‘Borrowed tea drinkers was ministers, however didn’t pay’

Nanikaji Bisht, who has been running a tea shop at Tribhuvan University for 57 years, says, “Deuba and PL Singh paid for the rest of the tea. I had written the names of others on the cigarette butts, so I threw them away saying that they would not pay anymore. ‘

23 October, Kathmandu. There is a shop in the Tribhuvan University campus which was opened 57 years ago. Nanikaji, a spectacle-wearer chewing betel nut, is found in a bist shop, which is constantly making tea for Tribhuvan students, teachers and staff.

Bisht, 73, is now hearing impaired. He says that he has served tea to many political and non-political people including Sher Bahadur Deuba and PL Singh. He says, “Many people in the upper echelons of the country have eaten the tea I cooked.”

Born in the year 2005 in Panga of Kirtipur, Bisht started construction work while studying in class five. He was hit by a stone and suffered a serious leg injury and could not return to work.

“It was in 2021, when I was 16 years old,” recalls Bisht. While searching for a place, I met the then registrar Trilokyanath Upreti. He let me open a tea shop. ‘ He believes that this coincidence is due to his philosophy of Dakshinkali.

He remembers that Upreti suggested reading first. “I was wondering when I would be able to get a job after finishing my studies,” he says.
Bisht says that he started selling five paisa cup of tea in a tin hut made by the registrar Upreti. Her tea shop was running well. At the same time, it started getting dirty.

“After I met VC and complained, Trivi built a toilet,” he said.
Thousands came and went to study and teach in Tribhuvan. Most of them ate tea cooked by Bisht. “I was the only one selling tea at that time,” he says. In winter, I used to feel dizzy. ‘

He mainly sold tea, snacks and cigarettes. He says that everyone who is already studying and teaching in the university campus is smoking along with tea and lunch. “Some of them even borrowed money to pay Percy tomorrow,” he says. “Some of them did not pay, now I have forgotten.”

According to him, the number of students used to be less. He remembered the names, surnames and districts of all the students he saw daily. Later, the number of faculty and students in TRIBI increased. His age was also declining. Remembering everyone’s name and surname is not possible.

Bisht is a witness of the JJ activities that have taken place in the Tribhuvan University for nearly six decades. Among them, riots between student organizations with different political beliefs are the main ones. “Hanahan, Lakheta used to chase,” he says. “Let’s not even talk about the election of the student union!”

Similarly, in times of danger, his food, tea and cigarettes were sold a lot. He would stay up all night doing business. Nanikaji Bisht has not forgotten that the then leaders of NEBI including Sher Bahadur Deuba and PL Singh planned to retaliate by having tea and lunch in their own shop.

‘After many students talking politically in my own tea shop, what happened to the Minister, the Prime Minister and so on. I also got old and changed ‘, says Bisht,’ I don’t know everyone now, I don’t even meet, I don’t work, but I enjoy remembering. ‘

He recalled that Himal Sharma, a member of the Maoist students’ organization, had started working when he was the president of the SSU. He said, “Himal Sharma has come and built this toilet near my shop.”

One of the students who did not come to his shop even once was the then Prince Dipendra Shah. The late Dipendra had a bachelor’s degree in geography from Tribhuvan University.

“Dipendra used to stand there and smoke, but he never came here,” said Bisht, pointing to the gate of the humanities faculty. “Others would come to buy cigarettes for him.”

Due to Dipendra, Bisht understands that a ‘cafeteria’ with tea, coffee and food is open just outside his tea shop. He said that the cafeteria may have been open as Dipendra is a ‘prince’ who thinks for everyone.

Bisht sold tea at the Tribhuvan campus and taught his four daughters and one son. Her eldest daughter is a nurse and Miley is a village secretary. The youngest works in a bank, while the third daughter, who dropped out of school, is helping her father.

‘The son is the youngest. He also wore a computer engineer’s hat six months ago ‘, Bisht said,’ Now he is working on a project. ‘

Now that he is older, he has stopped making tea, but is in a regular shop. The third daughter has taken care of everything. Bisht, 73, is now thinking of handing over the entire responsibility to his daughter.

He says that he has not been able to save cash while raising children by running a tea and snack shop. He said that he was indebted to build a one-storey house on ancestral land.

“But, a magazine wrote that Nanikaji Bisht, who sells tea in Tribhuvan, has three houses,” he laughed, “thank you so much!”

In her experience, former students were often financially deprived. Some of them could not even pay for the tea they had borrowed when they were hungry. “The current students are not worried about money,” says Bisht. “They don’t even ask for loans.”

He said that some students including Sher Bahadur Deuba and PL Singh had sent the money for tea and food after many years. “There was still a lot to pay,” said Bisht.

Bisht, who has spent so many years on the campus, has another experience: today’s students are rude and even attack teachers.

“No matter how many times they fought with each other, they did not know that they had attacked their teacher,” he says. It’s all over. ‘

Photos: Aryan Dhimal / Online News


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