Today is also Nepal Bandha – आज पनि नेपाल बन्द छ
Today is also Nepal Bandha.
The ethnic bodies (janajatis) including Newar people of Kathmandu have called the Bandha.
Newars are famous for their communal camaraderie. Newar people of Kathmandu have been instrumental in every regime change in Kathmandu.
So, I also wanted to test the Bandha.
So, I took a different route while coming to my workplace today.
I came via Patan, Mangal Bazar.
Mangal Bazar is famous for its ethnically motivated politics.
While I was nearby a Temple in Mangal Bazar, a middle-aged man stopped me.
‘Looks like there is more air in your tubes than necessary. Let me release some’, he said.
‘Dai, I’m going to my workplace… please leave me, I won’t ride, would only doryaing(walk) until I get to the main road.’ I said.
‘No, you’ve violated our Bandha, so you must pay for it’ he said.
He took out his key jhuppa, and started releasing air from my tube.
I looked at him. He was a middle-aged man. You could read all the life struggles he’d been through from the lines on his face. He’d put a large red Tika on his forehead with the hope that some deity would protect him and his family from all dukkhas and evils in life. Newar people are very religious to this date.
And still he was ‘punishing’ me in front of a temple.
Seeing him bending over my bicycle tyre to flatten it, and wondering at his total ‘being’ and ‘existence’, I felt pity for him. And I laughed.
He looked up at me and asked, ‘Why are you laughing?’
I said: You believe in Dharma. And you’re in front of a Temple. But do you know what you’re doing? Do you really believe that you will get away with the karma you’re doing?
He was a bit startled. Looked at me carefully, and said, “You look like a good man. Therefore, I’m doing a favor for you. I won’t release all the air from your tube. But, don’t go ahead. Look, I’m growing old, therefore I understand what you’re saying. But the people on the Chowk ahead are youngsters. They won’t listen to you.”
Still, I continued my journey. The man was right. The youngsters in the chowk were burning a motorbike. The picture above is of the burning mobike that I took with my cell phone. After all, i’m a citizen journalist….
however, i thought it better to avoid the mob. They were beating the burning mobike in the middle of the road with their sticks.
When I was near Ratna Park, a young boy shouted, ‘machikney, utri. jalaidiu muji’ (get off you motherfucker…or I’ll burn your bike’). I laughed again. However, I didn’t preach this time. It was useless.
It’s really a strict Bandha today. Even the eateries are closed. Fortunately, I discovered a semi-closed eatery. Two ‘janjati’ people were eating and drinking.
I asked for veg chowmein.
Things are really getting interesting.
Everyone is suspicious of another’s intention.
Even people meeting in an eatery are suspicious of each other.
One of the two ‘janajatis’ looked at me carefully and said: I’m Gharti. I’m drinking, but I’m not Gharti Magar. I’m Gharti Kshetri.
I’d not asked him anything. Still he felt the need to clarify himself. But, I could see that he was lying. He was saying all these things coz I was sharing their table, and yet I was not drinking.
I laughed, and asked: “So, what do you mean….” His friend said: Oh, he’s just drunk.
I also clarified myself: Look, I’m a Bahun by birth. But I don’t believe in these things. All are equal. I also used to drink. I left drinking coz it was harming my health.
The man became self-conscious. ‘Oh…I speak a lot…I’m drunk….actually I’m a school master’ he said.
I said: Really? Glad to meet you. I’ve been a master myself.
He still looked suspicious of me. He said: No, I’m a government officer.
I laughed again. I said: Look, the leaders are using us for their vested interest. They make us fight with each other, so that they may manipulate.
Then he said: Oh…I’m a fool…I’m really drunk…I’m a Gaule(villager)…I’m a Gothalo(shepherd)…
I said: Look, every profession is equally important. How can the people in the cities get to drink milk unless the Gothalos in the villages do not do their job?
He was even more puzzled. He said: oh….actually I’m a rickshaw wallah….but i’ve nothing to do anything with politics…I just want to work, eat, and drink… I speak a lot when I’m drunk…looks like the alcohol is working on me…that’s all…but I’ve got nothing to say to you…
I said: look, you’re a good man. That’s why you’re saying all these things…and I also speak a lot sometimes…even without drinking… that’s fine..
I also wanted to say to him: Look, who’s not drunk here. Everyone seems to be drunk here. Everyone looks intoxicated. Everyone is in illusion.
However, I didn’t say anything to him. Sometimes it’s better not to say anything.