Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Complain, complain, complain


It is an age-old custom in this part of the world to have Complaints and Suggestions Boxes located at convenient intervals throughout the kingdom.

We don't know if these boxes are ever opened, or if anyone actually reads the recommendations contained therein, but that is not the point. The point is that the boxes prove that the citizens' right to complain is still intact despite the royal takeover. As a last resort if nothing else works, they can always vent their frustrations and pour out their angst by making droppings in the box and relieve themselves. So what if we don't have ballot boxes, at least we have Complaints Boxes.

However, it has come to our notice that there are some units of His Majestic Government that still haven't installed Suggestion Boxes in their premises. This is intolerable. If this is the state of affairs, how on earth is the ordinary man on the street ever going to lodge a complaint that there isn't a Complaint Box? By unburdening himself in broad daylight right there on the perimeter wall of the Ministry of Hygiene and Insanity to make his/her point?

However, going by the sight of the overstuffed Complaint and Suggestion Box at the airport these days (sign on box: 'Not To Be Used As Spitoon Except During State Of Emergency') it is clear that Nepal is a vibrant democracy where all adults have franchises and an avenue exists for everyone to bring pet peeves to the notice of the highest authoritarian in the land. Since we journalists have access to Complaint Boxes under the Freedom of Information Act we have sampled the outpourings, and here are the highlights:

To Whosoever It May Concern
My flight to Dhaka has been delayed by another four months due to late arrival of aircraft. The airline says it has been rescheduled for the post-monsoon season. I checked in about this time last year and I really feel at home here in the departure hall. I'm not writing to complain it's just that I'm bored stiff. Would it be too much to ask the concerned airline staff please let me know if I can expect a flight during my present incarnation or whether I can reasonably expect to get to Dhaka in my afterlife so I can notify my family and plan accordingly? Thank you for your kind attention.

Yours etc.

Your Majesty,
I am writing to apprise you of the fact that your airport security disrespectfully just stopped me from boarding my flight to Biratnagar just now. Don't they know who I am? This is a premeditated attack on the democratic process, and I'm going to declare a nationwide strike tomorrow. We will throw a brick at anything that moves.

Girija Prasad Koirala, 27 August 2004
P.S.: How come I'm not invited to Pokhara?

I am writing to complain about the 12-point agreement between the Maoists and the parties. As I told Vijay the other day, I can't allow this to happen. Since all the interviews and letters to the editors I have written in the past month don't seem to be making any impact at all, thought I might as well drop this note while I wait for my plane. Let's hope it creates some ripples.

Jim Moriarty

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)