Thamel mess


Few months back, when the winter started unleashing its fury a defensive mechanism to fight the cold days and nights of the season was obligatory. I didn't want to be caught in the battle of shivering and cluttering noise of my teeth. I was desperately looking for a new pullover. The last one I had was almost tattered. A comrade of mine advised me to go to Thamel.

Next day, I hit Thamel so that I might have a pullover to protect myself from the frosty cold of Kathmandu. But the cost of pullovers had skyrocketed and beyond my reach. At a shop, my eyes caught one nice pullover on display outside. Wasting no time further and hoping to receive a little bit concession so that I could afford it I selected it. Instead, the seller sold it to a foreigner (who happened to enter the shop) at more than the actual price I was asked for. I was flabbergasted. The poor foreigner did not have the faintest idea that the price he paid was hefty. It was not his fault as well, for price tagging was not in practice there. The objective behind this was nothing but to charge whatever price they wanted from the foreigners mainly because they lack bargaining attitude.

That day, I couldn't find one for myself and that did not matter to me the most except the way I got sidelined and disrespected. Thamel was totally different than what I had thought before--a shopping paradise. The more I delved in the depth, the more I got embarrassed.

All sorts of illegal activities were in swing there. Be it prostitution (massage center), black marketing, gambling and drug dealing…etc. Local gangsters appeared bullying around and busy in fund-raising from foreigners by force. When they failed in their objective, they used abusive words against them. Beggars and street boys played their part to fulfill the gap. They appeared in looting and stealing etc. Foreigners were harassed in every single step they moved forward, by these freaks.

Law and order in that place was noting but a joke. I did not see any one maintaining law and trying to stop what was going on. Local authorities were enjoying a dreamless siesta.

People from all over the world come to visit Nepal to see its natural beauty and other well-known tourist spots and most of them stay in Thamel, for it is a very popular place amongst them. They see their kinds of people all around the place and feel that it is like their native land. What they carry back to their countries is the experience of the way they were treated and respected.

It is nothing but hypocrisy that we chant "Atithi devo bhava" throughout the year and do noting to stop such illegal and irrational activities in one of the most known tourist spot in the city. (TKP, March 12, 2007)

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