Naturally Nepal

By Hitesh Karki

It goes without saying that it sounds all too clichéd to harp about endless power cuts. But no, it did not sound that way. There's no electricity for 6 hrs a day and to compound the problem I am just back from standing in a line to get some fuel, I was sure she would not understand petrol, for almost an hour and did not manage to get even a gallon for my vehicle, I was sure she would not understand liters either. 'Amazing! Isn't that great?'

This happens to be the reaction when I had narrated the current state of affairs of mine to a colleague far off in the eastern coast of the US. It appeared as if she could not control her excitement when she instantly reacted by saying 'I am sure it must feel nice to have all your dinners under the candle light. You lucky guy!'

I just didn't feel like saying anything more. I had already described the hills and mountains; had even presented her with Everest postcards and posters, and exaggerated a bit as to how I brush my teeth every morning staring at the tallest mountain ranges of the world. And you know when someone genuinely thinks, like the way she was doing, that it's all too amazing you don't feel like pulling the strings any further. I then realized what more adjectives she would have come up with had I mentioned that there was no cooking gas either. And when I heard her say how much she would love to come to visit my place all the way from the other corner of the world, my imaginations, quite naturally, began to run wild.

I then remembered going to Harvard Square just in front of the gates of the great Harvard University, where getting a parking space is not only a rarity but almost impossible if the day happens to coincide with a holiday. She had got into this parking space and just about when she was to do this parallel thing in the parking, a bunch of men, she said they were the guys from MIT even though there was nothing I could find in their appearance to suggest so, screeched in and tried parking their BMW while she was preparing to park her own Toyota 1999.

Jumping out of the car, she just marched or should I say barged ahead to the driver and gave him her piece of mind. The guys or men, albeit with complete reluctance, obliged. The parking space eventually welcomed the Toyota. Now that she had said she would love to visit my place, I just failed to comprehend a scene of taking her around the tour of the city and its traffic. The little tiny vehicles, of course by her American standards, and stopping anywhere they want, the bikers zooming past from either side of you, I knew she would definitely go crazy. What I do not know is, to what extent! And then the thought of taking her around the tour of the country got into me, leaving me absolutely disturbed.

You name anything that moves and you will find them taking a stroll in the highway or some even treating as if it were their playground. And god forbid if we were to brush anything during the course of the drive, in a flash of second we would not only have to ready ourselves to sign a check, the minimum I believe is somewhere around one million according to current 'market compensation rates', but also bring the life line of the entire nation into a complete standstill. Boy, she sure would feel all too powerful!

Even if the 'dust' of garbage has now settled you never know when the issue will resurface again, YCL or no YCL! The thought of taking her across the heritage sites standing along side heaps of garbage and both of our eyes falling over the poster in nearby shop with the word Shangri-La' printed in bold, I am not sure how would she react but the thing I know for sure is expression on my face will be nothing less than a 'Kodak moment', the one worth having a look at.

And on Chitwan safari I could take her to the headquarters of the reserve and show her what weapons are being used to poach the rhinos rather than showing the one horned beasts themselves. That could be quite a fun. If at all she gets amused by the easy availability of the arms and ammunition, I am sure my answer would take a swim in any of the rivers of this filthy water rich nation of ours and, fish or no fish, at least a .303 is guaranteed. All I hope is, at the end of her sojourn she manages to get and grasp a different perspective to Tourism Board's advert, Naturally Nepal. (The Kathmandu Post, March 18, 2007)

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