A reporter/blogger spends an hour observing activities of Ason Chowk where pro-democracy demonstrations and arrests are taking place these days.
By Dinesh Wagle on March 9th, 2005 in Wagle Street Journal
This woman told me that business in Ason was going as usual despite recent demonstrations and arrests there. Today’s price of tomatoes is Rs. 15 per Kilogram.
I am standing in a corner of Ason Chowk right now to see possible pro-democracy demonstrators in action. Different people with different looks, get ups, backgrounds are thronging in to Ason, from different entry points, from Bhatahitti, Rani Pokhari, Chhetrapati, Basantapur, Newroad pus other two- endlessly. So many allies come and merge at Ason Chowk. Girls in tight jeans and half exposed backs are entering the Chowk from one point and they exit but busy with talking themselves from another. Boys too have put their sweaters in their shoulders. The heat could already be felt in Ason. Climate is changing. Temperature is rising. This is the season of demonstrations. Nepalis have just lost their liberties.
These guys from Sweden were wandering here and there in Ason today. They did bungee jumping in north Nepal recently.
People are busy, unaware of what will happen next. They don’t care about that probably. Police are in constant vigilance. They are patrolling from one corner of Ason to another. Policemen are surrounding Ason from all four sides. It feels like as if Ason is a heavily fortified town that is expecting an imminent war. Two policemen are reading today’s issue of Jana Aastha Weekly.
A couple of foreigners is deeply analyzing a travel journal, possibly a Lonely Planet Guide Book. All the shops are open. Shopkeepers are busy, in fact, very busy, selling things or trying hard to do so. It’s really tough to convince unsatisfying customers these days.
A policeman just passed away from where I am standing and writing these lines with a star line ball point pen. He gave me a quick glance, a glance of suspicion probably. He might have thought that I am not a political demonstrator. If so, he is definitely not wrong.
Bells are ringing in the temple located in the mid of Ason Chowk: Dingâ ¦Tingâ ¦Dingâ ¦ Sound varies depending on how you hear them. Passers by stop for a brief darshan of the temple and they put Tika themselves on their forehead. God is there, they believe, and He is watching us all.
Even four pigeons, symbol of peace, are fearlessly collecting their food with their beaks amidst the sounds of bicycle, motorbikes, Rikshas (pow pow), temple bell. It seems they are used to with this kind of environment. Look, one of them is approaching so close to my foot. It seems, you can find everything in Ason that are available on planet Earth: from a Brazilian couple to tomatoes from India to carrots from Bhaktpur (yes, that’s in Nepal).
I reached Ason Chowk at around 3:30 PM and remained standing (sometime moving as well) for more than an hour. No demonstrations today.