Nepali Times
Under My Hat
Kleptos Anonymous


To whosoever stole my mountain bike (eight-speed Hero with Kevlar handlebar and Shimano XTR M910 shifters) last week, I would like through this regular weekly column to make it clear in no uncertain terms that stealing is wrong. It is a sin. If you steal, you go to hell. You go straight to hell, and you can't collect a hundred dollars if you pass "Go". To steal is to break the Seventh Commandment (or is it the sixth?) which says: "Thou Shalt Not Steal Thy Neighbour's Wife." Give her back at once.

Considering the ongoing epidemic of theft and plunder throughout the land, the bicycle thief who perpetrated the lift-and-run crime may have thought-everyone is doing it, so why can't I? Good point. Hard to argue against such absolutely convincing logic: they are all eating horse manure, so I'll also eat horse manure. Makes perfect sense.

I can understand his predicament. Some of us just can't help it, so let he who is without sin cast the first stone. For example, a certain close relative who lives in Teku between Ghanashyam Ghee Bhandar and the Veterinarian Hospital who shall remain nameless for the duration of this column, is an avid shower cap collector. He cannot stop himself when he sees a hotel shower cap, he just must have it. They are useful: he wears them under his motorcycle helmet when it rains, and to protect himself from draft on cold nights. Till the time of going to press he had several hundred shower caps from various hotels around the world.

Since we are all in confessional mood here, let me also say that I, too, have had these urges from time to time when at the end of a hearty meal in a restaurant I can seldom suppress the urge to pocket five toothpicks-one to excavate the nooks and crannies in the molars right there and then, and four others for future reference. And Q-tips. Just can't resist Q-tips-never know when one may find oneself in a traffic jam at the Bagmati Bridge on one's way to one's orifice when one can use idle moments to stir lazily inside one's own inner ear. Such bliss.

At a recent meeting of the Kathmandu chapter of Kleptomaniacs Anonymous, some colleagues made the astounding confession that they have a soft spot for shower and body gels, conditioners and body lotions from hotel bathrooms. That is when I, too, was forced to admit that I have on more than one occassion been tempted to cart off a cable-ready Sony 27" Flatron from the Hat Yai Hyatt. Nice machine. Only the fear of having to pay excess baggage and slip a couple of big ones to the customary officials at Tribhuvan International Airport stopped me from lifting it. But only barely. The real reason I did not steal said Sony was because it didn't fit in my pocket.

Some of the other participants at the klepto meeting were high government officials. One admitted that he had not returned his office Pajero even after he was sacked for faking his MA certificate from Darbhanga University, but that he might keep the car for a few weeks more because he had to go down to Hetauda for his brother-in-law's wedding. I wanted to tell him he should take a bicycle, but that would mean stealing it from someone.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)