Photo: My Nepali Partner, Basu Rijal (R) And His Beautiful Wife (L) With Colours Smeared On Their Face, Dancing In Style Celebrating Holi Festival, The Festival of Colours. Is It The Malay Zapin Dance? No Way Man. It's The Great Nepali Dance!
"Tapai laai kasto chha?" ("How are you?" in Nepali language).
To my Malay friends, if a Nepali ask you this "Tapai laai kasto chha?" it is got nothing to do with "Tapai Ubi" (Fermented Tapioca) or "Tapai Beras" (Fermented Rice) okay. Instead you can answer "Malai thik cha" which means "I am fine'.By right this week blog-posting should be done on Sunday but it is dragged to Wednesday due to unreliable internet service provided by Wordlink, the sole broadband fixed line internet provider in Nepal.
Out of frustration, sometime I shouted "Worstlink" and not "Worldlink". Actually my "Sifu" (Grand Master) who created this word "Worstlink" is my Nepali branch staff (Pratima Manandhar).
This is because each time when there is electricy in the office but the internet is still not connected, Pratima will bravely fight for all of us by calling Wordlink Customer Support. Sometimes four or five times per day to complain and demand them to do something. Thus, I think by now Wordlink Customer Support staffs have already recognized Pratima's voice. For me, Pratima has every right to be angry with Worldlink.
In total solidarity with Pratima, unless and until Wordlink initiates a big drastic enhancement to their system to ensure better internet connection, today I solemnly declare that that Wordlink big slogan "Nothing Else, Just Pure Internet" should be changed to "Nothing Else, Just Pure Frustration!"
I would rather have internet connection than Manisha Koirala in my room because even if she is in my room, what can I do?
Perhaps due Manisha's ultimate beauty, my saliva would automatically come out from my innocent mouth. But I still can't touch her, can I? I can only smell her. I can only see her. I can only stare at her but because she is not my halal wife surely I can't touch her, right?
Anyway, before the internet connection is disconnected again as a revenge towards me for criticizing them and for saying "Worstlink" instead of "Wordlink", let us talk about some interesting stories from Nepal in this week blog posting.
Let's go to our first topic
Last year in my blog posting on 7th June 2009 I wrote that the Sudanese drivers are indeed "horn lover".
However after staying more than a month in Kathmandu, now I realize the situation of noise pollution caused by unbearable continuous pressing of horn in Sudan is not as bad as in Kathmandu.
In other words, when come to "horn", Khartoum is just a kindergarten kid as compared to Kathmandu. Over here I must say it is 5 times worse than in Sudan.At least in Khartoum there are not so many motorcycles on the road as compared to Kathmandu. To a foreigner like me, the frequency of hearing never ending horn that comes from motorcycles, cars, bus, van, microbus are sometimes unbearable and distressing.
If we refer to Department of Transport Management Nepal statistics, until July 2008 there are nearly 4.9 million motorcycles, 93266 cars, 40104 tractors and 17,842 bus on the road in Nepal.
If including other vehicles such as the three wheelers Tempo or "Tuk Tuk" total all together is 7.03 million vehicles on the road
Can you imagine if this 4.9 million motorcycles press their horn at least once every 2 minute, how chaotic the traffic condition in Nepal is, particularly in Kathmandu. I can bet with you without any shadow of doubt that every 5 seconds there must be someone who will press his horn either car horn or motorcycle
However the magic part is it seems that nobody is getting angry for being "horned". Their face does not show any expression of anger for being harassed by the horn of other riders or drivers. I guess it is all because you can't be angry if others horn at you because the next minute you will horn at others too.
I found out the Nepalis are very patient when comes to "horn" matters. The horn is nothing to them. I believe if this is in Malaysia, a horn can lead to a "Gulf War" between the two drivers. Pressing horn at others without a very strong reason is also considered as uncivilized manner when you are driving in London.
