The Bajaraciya family always gets together in the evenings to talk about the past day. But Unika is always the first to speak up. As in her family, everyone worships her. Though she is far from royal blood. She is a goddess. She lives in such conditions because she is a former goddess. You are very welcome to Kathmandu. And this is The Life of Others. New York Venice Dubai Jerusalem Tokyo Paris The Life of Others Zhanna Badoeva People come to Kathmandu in order to spiritually enrich themselves. See all this exoticism. In the end, it is from here that the ascent to Everest begins. How the locals who were born here live, I don’t know at all. Therefore, today we’ll figure it out together with you. If I were born in Kathmandu, I could be the daughter of Manju Giri. She is a young seamstress from a large family. After school, I would help my mother in her workshop and dream of becoming a cook in one of the famous restaurants. Or I could be born in a family of Ramesh and Sabitha Badzratsaria. And since childhood, I would apply winged eyeliner. I would like to become a Kumari goddess like my older sister. But in what family I would not have been born, most likely I would have been born in these walls. This is the only state hospital all around Kathmandu. About 100 children are born here every day. Perhaps the only plus is that everything is free here. Every day, a line is drawn up of women who are going to become mothers any day. Bena Tanvar, a mommy-to-be My doctor said that I should give birth today, so I came here and have been waiting in line for 5 hours in the street until a place is vacated in the ward. I hope that I will be able to get inside and not give birth right here at the entrance. After examining the doctor, some women go to the general ward. They are waiting for labor pains to begin. This is a general prenatal hospital ward. Women come here to wait for their time to come. Everyone brings what they can from home. Someone brings a blanket, someone a pillow. When the labor pains begin, the doctor comes and examines you and takes you to a separate room to give birth. But these are still comfortable conditions. When the labor begins, they are transferred to another hospital ward. Where at least 50 people are located at the same time. And only when the very delivery starts, a woman in labor is transferred into a little bit more comfortable ward. Where only another 12 women give birth at the same time. Bachan Rahul, a gynecologist Until recently, women saved on childbirth and gave birth at home themselves. Unfortunately, this did not always end happily. Now the state covers all expenses for the birth of a child. Therefore, there is such a full house in the wards. As you can see, shoe covers, masks, and other protection are not very popular in Nepal. Women spend no more than a day in the hospital if the birth was natural. And a maximum of two days if it was a Caesarean section. And of course, it’s hard to stay here for a long time. Sometimes a hundred people can gather here, taking into account all the relatives. But a few days after giving birth, everyone goes to the astrologer for an astrological chart. Rohit Maharajan, a student All residents of Kathmandu have a horoscope which indicates the main events of your life. It indicates when you get married and when the children appear and even your profession will be indicated. Everyone deeply believes in these predictions. And in terms of astrology, Nepal has long been in the 21st century. An astrologer makes a prediction at home , using a computer program. Then in the office, he writes everything on a piece of paper and decrypts it all to the customer. Devi Parajuli, an astrologer There is no fixed cost for my services. But it’s never less than $8.8. I earn about $ 440 a month. The fifth part I pay for office rent. But it is not limited by the horoscope only. Kathmandu residents turn to the astrologer for any reason. Should they buy an apartment, will they be lucky in a new position, will they be happy in marriage? In general, an astrologer sanctifies Nepalese for each of their questions. He certainly does not threaten to remain without work. Time flies very quickly. From a year and a half, many children are sent to kindergarten. To free public kindergartens, mothers prefer paid private ones. Bibecana Bista, the director of the kindergarten For only 44 dollars a month, children will not only be prepared for school in high-quality but they will also be surrounded with care and warmth as at home. Well then, we need to look at this homely atmosphere. Well, pirate, tell me what you have in the kindergarten. You could be my son because you have the same glasses as mine. Great that you love wearing glasses! Why is it so dark here? Because you need to take off your glasses. Hey, you, don’t push us! Take them off now. You see. It’s much better now! It’s dark anyway. Why so? It’s dark because, in Kathmandu, the lights are turned off for a while from time to time. Everyone has long been used to it. Show me what else you have in kindergarten. Let’s go. Show me where you play. You are in charge here. You are wearing