Day-2; Katmandu-Nepal

The second day was a slow starter in Katmandu. I had planned to visit the Swayambunath temple in the morning. Alas, if only everything happened as planned. The reason why I had planned to visit this temple inspite of being on a business visit was the fact that my appointments were scheduled after 11’oclock. As usual, I got up late and decided to take a walk along the bylanes of the city to get a first hand feel of the city. Slipped into a pair of jeans and set off outside. The first thing about this city is the sheer ethnic mix of people in this place. I found Chinkis, North Indians, South Indians, Goras and the people in between, as a result of ‘globalisation’. I walked for about 300 metres before I came across the quintessential ‘chai’ shop.

I requested for a cup of chai and sat down to wait for it. The stall was a bakery, a restaurant and a family recreation centre, all rolled into one. There were atleast 6 people in the stall and I had no idea who prepared my ‘chai’. I got my chai and started sipping it. The weather was pleasant and a cup of ‘chai’ complemented it very well. There were all sorts of bikes in Katmandu ranging from Enticers, Pulsars and Cd100 models to strange imports from China, which seemed like bits n pieces of a lot of bikes I know. Soon, there was a strange procession with a few people playing flutes which were black in colour unlike those in India, which are a lesser shade of brownish green. A couple of school children, women dressed in sarees and the roadside romeos. We have so much in common.

My first day of work in the field revealed that the culture of a society plays such a dominant, yet unnoticed manner. For an outsider, that too from Mumbai, Katmandu was so different. People in were in no bloody hurry. I did not see a single act of speeding in all the three days that I was there. People here seemed to be either relaxed or they had given up and were going with the stream. Either way the city had a relaxed pace. During the day I heard about a ‘Mountain flight’, which supposedly takes one very close to Everest. The very thought made me tingle with excitement and I booked one immediately.

I had a break between work (my work consists of calling on customers), and I decided to take a walk. The streets suddenly change, with roads morphing into cobble streets and concrete structures make way for wooden carriages and temples with intricately carved wooden panels shrouding strange mysteries, of temples which have fallen into disuse long since. In a country thriving on tourism, peddlars are never far away. They peddle wares which seemed to be straight out of their house. There were masks, bowls, figurines, all of which seemed like someone was trying to sell anything that could be one could lay hands on, to stave off a hunger crisis.

I bought two Tibetan singing bowls. They are supposed to be made of 7-9 metals which might include gold and silver. I also bought a pair of masks, made out of plaster and painted with black, with the wide contoured portions progressively shifting from shades of black to maroon. There were many items that I would love to take, but did not have the space to accommodate in my case and hence had to leave behind.

Later that night, I thought I should have a taste of the famous casinos of Katmandu. Gambling is legal in Katmandu. I visited the casino adjacent to my hotel and chanced upon the ‘one handed bandit’,the roulette wheel and the poker table. I saw people from all walks of life, some gambling listlessly and others havin a good time giving away some change. There were some ‘cultural’ programmes also with teenagers swaying to popular Bollywood numbers and a couple of Nepali beats too.

All in all, a great day.


2 Responses

  1. Tibetan Singing Bowls are amazing musical instruments. Keep them in good health, they will always remind you on your good times.

  2. Will do, thanks for stopping by

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