followed.
And one thing everyone present there realized was “ No more are we the sleepy mass”.
Here I would like to insert Ei nimeä’s comment on the last entry, which absolutely rocks. It reads:
“Last year I heard in the Spanish news a story about a man who knocks in his son’s door.
-Jaime, he says, wake up already!
-I don’t want to wake up,papa.
-Get up, you must go to school.
-I don’t want to go to school.
-Why not? Asks the father.
-Because of three reasons, says Jaime. it is boring, the kids bully me and above all I hate the school.
-See, I will tell you three reasons why you do have to go to school, answers the father.firstly, it is your resposibility, secondly you are 45 years old and thirdly you are the principle of the school.
Wake up! Wake up! You have grown up. You are too old to sleep. Wake up! Stop playing with your toys.”
Anthony de mello
Thank you, for sharing this wonderful story with us dear.
Students from some 17-18 private colleges were present in the discussion. The facilitators asked us to name one representative from each college. I gave my name.
The session ended. I was walking down the stairs when I caught the sight of a boy, my age but looked more of a man with a thin moustache. I waited for him to get down
“Do you remember me?” I asked.
“ You’re K. R., aren’t you? I am…
We went to the same school, remember? I continued.
How come you remember me? He asked genuinely surprised.
I never forget people I replied.
(He was my classmate in Grade 1 and 2)
I think it was he who took my photo not a journo for I the dark jacket (same as his) looked familiar to what my peripheral vision had detected. He told me he was pursuing his passion, photography. Didn’t mention studying it though. Anyways it was a pleasant surprise.
Walkathon time. I headed home. And when I reached the garage a police vehicle passed by me. Behind it was another vehicle with Lokendra Bahadur Chanda in the backseat.
KG calls. I thought
It was on the news when I tuned into Nepal FM later.