glasses and a bow tie. This is what I understand the child is. There are only a few groups in the garden. Some sing songs on the street, others study. The third is celebrating a birthday. Here, not only boys and girls walk with pierced ears but also wear bracelets on their feet. They say it scares away evil spirits and also protects the baby from the evil eye. What surprised me the most was the little girls with painted eyes. I wonder if it’s too early for them to use cosmetics. Are you wearing makeup? Just like me, when I am at work. Do all children go to kindergarten with painted eyes? Right you are, it’s normal here. You are a real beauty! Her mummy made this makeup for her. Reall? My mother did not allow me to make makeup. You have a pencil and a mirror. Please show me how you do it? First, we paint one eye and then the other. Here it is. Oh my God, just look at it! And why do you do it? My mom didn’t allow me to apply makeup until I was 40 years old. We do makeup to be beautiful. Isn’t she lovely? Now we know what Nepaliy beauty is. But young girls have the same beauty standards, while adult girls and women have different. It turns out they only paint nails on one arm. You see, I eat with my right hand, and if there was a manicure on it, then all the food would be under the nails. And it’s not that comfortable. I assure all women in Kathmandu have such a manicure. But when the time comes to go to school, girls can forget about makeup. As it’s not allowed here. Only school uniforms and a great desire to learn are needed. If I was born in Kathmandu I went to school at age 6. And my teacher could be a graduate who had just finished the 12th grade of the same school. No wonder. A person even without higher education can be admitted to a public school in Kathmandu. You have just to graduate from school. The initial salary will not exceed $71. So just a few after graduation want to work at school. So you have to compromise. Public schools are free for absolutely everybody. But it has its demerits as well. Lolit Dogra, a pupil My dream is that there should be a sufficient number of books in our school. We are given one textbook per class and we use it in turn. But despite this, the school has a computer room. In which they conduct computer science lessons. And many students love It. My students and I don’t have a computer at home. A computer science lesson is the only opportunity to learn how to work on it. Not many people in Nepal are trying to get higher education. Half of the graduates go abroad to get a better education. In Nepal, there are many cultural centers of different countries that help to receive a scholarship. Sigil Sigdul, coordinator of the cultural center Parents of very clever children who cannot pay for education often apply to us. We recently helped a guy to enter a Medical University to become a gynecologist. There are no such specialists in the village where he comes from. It was important for him to study and go back home to help his countrymen. We are so much excited to change the life of others for the better. He works in the cultural center. There are several dozen such centers in Kathmandu. On the basis of each, several students are selected who will study in a particular country. So, here we are. Please leave my suitcases right here. He again forgot my suitcase. Please, come up. What is it? These are swans made from towels. And I understand that these are two swans kissing. So what. Where is his tail? I was in a bit of a hurry, worried, and forgot about the tail. – I see. You are in your third year, that is, you are practically a graduate. And you forgot of the tail. How come? Again two points, again repeating your exam. Do you think I came to the hotel? And the hotel employee cannot find words to explain something to me. In fact, we are in the college of the tourism business. This is a 3rd-year student. And he has just almost failed his exam. Once again. Take my suitcases. Let’s do it again until you make it. Take my luggage. He again forgot everything. So, let’s go. Rahit is a 3rd-year student at the local private university. He pays $5 300 per year. In the future, he dreams of becoming the manager of a large hotel. When I was born, an astrologer predicted that I would work with a large number of people from different countries. So I chose the specialty of Hotel Management. Every bullet has its billet. Rahit was lucky to have such a good astrologist. The hotel business is one of the most profitable in Nepal. The hotel business is one of the most profitable Nepal. As they pay much more there. But many will still stay in But many will still stay in the country and will work in one of the best hotels such as this one that belongs to Kim. Akama Hotel is a perfect location for both tourism and business. It includes magnificent suits of any level, Conference room, Conversation Hall, banquet hall With two amazing restaurants. Also a pool and large free parking. All this and much more are at the guests’ service. This is a new level of hotel service in Kathmandu. Kim is a famous Nepali businessman. While his private house is being built, he