BREAK

The Bus stop, the bakery, the coffee shop, the taxi stand and the dog poo. That is Baluwatar for her. The place of the rich without responsibility. Who can step into the bakery and sit down for a cup of coffee without the thought of the poop crossing their minds (even just once) which they stepped over on their way inside? Well, she can’t at least. But that doesn’t stop Baluwatar from being a swinging hot spot. The Bideshis still seemed to enjoy Himalayan Coffee just yards from the dog poop , the vehicles ( with blue number plates) still honk in front of a gate which supposedly is a day care centre for the rich babies while she always wonders ‘who cleaned the poo’? How utterly mundane to think of dog poo when most are interested in what important discussions took place in the living quarters of the most powerful man in the country who lives in the same place! Hmmm but somebody has to wonder of the things everyone else misses on don’t they? So, while the entire populace of Nepal breathe on ‘politics’ synonymous to the place, dog poop replaces the same in her head. What’s the difference anyways? The poo cleaning is nobody’s business; it’s the vehicles that run over them which do the cleaning. The traces remain, the street looks clean but it isn’t clean. Baluwatar politics is somewhat similar.

Baluwatar bothers her lot these days. Life has become some kind of “ Baluwa Tar”. A heap of sand. And it shows no signs of shaping itself into any structure either. Why should it?
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In another part of the city, very close to the ‘Sand Tar’ she walks out of the cinema with nothing but “Na na na na” playing over and over in her head. What else can you do in the city for a one day break? Cinemas and gardens could be a great combination. A tree, a bench and book and the gentle breeze. And of course the view which if spelled would be PDA aka Public Display of Affection. She’d once written somewhere ‘what wonderful memories PDAs made for the actors involved to think how they didn’t care a bit about all that was going on around them, even in a ‘supposedly’ conservative society like this and did their own business.’ The garden has no dearth of “I want to make a memory” couples. Boys and girls ( most of them who seem to be in their teens) are trying to make the most out of the eighty rupees entrance fee sticking like glue in a place which looks ‘more European’ than Nepali and could be best explained in the words of a Bideshi passerby stating “ This looks so unlike Nepal!!”
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It’s the fourth time she is in the coffee house and the second time the place has no lights. “Lights only at six” the waiter says “the machine take half an hour to get heated.” She settles for the mocha cappuccino with ice. The machine is needed to crush the ice. Great, why does the drink need ice anyways? What difference does it make? A blonde girl with a peculiar laugh can be heard now and then, the monks in red are silent in their discussions and another blonde woman seems to be interested in a painting on the wall which is far from being any different from wherever she came from!! That’s the fun of being a tourist. You appear interested in things that you would never give a second glance at if you were home. Attentive nods, eyebrows raised in surprise and occasional remarks just to show that you know about the ‘strange people and the strange place’ = tourist. At times it is fun feeling like a tourist in your own place. When everyone around you looks ‘imported’, an occasional ‘foreign’ drink does no harm to the body either. It just makes a perfect break from Baluwatar with its bus stands, bakery and the dog poop paved road!

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One comment

  1. I liked the line ‘The place of the rich without responsibility’. V.S.Naipaul said something like tourists travel to be reminded of the security of their own homes n countries. I think he got something right there. Ya I notice the dog poo too.

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