Former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai a.k.a Kishunji died on Friday March 04, 2011. It is a sad story. It is the end of an era in Nepali politics.
For newspapers and the media it had another side. This was big news – ‘death of Kishunji’. I remember on Wednesday, one of my fellow photographers was assigned to go to Norvic Hospital in Thapathali, immediately. Mr. Bhattarai’s health condition was very critical. And for newspapers, preparations for his death had begun.
Everyone started to prepare: writing news, planning for a supplement, while I was assigned to scan old negatives of Mr. Bhattarai. I just seem to specialize in that task. I scanned a few on Thursday evening. We always have supplements when ‘big’ things happen. And in most of the supplements, we have a photo feature.
On Friday morning, I got a call from my editor, “Bhattarai is very serious and might die today. So you have to come in today.” Friday is my day off but in this case, I had to go. I reached office at around 4 pm and started scanning as soon as I got the selected negatives.
In the evening, the talk in every corner of the office was “when will kishun ji die?” According to their own ‘sources’, some were saying that he had already died and that they were just waiting for the right time to announce it officially.
By late evening another rumor had spread: the hospital would announce his death at 7 am the next day. It sounded very weird and goofy. It was like you knew the time of someone’s death, in advance. Announcing death as if it were the launch of a music album.
By 10 pm, almost everything was ready. News had been written of Bhattarai’s death, leaving space for time and date. The paper was kept on hold, photos and news were ready. Just waiting for the official confirmation. Some said that the announcement would be done the next morning and some suggested waiting till 12 midnight. Usually, pages are finalized between 11 and 11:30 pm.
Confirmation that Kishunji had ‘finally’ died at 11:26 pm on Friday came from the hospital came at around 11:30. Our sites nagariknews.com and myrepublica.com broke the news since everything was prepared. The photo feature was finalized and it was 2 am when I reached home. I was dead tired. I didn’t even have the energy to eat. I just fell on my bed.
When I saw the paper in many people’s hands the next morning, I felt like the late night work had paid off.