Dashain blues

Published On: September 22, 2017 08:54 AM NPT By: Kalu Maila

When you were kids Dashain was all about flying kites, wearing new clothes, eating lots of food till your tummy hurt and not worrying about school for a few weeks.

You wished that Dashain would last for the whole year and you could live life like in the fairytales. And you would show your new outfit to your friends and be proud of your parents for buying you the shiny cap and colorful pants. 

Then you became a teenager and Dashain was about hanging out with your friends, stealing other people’s kites, being embarrassed about wearing new clothes and instead wearing old ones, tearing some parts of it if possible and trying to grab a few alcoholic drinks and some nicotine sticks to show the world except your parents that you were finally a grown up.

Yes, you had to rebel because of your age and the parents you loved a few years ago were now your enemies.  

Yes, all the rebellion stuff and experimenting with products harmful to one's health was done out of sight of your family members because you didn't want to get thrashed if they caught you trying to light up or drink the local chyaang in one go at some local bhatti. But you got thrashed anyway because one of the little munchkins (if you could call them that) who played with marbles outside your house always told your mother what you were up to.

While Dashain is fun for kids, it is kind of boring for teens. Then Dashain becomes fun again when you become a working professional. It's more about playing cards, enjoying the protein and booze and not worrying about your job for a week. You will stress about the additional expense that Dashain shopping and feasting bring about but that’s still manageable. 

If you are a government official then Dashain is all about haggling with your local liquor shop for discounts on foreign whiskeys because you have to gift your bosses or else they might forget about you when it comes to promotions and postings.

The things you have to do when you are an adult will never make sense. And if you are a restaurant owner who also sells alcohol in your establishment then be prepared to be visited by the great cops in your neighborhood asking for whiskey or even a goat or two for their higher-ups. A friend of mine owns a cake shop but our cops don't seem to want any cakes at all.

I guess they do not have any sweet tooth and would rather prefer the alcoholic beverages and meat.  He hopes that one day the cop who is in charge of his neighborhood will be a cake-loving person.

When we were kids we always thought that every parent in the country would receive free money from somewhere and they would buy clothes for their children. As we grew older, we realized how hard it was for most of our parents to save or even take a loan to have a good Dashain. And when you are now parents and you have kids who expect something new for Dashain then you are thankful to your parents and wonder how they managed to handle all the finances and families during the strenuous time of Dashain. 

Yes, Dashain is the time to get gifts but our government officials have it easy while most of us have to think twice before buying new clothes or even have to think how to make your relatives happy while your savings disappear. 

During our days, Dashain was a time for kites. But kids nowadays don't seem to enjoy flying kites during Dashian anymore. Well, there are still a few who are still keeping the tradition alive and these kids should be given some kind of a medal by our President for at least keeping it old school rather than hiding inside one's room and playing virtual kite games on the iPad or mobile phones.  Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea for parents to enforce a “no gadget” rule this Dashain. Perhaps that would force kids to actually go out and fly kites. 

Dashain also means travel time for some families because it’s the only times when everyone gets holidays. This Dashain, I had earlier planned to take my wife to a foreign land again like most of the people in the capital. But as most of the people out there, I too suffer from money-tight-is that is a financial disease we all are stricken with these days.

The last time we went to a foreign land was during Dashain a few years ago. My wife loved the shopping part but hated the food whereas I hated the shopping part but loved anything to do with lemongrass. And ask any husband in this whole wide world and you will get the same answer when it comes to how hard it is to wait for hours while one’s wife is busy shopping. The men would rather climb Everest bare foot than sit down in a corner and wait for their wives to get done with their shopping. 

Since we couldn’t go to some exotic location, my wife and I sat down and tried to figure out what to do this Dashain. We decided to go to Pokhara to visit our relatives and even plan go to Muktinath if we have the time. After all, it is better to spend your money back home and promote local tourism as well. This is what I have been telling my wife while silently congratulating myself for managing to save some serious cash by staying in Nepal.  

The writer is a house husband who believes in changing, if not the world, the community he lives in one person at a time. Reach him at kalumaila99@gmail.com

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