Blockade, buses and students

The year 2015 has proved itself historic for Nepalese. First, the two big earthquakes followed by so many aftershocks and now the “undeclared” blockade. Not that it is the first time we have faced a crisis but this time, the extent has stretched far beyond. It has posed threat to our livelihood. This time, the crisis is felt everywhere, about everything.

I am a student. I have a day-shift college which means I have to spend the entire day in my class and I do not have time for a job. So basically my day is spent in college and at home. But now due to this situation, each morning when I get up, I start worrying if I will get a bus to reach my class on time.

Getting a bus has become very difficult. Firstly, you hardly find a bus. If you are fortuitous enough to find one, you barely get a place to stand, let alone a seat. Having short height is a disadvantage for me as my legs are not long enough to climb up the high ladder to get to the hood of the bus. Many times I have completed the journey hanging on the door of a bus. But when none of these are available, the only option left is hitch-hike.

In Nepal, asking for a lift is not so popular yet. People feel awkward to ask for it and to grant it too. Though the awkwardness is fading away slowly. And so I go for the second option. But when I tell my family about how I asked a stranger to drop me till halfway (mostly), they do not like it much. They say “it’s not safe!” to which I say “there is no way out”. Then arrives an awkward silence because they can neither tell their daughter to miss her classes nor allow her to go on hitch-hiking.

Going back to the bus, I do not get student discounts anymore. The buses queue for petrol for days and finally get some but at double (or even higher) rates. Sometimes I feel pity for them and give away the full fare without discount but sometimes I feel like arguing. I want them to know that it is extremely difficult to ask my parents to give me extra money when they themselves have to buy groceries and stuffs at increased rate while the income remains the same. It feels bad either way.

And at college too, we are not spared. When stomach grumbles out of hunger and I along with friends rush out to have lunch, we find that most of the cafes do not offer much as they have no cooking gas and the ones that have, serve foods at increased rates. This story of my life represents that of hundreds of students. Life in the midst of blockade is getting harder with each passing day.