It was mid 90s in Kathmandu... right before the turn of the century. You know, the New Millenium. I think that was the best time period for Kathmandu. For a couple of reasons.
I am not going to romanticize Kathmandu just because I was born here and I grew up here.
Its a beautiful place for me.
What was good about Kathmandu, and my child-hood I think it would be more suited if I say "my teenage", I had just entered my teens, and I scored like 80 percent in my exams and father bought me a FM radio. What? It was a huge deal for me. I used to be a really bad student. Like really bad.So, 80 percent was something really great. Of course that was grade 6 in galaxy public school and they gave marks for homeworks, and classworks, and tidy text books, and everything else. My father really thought I had done good in class.
Anyway, I got the radio, and I used to listen to Hits FM. Even before grade 6 I used to listen to hits FM. Of course most of the VJs of Hits FM left, and I dont know which frequency they are running in right now. There are so many FMs today.
I think there were a few back then, just the right number. Come to think of it, Kathmandu was in its peak at 90s. Some of you might disagree, you might say that Kathmandu reached its peak when Cat Stevens and Bob Serger sang about it and when hippies came and discovered Marijuana thus boosting the tourist economy.
But I was not around in the 60s. So, for me, Kathmandu saw its peak at 90s. Why do I think so? Well, first, there were not many people in Kathmandu. Less cars, smaller roads, and cheap transportation. Cross the cheap transportation part out. Because, it might not be relevant; and it might sound stereotypical too. Anyone asks you what you remember about the past, you say"ah, we used to buy the whole house for Rs. 200 or so."... you know.
Anyway, There were not many people around, Kathmandu was not overpopulated, Kapan, Budanilkanta was peaceful, there was no maoists, all the news was boring and it came from Nepal TV.. but the people who presented it looked really professionals. Ever seen that "She's the BOMB" guy present news?? Its just so wrong. Just really really wrong.
And we used to listen to FM. Kantipur FM was ok, from the start. ANd then came Image FM... I bought Rappaz Union... "In da House"... I think... it was an album cover with paper. Later I realized Lattu Hip-hop was much better, "YEI HO MANAVTA KO NATA? HUH?"
You could really guess image and kantipur wanted to develop themselves into this huge corporate house from the start. If you read the signs... They played contemporary music, both English and Hindi, and all of you being mindless ZOmbies sang those songs. Yeah, remember Backstreet Boys, and Boyzone, and Britney Spears?? Yes, I sometimes sang them when I went to school. Later it was Eminem, Avril Lavigne... yeah.. we all had our share of rough childhood. And hindi songs. I am proud to say the first cassette I bought was "Dil Se"- the guy won an oscar like after 10 years of Dil Se. See I have good taste.
But Hits FM was different. It had a different Image to that of Kantipur and Image (hehe that rhymed). Hits FM was not contemporary. It was more classical and off mainstream than contemporary. I think it was Hits FM where I first heard Janis Joplin, Elvis, CCR, the whole 50s 60s, 70s, 80s, era. Which was not really norm for Kantipur and Image because they served the mass.
I have this theory you know, never think about serving. You can always GIVE the people what they want. But in doing that, you will always be making them dumber. What I think one as a human being should do is share.
Not preach. Never preach. Just try to assimilate and share.
Anyway, Kathmandu was a great place to be in at that time. I was a teenager and my hormone were realizing girls. I started noticing girls in grade 4-5. My friends in Elites co-ed had girlfriend in grade 3... "will you be my girlfriend??... Yes... come on lets hold hands and sing a song..." .... You think that's weird? Well girls in Nepali Villages get married at around age 13-14 and they are mothers by the age of 15.
I bet you (people who can read english) were still watching cartoon network and saying "PICKA-CHOOOO" at that age. So, next time you flinch to a villager and might think about calling them ignorant, think about how you would have coped if you had their life to live.
But you would have survived. We all adapt to our situations thats what makes us humans. For example, if Kathmandu is really dusty and dirty, we complain, and protest, and maybe show our frustrations by cleaning Bagmati, but at the end of the day, we all wear face-masks. Its not because of just swine flu though.
I wonder off all the time. I was talking about 90s Kathmandu. The golden era. The time when girls started wearing jeans pants. The time when eating out was slowly becoming a culture, MoMos had established itself into Kathmandu's tastebuds, Gairidhara Nan sekuwa Corner was establishing, Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket was to be the biggest building around. ANd girls. Girls... started wearing jeans pant. Before that they might have been in salwar, or maybe they were already wearing jeans and I only noticed them later. But they didn't have those shapy jeans that girls wear today. You know those tight ones which you cannot take your eyes off once you look at them... hehe... It was more masculine jeans. Wearing pants was not only fashion then, it was more of a statement, that girls and guys were equal. This is one of the reason I respect my school Principal- Geeta Rana. I think she had that influence in that decision... see, Girls wore skirts until grade 5 Some of my friends still remember the colors of some of the girl's panties from back then... I came in at grade 6; so you cant blame me at all.
