Saturday, September 11, 2010

On the Road in Kathmandu

One afternoon a year ago, I received a call at my office in Kathmandu. The voice at the other end sounded familiar but I could not recognize it. Sensing my anxiety, my friend introduced himself: He was Saroj Thapa, my roommate in early 1990s when both of us were new to the capital city.


Like many young people of our generation, we had moved to Kathmandu to further our studies. I was seventeen and he was a few years older than me. We lived in a dark one room basement apartment at Ghattekulo neighborhood,  a ten-minute walk from our college. I relied on a meager monthly stipend sent by my father who taught at a school in eastern hills. His father had left his family. Therefore, Saroj was on his own, studying and eking out a living as a helper in a printing press.

He had chanced upon my piece published in a magazine. I was happy to hear his voice after nearly ten years. "Let's meet some time and talk about these past years," he said. The idea fascinated me and without a second thought, I promised him I would manage time. He hung up.

The time never came. Or, so I thought until one recent day, he called me up and asked if I was free.

In fact, I wasn't.  I was giving the final touch to  the weekend youth supplement I oversee. I had a tight deadline. The layout person was in the throes of designing the pages. But, I also thought I had lingered too long. I was tired. I badly needed a drink. I also wanted to take some rest. I thought: there's nothing wrong in sneaking away for an hour. A while later, I left for the intersection where my friend would be waiting in his car.

The dusk was falling. I negotiated the potholed road outside my office building. Upon crossing the road,  I found myself in the crowd of people heading home or waiting for bus. My friend saw me from a distance and stopped his car.

We drove towards Sinamangal neighborhood near Nepal's only international airpot. I had suggested to him a new restaurant with a good menu and green lawn. The monsoon rain had washed the road clean. The evening felt incredibly lovely. The road had a light traffic.

We found out that the entrance to the restaurant was under construction. My friend, who's been driving for five years, decided to park the car on an empty space beside the road. I suggested him to rethink his decision but he was adamant.

We mostly talked about the time we spent and struggled together. We recalled how we managed to survive the saddest phase of our life. I reminisced how at college I would attend both the day and night classes, how watching a movie was a luxury.  I told him how I relished a plate of momo, a Nepali dumpling, which at the time was the most delicious food on earth. .

He recalled his infatuation with a girl who stayed next door to his office. "We used to wax eloquent about our love affairs," he said. We laughed at our naivety. I felt sorry for our humble beginning.

A wave of nostalgia  engulfed us as we sipped beer. We concluded that our initial foray into the urban landscape had been pathetic. Past had been unkind to us.

At around eight, we left the restaurant and climbed up to the road. We were still talking, unable to detach ourselves from our terrible past.

A little tipsy, we boarded the car. He was turning it right in order to drop me at my office. Right at that moment, a motorcycle hit the car. All I could hear was a bang! Then, I saw a man thrown up in the air. We looked at each other, trying to figure out the problem. He said: "This is how things end up!" We got off the car and started to assess the damage.

The motorcycle was badly damaged. It's headlight was broken. The car's fender was hit hard, creating a niche. The pillion rider was writhing in pain. A gaggle of passersby gathered in the scene. People silhouetted against the evening's dim light, inquired, "Ke Bhayo? Ke Bhayo?" (What happened? What happened?). Their faces were unrecognizable, lending an eerie feeling. I felt as if I were looking at apparitions.

My friend and I rushed headlong on to take control of the situation. In Kathmandu's accident prone roads, anything can happen. I recalled witnessing incidents in which drivers were beaten up immediately after the accident, without judging whose mistake it was.

A tall, thin, sad-faced traffic police man arrived. He identified the drivers and took their licenses. The motorcycle driver turned out to be heavily injured. But he was very quiet. His friend, who was crying, sounded like he was badly hurt. But he wasn't. Blood was dribbling from the driver's shin. He had another injury in his chin. The helmet's glass might have torn it.

The pillion rider told me he was speaking on his cell phone when the bike hit the car. Later, someone brought back his cell phone which was already battered.

My friend offered to take them to the hospital and pay for their medical bills.

We drove in silence towards Kathmandu Medical College. The driver in his early thirties was admitted to the emergency. I found myself queuing  up at the drug store. The injured were returning from a house party. They seemed more drunk than us.

The pillion rider had come to Kathmandu on a business trip. The driver ran a small grocery on the outskirts of Kathmandu. It turned out that all of us came from the same region in eastern Nepal. Even though there appeared a chasm between us--the two on an old bike and we on a four-wheel--an unlikely camaraderie formed inside the hospital.

