Nepali Times
The edifice complex


On those slow lazy days after Dasain when you don't feel like working, you may want to browse Google Earth and check out all the new embassies coming up in our fair capital. Our mole tells us that what we see of the Stalinsque fa?ade of the new American embassy is just the tip of the iceberg: it apparently goes down five stories. Wonder why they need all those basements.

And it won't be all work and no play for American dips who have the misfortune to be assigned to this hardship post: Phora is being refurbished. Yay! And the fringe benefit for Nepalis is that the magnanimous yanks have yielded US territory to widen the road and sidewalk outside the palace.

And that is what we hope the Norwegians will do as they start demolishing their current embassy building in Kopundole to build a bigger one in its place. Please, can you widen the road from Pulchok up to the embassy while you are at it? We know Patan Sub-metropolis or whatever it\'s called will never get around to it in the next 100 years.

Up the road a bit, the Swiss are in negotiation with a certain former finance minister to buy the Ekanta Kuna premises that they have rented ever since that neighbourhood was still ekanta. The price tag is so high, apparently even the Swiss can't afford it.

The Indians and Chinese are not sitting idly by. The Indians are tearing down their Dak Bungalow in Lajimpat and the Chinese are back in Naxal at their swanky new premises. In the early 1970s, they used to say that Indian Naxalites got their name from the location of Mao's embassy in Kathmandu. Must have great feng shui.


While the cessation of hostilities between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie have dominated international peace talks over the last week, Nepali leaders have shunned the spotlight of a spectacular resolution, instead taking their time to really chew things over. It seems the summit talks took a bizarrely literal and literary turn, taking the proverbial worries about putting food in our mouths and our money where our months are very seriously indeed. Apparently caterers had put out a spread fit for a king-or president, as the case may be. But there was, shall we say, unequal distribution of these gustatory assets. The Sunday talks ended without any concrete developments possibly because the desserts were lousy.

Still the Baluwatar Bhojanalaya Bonanza did cause a min iature economic revival around the PM's residence, as an ocean of photographers, reporters, demonstrators and the simply curious created a classic supply-demand case study by cleaning out local shops and eateries of food, cigarettes, and soft drinks.


Still, Sunday being the first workday after Dasain, it's unlikely that anyone keeled over as a result of abject hunger. There were more than a few newly-refilled spare tyres around in the midriff of prominent Nepalis, although The Awesome One himself had the toned look of a man with a few morning walks under his belt. Some of our own colleagues had the foresight to use Dasain to stock up for the long haul taking their cue from our very own CP, who wisely avoided the dangers of flying by being a tad too portly for a Dhading-Pokhara chopper trip with his parents.


As the Ass dutifully reported in a previous instalment on this space, there is no letup in the mass marriages of Maoists among themselves. They're all getting wedded as if there is no tomorrow. Is there something they know that we don't? By the way, just wondering, how do these avowedly atheist revolutionaries tie the knot? Okay, so they swap weapons. But do they also swear by the red book? Do they carry their SLRs like some of us carried khukuris in our patukas while riding a horse in the old days? Apparently, jantis are de rigeur, and the wedding of nine young Maoists in Chitwan last week was part of the new 'make love not war' campaign.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)