Passing Time. Waiting. Resting. Stretching. Thinking. Planning. And so on… I keep thinking what his reason might be for sitting on the side walls of that bridge. I was in a vehicle that drove by swiftly as I took a few pictures of Hira Tamang (Fictiously Named for name’s sake) while he was blankly looking towards our vehicle. I’m sure he had no idea that black thing I was holding against my face was a 300MM Tele Lens mounted on an SLR and it would actually take his picture.
A friend once told me that pictures sometimes tell stories about a generation. This one, I think, is of that generation where people are not employed really; but aren’t looking for employment either. Hira Tamang must be a farmer. Must have a wife (but always dreamed of having two!) and three kids in his hatchet. Two pigs, a cow and two castrated bull to plough his fields. His dreams come true when it rains well in the monsoon (where the rain is steady but not too harsh to flood his village or destroy his harvest). Hira’s one son is in the Army and the other one is a labor in the middle east. His daughter is a labor in a hand-woven carpet factory in the city.
Hira has a lot of time to reflect upon himself. But he hasn’t seen much of the world to really make much out of his daily reflection exercises. This moment captured in the picture must be one of those moments. Where he is sitting idle with nothing on his mind or heart except blankly gazing at the wonders of nature being bestowed by gods and managed by few people that come from the city during elections and promise of benefits to the village he never seems to understand.
Karnali river gives you a lot of things to look at. The wilderness in it offers a vivid array of kingfishers waiting for the fish to jump over the barrage across the bridge on it at Chisapani. The wild crocodiles basking along the shores of the river. Typical yellow butterflies that love to rest in interesting clusters of a few dozens making an interesting view. A wild Rhino was on the view too once.
But what was more touching was the local fishermen throwing the net across the river in hopes of catching some fish they could sell on the highway. Local fishes sell for a high premium (fishes from fresh/cold water are considered more tasty) as compared to the fishes traded and bought from India. This day, however, the floods ensured that the day’s catch would be lean.
This is what I saw on the streets of Narayanghat last week, when the Maoists had called for a national strike saying they do not want elections to happen.
While they were scared election might bring stability to the country, economy and society, there were a few stray kinds on the streets with no hope for a better future, living worse than animals. At least, animals live a healthy life – so long as they live!