I wake up to the mundane morning confronting the headline which reads loud and large. “We will not hamper the elections.” Not so long ago we all thought that that was they all came for. Now once again there is no dearth of people who would not hesitate to say ‘I told you so.’ You know those ‘I-told -you-so’ breed of people who, no matter what happens, always seem to know how things would eventually happen. ‘They were never here for peace and elections’, so they would argue. However, I, for one always thought that the many wheels have turned and lives been burnt and killed and hence peace was inevitable. Sooner or later the peace had to be here, so I always thought but it seems like never and which seems to be a pretty long time. The morning’s headline was something that, if not shattered, dampened the spirits of many a souls including mine. A little later at work a colleague of mine tried drawing the parallels ‘It’s like a player saying I will definitely be on the pitch but won’t touch the ball.’ I smiled back acknowledging the way he put everything in context of the game we were to have the coming Saturday, he could not have put it more aptly.
Sometime in the afternoon, during the lunch break, I venture out to the city as I have a business to take care of. My first reaction reads, never in history, at least in my history, I have seen so many revolutions go at one go.
It’s the period when the monarch has been silenced and you have a grand father like prime minister telling stories on a private television network, incidentally on Monday evenings, about his revolutionary life. Quite obviously there is no dearth of inspired youths, both olds and young. The rider on the bike is a revolutionary. A micro van conductor is another revolutionary and his driver a bigger one. All places these would be dubbed as law breakers, here we call them ‘revolutionaries’. A student in a class is revolutionary, on a road even greater revolutionary. Few years back I had a chance to come across Abhi Subedi presenting his play ‘Agni ko Katha‘ for a select audience. Having watched that play, I knew how much had the inferno in one of the departments in TU had had hurt his sensibility and forced him to narrate the story of fire. What I do not know was how he must be feeling seeing the same story unfolds time and time again. But then it wont just be him, when times are like these everybody hurts.
During the break, over a glass of tea, another colleague of mine walks to me and says ‘Hitesh, this time it’s for the natural wonders of the world and we need to make sure Mt Everest park makes to the top seven, just like the Taj Mahal. Please do vote…’ and starts stirring the spoon in his coffee mug. Mr Sharma, who has overheard our conversation, suddenly turns around and cries out ‘NO!’ with a straight face. He doesn’t spare a moment to dish out his angst, ‘Everybody’s got a complaint and loads of it. I don’t care about Everest or Machapucchre, I care about my own life and needless to say it’s as bad as hell. And the best part of it all is that there’s seemingly no light in the end of the tunnel.’ He fumes hard.
Round about the same time the guard at the door tells me that I have a visitor. I make it to the outside and come face to face with another fuming friend of mine. He is all fired up because he can not make it to work that would be past the stretch of road from Mandala to Thapathali. He tells me there is war being played on the streets, Madmax styled. The ultra revolutionaries have now decided to take on the streets and the scene we all missed so much of hurling stones and burning tires are back again, with added punch. He hates this place and isn’t apologetic of the fact that he is not patriot. Its not that he dislikes this place but hates it to the core. The reason, his counterparts equipped with same set qualifications and similar set of skills are work round the clock and across the globe and moreover thinking big, while he is busy staying in the queue for gas!
I too, to some degree, agree with people’s obsession on being a patriot. However, you got to like the place first above anything else, so I believe. You live where your life is at its easiest best and certainly this is not the place. What’s the point in continuing to say I love this place when it’s the place itself that’s denying everything, from throwing garbage to getting to your work? It’s altogether a different story to say I love this place when you do not live here. I bet if one were to take an opinion poll NRNs would fare as the most patriotic amongst all of us. And it’s pretty weird or funny the fact that while the people languish in the inundated waters of the Terai and across all regions of the country and yet there is no one questioning why the continuity in the load shedding. People affected by the floods do not get proper state help and that’s taken in a stride. Nonetheless it’s the load shedding that you get puzzled by. In fact if one has managed to notice it more closely, which I am sure everyone has its only becoming more regular and punctual with every rain. Fortunately or unfortunately there are no revolutionaries this time around questioning the effects of load shedding? But one of the news piece does give me insight to this sorry state of ours regarding water resources. I watch the newscast of that mundane monday evening and it’s the Khimti power this time around. Revolutionaries have threatened to shut the plant down if the demands are not met. I look to my left and the right and quite expectedly I see no surprised faces around the dinner table. Everyone’s now has gotten used to different ways of our revolutionaries.
Its time to head back to the only place you seem to like at the moment, the comfort of your bed inside your house. Rest of the places all you see is chaos or may be we should call it revolutions. With nothing better to do, once again I resort to television. The revolutionaries are coming in a new avatar and that avatar of a savior. They are liberating the laborers all across the country in this country of ours that has barely few industries and even fewer that are in running condition. May be they find it justifiable that they should too be getting paid at par with their colleagues inside the camps who have time to chose a bride or a groom and get married and more over get paid for not doing anything for the country. Every day it’s one factory or the other, and this particular Monday it was Dabur Nepal. I pause for a moment to think of all the television channels including the one I was watching and their state sans the Dabur advertisements, I find myself pretty clueless.
Its time to fall asleep hearing your grand father like prime minister and his tales of revolutionary heroics, a perfect way to wind up a mundane Monday.
(Unedited version of the writing posted on the Sunday edition of Kathmandu Post, 27th August 2007.)