Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Bring out the animal in you


The more discerning among you may have realised by now that we are a nation of animal lovers. With Pashupatinath as our patron deity, our zoological society has nothing to worry about.

We shower considerable respect and devotion to our fellow creatures and this is evidenced in the way we pamper the higher mammals by allowing them free access to our national highways and street intersections. Every year, this adulation for our four-legged and feathered chums reaches a crescendo at Tihar when we set aside one day for specialised attention to each of them.

We start on Wednesday with National Crow Day to honour Yamaraj's roving ambassador and plenipotentiary. Devotees get up early in the morning and travel to the banks of the Bagmati where crows can be found partaking of their communal breakfast on the visceral remains of recently-deceased buffalos. We proceed to offer them a plethora of sweetmeats which they totally ignore because (despite its name) a sweetmeat is totally vegetarian and the crows would much rather dine on a plethora of rotting cadavers. But it's the thought that counts, and how appropriate that at least once a year we recognise the valuable assistance that crows provide to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City as volunteer scavengers, and honour them in nationally-televised ceremonies to decorate them with one of the nation's highest civilian honours, the Gorkha Dakshin Bahu Third Class.

Thursday is when dogs are gods. This is the day we have set aside to worship man's best friend and to reward Fido, Fuchhe and Lucky for being around when we need them most to provide us with security in these troubled times by yowling non-stop all night at everyone in general and no one in particular. But disregarding our own personal discomfort and sleep deprivation we get up at the crack of dawn on Dog Day to round up the neighbourhood dingo pack and feed them body parts of fellow animals, resisting the temptation to lace it with pulverised sleeping pills. Veneration of our nocturnal canine choir is a tradition that has been passed down to us from the ancient Egyptians who even built pyramids to immortalise dead pets. Giza has three of them: one for Fido, one for Fucche and one for Lucky.

Then comes Friday, which in our animal kingdom is reserved for none other than the holy cow. An indication of the reverence we have for our national animal is the right of way we accord to them along our major thoroughfares. No other animal, not even the prime minister's motorcade on its way to Gokarna for a much-needed vacation to read up on the constitution, has as much priority as the city's urban cattle population. In fact, the prime ministerial motorcade had to make a slight detour into the sidewalk this week when a bovine traffic island at Jorpati refused to budge despite blaring sirens and commandos wielding Uzis. On Friday, let us show our cows that we care by putting an immediate stop to all this bullshit.

In conclusion, on behalf of all the animals who feel left out this Tihar, let me assure them that they are not forgotten. Ours is an inclusive democracy in which all animals have the right to have their day of veneration. So from next year's Tihar, by royal ordinance, we shall also mark Musa Tihar, House Fly Day, the Day of the Vultures and the National Day for Monkeying Around.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)