75 Years After the Atomic Bombings

Atomic bombings on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima and three days later in Nagasaki are among the cruelest acts humans did. In 2014, when I wrote a blog on the bombings, I had written:

Humans proved that day [the days of bombings] that they could do anything against anyone to gain power.

I had also written:

As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they have been recovered as major cities but no crops, no grass has grown yet and it’s unknown until when.

I did not know that a red canna flower (Canna sp.) had bloomed in the rubble some months later giving hope to the survivors. Gingko trees that survived have another story to tell. Look for the links below to know their stories.

Stories of the red canna trees that survived the Hiroshima bombing:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-52459140/the-trees-that-survived-the-bombing-of-hiroshima

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/kids/KPSH_E/hiroshima_e/sadako_e/subcontents_e/12yomigaeru_1_e.html

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13175243

Stories of the Gingko trees:

https://www.inverse.com/article/47833-hiroshima-gingko-trees-atomic-bomb

These are amazing stories of survival, rebirth and restoration. Some humans had stooped very low, destroying humans, cities and the nature, with their pride. Some humans had lost hope. Nature challenged their pride. She told them, “Your pride, your wars cannot destroy me.” And gave hope to the victims, “Not everything is destroyed.”

The Deserted Landscape

Down below is a river valley that widens in the southwest as it mixes with the Sunkoshi. This terrace is fertile, as evident from the cultivated farms. Less than 50 metres higher, where we stand, there is a different scenario. The soil is red, hard, and clayey. Trees, here are rare. Bushes are scanty and prickly. Cacti have reached heights of more than 3 metres.

A view from Ratmate

Are we walking on a desert?

When I say “desert”, the first image you usually come up is that of arid, sandy land with little to no vegetation, no water, mirages, and camels. You are not wrong. Your mind has what popular culture has engraved in it. The popular culture shows just one picture of desert that is actually a rare phenomenon. Only one of the things that you thought of is common in deserts: scarcity of water.

Does this area lack water?

We survey this area close to Ratmate[1] Bazaar, Sindhuli. The surface has been scoured by running water. These rills imply the relative impermeability of the soil. (We also confirmed the very low permeability by a simple infiltration test). This almost impermeable soil does not allow water to infiltrate (and so the rills form!). Thus, there is no possibility for occurrence of spring or well.

The redness suggested otherwise. We theorized, “Some time back in the past, the area could have been a lake, providing water required for oxidation of iron present in the soil.” Can we find iron here?

On examining the origin of the soil, we find allochthonous granite boulders. These boulders apparently settled here during a landslide event. When we produced “fresh” samples, we saw that the boulders themselves were stained in red. Only one of ten samples was unstained. A little further, we found quartzite, and saw similar scene. The red soil, the granite, and quartzite samples, all had high specific gravity. We could conclude: “The iron comes from both the granite and quartzite. This iron reacted with oxygen and produced haematite, a red and heavy iron oxide.

Later when I searched for the properties of red soil on Google, I found some useful information: 1) The red soil is generally acidic; 2) It is low in nitrogen; 3) It is suitable for rice plantation (because of water holding capacity) and some beans; and 4) The soil is naturally infertile.

The land we studied hosted some bushes, as I have mentioned earlier, but the lack of water, acidic nature of the soil and general infertility helped us conclude: “We were on a desert or were seeing some sort of desertification.”

What can lack of water do to villages? We observed this two days later.

That day, we climbed a peak of about 1400 m in Ramechhap and came down a trail. We had thought it would lead us down safely. But that was not to be.

A small landslide had occurred near the main trail. From there we could see a path that went downhill. As we walked, it suddenly ended into what looked like a same baari[2]. There was nothing but colluvium, but it was definitely cultivated in the past. (We had seen a cultivated baari some 10 metres above). We looked around and saw a heap of stones. This, we assumed, where the house was. After the owners left, people nearby might have demolished the house, taken doors and windows for fuel and heaped up the stones in order to take them later.

As we roamed around in despair looking for the main trail, we found four more similar scenes. This, we concluded, was a nice settlement until something forced them out. In our topographic map (some 26 years old), there are some clusters of houses. This, we concluded, was one of those clusters.

Finally, we found the trail but instead of taking us down, it took us up! Sometime later, it disappeared. On observing, the trail was still there but the grasses had made it invisible and slippery. Helping each other, we went down and finally reached the trail we had used to climb up earlier that day.

A Trail that Vanished

What drove off people from that place? The immediate thought was: landslide. But the slide looked younger than the desertion. Lack of water was another reason we discussed about. In that hill and in most of the hills in that district, there is scarcity of water. But was there another reason?

It did not come to me at that time, but the whole of Ramechhap was important place for the Maoists during the 10 years of civil war in the last decade. Many people in the district undertook the ideology and carried guns in the name of revolution. Some families were involved in entirety. Some families were driven away. Some left to safer places to avoid the war. Did the village we walked through die because of nature or politics? While I feel that the nature pressured the desertion, politics could have also played some role. The definite history, however, cannot be drawn unless we find the people who left the place.


[1] Red-soiled.

