KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 09
A few weeks ago, amidst Dashain, I could barely sleep when the whole country was rejoicing in a festive mood. When the beautiful colours of Dashain were set ablaze, my mind was distraught. The reason: the sound of bhajan-kirtan beaming from a bhandara conducted right next to my house.
At many places of the country, especially in the plains, bhandaras are organised. A bhandara is a place where a deity's statue is erected for worship and free food is distributed.
Bhajan-kirtan, the melodic songs played in the bhandara, reflect the festival's core values.
While I am Hindu and have the utmost respect for this Hindu tradition, I, together with some of my neighbours, could not help but request the organisers to lower the sound. But instead of lowering the volume, the organisers increased it after we complained.
Based on religious high ground, we were deemed helpless against the organisers. If many other people had joined for the cause, things might have turned out differently. However, as we do not speak out against the problems we encounter, we are the ones who face difficulty.
Later, our entire neighbourhood shared how they could not sleep the following nights.
Seats are reserved in the bus for women, older citizens, and differently-abled people, but I have been compelled many times to speak up for an old lady who finds it quite "comfortable" standing with me on the bus rather than asking them and to clear her allocated seat.
Over time, public service offices in Nepal have become a symbol of high-handedness. I have seen public servants scrolling through Facebook and taking more than an hour off for tiffin time during their duty hours while we stand in the queue for up to six hours in the scorching heat to get our passports.
It amazes me how people keep their mouths shut and stay indifferent, although they are the ones to suffer.
Civic sense and awareness in the country are continuously on the wane. The streets around where I live in the valley, Bhainsepati, grow darker and unsafe as the sun hides slowly behind the hills. I have seen a handful of accidents take place at night as there are no streetlights to help pedestrians and riders acknowledge each other.
The absence of streetlights will ultimately affect us, so why do we choose to ignore it? We all need to mount pressure on the municipalities to install them to save life of ordinary people.
We choose either to post the bitter experiences we face on social media or simply tolerate them.
If we fail to take a stance against such incidents around us, one day, we may find ourselves in a very difficult position created by our silence and indifference.
A version of this article appears in the print on November 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.