While flying back to Nepal these days, it is indeed deeply satisfying and reassuring to see that His Majesty's Govt has taken full cognisance of the changed law and order situation in our country, and has put into force its new Public Security Regulation 2058 and banned the taking of video or still photographs "at Tribhuvan International Airport and above Nepal". A notice to this effect was mandatorily read to passengers just after the flight attendants collected our headsets, even though the movie Shrek had not yet finished. So mean.
The announcement also carried the stern warning that there are stiff penalties for those who openly flout the rule: perpetrators will be required to wolf down another compulsory helping of tapioca pudding for dessert, or be defenestrated from an altitude of 15,000 feet above Simra, whichever comes first.
With draconian new laws like these, we are showing arriving tourists that we are dead serious about their safety and security and want to ensure that they do not indulge in hazardous activities like taking photographs of Mt Everest without a special permit and shooting license from the Defensive Ministry. After all, one man's tourist may be another man's terrorist. Who knows what nefarious deeds can be committed with snapshots of the world's highest mountain if the pictures fall into the hands of the wrong terrorist. Why, someone might kidnap Mt Everest for ransom. Or imagine if unscrupulous anti-national elements took spy photographs of the tarai and then used the imagery to surreptitiously move our southern border pillars so that large swathes of northern Bihar actually become a part of Nepal.
On landing, I was happy to note that the Department of Immitation has also tightened entry procedures into Nepal so that only the stout-hearted will henceforth want to come in. Terrorists without visas have to wait in three lines each lasting 30 minutes on average: one to change money, the next to apply for a visa, and third to clear immigration. They have to fill out many forms with deeply private questions like:
Date of Birth:
Date of Expiry:
What this means is that most tourists who want to destabilise Nepal and push it into a state of anarchy will be frustrated enough to give up after the first queue, and head back home in the same plane that brought them here.
Downstairs, the Department of Strange Customs is also doing its bit to make Nepal a safer place. Its new Customs Declaration Form now has a list of contraband items that His Majesty's Govt regards as being a threat to national security, and will not allow into the country. For instance, you are not allowed any longer to bring in more than one each of the following items: a tricycle, a perambulator, a binocular, used linen, and a Molotov cocktail. Walking through the green channel with more than one of each of these items will result in the immediate confiscation of the tricycles in question which will be destroyed later in a controlled and safe explosion. Perambulator smugglers will then be forced to eat another helping of tapioca pudding.