Nepal's porridge-eating boy "god" wants to become a doctor

Wed Oct 5, 2011 2:52pm EDT
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By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A five-year-old Nepali boy, worshipped by many as a god, sits cross-legged with a stuffed teddy bear in his brick-and-cement home in Kathmandu.

Sambeg Shakya was hailed last year by Buddhist priests as Ganesh, or the god of good fortune, since whne he has led several processions of Nepal's better-known 'living goddesses', also known as Kumari.

On Wednesday, skinny Sambeg, his eyes rimmed in black kohl and wearing a gold brocade dress, walked at the head of a line of nine tiny girls to another girl believed to be the bodily incarnation of Taleju, the goddess of power.

The centuries-old ritual, once used by now-toppled kings who thought it would make them stronger, was the climax of the annual Hindu festival of Dasain, which lasts for two weeks and has become a major tourist attraction in Nepal.

Sambeg will continue in his supporting role until he is big enough to fit in a chariot pulled by men, after which he must return to real life.

"I want to become a doctor," Sambeg, his long hair tied in a bun on top with a peacock feather planted on it, told Reuters.

He is in grade one, the first of ten years in high school.

His father Bishwo Prakash said his family will help the boy pursue the studies he chooses.   Continued...

<p>Sambeg Shakya, 6, dances in front of his relatives at his home in Kathmandu September 16, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar</p>