Biswas Baral has been associated with Republica national daily as a journalist since 2011. He oversees the op-ed pages of Republica and writes and reports on Nepal's foreign affairs. He is a regular contributor to The Wire (India).
The first time I voted, I was undecided. Torn between subtle family pressure (both my parents were dedicated Kangresi voters) and my wish to give a chance to new forces (I was supposed to vote as an individual, not as part of my family), I really didn't know whom pick. I was having a running debate in my head even as I lined up to vote outside the polling booth. When my turn came, my mind was made, if with great difficulty. I went in, stamped the ballot paper and heaved a huge sigh of relief. My week-long mental torment had finally ended.
I know how it feels to lose someone close and I felt bad for Prachanda as he sobbed at his son’s funeral. With time, he will again be the politician that I know of, and perhaps then I will not look at him as charitably.
Our political leaders are unjustly chastised for selling the false dream of turning Nepal into another ‘Singapore’ or ‘Switzerland’. What Nepalis who criticize them don’t understand is that lasting peace and prosperity cannot be had overnight. It takes years of hard work and dedication of the political class. Perhaps few other leaders understand this as well as the communist duo of KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Thus, in their new joint election manifesto, they promise to get Nepal enlisted among the most prosperous countries in the world by 2099.
Everybody in Nepal is a master of the creative art of copying. And why wouldn't they be? We like to teach this not-so-subtle art to our children young, and our schools also make sure they learn the needful. As any tireless parents of a school-going child would attest, the homework teachers give to these children, barely six or seven, is actually meant for them.
Never a patient reader, I cannot sit in a place with a book for more than half hour, tops. On a typical Saturday I am home, invariably laboring through a godforsaken book, the same book I would have plodded through for better part of a fortnight. I start out at the little tea table and chair out on the porch.
I still remember the names of those buses by heart. One year was particularly memorable in my night-bus odyssey, the year of the famous race for Bhadrapur between our cream-colored ‘Pashupati Travels’ and the dark-green ‘Welcome Travels’.