Nepali Times
Guest Column
Fleeing for their lives


Nepali men who newer dreamt of picking up their own mess find themselves doing other people\'s dishes Bidesh--the very word conjures up visions of countless oppor-tunities, harvests of dollars, and the indispensable Green Card or its European equivalent. Scores of Nepalis give up their \'possessions\'-wife, children and jobs-merely to acquire that honourable designation bidesh bata ako.

"Ke game Nepalma?" is the usual question. Certainly a point worth considering, but then it also leads one to wonder how it is that so many outsiders manage to find so much to do in this "scopeless" country. They even call it the land of opportunity, but we Nepalis, the privileged ones, find it hard to accept.

Never mind what living abroad entails or what concomitant sacrifices are needed to get there. But under the delusion that it is as simple as hopping on a plane, spending a year or two abroad, and coming back with bagsful of money, young Nepalis are doing whatever it takes to go abroad and stay there. And that means selling off property, begging, borrowing or going on a world tour to end up at the desired destination.

Once there, they begin their desperate search for jobs even as they try to acclimatise themselves to an alien atmosphere. But things are not so simple and that is when the culture shock sets in. People who never dreamt of picking up their own mess find themselves doing other people\'s dishes. Those who seldom tolerated a harsh word from their parents now have to put up with a much more from any and everybody. A lesson it is, and perhaps that will make them better capable of understanding their wives or mothers or servants who slave away for them. But what a miserable path to enlightenment!

Sure, this exodus of Nepalis to the West has its bright side. People are being exposed to the outside world and learning new ways to help their country (although it has also given them reason to gripe about the situation at home). Most of them fantasise about coming back and making a difference. If only they would.

A few years become a few more years and in due time...Jorever. Most of them end up settling there, doing this and that, just existing-which was probably what they were doing in Nepal in the first place.

By no means do I intend to trash everyone for yearning to get out into the wide world. There are the young ones who certainly have valid reasons for seeking a better education in foreign shores.

They leave with hopes of expanding their horizons and becoming somebody. A few lucky do manage to live and not just survive, but for the most part it is bad news. Every time I come back to Nepai I meet more and more youngsters trying desperately to flee in the opposite direction. All for the most honourable intentions, but what good does it do for Nepal if they never come back?
Nepal is now facing a critical problem-a deficiency of bright, young people. Perhaps the now-not-so-young students should consider what most of them would have written in their college applications: "I want to come back and help my country ...blah...blah...blah..."

They say the youth are our future. Hopefully there will still be enough of the bright ones around to witness a future. And while they\'re at it, they could even help build a better one-at home, where they are needed most.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)