My desire to go to school was never fulfilled : Shobha Silwal

shobha silwal - she is the story

It was my dream to study in a school but alas because of when and where I was born it remains a dream. At times, I think if I was trained to use my skills and talent and I would have been a professional today. If I had been given an opportunity, I would have achieved a lot.

I was born into a simple farming family in Nuwakot. I grew up with 6 brothers and 4 sisters in the village. We were a well-to-do family, meaning, we didn’t have difficulties in fulfilling our basic needs. We had property in the village and had to work from dawn till dusk. We couldn’t sit idly as there were a lot of household chores and plenty to do be done on the farm. My mother used to assign work to each of us every day. Some days tending the herd, and other days help out on the farm.

She believed that if girls were educated,
they would elope and run away with boys.

When I was old enough, I found out that my parents weren’t happy when I was born. Normally, babies are born after 9 months, but in my case, I was born after 12 months. Thus, they didn’t find me auspicious. My father had then come to Kathmandu to meet an astrologer and find some solution. Apparently, the astrologer had told my father that I was auspicious and if I were taught how to read and write, I would have a bright future. Influenced by this, my father wanted me to be educated and admitted me to a school. But it didn’t last for too long. In a matter of days of me joining the school, my mother put a stop to it. She believed that if girls were educated, they would elope and run away with boys. I cried for the first couple of days but I had no choice.

IMG_9426While I was grazing the animals, and herding them to areas of good forage, my uncle’s daughters used to go to school. I really wanted to go to school; I even tried to hurt myself with the hope that they would send me. One-day, while preparing animal feed, I tried to burn myself. I still have the burn scars. No matter what I did though, my desire to go to school was never fulfilled.

One day my father brought me to Kathmandu. He had said it was to meet a brother but turned out, he actually got me here to get me married. He introduced me to all my new family members. Considering my father’s decision, I agreed to get married at 18 years.

After my marriage, even though I was free to do things I wanted to, I still couldn’t. I would be busy all-day, farming, and doing chores. My husband was studying then and my father-in-law used to work in a bank. His salary alone was hardly sufficient for my husband’s education. I did a lot of household work at my parent’s home, but I had no idea how to run a household. We had a lot of financial troubles, so I started working outside my home for some extra money. After finishing my household chores, I would do labor for others.

I earned Rs. 3 after working for an entire day.

Five years after my marriage, I gave birth to my eldest son. Soon after he was born, I started cattle farming. It was my uncle who advised me to do cattle farming. Although I was really keen to start cattle farming, I couldn’t because of my financial situation. A few days later, my uncle bought me cows with his own money. I was so happy. My father-in-law helped me sell whatever little milk we got.

IMG_9331I wanted to add more cows but I had no money. I then remembered that my father had once mentioned giving me Rs. 10,000. I went to visit my parents with the hope that they would give me the money. After a lot of crying and explaining, my father finally agreed. I bought cows with that money and started saving. Anything I saved; I began investing in the cattle. From 2 cows to 4 cows, 4 to 6, so on and so forth, I started to set goals and build my own confidence.

After my firstborn, I gave birth to another son and a daughter. I was really happy to give birth to a daughter. I wasn’t able to get an education, solely because I was a daughter. I had promised myself that I would send my daughter to a good school without any discrimination. Those days it wasn’t an easy task to send my 3 children to a private school, but I was determined. Our financial situation was so weak that when my son had once asked me for Rs 5 for lunch, I wasn’t even able to give him that money. Even though I wasn’t able to give them enough food, I was very careful about their education. My husband was working at a bank then, but since he was stationed outside of Kathmandu, I never asked him for any money. I managed everything with whatever little money I made.

IMG_9422One of those days, I had heard about some training on agriculture and cattle farming being given to women. I wasn’t able to directly participate in the training, but I got a job to deliver snacks during the training. They were teaching about agriculture and cattle farming when I got there to deliver the food. I would sit there for an hour and listen. The next meeting, I organized at my own house so I could participate and during this meeting, they taught us how women can be independent and how things can be in our favor once we were independent. I got even more confident after this training.

I came to know about the “Aama Samuha” through this training and I also got actively involved in it. Aama Samuha later brought a goat farming program to our village as well and all of us got 2 goats in our name. 4 of my friends who didn’t want goats gave me their goats and I ended up with 10 goats. I was very confident that my financial situation would get better with 4 cows and 10 goats.

