June 5: There is an object that looks like a 'statue' of a person covered in gold on the shore of Fewa Lake. Some people take photos with the golden statue. Some are seen making Tiktok videos. This is a recurrent scene one can view frequently at Lakeside Pokhara from 11 am to 5 pm.
Although the object looks like a statue at a glance, it is not an idol but a living person. It is hard to believe that a real person can impersonate a statue and stand still for hours.
The person is none other than Ankit Shahi of Okhaldhunga. He is better known as the Goldman in the locality.
It is not because he is a gold dealer or he makes gold jewelry but because of the golden colour he puts all over his body.
He is not doing this out of desire, but out of compulsion. The reason for this is to meet the daily expenses of his family.
He says that after the closure of the business during the lockdown, he opted to his job to support his family's expenses. Before starting this odd job, he worked in India for 10-12 years.
"After the closure of the business due to the lockdown, I started this profession," he said.
The source of his income is the donations given by the tourists who come to visit the Fewa Lake. In front of him is a golden colored box to collect the money.
This is how he makes a living for his family. His family of three includes his mother and sister.
He is now used to standing like an idol for hours without moving. When asked isn't it difficult to stay in one position for hours like this? He says, "It was difficult in the beginning. Now it has become a habit with constant effort. He had previously done this stunt in India for 10 years.”
He is now viral on Tiktok too. He also goes live on Tiktok. Tourists who come to the Fewa Lake consider him to be an idol and make a Tiktok video. Some of them take photos.
Locals claim that he is the first to do such a “weird” thing in Nepal, even though people are seen earning income by becoming 'Idols' in foreign countries.
He says he is sad that he has to do such stunt to make a living. However, he did not reveal the reason for his sadness.
“I left this profession and came to Nepal. Now I have to do the same thing all again in Nepal," he said.