[2] a small land usually cultivated for flowers, fruits and vegetables by a single household

आजकल मैले फेरि सपना देख्न थालेको छु

आफूले जन्माएर
आफैँले मारेँ भनेका सपनाहरू
चिच्याइरहन्थे,
“लाग्यो होला तँलाई हामी मर्यौँ
तर हामी त तँ भित्रै छौँ
हामी तेरै अंश त हौँ !
जबसम्म तँ जिउँदो छ्स्,
हाम्रो अन्त्य हुनेछैन ।

“तेरो मनले बनाएको पिँजडामा
हामी बसेका छौँ
तैले वास्तै नगरे पनि
झक्झकाएका छौँ
भनिरहेका छौँ,
ब्युँता फेरि हामीलाई
खुसी हुन्छस्, सुखी हुन्छस् ।
कति रोक्छस् अन्तरात्माको आवाज ?
तोड पिँजडा, मुक्त गर,
अनि हुर्का हामीलाई ।”

डरको झ्यालखाना तोडेर
बचेखुचेका रहर जोडेर
सपनाको लिलाम गर्नेहरूसँग जोगिएर
आजकल मैले फेरि सपना देख्न थालेको छु !
नीदमा र जागामा
आशाका मसिना धागामा
सपनाको माला उन्न थालेको छु !

(२०७५/०४/१९)

आजकल म सपना देख्दिनँ

आफ्नो नाफा हुन्जेल
बोलाउँछन्, उचाल्छन्
यो छ, त्यो छ
यो गर्छु, त्यो गर्छु
यस्तो हुन्छ, उस्तो हुन्छ
भन्दै, फकाउँदै, झुक्याउँदै
सपना देखाउँछन् ।

जब सत्यको पर्दा खुल्छ,
तब थाहा हुन्छ,
यहाँ त सपना देख्नै पाइन्न ।
यहाँ सपनाको कुनै अर्थ नै छैन
जति नै राम्रो भए पनि !
यहाँ सपनालाई रेटेर, अँठ्याएर मार्छन्
सपनाकै अभिभावकहरू ।

त्यसैले,
न त नीदमा हुँदा न त जागा
अचेल म सपना देख्दिनँ
आफूले जन्माएर, हुर्काएर
आफैँले सपनाको हत्या गर्न चाहन्नँ ।

(२०७५/०४/१९)

A Wedding (Part 1/4): The Proposal

(A Wedding is a single essay that I chose to break down into 4 parts because of its length. This is the 1st part of the essay.)

***

“Difficult times have come,” Mom expresses her worry after getting an invitation of the wedding of my neighbour. “Brahmin priests have stopped getting Brahmin girls for their sons. I heard … is bringing a Chhetrini!”

“The line between Brahmins and Chhetris is dissolving,” I say.

“Are you planning to bring a lower caste (non-Upadhyaya Brahmin) girl? Do it if you want. Then don’t see my face again!”

The calmness with which she says this baffles me. Dad says, “You shouldn’t be obstinate. Don’t you need your son.”

“I don’t need anybody who don’t respect my thoughts and rituals. A lower caste girl can’t participate in Pooja and can’t get involved in Shraaddha. I don’t want to be hungry after my death.”

“What will you do if you are hungry while you are still alive?”

I had that question too. Mom does not give a straight answer. She has a notion that she does not agree to quit. And no one can change her.

While my Mom warns me not to be in relationship with a girl of “lower caste” or a foreigner, she actually wants me to fall in love with an “upper” Brahmin girl. “How do we choose who we fall in love with?” I ask, the answer to which my parents do not know.

***

Much later, just as I am writing this essay, I have a revelation, “I can choose someone of a particular caste, religion or nationality to be my girlfriend. I don’t have to randomly fall in love with anyone.”

“How?” You might be asking.

Well, in societies like the one I am in living, there are said and unsaid rules that guide me. I am told repeatedly, even before I understand the dynamics of love, that being in love with a girl out of my caste is bad. Her beauty and character won’t have any effect upon me. I might say she is beautiful but I’ll never have a desire to be with her.

But a beautiful girl of my caste might attract me in no time and without even knowing her enough, I might “fall” in love with her.

A socio-psychological wiring can make me choose the one I have to be in love with.

However, even without such sociological barriers, you can choose who you want to be in a relationship with. You see thousands of beautiful girls everyday but you don’t have to fall for everyone. Neither of the girls may attract you. You have your preferences which determine who is the most suitable for you.

I have not been able to choose to be in a relationship. It’s hard for an introverted guy who questions everything. Even when I am in love with someone, I’ll question myself, “Is this love? Or is it just an infatuation?” millions of times before I accept that I’m in love with her. Then a gazillion times, I’ll ask myself, “Should I tell her? Will she accept me?”

By the time I decide to ask her, she’ll be gone off as someone else’s bride. Even if she does not, I will never have the courage to say, “I love you”–the simplest three letters that carry the biggest weight of a relationship.

Whenever I’ll be in a relationship with a girl of my caste, Mom will be the happiest. No, I’m not saying this. She says it herself. She will not have to worry about match-making which is the most difficult task these days before a wedding.