However, things never turn out the way we plan. All the goats died the very next day I got them home. All my dreams of being finically independent were shattered. Nevertheless, I didn’t give up. I collected all my friends in the village and started an inquiry. I handed over a written application along with the inquiry report to the Aama Samuha. After the hearing, the Aama Samuha again granted me money to buy 10 goats. Within 2 years, I was successful in returning 10 goats back to the Samuha. Turns out I had a net profit of Rs. 22,000 after returning those 10 goats. With that money, I made a gold ring.

I cannot explain how happy I was that day
when I made that gold ring with my own money.

Along with all this, I had also done some vegetable farming. Because our house and our farm were on the hill, we faced many water-related issues. During monsoon, we had very little vegetables and besides that, I really didn’t know how to transport these vegetables to the bazaar. Fortunately, one of my neighbors taught me how to take the vegetables to the bazaar and sell them. Keeping aside all the bad ones at home, I used to sell good vegetables. After getting home, my elder son would help me with the calculations. Most of the time, there wouldn’t be enough money. Because I was always very weak at math, my son sent me to adult education classes.

I would finish all my chores at home and go to the classes in the evening. After 6 months of learning, it became a lot easier for me to do the calculations. Every time I would sit down to do the calculations with a pen in my hand, it felt as if my long-awaited dream of education had finally come true.

IMG_9412With my savings, I made cow sheds and 3 tunnels. Slowly, I hired helpers to help me with cattle farming and to sell the milk. Now I have 11 cows. Apart from cattle farming, vegetable farming is also doing good. I am no longer a farmer; I am a businesswoman. I pay 25,000 rupees every month to each of my helpers. To this day, many women have to explain their earnings to their husbands. But I never have to explain anything.  I can spend or use my money, my way. I am an independent woman.

Nowadays, everyone tells me to stop working and to rest at home but I cannot, my heart doesn’t let me. I want to expand my cattle farming and vegetable farming business even more. Many of us here in Nepal, look for jobs abroad, and leave the country for foreign employment. Instead of working in a foreign land for someone else, it’s wiser to work in your own field. The chances of becoming successful are a lot better.

Look around, explore, and recognize your own opportunities and work hard. Your hard work will definitely pay off.

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I sang through war and peace: Nirmala Ghising

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When I was studying in grade 8, I joined the Maoist Movement.

I imagined a just nation where no one had to face any problems. This is why many of us were attracted to the movement. I was ready to die for the cause. ‘If my death makes my country better then it’s not a big deal for me to die’, these types of patriotic thoughts directed people towards the movement. The thought that poor people will get food to eat, no-one needs to face caste and class discrimination, and women will not be oppressed and get the same rights as men; all these ideas motivated me to join the movement.

1We had to be fit and well-trained. Biologically women are different than men but the training in our camps was the same both for male and female combatants. It was all about being courageous and breaking your mental barriers. We did everything that men would do. We would fight furiously at the forefront of the battles. Many of my friends became martyrs. I am one of the lucky ones who survived death.

I was born and raised as a child of a poor farmer in Faparbari, Makwanpur. Life in a village is difficult compared to the city. I could only go to school after finishing my household chores. I had no big dreams about what I wanted out of life. I don’t think I was ever taught to dream – rather to just accept my fate and live my life which would be filled with struggles. But I loved singing from a very young age. When I heard songs on the radio or television, I tried to copy and sing correctly. I would practice for ages.

During the movement, our life was tough. We would walk all night; sometimes from the hills to the terai. While walking we carried our musical instruments and food. We would stop in villages and stay with the villagers. We sang progressive songs, danced, and performed dramas. Our art was what inspired people to join the movement. Many people joined the movement, many supported. I think it was possible only because of this soulful artist’s front.

We would reach remote and far away villages. Our songs spoke of people’s sufferings. That’s how most people connected to us. Our songs work like medicine to their wounds of poverty and state of being. And many times it would work like an appeal to support the movement. We’d walk these downtrodden villages everywhere, throughout the country. We would walk from Tamang villages to the Chepang habitats. We would reach Thami villages and Dalit settlements. While traveling to all these areas, one thing I remember vividly is that – the nature of poverty and state oppression was exactly the same regardless of their geographical differences.

People in these villages and settlements welcomed us wholeheartedly. We went in there like a messenger and left as a family member. In some villages, our whole team would have to leave abruptly due to army patrol and raids. We’d run from those villages and sleep in the middle of the jungle. Wartime days were tough but they were worth it.

