Around THT

I really have been lazybones. I wanted to write for days, but had been procrastinating.

Its 00:36 am, March 14, 2006. When I returned home today at circa 18:00 pm, I had nothing special to do. Despite Dewansha’s request to help him in the kitchen, tired I preferred hitting the sack; thanks to the load shedding, I could hide myself in my room.

Just some minutes ago, he awakened me. God knows how he waked up at this wee hour. And I ate my dinner: two pieces of rotis, a bowl of (cold) daal and some tarkari (it was of Kraut, Kartofeln and Tomate – I am happy that I haven’t forgotten these German words.)

Well, on March 12 and 13, I walked a lot.

I had not taken the bank statement since I opened a new account at Putalisadak branch of NICB. I had a subliminal fear of losing money that I transferred from my Durbarmarga branch account last year. Was a kind of satisfied to know that the amount has increased… for sure, by the interest. Moreover, in another account, there is only Rs113. I wanted to withdraw a “tiger,” but the ATM did not help me. Later, at APCA building I came to know that there is no more zero-balance scheme; at least there should be a “tusker” in ones corporate account.

Thinking that I would withdraw the amount deposited in the Nagarik Lagani Kosh as the provident fund, I went to the office. It was lunch hour and I waited for about 45 minutes.

When I submitted the form along with the identity card and the letter from The International Media Networks Pvt Ltd — the publisher of The Himalayan Times, of course — the employee (may be a clerk) at the Room no. 10 was not happy with the content of the letter. He asked me to bring a new one that with the mention of the date I resigned.

I went to THT office. On the way, I came across Tika. He was going to repair his cellphone.

Shaking hands with me, Major Khatri welcomed me. I explained him the reason behind the visit. He ordered his subordinates to prepare a letter that I needed.

Along with me, a gentleman too had entered his cabin. I guessed he wanted some favour from Khatri who is also a highly posted Samata Party leader. They talked about some DG, recommendation and meeting. I could not understand the real matter.

The Major —I remember (almost certainly) Narottam telling me that he was not a warrior but an artillery lookout in the Indian army—asked me about my studies and referring to the cases of his two brothers-in-law who too had studied Microbiology, he said that the subject has tremendous scope. He meant to say that it’s easier to go to the US with that background. Though not surprised, I laughed at his US-obsession. People in the third world are running after America these days as if it’s the Mecca for them.

Shashikanta Adhikari, the Assistant Editor of the Annapurna Post, joined us in Khatri’s cubicle. I had hardly talked to him when I was in the office, so I did not greet him.

PC Punnen, the chief of the desk, returned to Kathmandu after a month long home leave. The lean and frail loner has gained some weight. He, an unmarried South Indian, expends all his income in wining and gambling. In THT premises, the veteran copy editor is infamous for getting inebriated even at work. When he saw me, he greeted me with his idiosyncratic smile and bid adios likewise. I like the old chap.

When Punnen left the place, Khatri remarked on the former. I too added something. Khatri recalled his advice for Vipashyana meditation and Punnen’s refusal. I was of the view that he might have refused because he is an atheist. Adhikari started his philosophical pedagogy and said that the atheists are the ones who have more belief on something. His basis of the argument was: “Though they say ‘it’ is not, they accept the existence of ‘it’.” How could I debate with the learned man? I kept on smiling and nodding my head. But I added that he is a nihilist. According to Adhikari, nihilists are different (from atheists) who believe in destruction and Punnen cannot be said a nihilist. May be!. Still, for me, Punnen is a nihilist (3).

nihilism: 1. A revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake
2. The delusion that things (or everything, including the self) do not exist; a sense that everything is unreal
3. Complete denial of all established authority and institutions

He gave a lecture on philosophy: subconscious void (Shunyabaada), limits of the science and the spirituality. He was a kind of explaining the Third Law of Thermodyanmics: Energy is neither created, nor destroyed. Only it can be transformed from one form to another. He correlated it with philosophy.

I agree that our knowledge is limited. Even the science we talk about and work on has limitations. Hence, to explain verity, we resort to the metaphysics. You call it spiritualism or philosophy, this is the thing that has given we humans uniqueness of being wise.

The letter I wanted was being drafted. Rather than getting bored in the Admin room in Khatri’s cubicle, I preferred meeting the editor. I called Ram Pradhan up and asked him for an “appointment.” The septuagenarian said ok. I went upstairs and had a chat with him. The old man was happy to see me. He asked me about my studies like others. He appeared to be concerned with the political instability and asked me what can the way out be of the pandemonium. I said the end of the monarchy can be one of the options. “However, for sure, there will be more anarchy,” added I. But I don’t know why I didn’t talk about negotiation and reconciliation that time.

We talked about the lack of honesty among young leaders and the downfall of the economy. Yes, everything is going to the dogs in the country! While we were talking Bijay Aryal and Nabin Chhetri came to the room and submitted the editorial pieces they had manufactured! I remembered the days I too used to do the same. He said that Nabin joined the Editpage team when I left. I said, “No, he joined when Narottam left.” All of us laughed then.

Ram Sir said that he wanted retirement but could not leave the job only because a creditworthy person was not found yet. Yes, I agree. Everybody in THT understands this top but open secret.
When he opened the lid of his green-ink pilot pen, I understood he wanted to make corrections on the editorial pieces. I felt it was high time I left his office. I said,” I should not disturb you any more.” He said it was ok and talked for some 10 more minutes. The topic was his application for the Fulbright scholarship decades ago and the rejection of it because of the second-class marks. “Had I done my bachelors from Patna or somewhere else instead of Bombay, I would secure more marks.” He talked about his grand daughter: her doing MBBS from Bangladesh and the recent application for the MD through KU/Manipal in India. He focused more on Rs 18,00,000…

One thing more, he did not forget to lash out the desk. He told me they have okayed “an universal” in the front page, and lampooned that the readers appreciate THT for its “good English.”

Before entering his room, a new assistant of his had looked at me with astonishment. She did not know me and would have taken me for …when I was about to enter his room. For formality, I asked her that I have come to meet her boss. Lokendra, a designer, who was talking to her, asked her:”Don’t you know him?”

When I came out of the room, I introduced me to her. Now, I know she is Jayanti who joined the office in September when Rachana left the job.

Everybody outside was amazed to see me in the Editorial. One guy asked me if I had joined the office again. I met Bhandari duos – DL and Arjun— Razen, Shashi, Renu, Diksha, Mudita, Pankaj, Daren, Hem, Gopal.

Akansha is pregnant and she is on the leave.

I went to the library and met Rustam. There I came to know that Sagar Subedi has left the job and joined the Central Library, TU. Anindya Rai Verman was there. I saw Asha and called her. She’s got married now.

The letter was ready and I left the office. Shashi was waiting me outside in the café. He offered me a cold drink. Nice to know that he too is going to leave the job to pursue further studies in the US. Indra has gone to India for training and probably he will join the Delhi bureau. Nice to know that.

Then I went to Safar’s workshop. He’s given up his RJ job at Hits He was busy on installing Windows XP on his client’s machine. He has suggested me to make a new website rather than the one on wordpress. He has promised me to help me in this regard. We talked about our college-mates for a while.

I made a call to THT again and asked Bijay Sir when he would finish his work. “After some 30 minutes.” He and Nabin dai were waiting for me at Anamnagar chowk at 6:30.. Nabin has shifted to New Baneshwore.

Bijay sir and I returned home together.

It’s almost 3:35 am now. I will write more about March 13 stuff later.

Oh, it’s Fagu-Poornima today! Happy Holi!

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By Himanshu Kaishuvam Posted in Uncategorized Tagged

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