Diary of the Disappointed!

Kathmandu streets look tired these days. Tired of battering, as the houses have been, or being taken down, in the road expansion drive. Roadside pavements muddied, while some unsuspecting walkers stumble upon the chunks of concrete that has fallen down from the felled buildings.

Tired look the people too, as they try to find their way through little walking space they get, as the pavements are almost covered by the houses that are being brought down. Tired of mundane lives; tired of being yelled at by microbus drivers and conductors; tired of being treated like nobodies; tired of being taken for granted; tired of existence; tired under the weight of their own unfulfilled expectations; and, tired of politics going nowhere.

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A fortnight of lull, or change?

One incident that the world would remember from this fortnight is that the Muslim Brotherhood politician, Mohammed Morsi has been sworn in as Egyptian President. The country’s first civilian, democratically elected president.  A matter of rejoice for the residents of one of the oldest civilizations on the planet.

Earlier, the ruler in Egypt was ‘placed’, even as the country was declared republic in 1953. Whether we talk of General Muhammed Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat or Hosni Mubarak, were all in a way or the other imposed upon Egyptians – no matter which world power they showed their allegiance to.

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The Royal story: A decade and counting…

The story begins in 2001…
The Information:
Yours truly got a call just a couple of hours after midnight from a friend. You never feel good getting a call before dawn, unless you’re in your prime teenage. The phone ring is always eerie (mobile phones were not in the range of entry-level job holders then), if you’ve just hit the best part of the sleep. And it was a male friend. Nothing friendly about the call, no greetings exchanged. A shock: “Did you hear about what happened at the palace?” Now you don’t expect a Royal palace to be a topic of ice breaker, that too, at such a time.
That’s enough to dispel thoughts about your friend being lunatic, because he’s a fellow journalist. Journalism is a serious business. A year into journalism – that too in the country’s best read English daily – makes you feel that you have to be an expert on whatever happens in the known universe (although I was primarily supposed to be know-all in Sports). The news was sketchy and we did not really figure out at the moment that we were talking of a massacre. The sleep, that had started only a few hours ago was nowhere in sight. After all, it was an issue about the Royals. And then you think, you were near the place of incident (Thamel), only a few hours ago. “How did I miss something then?”, a question makes rounds in your head. No answers.

A fan’s wishlist for 2011

Abraham Lincoln once said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” As a year comes to an end, and another starts, it’s time to take stock of the year gone by, and a time to figure out what we want in another that has just started.
For sports fans, it’s always about how many trophies their teams win, rather than how many matches they play. One bronze medal in Asian Games, added to a fifth place finish in South Asian Games is not what Nepali fans dream of. They want more, especially when Afghanistan, the latest entrant to SAG is breathing down our neck.
So what would a sports fan wish for, in the coming year? Brighter medal tallies, more efficient sport management and teams that would scare the opposition? 11 items from the wishlist of a sport fan for 2011:

The Inconvenient Truth

It’s official now. The honourable Sports Minister is going to lead our contingent at the Asian Games. He will be the chef de mission as we’re being represented by our players at the biggest stage in Asia. That, effectively, has killed the speculation and a lot of claims and counter claims over who’s to head our contingent as top athletes from all over Asia parade in the Chinese city of Guangzhou.
You would breathe a sigh of relief at such a piece news, or maybe throw your hands in despair, depending upon how you view the participation. But, if you were an athlete, you’d just nod, and say, “Well, what difference does it make?” Given the nonchalance of our sport officials towards the players in previous visits, the lines speak volumes.

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Thank you Mr. President!

Sportspeople must be a happy lot this week. For once, they were an agenda at the President’s table. Even if it was for one day, they were made the VIPs at the Presidential Palace.
Awards are what the sportsmen live for, more so, in a country like ours. When the livelihood through sports is not forthcoming, the awards, medals and the cups help them to get over the difficult days.
And when President Ram Baran Yadav met them and patted their backs for receiving the Pulsar Sports Award 2066, their heart must have taken one more leap. The first ever President of the country told them that he was ‘touched’ by the players´ feat of waving the national flag at the international level.
For that, Thank you Mr. President. For you have ‘touched’ many hearts, of the thousands who want to fill up every arena, just with the thoughts that their heroes are taking to the field. The recognition of their heroes means a lot to them.

Buddha’s birth, ain’t he ours!!!

Believe it or not, yours truly, is, finally, coming out of hibernation. While some of you may feel that yours truly is considering being exported (after all, we are a nation of hibernation), the fact remains that the only alternative left for yours truly is being ‘im-ported’.
Not much water has flowed in Bagmati (not that much water is left there, anyways), since the all powerful ministerial cabinet of the former kingdom decided to do what no government has done ever before. That is, to ban a movie, namely ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ (See, we don’t have a censor board which functions). And that left yours truly, as your thought agent in times of thoughtlessness, wondering. It’s like going through déjà vu again, (imagine that).  And according to what was available on the newsprint (and some soundbites on the broadcast), yours truly is seemingly forming an opinion.

A Royal Pain

Francis Joseph Charles I, Austrian monarch in early 20th century, said just after ascending the throne,” What should I do? I think the best thing is to order a new stamp to be made with my face on it.”
To yours truly, this explains what the Royals are. For whom, the most important thing is, of course, themselves. And history proves yours truly right, more often than not. One thing is for sure, the monarchy – world over – was never busy thinking about people. For the Royal bunch, it was always, I, me and myself…
And the people… err… the subjects suffered.

A right to dream!!!

It’s only natural for us mortals to ask questions to those, who we consider knowledgeable. And it’s natural for us, to show our mortality by putting the same ones on pedestal, whether they deserve it or not (mostly not). I, mere mortal, had to show my ignorance by asking questions. And what better occasion than to ask a question to a fellow journalist – who happens to be an economic reporter (not talking about his thriftiness while going to the canteen) – than just after the budget was announced?

What to expect in New Nepal?

Now that Nepal has officially become New Nepal (don’t you know who the New Prime Minister is?), we are sure some things will change for good (still questioning the logic of the word…) now.But what would it be that would change and what would remain the same. Yours truly was just told yesterday (by someone claiming to be a friend), “All good things will change, and all things will remain good.”

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The Prime Minister’s return

“ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”, wrote that brilliant satirist George Orwell in Animal Farm way back in 1945. Perhaps he never came to Nepal, or was he actually born in Nepal (or else how did he know what we’re practicing in the 21st century)?
It was interesting to see the Prime Minister’s return to the capital today evening. The PM’s motorcade makes a sight to witness, when Tinkune-Baneshwor road, devoid of working streetlights, is just lit by the surrounding vehicles. More importantly, if you fail to notice, it’s even more interesting to see the traffic policemen hustling the other vehicles to the adjoining lanes. Such is their authority at those in these vehicles, and the love for the country’s top executive’s authority, you would be happy saying, “thank god, I’m just watching from the window and not in one of those vehicles.”