Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Pakhribas, that Pakhribas!!पाख्रिबास, त्यो पाख्रिबास !!
             My father said that the Pakhribas Agricultural Centre was established in the 70s to reintegrate the ex-Gurkhas of the British Army.Its sole purpose during its establishment was to feed the Gurkhas with some agriculture sense so that they could spend their retirement being productive. Hence, most of the employees here were ex-Gurkhas, as I go through the memory lane. One man was there( he is still here).......everyone called him Operator.....he had been a radio operator during his tenure in the Queen's army and still everyone calls him Operator Baje(grandpa).Others were compounders, cooks and so on. They had wasted all of their youth fighting in the jungles of Malaysia, posted in Hongkong and maybe their employers decided to give them a good time in their retirement, and had collected most of them here. Pakhribas, then was an entertaining I remember. When we were children, we used to try our best in watching the movies which used to be shown in the Center and mimic them the next day. The films which arrived on dokos from Hile  used to be labelled beforehand. Circulars used to be issued whether children would be allowed to view the movie or woman would be allowed to view the movie. Especially when they brought horror movies and movies with lots of sex scenes then we would not be allowed to view them. But they say prohibiting something is challenging the children to do that same thing, we, with whatever cost, would be determined to watch that special movie. Whether it be, we had to camouflage ourselves with leaves or climb over barbed fences. And the romance of every Sunday night would start, with the setting of the sun. ....
The way we would be determined to watch those movies, just in the same degree, the watchmen of the Center( they were in plenty) would be determined to keep us away from the Community Hall where the films were shown through a projector on a wide screen on the wall. Our hide and seek would start with the fool them we had to devise a lot of tricks........we used to cover our bodies with leaves and grass(inspiration from the war movies we had watched) and hiding through the forests and the office buildings, we would always reach near the hall. Then we would climb secretly on the windows and peek in through the curtains. Oh what an obligation!!
                I think the movies which we watched in Community Hall used to be fresh releases from Hollywood. The film reels found their way to Pakhribas via the Bristish Council at Kathmandu and then Ghopa Camp at Dharan. Nowadays when I bump into those movies/scenes on the movie channels, then I get into the bittersweet reminiscence of those days. The difference now and then is, the kids can flip through the channels lying on their couch whereas we had to struggle so much to watch those movies......not forgetting all the bruises and cuts we received while venturing into the jungles at night. There were no TVs in Pakhribas and I feel there were a only very few of them throughout Nepal. Later, when we started watching Hindi movies then we were surprised to see the heroes knock out 10 to 12 villains in just one punch! I can never forget the night we had watched that time our innocent hearts understood how much excitement lies dormant in the hearts of the grown-ups! For us(the children), that movie was just about a boxing competition but listening to the grown-ups frantically whistling, clapping and shouting behind us whenever Stallone punched Dolph.............we understood it was something else! They shouted with all their might, suggesting Stallone to hit and kill that bastard.....that night they nearly brought the house down with their screams!
During the kissing scenes in the movies, we just wondered like retards as to what they were really upto.......and whenever some scenes got boring and we used to fret around or start talking then,always, a man would come up to us in the dark and start doing,"" If that man is still alive maybe he still makes others quiet with his hushing.                                                                                    
That Pakhribas was different, people got salaries converted from the British Pound, they played lawn-tennis on Saturdays, they played basketball, volleyball and squash in the evenings. The squash hall must have been the first of its kind in Nepal. During lunch breaks, they entertained themselves with one two shots of dart at the canteen. Office used to start at eight and lunch break from 12 till 1 and everything over at 3. The timing was denoted by the blow from a whistle(previously there was a siren), our Gyan uncle would go up the Helipad and blow at the whistle with all the wind in his lungs and then the everyday spectacle would begin........people rushing from all around, afraid that they would be a minute late!! Hundreds of workers would run along the village as if the sky was about to fall. Then, we understood what British time really meant! 8 o'clock was always the time for a rally!! Back then we didn't have the slightest notion about the number of people who worked in the Centre!! ..........................................................................................................To  be continued .....                                                                                                                                                                                                              

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