Nepali Times
Friday the 13th


Kingji was reportedly waiting for the auspicious time when all the planets were aligned properly to leave Naryanhiti for Nagarjun, and the royal soothsayer had calculated that on Friday evening Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus were all in conjunction with the constellations. But Mr G reportedly over-ruled the zodiac man because, as luck would have it, this would have been Friday the 13th. Hence, the priests were asked to come up with the second most auspicious time which was Wednesday 2030 hrs.

Ex-kingji takes the planets seriously. Remember the time in 2005 when the royal astrologer told him that since the planets were all lined up on the eastern horizon at sunrise, he should go off to the western hemisphere? But no western government would agree to a visit, so Kingji took the royal 757 and went off on a two-week trip to Tunisia, Rwanda and Botswana until the planets settled back to their normal positions.


The king's carefully crafted farewell speech on Wednesday was delivered under such chaotic conditions that it was a miracle journos weren't killed in a stampede outside the Kaski Hall. Now that would have stolen the headlines.

As a sign of things to come under the Maoist government, Nepal Television decided that Gyan's presser wasn't newsworthy enough and refused to beam it live. The Baddie chief of NTV, Rishi Raj Baral, said, and I quote: "We won't cover anti-people press conferences." With this kind of news sense, expect NTV to lose what ratings it has and an exodus of the remaining advertisers.

Yes, a Nepali royal crown was sold at auction at Bonhams in London recently for 90,000 quid, but it ain't the Sri Punch crown, probably one belonging to a lesser Rana that was already in the collection of a European art dealer. Which means the king's sripech must be worth a fortune, unless of course the real diamonds and emeralds have
been replaced.

But it will be difficult to trade this crown without breaking the CITES law since it has wildlife contraband stuck to it: the protected Bird of Paradise plume. Anyway, it was good to see the two stuffed tigers still snarling from the bottom of the stairs of Kaski Hall on Wednesday, although the snow leopard pelt on which kingji used to stand to receive ambassadors seemed to be missing.

Wonder if the tigers and leopards will also serve as museum pieces along with Ratna, Sarala and the crown, throne and sceptre. If they can arrest Ian's gardener for possession of horns, skins and pelts, they should detain our entire ex-nobility for the possession of illegal wildlife trophies.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch the race for the presidency is heating up, and no one expects a breakthrough for another week. What is surprising is that everyone, including the comrades, are suddenly warming up to the idea of making Girjau president. The real tussle is about vice-presidentship, and the Ass can guess why: despite appearing on stage to give a speech in pouring rain at Tundikhel on Friday, the 84-year-old PM is in poor health and everyone knows that it will be much more important who his deputy is. After all, the Veep is only a heartbeat away from being prez.


King Dahal the Fierce is preparing to move from the Rs 45,000-a-month Pistachio Palace to Baluwatar lock, stock and barrel with his three daughters and their husbands in tow. Son Prakash who is now head of Dad's personal security unit is going as well. Also moving is the entire PLA security contingent. Baluwatar is going to be Nepal in microcosm with two armies.

The closer they get to power, the greater the tussles within the party. Baidya and Badal are sulking, and there is resistance to Narayan Kaji proposing himself as GenSec of a united party that he wants to call simply Nepal Communist Party (no Maoist anymore) and to formally abandon Prachanda Path.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)