There is a young frog-boy; he lives on the river bank. His fellow toads and his tadpole buddies are his only companions. He croaks in the paddy fields and sleeps in the waterholes, waiting for monsoon, for his Bagmati River to change. And as the moon rises, he sits by his lair thinking about clean waters and glasses of frog beer. And closing his eyes while the doggies retire, he sings out a song which is soft but its clear, as if maybe someone could hear.
Frogs croak in this monsoon from hidden hideaways giving away the secret of their location. Deaf snakes managed to get by. Tangled roots submerged in waters led up to gnarled old banyan trees festooned with awaiting carrion birds like so many ghoulish apparitions emerging from the nether world. A rare vulture raises its bald head eyeing the cold stone cremation platforms with impatient flapping of cumbersome wings. Mr. Ale’s Clean the Bagmati campaigns that in reality still lack adequate public support rally against the encroachment of human negligence vis-à-vis the River. All along the traffic-laden bridge, billboards kept the view while all the wheels came and went, toxic fumes, too.
The once great Bagmati River descends from Bagdwar and the lesser mountains or the Churia Mai mountains. Garbage, chemical waste, dead things and decayed stuff suffocate reeds; pollution strangles other flora and fauna struggling to existence. Creatures patiently contemplating an evening meal cause others to hone their preservative mechanism to avoid falling prey to predators.Once, lilies sprouted. Water flowers bloomed and butterflies fluttered. Ethereal fish scales glistened here and there. The ranges of kaleidoscopic colours are mummified. Still, a rainbow end reaching down from heaven into a glade astonishes passersby on the Bagmati Bridge, albeit the stench rising up from the river drives even the hardened onlooker away. Will no blend of nature’s fragrances, odors green and mint, perfume the air surrounding the river ever again?
Now the first of the monsoon deluge was covered in torrential downpours so was the turnpike from Kupondol to the Hotel Himalayan. The Bagmati seemed dreamlike on account of the frothing. The whole of the rainy day slipped by . . . and evening found me by the river thinking deeply. No reason to get excited, the Thief he kindly spoke; there are many here among us, who feel that life is but a joke. But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate. So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late. Outside in the distance, a wild cat did growl; two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl . . .