Nepali Times Asian Paints
Under My Hat
Funny Side Up


You must have noticed by now that there are no cats in Katmandu. During the monsoon it never rains cats and dogs here. It rains only dogs. This is a meteorological oddity, for which many explanations have been put forward, none of them quite satisfactory. One reason could be that since the top of the food chain has been occupied by omnivorous dogs, fussy cats never had a chance here. the plane's hind undercarriage, bibs around their necks, waiting for the stewardess in a sarong kebaya to come down the ramp and ask: "Mutton with rice, or prawn with noodles for you today, sir?"

Then there are those who live in the wild side, denizens of the city's rough neighbourhoods, who would feel perfectly at home in the dog-eat-dog world of Nepali politics. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but senior leaders of the Nepali Congress are up to their old tricks and don't need to learn any new ones. The fight to be Top Dog is hotting up in the runup to the Party Convention in Pokhara in January. Not to worry, the bark of our toothless leaders is Capuchin monks who came through in the 17th century said Katmandu was the dirtiest place they had ever been to in their travels through Cathay, but even they didn't spot any cats. "No cats here," the Brothersnoted in their chronicles. "Only dogs." In fact, by their account, Katmandu in AD 1646 had already started going to the dogs.

In the centuries since, the valley has made steady progress towards being a true melting pot for dogdom. Today, Katmandu has emerged as the most canine-friendly city in the SAARC region. It's a paradise for Man's Best Friend. Where else are dogs allowed to roam freely through the corridors of a government-run hospital? We passed one the other day and greeted him: "Whassup, Dog?" He wagged his tail and disappeared into the orthopaedic ward, he must have been a bone specialist. At Kathmandu airport, the Runway Dogs are some of the most pampered and best nourished in Bagmati Zone. There they sit near worse than their bite. But the dog days for Kathmandu dogs may be coming to an end. Our canines need to use all their streetwise skills to survive new threats. The mayor's office does not believe in letting sleeping dog lie and is planning to forcibly vasectomise them. Not only does this deprive the Dingos of Dogmandu of one of the few pleasures in life, but it may also decimate the hardy species altogether. There have also been reported cases of dognapping by certain embassies of dog-eating nations in Katmandu whose national delicacy is Fido marinated in kimchi sauce. Police have deployed radio-collared undercover labs to nab dog-eating dips. And last but not least, an increasing number of dogs are being martyred on our streets by hitand- run drivers. Enough is enough. You can't run over my dogma with your karma.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)