While I was travelling to and from the eastern part of Nepal recently, the English singer Lily Allen’s song “F * *k you very very much…” was echoing loudly inside my head the whole time. Even though the song is one about George W. Bush, it is equally relevant to reflect the actions of the corrupt politicians in Nepal at present.
Let me start from the beginning. I needed to go to Dhankuta from Kathmandu for an urgent personal reason. Until I bought a night bus ticket for Sunday, the 30th of August, the situation sounded normal but when the departure date approached, many problems started creeping up. The bus company was not sure about whether or not the bus would be leaving Kathmandu on the day it was supposed to because of the intense Madeshi andolan. Things turned out just as I had feared they would; on Sunday morning, I received the news that the bus could not go to Dhankuta that evening. Now I had no choice but to go via aeroplane, spending thousands of rupees more in the process. “F * *k you very very much. ‘Cause we hate what you do and we hate your whole crew. So please don’t stay in touch…”
Well, luckily I got a plane ticket to Biratnagar for Tuesday morning, the 1st of September. As soon as my older sister and I exited the airport in Biratnagar, a bunch of rickshaw pullers encircled us and informed us that there were no bus or taxi services from Biratnagar to Dharan. We could either hire a motorbike or rickshaw to go up to Itahari, then only God knew how we would manage to reach Dhankuta. We decided to hire a rickshaw so that we did not have to split up. The rickshaw puller charged us Rs. 1,000 for the trip whereas a bus would have normally charged less than Rs. 100. “F * *k you very very much. ‘Cause your words don’t translate and it’s getting quite late. So please don’t stay in touch…”
It took us two and a half hours to reach Itahari, usually the journey would have taken half an hour at most. Itahari was also banda because of Limbuwans. No vehicles were available to go to Dharan from there. We could do nothing but spend the night in Itahari. Miraculously, there was no banda the next day so early in the morning we could take a bus which would go directly to Dhankuta.
Then there was the challenge of returning to Kathmandu after 12 days in the midst of the ongoing ethnic unrest and frequent bandas; taking a bus was not an option. The option of coming by aeroplane via Biratnagar was also closed because of curfews between Itahari and Biratnagar airport. I needed to fly via Bhadrapur paying an airfare of Rs.7, 910; I only paid Rs. 4, 365 to get to Biratnagar from Kathmandu. Generally, the total bus fare from Kathmandu to Dhankuta and back again would have been less than Rs. 3,000, and I had to blow another Rs. 10,000 to get there and back this time around. “F * *k you very very much. Do you get, do you get a little kick out of being small-minded…”
A lady I met in Damak had a different story. Her grandson needed to travel to Kathmandu in order take an examination. He had heard that the army would be escorting buses to Kathmandu - don’t mind the fact that it would take three days to get to Kathmandu from Damak in this manner. Calculating his time he got a ticket. Alas! At the very last moment, he was informed that the bus would not be going to Kathmandu, so he had no choice but to pay Rs. 8,000 for a plane ticket. The grandmother sadly remarked, “Oh…I don’t understand what’s happening to this country!”
These are only a few examples of how the general public is suffering because of the short-sightedness
Countless people are dying every single day. What for? To further divide the nation? Or to fulfil the vested interests of political leaders? Is killing each other the single best option to solve problems? Why can’t we sit together, have friendly dialogues and find solutions? What is stopping us? Has the humanity inside us died completely? If not, how can someone drag an injured security personnel out of an ambulance and smash him to death? It feels like we are going back to barbarism instead of moving forward towards a civilized society. What is the reason behind this? The answer is simple: dirty politics and political games. “F * *k you very very much. Do you, do you really enjoy living a life that’s so hateful? ‘Cause there’s a hole where your soul should be! You’re losing control a bit, and it’s really distasteful…”
(Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Sunday, September 27, 2015 in the title When trouble strikes)
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