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Woman seat reservations in public transport: Did we fail to understand?

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Photo by Manki Kim on Unsplash

Few weeks ago, as most of the population of Kathmandu does, I also was travelling using a public vehicle. My destination being Kalanki, I got on the bus on Balkot-kalanki route. As I struggled my way into the bus, I saw a unusual reservation provided on the bus. The bus has provision for two “mother-of-an-infant” seat reservation. According to the law, public transport should have at least two seat reservation for women, one for elderly, and four seats for differently-abled. I looked around in surprise as the “mother-of-an-infant” reservation was a very new concept to me. I managed my way deep into the crowded bus alley and was still trying to make something out of that reservation. As usual the bus was brim packed and few young ladies were having a hard time standing.

A survey conducted in 2013 by the world bank group with australian aid pointed out that 33% of woman felt personal insecurities in public transport. The survey also noted 26% of the entire survey of women aged 19-35 years had had direct experience of inappropriate touching on public transport in the year 2012. The number itself is disappointing but the condition has not improved. The condition has worsened since the survey has been conducted. Those aren’t the only concern to women on public vehicle. Biologically most women are fragile and more susceptible to fatigue and fainting. Also statistically more female are found to be suffering from arthritis. Also all women need to experience menstruation once a month and that also comes with different short term problems. Not forgetting pregnancy also puts woman in a position where she can’t manage to stand in such crowded vehicles.

Considering all these factors as an inevitable problem mostly exclusive to women, female seat reservation seemed to be justified. But is that all that concerns to a society? If woman seat reservation was really effective solving the problem why did the “Kalanki-Balkot” route felt the necessity to explicitly define seat for “mother-of-an-infant”? That should have come under the woman seat reservation and should have managed the problem. Did we fail to understand the reservation?

The need for female seat reservation in public vehicle clearly shows the problem is not just about how difficult public transportation is but how undisciplined and immoral our society is. Female seat was allocated for women in need. But somehow those who need it are still struggling as they cannot voice their need and we don’t have the morality to acknowledge something that directly won’t affect us. Not only that, but the seat reservation has brought about general air of mistrust between the genders. As long as there is provision for female seat reservation on a fully packed bus no “male” on the bus feel obliged to give up their seat for a female in actually need.

The segregation of seat was supposed to be like, female seat reserved and rest of the seats are general where any gender will have equal rights. But the misunderstood reservation has made it so that as long as the female seat is empty any woman to climb the bus should occupy only that seat just so another  seat remains empty for a “male”. That wasn’t the original purpose of the seat. I have barely seen a person having a second thought before taking up the elderly reserved, or differently-abled reserved. The reservation meant the same to all categories but the fact that female reservation is taken as an act of gender inclusion more than the solution to the problem of woman difficulties in travel goes out and shows the ignorance prevailing in the society.

When a person get on a bus and see two female seating on the woman reserved seat, we assume that our responsibility towards any other female to climb the bus has ended. If a public vehicle has just two seats where woman can have comfortable journey without the fear of being harassed and misbehaved, we failed as a society. The reservation is provided to give woman in need an easier travel but the real solution for all woman would be; a society where all the people in the vehicle recognize the need of another and is willing to help irrespective of their gender. Next time you see a woman with an infant standing in the bus, don’t wait for the girl in woman seat to stand. Have an experience to share with us? Tell us in the comment.

We are all just an arbitrary constant looking for a value that fits the equation of our life. Guess I will find one someday.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Sunil adhikari

    October 6, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    I like ur views.i think kalanki to ratnapark is the most busiest route than other.but due to resistance from local at tripershwor the small road being the source of traffic jam.the heavy flow of passenger n huge number of small tempo is another cause of traffic jam n government need to bring alternative suppliment

    • Sandesh Sharma

      October 12, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      Thank you. Traffic definitely is one of the major factor leading to a compromised comfort to all the passenger.

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Movie Review

El Camino: “Not many of us get a chance to start fresh”

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The feature length film, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, rolls out as a long episode of the show, telling the escape story of Jesse Pinkman from his former self.

