it was 4 pm when i reached jawlakhel. an impromptu decision to go see the bhoto jatra. not my first time though. the benefit of being in scout was that you got to volunteer and then stand close to the rath when it all happens. but it wasn’t that enjoyable, standing all day and taking in the heat and the rain..and i was only in class 5 then.
anyways, it was crowded! i was told that the bhoto would be shown at 5 pm. i needed to pick an ideal spot to stand at..but well, i didn’t have too many choices coz everywhere i went, all i could see wear heads..heads of the public, the police, the scout students, guardsmen, band players…and yeah, the butts of horses that the traffic policemen decided to bring over to the Jatra. showoff! :-P
after getting pushed by the police…uta janus uta janus uta janus…kati choti sarne? myan oh myan. i was going to give up and walk away. but at 4:15 i decided to join the folks on the walls of NTC. so i climbed on the wall and clung onto the railing for the next hour or so. by the time 15 minutes had gone by on the railing, i was beginning to think…i must have holes in my socks by now..from applying too much pressure on my toes and well, i have been procrastinating on cutting my toe nails for some time…(well, good news..i didn’t end up with holes in my socks).
hmmmm…and so i wait, wait and wait…well, we all wait.
and in between the wait, the woman next to me, right side, with her extra long long hair (seriously she could have donated it to make two wigs for cancer patients..and one wig requires a minimum of 10 inches…it was that long. that’s one wish of mine…to donate my hair) had a quarrel with the lady standing below her. she was going wild..swearing in nepali and another language that i didn’t get. the quarrel started coz of a misunderstanding…but seriously, this woman’s hair was all over…hahahahaha…we all were trying to convince the woman to let it go but she kept on and on…she stopped when the police arrived on their super white bikes with that red light in front.
and then the old man on my left side started talking to the guy on the right of the woman next to me. they were chatting in newari about the jatra..the history and all that. i didn’t really understand their conversation. and the guy to the left of the old man was also asking him questions about the jatra and whether it happened else where…it was interesting that we all were strangers and somehow had come alone to see the jatra. hahahaha.
and then the president finally arrives..it’s way past 5 pm. anyways..we’re all eager to see the bhoto. and then, BLAST
my viewpoint wasn’t really that good. all i could see was the frame between the two huge hoarding boards that were blocking the rath. hahahaha..i could see the bhoto part though and when i saw the bhoto…i just laughed to myself. what the heck was i doing up on this wall for a whole hour, that too alone? not alone, but with no one i knew.
the bhoto looked like a piece of black chart paper from far. that’s all. i am grinning at myself after seeing the bhoto…and the best part is that the old man next to me says aloud, ‘maile teis (23) ra athais (28) saal ma herda jhil jhil thiyo…nakkali parecha…nakkali parecha…’
and then someone down the line repeats…’eh nakkali parecha re’. what a sad story.
the folklore is that the bhoto belonged to the king nag living at taudaha. he gave it to a farmer who cured his wife’s illness. and then some ghost stole it when the farmer had set the bhoto aside in the field. there was a dispute and the end decision was made by the king..that neither would own it, and that it would be shown once a year…and that’s bhoto jatra for you. and it’s on the last day of the rato machhendranath jatra of patan. well, at least that’s the version i’ve read hai.
and yeah, they say the original bhoto is not in kathmandu…in some museum in the UK or sth like that. not even sure about that either.
you should read ‘Whose bhoto is it, anyway?’ by Sumina Karki for more on bhoto jatra.
p.s.: i was caught on camera by bijay. in the last photo in the slide i’m carrying the check-check bag and wearing a red jacket.