lives with his family in a rented apartment. Renting an apartment of 150 square meters costs $ 1,000. Utilities included. The purchase of such housing would cost $251 000. To find out how the family of a local businessman lives, I decided to visit him. I wonder if it is difficult to start a business in Kathmandu. Kim Raj Lamichhane, a businessman Wherever you live is it always difficult to start a business. You are faced with a huge number of pitfalls, Endless bureaucracy, taxes and much more. What about corruption? Did you face any cases? It is everywhere, but I hope that it will disappear soon. It is not in vain that we send our children abroad to study. Let them gain knowledge, return to their homeland and change their lives for the better. Is higher education expensive? Of course, it is expensive. My eldest daughter and nephew who sits next to me is studying in Europe. We pay $40 000 per year of study for each of them. This is a good investment for our business. And they will continue it. And if the children do not want or the words of the parents are the most important, right? It is customary to listen to parents. We have the absolute authority. The word of parents is law. Are you listening to mom too? If the wife says one mom says the other then whom do you listen to? Iwill listen to my mom. You will not make a scandal; why doesn’t he do what you want? Gita Lamichhane, a housewife I take this with understanding, we have such a culture that the words of parents are the law. Did you marry by love or by agreement of your parents? We married by agreement. Parents found you and said you’re getting married. My parents found me a bride and gave me 10 minutes to chat in private. And I immediately asked her three main questions. If she liked me, did she want to get married and if she had anybody else that she loved. So her heart wasn’t in love at that moment. She wanted to have a family and she liked me. So we decided to get married. It is true that it is difficult for women to find work, so she stays at home and obeys her husband. Nepalese women really most often devote their lives to the family. Every 6 years I gave birth so I was not up to work. I had to bring up children. Well, Manju, for example, contrary to all stereotypes, has found her calling and makes Nepali women beautiful. Sewing clothes on order around the world is very expensive. But Nepalese women were much luckier. Because their wardrobe is almost entirely composed of custom-made dresses. Manju simply has no end to orders. Per month she manages to sew 80 or even 120 dresses. Manju is a jack of all trades, she sews both evening dress and casual. How many years have you been making dresses? It’s already ten years by now. Did you study anywhere? Manju Giri, a seamstress I passed five years in school and then I finished courses where I learned to sew. What is your schedule? I work from 7 AM to 8:00 PM. When do you have time for your family? When do you cook? Who is cleaning or washing? I don’t have a husband and children yet. When will you find a man for yourself if you spend all day sitting at a sewing machine and sewing? I’m off on Saturdays. How much does a dress cost here? It costs around $20. Fabric is already included in the price. As I understand it, a girl comes and chooses a style and a fabric. This is a fashion magazine. So she shows a dress and you tell the price. Right you are. You can tell me which dress would look beautiful on me. As a professional, can you advise which dress suits my figure? I think this dress would look nice. I see… And in this dress, you would be the Queen. You see me in such a gloomy color. And would such a color suit me? Any color from here would suit you. Soon you will see me in my new dress sewed by a fashion stylist. Well, it’s not this one, but this one. And then don’t tell me, what are you wearing, Zhanna. Nepal’s fashion stylists offer me such clothes. And then no one will say that I’m pregnant. For each dress, Manju receives only $2-4. The rest of the money she spends on the fabric. Despite this, she does not receive less than $ 265 a month. This is considered a good salary in the capital. Doctors, for example, earn $ 150 a month. Lawyers earn $ 170, and a kindergarten teacher gets only $ 100. The bus driver’s salary isn’t much bigger as well. In such vehicles hundreds of passengers travel around the city every day. This is how people go to work every day. In such stuffiness and crampedness. And the fare is 13 cents. Take it, please. I will honestly say that I do not really like it. If there is an opportunity to transfer to a taxi, then I will do so. We drive in style, as there are no doors here and the windows are all open. That was a joke. I want to note one thing. The air is very polluted on the roads. And these are electric minibusses. Therefore, in principle, they are fighting for the ecology of the environment and this is wonderful. And as for the fact that it’s not convenient, it is not all at once. We either pollute and ride in comfort, or we don’t and we ride in uncomfortable buses. If you wanna stop, you should do this. Let’s take a taxi. This