***

If you’re not in a relationship, your parents will start looking up girls for you. They make contacts with the families of girls who are the “most suitable” for their sons. Often a third person (Lhami/Lami– match-maker) who knows both sides is involved. After a lot of rejections, in many cases, and sometimes after immediate acceptance, wedding ceremony between a girl and a boy is fixed.

This “type” of wedding known as the “Maagi Bihe (arranged marriage)” is still the most prevalent. The most worrisome of all the weddings is “Bhaagi Bihe (running marriage)” because a couple in love runs away from their families to get married. The family does not accept most of the times. There have been many tragedies because of Bhaagi Bihe.

Another type of wedding is getting popular though. It’s the “love cum arranged marriage”. A couple fall in love, parents accept and then the couple gets married. There may be conditions like the ones set by my Mom but some of intercaste weddings have been accepted by parents.

***

By now, you have known that my Mom has some rules that I must follow to choose a suitable girl. She is not alone in this matter. She is a typical Brahmin woman who wants to secure her “life” after death. I don’t blame her for her thoughts. I don’t know if I should blame our culture but I think I must accept that most of the Hindus are worried about the “life after death” and another life than the one they are living.

Hindus believe in the existence of Atman that is unfaltering and indestructible. Atman is the source of consciousness or life. It resides on bodies that are alive. Once someone is dead, the Atman leaves him and goes to the Paramatma, the highest consciousness or Bhagawan.

There is a twist though. Atman is not incorruptible. It also carries desire. The Atman that carries desire to remain in the material world (Earth, Heaven, etc.) falls in an endless cycle of births and deaths. However, the Atman that chooses to be with Paramatma does not have to go to the endless cycle. However, it has to come to the material world whenever Paramatma wants.

Confused? It’s indeed confusing. No lecture on Veds and Geeta can clear up the confusion. No dead has come back to life and said what life after death actually is. Is it absolute darkness? Is it brighter than our world? Do we go to Heaven or Hell after our death? Will someone reward us for the good we have done and punish us for our evils? Nobody knows.

But these have been etched in our minds through scriptures and Gurus and priests. We choose not to deny our scriptures and we don’t question our Gurus. That’s why, “life after death” has become more important than the life we are now living.

And I can’t change my Mom’s mind. She has heard stories of Heaven and Hell. She desires to be in Heaven. One wrong move from her son might be consequential in God denying her the paradise she dreams of. Her daughter-in-law must prepare Pinda, the food of the dead, in an annual ceremony known as Shraaddha after her death. If her daughter-in-law cannot be involved in Shraaddha, she believes she will be hungry in Heaven.

When a Brahman gets married to someone of a lower caste or a foreigner, he/she “falls” from her caste. A Upadhyaya Brahman might turn into Jaisi Brahman, Chhetri or Shudra.

I propose a solution, “If I bring a “lower caste” girl as my bride why not elevate her caste instead? If she takes my Gotra (clan based on Rishis) and my surname, why not my caste? Elevate her, get her involved in rituals, propagate culture. You don’t need to worry about your afterlife.”
My parents look at me with a shock. We all know the society does not work that way. But I just hope it worked like that. Nobody would have to worry about anything then.

***

Meanwhile, my neighbour’s home has just begun buzzing with activity. His brothers, sisters and relatives have come up to help them. His wedding is going to be the one that will be remembered for years to come. Even if we forget, the groom and his bride will not!

नारीवाद: एक दृष्टिकोण

रावणले अपहरण गरेकी सीतालाई उनको राजा र प्रजाले अपनाएनन् । जीवनका अन्तिम क्षणसम्म वनवासी भइन् । तिनै सीताका “पति” रामले छलले बालीलाई मारेपछी तारालाई “जो तिम्रो पति थिएन, त्यसका लागि शोक गर्नुपर्दैन” भनिदिए । रावणको ध्यान भङ्ग गर्ने मन्दोदरीलाई नङ्ग्याए, अफसोच गरेनन् । कुमारी आमा कुन्तीले आफ्नै छोरोलाई पराइजस्तो व्यवहार भएको सहनपर्‍यो । एक दिन उनका पाँच भाइ छोराले भने, “हेर्नुस् त आमा, हामीले के ल्यायौँ” । उनले नहेरेरै भनिन्, “बाँडेर लिनू” । अर्जुनले स्वयंवर गरेर आएकी राजकुमारी द्रौपदीलाई मान्छेसम्म गनेनन् पाण्डवहरूले । कौरवले पनि रानी द्रौपदीलाई “वेश्या” भने । जुवामा थापे पाण्डवले, हुर्मत लिए कौरवले । विश्वयुद्धको तत्कालीन कारण बन्यो त्यही, जसमा कुरु वंश झन्डै विनाश भयो ।

