“Lakeside, Lakeside, Lakeside,..” “Hello, I wanna go to Fewa Tal?”
“That’s where it goes, step in.”
“But you said Lakeside only. Which Lakeside do you mean? I heard that there’re many lakes here, & I wanna go to Fewa Tal.”
“Same dai, Fewa Tal & Lakeside are the same thing.”
“Anglicization of a place,” I begin brooding.
“Sorry, no Veg Momo in this Lakeside area. If you wanna eat vege Momo, go to Mahendra Pul. We get chelokhelo (enough) fish & meat in Pokhara, hence it’s rare to find veg items. Would you like to have Veg Chowmein instead?”
Indeed, the signboard proclaimed, ” Please visit us for tareko, bhuteko, jhol, jhinge varieties of fish, & for pure Khasi(a he-goat), Chicken, Buff Momo, Chowmein, tounge, the brains, liver, intestines, & for Dharan’s Black Pigs’ items.”
“And what not,” I remember someone chuckling; “they eat everything a Buffalo gives, except its droppings!”
Chowmeins remind me of the MSG. Aha, there, “Please give me those boiled meshed potatoes.”
“Mmm…the achar has been jhaneko with herbs like jimmu & timmur & it’s distinctly Pokhreli.“
“The people here are really more hospitable than that of Kathmandu”, I conclude. “And broadly speaking, except the foreigners, they’re of five types: the small and/or flat-nosed Hindu or Buddhist Mongolians, the medium-sized-flat/round-nosed Hindu Aryans, the bearded-long-nosed Muslim Aryans, the mustached-long-nosed Hindu Madhesis, clean-shaven-long-nosed Hindu or Jain Marwaris, & since I’ve also seen a Church, the hybrid-not-easily-discernable Christians.”
A tourist gal is bargaining,” Look, I’m an honest person. So, I expect you to be honest. Got it?”
Yes, Mam, Yes”, says the Man at the HIRE MOBIKES HERE!
I remember a columnist quoting some boat-driver: Even a buffalo from the Lake Side can speak fluent English.
A white-woman who I guess must be a Scanadivian asks the boat-driver to take her pictures: one here, one here, one here…., OK, thank you!”
I look into the mysterious Lake water: I see the fish camouflaging by taking the colors of the weeds, the small baby fish swarms which looked like the original inhabitants of the sea: they’ve taken hundreds of generations to adapt themselves to the Lake-weeds – I look like a Darwin in the Fewa water.
A UN chopper flies just above the Lake: so, the UN peace-keepers too need some peace of mind!
Ok, there is the Goa Restaurant. Pokhara is truly a multicultural place; I’m again reminded of the Folk-Laureate Ali Miya.
“Stop making hasty generalizations. People everywhere are the same.” I murmur to myself.
The whole of Pokhara’s Thamel comes to a halt suddenly; a swarm of mobikes thunder the area like one gets to see in Cowboy films: Baishakha pailo haptama, Maobadi Sattama.(Coming 1st Week of the Month, Maoists would be in the reign).
The procession at the speed of 25 Km/hr takes 10 minutes to complete. An elderly woman waves back at them. A girls laughs, “It’s the last day of CA election campaigning.” “The Maoists still have a good presence here,” wonders a shopkeeper to his friend. The buffalos straying on the road run for a help.
And just yesterday, I’d seen two Paharis on a mobike, announcing: “For a New Nepal, vote for the Nepal Sadvawana Party!”
And, I heard a Nepali of Japanese origin making his speech the same day. A Nepali version of Alberto Mujimori, lol!
“Even the dogs seem more relaxed here,” another American told his Nepali friend.