Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The actual reason behind Dance Bars closing?

The closing down of dance bars just when the night is still young for so many Kathmandu dwellers, the busy bees during the day, has made a lot of people go crazy. While many blame it on the Home Minister's love for ultra communistic ethics, some say it will clean Nepal (Maybe, just the way Plague cleaned Europe during 14th century) and the Nepali habits of extra indulgence in what they term as vulgar activities.

At the same time, many people, including yours truly, have started wondering why. The reasons could be many. Right from simple lunacy to hatred for the so-called nudity to the realization that Nepali culture is going topsy turvy have been cited as the reasons for what has now been heralded as the boldest, if not stupidest, move in a democratic country.

But the recent reason that yours truly heard, the reason why our unelected Home Minister – who also happens to wear the hat of Prime Minister when 'the fierce one' is out of station (meaning, most of the times) – could have done probably the undoable, is what transpired between a few friends (involving the scribe too), at a chiya-guff (translated in English means 'the intellectual discussion'). Plausible reason?? You are the judge…

The excerpts of the story:

It so happened that our Home Minister, whose name translates to mean communist god in English, went to a dance bar on an evening, just to enjoy the music (and along with it, the scene), after hectic day at work (you know he gets busy wearing too many hats during the day).

After drinking a beer – apparently the beer was brewed from the grains in Nepal, removing any doubts of foreign imperialistic influence – he faced the music. It so happened that the bar-wallah produced a bill. Smarting the humiliation of actually being faced with the bill, he was left aghast by the fact that the bar-wallah had charged him of three beers and some glasses of wine, that he failed to offer the girls taking orders from him (regular stuff that the dance bar-wallahs do to customers, considering they are too intoxicated to know the difference).

Not expecting the unexpected, the Minister was furious, and a fight ensued between his Youth-ful Force and the bar bouncers, who claimed to be from the rival YCL (pronounced Why-See… Yell). And eventually, being from the junior partner in the ruling coalition, his team was left in tatters. The minister was not only forced to pay, but also was blacklisted at the bar, for talking politics during the show, disturbing the air-clad dancers.

It is then that the Minister swore, on his past ability to topple the party leadership, that the bar-wallahs would have to pay for it.

And now, the bar-wallahs are crying foul. At the same time, the Kathmandu people, who believe in 'Night is still young' adage, and the Police, who made the dancers sing to their tunes, are paying for it.


Monday, September 22, 2008

A right to dream!!!

It's only natural for us mortals to ask questions to those, who we consider knowledgeable. And it's natural for us, to show our mortality by putting the same ones on pedestal, whether they deserve it or not (mostly not). I, mere mortal, had to show my ignorance by asking questions. And what better occasion than to ask a question to a fellow journalist – who happens to be an economic reporter (not talking about his thriftiness while going to the canteen) – than just after the budget was announced?
I asked him, half hoping that his enthusiasm of the day when Comrade 'Red Flag' announced the first budget since giving up on the jungle life, "So, what do you think about the budget?" In fact, I wanted him to throw some economic jargons at me, which he would do on any given day, like most of our economists – who are as far away from people as a tiger would be from 'a guide to healthy vegetarian diet'. I was even prepared to provide a fake nod, from my part, just to appreciate his knowledge and hide my ignorance (again being a mere mortal).
My fellow journalist said, "Everyone has a right to dream." A shocker!!!
And I was expecting him to give me a lecture on what a budget is, or how probably the budget should have been. In my mind, with that one line, he reached immortality, when his puckered his lips to dart those words out, while I concentrated on his teeth, which can be any rodent's pride. I don't know, if my fellow colleague, or the one who sometimes also refers me as a friend (when he needs me to do stuffs for him), was in the best of his mood or really was feeling bad for no tax cuts to economic journalists. But he'd said something that no one had told me about the government's financial estimates.
Of course, I knew, right from my childhood that everyone had a right to dream. That was the premise on which my support for republican set up was based. As I used to boast, 'The best thing about a republican set up is that it gives every child a right to dream to become the head of the state.' Thank god, I never met the then dream inspectors, during the era that did not support such thoughts, who would have hauled me into some cell in 'Hanumandhoka Khor'.
Wisdom at childhood is often swept by reality in the semi-adulthood (the time more famous for other finer and interesting things in life). And I had realized that too, forgetting that there are dreams, and a right to dream. Alas! Our constitution makers probably would never add that right as a funda-mental right.
A dream… don't know if the Finance Minister ever thought it that way… don't know if I could've seen it as a dream that way… don't know if we as a nation thought that way… don't know if I've stopped dreaming… or else, don't even know if this lack of dream itself is a dream.
That reminds me what Arthur Miller wrote in Death of A Salesman, "A salesman has got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory."
And maybe, it's time it comes with the territory to Finance Minister… or maybe it's time it comes with the territory to the journalists… and maybe it's time it comes to me 'with the territory'.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kantipur Dekhi Bahundanda Samma

