Bob Seger in his 1975 song Kathmandu has described Kathmandu as gateway from the chaos of Western Civilization and material life. Little did he knew how the very sacred land of the hippies in the 1970s has turned out to be a wasteland of unmanaged and greedy urbanization where quality air and water is a dream. Kathmandu has transferred itself as one of the most sick and polluted metropol on the face of Earth. I always wonder why people live in that wasteland?
Nepal’s development has got a problem. It’s unplanned , unsustainable and ugly. This tiny beautiful country of mine lacks a mentality to change and think about health impact such ugly form of development and urbanization. Everytime when I think about Nepal, I think about what I can do to change the way people see waste management, air pollution and healthy living. Nepal is visitor’s heaven and a hell for those who live there. Kathmandu is a very fertile land and it should have been used for agriculture but we have created this ugly concrete jungle. If anyone wants to experience Hell, Welcome to Kathmandu. Extreme air pollution, virtually no traffic rule, the drain water runs outside, Bagmati river is just a big drainage. Everyone is busy selling and making money but what is the meaning of the money at the cost of health. I read a report about how the residents of Kathmandu are suffering from lung diseases.
One thing I don’t understand. Why are we so wild? Why are we so rude? Why do people have to blow horn every 5 seconds despite the fact that the traffic will not automatically move by blowing horn. From educated to non-educated. The other day I had this same talk with my wife and she told me “I just works like this here.”. I know I just works like this here but why? Why does it have to be like this?
My top concern about my country the thing that bothers me most is how lightly people are taking air pollution , water pollution and sound pollution as if it’s nothing. It has consequences. But what can a single person do? What can I do except walking instead of taking bike for short distance. Not blowing horn unless absolutely necessary. Being more polite at road and traffic. Yes, a single fellow. I hope there are more like me. I hope someday we will see a gradual change. I just hope.
Sometime I close my eyes and imagine clean roads. Clean air. No noise pollution. People not spitting randomly at road. How I wish it would be a reality when I open my eyes. Nepal you make me cry. You disappoint me. It’s not like I am running away from you. You pushing me away.
I wonder with the rush and the way time is slipping. It feels like yesterday that I was in Vantaa Lentokoneasema for the first time in my life to start my new beginnings in Finland but its already 3 years. Now, the city seems so familiar as if I have known it for years. The language sounds familiar though I do not understand it so much. The easiness in moving from place to place and availability of means of transportation at an affordable cost round the clock makes this city even better to live. Yet another thing I love about Helsinki is population density. After living in Helsinki for 2 years I had been to few other cities in Europe like Amsterdam , Paris and Brussels but one thing I didn’t like about them is the crowd. The trains and bus – All Full with people. In Helsinki a bus is full if everyone has got a sit and there is no one sitting next to them. There are days when I am the only passenger in the bus when I get back from Helsinki to my apartment in Espoo. Being born and raised in a very small village in Nepal, I am not a big fan of crowd. The first time I had landed in Kathmandu- the nepalese capital, I was almost lost with the “crazy-city” and unmanaged urbanization that had led to chaos and I was clearly able to see how the natural resources like rivers and mountain were literally raped by the new resource hungry breed of urban dwellers. Before I was in Helsinki I had this image of a rush and crowded city- like most capital cities. But Helsinki made me happy in the very first place. Well, Finland’s population density is so low that people who lives in remote areas of the country finds Helsinki too crowded and lacking nature. I laugh inside — go to Kathmandu to see what crowd means. Well, it all depends upon how we are raised and what is the definition of crowd and rush. For me, I grew up in a tiny village with a population of less than 1000 and knowing almost all the people who resided there and closely tied with nature for most of our needs. Well , the rapid urbanization after the civil war is over has made the village almost empty but I consider my first 13 years of my life ; I lived in pure bliss and happiness. Attached below is a -not so good quality- picture of the place.