is enough for me. Oh, I hit my head. Taxi! I need to walk a bit, all right. But when I got into a taxi, I didn’t feel much difference. Unless the seats are softer, and that’s it. How do you drive here? The roads are continuous chaos. Padam Prasad Gautam, a driver Do you have any traffic rules? We do. You are driving into oncoming traffic at a crazy speed and ahead of everyone. What are your rules? There are rules, but it is not always possible to observe them. People run out onto the road and I have to go round them. People run out onto the road and have to go round them. And have you ever had an accident? It has been the case more than once. But fortunately everyone is alive and well. Here it is simply impossible to drive off normally, as people cross the road and motorcyclists are in a hurry. Locals often use taxi services, don’t they? More often tourists use our services but I have a dozen of local customers as well. They call me up and I come where they ask me to. Does the price differ for locals and tourists? I used to take more from tourists, but then my conscience tortured me and I stopped doing so. I know that taxi drivers charge tourists at a different price. He earns $ 31 a day. Working seven days a week, he has enough money to provide his family and maintain the car in working condition. He was lucky that this was his own car, otherwise, most of the earnings would go to its owner. He worked for 9 years as a taxi driver in Malaysia. A car is a very expensive pleasure and considering a tax of 200% not everyone can afford to have their own transport I paid $ 9000 for this car. You paid $ 9 000 for this…? Has the cost of this car already been earned or not? I hope the cost is back in a few years. Your car is barely driving. It can fall apart soon! How often do you repair it? I do it each second day. At one time, it can cost $ 44 to repair it. Sometimes taxi drivers rent their cars to earn money. This is extra money. You worked all day. And in the evening, you rent your car to another driver. I do it sometimes. And how much does it cost? $8.8 per night. And most importantly, if I want to sell it, it will still cost $ 9,000. So I will not stay at a loss. That is, while you sleep and your car makes you money. Interesting, you bought it for $ 9000 and sold for$ 9000, although the car is already, to put it mildly, not salable. Why not? To be a driver in Kathmandu is not an easy task. On a roller coaster, I felt much more comfortable. On the roads of the capital there are only a few traffic lights, but even those do not work. Therefore, the traffic controllers are everywhere. The work is hard and therefore they are entitled to a salary bonus for harmfulness. They get an extra $70 up to the standard $275. Basanga Pant, Head of the police station. 1400 traffic controller works in the streets of Kathmandu. They monitor the order and resolve all issues arising in their area. They call a patrol in case of an accident and issue fines in case of violation. Drivers must pay 4.5 dollars for speeding. Drivers must pay between 4.5 and 13.5 dollars for double solid intersections. Judging by what is happening on the roads, the country’s budget should have been enriched more than once. Yashoda Rokka, a traffic controller I was offered a bribe more than once. But firstly, it is criminally punishable and secondly, I do not want to lose my job. I have a short conversation with such daredevils. Yashoda is from a low-income family. Thanks to free tuition at the police academy, she could receive an education and respected work. Studying at the academy is far from sugar. It is early morning rises, endless pursuits and strict discipline. Friends, this is not the end of the program, do not worry. This is not what you thought. This is an ordinary barracks. And that’s how they make their beds. Here is a blanket, cardboard, some paper towels and a photo from above. So here are such barracks. I am in shock. From morning to evening, policemen are being prepared for various dangers. What they’ve learned, let’s check. If you came to Nepal to be spiritually enlightened and bandits suddenly attacked you, I will now show you a couple of tricks how to protect yourself from them. Hold on. Take my glasses. C’mmon. Imagine, he holds your hand, and you want to escape. You have to turn your hand and run away fast. This is the first trick. Now the second one. Imagine, you go through Nepal, enlighten yourself spiritually, and a man with a dagger attacks you. You protect yourself like this. You grab him like this. Then put your hand this or that way. And then just throw him to the ground. Then you tell him that he behaved badly and etc.. And if you didn’t succeed in neutralizing a person, just ask culturally to leave and not to touch you anymore. Get up, boy, don’t get dirty! We are safe right now. So let’s have a cup of coffee, as I am tired already. Being a cop in Kathmandu is prestigious. It is a stable work with a high salary starting from $ 220 and a guaranteed pension in the future. That’s why the competition at the Police Academy is crazy. Kathmandu is considered a safe city and corruption