After a seven year break, far too long, I am back in the heavenly city for a few days.
Kathmandu has grown into a little urban monster but once the shock at the congestion has worn off, the Nepali capital unfolds as a multi-layered, booming mountain town, quite happily bouncing between tradition and modernity, in almost all ways more pleasant than the much larger Indian metropolis like Kolkata and Delhi to the south.
The revolution is barely visible, politicians are as corrupt as they were before the war. One political commentator said that the Maoists got corrupted by the old political system before they managed to have any kind of lasting impact on the political discourse. The newspapers are full of scams, political horse-trading and evidence of dysfunctional government. That I suppose is a good thing, at least the press enjoys a modicum of freedom. The last few days’ headlines were dominated by the current prime minster’s inability to sack his subordinated for incompetence.
Talking of headlines, I went to see the editors of The Rising Nepal, one of the country’s dailies, yesterday. The paper was the first to ever publish an article of mine, in 1997. I have come full circle I guess and will be writing a new story about how my perception of Nepal has changed of the past fifteen years. Somewhere I still have a photocopy of that very first feature of mine, a full page spread on Nepali folk music. I will track it down and post it next month. My professional writing career truly started here and this too will be part of my story for The Rising Nepal. Watch this space!