  • By Nabin Khatiwada

I finished reading 'Microsoft Dekhi Bahundanda Samma' last week. It is Nepali translation of John Wood's 'Leaving Microsoft to Change the World ' (just the anti-thesis of closing schools and burning tires to change the world).

My friend Bisnu offered me a program to go to Bahundanda (what an irony, it has large Gurung population). I agreed immediately to go.

I told it to Somesh. He offered (offers after offers) me to write about the tour in his blog and gave the title 'Kantipur Dekhi Bahundanda Samma' but asked to write a satire.

Satire! My heavy body on the hilly trek was itself a satire for me (probably not for others).

Satire! Our political leadership have been satire on us till date (of course, because we made them the leaders). In this mess around us, everything is a satire and I just don't know why he is forcing me to write satire. Just Mix the headlines of daily Papers, they will create a good satire.

Koshi broke its embankment and swallowed 3 villages of Sunsari, Prime minister was on official visit to China.

Deputy Commander of then militants is appointed Peace Minister (heard of Nepali proverb 'chor ka hat ma tala chabi').

But, this is about my tour.

While leaving Kathmandu in a reserved Microbus, I asked our driver 'are you sure there is no road blocked on our route?' He just laughed and we moved ahead.

We were lucky enough there were no blocks until we reached Besisahar. But, People in this small town were busy celebrating Teej festival, not in their houses or open ground but on the road. Yes, you got it right… ON THE ROAD…

Roads are the place we Nepalis use to celebrate and protest everything (unique culture??). Nepal Tourism Board should promote this and we should invite tourists to witness this cultural uniqueness. Let's not be negative about it, let's not complain about road blocked, let's think big and start selling this. All the Gurus of this culture are in power positions now and surely they'll approve this plan as NTB pushes for it.

There were many tourists in Lamjung, when we reached. They were trekking in Annapurna circuit. They were enjoying falls near Bhulbhule (probably best one for adventure sports of Canoeing). But, who'll sell it? And, why to sell it at all? The poor people around there (mostly Gurungs) might benefit from it if it is developed properly. But, power centers have already given them the slogan of federalism and Jatiyata (sounds so much like Jaya Lalita). Why give more?

We were moving forward in the opposite direction of Marshyangdi River. The trekking route was swallowed by landslide in two places. Who'll manage it? If a tourist doesn't have to bear the pain of such conditions, how can we call it adventure tourism anyways? We and our leaders are building New Nepal and we are dealing with big issues. Damn to trekking routes.

Construction of Road in the opposite side of trekking route is going on. After the completion of the Road, tourist will reach Manang directly. Then, these trekking routes will lose the business. Till date government has no plan, what will the people benefitting from trekking route do after the completion of the road? Damn, we are building Twenty first century Nepal. What a planning, superb!

When we reached Bahundanda, we got people's hearty welcome. The local club named Young Star Club has created (it actually was a creation) a small football ground and was organizing football tournament. They have done a miracle in that hill. Somewhere, my heart says, 'bravo!' But I stop the thought. Political people give big talks at the opening ceremony of the tournaments. They gave long speech about the political condition of Nepal and finally uttered few sentences to help the sporting event and widening the playground.

What a political culture. Political leaders, be it local or national, can deliver speech on any subject and anywhere. They can't create anything but can use the platform others have created very well.

Poor club members, still happy and hope those leaders will help them.

And somewhere, deep within, despite the negativity that I learnt, I'm also like those young club members… still optimistic. I can not add more lines to this…

It is all reality Somesh!

Sorry, I couldn't write satire for your blog.

PS: Somesh: "Nabin, of course, is a walkie talkie satire... but since he has admitted of not being able to write one, we have decided to send him on another trip, where he can unload the political baggage, and of course, the cost will be all his... and for his ease, we have invited ourselves to be his guest..."