Nepali Times
This is Naya Nepal



It was just another Sunday, the deadline for the new year's issue of WAVE magazine was looming.

I woke up feeling how routine my life had become. Nothing exciting ever seemed to happen. There was a weekly management meeting at 11.30 AM, and I had to make sure I got to Hatiban in time. Never know these days, there may be an unannounced chukka jam on the way. A quick look at my inbox and making my presence felt on Facebook, I headed towards the meeting room.

Even though I started my career as a lifestyle journalist during the peak of the insurgency, my interaction with the political happenings in the country had so far been limited to walk to work on some banda days. I whined about it, and my friends nodded. They knew, and I knew, there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Despite being a complainer, I have always been optimistic about the future of the country. After the April elections, we all thought we can finally look forward to a peaceful political evolution in Nepal. Almost no one had predicted the outcome but we were all hopeful about the transformation and the new faces. We had elected representatives in the Assembly, so there was no need for violence, right? Wrong.

Just as the meeting was winding up, they barged in and started beating everyone up. My back to the wall, facing a fist aimed at my face, I was strangely not worried about my safety. I was more disappointed about the country.

Everything looked like it was happening in a trance. I felt let down and na?ve for even hoping that anything would change here.

Who were we trying to fool by thinking that we could take the jungle out of the monkeys? The incident has left a huge dent in our optimism. Many are rethinking their plans for the future?if this is what it going to be like, what is the point of it all?

Of course, this is not the first time something like this has happened. It is true, many have suffered much more serious attacks in the past decade. Many Nepalis gave up hope long ago. Yet, some have also tried to console themselves by saying things like this happen during a political transition. But what are we transitioning to?

We know where we came from, but where are we headed? Does being in the process of transition mean that the rule of law doesn't apply and rules of the jungle do? As the glass panes shattered and chairs started flying, colleagues came to each others' rescue. They showed courage in shielding those who were being hit and were badly injured themselves. Welcome to Naya Nepal.

The little faith I had in our elected leaders has now evaporated as they tried to first lie, then justify these and other attacks. The confidence with which they lie and say that it was us who beat them up makes is astounding. Even more distressing, they are getting away with it.

I want to fight back for the physical and mental harm caused to the people I know and myself but this time I have no hope. All I have is resentment for being stifled from speaking my mind and moving freely, for the diminishing pride of calling myself a journalist and the fear that has replaced it.

The slogan of Naya Nepal now sounds more and more like a joke. I much prefer to be back to my old boring routine where the days were uneventful, but at least I had some hope and optimism about the future.

Shitu Rajbhandari is the editor of WAVE magazine.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)