Sawari Terror and Dui Kinara Enjoyment

Watching a Nepali feature film after a traffic hassle

By Dinesh Wagle

After two days of delay, my Dui Kinara (two banks/sides), a Nepali movie, plan finally materialized. Devu Babu, as I call him (the witty Devendra Bhattarai), was there with his hunger of Tulsi Ghimire cinema. We enjoyed the movie in Biso Jyoti cinema hall. But before actually seeing the movie, I had to went through a movie-like experience. Hum…Movie-like experience that, sadly, many Kathmanduties unwilling go through frequently. I term this movie ‘Sawari Atanka’ or ‘Sawari Terror’. The word ‘Sawari’ has many meanings: travel, journey, tour, hitch, move, trip and I do not know how many others. But in Nepali context, this word has a particular meaning: When it comes to Sawari, the traveler is not Ram, Shyam, or Hari. I mean it is not the general public. For me, Sawari and Slavery sound similar.

My bus heading toward Ratna Park was, without any prior notice, stopped at Minbhavan and forced to return back. I got off from the vehicle along with other passengers and started walking. Almost all public vehicles were being diverted from their destinations and, it seemed, the road was only for private fancy cars. Sensing that I could not make it to the hall by 2:30, the show time (it was already 2:02), I made a call to Devendra. “Oh… Just come in front of the old RONAST office at Bijulibazzar,” he who has a motorbike said, “I will be there in 5 minutes.” I was not really in the mood to walk in that scorching heat. I was taking rest in home until yesterday.

I was walking but seemed to be going nowhere. Or probably somewhere? I stumbled upon a policeman.

“Uta..uta..uta..bata,” he screamed at me as if I was committing a crime by walking on a regular footpath. He was ordering me to walk from other side of the road: Uta bata. That was a footpath I was walking over, in front of Everest Hotel. I was not on the wrong path.

“Why?” I demanded an explanation.

“Sawari chha,” he said. There is a Sawari, was his explanation.

“Whose Sawari?”

“Whose Sawari? Sawari is Sawari? What do you mean by whose Sawari? Just walk from the other side of the road.”

“No no no…brother. I know there is Sawari. Could you please tell me who is coming?”

Now, he was ready to listen me. He was shorter than myself. He looked at my face. “Paras Sarkar ko.”

Crown Prince Paras was to inaugurate some program in Birendra International Convention Center.

Now, I changed my route and started walking toward Bijulibazzar hoping Devendra to pop up and rescue me. While walking, I started thinking about this Sawari thing. How much a Helicopter would cost? Why don’t our VVIPs use helicopters while traveling from one point to another. That would make general public’s traveling very easier. No traffic disturbance.

I am not against VVIPs enjoying some sort of privilege while traveling. Yes, they should be given due respect. But people like myself should have get some share of that respect. We should also be able to walk free. The road does not solely belong to VVIPs.

Is our security situation so deteriorated that even in Baneshwor the road should be emptied for VVIP entourage? If so who is responsible to this situation? If security situation is improved, I see no problem for VVIPs using regular traffic.

Finally, Devu Babu popped up as I reached the Bijulibazzar Bridge. This time around the extra helmet on his bike was in good condition. (The other time I had to borrow a helmet from Yeshoda because Devendra’s reserve helmet was so muddy that no one would sit behind his bike).

I think we were late by a minute or two. The storyline film that dealt with Non Resident Nepali’s and People of Nepali Origin, first of it’s kind in Kollywood, was impressive. It would have been a better experience if the hall was in better condition. The sound of fan was big that at times it made difficult to catch the dialogues. The film as it is minus 30 minutes would have get four stars out of five from me. Now, its three star.

A PNO girl, daughter of a NRN, visits Pokhara with her father, step mother and American boyfriend. The boatman falls in love with her (Niruta Singh) but could not express his feelings toward her. [Have I fallen (well rising in love is better than falling, I guess) in love with anyone like that way? Well, I do not remember, in any way!] Again, to the film. In a rafting accident, his boyfriend is ‘killed’ but she survives. Should I tell the whole story? Come on. Ghimire, the director, will not appreciate this.