2It was after the peace agreement that our leaders failed to protect us and the overall artists’ role became weaker. There was scarcity in the artist’s front but the leaders did not care. They would not directly tell us but their behavior showed that they didn’t need artists anymore. Many artists went back to their previous lifestyle of farming but many left for the Gulf countries in search of work.

Many of those who left to go abroad for work have returned home empty-handed. They still have that fury inside them against the system and the leaders. They say, ‘Even after all these years, things haven’t changed.’ I feel for them. I know the level of anger they must have inside them towards the leaders who failed to guide or protect them. The rising inequality and mass poverty that still exists in our country are unimaginable. Instead of working to increase our living standards, our leaders have turned to middlemen and mafias who constantly exploit their own population for labor, money, and resources.

We were very young then; maybe around 13 or 14 years old. But we weren’t naïve. We knew what we were getting into. All our socio-economic struggles in the village left no other options to fight for change. We wanted a drastic change in our system and that was the only reason why youth like me participated in the movement.

However, in our country, change has only been limited to words. Few words have changed here and there, but the situation of the country and its people hasn’t changed much.

3After the peace process, I decided to continue my education. I completed my bachelor’s degree in journalism along with focusing on music lessons.
I started working at various radio stations. Though I was busy doing journalism, I wanted to engage myself more in music. So, I started networking with people in the music scene. Gradually I started to go to studios and getting offers for performing live. I got an opportunity to sing a song in a Tamang movie. In 2014, I released my first solo music album ‘Rahar’.

I was becoming more of a commercial singer. I had to, to sustain myself. At times, I wondered how my former comrades would see me in this commercial world. And at times, I wondered how my new audience would react if they find out about my communist background. Gradually both my comrades and audiences seem to pretty much accept the reality of who I am now.

After releasing albums and going around the world to perform, I’m still giving my best to create more opportunities and to preserve my existence in the musical world. I feel blessed to have supportive audiences and Chandra Kumar Dong and Maila Lama, my uncles, who inspired me a lot to continue.

Being a musician, I am trying my best to raise awareness in society through music. That’s what we did being a part of the musical front during the war. Now, all those memories of the war feel surreal.

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They would always try to slow me down: Santoshi Shrestha

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Whenever I remember my childhood some memories come to my mind which makes me very happy. And those memories make complete sense of who I am today. I don’t remember playing with toy dolls like other girl child, may be because I had more male friends than females. I used to play football and dandibiyo, a complete male dominated game back in the days. That may be the reason why I walk faster than others. But my mother and grandfather and most of all, my neighbors, hated it. They’d always try to slow me down whenever they saw me walking fast. They believed that a girl shouldn’t walk so fast. It was one of those proverbs that were implied solely on women for stupidest reasons one could find in the planet. But my grandmother, contrary to those existing conservative ideas, always told me to walk how I wanted to. She inspired me and motivated me to walk ahead and run faster.

They’d always try to slow me down whenever they see me walking fast. They believed that a girl shouldn’t walk so fast.

I was 8 years when I moved to Kathmandu with my brothers in pursuit of better education. Kathmandu was completely new to us. Even though my elder brother was young, he was responsible for us. After him, it was me who had to take all household responsibilities including taking care of my younger brother. I was shy in nature and a pretty quiet girl. I was scared to talk to people so I chose to remain quiet than speak. Life in Kathmandu was way too hard, more than we expected, in the village.

I studied at Gitamata School in Kathmandu. Our school organized a program ‘Gitamata Star’ which had various other competitions including Athletics. I participated in all competitions except dance. As I naturally walked fast and ran even faster, I decided to take part in the running competition. I registered my name for it. Later I realized I needed proper shoes to run and most importantly formal techniques and skill. I became hesitant to compete and thought of excluding my name as all my other friends were retreating from it. Meanwhile, our teacher announced a monetary penalty for those students who wanted to remove their names from the competition. Even though I wanted to remove my name, I wouldn’t dare to ask my brother for money. So I was forced to run.  I became first in that running competition.

received_1597777560312771After a year, Red Cross Society sent an invitation to my school for another competition. Six students had to partake and I became fifth during the selection round. Everyone appreciated it as I competed and secured winning positions without any formal training. Many competitions kept coming. I also became second in the valley level championship. After that, my teachers would nominate me for any other competitions without even thinking.

