Sun, 16 Jun, 2024


Unplanned Conversation With A Distressed Businessperson


By Amol Timsina

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It’s disgraceful really, at times like these to have to face empty tummies on top of an angry mob of viruses after our heads. Every individual has had their share of despair during this lockdown. People of standards higher than Everest, have had the time of their lives. Meanwhile, some have been left penniless with their mouth zipped up and have been left for dead. It might not sound much for people behind AMOLED displays munching on whatever snacks they threw in the basket while shopping safely inside a capitalist supermarket but, it is real and it is hard for people. I needn’t go too far to find such sights of distress, just a small shopkeeper beside my house had his answers ready for days. We’re calling him the “distressed businessperson” and here is his share of thoughts on it.

Q: How is everything going? (कस्तो चल्दै छ त दाइ?)

A: Do I even have to say, brother? I’d never dedicated so much thoughts towards something in my life. I’m completely stressed. (भनिराख्न जरुरि छ र भाइ ? जिन्दगिमा कुनै कुराको लागि यत्तिको चिन्तन गर्नु परेको थिएन। तनाब छ। )

Q: Is the supply still on? How’s the sales going? (सामानहरु आइरहेको छन्? बिक्रि कत्तिको छ त?)

A: My old stock is still not cleared, some necessary daily usage things are still coming in though. Thankfully some regular customers pop up during the mornings. They (the police) come and bang my shutter if I try it in the afternoon though. (पुरानो सामान टन्नै छ...दिन दिनै चाहिने सामान हल्का आइरहेको छ। धन्न बिहानपख आइराख्ने ग्राहक आइदिनु हुन्छ। दिउसो खोल्न खोज्दा तिनीहरु आएर सटर पड्काउछन् )

Q: That’s rough...what about rent, food? (गाह्रो छ है...अनि भाडा, खानपिन?)

A: I have three children and there’s two of us. Think for yourself, with almost zero income. Plus, internet and gadgets for the schoolworks! I am lost for words. (हामी दुइ र हाम्रा तिन छन्...आफै सोच्नु न आम्दानी पनि मरु, त्येस माथि इन्टरनेट र ति सामान स्कूल को लागि...म त खोइ के भनौ)

Q: Wasn’t there a distribution of ration by the ward office recently? (वडा ले भर्खरै रासन बाढेको थियो हैन र ?)

A: The bigger people here have connections everywhere and they seem to be distributing to people they personally know. We were sent back after staying on the line last time for not registering our names beforehand...  (खोइ, अगाडी नै नाम लेखाउनु पर्थियो भनेर पाउदा त पाइएन...सबै ठुलाबडाको चिनजान ले मात्र पाउदा रहेछन)

This conversation drove around my mind for quite a long time that day. This person right here is ONE out of the thousands that are facing the exact same thing and millions who’re facing worse! What has our government possibly done to counter this, not to forget, amidst a pandemic? That is a question everybody—including me—has been asking. 

He probably had more to say, but I didn’t bother asking because I was getting “late” to come back home and play games with my friends. Then, I realized that I had possibly answered my own question.

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