We've always been a nation of whiners. The Baddies just handed us a three-day forced holiday on a platter and all we did was grumble about it. Taxi drivers complained they couldn't cheat passengers at the airport, customs officials in Tatopani complained they couldn't collect their usual kickbacks, and Lazimpat's night walkers were out of business.
Why not look on the bright side of Bandays? The Ass' back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals that we saved Rs 600 million worth of fuel in three days, thus reducing our trade deficit with India, slashed Nepal's carbon footprint by 1.4 million tons of CO2, and put ourselves on track to fulfill the Prime Minister's commitment in Copenhagen to make the country carbon neutral by 2020.
An average of 15 Nepalis die and 30 are injured every day in highway accidents across the country, which means the three-day banned saved the lives of 45 Nepalis, and an additional 90 who would otherwise be maimed were not. This is why we welcome the indefinite banned from January 25 onwards. If it lasts a month, we will have saved the lives of nearly 500 Nepalis and also temporarily arrested glacial retreat in the Himalaya.
The Baddies had promised that the banned would be 'peaceful', and sure enough it was three days of peace and tranquility. Non-violent goons nearly lynched DSP Chaudhari, peaceful YCLs prowled the streets of Pokhara Lakeside threatening to burn down any restaurant that dared open. In Surkhet, the office of an aid organisation was ransacked in a completely non-violent manner, and comrades in masks threatened to gently break the legs of anyone who dared go to work. Govt offices were either set on fire or vandalised in an extremely peaceful manner. Journalists were thrashed non-violently and ambulances were smashed so the patients inside could rest in peace.
Chairman Awesome's much-maligned speech in which he went on the warpath against the Injuns, and then imediately said the speech was supposed to be sarcastic, revealed at least one thing: he has a sense of humour. Boy, are we glad he was just joking. I don't think this country can afford another remote-controlled robot.
There were other signs of sophisticated humour at the rally. A couple of YCLs wearing their trademark black North Face down jackets held up a banner that said: 'Indians and Dogs Not Allowed in Nepal'. Ha-ha-ha. Others trampled on the Indian tri-colour. Hoo-hoo-hoo. PKD must have regretted that one, 'cos he was later overheard apologising profusely in Hindi to someone on his mobile.
The Cabinet also showed it has a sense of humour by nominating GPK for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Ass can't figure out what would be more embarrassing: nominating the man, or Girja actually winning the prize.
The prime minister is off again, this time to China, which means you should expect monstrous traffic jams both on the ground and in the air on Saturday and next Thursday. Last time he flew off to the climate summit, the airport was closed for two hours. International flights were diverted, domestic flights were cancelled and then the airport ran out of parking space when flights bunched up in the evening. We may have gone from kingdom to republic, but why does the entire diplomatic corps have to troop off to the airport to say 'bye' or 'hi'? And CAAN insists on issuing a NOTAM closing down the airport for VVIP movements. Makunay has outlived his usefulness and should gracefully retire after this China trip, but before that he should take one last decision to scrap these practices.
Stiff bargaining going on till presstime between the PMO and the Chinese embassy about the size of the prime ministerial entourage. The prime minister wants to take along his wife and dotter, and a retinue of 19. The embassy has capped it at 8, but is willing to allow one offspring. China still has a 'One child policy'.