Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Tokyo University, been working for a renowned Tokyo-based construction company for last 10 years, he is the man behind many skyscrapers, city parks, gated colonies, and a lot other infrastructural projects in Japan and Singapore. Recently, he has been awarded with the highest honor in architect society. He has been highly respected, globally and nationally. He is one of the most-followed NRN on social media. Today, it’s his 40th birthday.
Sitting on his balcony holding a glass of wine, he thinks of his home country, Nepal. Bit tipsy, bit thoughtful, recapping his life and career, he asks to himself, “Is this how am I supposed to end my life?” “Is this place I am to settle forever?” He has everything – wife, children, high-paying job – but not the satisfaction towards life because his heart is in his home country. Lately, he has been feeling strongly that it’s time for him to make use of his knowledge and skill in developing his country. He imagines himself being in a position where he could implement his knowledge for the development of his country. He thinks of the Singapore project he led and wonders how nice it would be if he gets a chance to do so for Kathmandu. He thinks of many things. By this time, he was already drunk. He opens up his Facebook and posts, “I am contesting for Mayor of Kathmandu.”
Just in an hour, overwhelming responses start flooding his inbox and newsfeed with “tapai jasto manche aaunu paryo desh banauna.” It already feels like he has won the election because everyone seems going to support him.
He quits his job, packs his bag, lands to his beloved country to prepare for the election.
D-day is here. He contests for the election, and wins the election as anticipated. The sound of cheers and woos gives the vibe that Kathmandu finally got a mayor she needed. Everyone is like “aba kai huncha. A man with so much of experience and exposure, who built Tokyo and Singapore will surely turn Kathmandu into a world-class city.” That’s the table talk in every house and coffee shop.
Day 1 as a mayor in the office. He is super excited and motivated to implement his knowledge and vision to turn the city into his dream city. In a welcome party, he gives a very moving and promising speech talking about his plans and his visions and pleads the team to help him accomplishing his dreams and visions. Office staffs quietly look at each others because for them, it’s one of many mayors who gave similar speech on day 1. However, they are optimistic about him because whatsoever he is not the typical politician got into power.
Right after the welcome party, he calls for a meeting with senior staffs from Mayor office to talk about how he plans to move further.
“There is so much traffic jam in Koteshwor-Jadibuti area. My plan is to build three-layer flyovers there…”
Immediately a senior staff interrupts in a hesitating tone,
“Sir, we can’t do anything there. The section falls under Department of Road, and only they can initiate. The section does not fall in our jurisdiction.”
“But it’s Kathmandu’s problem!”
“Yes, but the section is highway and as per the rule, highways are to be only taken care by Department of Roads.”
He was quite shocked to learn this.
“That’s the rule sir. We have been lobbying for but rule is rule.”
“Okay, then let’s begin from a City Planning project.” He proposes second plan. He always thought Kathmandu could be like Copenhegan – classy yet sophisticated city. With a smile, he lightly ask “hope we can do that”
“We can.” Staffs smile back.
“Do we have architects in office?”
“Yes sir, 10 architects are there.”
“Okay, ask them to prepare their own model for Copengegan kind of city planning for Kathmandu.”
With lot other talks on different rules and processes, the meeting is adjourned. For couple of days, he gets busy with usual mayor roles and responsibilities, meetings and planning.
A week later, he calls for a meeting to talk about city planning that he had asked to prepare. Everyone comes up with their own designs. Looking at the design, in a frustrated tone mixed with anger and sadness, “What is this?? Is this all you guys could envision? is this even a design? I had clearly asked you to give me something like that of Copenhagen. Could not you guys just google and research?” A staff whispers in his ears, “sir, they are old-schooled. Most of them have English language barrier, so googling and researching is not their thing. This is the kind of design work they are used to with and this is all they can do.”
Unsure about what to say, he asks everyone to leave the room except for the secretary. He bursts out with frustration “Is this the kind of people we have as architect?” How can we work then?” He asks the secretary,
“Can I hire architects?”
“Yes sir, but for that you need to justify why we need to hire architects and then coordinate with Loksewa to get them.”
“It will take me 6 months then?”
“What’s the shortcut?”
“Get interns. You can have interns in contract though.”