!!!Spoiler alert!!!

Back in 2013, when the last episode of the show Breaking Bad premiered, we saw the guy Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) screaming on top of his lungs in an El Camino as he finally managed his escape from the literal hole he was kept in by the neo-Nazis. That alone was a satisfying moment as the beloved loyal anti-hero got his freedom back. Now, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, picks up the story exactly where it left off. This time the escape is from the trauma and consequences of his naivete.

The movie unfolds as he stands with a former acquaintance, whose identity I won’t be spoiling here. Their conversation ends on a symbolic note where they take upon “The last Frontier, Alaska” as the ideal place to start fresh. The movie pretty much revolves around Jesse venturing into his memories and planning his next move to get there. Time and again he is haunted by the shadows of his time under the captivity of Todd and the nazis. Through the movie he holds on to the slightest of the possibility of his new life. The kid that followed Mr. White’s every decision, now reflects on his inaction and idiocy back then while trying hard to survive every step now. With all the Albuquerque police on the chase he carefully assess the situation and acts as a man who has nothing more to lose.

The movie reverberates through cameos of different characters. The second trailer flashed the old friends of Jesse, Badger and skinny Pete were the first one to have him knocking on their doors. Apparently they were the only humans who he thought were on his side and they didn’t let him down as he was their “hero and shit.” However the first trailer went all in as a 1 min spinoff to the movie; for the cuts of the trailer isn’t even in the movie.  The movie has appearances of other key characters from the original show. As I had watched the full show years ago, the movie felt much closer and relevant but that doesn’t mean the movie doesn’t work as a standalone story.


Whatsoever the case, the one thing the movie does and does perfectly is giving Jesse Pinkman a clouser he deserved. The funky kid who liked the philosophy of “going where the universe takes you” probably understands the metaphor in it now. The last 48 hrs of Jesse in New Mexico as shown by Vince Gilligan’s direction is spot on for me. The hints of his new life is all over the flashbacks while the consequences of his old one is what he is trying to escape from. Ending with him in Alaska as a new man, his “goodbye letter” to his ex-girlfriend’s son made us realise that he indeed can not make things “right”. Although the letter also shines on the fact that we still can apologise for our actions and move on with a fresh start.

Satisfying at its core, the movie is, expectedly, done justice by the amazing play from Aaron Paul. The two hours of screen time feels complete and overall the movie leaves with the relish of the show.

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Happiness

Movie Review: Cha Maya Chapakkai

Cha Maya Chapakkai is a movie to be rated 4/5 considering the facts and factors mentioned below.

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Comic timing toward political innuendo takes plot atop

Entering in a movie theater with a mindset that the film could be a dud can backlash, as watchers can witness more of negatives aspects, eventually ruining their investment and time.  The best way to do it is, watch till the end, and don’t set any mindset for better results yield.


This week’s release ‘Cha Maya Chapakkai,’ scared the hell out of the production team, as can be seen from their Facebook status & posts, as they were perpetually alleging some people playing games on their back to ruin the movie by spreading negativity. What made them scare so much? Either the movie was mediocre, or the movie fraternity was against them for some vested interests. Nevertheless, hard work pays off, which is likely to happen as most of the theaters got thronged with people on day one.  Thanks to the publicity in both ways—pro and con.  Also, the enthusiasm in theater staffs, most probably working on a commission basis, proves that they sensed post Dashain bonus which may help to clear their festival dues.

The days to follow and the box office results will have the verdict, as the initial prediction could be just a tip of the iceberg.

Let’s divulge the name, why didn’t they cash on the Chakka Panja franchise? Did they take a big risk? If this is the risk, then it is its worth. People well getting obnoxious with the self declared Raja character that Deepak Raj Giri was portraying, who was shrewd, and clever, if not cunning, and was entwined with the legacy to cut loose on financial and social matters. Nevertheless, other side characters are more or less the same as shown in terms of their dialogue delivery, and acting. The production team’s astrological values looked like to have guided them to put the term 6 (cha) in their venture, but in this case, there was not any relevance of this name in the plot, rather some solid name even without 6 would have made the movie name sound relevant, and not make them not sound overtly superstitious.