पुराण/इतिहास/मिथकमा थुप्रै उदाहरण पाइन्छ नारीका दु:खका । हामीले बर्सेनि पढ्ने “स्वस्थानी व्रतकथा”मा सतीदेवीलाई नारायणले छल गरेर जोगी रूपधारी महादेवको हातमा सुम्पिदिन्छन् । कसैको चित्त बुझ्दैन तर “मेरो कर्मले यस्तै पारिल्यायो, के गर्ने” भन्दै सतीदेवी जान्छिन् । सतीदेवीका आमाबाबु भने तिनै छली नारायणलाई पुज्छ्न्, छोरीज्वाइँलाई हेला गरेर । सतीदेवी यज्ञको आगोमा होमिन्छिन् । तिनै देवीलाई देखाएर हज्जारौं वर्ष चल्छ पतिको लाशसँग जिउँदै जल्ने सतीप्रथा ।

“कर्म”को खेल दोहोरिन्छ गोमाको जीवनीमा पटकपटक । भाग्यवादको चङ्गुलमा अझैसम्म नारीहरू पिल्सिएका छन् । पतिव्रता वृन्दाको पति जालन्धर “पार्वतीलाई छल गर्न जान्छु” भन्छ । वृन्दाले पतिलाई त्यति प्रेम गर्दागर्दै पनि जालन्धर बाहिर चाहार्छ । उता नारायण पनि वृन्दालाई छल्न पुग्छन् उसैगरी । नारायणकी पत्नी लक्ष्मीको त नाम पनि आउँदैन । पुराणहरूमा “राक्षस” हुन् वा “भगवान्”, कुनै पुरुषबाट कुनै नारी सुरक्षित छैनन् ।

पुराण र कथाहरूको माध्यमबाट हाम्रो पुरुष अवचेतनमा नै नारीलाई हेप्नुपर्छ र नारी भोग्या मात्रै हो भन्ने पारिएको छ । त्यस्तै, नारी अवचेतनमा पुरुषको “दास” बन्नुपर्छ भन्ने कुरा बसेको छ । नारीवादी चेतनाले अवचेतनका यसप्रकारका गलत कुराका विरुद्धमा बोल्नु पर्छ भन्ने मान्यता संसारभर नै छ । पुरुषको शोषकवादी सोच ढाल्नु नारीवादको मूल उद्देश्य हुनुपर्छ । बोक्सीका नाममा सताइएका, दाइजोका लागि यातना दिइएका, मानव तस्करीमा परेका र यौनिक सन्तुष्टिका माध्यम बनाइएका वास्तविक पीडितहरूको न्याय नै नारीवादको ध्येय हुनुपर्छ ।

तर नारीवादमा “र्‍याडिकलिज्म”(Radicalism) हाबी छ। यो नारीवादले पुरुषलाई गलत मात्र देख्छ । नारीले पनि गल्ती गर्छन् भन्ने कुरालाई नजरअन्दाज गरिदिन्छ । शोषकवादी पुरुषको साटोमा शोषकवादी नारी स्थापित हुनुपर्छ भन्ने गलत मान्यता बोक्नु कदापि सही हुन सक्दैन । कानूनी आडमा पुरुषको जीवन तहसनहस पार्ने प्रवृति बढ्दो छ । पैसाका लागि केही नारीहरूले डिभोर्सको सहायता लिएका छन् । कोही प्रेमी या पतिलाई धोका दिँदै एनजीओ (NGO)को आडमा उल्टो पुरुषलाई नै अप्ठ्यारोमा पार्नेको संख्या पनि बढ्दो छ ।

व्यभिचार, धूम्रपान र मध्यपानलाई स्वतन्त्रताको प्रतीक मान्नेहरूको पनि कमी छैन । यी सब गलत हुन् भन्ने जान्दाजान्दै “पुरुषले गर्न हुने, महिलाले किन नहुने ?” भन्ने नारीहरूको कमी छैन अचेल । असल खराबको पहिचान गर्न सक्ने जुन नारीवादी चेतना छ, त्यसलाई र्‍याडिकलिज्मले ध्वस्त पारेको देखिन्छ ।

पीडित र पीडक जुनसुकै लिङ्गका हुनसक्छन् । केही फटाहा पुरुषका कारण सबै पुरुषलाई अनि केही बदमास महिलाका कारण सबै महिलालाई गलत देख्नु राम्रो होइन । तर एकले अर्कालाई शङ्का गर्ने वातावरण छ । शङ्काले लङ्का जलाउँछ भन्ने उखान छ । अर्थात्, जहाँ एकले अर्कालाई विश्वस गर्नै सक्दैन, त्यहाँ साथ र समन्वय कसरी हुन सक्छ ?

आमालाई पहिलो गुरु मानिन्छ भने घरपरिवारलाई पहिलो पाठशाला । नारीलाई नै घरपरिवार र समाजको सूत्रधार मानिन्छ । यद्यपि परिवार र समाजलाई अघि बढाउने काम नारीको मात्रै होइन, पुरुषको पनि हो । नारी र पुरुषको सहकार्यले नै संसार चल्दछ । “नारीपुरुष एकै रथका दुई पाङ्ग्रा हुन्” भनेर त्यसै भनिएको होइन ।

Who did it?

On Mangsir 18, 2074 (December 4, 2017), three days prior to the second phase of general election, an explosion at Chapali, Kathmandu injured 11 people. One of them was the candidate former Minister of Health Gagan Thapa. He was shown to put on bandages around his forehead but some hours later, he was seen at Reporters’ Club and he spoke for more than an our without showing a trace of injury.

