Bardiya, a district in western Nepal, borders the neighboring India. Since it was my first visit to the district I carried along some predetermined sketches and visuals of the lush of green overpowering all the others colors, big river Babai flowing past the green way and above it some quiet roads toddling along natures’s tunes.
Bardiya stood guard to my latter expectation but I had some invention to do with the first two. First, the greenery had some what lost its way as per the locals and to my amazement Babai had nothing to boast of her presence as she was flowing all time low. It seemed like she was depressed, barren of any thought and deserted of all sources of life but it may also be that she was on to deep sleep and hibernating to allow the locals villagers ease past her banks, the luxury they would have otherwise not enjoyed when she was on song. The sand full lane of the river was in fact a seasonal exercise of mother nature but to my emotions they seemed like river’s way of saying sorry to it neighboring human residents who come under heavy scrutiny every now and then.
The never ending fields had gone past the horizon out of the vehicle window which was tuned up and down with passing gust of wind. But I didn’t mind that all. It was fresh with the hint of smell of the burning woods and dung. As a urbaner, such insignificant events are true a luxury .The vast stretches of land, with people working on the field in a sea of yellow, which was evident all along the journey.
Among such luxury my mind interestingly was not without thoughts. In fact, the rectilinear road of the plains of Nepal and the ladies on the bicycles have a romantic connection which played on my mind through the day light. I have been a bicycler for almost six years of student life right through my high school to under graduate which may be the primary reason of fascination with it. It has been almost two and half years since I last rode it on a regular basis. Since then my feet has been willing partners of my power walk and my legendary bicycle found a new owner. It was sad to know that the new owner was careless with its handling and my two wheeler has found use to some thieves instead. Since the bicycle was an eye witness of my rainy days I have a strong bonding to its memory. The tragic story of a small boy and his lost cycle could have easily made its way into a Shakespearean tragedy. As I recall the chains of the cycle used to be huge problem and sometimes I was late for college or had black handkerchief upon returning as I found its best use in repairing them. Sometimes the breaks didn’t work and I clearly remember bumping on to a newly bought car. The driver was furious and sorry me, but the owner at the backseat was kind enough to let me go.
Throughout those six years as I rode the bicycle I used to imagine whether I was riding the thing out of need or out of fantasy or could it be that I was not able to afford alternative choices. When I look back the third option could best fit but paddling those chains grew my desires of owning a car day and day out so as to be able to look at a bicycle rider through my car window. It kept me grounded, made me humble enough to fix the tacky chain that crumbled down its track in emergency conditions such as while going to an exam center.
The bicycle did hurt my ego to some extent when it was parked besides some swashbuckling motorcycles on campus’s parking lot. But I believe my self pride was enough knock the devil down. It saved me lot of penny and with it provided my single mother with a financial cushion of some Nepalese Rupees thirty a day, which in my world was huge.
Today as well I met the fairies in the bicycle with the same sublime grace as I went past some undulating road of Bardiya. Wow what a beauty. I took time to think what if the ladies had the same thought going into their mind which I had, that same desire, slight frustration and slight hurt of ego among others. That may be true to slightest possible degree but in places wheres bicycle rule the roads as a major means of transport unlike the cities where they are referred to as “exercise machine”.
The vast presence of bicycle in the plains of Nepal are an open sarcasm to urban dwellers and policy makers who hire consultant to materialize the dream of a cycle city. A cycle city exists in practice already. I feel that the bicycle themselves feel humbled as they participated in hardships of my friends elders and fairies in the plains of Nepal.