In the school running club a senior student, who was also passionate and wanted to be a professional runner, guided me. I became more interested in running but I never thought to be an athlete. During school days, I had far too many responsibilities. Managing time for my studies, training and household chores was pretty tough. As soon as the bell rang at 10 o’ clock, I had to rush for school. I used to come back home during lunch break to wash dishes because I had to queue to get some water after my school. As night fell, I would run on the roads of Kathmandu to train myself, without fear or embarrassment.

I was a bit confused. It was more like a fear of obstructing my education while focusing on the game.

During high school, I couldn’t give much time to athletics due to my studies and responsibilities. I participated in junior and school level competitions only. After a year gap, I took part in an open competition with the support of my seniors and my brother. I secured third position without training. Then, everyone suggested me to continue but I was worried about my studies. I was a bit confused. It was more like a fear of obstructing my education while focusing on the game. In the midst of these confusions and uncertainty, I kept participating in the competitions. I’d run whenever and wherever I could. I couldn’t give my full time to running until I finished my bachelor’s degree. I was also offered a contract by a sports club but I had to refuse it because I couldn’t manage my time.

I would constantly worry about my career. I would think about how to possibly balance my studies and my running but somehow I’d completely mismanage. There are instances when I couldn’t participate in district level games because of my exams. I cried, totally disheartened. And there were other times when I would fail to participate because of lack of money and connections. And then again, some other times, I couldn’t participate because I was a girl. A girl leaving her home to participate in games outside the district was problematic.

Time passed between these days of dilemma.

IMG-0d8536d3d2a9fcc5925761cbd1b1f82f-VI would train myself. Although my brother was not from this field, he taught me whatever he knew. I wanted someone to coach me in the evenings but no one was ready for that. When I was in the final year of my Bachelor’s degree, a coach contacted me. But I ignored him because I wanted to focus on my studies. I thought I would not be punctual and would just be wasting his time. He seemed to be a very philosophical, positive and over all a good person. He convinced me well. He agreed to train me whenever I had free time. He trained me on the roads of Kathmandu in the evenings. He didn’t put a lot of pressure on me. Once I was done with my Bachelor’s degree, he finally started to train me on a regular basis.

My training and job would go hand-in-hand. I realized that working full time and running at the same time was more difficult than studying and running. Luckily, my workplace supported me a lot. After training, an athlete must rest for two hours. Instead of resting, I had to go work on an empty stomach.  Most of my competitors were from athletic clubs. I had a nagging fear about whether all that hard work would be worth it or  not.

I joined Tribhuvan University for my Master’s Degree. I had to go to college in the morning and office during the day. My coach would often ask me, ‘When will you do your training?’ So I started doing regular training at 4 in the morning and jogging at 7 in the evening. It was a hectic life for me and also for my coach.

IMG-6187I talked with my family and coach and decided to stop studies. I felt unhappy for a while after but now I’m grateful for that decision. Slowly, I also quit my job to focus on national games. I had to prove myself better in the national game to take part in the South Asian level. I performed well in the national game and also grabbed a gold medal in 13th South Asian Game in the race of 10,000 meter. I cannot define how I felt to know that I became a first Nepali woman to win gold in athletics.

Now, I am doing my Master’s Degree in Public Administration and also preparing for Master’s Degree in Public Health. I am also working as a sports program officer where I train and empower girls of Nalang, Dhading through sports.

I want to set an example for upcoming generation that we can balance both study and sports together. And we must not bind ourselves in anything small. We should experience this world and life. From a young age I heard many people saying that one should not step in two boats. But now I realize if  I had stopped doing what I loved the most, I’d not reach the point where I am now.

I wouldn’t have reached here without a supportive coach, family members and my friends.

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All photos received from Santoshi Shrestha.

