Nepali Times
Here And There
Ten reasons why we must not despair


This week, with tales of woe pouring out at parties all over town, the misty, wintry blast chilling our bones, ten reasons why we must not despair, why things in Nepal aren't as bad as some say at the moment. This list is necessarily subjective, arbitrary and may not make it past international anti-facetiousness firewalls. You have been warned.

1) The school strike was good for our kids. Take mine. They missed out on various activities that only go to perpetuate false stereotypes about West Asian kings and magi. The usual seasonal bashing of innkeepers in small villages near Jerusalem fell by the wayside as the gates of the school remained shut tight. Some of us were forced, nearly at gunpoint, to play with our children, to read with them, to renounce the keyboard for a few days. And to top it off, the strike is a one-off. It won't happen again. Right guys? Right?

2) The cold, gloom, mist and frost that has us all huddling together in pathetic knots of misery is good for adults. The western capitalist aim of making us all Atomised Individuals, good for little else other than work or consumption, can't be met while we're going around giving each other bear hugs, and passing around paper bagged bottles of liquid warmth. Snuggle up, arms around shoulders, sing a few songs, and get to know your fellow man, and woman. There's never been a better time.

3) Manchester United is on a losing streak. Or at least they're not devastating every opponent that dares to be on the same pitch. Now I know all of you won't rejoice in that. In fact I suspect few of you will. But those of us who gallantly support sports teams that believe in talent development and heart over money and brand-name-ism, have seldom been happier. And besides, we know it won't last.

4) There is no number four this week but it has to be included to make this list add up to ten. The next list will definitely have a number four.

5) The American election is OVER. No more boring, interminable rubbish spouted by news channels, papers, magazines and individuals around the world, most of whom knew only too well that whether Bore or Gush won in Florida, the World's Only Superpower would continue much as it has for decades. So the Supreme Court has overruled the voters and said "Enough", probably because even the stand-up comics were finding things difficult to mime for jokes. That's an end to it then. But then again, the president-elect is a regional politician, scion of a political family, of uncertainly intellectual capacity, and facing a bitter, divided and deeply partisan Congress. So don't celebrate too soon.

6) Whisky tastes better in winter. This is a scientifically proven fact, and if you don't believe me, perform your own experiments.

7) Nepali politicians are no more corrupt, venal or ignorant of the condition of the masses than their counterparts in India, Pakistan (oops, forgot, no more politicians in Pakistan, scratch that) or Fiji for that matter. That's something to think about. But does Nepal really want to be compared with those places? Probably not. So just have another whisky.

8) It's wedding season. All over the place, happy families are spending vast sums to marry off sons, daughters and others, sending them into that wonderful world of matrimony, adult-hood, child-rearing, prosperity and so on. Go raise a glass to the happy couple, any happy couple, and just smile wisely if they ask you if marriage is all it's cracked up to be.

9) The Nepali Times is alive and well, seven months into its long and no doubt, exceedingly prosperous future. Long may it be with us.

10) Er, I'm off to the beach. No, not the sandy terrace of the Jungle
Pub in Sauraha, but Bentota in Sri Lanka where none of the preceding nine points really matter all that much. Except for Man U that is. Long may they lose.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)