Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Dilli chalo!


If you haven't air-dashed to Delhi recently, you should. The first thing you notice at Kathmandu airport is that the authoritarians have instituted improvements as part of the activities in the run-up to Desolation Nepal Year 2004.
In an effort to battle the dangers of deep vein thrombosis, for instance, all passengers now have to mandatorily carry holdalls and trunks on their heads like railway coolies and trek uphill from the Ring Road to the departure lounge. There, procedures have been streamlined so that passengers are whisked through queues for check-in, tax, customs, immigration and security in a little under three-and-half hours, which must be a world record.

But it's all worth it because the security forces at the boarding gate have now been trained in the art of Swedish massage and give departing passengers a thorough work-over. They start at the bottom by gently kneading your gluteus maximus, moving up to the solar plexus to untangle the stress knots up to the neck muscles. (Turn around please.) Starting from the shoulder joints, the guards then go dangerously close to one's gonads, taking the recent exhortation of one particular cheeseball manufacturer to "go get the balls" a bit too literally.

Once in Delhi, one realises that at the present rate of growth of the aboveground and underground Nepali population there, the Indian capital will have more Nepalis than Indians within the unforeseeable future. The first thing to do in Delhi is to be accepted as a native for which one learns to speak like Delhi-ites and for this you must end every sentence with "yar" if you don't do so already.

So, if you see a female stranger waiting in the rain at the bus stop, you say: "Why you outstanding, madam? Come understand with me, yar." This is also called eve-teasing and is a favourite timepass for Delhi's long commutes.

The most visible progress one notices these days in Delhi is the breakneck construction of the Metro (a Govt of India Undertaker) which has gone into a decisive phase with signs that say: 'We Are Working Hardly' and 'Do Not Disturbing, Slow Men At Work'. We asked young native Delhi-ites returning home from their Noida Call Centre in a Qualis and stuck in traffic at the Archbishop Makarios Marg Roundabout what they thought. "So bad they are," said one. "Fully half-cracked, yar," replied another. "They got the fundas wrong, so random," said another. It needs practice to speak like a Delhi-ite.

India is taking great strides in the field of agrochemicals. Farmers in Haryana have found that spraying Coke and Pepsi on their crops is an effective way to control the brown stem borer and the rice whorl maggot, although some anti-globalisation activists say India shouldn't allow multinationals get inroads into India's pesticide sector.

On the drive from the airport, visiting Nepalis are also struck by the huge progress India has made in the arena of Livestock Development and Cattle-Breeding. Given the number of prize bulls taking shelter from the rain below the South Ex Flyover, we can tell that Delhi's ox population has now officially overtaken the human population, as shown by the digital counter outside AIMS.

As one of India's founding grandfathers, Mahatma Gandhi, once said: "You take care of the cow, and cow will take care of you, yar."

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)