28 Jun 2017
8 min read
Head cashier at Fire and Ice, Zumba instructor, scooter stuntwoman. How Ayesha Dangol holds it all together
The cornerstone that holds Dangol’s vocations and interests together is her job at Fire and Ice.
“I started working here right after I was done with my SLC,” says Dangol. “When I started out at Fire and Ice, I was a parttime assistant cashier. Twelve years have passed now, and I’ve moved up in the ranks, but I still sit in the same chair, which has become squeaky with age.” Dangol has grown up at her job, has learned how to deal with people by remaining professional even during the most stressful of work hours and through it all figured out a unique career path for herself: she could have probably worked a regular nine-to-five job at another place but because Fire and Ice allows her to work flexible shifts, she can compartmentalize her life such that she can focus on other areas of interest.
Her other job, as a Zumba instructor, does seem as different as can be from her job at Fire and Ice. Whereas, at least on the face of it, her cashier work requires that she mostly focus on being the calm centre amidst the chaos of a busy eatery’s constant ebb and flow of customers, her Zumba work requires that she keep her students constantly moving through sets. But at the core of what she does at both places is the need to remain disciplined—in tallying the sheets at Fire and Ice and in ensuring that both she and her students get the most out of their sets at her Zumba classes.
Up until she injured her left knee in an accident, doing scooter stunts was how she let her hair down between her two jobs. Before she tried out stunting, Dangol wetted her feet by trying her hand at scooter racing. She took part in a few races in and around Kathmandu Valley. She did not bag any podium places, but the races taught her quite a bit about who she was.
“I lost my first race, I lost my second one too,” she says. “But I wasn’t upset about the results and it hit me that I didn’t really care about winning or losing, and that I really enjoyed trying out new things. Eventually, I moved on to stunting, which was a new challenge for me.”
She decided to join Riders Unified, a professional bike stunt and race team in Kathmandu. From there, she picked up the tricks of scooter-stunting and soon started participating in stunting events conducted by the Nepal Automobile Sports Association (NASA).
“Whenever I performed stunts, I would get a kick from the adrenaline rush. I specially loved doing the Human Compass—sliding the scooter in a tight circle by maintaining pressure on the front wheel,” she says. Dangol is also a volunteer trainer and mentor at NASA and enjoys teaching newbies the nitty gritty of stunting.
After her accident, Dangol had to be confined to bed rest, and she has had to forgo Zumba too for a while. But she is slowly rounding back into shape and soon hopes to get involved in both scooter activities and Zumba again.
In the meantime, she keeps herself occupied with her work at Fire and Ice, absorbing as much as she can—even now, even after all these years—all the little details about what it takes to run a successful restaurant. She hopes to some day set up a restaurant of her own. When she does that, the focus of her layered life will probably be her own establishment. She knows that she is not treading the tried and tested path—in both her choice of vocations and her avocation—but with how she is making it all work now, she knows that even when she owns her own restaurant, she’ll be able to wedge in some Zumba work and scooter activities in her life of many colours.