I don’t know if the injury was faked. The mainstream media never said it was faked but there were others who said Gagan Thapa was somehow involved in the explosion and that it was one thing that would fetch him “sympathy” votes. He did win the election. Another rumour that surfaced was that there was involvement of the Left Alliance behind the attack. What we got to hear after the elections was that anti-election group led by Biplov did it.

We all know Gagan Thapa won but what happened to the 10 other people who were hospitalized? They were not in news after the election.

Were those who did the explosion caught and punished? We don’t know. This is really strange. A former Minister is bombed amidst his cadres before the election and ten people are injured. Gagan Thapa should have been burning with rage and should have demanded the arrest of the bombers within twenty-four hours. But no one has been arrested till date.

Who did it–Gagan Thapa, Left Alliance or Biplov Group or somebody else? Where is our police force, intelligence and investigative journalism?

***

On Bhadra 7, 2072 (August 24, 2017), an incident in Tikapur Kailali shook the nation. Seven police officers, one of who was a Tharu, were brutally killed, and a two years old baby was shot. After the incident, hundreds of Tharus were tortured for being involved in the carnage.

Who did it?

The government blamed the Tharus. Resham Chaudhary was accused of being the mastermind behind the killing of the police. But there were rumors that the attackers were highly trained and that they could be a gang or R&AW agents from India. The Tharus blame the police for burning their huts.

For more than two years, Resham Chaudhary is in India. Before he fled, he was a popular media personality. I used to like his Gaijatra albums that were released during the period of censorship. (The king was in power then and the only way to express dissatisfaction was through the comic satires during the festival of Gaijatra.) When he was accused, I could not believe that he could plot for such a heart-wrenching incident. But he fled. He might have his reasons but running away is never a way to say that he is good.

This Mangsir, he came in news again. He was nominated for the elections held in Mangsir 21 (December 7) through his relative. (He is still in India.) Nobody opposed it and he won the election with an overwhelming amount of votes.

The police says Resham Chaudhary a Most Wanted criminal. The fact that Election Commission allowed him to be a candidate says otherwise. Who resgistered his  nomination and why? 

Now that he has won, the Election Commission wants him to come and fetch the certificate of victory. The police says they will catch him. This is not to the first time an accused has won an election. But they have walked among the policemen without a trouble. 

I have a lot of questions: What stops Resham Chaudhary from coming Nepal and claiming victory? Police? If so, will the police arrest him? Will the police let him go after political pressure? Will the victims of the Tikapur incident ever get justice? 

And the biggest of all: Who really is the mastermind behind the incident?

***

References: 

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-12-04/nc-leader-thapa-injured-in-ied-explosion.html

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2015-08-25/8-killed-in-tikapur-clash.html

https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/tikapur-carnage-conspirator-resham-lal-chaudhary-elected-kailali-1/

http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2017-12-19/govt-urged-to-handover-certificate-of-victory-to-resham-chaudhary.html

https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/tikapur-victims-demand-justice-govt/

Global Village

“We’ll create a Global Village,” they said.

And they laid

The basic foundations

To connect people

From different Nations.

***

The Global Village to people is dear;

It’s brought them near

And they understand

The world better than ever.

***

Is the world getting better, though,

I wanna know

When we are closed

In the closeness

Of this virtual world?

Are we going farther away

From our families?

From our friends?

From our neighbors?

From our society?

***

How do we balance between the world’s

Real and Virtual?

How do we carry on

Ourselves without

Being enthralled by stuffs

That are not quite real?

Were they humans?

Were they humans when

          they dragged me to the streets?

Were they humans when

          they tore my clothes to tatters?

Were they humans when

          they fed me their excreta?

Were they humans when

          they scalped me and kicked me and punched me?

What had they become when

          they called me a witch?

***

Had i been a witch

           wouldn’t i have pushed them away?

Had i been a witch

           wouldn’t I have stolen their riches?

Had i been a witch

           wouldn’t i have inflicted terror upon them?

Had i been a witch

           would i have prayed the Lord

                      to make them humans again?


गोर्खा मनकामना …

“उठ्, हामीसँग मनकामना हिँड् ।” ठुल्ममीको आवाज आयो ।

“जानू दादा, फुर्सद पनि छ ।” बहिनीले भनी ।

साउन १० गते मङ्गलबार मेरा कानमा परेका पहिला शब्दहरू यिनै थिए । म भने निद्राबाट राम्रोसँग ब्युँझिएकै थिइन । के भइरहेको छ भनेर बुझ्नै सकिन निकै बेर त । सपना पो हो कि ? एकछिन रनभुल्लमा परेपछि सपना होइन भन्ने लाग्यो अनि नुहाउनु पो पर्छ भन्दै जुरुक्क उठेँ ।

शरीर भित्र र बाहिर सफा भएपछि चियाको चुस्की लिँदै बिस्कुट चप्लक्क चोब्दै चपाएँ । मन्दिर जानु थियोे तर भोक असाध्यै लागेको थियो । पेटको जलन शान्त भयो । साँच्चै भैरव अर्यालले भनेझैँ भुँडी पूजा नभएसम्म केही गर्न मन नलाग्दो रहेछ ।

