Nepalese miss celebrating Deepavali with family back home

Nepalese miss celebrating Deepavali with family back home
Long way from home: (First row, from left) Narendra and Lee and Sagar (second row, centre) with their friends at the Danga Bay Waterfront area on Deepavali.
PHOTO: The Star

JOHOR BARU - Nothing beats spending Deepavali with your loved ones especially with families at home.

But, when you are thousands of miles away from your homeland, celebrating the Festival of Lights with friends helps to take the sorrow away.

"I'm really sad as this is my first time celebrating Deepavali away from my family in Nepal," said factory supervisor Narendra Dhakal, 19, from Pokhara.

He said unlike in Malaysia, where there were many temporary bazaars selling Deepavali goods, villagers in Nepal had to travel to the nearest town to buy new clothes for the festival.

Narendra said he managed to save RM1,500 (S$488) for two months and send the money back home to his family to celebrate the occasion, which is known as Diwali in Nepal.

Narendra was among thousands of Nepalese workers in Johor who are enjoying the holiday to go out to town to meet fellow countrymen.

Factory production operator Sagar Ripal, 25, from Nodar, Nepal, said the last time he celebrated Deepavali with his wife was three years ago when he went home after his work permit expired.

"I came here again to work with the same factory and still have two more years to go before going back home," he added.

Sagar said his wife was pregnant then when he left for Johor Baru.

Now, his son is a year old and Sagar said he had sadly missed experiencing his wife delivering their baby.

It was also a sad time for Lee Thuki, 28, from Kathmandu.

His family house was damaged during an earthquake in April.

The factory worker said the family was still struggling to rebuild their house again as money was hard to come by.

He sends them RM800 every month.

"I hope to save enough money to help my family rebuild our house. My work permit expires in three years' time," explained Lee.

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