You can hear many types of horn sound here in Kathmandu. From a rather friendly tone in which the horn sound like an echo at Grand Canyon to a very
I believe if this
The funny thing is even a non-motorized rickshaw is equipped with horn, although it is just a plastic blow horn. This plastic blow horn creates a funny sound like the sound of a monkey jumping from one branch to other branch of tree that I used to hear at the back of my grandfather's house in Johor, Malaysia.
I can say that the
And do not be surprised if you see goats on the street of Kathmandu too! If just goats I think it is still okay. As long as there is no King Cobra or elephant
Having said all the above, in one way I can say it is somehow justified for these Kathmandu drivers or bikers to use their horn to warn people to stay away from them. It is because the roads and streets in Kathmandu are generally very much smaller than the roads and streets in Kuala Lumpur.
In Kuala Lumpur the road is very wide with many lanes and all the lanes are clearly marked and divided by white, shiny road lines. But in Kathmandu there is no road lines marked
That's why even by using
In Kathmandu it is common to see the
However, one good thing about Kathmandu is I have never seen any
I even saw a
By the way, while writing this blog at 2:35 am in the morning in my apartment in Thamel area, I still can hear some "lunatic" driver pressing their car horn when passing by my apartment.
I am not sure as to why he pressed his car horn at this very early morning hours. Is it because he sees a dog crossing the road or what but I guess it's old habits
But sometimes it is scary too because perhaps they saw ghost crossing the road near my apartment! And out of surprise they press their car horns!
Statistics by Department of Transport Management also shows that there are 40,104 tractors
I myself saw last week there were many tractors
You surely can imagine the noise and air pollution caused by this tractor which carries
Thank God the Nepali government does not allow a military tank to be used as a mode of transportation in Nepal, the same way they allow tractors to be used as a mode of transportation on the road in Nepal. If not, I am sure the Nepalis especially the Maoist combatants will be happily using this military tank as a mode of transportation to go to work or to go to the nearest restaurant to have a "Teh Tarik" or breakfast.
The best part is if you use a military tank nobody dares to curse you no matter how slow you are driving because they know anytime you can bomb them if they dare to curse you or disturb you.
By the way, you can drive on the road with confidence because nobody would know who the driver of the tank is. Perhaps inside the tank is just a cute little "uptown" girl Barbie Doll who is driving the tank.
Based on Department of Transport Management statistics there are now around 1,935 microbus. In Malaysia we can see a few big manufacturing plants which produce microchip and microprocessor such as Intel and AMD manufacturing plants, but in Nepal they are proud of their "microbus".
What is actually a "microbus"? When I mention the word "minibus" I believe Malaysian will surely know what it is because minibus used to be the King of the Road in Kuala Lumpur before it was put off the road at the end of 1990s. But what I am trying to explain here is not about a "minibus". On the hand it is about a "microbus"
Initially when I heard the word "microbus" I thought it is a damn
As a matter of fact, a microbus is just a van that been used as a bus, hence the name "microbus". A microbus is faster than a bus or even a mini bus because it is in fact a van. Unfortunately this microbus contributes to the biggest fatality
For example it was reported in the news on 23 February 2010 one person died and at least nine others were injured when a microbus skidded off the road and fell into the bank of Trishuli River.
Not only that, more recently it was widely reported in all newspapers in Nepal that on 27 February 2010 Gongabu area has become tense after a microbus knocked down a four year old child in.
As a father myself, automatically the face of my beloved
No wonder this microbus driver recklessness has caused the locals to clash with
Actually on 15th February which was 2 weeks before this tragic death of 4 years boy Kanchan Rana, an elderly man was also killed after a microbus knocked him down in Gaurighat. And again the
Thus, we can see the direct connection between microbus, death and the torching of the microbus itself. In Iraq we have the problem of suicide bomber but it seems that in Nepal there is a problem of notorious "suicide microbus".
