I am one of those armchair activists that must voice my opinions on what is happening in Nepal even as I won’t make the sacrifices to be part of them. But again you can take a Nepali out of Nepal but never Nepal out of a Nepali.
It’s in moment like these when you feel the price one has to pay for being away from your country. The op-ed piece in NY Times has devoted a section to a guest writer from Nepal: ManjuShree Thapa. I have been up frequently over the night to see if the election has been marred by disruptions. I wish there was an hourly update of the election situation in Nepal on the web. I have a mixed bag of emotions: a strange sense of foreboding, a feeling of helplessness, an undying hope that things will be fine because of the enormity of the implications for our future. After all, the whole election seems too good to be true. Only a month ago we seemed so far way from all this. It seemed that the government and the country were lazily going down an abyss that they had willfully or obliviously not planned for.
The implications of the CA elections came upon me in a very unusual way. I tried calling home a few days ago. But after finally getting through the line, no one picked up. My family had left town to be in our village to vote for the elections. This comes with some material sacrifice: the cost of transportation which is not trivial when you think of a big family, closing down our business for multiple days and leaving the house empty in Kathmandu. Would I do it? The rational side of me says, ‘No’. It would be foolish to sacrifice the business of 5-6 days. But I am proud to see my family be responsible citizens of the new Nepal. My family’s dedication makes me grasp what the CA election must mean to the aspirations and peace-hopes of our countrymen.
My sense of disenfranchisement hangs heavy. I have never voted in my life-too young when I was in Nepal and always out of the country when I was over the suffrage age. The destiny of my country is being shaped and I am watching from afar. It is not so much that I need to be an actor in the event unfolding, but more a desire to be a part of it. Our country has paid far too big a price for a hopeful tomorrow and an end to an archaic system. There is hope and there is fear.
There are a few times in one’s life when you are witness to an event that is so big. It is funny when you juxtapose what the day means in Nepal to what it means in the US. Here it is just another day in a busy week. And it doesn’t seem right that even in the biggest day of our lifetime I must go through a full day of work.