सवा ६ बजेतिर ठुल्ममी र ठुल्बाबासँग घरबाट निस्किएँ । कालो बादल बर्सिन थाल्यो । घरबाट धुम्बाराही चोक नपुग्दै मसिनो भए पनि भिज्ने गरि पानी परिसकेको थियो । ठुल्बाबा त लमकलमक अघि लागिहाल्नु भो । ठुल्ममीलाई चैँ हिँड्न गाह्रो हुन थालेको रैछ । त्यसमाथि मामूको सानो चप्पल लगाउनु भएको थियो । उहाँको गतिमा हिँडेँ म पनि, छाता ओढ्दै ।

धुम्बाराही चोकमा पुग्नेबित्तिकै महानगर यातायात चढियो । हुन त चक्रपथ परिक्रमा गर्ने गाडी पाउन गाह्राे छैन तर जुन पहिला आयो त्यही नै चढियो । पहिले महानगर यातायातको गाडी चढ्दा बस्न अफ्ठ्यारो भएको थिएन । त्यो गाडीमा बस्दा चैँ अगाडिको सिटमा घुँडा ठोकियो । ‘घुँडा नठोक्किने सिट स्पेस भएको गाडी पाउन पनि अति मुस्किल !’ मेरो सोच ।

सात बजे कलंकी पुग्यौँ । एकैछिनमा नारायणगढ जाने गाडी (माइक्रोबस) मा मनकामना (कुरिनटार) ओर्लिने भन्दै चढ्यौँ । सुरुमा प्रती व्यक्ति ३७० रुपैयाँ भन्दैथिए तर ३०० मै माने । सुरुमा त सोचिनँ तर एक जनालाई ५० रुपैयाँ जती महङ्गो पर्न गयो कि जस्तो चैँ लाग्यो ।

कलंकीमा सातै बजेदेखि जाम ! एक लेन बाटो खनेको छ अनि मास्तिर चोकमा पहिले बनेको आकाशे पुल भत्काएर बिजोग ! आधा घण्टापछि जाम खुल्यो । काठमाडौँ जिल्लाका नगरहरूको बिजोग पनि देखियो । बाटोभरी पानी परिरह्यो । हिलोले छ्पक्कै छोपेको छ काठमाडौँको सडकलाई । गाडीहरूले जोतेका छन् तिनलाई । कमी छ त रोपार र धानका बीउको ! काठमाडौँ महानगरपालिका, नागार्जुन र चन्द्रागिरि नगरपालिकाका मुल बाटाहरू नै खेतजस्ता भएका छन् । कीर्तिपुरमा सडक निर्माणमा घोटाला भयो रे भन्ने सुनिएको थियो अघिल्लो दिन । स्मार्ट नगर बनाउँछौँ भन्ने निर्वाचित पदाधिकारीलाई सम्झेर हाँसो उठ्छ । माया पनि लागेर आउँछ । कम्तीमा सिटी त पहिला बनाउनुस् भन्ने सुझाव पनि दिन मन लाग्छ ।

धुवाँधुलोको शहर छुटेर गाडी नागढुङ्गाको ओरालो झर्यो । हिलो कम भएको थियो तर कुहिरोले डाँडो पुरै छेकेको थियो । पानीमा रुझ्दै गाडीले कुहिरो छिचोल्यो । नौबिसे आइपुग्दा त आकाश अलि खुलेको थियो, पानी पर्न पनि रोकिएको थियो ।

सिम्लेमा गाडी एकछिन रोकियो । पर पानीले डुबाइएका खेतमा खनजोत गर्दै रोपाइँ चल्दै थियो । मलाई रमाइलो लाग्दै थियो । ती किसानहरू चाहिँ रमाइ रहेका थिए वा सधैँ गर्नुपर्ने कामको बोझले थिचिएका थिए, थाहा नै भएन । अझ पर पर पहाडको टाकुरीमा सेतो-कालो बादल मडारिइ रहेका थिए । ती बादलले किसानलाई खुसीको सन्देश दिन्छन् सायद । तर कल्पना नै गर्न नसक्ने त्रास पो दिन्छन् कि सँगै बाढी पहिरो ल्याएर ।

IMG_0993
सिम्लेमा हाईवेबाट देखिएको दृश्य

 

त्यसपछि गाडी फेरि हुइँकियो । निकैबेर हावाले मुखमा हानिरह्यो । मुख अलिकति कुच्चियो कि जस्तो पनि लाग्थ्यो घरीघरी । तर मीठा गीत सुन्दै बाहिर हेर्दै हावा खानुको मज्जा शब्दमा वर्णन गर्नै सकिँदैन ! बैरेनी बजारमा बाटो बन्दै रहेछ । त्यहाँ पनि हिलो र धुलो देख्न पाइयो । काठमाडौंं झैँ निर्माणाधीन बजार रहेछ भन्ने मेरो मनमा पर्‍यो । तर अलि पर मोडमा पुग्दा खनिएको पहाड अस्थिर भएर अहिले नै ढुङ्गा खस्छन् कि जस्तो पनि देखियो । त्यो बजार कटे पछि फेरि रफ्तार पकड्यो माइक्रोले ।

साढे नौ बजेतिर मलेखु बजारमा गाडी गुड्दै थियो । मेरो मन पनि उड्दै थियो । परार साल हिउँदमा दुई साता बसेपछि त्यो ठाउँमा प्राणको अंश नै छोडे झैँ लाग्छ । त्यहाँ हिँडेका बाटा-गोरेटा, पहाड र खोलाहरूको सम्झना मस्तिष्कमा ताजा नै छ । गाडी त्यो क्षेत्रबाट जाँदै गर्दा सोच्छु–ओहो, धेरै नै पो हिँडिएछ त्यो बेला !

