Every morning, a short man in a yellow Sikh turban and blue surgical mask walks down Kupondole doing his daily chores: buying vegetables or chatting away with neighbours.
Incongruously, his name is Lal Bahadur Karki. Born in Ramechhap to a Chettri family, he was sent as a child to work for a rich family whose house is now the Sikh shrine, Guru Nanak Satsang Gurdwara in Kupondole.
Karki chose to remain and serve at the shrine after his employer sold the house to the Sikh community. He eventually converted into Sikhism and now wears a turban and has a distinctive long white beard.
“I was young and so attached to the place that over the time I became very close to the Sikh religion and its teachings,” says Lal Bahadur, whose wife Bhim Kumari, and family have also converted to Sikhism. Even his son, who is a migrant worker in Malaysia wears a turban.
“People often get confused by our surname and appearance,” he says, “they judge us, but we are used to it by now. It’s our faith and belief in God.”
Amidst the Covid-19 crisis, Karki along with his wife and other members of the Sikh community are now preparing a quiet celebration for Guru Nanak’s 551st birthday on Monday.