For the first time in my life I was in a country that was not India, yet very much like India. I was starting to love it as a country that was blessed with natural beauty and rich traditions. Nepal and India, culturally similar the countries though traditionally different they are. Even when my heart throbs for exploring the gifted lands of this Himalayan kingdom, I stayed calm during my early days in Nepal.
The curved mountain paths with a background of tall trees and snow capped mountains walked down from my dreams to live everyday-life with me. Kathmandu offered me the best daily hiking experience on the mud roads that wound up and down the hillocks of its outskirts. A small country that was filled with charm and beauty tickled my senses and inspired my curiosity steadily. Though I adhered to my official norms, my heart pulsated for discovering the unexplored during my early days in Nepal.
My fifth or sixth day in Nepal. As if trained, I trekked the regular countryside road and reached Putalisadak, a well-known location on my way to Bag Bazar. My workplace was in Bag Bazar, Kathmandu. Suddenly a mob appeared from nowhere at the junction where Putalisadak meets Bag Bazar road. They screamed slogans in Nepali language and invited people towards a huge cutout. From a far distance I recognized the person on the cutout – it was the popular Indian actor Hrithik Roshan.
Hrithik who had outperformed many experienced actors of Bollywood through Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai, his first movie as a hero, was snatching the applause of youths around the world. Being ignorant about the recent spats between Nepal and Hrithik Roshan, I imagined the mob as another fans’ club activity for the sprouting hero. Having a few more minutes in my hand, and the workplace being so close to the place that I was standing, I decided to walk a bit closer to the crowd and observe the actions. I was not so near to the mob, but one strong hand pulled me into the population and asked me to spit on the cut out. It was only then I recognized the raging look on those people assembled there. That was a protest against some intolerable comments passed by the young actor on Nepal and the people of Nepal.
Though I had taken no umbrage to spit on a fine actor, I needed to save myself from those violent grips. I took a few more steps neared and looked up to have an eye contact with the cutout. Even when I was hesitant, my conscious mind forced a jet of spit as the crowd kept on shouting slogans. The mob suddenly raised the cutout and several torches lit flames. The rioting population continued their assaults and I quietly sneaked out from the fumes which were inflamed by the media.
The incident did not affect the happiness in my life during the early days in Nepal. Though irritated by some of the acts, Nepalese were not hardhearted. My office life stood charming and encouraging with the companionship of truly sweet and innocent colleagues. It did not take much time for me to get along with them and convert our very next weekend to a trip to some of the most popular spots in the city.
PS: I had no cameras during those days. The image used here is not mine, but taken from Suggested Nepal.
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com