Tuesday, December 13, 2011


 Pakhribas................that Pakhribas                                                                                                                                           Oh!! And we watched a lot of Hollywood movies and got the first view of the TV during the 80s, we learned to laugh at the hilarious scenes from those English movies even though we didn't understand what they meant. I remember how  I had explained a kissing scene from a movie to one of my elders, like a film critic,"Do you know when these people kiss then they have already joined their sexual parts on the below." That bro had laughed and said,"Is it so?Is it so?" That was a different time, then Nepal was so narrow, the world for me was just my village and now when I reminisce those moments I feel it wasn't just for me but to many more who lived there in Pakhribas, it was the whole world for them. Pakhribas was a much adored destination for the job-seekers. Years later, during one of the conversations with my Principal from the school in Kathmandu. he had expressed his bitterness," I, too, had gone to your Pakhribas once in search of a decent job but I didn't like that place at all!" But I understood what he meant really!! He had not been qualified in the job even though he had cleared his Master of Science. But neither my father had attended school nor the Operator Grandpa! Because of the exposure they had among the British people, these old men fly away with their broken English with confidence!!
  The most enthralling thing for us, then, was to go towards the Community hall at night and have a peek at the movies being shown. Children and women would not be allowed for some movies and we would go through the ordeal of watching those movies at any cost. Even when we were allowed, we had to hide behind some elders when some frightening scenes would be played. I remember one of my friends, he used to get afraid of some normal scenes and would start lowering his head................he's somewhere in India right now, living the life of a Buddhist monk. Films we watched but the interesting thing would be the following day when our Lahure uncles would tell us to replicate the scenes from those movies. They would make us box with each other having our fists wrapped around with plastic covers from a garbage disposal site.....that was bad! We were just children and many times, in the heat of the battle, when we would get all excited.............many friends have lost their moving teeth...the particular tooth which was about to fall off. The elders were always busy in gambling. We used to have rumours that most of the elders of our village had been black-listed by the CDO! There was money in Pakhribas, flying all around, but they never used it for a good purpose. Now I remember, maybe, there might not have been good places for that money to go! Like moths, people were flying around the fluorescent light emitted by the British Pound, maybe they never realised that the light would, one day, go off! Then it was always Tihar in Pakhribas, the festival of gambling, neither there was any other means of killing the time!! Even as children we used to hear about the promiscuity our parents practised around, who laid whom and who touched the red cheeks of the Bhotinis at Hile. Hile, now a throbbing town, was then just a little village. Pakhribas Bazaar was just being shaped at that time.                                                                                                            
When we were children, we used to frequently visit Operator Baje's office because his office was one place that had something!! Whenever we would go there, he would be sitting beside the wireless set with large headphones on his head and shouting out Tango Charlie Hotel India and so on...We used to wonder a lot as to what he was upto........ but later only we realised that he was communicating with the people from Dharan and Kathmandu. Every Sunday he was the one who used to inform us as to which film was coming on a Doko from Hile. We used to ask anxiously,"Are we allowed, Grandpa?" Maybe it was him who had named all the children as Sundays (Aaitabare). Till now I haven't understood why older people usually say Aaitabare to the little children!!                                                                         
It was on the mattress we used to sit and watch those movies from a projector, but later the movie reels stopped coming to Pakhribas Agricultural Centre because they said that Ghopa Camp was being dissolved. But by then a few TVs had already arrived in the village and we started entertaining ourselves with Indian movies on Doordarshan. .......Oh my God! How surprised we were when Dharmendra drove villains under the soil with just his two fingers!! Then, watching TV was like a fete, people would be craning from the windows because the room would already be packed...usually inside the PAC residential quarters. We would continue staring at the box even when Krishi Karyakram(Agriculture Proram) used to be aired where usually two people would have a long conversation about various aspects of agriculture, which we never understood!! English language, we were not good at even though we had been watching English movies since our birth but maybe because of Hindi having similarities with Nepali language, we had no difficulties in being adept at.                                                                                             
  One thing must be said-Though the British pound flowed like a stream and though there were PAC's letter pads as toilet paper in every one's house, peace and happiness were nowhere to be found in the families that resided in Pakhribas......maybe I did not notice them, that's another thing. Most of the families were full of strife, it could be because most of the families were from the Mongol tribe. This overall situation led to the murder of a man in the local shop and the reason was very trivial-carromboard! The youngster knifed the man as he was not allowed to participate in that game, which obviously was a bet. 
The nights always saw the local bhattis(pubs) filled with customers. There were hundreds from all over Nepal who had gathered there in that little village, trying to earn a living. As PAC had not been able to facilitate all its employees with residential quarters, the employees had covered all of the houses with thier families...........not a house was empty....not a little room in the attic.
The Centre in itself was like a little Switzerland, the little houses with the red rooves and a little garden in front of each house!Every nook and cranny was cleaned everyday, nowhere could we see an unnecessary growth of much they must have invested to make the Centre look so tidy? The Centre was always under heavy protection, during the harvest time of the apples, the watchmen used to sleep under the apple trees in some chic tents. We had to rack our brains to steal the apples/ but succeed we would.........below would be strawberries and above apples. We used to lie on the strawberry plants and have a feast of strawberries and apples! I guess we were not malnourished at that time! Peas and cucumbers we ate as if our fathers had planted them! Whenever we would not be successful in watching the not-allowed movies , then we would vent our anger by entering the residential areas and pee on the bottles of pickle which the families residing there would have left outside to dry, we even peed and defecated in front of the front doors................................................
                                                 to  be  continued ................................                                                                               

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