MIDWAY: Life on the fast lane

Not many years ago, many felt that Kathmandu and its people were frozen in a time warp. Nothing seemed to change in the Valley. As the rest of the world raced ahead into the 21st century, we Kathmanduites were happy with our daal bhaat life. The aspiration level was low and the feeling of contentment was something which outsiders failed to fathom. Often I was asked whether I was happy doing what I did every day. My answer was always predictable — of course, why would anybody complain about such a lifestyle which is bereft of modern day pressures like daily traffic jams, noise and atmospheric pollution, shortages and of course job tensions.

That was then. But now life is changing fast in our very own utopian world. People are being rudely jolted out of their respective comfort zones. My friends for instance have stopped partying late into the night. Why? Because the roads are no more safe with late night muggings becoming order of the day. Night life has come to a grinding halt.

Back at my own home, life has changed rather quickly for my god-fearing dad too. His daily morning routine moulded over the last three decades has been changed, albeit much against his own desire and willingness, to suit the fast changing times. Rewind to a few months ago. Daddy Dear used to wake up every day around 5 am, finish his morning chores and bike down to the nearest temple. After the rituals, dad returned home but not before doing the grocery-shopping for Mom.

Guess what dad’s is doing nowadays. His biological alarm goes off as usual at the crack of the dawn. But instead of heading towards the temple, dad joins the mad scramble at the nearest petrol pump for his quota of the fuel which keeps our impoverished nation going. Is he unhappy? Guess not. While in the past he enjoyed interacting and exchanging gossip with friends and neighbours at the temple, he is doing so now at the petrol queue.

Perhaps the only person who is not very happy is Mommy Dear. That’s because she has to now buy the groceries, cook the lunch and keep everything ready for us lazybones. Life has been transformed for many, but trudging along at my customary pace, not much seems to have changed... Not in my life!