I have tremendous respect for the people of Nepal and not without a reason. I have been fortunate to have travelled several countries, with Nepal being one of them. I had been there thrice and the peace and serenity that one feels there is incomparable.
My father, a Doctor, after his retirement had an opportunity to work in a Medical College in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. He worked there for several years during which I, on the pretext of visiting him, would visit Nepal and explore! Nepal has the confluence of an admixture of local tradition as well as openness for other cultures too.
My first visit to Kathmandu was without informing my dad of my plans. For I knew that several questions would be asked by him and a whole day would pass while answering them!
I boarded a train (Sleeper Class which is the cheapest) from Guwahati (the biggest city of Assam, India) which would take me to New Jalpaiguri (in West Bengal, India).
From there on, I would cross borders and would board a bus to Kathmandu which would take me 16 hours. Young blood doesn’t mind, but now, if you ask me, I would rather stay at home than travel on a bus for 16 hours. I had no other option, being a student, with very limited money. I just had enough to board the bus and reach Kathmandu. I knew my Dad, after giving me a good sounding and some angry stares, would give me whatever I wanted. I would be there for 10 days and I would have all the fun I wanted.
Just after crossing the border and on Nepal soil, I had gone to an agency, which served as a Ticket counter, a hotel and rooms which you could rent for taking rest.
At the counter was a middle aged man, whom I asked to issue me a bus ticket to board to Kathmandu. He said that there are buses, but there has been a road block due to a landslide and movement on roads has come to a standstill. He had suggested that I buy a plane ticket instead.
I could feel my heart skipping a beat. Here I was, with almost no money, stranded in some place, not enough to pay for a room to see through the road block. I didn’t know what to do and where to go.
The person at the counter, perhaps, could notice the panic in me and the blood draining from my face. He asked me what my plans were. I said that I didn’t have the money to buy an air ticket and the only option left was to go back. Even if I told my dad, there was no way he could send money to me at that point in time. Internet and online booking had not made their mark yet.
The middle aged person at the counter sat there for a while, saying nothing. I was thinking that in addition to the mess that I am in, what my dad would be saying once he came to know was also doing the rounds. “I told you so…!” would be one dialogue that I would surely hear!
The person at the counter called me after a few minutes. He said that he was sorry for the state I was in and that he would issue me a plane ticket to Kathmandu, which I would repay him back once I came back after 10 days. He was a savior to me and I thanked him profusely for his help. I reached Kathmandu that evening and had my share of fun in the following days!
When I look back and think about this incident, I feel overwhelmed at the feeling of trust that person had on me. The old gentleman had no reason to help me for he had never known or seen me before. He could have left me on my own. And also from the look of it, his business was just enough, probably, seeing him through on a day to day basis. As for me, had I never paid him back, there was no way he could have caught hold of me.He would have lost the money on the ticket. More importantly, his trust on humanity would have been scarred. Trust on people doesn’t come easily. It comes over a lifetime, when your own life has been good and when you feel that way for everyone. It’s a difficult thing to possess, but once you have that, your happiness and the ease with which you take on life becomes great. You need not come from a great or rich place to be a great human being.
There are both good sides as well as bad sides in all of us. But that incident truly reflected that humanity still existed in one form or the other. To be good or bad is your own creation, not of the place you belong to.
Even now, when I think about that day, a firm belief that we are meant for much better and happy things rather than what we crib about day in –day out is felt.
The Earthquake which has shattered many lives and hopes, yet again tests the strength of belief and trust. As beautiful the country has been, so are its people and so also their trust on humanity and kindness. It may take time to erase the scars, but I am sure that it will be done. Nepal, with her people, will shine once again.