For the visually impaired
All the new sidewalks that are being constructed in Kathmandu these days show a series of distinctly colored yellow tiles running through the middle of them. It made me wonder what they were. At a point I even started cursing the government in my head, assuming that the tiles were simply objects of decoration, another case of redundant expenditure so characteristic of public projects.
When I saw a group of workers digging along the middle of sidewalk passing in front of my college, I was certain that they were in the process adding those same yellow tiles. It was too much for me, and found myself agitated every time I walked the sidewalk.
Coincidentally, I was surfing the internet one day when I recalled those yellow tiles. On Google I typed ‘Odd yellow tiles on the sidewalk’. Instantly trusty Google displayed answers on the screen. I felt a fat smile form on my face as I read. Immediately I was praising Nepalese policymakers.
The yellow tiles were being laid as part of tactile paving, a special paving used as warning indicator for people who are blind or have partial visual impairment. The tiles come with a distinct texture which the blind people can feel via their cane or shoes and that way they could follow the sidewalk with ease. But this is not the only purpose tactile paving serves.
I also learned that Japan was the pioneer in introucing tactile paving and that the tiles are used as early warning mechanism as well. Change in the texture of the tiles would suggest things like turning ahead, stairs ahead, slope ahead, crossing ahead etc. The primary purpose although remains a medium of directional guidance. In addition, there is a clever reason for coloring the tiles yellow: a distinct yellow would create contrast from the sidewalk so those with partial blindness could see distinguish it.
This was very rejuvenating revelation for me. I am seriously pleased with the government for taking commendable initiative to ease commute for people with visual imparment. I suggest the concerned authority to add tactile paving at all places in the urban centers.
We take pride in Sagarmatha and also Bhagwan Buddha. We should introspect as to what has been “our” contribution in the making of both. The tallest mountain landmark is the outcome of tectonic push against the bigger landmass creating the upward drift that created the Himalaya. Prince Siddhartha, on the other hand, was born 2556 years ago or 23 centuries before Nepal got unified under Prithivi Narayan Shah. Siddhartha is believed to have attained enlightenment at the age of 35 or around six years after leaving Kapilvastu.
All this pointed that the election will be held with public support despite efforts by those against it. But all that changed after three people were killed in Rajbiraj after the police opened fire on Madhesi Front cadres who were ‘hurling petrol bombs’ toward the venue where UML Chairman KP Oli had just finished his short address.
Men at work
Currently the larger part of our urban area resembles a war zone with bulldozers and mechanical diggers running amok. What is left behind the unfinished work typically consists of mangled water pipes, jumbled up and torn telephone and electric wires, mounds of dug earth and gravel heaps, unfilled ditches and incomplete manholes.
A great aviator in the Nepali skies
Deepak was not only a competent pilot but also someone who had the inner strength to always remain cool, calm, and collected. That nature helped him make a total of three emergency landings in his career as a pilot when he suddenly had to deal with technical malfunctions while flying an aircraft.
Traffic Police in Kathmandu
As busy and hassling as the traffic system in Kathmandu is, the Traffic Police here have to handle an equally strenuous job. Over 1,400 traffic officers in and around the Kathmandu Valley battle against the pestering traffic and air pollution each day.
Menstrual taboo outdated
I have seen my sisters and friends isolated and treated in discriminatory manner during their first menstruation cycle. They were not allowed to look at the sun, to touch water source, flower, fruits, any male family member, nor even hear their voice. The activist may claim the situation has changed and I do agree but still during every month my loved ones turns into untouchables beings.