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The delight of a mela

-Arati Gurung

There’s a mela going on at the Jawalakhel football ground, if anyone has noticed. No it’s not another school/college organsied mela, nor is it another expo, it’s just a fair. It’s a fair like the ones we’ve read about and watched, a thousand times while growing up, in story books and movies. There’s no organizer name anywhere nor have there been any advertisements, and no I’ve not been paid to write this piece, I’m writing it because of my experience at the mela.

I had felt like a child again.

There’s a ‘roti-ping’ that takes you for 6 high flying circles. Once atop you can see the central zoo and the roofs of the buildings that make Jawalakhel the hottest modern junction that it is today. It’s not that scary a ride, had there been seatbelts, it would have been safer. The thrill you get when you look down from your seat makes you want to scream and cry for no exact reason: it’s not because you’re scared, you just want to scream. And cry.

The ‘rocking ship’, as I like to call it, is another rocking experience. Make sure you take the seats at the tip of the ship, because that’s where all the fun is. Some young couples were making the most of the ride by holding one another real tight. I had to find out if it was that horrifying. I dragged him along for the experience but we ended up laughing at each other instead. Yes, we are two boring people.

There aren’t any seatbelts at the rocking ship either; you have to take caution on your own. The machine controllers do not look the least worried about your safety, so it’s better you do. There aren’t any written notices anywhere, making the organizers free to turn a cold shoulder should there be any mishaps. A couple of guys were boasting their stupidity by standing up with folded arms while the ship rocked. They ought to know there aren’t any girls in Kathmandu who match their stupidity level.

Another fun experience was the hall of funny mirrors. It was good to see that I could turn 100 kilos and then a 40 in just a step. I was 6 feet tall at one moment and 3 feet small the next. If only we could control our weight and height like that, wouldn’t it be an easier world?

The fair also had other fun rides and if you’re not ready for any of them, maybe watching someone else do the scariest rides ever, will give you the courage to get on one of them yourself. Oh yes, you can watch the stunt dudes, going crazy with their motorbikes and cars at the ‘Maut ka Kua’. What can’t people do if they have the will?

I knew I had to stop the rides when my throat turned dry and coarse, all that shouting and ice-cream took my breath and my voice away. It had been ages since I had last let my guard down and ran after the wind, the experience was great. I guess it was worth taking the risk for. So despite the lack of the organizers’ safety measures, I appreciate them coming to our city to give us such moments.

I heard the mela will be staying for 3 months; I can’t wait to go back again.

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