Three days ago I saw a microbus with "In God We Trust" writing painted on its body. The wording "In God We Trust" somehow shows that the microbus is in a kind of "suicide" mission. That's why we can read in newspaper many news about microbus hits pedestrians till death and subsequently the microbus was torched by the
Talking about microbus, I wish my tummy one day one time can be called as "microtummy" when it becomes as small and as micro as Aishwarya Rai sexy microtummy. It is obvious that until today the big Abhishek Bachchan still fails to make the microtummy of Aishwarya Rai becomes "bigger" at least for 9 months. What a shame! This Bachchan should learn from "Khairul Bachchan" on how to get 20 children in 5 years as I already explained in my last week blog posting!
TECHNIQUE TO CROSS THE ROAD IN NEPAL
There is a technique to cross the busy road in Kathmandu because in many areas like in my Jamal Kantipath office area there is simply no
Even if there is a
If you want to wait until the road is cleared from any car or motorcycle then only you want to cross the road, I am afraid you have to wait until 1am in the morning to cross that road. By that time even goats have gone to sleep.
The road in Kathmandu will never be as clear as the road in Shah Alam, Malaysia or road in Manchester. Never. So if you want cross the road in Kathmandu you have to do little by little or should I say it "by installment". What I mean by installment is you have to cross it slowly step-by-step and while crossing it your head and your eyes must face towards the vehicles that come towards you. Never cross the road with your eyes look straight in front.
Since many road in the city centre of Kathmandu is a one way road, you need to look right to stare at the incoming vehicles and then cross it step-by-step. Let the motorcycles or cars pass by next to you as long as they don't hit you. Look straight towards the driver if possible or at least towards the incoming vehicles so that these drivers know that you are aware they are coming towards you.
However, sometimes I found out some drivers in Nepal can be categorized as unrepentant "psychopath" because sometimes they still pressing their car or
From my own experience in Kathmandu, by staring at the incoming cars while crossing the road will make the drivers of the incoming cars know that you are aware they are coming towards you.
But if you try to stare at the incoming cars in Malaysian while crossing the road there is not much different to them. These Malaysian drivers don't give a damn if you stare at them until your eye-balls come out from your eyes. If they have to hit you because you cross the road while the
Kathmandu is one of the most polluted cities in Asia. With 4.9 million motorcycles together with 93000 cars and 17000 bus
Normally if we want to check the temperature we will use thermometer. If we want to measure atmospheric pressure we will need a barometer. Fortunately in Kathmandu if we want to see the degree of air quality in Kathmandu, I do not need a so-called "Air Quality Meter" because I can simply use my "Lubang Hidung Jawa" (nostril) to see how dirty the air quality in Kathmandu is.
When I reach my apartment the first thing I would normally do is cleaning my nostril first. Oh God! I can clearly see the black lead stacked inside my nostril. That's why wearing a mask covering your mouth and nostril is a must if you are walking or riding a
In Malaysia, wearing a mouth mask is normally restricted to doctors in the emergency room, police
This mask is a nostril-filter mask. Asthma patient like me, tuberculosis patients and bike riders have definitely benefited from these nostril-filter masks.
Among the young men and office working man, black and brown colour cotton masks are more popular. Sometimes maroon is also widely seen as the popular choice among the men.
On the other hand, ladies normally go for marks with bright colour, light blue, pink or even pattern and pictures like Mickey Mouse cartoon printed on it.
So it is funny to see one well-built man walking on the street of Kathmandu wearing the nostril-filter mask which is pink colour and with Sleeping Beauty cartoon picture printed on it.
Upon seeing him wearing a lady-like mask, I tried to control myself from laughing but finally my big tummy moved vigorously due to the fact that I can't no longer control myself from bursting into laughter seeing a tough guy like "Hulk Hogan" wearing a pink nostril-filter mask with a Sleeping Beauty cartoon picture printed on it.
The good thing is although I smile like Jim Carey nobody would know that I smile because my mouth was covered by the mask. Only if that Mr Tough Guy saw my big tummy was moving, then only he would know that I was laughing at him.
Actually before this I was not aware that nobody will notice that we are smiling if we are wearing the nostril filter and mouth mask.