हामीले परार साल “इन्डिभिजुअल फिल्ड” का क्रममा सुन्तला किनेर खाएको ठाउँ शितलबजारमा गाडी रोकियो । ड्राइभर दाइले धेरै समय लगाए खाना खान । कुरिनटार अब बीस मिनेटमा पुगिन्छ पनि भने । खासै टाढाजस्तो त मलाई पनि लागेको थिएन त्यहाँबाट तर बीस मिनेट मात्र होला ? प्रश्न आयो मनमा ।

आधा घण्टा गाडी त्यहीँ रोकियो । अनि गुड्न थाले पछि बीस मिनेट घडीमा हेर्न थालेँ । समय मात्रै अघि बढ्यो । ठाउँ त आउँदैन त । अर्को बीस मिनेटमा पनि आइपुगेन । होइन, ड्राइभर दाइले त उसै भनेछन् । निकै टाढा रहेछ । शितलबजारबाट हिँडेको ठ्याक्कै एक घण्टामा कुरिनटार पुगियो । त्यसबीचमा थुप्रै ठाउँ देखियो । इच्छाकामना नेर पर पहाडबाट झरेको झरना देख्दा मन रमाएको थियो तर गाडीको बेगका कारण फोटो खिच्न चाहिँ सकिनँ ।

मनकामना केबलकार

मनकामना मन्दिरसम्म सजिलो गरि आवतजावत गराउने उद्देश्यले मनकामना केबलकार प्रा. लि. ईस्वी सम्बत् १९९९ देखि सञ्चालनमा आएको छ । कुरिनटार र मनकामनामा दुइटा स्टेसन छ्न् । बीचमा २० वटा टावरमा बाँधिएको तारको लट्ठामा गोन्डोला (कार) हरू समान दूरीमा झुन्डाइएका छन् । जम्मा ३६ वटा यात्रुबाहक र ३ वटा मालबाहक कारहरू छन् । तर मर्मतका लागि केही कारहरू छुट्टै राखिएका हुन्छन् । केबलकारबाट ओहोरदोहोर गर्न औसतमा दस मिनेट लाग्छ । काउन्टरमा तीनजनाको लागि ठुल्बाबाले टिकट लिनुभयो । हामी स्टेसनतर्फ लाग्यौं ।

मनकामना केबलकार स्टेसन, कुरिनटार

केबलकार चढ्न मानिसहरूको लाइन । माथि बोर्डमा सुरक्षा निर्देशन ।

एनसेलले कुनै बेला पर्पल बनाइदिएको त्रिशुली पारिको बस्ती

करालो

मनकामना बजार

गोर्खा जिल्लाको मनकामना स्टेसनको गेटबाट बाहिरिने बित्तिकै मनकामना बजार देखिन्छ । दश वर्षअघि यो बजारमा खानाको व्यापार व्यापक थियो । अहिले पनि छ । तर अझ व्यापक भएछ, फोटोको व्यापार !

“फोटो खिचाउन यता आउनुस् (दाजु/दिदी/अंकल/आन्टी) ।”

“हाम्रोमा अरू पसलमा भन्दा सस्तो छ ।” रेट कति भनेर सोध्दा भित्र तानेर लान्छन् अनि थरीथरीका फ्रेम देखाउँछन् । चित्त बुझेन भने पनि सकेसम्म आफ्नोमा फोटो खिचाइदिन चाहन्छ्न् । खिचातानी चल्छ । रिसाउँछन्, गाली पनि गर्छन् । रमाइलो मानेकोले मात्रै तर फोटो खिचाउनु छैन भने त अत्ति नै हो नि !

IMG_1031
व्यापार

IMG_1055

बजारमा अग्लाअग्ला घरहरू छन् । छक्क पर्दै हेर्छौँ । बजारको अन्तिम मोडमा पुगेपछि देखिन्छ मन्दिर …

मनकामना मन्दिर

किंवदन्ती

गोर्खाका राजा राम शाहकी रानी महिमावती (जसलाई लीलावती वा चन्द्रमुखी पनि भनिन्थ्यो) सँग महाकाली, महालक्ष्मी र महासरस्वतीको शक्ति थियो । उनको शक्तिका कारण गोर्खामा जनताले न्यायको प्रत्याभूति गर्न पाए । उनको न्यायका कारण “न्याय नपाए गोर्खा जानू” भन्ने लोकोक्ति प्रख्यात हुन गयो । उनका भक्त लखन थापा मगर मात्र उनको दिव्य शक्तिका बारेमा जान्दथे ।”

