Sung to the tune of "Monday, Monday" which I vaguely recall being a 60's ditty but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.
Bandhs. Pronounced "bunds". These are strikes or closures and usually mean that all major businesses and transportation wherever the bandh is called close/cease. Any group can call a bandh and it is usually called in protest and is increasingly accompanied by angry people burning tires and blocking roads to enforce their call for closure and bring attention to whatever issue they might be protesting about that day. These tend to be incredibly successful here which is why people persist in calling them. Living with them is a Pain In The Rear End. Can I rant a little?
If a valleywide bandh is called, people can't get to work and don't get paid. Here that means that they might not eat that day. If a nationwide bandh is called - goods that should be making their way across the Terai from India will sit and rot - not a good scenario. It makes me crazy.
What does it mean for the pampered expat set like us? Inconvenience and annoyance yes - danger possibly - hunger, not yet. When people complain I just feel like walloping them and saying "get some perspective!!!" It is completely humbling to live the way we do when so many have so little.
Last year we had lots of bandhs but last week was a first for many new arrivals. It started earlier and ended later and we did not venture out at all. In the past blue plated vehicles may have been allowed to pass - not last week. The kids were at school when some of the tire burning and road blocks started so the school kept them on campus until 6:30 that night. I knew they were safe but was not exactly sans anxiety. They are only 4 and 6 years old! They got home after 7 pm pretty darn excited about the extended day - "we almost had a sleepover Mom!!". Geez.
I can think of one benefit to a bandh. It has to be good for the environment to have all the vehicles off of the road for a day. The quiet roads with only walkers, bycyclists and rickshaw drivers are actually nice - as long as you really don't need to get anywhere. I have to get a before and after photo of this at some point.
Punchy incoherent tired ... but I've been meaning to put this down for over a week so thought I should seize the moment.