अब स्कूल खुल्छ की खुल्दैन त्यो पनि थाहा छैन

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मलाई घरमा बस्दा एकदम नरमाईलो लागेको छ । लकडाउन हुनु भन्दा पहिला नै इन्डिया जाने प्लान बनाएका थियौं तर जाने भन्दा भन्दै लकडाउन भयो । त्यसपछि जान पाएनौं । अब त मलाई डर लागीरहेछ हामी कहिले इन्डिया जान पाउँछौ कि पाउदैनौं भनेर ? मेरो हजुरआमा यहि बिचमा बिरामी हुनुहुन्छ । डर झन बढेको छ उहाँलाई निको हुन्छ की नाई ? धेरै बिरामी हुनुभयो भने यो बेला हस्पिटल लान पनि गाह्रो छ । कोरोना भन्दा पनि मलाई यस्तै अन्य कुराले बढी सताई रहेको छ ।

लकडाउन पछि म बिहान ७ बजे उठ्छु । फ्रेस हुन्छु, चिया पकाउँछु, भाईहरुलाई खुवाउँछु अनि आफु पनि खाईसके पछी भाईहरुलाई पढाउँछु । १० बजे तिर ममीले खाना पकाईसकेको हुनुहुन्छ । सबै परिवारसँगै बसेर खाना खान्छौं । ममी भान्सा सफा गर्नुहुन्छ । भाई र म लुडो खेल्दै टि ।भि । र्हेछौं । त्यस पछि म पढ्छु ।

अब यो लकडाउन खुल्छ की खुल्दैन?
के हुेने हो?
दिनदिनै चिन्ता बढी रहेको छ

अन्य धेरै स्कूलहरुको त अनलाईन क्लास भईरा’छ । हाम्रो स्कूलमा त अनलाईन क्लासको व्यवस्था पनि छैन । अब स्कूल खुल्छ की खुल्दैन त्यो पनि थाहा छैन । मलाई पढाई के हुने हो ? भनेर धेरै चिन्ता लागीरा’छ । लकडाउन कै बिचमा हाम्रो त रिजल्ट आयो । म पास भएँ । मलाई एकदम खुशी लाग्यो । तर एस ।ई ।ई । को त परिक्षा पनि भएको छैन । उनीहरुलाई कस्तो धेरै चिन्ता परेको होला ? उनीहरुको परिक्षा हुन्छ कि हुँदैना भन्दाअ भन्दाइ उनिहरुलाई परिक्षा नै लिन नपर्ने भन्ने समाचार पढें । हाम्रो अनलाईन कक्षा हुन्छ कि हुँदैन ? हाम्रो स्कूल खुल्छ कि खुल्दैन सोच्दा सोच्दा अब के हुने हो ? भन्ने डर लागिरहन्छ ।

ममी बाबाले हामीलाई चोकमा समेत जान दिनु हुँदैन । कोही साथिहरुलाई भेट्न पनि पाएको छैन । यो कोरोनाले गर्दा मलाई कस्तो चिन्ता भईरा’छ । अब यो लकडाउन खुल्छ की खुल्दैन? के हुेने हो? दिनदिनै चिन्ता बढी रहेको छ । घरमा बस्दा राम्रोसँग खान पनि पाएको छैन । मेरो बाबालाई धेरै चिन्ता भईरा’छ । लकडाउन अगाडि मेरो बाबा फुटपाथमा लुगा बेच्नु हुन्थ्यो । अब त्यो पनि बेच्न दिँदैन । हामीलाई धेरै समस्या भईरा’छ । लकडाउन धेरै लम्बियो भने के खाने होला ? भनेर बाबा धेरै चिन्ता गर्नुहुन्छ । मलाई एकदम नरमाईलो लाग्छ बाबालाई देखेर ।

कक्षा ९
कान्तिईश्वरी मा.वि. प्याफल

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Hunger crisis during lockdown

 

I don’t like staying at home. We had plans of travelling to India before the lockdown, but the lockdown happened and we couldn’t go. Now I have this fear whether or not we will able to go to India ever again? My grandmother is also not keeping well. I am really worried about her health condition. What if it gets worse? How will we take her to the hospital? I am actually more concerned about other issues as compared to Corona.

These days, I wake up around 7 in the morning; make tea and breakfast for my brothers and myself. My mother prepares lunch and it’s normally ready by 10 in the morning. We all have our lunch together after which I play ludo and watch television with my brother. After that, I study.

Many other schools have organized online classes but since I go to a government school, our school doesn’t have an online facility. I don’t know if the school will reopen again or not. I am really worried about my studies. I got my 9th-grade exams’ result during this lockdown period. I was really happy that I passed my exams, but the National Board Exams (SEE) are still pending. I guess all the SEE students must be very worried about their exams. I don’t know whether the SEE exams will be conducted or not. I think a lot about all these things and I tend to get worried.

