Day-3; Katmandu-Nepal

I woke up way before I usually do. I was looking forward to a spectacle filled journey aboard the ‘mountain flight’. I hopped into a local taxi, which is anything between a rundown maruti 800 and a vintage toyota automobile. He charged me an nominal amount of Nepali Rs 400 which amounts to INR 250. I was at the domestic airport 15 minutes before departure which was 7:30 a.m

The Katmandu airport is small, but artistically built. The facade is like one big wave of red stone which seems to come crashing down on the visitors to the airport. The waveform is gradual and serene. Frozen in the moment when the wave touched the shore.

The ignoramus that I am, I assumed that the flight would start on time. Th flight was late by over 45 minutes, enough time for a snack and a small nap. The aircraft seemed to be an 18 seater turboprop. My seat number was the last one on the right side of the aircraft. If you are on this flight, you can choose to see the mountain ranges either for the first half or the last half of the journey because the flight is on the southern side of ‘The Great Himalayas’. Since I was on the right side of the aircraft and we were flying in an easterly direction, I had to settle for the last half of the flight. There was a consolation because, we were allowed entry to the cockpit, one at a time, which had a panoramic view as opposed to the limited view available through the window beside each seat. I stayed on in the cockpit for a long time.

Now for the view. To put it simply, I have no words to describe what I saw. Imagine miles and miles of fine,…really fine cotton which seem to form delicate ululations every now and then, signalling a mountain beneath. It seemed to stretch till infinity and the blue sky seemed to gently exert itself to melt into the clouds beneath. The clouds are suddenly interrupted by the mighty earth which seemed like huge swathes of chocolate cake with the vanilla icing of perennial glaciers above the iceline. ‘The Great Himalayas’ seemed like one huge desert spread in a feast for the Gods. I was left speechless as we approached the mightiest of them all-The Mt Everest. The beauty of the experience is that one has no idea of space because we have no reference points. The enormity of this experience leaves you speechless in it’s visual impact. The Mt Everest was soon in closer view, stoic and huge. Towering above all and leaving one feel so miniscule in this vast expanse of time and space. It seemed to be showing the ‘finger’ to the Gods themselves.

The return was pretty quick. The excitement was ebbing slowly. I got a certificate of participation and returned with memories for a lifetime. The working part of the day was uneventful. Towards the end of the day, my last day at Katmandu, I decided to get dropped at ‘Thamel’. Thamel is ‘the’ place in Katmandu. Anything and everything is supposed to be available in Thamel. I got dropped at around 19:30 and decided to take a walk, which is the best way to explore, in my opinion. I started walking and could see that this is a place for three things-outdoor gear, boarding & lodging and memorablia. There were dozens of joints for each category. I saw quite a few deals which were quite irresistable. I continued walking and was stopped suddenly to the tune from an audio shop. I just walked in and asked for that record. The shopkeeper managed to bundle three records for INR 500,…decent deal. I also got directions to a place where I can get local food. I was yet to take a bite of local food. I started walking again and came across outlest which seemed to specifically cater to the needs of tourists from developed countries. Why would one want to lead life as one always used to,..if one is travelling? There is a saying in Tamil which goes like this-“In public places, one should melt with the light”. I agree.

I walked around peeping into weird stores trying to absorb all that I could and then followed directions to reach the eatery. I seemed to forget the name, but I remember the dish that I was supposed to have. This place was in a narrow bylane with very little illumination. I passed a couple of ‘Ladies dance bars’ with loud numbers blaring from dark confines. I kept following directions to reach the place which was situated on the first floor. It was virtually deserted. Since it was deserted, I took the liberty to play the records that I had just purchased and settled down to have ‘Dalbandhtadkari’.

It is one my most peaceful meals ever. The restaurant was empty, the music was slow and distant, lulling to the nerves, the food was sumptous and tasty and I was in no bloody hurry. What a meal?

I took over 45 minutes to complete my meal and beer. I paid them a handsome tip and left to get a taxi. The taxi guy took me on a very weird path and left me at the hotel. The night was still young and I walked to the Casino to see if there are any cultural programmes. There were none and I retraced my steps to my room and settled for the night.

The next day was a bland return to India. No fun in that. Someday I will return and you should venture to this country atleast once. Good fun, it was,…


One Response

  1. (serious ‘Doc’ tone) I’m dying to read abt ur Lakhsadweep trip man …. buzzzzzzz buzzzzzzzz (i pre-empted u :P)

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