MIDWAY : Spoilsport

Do we really need to miss ‘beaches’ simply because we have no sea? Our rivers, in a way, can bridge the gap to some extent. Primarily, going to the beach is all about enjoying a close contact with sun and sand, wind and water. I often envy those sprawling sea beaches and the giant waves, as in Maldives or the Mediterranean, greeting each other relentlessly. But those glittering patches of fine and silvery sand, along the banks of umpteen rivers meandering through Nepal, can really make up for ‘miniature beaches’.

The Marsyangdi-Trishuli confluence is a fine case in point. In the meantime, forget the grungy and smelly Mungling nearby. The good stretch of ‘beach’ adjoining a lawn near this confluence is an ideal place for those in quest of certain beach-like feel. Camping there for a couple of days can be an original thrill: bathing in cool Himalayan rivers, sunning in the fine sand and stargazing in the night, while the rivers sing to lull you to a pleasantly refreshing sleep.

While rafting down from Uppar Bhote Koshi recently, we decided to have our lunch on a ‘mini beach’. The beach was pebbly and sandy, warm and shining. The cool breeze made the pause even more pleasant. Lying on the clean and cozy riverbank, we just went bananas seeing what the place had to offer: smooth, crystal-like pebbles as if worked on and polished by some anonymous artists, multicolour cliffs perseveringly carved into masterpieces by timeless time, an unbroken view of rolling hills, lush green vegetation, rich species of birds chirping and twittering in ‘green language’, as if to give company to the aquatic melodies of rivers. All our rivers embody such eternal and uplifting sights and moments full of bliss.

There is something, sadly, that puts a dampener on the joy: all the seedy and rundown greasy spoons along the highways of many rivers, Trishuli and Bhote Koshi in particular, have their sewage thrown shamelessly into the rivers. It’s no hyperbole: these two rivers are Bagmati and Bishnumati in the making. And the corollary is just disconcerting: the ghastly process will deal a coup de grace to our longing for a ‘beach-like feel’ — somewhere nearby, along the banks of our revered rivers!