My parents don’t allow us out at all, not even to go to the main road. I haven’t been able to meet any of my friends either. I am really distressed because of this corona. I wonder if this lockdown will ever ease up and my stress is also increasing day by day. We have not been able to eat properly as well. My father is really stressed. Before the lockdown, my father used to sell clothes on the streets, and now he can’t even sell that. He keeps wondering what will we do if the lockdown keeps extending and how will we survive? I feel really bad looking when I see him in such a state.

May 24th 2020

Corona days have tested us all, in many ways

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By Pooja Pant

 

Women are dying during and after childbirth. More than 800 people have committed suicide in these days of lockdown. Men died during the long walk back to their villages. People are dying from hunger slowly. The quarantine facilities built by the government are spreading covid instead of helping to control it. Daily wage workers are dying in the streets. 

Photo Credit : Rakesh Tiwari
Photo Credit : Rakesh Tiwari

Migrant workers are stuck with no help from any government. How they will feed themselves in a land away from their own – with no jobs doesn’t concern the government. Dead bodies were waiting in line to come back home for the final rites – they are now being cremated wherever they died. Does anything about the fate of the citizens concern our government? Or are they just too busy drawing new maps, making new laws that put an end to our privacy, fighting about who gets to be prime minister next, trying to figure out how to lap up the millions of dollars that was supposed to help people? We citizens; sit at home silently waiting for our deaths while we let these parasites feed on our blood.

 

We all feel a little down. A little overwhelmed. A little anxious. A little creative some days and an absolute dry spell on other days. A little hard to focus. 

3776501Corona days have tested us all in many ways. It has made us think, reflect and see things in our homes and communities that maybe had been easier to ignore before. It has made us slow our pace and listen to birds sing. It has forced us to think about how we feel, what we see, how we have been tested and how we can come out of this stronger than ever before. It has clearly shown us the class and gender differences in our society. For some, these days have been about how to beat hunger and for some, these days have been about learning how to cook better. For some, these days have become quality time with their families and for some, these days means trying to stay out of people’s ways to avoid getting hurt. 

Personally, at any given time I can feel both very vulnerable and strong. It has made me think a lot – about what is really important in life. It is a time of tests, stress and just trying to be in the present. Not thinking about the future or the past. Not thinking about what was and what will be but what is. In the beginning, all I could think about was how this will soon pass and I can return to life as I knew it and had planned and wanted it to be like. But now, all those ideas and thoughts are gone. There is no such thing as normal. There is no future. 

I wanted to see the sky and fly;
if not in reality then in my imagination.
But I couldn’t.

My 2-year-old has taught me a lot, most importantly, the value of  living in the present. For her, there is no tomorrow. She does not hold on to ideas of the past. There is only NOW. What she wants changes from moment to moment. And she lives gregarious in that present. The circumstances around her does not matter. As long as she is mentally or physically stimulated, all is good around her. 

img1I have spent many days feeling utterly claustrophobic. The house I call home currently is in the middle of Kathmandu, literally a 2-minute walk from Kathmandu Durbar Square. While it definitely has its perks of being in the middle of the city, there are also aspects that are not all that. One of the most blatantly glaring minuses of my home during the lockdown is the crowded space that we share. All the houses are adjoined to one another and when I go to the rooftop for some space and air, I realize that my sky is totally divided. I do not have access to an absolute open sky. I cannot see the horizon. There are taller buildings that block my sky. It trapped me. I choked. I wanted to see the sky and fly; if not in reality then in my imagination. But I couldn’t. I kept crashing onto one building or another. Some days it has been truly horrible. 

Unable to bear it anymore, one day, I went for a walk (of course, wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance). I saw a friend who is also a neighbor and remembered that he has a nice bicycle. I asked to borrow his bicycle and finally after inflating the tyre, I held a bicycle handle after 3 years. After living in Amsterdam for 7 years, I used to be an absolute bicycle fiend. I came back to Nepal and everyone I knew, knew me as the woman who cycled around crazy Kathmandu traffic.

 ‘Buy a scooter.’ 

‘Come On, you lived in Europe and you don’t even have a car.’ 

‘What will people say? You ride a bicycle and get to places in your dusty clothes and grimy face? All sweaty’

So many comments from family followed my bicycling habit. But one fine day, 3 years ago I went to the gynecologist and he said to me “You are pregnant. Now the first thing I want you to do is dump the bicycle.” I was shocked. “Why? In Amsterdam women with huge bellies go around on their bicycles. Why can’t I?’ I asked him. 

