“Burning” Issue

Not so long ago a friend told me about a posted by an Iraqi woman. It got a lot of recognition all over the world. The was also published as an award winning book. It’s called “Baghdad Burning”.
Having heard so much about it I decided to check it out myself. It’s an amazing piece of work. I’m using the word “amazing” reluctantly here. I’m sure the writer would sacrifice thousand such awards if only it ended the events that inspired the writings in the first place.
I don’t consider myself a well knowledgeable person when it comes to politics and international affairs, and rightly so. So, needless to say the changed my views about the Iraqi people in general. I guess, I never imagined a citizen of an anti-American, Muslim country with a somewhat conservative society being a fan of “The Practice” and “Pink Floyd”. It amazes me how wrong I was.

In the posting titled “Volatile Days” (Monday, February 27, 2006), she talked about the possibility of “Civil War”. How, once a distant prospect, now, is in the verge of becoming a frightening reality. I read about the terror they are being forced to live in, and the terrifying images from the various war movies (“The Pianist” and others) came to mind. I couldn’t help dwelling on it. I thought about the condition here in Nepal. Many would say it’s getting better now. After a brief chaos, things have become relatively quieter. But I have my doubts. I don’t believe this peace is going to last too long……….. that is, if you can even call it peace at all. The Maos have declared a seize fire, but the killings haven’t stopped. The other day, a highly respected doctor got shot while driving in his car. He was lucky to survive. Just because the curfew nightmare is over here in the capital city doesn’t mean life has returned to normalcy outside Kathmandu. People are still being threatened, abducted and killed. Both, the Maos and the Army, have an active role in this.
We are yet to witness the horrors of a full-blown civil war. No one has yet came bursting through our front doors carrying a gun. Well, at least not here in the capital city. I believe these sort of things are a part of daily routine in the rural areas. If you somehow survive the Maos, best of luck surviving the Army! Caught in the crossfire between the Maos and the Royal Neplease Army – that’s the life in the major portion of Nepal.
However, after ten years of violence people are finally becoming a little more optimistic now – mainly due to the recent seize fire between the newly formed government and the Maos. Still, if the politicians of this country don’t learn anything from the mistakes they made in the first 12 years of 15-years-democracy (last 3 years were filled by somebody else’s mistakes), and still overlook the interest of the nation in favour of their own, then the days of “Kathmandu Burning” aren’t too far away.
I see her s as a early warning of how fast situation can deteriorate and how terrible life can become if we do not do something in time to amend our past mistakes and resolve our differences. There will always be forces that will try to take advantage of a weak nation; and they’ll do whatever in their power to weaken this nation. It’s upto the citizens of the nation to recognize these forces and to stay wary of them.

I admire her for her efforts, and thank her for her words. I’d like to end this by dedicating these words by Pink Floyd to her late friend Alan – a fellow Pink Floyd fan……

I was spending my time in the doldrums
I was caught in the cauldron of hate
I felt persecuted and paralyzed
I thought that everything else would just wait
While you are wasting your time on your enemies
Engulfed in a fever of spite
Beyond your tunnel vision reality fades
Like shadows into the night
… … …
Can you see your eyes blighted by darkness
Is it true you beat your fists on the floor
Stuck in a world of isolation
While ivy grows over the door
… … …
(Pink Floyd – Lost For Words)

