I am now back in Kathmandu from Katunje. I am footsore and I am weary. I have walked a lot today and I have also driven far. - on bumpy and dusty roads. Not roads really. Mountain tracks. They are scarred by deep ravines that were gorged out by the monsoon rains. The road is potted and rutted. Four wheel drive is essential or the way is otherwise impassable.
I am dirty and dusty and a bit smelly. I need a bath.
Some of the walking I did today was with a Gurkha. His name is Abhik. The Ghurka are Nepalese Mountain people. Their people are synonymous with the British Army. They have served as a Regiment with the British for more than a century. The men are very tough and strong and the women too I think. The Gurkha have a long history as Warriors and their bravery and endurance are of legend.
The name Abhik means 'fearless' in Nepali. It is an appropriate name for a Gurkha. A former Head of the Indian Army once said, "If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."
The Gurkha are also famous for the long curved daggers that they carry in their waist sashes. These daggers are called Khukuri. Say it Cooo koori . Like a pigeon cooing. These Knives are not just ornamental. Their blades are sharp and wicked.
Abhik is a retired soldier and he lives now on a small farm near Katunje. He was awarded the land by the Nepali government for his years of service and he receives a small pension from the miserly British. He still has his Khukuri. I know this because he showed it to me. With great Pride.
The Gurkha deal with the British Army was initiated by the East India Company. It was initially a protection Racket. When the British were an Empire. This was a long time ago - in the early part of the last century. The deal was likely a dodgy one. British Colonialism during this period - and throughout history in fact - has been as dodgy as it has been arrogant. They were Pirates.
Ask a Faulkland Islander. An Argentinian One.
I find it very amusing that the Chinese made the British pay rent on Hong Kong for 100 years - all while the British were thinking that they had colonized it. It makes me chuckle. It was brilliant. I am Australian so as a rule we don't like the English. We have good reason although we require none.
I am flying back to Singapore tomorrow. I am returning to work and warmth and comfort.
I am however well aware that I am going back also to opulence and extravagance and opportunity and abundance.
No doubt I will slip into nonchalant acceptance that the lights will turn on when I flick a switch and that my Air Conditioning will work when I need to cool down. If my tummy starts to rumble I know that I can quickly dash down to a Restaurant or a Cafe. Just down the road. Or I can pick up my phone and I can dial up.
For Home delivery.
I will quickly and once again become blasé with such acceptance. I am acutely aware that I am returning to all those things that are the opposite of Nepal. I do so willingly but I hope I return with a little more sense of appreciation and humility.
The Nepali for "Good Bye" is Bidha Pau. I always find it a sad phrase when I am leaving.
I like to add “Ma Turuntai Karkanchu”.
It is Nepali for "I will be right back"