Meeting with the Mayor of Lalitpur

October 11, 2019

Undoubtedly, my act of going to government offices wearing a gas mask spurred commentaries and dialogues on social media, but it was evident that we need more real interactions to explores accountability in local governments and social structures. My commitment remerged. It is then I started going to Lalitpur metropolitan city-backed with my plans and all the learnings from my previous experiences. Like every common citizen, I was no exception to bureaucratic hassles and delays. It tested my patience and sharpened my skills to deal in the long term. I had to wait for hours and return back in vain. Going there every day and waiting for hrs became usual, one instance I waited for 7 hours. The line between the performing art and my daily routine was perhaps indistinct. I call it performance art imbued with a message and a purpose. I documented this time-based performance via still images and Facebook live.  14months of consistency caught the attention of the mayor, it was from there trust and a new relationship was formed with public officials.14months of consistent effort caught the attention of the mayor, a new relationship with public officials was formed from there. Micro interventions like green walls, that that needed little investment and time began to get implemented. I saw my work progressing from pure intention, passion, and positive interaction with the right. We often blame and tend to have a negative stance. Through this soft approach, I’ve come to understand that positive outlook, patience and consistency are an ice breaker and a tool for the process of social change. My environmental advocacy led me to the issues of public land encroachment and disruptions caused by rapid urbanization. The green areas have significantly shrunk and our public spaces are poorly designed by contractors that are linked to the government and have conflicting interests with short term goals. Finally, I was able to convince the mayor to rethink our approaches.  He extended his full support and I formed a creative team to rethink and design well planned green spaces. The partnership with Lalitpur metropolitan city established and continued to work from there.

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