Fuel crisis or not, people get set for Dashain
On the early morning of October 13, Radha KC of Balkot was in her puja room — all prepared to welcome the first day of Dashain, Ghatasthapana. “At saait (auspicious time), we will sow the seeds of different grains — barley, wheat, corn, rice,” she informed while cleaning the puja utensils.
The sprouts of these grains — known as jamara — are offered along with tika on the day of Vijaya Dashami.
It was then, one of her neighbours, Mansari Karki came to her with a request to sow jamara for her family too. “We don’t have a ritual of sowing jamara at our own house, so we get it from our neighbours,” Karki stated while explaining the ritual.
The ritualistic preparation for Dashain — regarded one of the greatest and longest festivals of Hindus — has begun. But people do not seem much prepared for other kinds of things.
Karki revealed, she is yet to take her children Dashain shopping — especially clothes, “one of the greatest attractions for the children”, and a shopping for a lot of other items “like spices, rice” is not done, all thanks to the ongoing fuel shortage.
What worries KC most is the limited cooking gas she has — “We had two cylinders of cooking gas, one is already finished and the next one will finish anytime soon. In such a situation, I am worried about entertaining the guests coming to my house.”
Ramesh Thapa, a tenant living in Gatthaghar, takes a round of the nearby petrol pump “with hopes to get petrol for my bike” daily while his wife “is busy searching for cooking gas as we are about run out”. But with the arrival of Dashain and shortage of petroleum products, the problem has doubled for Thapa, who hails from Jhapa. Every year he goes to his home in Jhapa to celebrate the festival. But the ticket counters haven’t opened the booking for vehicles for long routes due to the fuel shortage. “So, almost every day I also visit the counter to find out if they have opened booking,” says Thapa. “I am worried we won’t be able to go home this year. I am even worried how we will survive the festival if we are stuck in the Capital, there is nothing over here.”
However, a few youngsters from Chitwan are not worried much because “we plan to reserve a micro bus and go home for Dashain. Therefore, we are contacting those who are in our networks. We are almost full,” informed Sarad BK, a student, who resides in Patandhoka. He is positive “the crisis will pass and we will be able to celebrate the festival happily”.
The crisis has taken away smiles from Nepalis who have been hit hard by the April earthquake. Even then, people do not want to bow to negativity. “Despite all odds, we need to continue our tradition,” expresses Santa Maya Tamang, a 52-year-old woman selling vegetables at Thimi Chowk. “Our house in Sindhupalchowk was destroyed by the earthquake and fortunately nothing happened to the family members. If we survived such a wrath of nature, now we must be thankful and move our life ahead.”
Every day, she would go to Koteshwor from Thimi to sell vegetables, but as there are not many vehicles “they won’t let me get in with vegetables. So, I have started selling them here in the chowk”, she explains adding, “I will go home and sow seeds for jamara — we are not going back to Sindhupalchowk, we will celebrate Dashain here despite all kind of complications.”