is considered the biggest crime. It is not a rare case. Devendre Sitaula, a pensioner No one will refuse a bribe from an ordinary patrol officer to an official. Everyone wants money. It complicates our lives and we suffer a lot from this. Kathmandu as a magnet attracts tourists who want to understand their zen. The Nepalese themselves are quite religious. They even have their own living goddess. And she is just 5. This is the current Princess of Kumari and she is a very serious girl. She lives in a castle with her family and she was chosen from very serious competition. That’s how she sits all day long. The real spirit of the goddess was instilled into her. So she is sitting and blessing people now. So she will sit like this until she becomes a girl. That’s how her life goes. The goddess of Kumari are girls of a certain caste. They choose only one out of a dozen applicants. Ordinary girls from poor families can become goddesses just in one moment. They will be worshiped, they will be carried on their hands, they will bathe in the love of the whole people. They will live carefree exactly until the moment when puberty comes. After that, they will have to pack their things and leave the palace for ever, and return to normal life. This is the house where the former goddess lives. So let’s check it now. This is one of the rooms, where the family leaves. Here they sleep altogether, and this is a kitchen here at the same time. These are gas cylinders. Here they both prepare food, and wash the dishes. The food for the ex-goddess is kept in this fridge. Honestly, it’s creepy here. Let’s see where she takes a shower. Here it is. Just right here. So, here they have a shower, a mirror, and they have water. Amazing. What is here? This is lady’s room. Everything is quite predictable here. All goddesses visit all the same lady’s room. What else… What an interesting place it is! Next is the personal room of the goddess who is full of her photographs and stuffed with her things. So now let’s talk to all the family. How old was she when she was chosen to become a goddess? Sabita Bajaraciya, a mom of ex-goddess She was six. How did you get to know that there was a casting for the goddess of Kumari? Did you find any advertisement or did anybody tell you? And when did you make up with an idea that your daughter can become a goddess? Bifasa Bajaraziya, a sister of ex-goddess The representatives of our casta announced this casting. How many girls participated in it? Three girls took part in it. By what criteria were the goddess chosen? What traits should she have to become a goddess? Ramesh Bajaraciya, a father of the ex-goddess A girl should respond to 32 criteria. And she must be just perfect according to all the respects. It is true that you had to be in a dark room to become the goddess of Kumari. It is true that you had to be in a dark room to become the goddess Kumari. Unika Bajaraciya, ex-goddess That’s true. Where there any sounds, or what? Or was there only silence and darkness? Let me answer. According to her words, Unika and two other applicants were sitting in one room in total silence and darkness. And the one who sits the longest period, she would be a goddess. While the acting goddess fulfills her duties, She does not have the right to leave the palace; she does not go to school; the teachers themselves come to her. Parents do everything instead of her. They even carry her so her legs do not touch the ground. Did your parents carry you too? They did. But now you can walk by yourself, right? I can. Did you like it or to walk by yourself is better? I know what you mean! I also love it. But nobody wants to do it, I don’t know why. That’s cause I am not a goddess. You are her elder sister. Tell me, when she eas chosen to become a goddess, didn’t you feel offended? You could be a goddess as well. They often ask me this question. I really never wanted to become Kumari. And my sister dreamed of it since she was 3. I am happy that her dream came true. And why do we all sit on the floor, whereas she is sitting on a couch. Is it forbidden to us? Tell her that we have such traditions. We have such traditions. Wait a moment, why do you repeat everything after her? Can she tell me anything by herself? The thing is that she will always be a goddess for us. We always communicate with her very respectfully, we cook for her separately and she has her own separate dishes. She will always be number one for us and that’s okey for us. But she will never then return to normal life. Is she pretends to be a goddess all her life. Let her sit on the floor with us, it is very convenient. Doesn’t it seem to you as parents, that it is a very controversial difficult moment? As you can even spoil her life with such an attitude. Because she used to be a goddess and you right now cook for her special food, she even can’t sit on a floor, like all people. She is not used to normal life. Aren’t you worried about her, as parents? Are you not afraid that your child’s psyche may be disturbed? She was a goddess and this can not be changed. But I understand what you mean. We try to accustom her to