From grade 6, Galaxy girls wore pants. And I think I started noticing other girls who wore pants. Of course in KU, girls wore skirts, its a different Story all together. I believe Pants a symbol of control.... You know, a symbol of masculinity... of Manhood. Men wore pants above their waits on their belly buttons to hide that bulge of a stomach. Girls (unmarried of course) too wore pants but they were below their belly button right on the weist. Because they did not have that bulge of a stomach they looked very classy. Girls had them altered and made most men stare at the perfect shape... which is actually an illusion created by the master tailor... anyway, pants symbolized masculinity... sort of an equal-ness and girls did it with flair and sophistication... guys later followed suit with choose pants... geeta rana called it drain pipe pants... they go great with converse shoes.... Nowadays, Married women wear pants around the house. I think I would call them the boarding school generation.
You see. After every political revolution, there is this huge wave of change in Nepal... i think It was after the 1990s revolution which brought Kathmandu into a more westernized ( of course India influenced westernized) world.The introduction of cable television, people looking to go out and explore... and I think It was after that era that Kathmandu had more schools like Little Angels, Galaxy Public School, GEMS, AVM, ... which had many girl students and you know a sort of a patriarchal society was being transformed into a society where people believed that girls should have a chance to have good education. Girls went to St. Mary's school instead of Mahendra vidhya... you know the white dress school beside sano gaucharan. There were very cute girls studing there back then. But parents were under the idea that private education with more money investing has a more secure base for the future.
And of course, Co-education.
Now, if you remember, we have established earlier... like 2-3 paragraphs back that Nepalis are horny from their teens, and combine that with the FM culture which thrived from dance parties, and discos and concerts, you know events which helped young people get together. Also, there was a lot of influence from Hindi Cinema. LOVE was being explored. Amir Khan Escapes runs away with Juhi Chawla to have a romantic song after college. It was established. Of course, some films like "Bobby" had established it for people of older generations and maybe Amir KHan and Juhi chawla films only strenghtened the feeling more... Anyway, So, it was a great time for Nepali teens to explore cultures.
I was never a part of those events... I hated discos. I went to a few video game arcades; and that was that. But more so, I went to concerts. But I never played an instrument. I wanted to. But you know, its one of those things you want and you have to work hard to get and you dont want it anymore because the work seemed tedious. But There were many guys who played instruments. Who were good at sports. I never played any sports. I never saw any point to it. Of course we played some cricket in Tudikhel. But its a different story.
Overall, I think it was a great era. It ought to be. I grew up in this era.
It was also the era of cordless phones.... and... Well... I heard this conversation once. I woke up real early like around 4 am to do my Samajik Sikchya homework. And, you know, i was tuning my radio.
ANd i heard this conversation....
since I am paraphrasing, I might not get it exact.
It was between a boy and a girl, so you can guess what kind of relationship they had.... well, its
Its in Nepali.... so, i hope you guys have fun eavesdropping....
girl: bihana 4 baji sakyo hai 11 baje dekhin 4 baje samma 5 hours phone mah guff
boy : naya record hai. aajhai badaune ki yeashmai banda garne (keta lai nindra lagna thaleko 1 hour bhayesakeko thiyo)
girl : je gare pani huncha
boy : bichari timilai maile raat bhari uthaye hai.
girl : chyaa haina come on. jabardaasti uthayeko haina ni.. malai sutna mann bhayeko bhaye mah aginai saade 1 baje sutthiye (exact time when the girl wanted to sleep)
boy : laaaa. aaba suta hai. timilai rest chahincha ni.
girl : la timi pani suta.
boy: lah aaba phone rakha.
girl :nai timi rakha,
boy:haina rakha phone mah last samma sunne timro aawaz.
girl : haina timi rakha.
boy : hyaa rakhihala nah kehi hunna kiii.
girl : timi rakhna nah tah uso bhaye kehi nahune bhaye.
boy: haina mah narakhne re.
girl : ke mah pani rakhdina uso bhaye.
boy: rakha nah hyaa.... pheri bholi college janu parcha nindrai pugdaina timilai.
girl : je sukkai gara mah rakhdai rakhdina.
boy : lah lah sangai rakhne lah.
girl : lah lah
boy : 3 ganne ani sangai rakhne.
girl : ok suru gara count garna.
boy : nai timi suru gara.
girl: nai mah suru gardina timi gara suru.
boy : lah lah sangai garne hai
boy: khai rakheko???
girl: timi pahila rakha nah.
boy : hera yesto taal le hundai hundaina. phone bill dherai aauncha.
girl : ho ni mero last month 3900 aayeko thiyo.
boy : mero tah 4500 aayo last month.
boy: kasto gali khaye bhane.
girl : mero tah internet chalayera huncha ani tessaile dehrai aayeko bhanera bhanchu.
girl: aaaba rakha hai ekdum thakiyo.
boy: phone mah guff garda kheri pani thakincha ra?
girl:thankincha ni. pheri bholi college janu parcha.
boy: lah bholi bhetumla ni uso bhaye.
girl: aaba rakha nah lah
boy: lah timi rakha
girl: ha ha. jhagada nagara kya rakhihala.
boy : lah lah aaba rakhne laa...............
girl : timile saas phereko sunirachu maile.
boy: timi rakhe pachi mah rakhchu bhanera kurirako thiye.
girl: lah hai tah rakhnne lah.
boy: ok aaba serious hunu parcha.
girl : bye
boy: good night
girl: good night
boy : lah hai
girl: lah bye bye...
boy: bye bye.
girl : lah rakha aaba
boy : haina timi rakha