Ghimire always comes up with noble stories, convincing characters and, on the whole, good films. He himself is a PNO and has been seeking citizenship. But who dares to honor such a fine brain with Nepali citizenship here in Nepal? At one point, there is a talk of citizenships for PNO. That issue was raised in a NRN conference two years ago in Kathmandu. All in all, I liked the story of the film and if I got opportunity, edit at least 3 songs off the film. While enjoying Phapar ko roti and Aalu ko achar in a Putalisadak restaurant after the movie, Devendra too agreed on my point. Wait a minute…Devu Babu, don’t you think I should keep something for my Kala Ra Shailee review?

15 Comments »

HI Dinesh. you are brave man!!! Prince paras was travelling, and you didn’t care!!!! How come? Is it real man!!!

Take care of your life.

Comment by Coward — 6/2/2005 @ 10:07 am

Even in India, when the Prime Minister is travelling, the total traffic is blocked so why are we making the fuss of crown prince going to inaugurate some function? Even if the chief minister of Bihar travels in Patna, the entire road is blocked. One incident when M.P George Fernandez was walking when Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s security told him to face the wall not the street in New Delhi. This made a furor in India. At least no policeman tells you to face the wall here. It is just for 10-15 minutes that you have to stop your car or your motorcycle. So, what is the hassle?? Let us not criticize for the sake of criticism. If it is done for chief minister of Tamil Nadu going to her office and residence every day and night, why can’t traffic be blocked for 10 minustes for the nation’s crown prince??

Comment by Sajan — 6/2/2005 @ 2:22 pm

In Colombo, President Kumaratunga’s coming home and going to office triggers a total traffic mess. So, is the case in Dhaka. Only here off-start journalists write comments on 10 minutes jam when the country’s heir to the throne goes to inaugurate a formal function organized by a diplomatic mission.

Comment by Dean — 6/2/2005 @ 2:24 pm

And in US there is no traffic halt during president’s entourage.

Comment by raj — 6/2/2005 @ 2:38 pm

In India, and also in Sri Lanka, the roads are far more better and the traffic significantly better managed than that of ours. Unlike the ONLY backbone of Kathmandu, Baneswor Road, roads in most Indian and Sri Lankan (and these days even Bangladesh) have other access roads so that in case of a jam, there are options available. Maybe the powers that be should think about this before they decide to get all of us stuck on the road, especially close to office hours.

Comment by sameer — 6/2/2005 @ 2:58 pm

Too late to air my disgust, but it may interest you to know that in my country, when our Queen travels from town to town, her car slows down so the people can smile and wave and blow her kisses. She always waves back with a smile!

I have to say I think Nepal’s Royals are missing the point. Love, not hate, should emanate from the people, can’t they see that? and we mustn’t blame the policeman, he’s too stupid to know the difference.

Comment by Peter Francon — 6/3/2005 @ 10:11 am

Mr. Peter Francon, in our country the queen is also regarded as the goddess laxmi. Please do not give unnecessary comparisons without knowing the difference. OK?

Comment by Ram — 6/3/2005 @ 12:40 pm

Sameer, what a ridiculous statement that the Delhi’s traffic or Colombo’s roads are better than Kathmandu’s. Please visit those two places and find the difference. They are much worse than Kathmandu. OK? When traffic is blocked in Delhi because of PM’s sawari, the whole traffic goes berserk.

Comment by Sajan — 6/3/2005 @ 12:44 pm

Sajan, I have. The main roads in those two countries are definitely better than ours- forget the arteries. They manage their traffic much better than here. Sure, they are nothing compared to developed nations but in cases of traffic jams, from my experience, they do a much better job of managing the jams than they do here.