Nirnayak Andolan 2076

They say it’s been 18 days or so since these demonstrations started. I lost count days ago. I’m not even sure I ever started counting. Frankly, I never thought it’s gonna be this big. They’ve been talking about this Nirnayak Andolan for more than a year now; who would’ve thought they’d actually make it happen. I mean, they never did anything else that they promised to the citizens of this country. But, for whatever it’s worth, it’s happening now.
My exam has been postponed indefinitely. I just had two more end semester exams to give – my last two exams. I was thinking about it and it took me back to my first two major exams – 1st term and 2nd term exams of class 1 at my school. Fifteen years! Man it has been a while. Time, as it seems, just flew by. Things changed – People changed. I still remember those days – whole country was demonstrating against the King asking for democracy, all the political parties had united, many people died, there used to be curfew all day, and my exams were postponed………. come to think of it, nothing much has changed in these last fifteen years. I even think I had pretty much the same height that I have now. Jokes apart, the fact that we’ve ended up right where we started, worries me a little. What is to say we won’t end up right here in next fifteen years, no matter how this ends.
Fifteen years ago there were two sides – the Monarchy and the Political Parties. Now we’ve got Maos thrown into the mix. Actually, I think the only thing that we achieved in last fifteen years are Mao activists. Who knows what new force will’ve emerged before the Nirnayak Andolan of 2076. Maybe some religious activist groups or perhaps some foreign insurgency. But then again, I could be wrong. After all we’re all human……………. well, most of us anyway.

Happy New Year 2063

I suppose I should be wishing you Happy New Year 2063……… But the word “happy” seems to be a little out of context for what seems to lie ahead in this New Year. The daytime curfew has been lifted these last three days but there was no change in the night-schedule till yesterday. The cell phone started working earlier today. I guess somebody important had some Happy New Year SMS to send.
More than the New Year, there’s a big fuss about the speech tomorrow. The King is said to address the nation; probably to wish us all a happy new year – or perhaps more. After all, many believe that he’s got a pivotal role to play in deciding how much happy this New Year’s actually gonna be. I’m not too fond of speeches but I’m glad we’re finally gonna hear from him. All the events that have unfolded in past week were all asking for this speech; too bad we had to wait till the New Year to hear it, but we’re hearing it none-the-less. Some people are pretty mad at him for this delay in dealing with the situation. Rather odd – the guy to whom all these demonstrations are aimed at doesn’t seem to give a shit. I don’t think it’s all his fault though. After all, it’s affecting everybody but him. This is a quite strong offensive move from the political parties but it’s hard to say how much of it got to the intended target and how much went elsewhere. We Nepalese aren’t known for good aiming anyway. I mean where else in the world the bullet hit towards a demonstrator in the street goes on to hit an onlooker standing in his balcony. They said that this was going to be a peaceful demonstration. Well, I was never too good in Nepali (except for the kick-ass scores I got in SLC) – but I don’t think all that happened qualifies for “Shanti-Purna Birodh Pradarshani”.
I don’t mind his decision to address the issue in the occasion of the New Year’s Day. After all, he’s a businessman – he must’ve been busy. The poor guy was just waiting for a public holiday. Actually I’m quite thankful towards them for staging these demonstrations just a week before the New Year’s Day. Had this all started months ago we would’ve had to wait months for any reaction from the King. So I have to admire the impeccable timing and a brilliant strategy by them. It’s a different matter that innocent people are getting hurt, hospitals, schools and colleges are all closed, getting out of your home seems to be an adventure in itself, many exams have been postponed and with four years engineering course I think I’m gonna get a half year course extra……. Maybe it’s one of those New Year Offers. Lucky Me!

A Perfect Day

Despite of all the changes in plans this turned out to be one of the best days I’ve had in long-long time……… After weeks of planning and canceling I finally met her. I met her at Maitidevi……. we then walked all the way to New Baneshwor. We had some pizza and c-momo at ND’s. We roamed around New Baneshwor for a while and then back towards Maitidevi……… through longest route possible of course. We both had a lot to talk about …………. apparantly, she more than I. She talked a lot…………. thank god nothing changed there. By the way her college seems to be really amazing……….. everyone seems to get hooked up.
I think it was the first time we walked the streets of New Baneshwor together after the days at the Xaviers. I had missed that. To be honest I had been imagining this day for a while now. But it was different. I guess you can’t plan perfection.
She is still the same wonderful girl – honest, caring, stronger than steel – fragile than a rose. I had many reunions lately………….. Met many old friends………….. But there was always something missing…….. Something old that wasn’t there anymore………. Something friendly, familiar – Lost. But the moment I saw her face beaming with her ever present smile, I recognized my old friend……… Who was still there…………. My friend – Who would always be there.