No wonder all this while when I smile at my neighbours when I met them at the stairs en-route to my office they never responded to my smile. Initially I thought the facial expression and movement can be seen by them although I am wearing a nostril filter and mouth mask.
TUK TUK DRIVERS IN KATHMANDU FEAR OF BEING "KETUK-KETUK"
There is Tuk Tuk plying the road of Nepal but unlike Tuk Tuk in Khartoum, Tuk-Tuk in Nepal are much bigger in term of size.
This three-wheeler taxi is also known as "Kathmandu Tuk Tuk" are a common sight on the streets of Kathmandu. There are around 600 of them. In Sudan the most that a Tuk Tuk can take are 2 passengers only at a one time but here in Kathmandu the Tuk Tuk acts as a minibus taking up to 10 passengers at a time.
The Kathmandu Tuk Tuk which is powered by liquefied petroleum gas has been nearly phased out but Tuk Tuk is very popular in Kathmandu because they ferry an estimated quarter of a million passengers a day through the narrow and crowded streets of the city of Kathmandu.
What about the charge? It is only around Nepali Rupee10 (50 Malaysian Sen) a journey. If compared to taxi service in Kathmandu, Tuk Tuk will give you less headache. The biggest problem of using a taxi in Nepal is the taxi drivers always refuse to use the meter especially when they know you are a tourist.
Hence it widely opens the possibility for you being "kena ketuk" (cheated or overcharge). On the other hand, this Kathmandu Tuk Tuk charges is fairly standard.
Unlike in Khartoum whereby many times I saw the Tuk Tuk driver drove dangerously, this Kathmandu Tuk Tuk which carries 10 passengers at a time certainly find difficulty to do any daredevil stunt act.
This is because if the the Tuk-Tuk driver dare to endanger the life of these 10 passengers, surely these 10 passengers are not reluctant to "Ketuk-Ketuk" (knock) the head of their reckless Tuk Tuk driver. So rather than facing the risk of been "Ketuk-Ketuk", I think it is better for this Tuk Tuk driver to behave while driving on the road.
Do you know that another bad effect of load shedding is when there is no electricity, the toilet in the office area is always very dark and scary.
When I am in my apartment I can always light up a candle whenever I want to use the toilet during electricity black-out time. This is totally different scenario in the office toilet. There is nobody would bring a candle to the office.
That's why I always bring with me a small lighter in my pocket that I can use to light up a candle. In Malaysia, I never bring a lighter to office because I am not a smoker.
The lighter that sold in Kathmandu is unique because at one end we can use it as a lighter to light up a candle. And at the other end of the lighter we can use it to produce a ray of light like a torch light when we press a button. So this lighter acts like a mini torch light and very handy.
If you refresh your memory, you can see in many crime movies that shows when FBI or SWAT personnel making an ambush inside a pitch dark room or building, they will use a small torch light attached to their machine gun to produce ray of light. These ray of light is actually an indicator where the gun is pointing at.
That's exactly the same with me when entering my office's toilet which is very dark during power outage. The mini torch light that I hold in my hand will produce a ray of light similar to the the torch light attached to a FBI machine gun.
The only difference is the FBI gun will shoot at the direction of the ray of light pointed by the torch light while my gun will be attacking the toilet bowl instead!
Another thing worth to mention is over here the moment the parents have passed the Application Money for their child's application to study in a Malaysian university, they will come to our office many times to make follow up, asking whether or not we have received the Letter of Offer from the university for their child.
Thus, I informed one of the International Student Manager of a Malaysian university to give me the Letter of Offer as soon as possible because I jokingly told her I cannot continuously run away or avoiding this parents by hiding in the office toilet because eventually they will know that I am hiding in the office toilet! Furthermore, hiding inside office toilet in Nepal is not a pleasant experience because most of the time it is very dark due to power outage or load shedding.
Actually I am just joking because I will never run away from my client in whatever situation.
In my last week blog posting I mentioned that Manisha Koirala is a very famous Nepali actress. However, I got a lot of feedback from my Nepali staffs and clients as well as from one blog reader who wrote in the "Comment" column below.