Comment by sameer — 6/3/2005 @ 2:38 pm

dear mr. ram “in our country queen is also regarded as godsess laxmi”…i dont know how people can be so rediculous some times …this ultra relgiious belief and myth is what has been ruining nepal …..my question:why doesnt your goddess laxmi or any of your dieties for that matter cant see when people suffer when they are having fun moving in thier limos and cutting red ribbons..why does your laxmi’s son goes on rampage killing and injuring people ???
and hey i totally agree that vip can always move around with normal traffic…… but i know they would never do so ..coz.. it is due to people like ram that even they think that they really are god and goddess….for god sake ram ..hello…..wake up ….

Comment by bahula_kaji — 6/3/2005 @ 9:03 pm

Sajan and Dean and all those whining about Dinesh’s whining on traffic jams and Paras’s sawari. how long have you guys lived in ktm, without a vehicle of your own?? when all those people crammed in the bus in baneswor have to get off to walk all the way to maharajgunj or ghattekulo, all sweaty and running out of time, just because some rich ass is travelling in his luxury SUV, is that fair to the Nepalese ppl?? And who gives a shit about India and Srilanka and Kamaratunga? You eat shit doesn’t mean I eat shit. OK?

Our queen goddess laxmi?? My ass!

Comment by Blogbahini — 6/4/2005 @ 2:16 am

Ram

I don’t doubt that if Queen Laxmi waves as she passes you one day from the air conditioned comfort of her Jaguar motor car, she’ll imbue you with (her) wealth.

I wasn’t actually comparing our respective Queens. I was comparing the behaviour of the monarchs, our Heads of State. Your King’s wife may well be regarded as the godess Laxmi (though you’re the first I’ve heard say so).

Put more simply, my point was about the King’s Men strangling the traffic flow in an already choked city; blocking roads and making folk walk on the other side of the road when a Royal goes ‘walk-about’.

…have you ever considered a career in The Police Force?

Comment by Peter Francon — 6/4/2005 @ 8:06 am

Peter Francon, when VVIPs pass, there is road blocked everywhere. Especially in countries where there are insurgencies going on. Our queen doesn’t wave like yours but she does namaste which is a sign of polite greeting. You seem to know nothing. Which other city is more choked than Patna but when Rabri Devi moves around there is traffic chaos. And this is twice daily. Ours is only once in a blue moon. But the traffic has been very well managed here too. It is just for 10 minutes that until the VVIP motocade passes that the regular vehicular movement goes on. Nothing is wrong in this. If you don not know that the HIndu queen is regarded as goddess laxmi then you are not a HIndu. The Bhagwat Gita says that Lord Krishna is in Pipal, in Shaligram stone, in the King and the conch. If you don’t regard Bhagwat Gita as a guiding light but beef as a source of insiration, then little can be told to muddle-heads like you. Please don’t preach nonsense to us Nepalese. You should go back to your own country and wave to your own queen.

Comment by Ram — 6/4/2005 @ 10:57 am

peter,

don’t believe that shit by ram. I mean that freaking woman is ‘goddess’? Oh god. At least, don’t sully the name of goddess Laxmi. All photos I have seen so far of Laxmi make me feel so good, and you are soiling that memory, man.

Comment by chinta — 6/4/2005 @ 11:20 am

Thank you Chinta.

Ram, we were talking about traffic jams caused by royals. I made a few off-the-cuff comments and I experience the most vehement religious/racial hatred I’ve ever faced in Nepal.

Well done for calculating I’m not Hindu, by the way, with a name like Peter it wasn’t very hard. But your ‘beef eating’ comment takes the biscuit for rudeness.

I’ll ignore the bit about ‘go home’, I am home, I live in Kathmandu. It’s a capital city, many foreigners live in foreign capitals.

So please keep your racial hatred to yourself and do us all a favour and stop talking so much shite.

Comment by Peter Francon — 6/4/2005 @ 7:31 pm

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