November 2, 2018 08:02 AM NPT
By: Kalu Maila
Photo: Dipesh Shrestha
I like Tihar more than Dashain. Dashain is like a week-long break and you get bored after a day or two unless you decide to go to one of those ASEAN countries during the festive season. Then, even a week is not enough.
The first day of the Dashain holidays is fun because you know you can take a break from everything. If you are a doctor then no more patients for a few days, especially the ones who use Google a lot and come to you with their own diagnosis and method of treatment even before you take a look at them.
If you are a conductor, not the music kind but of a bus, then Dashain is hectic because now you have to fit in a lot more people on the roof and in the aisle as well. You get to make more money and put some in your pocket too. If you are an office person then Dashain is the time to forget about your boss unless you need a promotion or a posting to a better place. If that’s the case then you better buy a bottle of Black Label and a khasi to gift it to the person who has the power to either make or break your career. Yes, flattery and free gifts work everywhere from government offices to the private sector.
Dashain starts to get boring after a day or two until the main day when you get to receive tika from your elders. When you are a kid, a fifty rupee note is like a million bucks. When you are a teenager, fifty rupees gets you not much but enough to grab some pani puri or half a plate of vyar vyar momos. When you are past your college life, then you feel that your elders are out of touch with reality because fifty rupees now will get you nothing. If our economists did the math, then we probably waste billions of rupees worth of rice for tika during Dashain. I think it’s better if we just stick with colors instead of mixing rice and yogurt. I think our government should make it a law and that too mandatory for people to stop using these stuff to make tika.
Tihar, on the other hand, is a whole different story. If you have a cow then you get to worship the cow. In the old days, every other house would have cows for milk. Now, you see old cows volunteering as traffic personnel in major intersections of the city.
Our kids do not even know from where we get the milk. It’s about time our government introduced a ‘one house one cow’ policy where we get a cow and since we don’t have time or people to take care of the holy animal, we can all join a dairy co-operative and work out some kind of a deal. At least, we will not be getting adulterated milk products from our dairy companies and we can enjoy fresh milk from our own cows – all from the convenience of our homes to boot.
Photo: Keshab Thoker
If you have a dog then you get to worship the dog. Dog is a person’s best friend. Dogs don’t complain like people. And they will stick with you through thick and thin and give back the same unconditional love you shower on them. And crows are everywhere and they come uninvited so they have it the best but old folks tell us that crows are messengers and they will let you know when anything bad is happening. So if you have a gang of crows making noise outside your window early in the morning then you should be aware that either you are going to get fired from your job that day or you will get stopped by a traffic cop and slapped a fine for not having the blue book with you. But some folks tell us that crows are not all bad and also bring good luck so don’t worry that you will drop dead just because you see hundreds of crows having a karaoke session behind your house. Their friends are probably doing the same somewhere else.
And you get to light up the house as if there is another wedding and you get to pray to Goddess Laxmi for lots of wealth. But for some unknown reason, most of us do not seem to be in sync with our Gods and Goddesses upstairs. We celebrate Dashain and Tihar as festivals of victory over evil where good always triumphs in the end. But, here in our country, we pray a lot and we also pay a lot and still we have to deal with a lot of problems.
It seems that the rich continue to get richer while the poor get poorer. But I often console myself by focusing on the fact that, at the end of the day, it’s not wealth that counts but health that matters the most. You may lose your wallet today and your month’s salary with it but you can always work hard and buy another wallet another day but if you are not in good health then you will never get to buy that wallet because all your money will go to the doctor to make his or her wallet bulgier. I say this because I know many people who will again use this festival as an excuse to drink and eat to their heart’s content. Let that not be the case and enjoy Tihar sensibly.