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Disgraceful…

April 17th, 2008 Comments off

Only last week every news item on Nepal was about how well the CA election was conducted, and about the Maobadi’s strong showing. Now it seems the country is back to “normal”, with police beating the monks. What a disgrace!

BBC News piece about the protest here.

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Nepali children on sale?

March 10th, 2007 Comments off

Just saw this investigative piece on Nepali Times…worth the read!

On sale: Adoption from Nepal is beginning to look like trafficking

We posed as a British couple wishing to adopt a Nepali child and were told that the process was complicated and involved eight government offices and agencies. The broker said he could take care of the entire process for a $1,500 fee. If we decided to adopt from his orphanage, a further donation of $5,000 was strongly suggested.Although he initially insisted on up-front cash of a third of his fee, he agreed to take a cheque for just over half the total amount. Immediately after we agreed to pay, he said he had “just met a family from his village who wanted to put up for adoption a child the age we wanted”. Earlier, he had said it could take months to find a child as young as we were looking to adopt.

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Hometown blues…

January 6th, 2007 1 comment

The bus stop is 20 seconds away from the gates of my house, and still I prefer standing in front of my gates waiting for the bus rather than walk those 20 yards…Nepalipan, it must be! Okay, when there is no one else waiting at the bus stop, I can probably move the stop a mere 20 yards in my favour – the commuter power…but as far as the bus that runs through our village is concerned, it stops at every yard if it can carry one more passenger, so my changing the attitude won’t make much difference. For there will be others waiting for the same bus in front of their gates all along the way! Blaming on the attitude of the “others”, I can easily (and conveniently) ward off my own guilt conscience. Anyway, once on the bus, I behave as if I am an untouchable – somebody with a deadly plague that could wipe off the entire village, or at least those on the bus. Does it work in putting off other commuters from pushing me around or stamping on my foot no matter how well I try to take it off the way? Of course not, as I have already mentioned elsewhere, pushing, shoving, stamping and shoulder charging without apology seems to be the norm in Nepal, especially while commuting. Even when I take a seat in an obscure corner of the bus, I get pushed further deeper into obscurity. I hardly seem to recognise faces in the village anymore, and the non-recognition seem to be reciprocal, which is quite a relief. Embarrassing exchanges I have experienced in the past where I didn’t know the person I was talking to but they seem to know (and keep track) of everything I did or was doing. They would ask when did I return, and how long am I staying or have I finished my studies or if I am working in the foreign land or if I had come back to get married! I would answer politely (but with great difficulty) to all those queries without knowing who I was responding to…and for wanting to be polite, I couldn’t ask who they were either!
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crowded, crazy, catmandu: a day in the capital

December 21st, 2006 5 comments

Its my third day back in Kathmandu, nearly two years after my last visit. I stayed home all day yesterday. And today I am in a mood to go out and see what has changed in these two years. I plan to go to downtown Kathmandu to soak in the atmosphere (not advised for health reasons if you are a weak type!), to see what has changed over these two years since I was here last, and most of all to re-orientate myself to the sights, sounds, and smells of Kathmandu. First thing in the morning however, I wanted to go an have a haircut. A 25-rupees haircut is a very tempting prospect indeed, for I had paid 7.50 pounds only a few weeks ago for the same purpose! After the haircut and a hot shower (to my complete surprise I found a hot water system installed at home, which I wasn’t expecting at all!), and early lunch of masu-bhat, I ready myself for the challenge – use local buses, micro buses, three-wheelers et al., plus my own feet to explore Kathmandu downtown.
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