It looks like elections…

The thought of spending the night at Dhalkebar was not too exciting. On Nepal's east-west highway, 24 kilometres from the Tarai town of Janakpur, Dhalkebar wore a deserted look at 7.30 in the evening. Three men, eating dinner while sitting on a charpoi placed in the middle of the road, said that the last bus from Birgunj to Janakpur had already passed. Just then, ten or so motorbikes, waving Nepali Congress flags, sped past. They were the people of Anand Dhungana, who is standing from Dhanusha 7 constituency. "Chalu, nik chhe, chunaavi abhiyan shuru ta bhele ab," remarked one of the men in Maithili. "But it is good – at least election campaigning has started now."

As the night progressed, almost a dozen people assembled, hoping for some transport into Janakpur. It was their good fortune that, around ten, an open jeep finally turned up at the highway, and offered everybody a ride. The whole lot crammed into the vehicle – limbs across each other, half sitting in someone else's lap, many still standing. But all were relieved that Janakpur was now only an hour away.

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Himal Southasian
www.himalmag.com