It was my first week in New York. For the whole week, I had been going around the city, appreciating its development, and wondering about the skyscrapers built on top of the ground, below which a vast network of subway train runs inside the womb of the city. New York is the city of people around the world, from diverse culture, religion, language and ethnic groups. People of various standards of living, various levels of education and knowledge, and various economic standings dwell in this crowded city of 12 million people. Being in New York is an opportunity to see the different facets of life at the same place. I had been passing my days looking at this wonderful place, and enjoying life.
It was one of such normal days when, inspired intellectually, I followed a few so called intelligent people to a Conference of Nepalese people. The conference was organized by the India-China Institute, and some so called “leaders” had been called all the way from Nepal to speak on the contemporary political situation of Nepal. The conference was on “Inclusive Democracy in Nepal”. Intellectuals from various fields had been invited to present on the topics of their specialization, ranging from the rights of the indigenous groups to the democracy and federalism. Unfortunately for me, it was not very interesting of a program. I was either irritated at times by the biased views of so called “intellectuals” and ridiculed at times by the lack of knowledge of the so called “leaders” of our country. Whenever there’s a genuine topic raised, and people start discussing, they starting speaking in different languages, each of them speaking in language which only they understand. In fact, the view that the ‘third eye’ presented was more appreciable. And this ‘third eye’ being the foreign nationals either studying on the politics of Nepal, or those who had been living in Nepal for some years in some kind of social organization/GO/NGO. It was almost obvious. It can not be expected to have an unbiased view from these people when biasedness of their view has been deciding their progress. How unfortunate for us. I even don’t want to mention about the speeches of some of the ‘leaders’ from major political parties, and those representing the government of the country (poor them, the program was supposed to be in ENGLISH throughout!!). Some of them had come just to stand ‘naked’ in front of a group of people. (what else would you say when he does not understand what he is invited for, what he is supposed to talk about, or what he is being asked and what he is answering?). They might have returned with wonderful headlines in the tabloids back home, but the reality that I saw makes me ashamed forever. It was kind of funny, but I feel more ashamed. Because I can’t make fun of my country, its our weakness that we elect people like them to the government. It was good to hear that some of them could not make it up to the conference because the US embassy rejected their request for the VISA. Saved from being more ashamed!!
It was a whole day long program; I had landed at the wrong place.
And then there was a lunch break. Wow!! I don’t see a point in being stranded when I have the possibility of opting out. I just came out of the ongoing hullabaloo. And to my amazement, there is a different world outside. This is such a beautiful world. Manhattan is celebrating the ‘First Annual Street Dance Festival’. There are thousands of people dancing on the streets of Manhattan. That was an opportunity to see the world in one place again. There were Ballet, Contra, Country, Tango, Salsa, Waltz, Jazz, Disco, Hip-hop and break dance. There were skate dancers, belly dancers and samba dancers. There were people of different cast, creed and color, presenting their own specialties in dancing. There were Yoga Dancers, Osho Dancers and Fitness Dancers. And there was huge crowd of people being entertained, lined up all across the streets of Manhattan, almost all of them tapping their toes, and swaying their bodies in rhythm. It was an environment even “I” almost shook my body. It was again an opportunity to see the life twice as beautiful. There was a wonderful world outside, and I had nearly missed it!! I was happy about my choice.
And after an hour of observing the street dance festival, I went to the Union Square Park where I found the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the symbol of persistence perhaps! A light shower started when I was still sitting down on the park enjoying and not trying to remember what was still going on inside the conference hall. There were probably a bunch of people still talking about what they think only they know, and I think they also know but still don’t know it to the best of their abilities. I am not trying to be the opposition party leader, but few things are so unacceptable. And what I still believe is that the bunch of people present in there hardly contribute to the upliftment of the situation of the country in anyway. They are not helping the country out of the middle of nowhere. In fact, they are just trying to prove in different biased opinions, how well they understand that the country is in the middle of nowhere.
The shower has subsided, the crowd has fallen loose and each single person is beginning to catch his own pace. Drops of rain still trickle down my forehead, rolling down the chicks and dropping down the chin. It’s euphoric. It’s a day gone, and memories left. One more day when I lived the life twice as beautiful!!
bipul (NY, Jun 24, 2007)