Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday Musings

To me, Sunday heralds a hectic day. I wake up at around 7 am and bring the sackful of newspapers making sure that Nepal Weekly is not missing. My wife knows that I love sipping tea while scanning the news. Therefore, as I flip through the pages, a sweet aroma of morning tea engulfs the room.

Strange but my own magazine happens to be one of my staples. I read my own write-ups–the design and possible mistakes are what I look for–and that of colleagues. Last week I did two stories–a cover story on former US president Jimmy Carter's Nepal visit and Bhutanese media in exile. These days, apart from feature stories, I concentrate on foreign affairs, diplomacy and Bhutanese refugee issues. My reading should have served as a background to comment on the magazine in our weekly editorial meeting. But, early morning, I SMSed my editor about my assignment for that day.

Veteran Kantipur lens man Chandra Shekhar Karki called me up to ask the time of our appointment. A rare phenomenon but he was ready to accompany me for a photo shoot. I am doing a feature story on successful disable to mark the World Disability Day on December 3. Mr Karki asked me to pick him up for he had run out of petrol. I drove to Lokanthali, two kilometres away from my apartment at Kaushaltar.

The seemingly endless traffic jam greeted me. In a piece recently published in Koseli supplement of Kantipur, my friend Subel Bhandari poses the question about the traffic congestion in Araniko Highway (really?) with a young lady lawmaker Lila Nyaichyain. I drive this road everyday to reach my office. Even the lawmaker sounded frustrated with our apathy towards the basic infrastructure. According to the lawmaker, she has raised this issue a number of times in the parliament. But, as usual, the government has turned a deaf ear.

I drove past Kaushaltar, Gaththaghar, Madhypaur Thimi and we finally reached Bhaktapur Hospital where Dr. Mahendra Bahadur Malla, a senior consultant paedetrician was waiting for us. Thi sdoctor from far western Nepal was infected by Japanese Encephalitis more than ten years ago. Since half a decade, his legs and hands hardly follow his directions. But, this has not prevented him from overcoming his handicap and excelling in his field. He is wheelchair bound but still performs the medical work with equal aplomb.

Mr. Karki snapped the pictures. Clad in a white gown, Dr. Malla performed the check ups: checking the X-rays, prescribing the medicines, everything seemed perfect. Later, I enquired in detail about his struggle and tribulations. He told me Dr. Mukul Verma, an Indian neurophysician was the inspiration behind his emergence from isolation. For a few years after the infection, he was in solitary confinement, his wife being solely responsible for his care. As we returned, we saw an ICC under nineteen-cricket tournament going on. Mr. Karki insisted we take some photos. I'm no cricket fan. To be frank, I do not understand the match. My friend Keshav Thapa, an avid cricket fan, once tried to teach me the rules but all in vain.

On our way back, Mr. Karki proposed me to go to his house and have a cup of tea. I happily agreed. From his three storey bungalow, one can see the breathtaking panorama of the Himalayas in the north of Kathmandu Valley. I am also privileged to have a look over the mountain from my veranda on a clear winter morning. But, here was more mesmerizing view. His rooftop provided a wider view of glistening himalays in late November Bhaktapur afternoon.

1. Here's the English version of the successful disable story in Ekantipur ( the original Nepali version in Nepal Magazine)

2.Read a blog by Dinesh Wagle: Viewing Himalayas from Kathmandu

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