Kumar and Chapagain met in 2003 when they took up a job at the same radio station. Kumar had come to Kathmandu after high school and enrolled in a journalism program, having, as he puts it, fallen into journalism. Chapagain had also always wanted to be a journalist. As their careers progressed, their paths would constantly cross.
“In those early days, our work almost exclusively involved going to the Reporters Club and waiting around for the politician of the day to give their speech,” recalls Kumar.
Chapagain nods, adding: “Or we would have to go to hotels to cover workshops and conferences.”
They are seated, Chapagain on the floor and Kumar on a beanbag chair, and complete each other’s sentences with the ease of two people who have been colleagues for a long time.
In locked-down Lalitpur, their office is quiet but for the sporadic rain outside and the occasional click of the mouse as the editor, Sandesh Pariyar, works in the other room on an upcoming project.
Kumar and Chapagain both worked for BBC Media Action’s debate program Sajha Sawal as producers. Chapagain would eventually become the presenter of the popular show, a role that propelled her to celebrityhood.
Yet even as their careers flourished, professional discontent had begun to creep in. The structure of the show, the Kathmandu-centred happenings, and interviewing politicians had become tiresome.