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Showing posts from March, 2010

EAST WEST ROLE REVERSALS

Each time I visited Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, the visits getting more frequent following the cessation of armed hostilities in 2006 until the world economic meltdown of 2008 melted away the boom in incentive travel; the management more often than not invited me to the coffee shop for lunch. From nearby Bodhnath and surrounding lamaseries there would inevitably arrive a table-full of chubby looking monks in their maroon habit to nibble at the delectable Hyatt offerings that comes, even to us, at prohibitive prices. This incongruous situation became even more curious when, under closer observation, thick Rolex gold watches were seen on the wrists of a few important members of the congregation.

I remember when we were attending St. Xavier's School in the early sixties, there used to be a huge Tibetan Refugee Camp in front of the Zoo adjacent to the school. The Chinese administration of Tibet had started a brutal campaign to introduce Marxist dialectical materialism to the ancient peo…

MONK PRINCESS

The tall, silky maiden of that photographic album so lovingly preserved by her mother was ethereally beautiful. I used to flip through the pages in wonderment: she was with high society here, posing in a bikini suit there; raising a toast here, being toasted by a set of glitterati there. She was a burgeoning actress in Hollywood then in the Marilyn Monroe mold but she had given it all up suddenly and inexplicably. As so often happens in life a call of a higher order had persuaded her to give up the life she revelled in. Princess Harriet Straus Rachevsky was a widow in her sixties when she came to Nepal in search of her daughter pictured in those many poses in that photo album and also a grand-daughter she knew only from hearsay. She arrived in Kathmandu in the late sixties and found a place to rent in the estate of my father in Kiran Bhawan. Those were the days of the hippies, the precursors to the modern day backpackers who have famously made Nepal one of the top choice adventure hol…