Right away, he posts on his social media “looking for highly self-motivated architects to help me turning my vision into a reality. Come be part of this history making”
After all, he is a celebrity mayor with tons of followers. So many ready to work voluntarily for him. He selects some to build his own team of architects, but then most of them were freshers and he realizes they need to be taught many things. That’s when he learns how poor and pathetic product is coming from our engineering and architect colleges. From basics to basics, when he has to guide and mentor, things feel like going to take forever if he goes this way. “I will do it myself.”
He takes 6 days leave from office, locks himself in a room to complete the design. After 6 days, he gets back to office with big relief because now he has his map and design ready to turn the city into the Copenhegan like city as per his vision. He had designed many many projects in life, but he was never happy and excited as much as he is now. As soon as he enters the office,
“Sir, we have a problem.”
“Lots of files and cases are piling up…there are strikes going on in landfills and media is creating fuss out of all that”
“You guys could have done something.”
“Without your signature, we cannot do anything sir.”
“What?!” He is just learning now that a whole city can go in halt because of his own signature. Many people would be stuck for bills just for that one signature from him.
“Okay leave it…I will take care.”
It took him almost a week to settle everything. During that, he had barely a time to look into the map and think over. Finally, he could catch a breath. He sits in his office staring at the map and project he designed. Takes a long breath. It’s almost 6 PM. He is too tired. Already 3 months, since he got elected. He can’t even remember when was the last time that he had me-time for himself. “I need a me-time.” He wants to forget everything for a while – just want to relax for the evening and fresh start on the project from tomorrow. He goes to a pub to grab some drinks, and have that Me time over music.
Next morning, he wakes up to a news “Kathmandu mayor partying over taxpayers money.”
“WTF. I can’ even have my personal life?” He was so pizzed off looking at the news. He logs in to his Facebook. He is all over the news and people commenting all the bad things about him. Inbox filled with lectures and patronizing. Overnight, he has become a meme material all because he wanted to have a quiet me-time for himself. He feels like crying but he controls himself. He goes to office with the map in his hand. Every staff looks at him skeptically. He can sense something not right.
“There is a mail from investigation body seeking for your explanation regarding the news.”
“I had it from my money! What is this all about??”
“But you went in government number plate vehicle, and you are not supposed to use the vehicle for such lifestyle.”
He gets so frustrated and asks the secretary out of frustration “Can you please provide me list of Do’s and Don’ts in this country for Mayor???”
All he wanted was, relax for the evening and from next day, star with big excitement and enthusiasm over the project with the team. And here he is in a mess without him committing wrong. He self-controls the burning anger and frustration inside because his dedication and determination is still strong enough to not be shaken by the silly news and people’s emotional reactions. He calls for a meeting with his team.
“This is the plan I have. Let’s do it. Tell me how we can start.”
“Sir, first we need to do the feasible study, then prepare DPR, and present it to centre, get the budget passed, and start.”
“So do we have a team for that?” “Yes, but we generally outsource it to government-authorized company.”
“Then, let’s proceed.”
It takes 6 months for the report to come but then report comes out rubbish. He calls the secretary,
“What is this?? We wasted money for this level of work?”
“They are the best we have, sir.”
“We can’t work with this kind of people. We need more experienced and better consultant.” “I will call my friend from Tokyo to do it for me. His consulting fee is 10 lakhs per month but I can get him for 2 lakhs. How can I bring him on board?”
“You can’t. As per the rule, you can’t hire anyone offering more than 70K?”
“What if I get experienced ones from Tokyo at that price.”
“You can’t hire foreigners.”
“But we don’t have anyone here to do this work.”
“Then you need to justify that by announcing a vacancy and if no one turns up for the position, then only you can.”
Knowing the possible scenario, he says “and you know, that will not be the case coz everyone claims to know this work in this country.”
He asks a moment for himself, and every one leaves. He thinks of his life and work. He is lost in endless files and signatures, meetings and planning. Here and there, he becomes news for all silly things. Public have started losing hope, media fueling the frustration. His dream project map is lying on the table, seems like laughing at him, asking him “move ahead or give up?” Meanwhile, he gets a text “Namaskar, wanna catch up over coffee? It’s me, ex mayor.”
To be continued…in part II.
Goddess Laxmi and a poor devotee
Seeing a dedication of a poor man, Laxmi visits his house.
Poor Man: Why am I so poor? Why can’t I be rich like others? Make me rich.
Laxmi: What do you do to make money?
Poor Man: I am a street sweeper. I sweep streets.
