My tale is as “olde as yore,” Old as the times when we stood together; fighting for, protecting and sheltering in these mountains, building the terraces, preserving the wondrous beauty and our natural way of life. You have heard my name, whispered by firelight with memories of grandma’s arms around you, counseling and correcting. “Hush now or He will come out from the forest, so you better be good!” Yes I have always been here; in the darkness amongst the trees, in the recesses of your minds, entwined in your hearts and souls, woven through the centuries to deeds and lore. I watched from my forest perch as traders cut tracks and roads opening up trade routes.I watched the ebb and flow of seasons. I stood amongst the fields with the villages as they planted and harvested the pure clean goodness of fruits from our rich earth. I feasted at your weddings and danced amongst you during festivals. I reclined as prosperity grew, and smiled, as the people celebrated, as harshnes withdrew.
I was always there to chastise the naughty ones and remind them to be good. I was intrigued as strangers from foreign lands came, as they marveled at our mountains, swam in our rivers, and shared the same respect of life, deepening our friendship, strengthening their bonds to the earth. They longed for and reveled in our pristine environment the clean air and the delicacies of our labors; the simple purity their own lands had lost. I was amazed at technology that captured all, from our valley to the peaks; our paradise transformed from memories to a multitude of images for the entire world to see, pride swelled my chest as the people flourished. I felt the sun reflected from the lake and dozed in the grass, mesmerized by the gliders circling with the eagles overhead, appearing and disappearing in the crystal blue sky, my true nature slumbered.
My soul jolted. It shook the earth. I had slumbered too long, the gods and ancestors had called my name, I had not fulfilled my duty. I had not fulfilled my duty. Sorrow was everywhere, I mourned with the people. The shadow of harshness was returning. This I cannot allow…
I heard the whispers of our neighbors’ and filled the lake with trees, fuel for your cooking pots, fires to warm by, to tell of my deeds, to speak and remember my name, to correct the wayward children. No longer, will my eyes be closed; ; I’ve seen the lake! I’ve seen the banks of my rivers festooned with plastic bags like trimmings of a festival. I look in horror at the cascades of rubbish that tumble down and swirl with our ashes in the pure waters from our mountains. I am speechless as my people cast their chatpat wrappers, with their respect, along the path. I wince at the refuse that is now more numerous than the butterflies that once swarmed at the water’s edge. I hear the ragged rustle of litter and rubbish on the gentle breeze. I hear as committees’ boards and associations pomp and ceremony their assent to progress; above these words, I hear the cries of the lake, of the mountains and of the ancestors.
I can no longer stay silent! I can no longer watch! You know my name; you know well my nature, know my words are true. “Chastisement will come, but it will not be my doing” it comes from your hands; it comes from your inaction, from our carelessness, from our rush toward progress, from us. My people hearken to these words of warning! Respect your land! NO LAKE! NO MORE LAKESIDE! Does it not move your soul? Does it not sound as a clarion, that all is not well!? Do you not hear Grandmas’ voice in your ears? Is it not enough to bring you to your senses? To enhance and protect our home, as our forefathers did! 2072 was a year of awakening, can you see,we need to act now. This paradise Pokhara was created by the Gods; tamed by our ancestors and cared for by our people. It is, and always has been there, to sustain and provide for us. It is now, that we must unite our efforts and concerns, to stop this desecration of our land. It is now you who must act; enhance not exploit; protect not plunder. I have come out from the forests to tell you, “It is not I who is the fiend, it is You! You Naughty Children!” I cannot stop the ways of man; I cannot postpone Karma, for I am but a child’s story.

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