Goat town

You see what I did there? It’s not ghost town, it’s goat town. Witty, huh? I know, I know, pretty lame, but in all honesty Kathmandu has turned into a goat town for the past couple of days. And it is not surprising given that on coming Saturday Hindu people celebrate the 8th day of Dasain called Maha Asthami. This is the day when the most demonic of Goddess Durga’s manifestations, the blood-thirsty Kali, is appeased through the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of buffaloes, goats, pigeons and ducks in temples throughout the nation. Blood, symbolic for its fertility, is offered to the Goddesses. Really, people don’t only do the sacrifice in temples but also in their yards.

I have been seeing goats all over the place these days. They are bleating everywhere I turn. This morning while driving to work, I realized a huge part of the road has been made into a goat market. It’s kind of cute and really morbid at the same time. People can be seen everywhere picking goats up to test the weight, inspecting them for fat and meat quality, and walking them around on a leash. Also driving them around on motorbikes and in taxis. It kind of looks hilarious, but when I remember the poor destiny of these animals, it’s not funny anymore.

What to say? Outlook is not positive. Sorry goat.

What to say? Outlook is not positive. Sorry goat.

I do like goat meat, or popularly known as mutton around here, but I’m not sure how I feel about meeting the origin of it in person. I’m a city child – I never had to kill an animal myself to eat it. But I do remember times when I would be dragged to chicken and pig slaughters (for a lack of better word) in the countryside when I was a kid. I suppose it’s not much different than goat sacrifice that will happen on Saturday. Yes, it’s cruel and probably unnecessary, but on the other hand it’s tradition and eventually a circle of life. Argh, it’s a tough one – it’s hard to pick a side.

What’s your take on the whole thing? Do share.

Goat or not, happy Bijaya Dashami everyone!

Odd is not always bad

  1. Goat in the back of the taxi, on a bike, on top of the bus… goat in every odd place (and pose) you could possibly imagine
  2. 4-member family on a motorcycle
  3. Policemen with a bamboo stick instead of weapons
  4. White person on a bicycle in a crazy traffic
  5. Monkey sitting on a telephone pole
  6. Awkward taglines on public transportation
  7. People carrying wardrobe / refrigerator / table / mattress on their back, just strolling down the street (it’s actually very impressive – Nepali people are very strong)
  8. Shops that sell bags and baggage – thank you very much, I think I have enough of my own baggage; I don’t need to buy yours.

There you have it!

 It seems like after staying here for a while, things people do around here and the way stuff functions, is getting less and less odd for me. Stockholm syndrome? Or maybe I am just becoming adjusted, settled, accustomed. Only time will tell. However, I still cannot find a way to accept goats in/on vehicles as something normal. I was in a taxi one day standing at the traffic light while another taxi came to a halt next to mine. I glanced over and I saw 4 people plus the driver sitting in the car. Nothing odd with that. But something seemed off. I glanced again and I realized there was a goat just standing in the trunk. And no one found it odd. Not even the goat. Everyone acted as it was the most normal thing in the world to drive around in taxi with a live goat in the trunk. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh at the sight or call animal control.


This is considered a small load!?

Later in the day when I told Mr.B. and some friends about this weird encounter, no one was surprised. All they said was: “Oh, yes, Dasain is approaching”. And that was the end of the conversation. As if that explains everything. Now that Dasain is almost here, it’ll be normal to see all kinds of stunts involving goats, they told me. I am particularly excited to see two guys on a motorbike with one goat in the front of the bike, and the other around the neck of the guy in the back. Apparently that happens too. Nepal gives a whole new meaning to expression “live and learn”.

Change is fun

It’s amazing how the weather here changed, what it seems, overnight. One day it was gloomy, dark and rainy, and the next morning I was awoken to sun peering in through the curtains and deep blue skies. Rain has given way to the sun. Monsoon has given way to the dry season. Yes, there still is occasional rain, but days have become significantly cooler, sunnier and spring-like. And the best part of all – there is a constant breeze that makes the air cleaner, clearer and cooler. It also drives all the kids up to the rooftops with kites in their hands. Have you ever read that book “The Kite Runner”? I have. It’s a good book. I’m not mentioning it because of all the bad stuff that happens in the book, but rather because of the tradition of kite flying. Apparently that does not happen only in Afghanistan. It seems kids here cannot wait for this time of the year when they climb their rooftops and fly kites all day long. When you look up to the sky, all you see is colorful kites making circles in the wind.

Didn't snap any photos myself so I used this one  from ExploreHimalaya.com

Didn’t snap any photos myself so I used this one from ExploreHimalaya.com

The other day was Nepal bandh here in Kathmandu. Bandh is essentially a strike called by whoever is not satisfied with something (usually political parties) which stops the life in the city completely. No vehicles are allowed on the roads, and all the markets and major businesses close for that day. It’s extremely inconvenient and annoying because it doesn’t really do much in achieving the goals of whoever called the bandh, but it significantly negatively affects the life or normal people who still need to get to work, this time walking all the way to their offices. I think the only ones happy because of the bandh are kids. There is no school and they are free to play all day long. As I said, the other day was bandh, which meant all the kids stayed home from school. When I looked out the window I saw kites whooshing out in the sky and I realized that almost every rooftop had a kid on it, playing and running around. It was an amazing sight. Apparently, Dasain time, which is coming up in December is the time when people get together, eat, play cards, celebrate and fly kites. I am excited to witness it myself. I noticed we have a kite up here in the attic waiting for the right time to be released towards the deep blue sky. I think it’ll be an awesome day when that happens.