Another question is why Deepa Shree Niroula did not direct this movie with back-to-back success in her previous projects? Who knows, she could have directed the movie better than the incumbent. Also there was a special appearance room for her at the final scene with Magene Budo, where again she was ditched. This question is easy to ask, but could be hard to answer because the production banner also shows her name, full fledged. The plot is interwoven on the backdrops of two villages—one with water resource abundance, and the other with its paucity. And how political indifferences with vested interest can hamper the commoners is the conflict. What makes a good political leader—the principle, dogmas they follow or, their caliber to solve problems of people to quality of life? These questions are definitely answered with a tinge of love, romance, which antagonists try to use as honey trap that eventually backfires, ending the story in a super happy mood. Almost all the dialogues are superb and natural as they use the body language, complex vocabularies, complicated idioms & phrases alike our top-notch political leaders, and the good part is, they are not mimicked. There is no question what so ever about acting, as the characters fit in their roles perfectly, leaving no room for error and improvement.

Nothing is perfect in the world, neither the movie is. As the movie does not fall under slapstick category, so the maintenance of verisimilitude becomes essential and eminent. Some scenes are slacked, as when Jeetu Nepal is shown mulling over to crash on the marriage ceremony to elope with the bride with scores of people attending the function. And the very next scene, he is running with her hand-on-hand, leaving audience scratch their head in anguish. Cinematography is good with proper use of wide, short, close up shots, and not using excess drones shots add to the glitters. Talking about the background score, at times they relied on the classic revolutionary song from nineties, ‘Gaun Gaun Bata Utha’ which is fitting; however, with only one romantic song, they still could have worked on a revolutionary song and used it for background score too. With people complaining, not having enough songs, this would have really done a world of good to the movie, as the sequence for this song was well set in the second half when the full blooded revolution on high.



The movie is inspired from the true incidents as shown in the initial credits, so there is no question about the conflict, and the introduction part is also taken care with nice narration, so as story telling stands at its best, but the conclusion which I think has been improvised—as for a movie it needs a little fabrication has lacked as characters are shown changing their mind so easily—which does not look too practical as they were presented bold and stubborn throughout. Unlike its first half, which was flowing nicely, the second half is little sluggish, and predictable, as per the standards. Another point, the team should consider in their forthcoming projects, which they have been repeating time and again is to follow basic traffic etiquettes. Yes, in emergency cases, it is understandable to ride double pillion on a bike, but if the riders are made to use helmets, that can add realistic touch and also avoid cautionary note of ‘follow traffic rules’ on lower right of the screen. Heroes look better in capes and also in helmets, while riding motorbikes.

The movie is well recommended for political, apolitical and nonpolitical. Having said that, for a developing country, which has been witnessing mammoth political changes every decade, it is hard to say, who is nonpolitical, so it is recommended for all. It could be best for the people who feel pride of themselves, just by claiming to have not known the name of president and prime minster, as they don’t like politics. This is the second venture of team where they have mingled politics with farce. The first one— Wada No. 6 too revolves around this theme. On that case, they were skeptical, so they hid the theme by not portraying any political affiliation in the trailer. In this project, with the previous success for which they harvested accolades, they were confident to highlight politics as one of the themes, as they have clearly shown flags of political parities fluttering nice and high in the trailer.

All in all, go watch it. The phenomenal comic timings on a sensitive subject will pay off for your time. Definitely, try to pick the ones in your circle, who say, they don’t like politics, and they will get the answer why did not they like it, and also they will get answers for their political innuendoes.


This review is by Mahendra P Joshi.  He is the writer of internationally well-received book, Rocking Rolling Rolpa.  His book has been placed in Hollywood Database.  Mr. Joshi occasionally likes to review books and movies.  He had previously worked for The Himalayan Times.  