Majority of them disagreed with me. They told me although there is no doubt that Manisha Koiral is a Nepali, she is more popular in Bollywood than in her own country. On the other hand, in Nepal the most popular local actress should be Rekha Thapa. They claimed that Rekha Thapa is even sexier than Manisha too.
For me if the definition of "sexier" means Rekha Thapa always exposes her body more than Manisha Koirala does, then the sexiest person in Nepal should be the Nagas Babas (Hindu Holy Man).
Why do I say that the Nagas Babas are the sexiest person in Nepal? It is because during Shivaratri Festival, Nagas Babas do not wear anything. Only due to social pressure, these Nagas Babas cover themselves up with just a little bit clothing or a loin cloth.
In Malay language "Tak apa" means "Nevermind". However it is not "Tak apa" if you always love to see Rekha Thapa's very sexy pose like the above photo!
There is another story about Manisha Koirala. For your information, last week my smart and reliable Nepali staff (Pratima Manandhar) set up an appointment with a Senior General Manager of a 5 star hotel in Kathmandu for me to attend.
While shaking his hand to say good bye after the meeting ended, I invited this General Manager to read my blog. I told him in my blog there is a story about Manisha Koirala.
Hearing Manisha Koirala's name, this handsome General Manager instantaneously and proudly said:"Manisha Koirala? Oh I was with her two weeks ago. She came to this hotel to clean up herself". And my immediate reaction was: "What? You said you cleaned up Manisha Koirala?"
This General Manager knew fully well that I was joking, so he clarified that what he meant by "cleaning herself" is by doing yoga and other spiritual exercise and I explained to him that what made me accusing him of cleaning Manisha Koirala because he proudly said "I was with Manisha Koirala when she came here to clean herself".
Well...I believe many men will volunteer to participate in the cleansing process of Manisha Koirala "secara berjemaah" if they are invited.
But as an innocent man, if I am invited I only want to volunteer to shampoo Manisha Koirala's long beautiful hair with "Head & Shoulder" shampoo. Just to ensure my favourite Nepali actress does not have any dandruff and "kutu" (flea). That's all. No more. No less.
My Nepali partner (Umesh Adhikari) is always proud of his eldest son who is just 15 months old, as compared to my eldest beautiful tall daughter who is now already 15 years old.
Umesh told me that his wife and him always give priority to this only son of theirs to the extent that his wife will not involve fully in the management of one of his companies (Diverse Nepal Pvt Ltd) until their son reaches at least 2 years old.
Umesh also told me that everyday his wife will massage this small cute boy 3 times a day in order to make his blood circulation and brain growth better. I asked him: "Are you saying that your wife massaging your son 3 times a day or in fact she is massaging the father of the son 3 times a day?" As expected Umesh replied: "No. No. No. Massaging my son. Not me"
So when last week he brought his 15 months old son to office I could see all their effort in massaging their son 3 times per day was really working. His son is a very jovial son. He is just 15 months but he "talked" to me non-stop.
I was also surprised that a 15 months old son can do "Give Me Five" to me by showing his palm to me. Initially I thought he wanted to smack my big face. In actual fact he wanted to do "Give Me Five" to me!
Without any doubt, this "Mithas Adhikari Bin Umesh Adhikari" is surely very much smarter than Pushpa Kamal Dahal a.k.a Prachanda (the leader of the communist Maoist who is also a former Nepalese PM). And of course Mithas is even better than the controversial present Nepali Home Minister Bhim Rawal of communist Marxist UML party. Judging from the leadership performance of both of them, it is not an exaggeration that when both of them were 15 months old they are not as smart as this Mithas Adhikari.
As a matter of fact it is not wrong for me to say that I think if you ask George Bush to "Give Me Five" when he was a mere 15 months baby, I am sure at best he might think "Give Me Five" is "five more battalion of US army murderer" and at worst he would not understand what on earth we are talking about.
Instead of "Give Me Five" this 15 months old George Bush would instead always gave headache to his parents because he always wanted to go play "hide and seek" at the bush near to his Texas house!