He looked at me. 

“Look around you. Does this look like Amsterdam? Do the roads look like Dutch roads? Does the horrendous dust and traffic look like Dutch conditions? Listen to me. Do not ride your bicycle. Do not even ride scooters or motorbikes if you want your baby to be safe”.

And this put an end to my bicycling. 

So in the midst of uncertain times of pandemic COVID-19, I renewed my friendship with an old friend – a Giant bicycle! 

This was what got me out of my feeling of being restrained. I rode. I felt the wind through my hair. I experienced empty roads of Kathmandu with Jacaranda flowers paving my path. I felt free. I finally felt alive again. 

The pandemic has forced us indoors. Face to face with ourselves. For those who have indoors – these doors, windows and walls have made us claustrophobic at times and safe at other times. For those who have no indoors – this world has once again shown them how brutal it can be. 

Photo Credit : Xinhua News
Photo Credit : Xinhua News

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लकडाउन, बिरामी छोरा अनि एक आमा

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मञ्जु जि.सी

 

कोरोना भाईरस संक्रमण विश्वभर फैलिने क्रम बिस्तारै ईरान, इटली, हुँदै सबै तिर फैलिँदै थियो । यसका लक्षणहरु रुघा, खोकी, उच्च ज्वरो भन्ने बिभिन्न टिभी, रेडियो सामाजिक सन्जालहरु सबैतिर आइरहेको थियो । सरकारले पनि स्कुलहरुलाई चैत ५ गते सम्ममा परिक्षा सक्नु भनि सकेको थियो । चैत ३ गते बाबुको जन्मदिन थियो । बच्चाको रहर अनुसार केक अर्डर गरी सामान्य तरिकाले जन्मदिन मनायौं । ४ गते बेलुका छोरालाई ज्वरो आयो । भोलिपल्ट अलि कम भयो । अब त आउँदैनकी जस्तो लाग्यो तर रातीबाट फेरी ज्वरो आउन सरु भयो । समचारमा बारम्बार महामारीको संक्रमित बढेको र त्यसकोे लक्षणहरु दोहोर्याई रहेको थियो ।

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उसको बाबा पनि यहाँ हुनुहुन्न । कोरोनाको लक्षणमा ज्वरो आउने, रुघा लाग्ने, खोकी लाग्ने भन्ने छ । बाबुलाई रुघा लागेको थिएन, ज्वरो भने १०० डिग्री भन्दा माथि थियो अनि खोकी हल्का थियो । विश्व त्रसित भएको बेला म नहुने कुरै भएन । ज्वरोको औषधी घरमै थियो । औषधी खाए पछि ज्वरोले छाड्ने अनि औषधीले छुन छोडेपछि फेरी आउन सरु गथ्र्यो । रातभर उज्यालो कति बेला हुन्छ भन्ने लागि रह्यो । यत्तिकैमा चराचुरुंगीहरु कराउन थाले, मान्छेहरु हिँड्न सुरु भयो । एक पटक अस्पताल लान पर्यो भनेर सँधै लगिराखेको हात्तिसारको क्लिनिकमा लगें । डाक्टरले हेरेर “खासै केही छैन, यो भाइरल ज्वरो हो । खुवाइ राखेको औषधी खुवाउनु” भनेपछी मन केही हल्का भयो । घर लिएर आएँ । बाबुले केहि खान मान्दैन थियो । कर गरेर केहि खुवाएर औषधी खुवाएँ तर आज सन्चो होला भोली सन्चो होला भन्यो हुँदैन । औषधीको समयसम्म ठीक हुन्छ अनि फेरी काम्दै ज्वरो आउँछ । दिनमा त ठीकै हुने तर रातभरी एउटा आमाले मात्र लिएर बस्दा यो आमाको मनले के के सोच्छ के के?

