Nepali Times
Mind your Ps


Pis for People, right? Poetry? No. Nepal has plenty of both, but this week I'd like to look at the Ps that make living here a Phew! at the end of the day.

There's Poverty, of course. Be you in the city or in the sticks, no amount of natural or cultural beauty can long distract you from the depressing realities that the majority of Nepalis have to face everyday. Those who think they can insulate themselves from the poor people around them are deluded; until they take an active interest in improving the lot of those less fortunate, their comfort zones are mere eggshells. Poverty in Nepal has been the breeding ground for much of our latter-day …

…Politics, which too has come to define modern-day Nepal. We've moved on from court intrigues for aristocrats into parliamentary and backroom shenanigans that only represent an improvement in that there are more holders of sharpened stakes at play. Politics in Nepal fascinates and repels at the same time; in the last two decades no other activity has been the repository of so much hope and so much despair, yet we (no thanks to the media) continue to obsess over it as if everything else were incidental or dependent upon it. The inability or, indeed, reluctance of our politicians to move beyond grasping, self-referential endeavours has meant basic services have been chronically neglected. Far from freeing Nepalis from poverty, politics has condemned us to a lack of …

…Power, Petrol and Pani (excuse the stretch). Without electricity to work by, never mind enjoy the quality of life one expects of the 21st century, or even alternate sources of fuel, how can we ever hope to move out of the dark ages? The irony of course, lies in Nepal's unmentionable reserves of hydropower potential and the fact that the Himalaya are referred to as the 'water towers' of Asia. Faced with such difficulty in securing what people take for granted in the West, no wonder then that from the beatific inhabitants of a mythical land of never-ending peace and love, we have degenerated into veritable …

…Pakhes. Yes, this is true of half of us in a literal sense, living as we do in the corrugated half of the country. But a pakhe is not just a country bumpkin who knows not what to do with the bright lights of the city. Transplanted or born and bred in our cities, he is the everyman pakhe who makes a ticker-tape parade of something as humble as a chewing gum wrapper, the neighbour (and his dog) who thinks nothing of blasting his bhajans (and barks) around the hood at 6 in the morning, he is the jam in the traffic, the anti-samaritan who laughs at your misfortune, and yes, even the sophisticate who lives in Osamaesque seclusion from the community around him.

Poverty, politics, power, petrol, pani, pakhes, all feed off each other today. Tomorrow, we may untie the knot of one or the other, freeing us up to deal with the rest. Until we do, deal with the Pressure. Time for some Pranayam?

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More energy, please, PAAVAN MATHEMA

1. sukha

dear rabi..

nice article..somehow you have found the comdey in our tragedy..kudos


2. D.R

One of those everyday 'chiya pasal' guff poured so nicely. Esp that bit on the Pakhes! 
Khub man paryo. It's my next post on FB wall. Would like to read more of these.....

- Arko euta 'pakhe'.

3. Alexis
Hi Rabi,

Picked last week's Nepali Times and was taken aback with some fantastic articles. Not least this one. Although always thinking you write fantastically I have found some of your articles in the past a touch inconsequential and mundane (I remember one about Valentine's Day a while back in particular).

But this article was stunning: accessible, witty and profound. Maybe it was Sting's Russians Love Their Children Too playing in the background, but there may have even been a tear in one's eye.

Looking forward to reading your book and buying it for friends.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)