In my previous life, I used to have both excitement and dread when Dashain drew near. New clothes—for child, the wife, myself, and because we traveled back to the ancestral home in another city (which happened to be the same for both of us),new cloths for parents on both sides—verily, it was most dreadful on the poor wallet, what with the salary being quite meagerly, and the Dashain expense mirroring that exactly.
Normally, what happened was this: the damn salary and expenses were paid just a few days before the holidays began, and one hadto endure endless nagging for days on things like, “Have you seen the crowds in so-and-so department store? By the time we go to buy a dress for the child, there won’t be any good styles left!” and “When are you booking the tickets? We better make it home by Phulpati, otherwise your mother’s going to give us hell!”
Doubtless, such must be a common scenario for countless number of people all over the county. It’s a trying time,Dashain, but it’s an occasion that nobody can stay aloof from. This year, quite a few remained untouched by the World Cup fever, but rest assured that no one is going to remain immune to this annual fever called Dashain. So demanding is the festival—on pocket, on time, on family, on relationships—that one is liable to get a hangover that will last for days!
Hope it doesn’t last too long, otherwise you won’t be able to deal with Tihar, another pretty demanding affair, especially with sweetmeats as expensive, if not more so, than the thousand-and-more-bucks-a-kilo mutton that makes Dashain and Tihar all the more of a back-breaking affair. The lights will no doubt burn as bright as last year; thanks to Nepal Electricity CEO Kul Man Ghising’s miraculous achievement of making load-shedding a forgotten memory, but the high prices of everything from vegetables to meat to oil to sweets to gold to…to…to… will also no doubt burn holes in everybody’s pocket.
And, for this, the controlling of prices, we haven’t yet found a man with as magical a wand as Mr. Ghising’s, which is a shame. A shame, because the country today has leaders at the helm who proselytize all day and all night long about how it’s going to do this and do that, and what’s more, they appear to be a believable lot, compared to past rascals. Of course, the most important hindrance to making successful plans is the acute lack of funds.
In the light of all this, sometimes, I wish we could do away with Dashain for at least one year—a break, of sorts. Imagine how much money would be saved! Five million households multiplied by a substantial amount (the Dashainkharcha). Imagine if this could be used to build some big hydro projects or some much-needed road or a really modern cancer hospital or a fantastic international airport or…or..or, the requirements are many and the funds are few. Well, it might seem an absurd thought, but really, a Dashain break sometimes could pave the way for development and jobs, so that no one needs to be away in U.A.E. or Kuwait or Qatar or Saudi Arabia or Malaysia or Korea during any Dashain in the future.