By Shristi Kafle
Life in quake-devastated Kathmandu is gradually getting back to normal as private offices have resumed work and the terror of aftershocks among people has been lessening.
The 17th day since the massive quake jolted the Himalayan nation witnessed a bright and sunny day creating a different energy in a nation of tired and scared people, compelling them to resume their daily routines.
While the government offices resumed immediately following the disaster, asking civil servants to get involved in relief distribution programs, the private sector is also gradually getting back on track.
Banks, financial institutions, hotels and restaurants, departmental stores, theaters and other private institutions have started providing services again.
Ramesh Shrestha, 28, an accountant in a bike showroom returned to the capital on Sunday after spending 14 days in his hometown Damak, one of the major eastern cities of Nepal.
He had left the valley with his three friends on the third day of the quake with a heavy heart filled with fear for continuous quakes and possible outbreaks of diseases.
“I resumed my duties from today after spending time with family members in my village, which has not been touched by the quake. I was compelled to return to the capital, otherwise my job would be at risk,”Shrestha, who was working on the third floor of his five- floor office, told Xinhua.
Kathmandu is home to more than 4 million people, who have migrated from all the 14 zones and 75 districts of the country in seek of better opportunities, either in higher studies or lucrative professions or business.
More than 1 million migrants, who had left the capital within a week of the quake seeking safety, are gradually returning back.
Only a dozen districts were seriously devastated by the deadly disaster, whereas other parts were barely affected.
The educational institutions are due to resume work from May 15 in the highly-affected districts, which is also one of the major reasons for people to return to the valley.
“I left for my hometown Biratnagar two weeks ago but had to return now as my child has already been admitted into grade 8 in local school here. I cannot waste 30,000 rupees (291 U.S. dollars) that has been deposited in school and the remaining expenses on books and stationary,”a home-maker and mother of a single child told Xinhua.
As most of the parents have already spent a huge amount of money for their children in schools in Kathmandu, which are expensive compared to other cities, it has been an obstacle for them to settle back into their hometowns.
In Nepal, the new academic school season begins from mid-April annually.
The situation is similar with students and job-holders pursuing their careers in this city. They regard their return as mandatory, rather than choice.
Forty-year-old Janaki Bhandari, who runs a travel agency in Thamel, tourist hub of the capital for the last eight years opened his shutters on the 17th morning, observing the rubble of collapsed buildings, some just three buildings away from his office.
Originally from the western district of Dang, he was working in his small cozy office, as other employees are yet to return, from some quake-hit districts and a few from other parts.
“Kathmandu has given me a lot. My business is here, which is my only source of income. My wife and children asked me to stay back, but I could not,”Sharma said.
In the aftermath of the quake, as with Sharma, thousands of other people have started returning to Kathmandu, which witnessed more than 1,200 deaths in the massive disaster.
Crowds in major bus-parks Kalanki and Gongabu frequented by vehicles dominating the roads again and the bright faces of drivers provided a clear hint that people have started to cope with the horrific disaster as they say”life goes on.” Enditem