But my intent is rather nobler than those who trade cattle for chattel. This week I would like, in the true Nepali spirit of compromise, to combine the best of astrology and quantum statistics to give you the larger picture for 2100, a kind of Future Report of the State of Neo-Nepal. By 2100 all of you will be dead, so you should be able to consider the significance of my predictions with an intellect entirely shorn of selfish considerations.
People first. There should be lots of them. At current growth rates, there will be over 58 million Nepalis around, a full tenth of them crammed into the Kathmandu Valley. Unless the latter becomes the Newa Valley, in which case expect the aforementioned millions to be scattered across the 103 provinces that will be declared by 2100 (including the Unidentified Dalit Province and the Unidentified Ethnic Province).
Crucial to our demographic robustness, however, is the ever accelerating phenomenon of outmigration. In 2010/11 350,000 Nepalis left to become slaves in the Gulf, and judging by the 50,043 who showed up for the Korean language tests last Friday, the desert isn't the only sinkhole of Nepali dreams. So we have two scenarios for 2100, as explained through scientific bullet points:
• Nepal will become nomadic, with a wholly floating population
• If migration turns to settlement, then the phrase 'dadakada dhakun' will become obsolete.
Fortunately, this means that we will be able to declare the whole of Nepal a National Park, in order to continue to attract tourists. In 'Nepal, Is it? Year 2100', projecting up from the glory years pre-peep's war, we will have between 4-5 million visitors. Hoorah!
Unfortunately, by 2100 the famed Himalaya will just be a bunch of black rocks, courtesy global warming, and anyway Bihar's continued industrialisation will smog up the whole of the northern subcontinent, obscuring even these views. So tourists might decide to stick to the Alps. Yes, we will be compelled to measure Everest without the snow cover, thereby submitting to those damned Chinese, but never fear, we will all be half a metre higher up than the rest of the world by then, and Nepal will continue to rise.
With great joy comes great sorrow, alas, and the very same uplifting nature of the Indo-Australian plate* means that by 2100 we will be due not just one Big One, but two Big Ones (which, strictly speaking, means we will be due the Big Two). The first quake, which is imminent, will destroy the Kathmandu Valley in its entirety – world heritage apartment blocks, shopping malls and all. The second will devastate the donor-funded federal capitals soon to litter Neo-Nepal.
While this might discourage your average Israeli or high-quality tourist, never fear. Expats are made of rather sterner material, and like nothing better than to feast on the carcass of a failed state beset with plagues worthy of the Bible.
Donors will continue to be the saviours of Neo-Nepal, selflessly stepping in pull us out of the muck, besides being patronising, or rather, patronising the only businesses that sustain Kathmandu and all the satellite towns to have seen White Man, namely restobars. Inflation will mean that by 2100, all the apartments on sale in the Valley will cost upwards of 2 crore rupees, making them eligible (and only affordable) for the aforementioned angels of mercy.
Following the wholesale quake-struction of Nepal's first generation of residences and the continued acceleration of real estate prices, apartment blocks will comprise the capital's new, proud skyline.
Nepal's frens will not be alone, of course, in their quest to keep her seat in the UN warm. In the pitch dark of loadshedding 24/7 (no snow, no rivers, no batti), donors will hold closed door meetings with the political parties, of which, at the current rate of proliferation, there will be some 600-odd by 2100. On weekends, they will attend donor-funded exhibitions, concerts and film festivals inaugurated by politicians and ambassadors. By 2100, we will be a global hub for culture, populated in the main by restobar owners, politicians, NGO staff, brokers, and the odd peasant, a kind of a Shangri-Las Vegas with Candles. I can't wait.
• Taking migration to an extreme, the Indo-Australian plate's movement will in fact take the entire country of Nepal (and India, which will insist on tagging along) a full 1,500 km into Asia in the next 10 million years, meaning very soon there will be no Tibet (relax, China!) and eventually no China (relax, USA!), and Nepali Mongolians can reunite with Real Mongolians.
Facelift for the Patan Palace, CAI YUN
The Patan Darbar Square is not just a Kathmandu Valley treasure but a World Heritage Site that is undergoing much-needed restoration