9 comments:

Unknown said...

Hello, Do you want to sell your kidney for money, Apollo hospital is urgently in need for A+ve or B+ve and O+ve kidney donors. If any one is willing to donate or buy please contact us email: apollohealthcare30@gmail.com

Unknown said...

Hello, Do you want to sell your kidney for money, Apollo hospital is urgently in need for A+ve or B+ve and O+ve kidney donors. If any one is willing to donate or buy please contact us email: apollohealthcare30@gmail.com

Unknown said...

SELL A KIDNEY. SAVE A LIFE AND MAKE MONEY.
Do you want to buy or sell your kidney to save a life?
Are you seeking for an opportunity to sell your kidney at a good price?
Here is an opportunity for you to sell for 600,000 USD. Interested sellers should contact DR. NIGEL BASHEER, a Nephrologist and consultant surgeon at
ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL. For more information contact us via Email: stmaryskidneytransplantcentre@gmail.com

Unknown said...

My name is Dr. Ashutosh Chauhan A Phrenologist in Kokilaben Hospital,We are urgently in need of kidney donors in Kokilaben Hospital India for the sum of $500,000,00,All donors are to reply via Email only: hospitalcarecenter@gmail.com or Email: kokilabendhirubhaihospital@gmail.com
WhatsApp +91 7795833215

Kavita Sharma said...

Your visit to Noida can turn out to be an unforgettable one by hanging time with one of the cheap rates escorts in Noida. As perhaps the most notable cheap rate Noida Escorts agency, we simply furnish you with the best modest rate escorts service at an affordable cost to our clients.

Call girls in mahipalpur said...

Delhi Call Girls Agency, we are one among the various escort organization providing food young ladies for sexual administrations in Delhi and NCR. Our administrations are expanded all over Delhi and edges. We keep up unmistakable class of young ladies at all the majority of noticeable districts of the Delhi to guarantee our customers immediate and wanted administrations. Our Call Girls in Delhi are best class of young ladies giving extreme joy and furthermore moving message to not to surrender except if you achieve your point. Our Escort Service in Delhi attempt to change viewpoint towards life however yes they show the procedures to appreciate life and grin against the odd of life. Likewise become familiar with the procedures to make meeting more acceptable and interesting with escort young ladies.

Call girls in mahipalpur said...

We are related with qualified, taught proficient and elegant escort young ladies so you can invest a decent energy with these Call Girls in Mahipalpur. Our youngsters can offer their organizations at five-star lodgings, four-star motels or three-star hotels too yet in case you moreover need organization at your home they can even come there as well, they can come and visit you seven evenings each week holding up the early hours of the sunrise generally advantageous and real administrations. So Guys view our best choice of world Escort Service in Mahipalpur benefits, and connect with our telephone chief and request the best young lady chose by you from our image display. We are even accessible in a wide zone of Delhi-NCR for our administrations.

Call girls in mahipalpur said...

This is the best escort services in Connaught Place may be gainful for you on the off chance that you are looking for a mindful female partner. We give prominent call girls in Connaught place for your happiness and ravishment. In the event that you're remaining in any lavish lodging close to Connaught Place, selecting an escort young lady may upgrade your delight. We have an incredible assortment which includes a scope of alternatives so you can pick what sort of young lady makes your day. These Escort Service in Connaught place have assumed control over the holy messengers and appear to be an impression of prostitutes. There is a ton organized your delight, for example, extravagance bars and clubs where you can meet with complex females of the town. Indeed, you would happy to realize that a large number of the esteemed women of metropolitan zones of Delhi are our regarded bunch individuals. You can get one of them by calling @ 9654120218.

Call girls in mahipalpur said...

Call Girls in Paharganj: - We are the unparalleled rumored accompanies administration in Paharganj from most recent couple of years. We have the Call girls in Paharganj from any remaining areas. Our Call young ladies in Paharganj are sought after for the voyagers, outsiders and many businessmen's. You can get easygoing gatherings with hot young ladies whenever they are likewise the craving to meet you. In the event that you are feeling desolate and searching for a delightful partner who can give all your necessities, at that point you are continuing immediately. We can orchestrate a calm sentimental date for you with our Paharganj Escorts the help is open all day, every day for you. We have a huge assortment of young ladies to settle on your longing and decisions complete. Our escorts organization currently turns into a top decision for everybody and this on account of our quality help to customers. Escorts Service in Paharganj is consistently accessible at your support of offer you the best Escorts joy in Paharganj.