४ दिन सम्म पनि ज्वरो ठीक नभएपछि फेरि एक पटक देखाउन पर्यो भनेर त्यहीं लगें । एकपटक रगत जाँच्न भन्नु भयो डाक्टरले । रगतको रिपोर्ट पर्सि मात्र आउँछ भन्नु भयो । त्यति बेलासम्म नेपालमा लकडाउन भएको थिएन । तर भोलिपल्टबाट अकस्मात सरकारले लकडाउनको घोषणा गर्यो ।

अब रिपोट के गर्ने ? रिपोर्टमा के पो भन्ने हुन् भन्ने चिन्ता लाग्न थाल्यो । बाबुलाई सञ्चो हुने कुनै छाँट देखिएको थिएन । ६ दिन भई सक्यो ज्वरो घटेको हैन । ६ दिनको बिहानै रिपोर्टको लागि फोन गरेँ । लकडाउनको कारण सबै सेवा बन्द गरेको कारण रिपोर्ट पठाऊन असमर्थ छौं भनेपछी मन झन आत्तियो । बच्चा बिरामी हुँदा एक आमाको मन थामिने कुरा भएन । आफूले जानेसुनेका सबै उपाय खोजें । अनलाईनमा कान्ति बाल अस्पतालको नम्बर राखिएको रहेछ । नम्बर टिपेर फोन गरें । फोन उठ्ने बित्तिकै मलाई सोधियो, “तपाईंकोमा बाहिरबाट कोही आएको छ?” मैले नढाँटी छ भनें । अनि कहाँबाट आएको? कहिले? त्यसो भए तरुन्त टेकू अस्पताल लिएर जानु भन्ने उत्तर आयो । मेरो छोरोलाई भाईरल ज्वरो हो, चेक गरिसकें भन्ने मौकासम्म नदिई फोन काटियो । तर वास्तवमा भाई आउनु भन्दा पहिलो दिनमा नै बाबुलाई ज्वरो आइसकेको थियो । उहाँ सेल्फ क्वारेन्टाईनमा बस्नु भएको थियो । उहाँको सबै कुरा छुटै थियो । यस्तो परिस्थितिमा टेकू कसरी जाने? नभएको रोग पनि फेरि लाग्ने हो की? भन्ने डर भयो ।

घर छिमेकी वडा सदस्य हुनुहुन्थ्यो । उहाँले हिजो मात्रै केही भयो भने फोन गर्नु भन्नु भएको थियो । फोन गरेँ । उहाँले तुरुन्त एम्बुलेन्स बोलाएर नजिकैको टिचिङ्ग अस्पताल लिएर जान सल्लाह दिनु भयो । यो समयमा सहज तरिकाले गरेको सहयोगले मन जित्यो र मनमा प्रश्न उठ्यो के सबैका छिमेकी र जनप्रतिनिधि भनिने वडा सदस्यहरूले यसरी नै सहयोग गरेका छन् ?

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टिचिङ्ग अस्पतालको गेटमा ज्वरो नाप्न राखिएको रहेछ । सबैको ज्वरो नाप्यो । बाबुको ज्वरो थिएन । बाबुको ज्वरो त्यति बेला औषधीले गर्दा होला घटेको थियो । अस्पताल भित्र पस्यौं । कोरोनाले सबै त्रास भएको बेला ज्वरो भनेपछी सबै स्वास्थ्यकर्मीहरु पनि अलि फरक व्यवहार गरे जस्तो गर्ने भएका रहेछन् । परैबाट कहिलेबाट आएको ज्वरो? अलि उतै बस्नु है भन्दै सबै सोधपुछ गरे । औषधी खाइ राखेको भन्ने बुझेपछि औषधीको मात्रा नपुगेर जस्तो छ । खुवाई राखेको औषधी नखुवाउनु भन्दै पहिलाको मात्रा कम भयो भनेर केही डोज थपेर नयाँ औषधी लेखिदिनु भयो । औषधी किनेर त्यहि ऐम्बुलेन्समा फर्कियौं ।

घरमा आएर ६ घण्टाको फरकमा ३ पटक औषधी खुवाएपछि बाबुलाई ज्वरोले भोलीपल्टै छोड्यो । त्यसपछि अलिअलि खाने कुराहरु पनि खान थाल्यो । मेरो मनमा भएका अनेक त्रासहरू बिस्तारै कम हुन थाले । बाबुमा क्रमिक सुधार देखिन थालेको थियो । तर विश्वमा भने दिनानुदिन संक्रमितहरुको संख्या बढेको बढ्यै छ ।

यो लेख्दै गर्दा देश भित्र पनि तेस्रो चरणमा संक्रमित पुगेको छ । यो अवस्थामा सबै घरमै बसौं, स्वस्थ रहौं, आफ्नो स्वास्थ्यको ख्याल गरौं । यो परिस्थितिमा कोही आमाहरूलाई मेरो जस्तो पीडा भोग्न नपरोस् भनी प्रार्थना गर्दछु ।

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