One of the leading media personalities of Nepal, Tara Bhusan Dahal joined Nepal Television during its inception and anchored the popular ‘Sunday Pop’ show and today is the Chief Executive Producer at Kantipur Television. He is also known for producing music videos and for his pioneering film ‘Kagbeni’. Dahal shares his views on our biggest festival ‘Dashain’ and fondly draws on his childhood memories.
Born and raised in Kathmandu, Dahal has always looked at Dashain as an “optimistically awaited vacation.” Being in the media profession, he claims that he does not get many holidays. However, that particular stretch of a week, he tends to do nothing and just spend time with loved ones. He says, “I think that is required for any active professional’s life, so I take it as a well deserved break.”
As times have changed, Dashain has changed for Bhusan Dahal too. As a young child, he remembers that he was always looked after during Dashain. Now as an adult he has more responsibilities, thus has to look after the generation after him. He says, “As a child you are always taken care of by your parents or other elders. Now all those elders have perished and you have stepped into their shoes.” He now has a sense of responsibility, which is to help the younger generation get their deserved holiday during Dashain.
Dahal studied in Budhanilkantha School, which is a public boarding school located in Narayanthan. During Dashain they used to get a holiday from school and since his parents lived in Kathmandu, he would go home. As he got home from school, his parents made sure he got the holiday that he deserved. He recalls, “When I was a kid and in school, I remember coming home and my parents giving me a holiday. They put in extra effort to make sure I was happy, relaxed and comfortable, so that I was ready for the rest of the year.” The main changes he has observed during Dashain has been the role changes from a child to an adult.
As Dashain also resembles the change in season, other aspects of the city change along with it. Some of the changes that he has noticed since an early age are the color and hues of the city. He says, “Born and raised in Kathmandu, since my early days I have noticed and felt that Dashain brings changes to everyone. The whole city, collectively, is more relaxed and at ease. Everyone is ready to take a break and enjoy spending some quality time with their families.” When looking back on his past, as a kid, Dahal’s best memories during Dashain always featured flying kites. Kite flying is a huge cultural trend in Nepal during Dashain, and Dahal was someone very much into flying kites. He remembers, “Flying kites was one of the most competitive sports, and I can proudly say I was very good at it.” Back then, everyone would meet up at a friend’s house and go to the roof and have intense kite flying competitions. He adds, “We would sharpen our own threads and put a lot of bandages on our hands. Since we could not get readymade stuff, we would go ahead and make it ourselves. And buying a kite never meant we would buy one kite, we would buy by the dozen and there would be a lot of preparations before the competition.”
The kite flying competitions were also between areas. They had home grounds as well as away grounds which brought a lot of fun to the competition among the residents in these areas in Kathmandu. Today the kite flying culture is not as big as it used to be. Dahal says, “We would be out in the sun all day flying our kites. Then we would come home with a completely sun baked complexion and get a bit of trashing. These memories are what I really reflect on as an adult.”
He does not see many kids flying kites these days. This generation has the privilege of having multiple gadgets on their hands which are key elements that are causing distraction, so kids do not leave the house much. Back in Bhusan Dahal’s time, Dashain was not expensive either. Their biggest expense was buying kites. Other than that, if they went to a friend’s house, they were always well fed and well taken care of. These memories are what makes him remember his childhood days fondly.
As he mentioned earlier about role changes, this Dashain is going to be very different for him. This is the first Dashain he is going to celebrate since his mother passed away. So he feels as if he is in a vacuum. This is the first time he will be putting tika on others, which was his mother’s role. This is also why he wants to celebrate Dashain a bit differently this year. He says, “I am not yet ready as a human being to take on that responsibility. So I will sit down with my family and ask if we can celebrate Dashain a bit differently.”
Ultimately, Dahal is not someone who looks at Dashain from a religious perspective. For him it is literally the time of year when you go about doing absolutely nothing. Taking some personal time off and just being around his loved ones. He also tends to meet friends who he does not meet much during the rest of the year. He has “taas” parties with his friends and that is how they connect after not meeting for long periods of time. Overall, Dashain for Bhusan Dahal is ‘a well deserved break.’