Thursday, September 27, 2007

Conquerer of Crises

Prayer lamps @ Sankata Mandir - Kathmandu, Nepal

I've been on sort of a hiatus all summer (if you can't tell from the blog posts or lack thereof). Anyway, I worked from our Kathmandu (Nepal) office for almost all of July/August, and also spent quality time with the entire extended family.

It's one thing to read and hear about globalization, but utterly amazing when you are smack dab in the middle of it. Kathmandu is, well, increasingly chaotic. A coalition government is struggling to restore stability, while there are protests of all kinds happening on a daily basis, sometimes going to the extremes of calling a "bandh" (general strike), which mostly means no vehicles allowed on the streets (except for ambulances and tourist buses, after all the local economy badly needs the tourists).

Still, life goes on, people figure out a way to get their business done. For IT-based businesses, these "bandh"'s really don't matter a lot. "High-speed" (usually 128 kbps) connection literally provides the information superhighway to get past the "bandh". Let's just hope no one stops the traffic there.

For logical thinkers, it is hard to explain how the city/country functions at all -- but it does, and has been doing so for quite some time. The rate of technology adoption is just nuts. Entrepreneurship is on the rise. All the while an uncertain political climate looms, but perhaps people have figured out over time -- this too shall pass -- and carry a strange confidence that their families, jobs, businesses will somehow always find a way to survive.

The Sankata Mandir is an old temple right in the heart of old Kathmandu. We got there as I followed my family through lots of temples. I was mostly looking after the kids, not being much for organized religion myself, but hoping somehow this might help our young ones develop an appreciation for the higher powers. Most of these temple, I'm sorry to say, are uninspiring -- but something about Sankata felt different. Perhaps it's the name -- a loose translation will be "conquerer of crises" -- that symbolized the current state of Kathmandu and Nepal.

And so even after all the daily accounts of various "crises" -- I came back hopeful, for just like these prayer lamps in Sankata Mandir, there are enough souls in Nepal that carry a strong yet silent power inside them. While these people claim they don't know what's keeping the place together in midst of these chaos, they don't need to look any further, just need to look inside themselves. I truly hope they conquer all their crises.