Variety of People
It is really amazing that we rarely observe the people we travel with. I often look at the passengers boarding the bus. Most of the people I notice are in a hurry. Sometimes their faces vividly show their inner tension.
I notice many, while a few draw my attention.
A woman in her 60s is screaming at the young man to leave the “mahila seat” for her, but the young man wouldn’t go down without a fight. There is a Grand Pa who is kind and tries to converse with every inside the bus, a few teenage girls who are self-conscious about their looks and the dress.
Bus rides on the same route can be boring so I always try to get the window seat so I can enjoy the view and watch the people on the road. As I look out of the window I see a young man who is speeding his bike, not bothered about anything coming his way.
I enjoy the laughter of school kids the most. Their faces are the brightest.
A Day to Day Chaotic Beauty
It is 9:00 AM on a Monday morning as I stand at the bus stop waiting for Annapurna Tempo to go to college. Annapurna is the only tempo that gets me to college without the need to change vehicle in between. It usually arrives at an interval of 15 to 20 minutes. I close my eyes, take a deep breath and get myself ready for the day. It has been 10 minutes already that I have been standing, waiting, tired of the assignments due last evening.
I look around the place and I see ‘busy bees’ humming all over the place. Everyone has somewhere to reach, something to do and everyone is in a hurry. A bunch of people are waiting for vehicles to reach their destinations. Most of them are middle aged women chattering and laughing among themselves. I wish I knew what they laughed about. An almost full tempo arrived; people stopped talking and began the ‘struggle for the seat’. They do not care about who might be watching, they do not mind if they step over someone’s foot and they do not even bother to apologize. More people are cramming themselves inside the small tempo. The scenario is displeasing.
Amidst the crowd I notice a boy of about five or six. I see something pink in his hand; I guess it is a set of fancy erasers. He is curiously observing his possession. A man is holding his hand, probably his father. With the look on his face, I assume his mind is occupied by bills to be paid, his salary date, school fees, monthly expenses, his pending tasks at office, his wife at home, and such or maybe not. What is troubling him? He has not left hand of his son all this time, but he is not looking at him either.
It is 9:20 AM and there is no sign of the Annapurna tempo. I take a tempo to Gaushala and from there I will have to take another bus to college. The struggle for the day begins for me as well.
The Nepali Way
There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Nepali way. The slang/jargon “chalxa nepal maa” is so famous that it almost seems like we are growing into it. Most of the times it’s not about what’s right, but what’s acceptable.
On my way back sometime during May 14 in Jamal I could see a taxi and a tourist in a cycle. The cycle was on the left lane and the taxi had to take side. Without turning on the signal light, the person driving the taxi waved his hand out of the window and started cornering himself. The cycle was speeding in and the tourist started shouting “hey hey hey ” but alas he didn’t know the Nepali way and it was already far too late to stop the taxi. The tourist had to force brake his cycle.
I think he knew there was no talking through this (maybe this was something he had learned by now), so he just rolled his eyes and moved along.
What can I say but utter two little words ‘Thank You’ to everyone who stopped by, read and also shared their stories. Stories on the streets have a different taste to them. Sometimes they shown us the irony of our culture, other times remind us of the beauty in life, other time they just happen like a state of time.
This May let met take you through the streets of Kathmandu through this little project.
Read more of 30 Minutes of Traveling:
Stories from the Streets of Kathmandu
That Piece of Metal