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Day 47: Lekhani

Lekhani, Nepal 
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Villager with a bamboo and rattan cone-shaped basket called a doko. They carry everything in them, and loads exceed 75 lb (35 kg).
Michael Palin - HimalayaA delegation, including our director J-P, follows two young men who look like students, one with a colourful embroidered shoulder bag, the other carrying documents of some sort in plastic folders. They look quite harmless, as if they might be on their way to a tutorial, but the submissiveness of everyone concerned suggests they have something more than moral authority.

They lead our people out of earshot, off behind a small temple, beside which a gnarled old bo tree grows. After half an hour they're back. J-P reports they met with four of them, all young, the same sort of age as the recruits, two of whom were polite and reasonable and two 'a bit nasty'.

They have asked the galla, Adrian and two other Gurkha officers, to go with them to meet what they call their high command, two hours' walk away into the forest. While we are taking all this in, three of the Maoists appear at the door of our tent. One, in a white shirt, is short and chunky and wears glasses reminiscent of Piggy in Lord of the Flies. He has a row of pens clipped in his top pocket. Another holds a radio. We mask the whisky bottle as they peer round the tent. Once they've gone another boy appears. He wears a baseball cap and speaks to the Sherpa Nawang, expecting him to translate. Nawang's eyes simply grow wide and he seems transfixed, speechless with anxiety. The boy's tone seems apologetic. Cradling a silver torch, he puts his hands together in the traditional greeting.


At that moment the stocky accomplice appears once again. He is less charming and, having scrutinized us all one last time, he makes a remark and goes.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 47: Lekhani
  • Country/sea: Nepal
  • Place: Lekhani
  • Book page no: 108

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