Need for a new home arises:
With the arrival of their newborn Rita, Singh and his family’s need for a new home was realised.
“Earlier, I was in hiding, and Shankar Man was living in Banares, therefore the house at Kilagal was sufficient for the family. However, since Shankar Man had moved back to Kathmandu, and I was also living at home – the home at Kilagal was proving to be too small. With Rita’s birth, we would have constant visitors – we did not have any space to accommodate them”, Singh tells Mathbar Singh.
The problem needed immediate attention, and Singh was in the lookout for a house.
One day, Indra Bhakta informed Singh about a vacant bungalow in the outskirts of Chetrapati, near Thamel.
“The house belongs to Bahadur Shumsher. If you say so, I will talk to him”, Indra Bhakta told Ganesh Man Singh.
“Actually, Bahadur Singh did not have to sell the house – he wanted to get rid of it. The bungalow had been used by his mistress/love-interest. She was suffering from tuberculosis and needed to be isolated from the community – therefore Bahadur Shumsher had purchased the bungalow for her from Major Uttar Dhoj. Since her passing, the house had been abandoned, and was referred to as a ‘ghost house’, Singh tells Mathbar Singh.
Singh asks Indra Bhakta to talk to the family about the estate.
Bahadur Shumsher’s family asked for Rs 45,000 for the property including the bungalow which was spread over 12 ropanis of land.
Managing funds for the new home:
Once the house had been found, Singh had two problems on his hand – one, to convince his family members, other to manage funds for the purchase.
“My mother Sanu Nani Shrestha Singh, wife Mangala Devi, and brother Shanker Man did not like the house at all.
At the time, Thamel wasn’t as occupied as it is today – it was like a jungle. My family was unwilling to move because the house was far away from the city”, Singh tells Mathbar Singh.
“The second problem was to manage funds. I had to sell my mother’s and wife’s jewelry for the money. How could I ask them for their jewelry when they weren’t convinced about the house at the first place”, Singh shares his dilemma.
Eventually, as the problem for space grew bigger, Singh’s family agreed to purchase the house, and Singh’s mother and wife parted with their jewelry.
Singh grandmother gave six gold bangles, Singh’s mother gave another six gold bangles along with her diamond set, Mangala Devi gave her necklace which was gifted to her by Badaman Ratna Kazi during their wedding. The gold fetched Rs. 10-12,000.
Singh was still short – he then leased his Kilagal home to a merchant for ten years at the cost of Rs. 10,000 and the remaining money he took a loan for.
Thus, the funds for the home were procured.
King Tribhuvan offers financial assistance, Singh declines:
One day, Singh received a call from the royal palace – King Tribhuvan had invited Singh for dinner. Singh duly obliged, and reached the palace.
After exchanging pleasantries with the King, Singh was ushered into the living room.
“How was your operation?” Tribhuvan asked Singh.
“It was successful”, Singh replied.
“Are you still on antibiotics?” Tribhuvan asked.
“No, your majesty. My dose is complete”, Singh replied.
“That’s good – let’s enjoy a couple of drinks then”, Singh said.
After which the attending staff wheeled in whisky, soda, ice and water. Along with that, an assortment of dry-fruits was also brought in.
“King Tribhuvan was very fluent in Newari language”, Singh tells us. “Whenever an opportunity arose, we would talk in Newari. This day too, he started talking in Newari”.
Tribhuvan shared his admiration of Singh, and then in between the conversation broached the topic of Singh’s quest for a new home:
“I hear you are looking for a new home?” Tribhuvan inquired.
“Yes, your majesty. I was. I have found one already near Thamel”, Singh replied.
“That’s nice. A minister of your status who has contributed towards Nepal’s democracy must live comfortably. On that same note, may I offer a sum of NRS 200,000 as financial assistance towards the purchase of your new home?” Tribhuvan proposed.
Singh was taken aback. “Is the king trying to bribe me?” He thought to himself.
In response, he said, “No, thank you, your majesty. I have been able to procure the sum myself”.
“I could have been a little blunt in my response. Because King Tribhuvan instantly apologized for the offer”, Singh adds.
“I think you took offense. I simply offered because tomorrow the people can question the source of the amount for your home. If you would accept my offer, you can always tell authorities and the public that the amount was a gift from me”, King Tribhuvan added.
Singh assured the king that he did not mind his offer – however, also that he would not take money from him.
A few days after the dinner, Singh with his privately managed funds paid for the home, and transferred the ownership to his name.
“Thus, I was a home-owner”, Singh tells Mathbar Singh.