society. We take her to the cinema, for a walk in the park and applied in various circles at school. When she became the goddess of Kumari and the whole family dedicated their life to her. The father left work and, together with the whole family, moved the palace to his daughter. The whole family lived on payments from the state in the amount of $ 88. But The title of daughter was above all. Looking back you don’t regret giving your daughter to the temple to become a goddess. It was hard for us, truly saying. We still cannot return to normal life. My wife and I are still looking for a good job. We live in a small flat. But, you know, it was really worthy. I am proud to be a dad of a goddess of Kumari. The path from the goddess to the ordinary girl is not easy. She learns to do everything by herself. The only thing that reminds her of a past life is this elegant dress. Now she is a pensioner. The state pays her 44 dollars a month. And she will get it till the end of her life. Though this money is not enough even for rent. The apartment in which the family lives costs $ 88 plus utilities. But how do real pensioners live? Do they have enough for living? Are they satisfied with life on retirement? Let’s figure it out. How much do you get per month? – I get $ 265 a month. Devendra Sitaula, a senior I addition, I get some money from renting of my parents’ house. I think it’s cool for Nepal. As people have salaries around $100. All thanks to the fact that I worked in the Ministry of Defense at the time. But there are only up to 10% of such lucky seniors as I am. So up to 10% of seniors get a good pension. And what about the rest? The rest save money all their lives long, and after the age of 60, they get their money back. And the rest usually go on working till old age. Do children usually help their parents? Or you can do it all by yourself. Well, it depends. If parents earn more, they can help their children. If children earn more money, then they help their parents. We are financially independent. When on retirement, Deventra devotes all his life to yoga and reading. And his wife is a house-wife. As all her life before. Did you ever dream to work? Nira Sitaula, a senior I always dream to work. But our traditions and conservative lifestyle of my parents didn’t let me do it. I have dedicated myself and my life to my family. And I never regret. I understand that the man is the main in the family. And the woman is behind him. Can she make the rules? And is she allowed to express her viewpoint? Or as the husband said so the woman is obliged to fulfill. So it may seem only at first glance. In Nepalese families each has his own responsibilities. I had to earn money. And my wife cared about the family and home. But right now, they already have a house-keeper. She helps them about the house right now. But not everybody lives like they do. Amrit Marvari, a pensioner I worked all my life, but I don’t get any pension. So I have to work even right now. Though I am 80. But no matter, if you were poor or rich, the end of life is the same for everybody. Death in Nepal is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. And in order to be reborn, you need to go through a special ritual. I am in a crematorium in the territory of the world-famous Pashupatіnath temple. Here, the whole process of burning of the body occurs in the open air. They put the deceased on wooden boards and set fire to the eyes of all relatives. From what you see it becomes a little uneasy, but believe me, all the residents of Kathmandu dream of moving to a new life in this place. Though, not everyone can afford it. Ganesh Dakal, crematorium worker A cremation costs $ 132. Nepalis have been saving for this all their lives. But those who cannot afford it apply to the electric crematorium which costs only $ 40. On the day of death, the deceased is brought to the crematorium and says goodbye to him forever. In Kathmandu, it is not customary to perform an autopsy. There isn’t even that many morgues here. The very procedure lasts one hour. And within three hours, the body inside the fire turns to ashes. After the fire is extinguished, we dump the ash into the Ganges River. In this very moment, the soul is reborn. So that’s how it works here. But there is one thing, which surprised me most. In the river, where the ashes are sprinkle,d little children splash. in the river where the ashes are sprinkled little children splash. Perhaps this is the very enlightenment for which millions of people come here. In the crazy rhythm of life, we just forget to enjoy it. All our problems may seem to Nepalis to be nothing. And when we make our plans for the future, Nepalese dream of simple things. I dream about a washing machine. I dream of having enough books at school. I dream of a healthy family. I dream of a tasty supper. I dream of traveling. I dream of a good education for my children. I dream of even more tourists in my country. I dream of people to find their way in life. I dream of Nepal as a developed country. And if it seems sometimes that life is unfair to you, you should at least once look at the lives of others.