Umesh told me that sometimes he was a little bit fed-up when his family members and also his parents-in-law family members said his son looks like his wife. None of them said that his son looks like him. By right, a son should be a replica to his father.Thus, out of "frustration" he told them: "Yeah...Yeah, my son very much looks like his mother, except that one part". Initially his relatives did not get the joke. Then within minutes, they all burst into laughter when they realize the real meaning of the statement "except that one part".
I also laughed when hearing Umesh' joke. So for fathers who feel bored when everybody says their son looks like your wife and not you, this answer can be a sarcastic but intelligent way to rebut their statement.
Recently there was a Nepali man who dropped by at our Nepal office because he wanted to buy a flight ticket to Malaysia.
As I told you in my last week blog posting, my partners in Nepal (Umesh Adhikari and Basu Rijal) have also got a travel agency company called "Diverse Nepal Pvt Ltd" (http://www.diversenepal.com) apart from the consultant firm that I am now helping them to develop as my Nepal branch specializing on consultancy on "Doing Business in Malaysia", consultancy on "Malaysia My Second Home" and "Malaysian Higher Education".
This very friendly Nepali name is Moule Sarkee. He obviously looks older than me. The moment he knew that I am a Malaysian, he spontaneously spoke to me in Malaysian language. I am quite surprised to meet a Nepali who spoke Malaysian language quite fluently. We ended talking in Malay language for nearly an hour.
I came to know that he has been working in Malaysia for the past 6 years at Country Heights, doing some construction-related works.
He also told me during last year Hari Raya (Eid-Fitri) celebration he even went to Dr Mahathir's Open House. He looked very excited telling the story how good Malaysia is and how in Malaysia the leaders can organize an Open House, meeting the ordinary folks from different walk of life during the festival celebration like Eid-Fitri, Christmas, Deepavali and Chines New Year without having big concern about security problem, unlike in other countries.
He also told Pratima about the daily consumer products that he bought at hyper markets such as Giant, Carrefour and Tesco which are obviously cheaper than the price in Kathmandu.
I still can't believe that in front of me was a pure Nepali man who can speak Malay like a Malay. However, there was one word that he always mistakenly pronounce it. That Malay word is the Malay word for "flight" or "airplane". Instead of saying "kapal terbang" which rightly means "flight" he kept on saying "kepala terbang" which actually means "flying head"
So when he said "Hari Jumaat ini saya punya kepala terbang dari Nepal" which literally means "This Friday my head is flying from Nepal" I laughed like hell in my heart.
I understand he wanted to say "Hari Jumaat ini saya punya kapal terbang dari Nepal" (This Friday is my flight from Nepal). Instead of "kapal terbang" (flight) he said "kepala terbang" (head is lying).
Since I did not want to embarrass him I just let him repeatedly saying that world "kepala terbang". Furthermore I saw he was very proud and enthusiastic that he can communicate in Malay to me.
Even Pratima was amazed listening to this Mr Sarkee speaking Malay with me. So how can I embarrass him by saying that one of his Malay language pronunciation was completely wrong.
I blame his "Tok Guru" (grand teacher) in Malaysia whom for the past 6 years telling him that the Malay word for "flight" is "kepala terbang" (head is flying) instead of "kapal terbang".
Last week Sunday, 28th February was a "Holi Festival" in Nepal. On that day the whole nation involve in Festival of Colours. Holi is also known as Fagu Purnima (full moon) in Nepal.
Holi Festival marks the arrival of spring which is a time of flowers, fertility and harvest. The festival that carries the message of reconciliation and harmony is observed at the onset of the spring season.
Holi was observed in the Kathmandu Valley and various parts of the country on Sunday. However in the Tarai region which is the area near the border of India it has been observed on Monday. This different day of observing the same Holi Festival reminds me of the dilemma that the Muslim world faces each time when Eid-Fitri is celebrated.
