we’re being plotted out (the great walls of housing II)


this is a continuation of a long overdue post….

Yellow Komatsu giants  move across the lazy slopes of the barren land. The giant rubber tires of the machines leave their marks in the soil – still moist from last night’s rain. There is nothing here…but machines and stacks of bricks lying here and there…waiting to be cemented.

I had read that some 25 years ago, Kathmandu used to be self-sufficient in food. But these rich fertile lands are becoming legends like lakhes in Nepali folk stories. Soon, they will only be in books.

At Bhaisepati, where I spent parts of my childhood playing hide & seek in the rice fields, there now lies wide black tarred roads – squeezing in the fields from all sides. Taking a break from Dashain, I walk downhill from Magar Gaun.

The sight is a breathtaking as the road ends and all you can see are stretches of rice fields. In all shades of greens and yellows, the rice grains sway in the morning breeze. I walk through the fields as some are busy harvesting the grains and some preparing for a harvest. Around here, they mostly grow Pokhareli and Taichin.

However, even these pretty terraces, albeit with rice plantations, haven’t been spared. They have already been ‘plotted’.

Baini, tyo pani plot garisakyo…ani yo pani..uta sabai plotting garisakyo. Aba dui teen barsa ma yo khet hudaina. Aba ta bahira bata chamal leraye pani pugdaina.

I talk to a farmer who is harvesting rice. I tell him how I used to play in fields out here. He tells me that it’s good that I came to see this part of the Valley.

But neither of us can do anything about the ongoing ‘plotting’ as we gaze far into the horizon.

Thick stone walls, haphazardly cemented, have created easy pathways to navigate the fields but they come more as curses than boons for the farmers out here…and to us. In a few years time, these fields will become like the those I saw in Tokha – barren and awaiting their fates as another housing scheme.

But there’s nothing I can do about the gated community or even worse high-rise apartments, which will soon block my view of the Shivapuri Hills. Or about the pent houses rising only some 10 minutes away – to the left and right of where I live.


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