In broad strokes, a veteran journalist used to paint a typical Nepali year into two seasons: the winter of discontent and the summer of unrest. That was when the winds of change were blowing again in Kathmandu after a brief period of calm and the regime of King Gyanendra was tottering, with generous help from friends/well-wishers from near and afar.
This categorization of the seasons is too broad in a country that takes pride in her seven, uniquely beautiful seasons: Vasanta (the spring), Grishma (early summer), Varsha (the summer monsoon), Sharad (early autumn), Hemanta (late autumn) and Shishir (the winter). By the way, this broad stroke is not meant to undermine initiatives to promote Nepal as a tourist destination for all seasons, especially when all’s not well with her economy.
About the vet’s painting skills, yours truly does not know much. But for obvious reasons, a Homo sapiens of words should not get to paint things of beauty like seasons for public consumption, for he is sure to miss many a shade.
As for words, the vet had a way with them.
Now, let yours truly elaborate a bit on the vet’s two-season concept.
Come winter, there’s rising frustration and biting cold but no electricity, that too in a country rich in water resources.
It’s not only the cold that’s biting the members of the public, though. Umpteen causes like the never-ending misrule, thriving corruption, the absence of law and order, market prices heading northwards and living standards on a free fall have the people smoldering like the fire burning in the makkal (a conventional coal-fired stove).
But it’s so cold outside, the people won’t hit the streets yet. Why would they, anyway? After all, the meenpachas—the 50 days of the grim winter—are so cold that even the fish catch cold, literally. Not only the people but their elected overlords and warlords also detest the grim winter. Yours truly fondly remembers a particular frame from the winter of discontent in which a firebrand politico was caught napping during a program to announce a series of protests against King Gyanendra’s autocratic regime. That grab would surely have gone viral if the leader was caught in a similar act these days.
The biting cold is not the only reason holding a people back, though. Letting the fire burn inside unhindered would surely propel the people into the streets and the resulting inferno would bring down regime after regime after regime, but what good would it do? What would the laity get even if they managed to bring about yet another regime change by hitting the streets and returning injured, crippled for life or not returning at all? Their sacrifices would bring another bunch of leaders to power that would forget popular aspirations and get neck-deep in corruption.
That is the reason why the masses, despite calls from political leaders of different hues and colors, would keep off the streets. The apathy would run so deep that political parties would often pay the hoi polloi handsomely for taking part in street protests, bringing them to the capital in busloads from the mofussil.
But the turning point in such protests would come sooner than later. Any instance of the use of the brute police force (real or perceived) would rekindle the protests with the masses joining in spontaneously. From then on, there would be no stopping the protests without the revolution reaching its ‘logical conclusion’.
Looking back, it will be fair and square to say that a `political revolution´ is like a river system consisting of different rivers and streams acting as tributaries and distributaries. In the case of Nepal, foreign interests in general and the interests of a neighbor have always counted far more than the streams of blood, sweat, toil and tears flowing from the attending multitudes.
That is why things have remained much the same for the Nepali lok (to say the least) despite several winters of discontent and summers of unrest.
While walking along the beaten paths for days on end as part of a thought process during the anti-MCC protests and later, yours truly again found how truly beautiful this city is.
Walking by those blue flowers in full bloom was pure delight. You looked at those blooms for hours on end and still craved for more. And when the branches swayed at the slightest of winds and showered you with flowers, your heart swayed with pleasure.
For some very learned folks, these flowers are jacaranda and for others, they are blue mimosa. Yours truly does not know anything about the plant kingdom. All he knows is that these flowers are indescribably beautiful, they make life a bit more tolerable.
We have given Kathmandu different names ranging from Alakapuri, the beautiful capital of Lord Indra, to Dustmandu (Dhulomamdu) to the necropolis. Our own images are what a city reflects. Traveling back in time, why on earth did the vet see just two seasons in Kathmandu?
Between the grim winter and the sweltering summer, there always is a brief window when flowers of all sorts bloom and life seems a little more bearable despite its absurdities. Revolutions may go astray and the self-styled makers of our destiny may fail us yet again, but the spring will never fail us, probably.
In our respective rat races, we may have forgotten how beautiful this city looks during all seasons in general and the spring in particular.
Like the phoenix, this city of higher ideals like arts and crafts has repeatedly risen from the ashes of destruction, blooming like those blue flowers. Names like Dhulomandu do not do justice to her never-say-die spirit powered by divinity and humanity.
Even amid these blossoms, exceptionally fertile minds have failed to give this city a name befitting the season. As for yours truly, it is and will always remain #Bloommandu as this is where not only those seasonal blue flowers, but millions of dreams bloom in all seasons.