Nepali Times Asian Paints
Trees, roots and grass


What do you do now? You've been fired more times than an American IT-worker and your job has just been outsourced except the outsourced job is in your own country.

Boss: We have to talk.
Outsourced guy: Oh no, not again.
Boss: I'm afraid so.
Outsourced guy: Listen, it's not me this time. That chain-smoker and shorty just don't want to come on board. They want my job and my favourite portfolios.
Boss: Sorry to hear that.
Outsourced guy: Ok, but this time can you ease up on words like 'incompetent' in your speech.
Boss: Ok, deal.

You are one of the founding fathers of Nepali democracy (and I use that term very, very loosely with due apologies to George Washington, Jefferson etc) and your own house is a prison. But you're not worried. You might not really know how to govern or have any connectivity to your constituency but you know how to do this prison thing well. You're back in your element.

You are the Nepali media. You thought you could editorialise the insurgency away. Hell, you've written so many great editorials and offered lucid solutions but no one calling the shots read them. They've been chugging Johnny Walker Blue and now you're using trees, roots and grass as metaphors and what makes you think they're going to get that? I feel for you.

You are the man and you are a hands-on kind of guy with difficulties smiling. You can't understand why the politicians keep dilly-dallying while the house is burning. You ask them to join you in a coalition. They say they don't know the definition of a coalition. You fire them. You bring them back. Yet, they still don't understand what a coalition is. They've never had to cooperate except for about five minutes in 1990. You fire them again and roll the dice. You're in everyone's crosshairs now but hey, you showed them that you can make a decision and you too, can give a really, really long speech. It seems to be working.

You are the Indian media. You really don't understand Nepal but who is asking? You find yourself scratching your head sometimes wondering how the Nepali immigration authorities can keep track of all those people when everyone's name is Bahadur. (This just in from the BBC: tigers are being de-listed from the endangered species list based on the TOI article describing Ms Koirala's harrowing escape riding pillion through tiger-infested tarai.) Question to the Sports Council: can pillion-riding while fighting off tigers replace dundi beu as Nepal's national sport? Sounds cooler and gives us a tougher image.

You are the FNCCI and you don't know if you should order some flowers.

You are the average Nepali. You've gone through 85,000 bandas. You've seen Nepalis destroy your store because some terrorist killed Nepalis in Iraq or some actor allegedly said something bad about Nepal. You've heard incessantly from politicians that there are some holes in the constitution and they must be fixed before you have true democracy.

You hear from the Maoists that everything must start from scratch before the revolution is complete and you've never really understood what a constituent assembly is. You hear from the media that the whole thing is tied to this neocon movement, has parallels to Iraq and Afghanistan, and The Economist has the real solution. You have no idea what they are talking about.

You've gone through 25,000 school closures. You marvel at how teachers can squeeze a whole year's worth of schoolwork in the 20 days that schools are open. Your salary is less than Rs 50 a day. Yet, you've got these guys asking you to give up two months of pay and your first born for the 'people's war'.

You're tired. You don't really care anymore. You just want your life back and they can call the system whatever they want.

You're a conflict resolution expert and a professional mediator. It is time to take that long vacation.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)