Two summers ago, I was visiting one of the high schools in my village. The situation there struck me big time. It was anything but a school. The teachers talked about everything other than the subject they were paid to teach. Teaching for them was just a job. They came to the school and left at their convenience. The students were scattered all around the premise of the school. The little kids seating on the plastic burlaps on the dusty floor and the older kids just hanging around their classrooms. A few students, and perhaps these were those who genuinely took interest in the idea of learning, were seated quietly in their classrooms trying to do some math. The situation broke my heart.
Having been educated at one of the best school in the country, the situation was incomprehensible. I simply couldn’t put myself in their shoes. Had that been the case for me, perhaps I would never be the person I am today. Being able to think and act rationally would be a far-fetched dream. I wanted to talk about the chaos of the system to the headteacher there but apparently, he hadn’t been to the school for the entire week. I wasn’t much surprised learning this though. On my way back home, I dropped by the newly established police station in the village and inquired if they ever did anything to monitor the performance and progress of the school. And so it happens the sub-inspector told me that it wasn’t part of his duty and that that’s how things are supposed to be there. Then he lectured me for an hour about how there is a rule for literally everything in Nepal on paper. Yet the crisis persists because the majority of these rules never get implemented. No wonder the lawlessness and chaos are ubiquitous; something a commoner notices every day in this part of the world.
I have recently returned to Nepal leaving a lucrative job in Dubai at a major lifestyle developer. Not because I was guided by this noble idea of changing the entire nation on a grand scale but simply because that incident makes me feel guilty about how I decide to use the experiences I have acquired given the uncommon privileges and opportunities I have received over the course of my life. It makes me feel guilty realizing that while I will be busy building a hedonistic life for myself abroad, I will be doing a severe injustice to my youth, energy, and education which I have acquired over time that I can rightly use to bring about some small change. No matter what I am and where I am, my identity will always be a part of me. As long we remain a poor nation, my green passport shall always be undermined elsewhere, and my kind will be subjected to board the plane via crowded lounges at the airports. It breaks my heart seeing scores of people from my country and countries like mine who face income inequalities and unfair treatments on a daily basis and yet cannot come to accept the fact that this can be mitigated. Back in the days when I was in class 7, I remember during one of the exams we were supposed to expand on the notion of “hunger fear no gallows”. I must have obtained an excellent point in that question, but it is only 13 years later that I fully understood what it truly means. Hunger indeed surpasses all the other notions.
It’s been two weeks since I returned. While I still have the same positive mindset and my drive to stay much solidified, I can’t understand why we have developed such an indifferent attitude to everything. That bothers me. Walking on muddy roads in the monsoon is so normal here. Perhaps it’s just me or I still miss the luxuries of Abu Dhabi, but every time I have to go through these roads full of gazillion potholes, I kind of hear a scream. A scream from the very roads itself asking me to do something about it right away! And it’s not that we haven’t had plans for it. If truth be told, we plan way more than we ought to. But we fail right in the first step of the execution phase. We want good roads, but we don’t want those roads to take even a piece of our land. I guess we always enjoy these adventures. That is the only plausible explanation to why we have marbled porch in front of our house, but to get there we have to pass through countless potholes, muddy walkthroughs, and piles of garbage.
Either we are bad dreamers, or we are so used to this chaos that we just can’t be bothered about anything. The first one can be solved because some of us have seen that life can be made good if only we all did our part with utmost sincerity and focused on the bigger picture. The second one can’t be solved unless we realize that this way we will handover even a worse type of chaos to our children than what our parents’ generation passed on to us. Our minds can be trained but our hearts can be trained. We got to realize the reality. That’s the work of the heart. Then we got to act. That’s mind.