I don’t know if it was the large number of juices, coffee and biscuit packets the lady kept on the counter which gave me the feeling or the ‘Cup Corn’ sold at Rs 50/cup outside Bhatbhateni but I was holding my neck time and again, as if I were going to throw up anytime while walking back home. We were there fulfill our bit of duties as the ‘21st century consumer’ ourselves still I was just feeling utterly stupid and frustrated being the consumer. “Let’s have some Kuiyeko banda( rotten cabbage)” I said and we took the Veg patties and we dug through the ‘Titaura’ section for lemon titaura but ended but up with ‘Papaya’ (which we figured out only the next day!). Once we were done with our food shopping we stood in front of the ‘Cup Corn’ stall and opted for masala. ‘Must be a 20 Rs meal” I thought. “Rs 50” she said to my utter disbelief! WTH was the first thing that crossed my mind but I pretended rich and coolly put the Rs 50 note on the counter as if I always believed that a cup of boiled corn mixed with ‘masala’ SHOULD be priced 50. She must have thought I had gone out of my mind but I gave her (not the Cup corn seller though) a bit of ‘consumerism’ dose: my own take and experiences of how ‘Bhatbhateni’ signifies a class of people itself and how it had become more inclusive of consumers in recent times as in these days people of all classes can be found there and some more blah blah and blahs…
Then on the bus I met another ‘Bhatbhateni’ shopper, a family of three, mother-father-son, didn’t look like the ‘Rahis’ shopper in Bhatbhateni (the one unloading her cart full of everything!) but managing life in KTM sort of middle class. The woman had a ‘too’ mellifluous voice while the man was a little ‘louder’ than necessary while the boy was simply disobedient. My observation of the family could be heavily influenced by my mood too which was “UGH consumerism Mode”. The little boy was having ice-cream and the mother was telling him it was ‘enough’ when there was only a tiny bit of it left. She took whatever was left of the ice-cream and threw it outside the window. And I thought “Well is that what you teach your child? To throw garbage out on the road from the bus window?” Next moment I was imagining the boy doing the same thing every time he went to and fro to school on the bus…ah is raising a child a joke? How negligent of the parent! And why the hell was I worrying of it? I am not the one planning a child. I carry my wrappers etc in my bag and throw it in dustbins (and can’t stop wondering how waste will be managed after that, beside which river will it be thrown?) I can’t stop thinking that ever since studying EIA ( Envt Impact Assessment) and that visit to a waste management center in Yokohoma where they produced electricity by burning waste….Oh what difference do such thoughts of mine make? Whatever the case, I was seriously ‘wakka’ of everything in sight the crowd of people in the bus, the usual traffic jam, the couple making shopping plans and just everything…
On the way to Santaneshwor Mahadev
Once in a while every city you live in does this to you. You see the lines of ‘Packaged’ foods in the department stores and feel like throwing up, you have Cup corns and wonder why you make such ridiculous choices, you get on the bus and wonder if life is all about this: work for some thousand bucks in an issue so few understand about that you feel you are talking to yourself while making presentations and you worry (helplessly) about children, parenting, waste management of the restaurants, hospitals and every new thing you can spot from the bus back home; yell ‘ Don’t you feel ashamed to drive on the footpath!’ to a pillion rider (and feel really good) then get covered with dust in a highway with no street lamps; walk with your arms in front of your chest in Karate defense position to prevent any mishaps in the dark and reach home sweating as you took the unsafe shortcut route again.
Life seems so utterly mundane at times that you see no reason to ‘REASON’ anything. And when the comrades blabber about ‘logic and reason’ all you seek is a journey with no destination, a book with nothing to be learnt from, a song that has nothing to touch you, a movie representing no ‘class’ or ‘taste’ and a company with no expectations from you. They are because they want to be and nothing else.
A house on the way to Naag daha
And it’s not every week you get lucky enough to just get that. A chance to be so far from the maddening crowd yet so very close to it! My Rural Dev teacher used to tell us “If you want to know and not be known live in the cities, if you wish to be known yet not know then live in the villages”. You wish to know of a village then just surf it on the net (though the info is never enough), send an email to a friend or two and viola! You have the perfect escapade from the city! But keep in mind, company matters, company ALWAYS matters! No matter how much of a ‘solitary’ traveler you are every traveler misses company (though could be only in certain times, missing is still missing!). You could end up singing : “Aate jate jo miltahe tumsa lagta hai ,hum to pagal hojayenga yesa lagta hai!” hehehe 😉 And at times two could be a bore (even for lovers) so three friends is it! Friends so old that you can still talk of the questions in your ‘questionnaire’ dated 2000/2001 and of ‘Namitho dal-bhat’ intake in a hotel in Chapagaon the same year!
Take a bus from Lagankhel heading for Dhapakhel, get off at the road leading to Naag Daha. You have the option to go boating in the lake too!
A man offering water to Shiva @ Naag Daha
Walk some 45 mins from the place and reach Santaneshwor Mahadev..the road is heavenly but most likely very familiar to most Nepalis as we all have our roots in the villages. Hardcore Kathmanduites especially the ones who haven’t known fun other than booze, parties and love to see new places not in vehicles but by foot are most likely to enjoy the experience.
Ganesh and his parter (Riddhi or Siddhi) (Someone has renamed them Samjhana and Jeevan!!!!!!)
The view from Santaneshwor Mahadev is another icing on the cake. It doesn’t matter if you are pro or anti Shiva but you surely can’t stop yourself from thinking ‘Thankfully here’s a temple which has helped maintained this place”. At times I think our ancestors knew that the future generation could not be trusted to do anything ‘sustainable’ so they cleverly built temples in the most beautiful of places sure that they would have a longer life and help conserve the place too!! There is a forest nearby maintained by the Radhe-Krishna followers and ‘Bajrabarahi’ which is relatively popular than the aforementioned Shiva places is only a half an hour walk from it too. There’s a nice place to eat in Naag Daha so that shouldn’t be a problem either. So promote internal tourism, explore and enjoy!
And guess what, I am currently tuned to a program ( The Giant Leap ) in Hits FM whose theme is travel too….you can never guess where the RJ is telling me to visit: BRAZIL!!! God! Can you believe that? You can say ‘one should dream big’ or whatever but its total crap to me! Hey, Hits FM folks arise from your slumber and be REAL, you’re a LOCAL RADIO STATION. If you are so passionate about running a travel program, then do SOME REAL HOMEWORK Ms. RJ. I’m seriously not interested in what you are talking of , I can watch Travel and Living for that..its ONLY the songs you play that occasionally reach my ears as I am typing this.
I would like to request Hits FM folks to read Bimal Nibha’s article titled “ Asanko Yatra” (Oct 4, 2008 Saturday edition of Kantipur) . The last para sums it all. It’s all sooo true! Yesterday I was watching a program on Puerto Rico on Travel and Living followed by Indian Rendezvous ( Delhi) and longed to see Agra, Red Fort and marvel at the Mughal architecture in Old Delhi, have some chat etc…yah I did a lot of ‘serious thinking’ as Nibha says but after the thinking was done with I made peace with myself by accepting the reality that I can’t afford or attempt such travels for now …I am just lucky to be able travel leisurely to a place outside Asan too! On that happy note I would like to wish everyone a Very Very Happy Dashain, may we all have the eyes to see beyond and the strength to rise above our differences of caste and creed and rejoice the ‘spirit’ of this festival!