एकदिन राजाले रानीलाई देवी स्वरूपमा देखे । उनले त्यो कुरा रानीलाई भनेको केही समयमा नै उनको मृत्यु भयो । तत्कालीन चलन अनुसार रानी सती जानुपर्ने भयो । लखन थापाले ठूलो बिस्मात् गरे । रानीले उनको घर नजिकै अवतरित हुने वाचा गरिन् ।

केही महिनापछि एउटा किसानले खेत खन्दै गर्दा हलो एउटा ढुङ्गामा ठोक्कियो । त्यो ढुङ्गाबाट दूध र रगत बहन थाल्यो । किसानले लखन थापालाई बोलयो । उनले त्यो ढुङ्गामा देवी अवतरण हुनुभयो भन्ने बुझे । तान्त्रिक शक्तिको प्रयोग गरेर उनले दूध र रगतको वहाव रोके अनि मनकामना देवीका रूपमा स्थाप्ना गरे । उनै लखन थापाका सन्तानहरू मनकामना मन्दिरका पुजारी रहन्छन् ।

वर्तमान 

… त्यस दिन मनकामना मन्दिरको जुन स्वरूप देखियो, त्यो मैले कल्पना नै गरेको थिइनँ । पहिले देखेझैँ रातो रङ्गले रङ्गिएजो दुई तले मन्दिर देखिन्छ भन्ने लागेको थियो । तर देखियो गजुर र माथिल्लो तला झिकिएको, खट बाँधिएको, फुङ रङ उडेको एउटा संरचना !

२०७२ वैशाख १२ गते गोर्खा जिल्लाको बार्पाकलाई केन्द्रविन्दु बनाएर भुकम्प गएको थियो । त्यही बेला नै मनकामना मन्दिर भत्किएको थाहा पाइएको थियो । ठीक ६ महिना अघि मामुबाबा त्यहाँ जाँदा खट बाँधेको रहेछ भन्नुभएको थियो । तर मैले त्यहाँ मन्दिरको स्वरूप नै देखिनँ । शंका लाग्यो, मनकामना मन्दिर यही हो त ?

IMG_1032

मनकामना मन्दिर । पुरानो स्वरूप जस्तापातामा टाँगिएको फ्लेक्समा । मान्छेले नगरी त भगवानले पनि आफ्नो घर बनाउन नसक्दा रहेछन् !

बजार र वरपरका संरचनामा भुकम्पको प्रभाव देखिँदैन । मन्दिर चाहिँ पुनर्निर्माण गर्न भन्दै भत्काइएको छ । चन्दा उठाइँदै छ । “मनकामना मन्दिरको र केबलकार कम्पनीको आम्दानीबाट नै मन्दिर बनाउन सम्भव छैन र ?” ठुल्बाबाको प्रश्न । “सरकारी सहयोग पनि कुरेर बसेका होलान् ।” मेरो तर्क । तर मन्दिर छिटो नबन्नु दुर्भाग्य नै हो ।
मन्दिर हेर्दाहेर्दै मनमा उठ्यो, “ढुङ्गाको मूर्तिमा भगवान मान्नु अनि संरक्षण गर्नु मानिसको कल्पना बाहेक केही होइन रैछ । शक्तिशाली भए त ढुङ्गाका भगवानले आफ्नो घर त जोगाउनु पर्ने । अनि आफ्नो घर आफैँ बनाउनु पर्ने । तर मान्छेको कल्पनाभन्दा माथी केही पनि छैन । मान्छेले नगरी त भगवानले पनि आफ्नो घर बनाउन नसक्दा रहेछन् !”

ढुङ्गाको मूर्तिमा देउता हुँदैनन् भन्ने मान्यता राख्ने मजस्ताका लागि यो निकै राम्रो प्रमाण हो । तर म खुसी हुन सकिनँ । मन्दिर र मूर्ती हाम्रा पुर्खाको कला र मिहिनेतका निशानी हुन् । मन्दिर बनाउन ढिलो गर्नु भनेको पुर्खाको उपहास हो ।

मूल मन्दिर छेउमा एउटा टहरो बनाएर “देवी”लाई राखिएको छ । मगर पुजारीका हातबाट म “बाहुनको छोरो”ले टीका थाप्छु । जातीयताको कुनै प्रश्न उठ्दैन । पछाडि रहेको गोरखनाथमा बेलपत्र चढाउछौँ । अनि दश-पन्ध्र मिनेटमा नै हामी मन्दिर प्राङ्गणबाट बजारमा आउँछौँ । बजार तीनचार पटक ओहोरदोहोर गरे पछि हामी स्टेसनमा फर्कियौं ।

मनाकामना स्टेसनमा केहीबेर लाइन बस्नुपर्यो । तर दुई बजे हामी तल्लो स्टेसनमा पुगिसकेका थियौं । तर काठमाडौं आउँदा नौबिसेमा जाम परेकाले अनि पानी पनि परेकाले नौ नबजी घर आइपुगिएन ।

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