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Editorial

Oh! I miss India and I am visiting her soon

There is only one race, and that is human race; there is only one country and that is Earth.  Rests are all socially and politically constructed divisions.  I plan to unsee the divisions and walk the part of the Earth to connect with fellow humans and if possible, to connect them with other humans through this website and through our page.  

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Image: Krishna Kant via Unsplash

I need a serious break.  In last 2 years, I haven’t taken any off, any vacation, or any break from work.  Just slogging my arse off and now body is screaming to take a break.  Out of many options, I am choosing India this time, because I miss her.  I truly do.

I had spent significant amount of my time there in India and then 2 years back, I packed my bag for Nepal, my home country, to take my entrepreneurial journey further.  In last 2 years, world has changed significantly and so my perception and my thought process.  In these 2 years, I have grown interest in culture, history, humanity, and my interest in youths have gone more deeper.  Anything and everything about humans fascinate me now.  In this process of growing up, I have been closely observing India, especially online activities of Indian youths and I could see Indian youths that I had never seen before during my stay there.  Those stand-up comedies, those start-up stories, those Tik-tok videos, and those short films in YouTubes and the audience — that says a lot about Indian youths today.



Actually, when I was in India, I was cognitively immature.  I would judge people based on many things and treat and deal accordingly, like a teen.  I would show no interest in culture or people other than my small comfort zone.  I regret that I wasted significant amount of my time on nothing but in shallowness.  I was in world’s largest democratic country and I put no effort to understand what does that mean sociopolitically.  I was in a land of Gandhi and Ambedkar that world would bow their head down with respects and I put no effort to learn more about them during my stay then.  I was in such a diverse country and I put no effort to observe unity in diversity in true sense.  I regret many things for missing out then.

Fast forward 2 years, and my mind has become more like that of a researcher.  This time, when I see a “Bihari guy,” I won’t see him as a Bihari guy, but as a human with its own distinct culture.   This time, when I see a temple or masjid or church, my eyes will try to read the carved arts on it.  In chaos, in crowd, in rush, this time I will be palpating economy and not run away from it like how I used to back then.  This time I will be smiling more often than laughing, be more excited than pissed off, be more compassionate than judgmental.  I will simply be a guy coming to India fascinated by India for everything it holds — as heard, as read, as learned — and understand humans in much broader sense, in much deeper level, and so their culture, so their society, so their country.

This time, when I see a “Bihari guy,” I won’t see him as a Bihari guy, but as a human with its own distinct culture.

So, YES! I am going to India on Oct 15 and the excitement and joy is as real as guilt-filled heart getting a second chance.  This time, I have chosen train over air because that’s where India begins.  I can’t wait to experience again  those 3 days of train journey, and how total strangers become a family sharing sandal to snacks, and even stories.  Starting from organised chaos of Gorakhpur, I will be travelling down to south passing by major cities of different states, observing, understanding, learning and unlearning many things in between.  And then finally, I will be reaching to Bangalore, where the walk will begin towards the second chance.  Let’s see which all cities and places I will step from there.

To be honest, this time I am going more like a backpacker with no certainty on where to stay but I am taking a chance anyway because light will guide when your heart is pure, people will guard when your interest is to learn.  


Best thing I have realized over time is that there is only one race, and that is human race; there is only one country and that is Earth.  Rests are all socially and politically constructed divisions.  I plan to unsee the divisions and walk the part of the Earth to connect with fellow humans and if possible, to connect them with other humans through this website and through our page.

Thus, I am marking this trip as life-changing trip and also a breakthrough chapter of my entrepreneurial journey.  Every people I meet and their stories; every place I visit and its history; every situation I get exposed to and everything that I would learn, I plan to turn them all into contents and share them through this website.  So, keep checking out this website every now and then and walk the road with me through my words, see the India with me through your screens.  It should be fun.  Let’s see what future holds.

Hello India, I miss you and I am visiting you soon.  Wish me all the best.


NOTE:  If you are currently in India and want to get connected with me during my stay there, or lend any kind of support or simply want to be part of this journey, please feel free to write me showing your interest by mailing me at [email protected]

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