Everybody knows that each year there must be some Muslim countries which celebrate Eid-Fitri one day before or one day after the other Muslim countries have celebrated it. All because of some Muslim theology (ulamak) have got different opinion on determining the exact date of Eid-Fitri.
Initially I thought "Holi" is an abbreviation of the word "Holiday". No, it is not. Holi actually comes from Holika’s name. And who is this "Holika"? From my reading, I found out that there are different versions of explanation about the origin of Holi Festival.
Like any other Hindu festivals, it seems to me that Holi Festival is also surrounded by legends. There are many stories about "Holi" but I think the most popular version of all is the story of the extermination of a demon called "Holika".
On the command of her evil brother Hiranyakashipu, Holika, who was believed to be immune to fire and burns, jumped into a blazing furnace with Prahlada to kill him. Okay...Okay I know your next question to me is who is this "Prahlada" or some call him "Prahlad"?
Actually Prahlada is the son of Hiranyakashipu. Despite the fact that his father is the king of demons, Prahlada on the other hand is a devotee of Vishnu.
But due to the blessings of Lord Krishna, Prahlada was saved while Holika perished. So symbolically the Holi festival signifies the victory of good over evil. Holi celebrations also supposedly spread sunshine and strengthen relationships among people.
What I can see during Holi Festival Day, the Nepalis all over Nepal throw water to each other and also smears colours on each other face.
On that day, house roofs and streets throughout Nepal were full of people enjoying Holi Festival, throwing water on one another and smearing colors.
They use white plastic bags or colourful balloons filled with water mainly dirty and coloured water to throw at each other during Holi Festival.
I was told that before the concept of water balloons gained popularity, Holi was played with vermilion powder only. And unlike nowadays, the Holi celebration that time was limited to one’s inner circle which means they did not throw the water to strangers.
Obviously the present day situation is different. Anybody who pass by their area will be subjected to this throwing of balloon or white plastic bag containing water and also coloured water.
From my reading, I came to know that last time instead of balloon and white plastic bag, a thin layer of buffalo skin known as "Lola" is used to pack vermilion powder inside it.
So nowadays the buffalo skin has been replaced by colorful balloons, and lately by cheaply available white plastic bags, whereas coloured water has superseded the vermilion powder.
I believe buffalo in Nepal nowadays can sigh relief knowing that their skin is no longer sought after to put water inside it with the emergence of balloon and white plastic bag.
Let me put this way. Surely all this while buffalo has suffered enough. Not only their skin is used to fill up water to be thrown to each other during Holi Festival, but also long time ago buffalo skin also used as a kind of condom to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
But the buffalo must be smiling broadly today because nobody uses their skin as a condom anymore. Come on...I am sure even Tok Batin Orang Asli aborigine in Perak jungle also no longer use buffalo skin or cow skin or goat skin as a condom simply because nowadays they can just go to 7-Eleven convenience store and buy a condom made from high-tech rubber 24 hours a day, 7 days week, 365 days a year.
Besides throwing each other with water, I saw Holi Festival is also the day when Nepali smearing each other face with colours. By doing this I can say that Holi is the day of strengthening relationship, even with ones a person is in conflict with in the previous year.
And what about the story behind this smearing each other with colours? I came to know that it is because Holi is also a festival celebrated as an honour of the divine love of Radha for Lord Krishna.
It is widely believed that Krishna had popularized the festival by playing pranks with Gopinis. Lord Krishna complained to his mother (Yasodha) about the contrast between his dark skin complexion and Radha's fair skin.
So Yasodha decided to apply colour to Radha's face to make a perfect match between Krishna and Radha. It was widely believed that from then on the Holi celebration is also regarded as a season of love.
In Kathmandu, six days before Holi Festival takes place, a bamboo pole known as “Chir” is installed at the Basantpur Durbar Square.
It is believed that the three-tiered poles festooned with colorfully fringed clothes symbolize the tree where Lord Krishna placed the clothes of the Gopini milkmaids, who bathed in the Jamuna River. Holi is celebrated the next day after the effigy of the demoness Holika is put on fire.
