Ratna Park is the main hub in Kathmandu for public transportation within the city. When I have time I walk to my office which takes about 50 minutes from where I live. Other times I take public transportation, mostly the three-wheeled tempo. It’s more open inside and matter of fact charges 2 Rupees less. I would ride it even if it was 2 rupees more than the others, just to have my back straight and feel the air flowing.
One afternoon, on my way to work, I get off from tempo at Ratna Park, go to a nearby cafe and ask for milk tea. As I am drinking this delicious cup of tea. I see these women run here and there. One of them came inside the store with a basket and hide it underneath a table.
It’s not a strange scene in Kathmandu. What happens is that, so many single women (even though there are others, mostly it’s them, the single women) place some small stall on the street earn their daily living. Then the municipality sends it’s workers after them. I have seen many times their goods and items on sale taken away. These vendors are always in look out for them municipality workers.
I saw a big pickup truck right in front of me from the cafe. Two of the workers got off and ran to the street on the opposite side. Behind me I heard a lady say to her young daughter “Why are you afraid baby? Nobody’s going to take you away!”. I turned around and saw the little girl’s face. It was dark, and reflected deep fear.
The other day, 5.30am in the morning on my way to work I encountered a middle aged man walking towards me with a baby. The baby on one hand is carrying a pack of instant noodles and the other hand his fahter tries to grab. He says, “Do you remember you fell down earlier? hold my hand now!”
After returning home in the evening I posted on Facebook: “Babies fall down, they stand up and try being on their own again. They fear not. Compelled are they, to grow in such a measurable environment where they only see people running around after things. After so much of civilzation people now only fear other people. How sad! Prosperity onto babies, prosperity onto all.”
Many friends liked it and I was happy as well to be able to share feelings and get response from people. But that was last night. Now this little girl who is about the age of 7 or 8, is being carried by mother on her arms, probably don’t know where her father is, almost cry with the fear that she might be taken away by these town workers.
I asked the cashier to hand me a pack of real juice, went near by the girl, handed her the juice and said, “You pretty little princess, you don’t have to fear anything. No one is going to take you away. You drink this juice and stay happy“. I pulled her right chick a bit and strode away.
It is of no wonder how many babies like her live the most creative period of their life fearing this or that.
Next day 7 am in the morning, next to our office, I see this guy hammering his locks to open the metal shutter of his cafe. In the cities like Kathmandu you gotta carry a set of keys to open at least about a dozen padlocks for your store. A bunch to get in your apartment as well.
Throughout the country I see temples have opening hours; other times there’s a huge padlock hanging. We fear that the statues of gods & goddesses will be stolen. We fear that our store will be broken into. We fear that the water we are drinking could be from a gutter. We fear that our brothers will spend their best times of life smoking marijuana and taking drugs. We fear that our sisters are not safe going out.
How do you think you and I can contribute to a healthy society?