by Pushpa Iyer
"Turn around, turn around,” my Nepali friend instructs our driver as we drive around Pokhara. She asks him to stop next to a small field. I get out of the car not really sure of what has caught her attention. She holds my shoulders and physically turns me a 180 degrees and says, “Now look.” And that is my first view of the Himalayas. My jaw drops. Unparalleled beauty, pure and majestic! And that feeling of awe stays with me every time I view the Himalayas after that. I can never say I have had enough. Tourists flock to Nepal to soak the environment into their every pore – the cold, the snow, the heat, the dirt trails, the narrow curvy paths, and the huge rocks – with a reverence that only the power of nature can demand. Of course, a country blessed with this kind of natural beauty must capitalise on it; charging the ‘foreigners’ for enjoying the bliss, sharply contrasts with how Nepal’s citizens live in raw nature – no proper roads, no potable water, no electricity, no school building for their children, and the list keeps growing.