Laxmi: Do you know why Gold is more valuable than a stone? You can go on talking about how useful a stone is and it’s significance but still your argument will not change the fact that stone will never be as valuable as Gold. That’s economics. Value of anything is determined by supply and demand. More common and easily available, less the value. What you do for living is something anyone can do, and that makes your skill high supply, less demand, making you less valuable. So work on building a value, do something that not everyone can do, be someone that cannot be easily replaced. Don’t get me wrong. You are beautiful and you have your own significance just like the stone, but if your desire is to be a gold, I can’t turn you into that. Only you can. You are provided brain and intelligence. Rest is up to you to decide. That’s how this world is created and governed. World doesn’t run on emotions. It runs per fundamentals of nature. You get to pave your own roads to prosperity following the basic fundamentals of nature. There is no miracle in this world. That’s not how God works. It’s all programmed like a video game – if you take step A, you get X result. If you take step B, you get Y result. Always know what action leads to what result, for which we have given you brain and intelligence. Make use of it.
Poor Man: So that means puja doesn’t work?
Laxmi: You know why it’s called celebration? Because it is to celebrate your success, your gains, your accomplishments, at whichever point you are in. It is not to set a demand list to God. Or cry for mercy. The whole idea of festival is to celebrate. Some people are only mistaking it as a moment to demand for good fortune. That’s because of their ignorance. It is never meant for “prove your dedication and loyalty towards me and I will grant you the success and prosperity.” If that’s the case, world would be run by devotees and sages. Do they? They don’t.
Poor man: Okay, then what am I supposed to do now?
Laxmi: Celebrate for whatever you have gained till now, retained till now and prepare yourself with new goals, new strategies, bigger motivation to get better. Will visit you next year again. May you grow better than this year.
JPT Story: MARRIAGE T&C
“Because I love you. I have good income. I got good personality. I will be an awesome husband and father.”
“Aww. You are so sweet. So, are we living separately or with your parents after marriage?”
“With my parents. Can’t leave them.”
“Cool. I am in a situation then. Here, I am not marrying only you but also your parents. Healthy and sustainable relationship is where there is shared values and respects, love and intimacy, freedom and liberty. You being understanding isn’t enough. Your parents too should be understanding. So can you please ask your parents if they too want me under the following terms:
1. I don’t want to sleep separately while in menses. Your parents should not have problem with that.
2. I am first a human, then only somebody’s wife, somebody’s daughter-in-law and so on. In winter, I too feel cold. In summer, I too feel hot. I too feel bored and lazy once in a while. I too feel like taking a long nap when tired. I too have my own line of thoughts and logics. I want to be treated and understood as human first and let me go with my comfort here I need it the most.
3. Like how I am marrying you embracing all your flaws and imperfections, I want to be married by your house embracing all my flaws and imperfections.
4. I am fine if your parents don’t want to look after anything, from kitchen to household chores, but they shouldn’t be dictating how I should do my works and play my roles. Likewise, they shouldn’t have problem with you helping me out.
5. I love to befriend your relatives but I have my own way of doing that, which may not be in a traditional way and they should trust my way of doing that.
6. I have my own sense of dressing and I know how to carry myself maintaining my class and modesty. Hope that freedom of choice will be respected.
7. When I am married to you, I by law and by heart committed to you and I don’t need to prove that by always wearing sindur and pote.
8. Last but not the least, I marry you to build a family with shared values and my values and principles are strictly inclined to how a modern educated family should be. I can’t live with cognitive dissonance. So, ask them please if we can align in terms of that.
“Baby, they are bit traditional. We will adjust ni. They aren’t going to live forever.”
“I don’t want a life where I need to wish for someone’s death or wait for someone to die to live my life as it pleases me. Nor I want to plan abroad just to escape the world I couldn’t fight. I am here to stay, live and die in this beautiful country with the man I will be married to.”
“Don’t think so much. Just give a try.”
“I am not thinking. I am just being honest and putting my terms as it is. I make sure you enjoy the same freedom and liberty without being judged from my side of family and relatives. Here, I am not marrying just you but your family too. I should let them know what they are signing up for. I don’t want to marry to end up in divorce nor I want to marry to separate parents from their son.”
“I am there to understand, don’t create complication please.”
“Only you understanding me will not be enough when we share our house with two other humans with their own set of values and beliefs.”
He could not speak to his parents about the talk. She found someone who could and agreed to.
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Life in a glance, chances and wishes