Mahesh Kumar Subedi
“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only one page.” -Saint Augustine.
Travelling not only makes us relaxed but also helps us rejuvenate. Once we are rejuvenated, we feel blissful- shedding off the mundane routine of a hectic life. As St. Augustine said, “Many people travel to explore the world and watch new things.” The advancement in technology and transportation has facilitated the people in embarking on travels of all hues and stripes.
When it comes to visiting places, I have not that much experience of new places and things. To break the monotony of teaching, I go to Kathmandu, especially on the occasion of the Tihar festival in the month of Kartik, as my only sister lives in Kathmandu Valley. Thanks to the festival vacation, I enjoy Bhaitika in the federal capital. It is a reunion with my sister and her family members, at least once a year.
Three years back, I planned to travel to the capital city in different ways - riding a motorcycle and navigating the Mid-Hill Highway from Okhaldhunga to Kathmandu along the Sunkoshi River. The plan itself was pleasing to me, for it was for the first time in my life l was thinking of buying a motorcycle. I’m an owner of a motorcycle, and I drive it myself, although I am from a rural area of an eastern hilly district. After I reached Kathmandu, I visited many motorcycle showrooms without any delay.
l had a short vacation so I had to hurry. I watched several bike showrooms at Jamal, Kumaripati, Kupondole, Kalimati and others. Eventually, I went to the Honda showroom at Teku and preferred Honda shine 125 Cc motorbike over any other kind. You know I mere preferred but failed to buy the vehicle then. And my plan to drive home from Kathmandu and from home to Kathmandu along the Sunkoshi River road turned into a fantasy. Anyway, I later bought it, which I’m using to travel my surrounding villages despite muddy and dusty roads in a rural area. We are aware of how difficult transportation is in rural areas. The mud in the rainy season and dust in the dry season is commonplace here.
When I remembered Augustine’s view on travel, I wonder and ponder: how many pages did I read?
In addition to the short rural trips with motorcycles now, I have a lucid memory of a visit to Kulekhani from Kathmandu with some friends whom I had recognised while doing MA in RR Campus, Kathmandu.
Sometimes, I feel no less fortunate to find them as intimate friends who used to encourage me for creative works and prevented me from harbouring a disheartened mood in response to any untoward incident in life. Among them is Tilak Tamang, originally from Udayapur district, is now working as a permanent secondary level teacher at Malekhu, Dhading district. Similarly, Sahadev Thapa, originally from the Bhojpur district, was fond of political affairs. Rudraprakash Mishra has been actively running an educational consultancy at Putalisadak. Another carefree fantastic fellow is Santosh Jha, who is also a good instructor.
With these friends from different parts of the country having diverse views and experiences, I trekked to the Kulekhani dam from Kathmandu. First, all of us gathered at TU Gate, Kirtipur. Then, I was not good at driving so I did not dare to drive.
Jha made me a pillion rider. Others were riding their vehicles. With a light breakfast, we left Kirtipur, went via Taudaha, Chalnakhel, Dakkshinkali and many other beautiful places. In 20 to 30 km away from a major city, these places seemed hinterlands. What rural life- cow and buffalos, goats and sheep grazing in fields and terraces; women folk collecting grass and fodder in the wicker basket, doko. The din of the children at an open pace was also enthusing. It reminded me of my childhood.
Most important was the sight of green forest and wind blowing was giving pleasant tinge and tingle as per the speed of the motorcycle.
While going through it, we also decided to visit Pharping. I had a special attachment with Pharping where I and Santosh Jha had taught in a local school for some years. It has a very pleasant atmosphere. It is famous for pear farming in the country. Moreover, Pharping is a historic place in terms of hydropower development. It is said even Asian countries were lacking hydropower at the time Nepal set up Pharping Hydropower.
We took a brief coffee break, had chitchat and moved toward Kulekhani Hydropower - our destination. Finally, we reached there at around 11:00 am. In the vicinity of the reservoir, there were a few beautiful hotels. We had a meal there. The hospitality and kindness were quite satisfying. We relished delicious foods. The locals were selling fresh fish. We learnt that Kulekhani is also famous for fish production and supply.
Then, we moved ahead with the hydropower project located in Dhorsing, Makwanpur. We also knew that the project was constructed with the joint financial assistance of the World Bank, the Kuwait Fund, OPEC of Japan and the Nepal government. The dam was also known as “Indrasarobar”. It is a dam made by blocking the Kulekhani River.
The primary purpose of the dam is hydroelectric power generation. The beautiful sight of the big reservoir was mesmerising. I pondered: the reservoir is so large and mesmerising, how it could be the feeling of seeing sea and ocean! Boat riding was another fun-filled activity. But there were nearly a dozen boats. We made futile attempts of boating too then took photos with the reservoir in the background. The hillside, chirping birds and the stillness of the lake was so enthralling that I was overwhelmed and lost.
Beguiled by the scenic view, we were unaware of how quickly the time passed- we left the destination and arrived at Kirtipur at around 6:00 pm.
In addition to the refreshment and rejuvenation, I learnt that we are still lagging in utilizing the water resources. The rivers, lakes, streams are left unused. If they are connected to hydropower technology like the Kulekhani dam, Nepal would certainly unlock development potential. But, we are always complaining of paucity and beseeching foreign assistance.
Although it was not a long visit, the trip was unforgettable in my life. I claim that I’ve read some pages with this visit. Visiting new places is always learning to me.
(Subedi is a school teacher at Champadevi-7