However in Tharu settlements, it is a different preparation. They installed "Samata". Similar to "Chir" in Kathmandu Valley, Samanta is actually a bamboo pole with effigies of men and women involved in sexual intercourse.
Yes, you read it right. Romantic right? If you want to see a bamboo pole with effigies of men and women involved in sexual intercourse, then you need to go to Tharu settlements before the Holi Festival day.
As a matter of fact, the pole is erected on "Basanta Shree Panchami", the day which marks the arrival of spring, and is set on fire a day ahead of the festival.
The good thing about Holi Festival is during that day everybody is very understanding and tolerant during the festival. If anybody throws water to them whether by using a balloon, or a plastic or a bucket, nobody will be angry. Although sometimes the balloon is filled with dirty water or even marbles, the "victims" themselves normally accept Holi misconduct as part of the culture.
I am sure even the Mafia of Kathmandu is also very patient during the day of Holi Festival. So my friends, if you want to make fun of a Kathmandu Mafia boss or throw water to him or smear his face without your body been cut into 18 portions as a revenge, then I must say that Holi Festival Day is the only day that you get that chance of a life time.
Surely you know that Mafia member is always very hyper sensitive. I still remember how a Mafia like Joe Pesci in the movie "Goodfellas" can be extremely sensitive just because Ray Liotta in that film had a slip of tongue.
Don't you remember in the film how Joe Pesci (Tommy) made Ray Liotta (Henry) scared to death when he said: "What do you mean I'm funny? What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What? but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny? No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How am I funny, what is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!"
You see...in the United States, a Mafia like Joe Pesci in Goodfella movie nearly killed Ray Liotta just because Ray Liotta said Joe Pesci is funny.
In Nepal, during Holi Festival Day it is almost guaranteed that not only you can throw water to a Mafia boss but also you can smear colours to his face. No heart feeling. No revenge. Nothing. Guaranteed! Everybody is very understanding during the Holi Festival Day!
On that Holi Festival Day, unfortunately some practices or actions becomes a cause of misery for many. From days before the festival is observed, primarily girls normally avoid from moving out of their homes because of the fear of being hit by water-filled balloons, sometimes injuring and mostly embarrassing them.
The other dangerous thing about Holi Festival is forcibly smearing soot on unsuspecting people and throwing them with balloons or plastic bags filled with dirty water often leading to skin diseases too.
Actually according to the Public Offense Act, spraying colors on unwilling persons even on the very day of Holi Festival is punishable under the law which can lead to a fine of up to Rupee 10,000.
However until today there is no a single instance of an offender having been punished under the Act to date. The whole thing is actually just a question of social awareness and civility.
Thus, some Nepalis argue that nowadays Holi, the festival of colours, has turned into hooliganism. It is women or young girls that vulnerable to such irksome abuse.
However, children especially have fun during Holi Festival Day at the expense of hapless people passing by adjoining roads who will be guaranteed to be thrown by this coloured water.
There are also some instances whereby people were injured after falling from the roof of a house, while playing Holi because normally they will throw the balloon or plastic containing coloured water from the rooftop.
A newspaper report one day after this year Holi Festival also stated that one Indian nationality was dead while celebrating Holi due to the electrocution while playing with water during Holi Festival
The most tragic news that happened during this year Holi Festival was the news of the shooting of Arun Singhaniya, the publisher of Janakpur Today on the Holi Festival Day.
It was reported that the murderer has met him on the pretext of smearing some colours on his face and forehead as normally played during Holi Festival. However, instead of smearing the colours on the head, the murderer quickly pull out his gun and shot Mr Singhaniya's forehead at close range. What a tragic day for the late Mr Singhaniya's family.
It's enough for this week. Till we meet again next week. Before I sign off, please have pleasure browsing through all the following photos taken during Holi Festival near Basu Rijal neighbourhood
Enjoy looking at many more photos below. Phery Vetaula next week! See you again next week!
COLLECTION OF PHOTOS TAKEN DURING RECENT HOLI FESTIVAL.