Nepali Times
Under My Hat
It's all in the jeans


Now that scientists from the Human Genome Project have proved that human beings have genes only slightly more numerous than the genes of a common housefly, civilisation as we know it can heave a collective sigh of relief. This explains a lot of things that have been puzzling me lately: for example, why Kathmandu's zebras are always painted during rush hour, why a species at the pinnacle of evolution still produces party leaders who fight like dung beetles to be on top of the manure heap, or why Durbar Marg is the only road in the whole Kingdom of Nepal where a person cannot make an illegal U-turn.

No modern nation state can consider itself truly free and democratic unless traffic rules can be violated with equal ease everywhere. There can be no exceptions. Few roads in the Kingdom have white dashes running down the middle, but the 300-metre stretch of Durbar Marg is the only road that has not one, but two thick yellow centre-lines. And to make the point abundantly clear, there are reflective traffic barriers with red and white stripes on top of the double yellow lines that makes it look like a giant slalom. The message is clear: Don't Even Think About Making A U-Turn Here.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking you will use your diplomatic impunity to sneak out from the driveway of the Hotel Yank 'n' Yeti and and make a quick getaway in the general direction of the Tibetan Plateau. Pense noch ein mal: you'll have members of Kathmandu's finest who know you are going to do exactly that, and they will be waiting to pounce on you from behind the bespectacled statute of Voice Emperor, the Late Narayan Gopal at the Maharajgunj intersection. My question here is: Doesn't the Nepal Police (this year's watchword: "Wait Till We Get Our Night Vision Equipment") have anything better to do? After all, human chromosomes (including the chromosomes of some human police) are supposed to have the same genetic makeup as the thermophilic bacteria found in the lower digestive tract of an adult gnu.

Now that it is possible with recent breakthroughs to determine who is genetically susceptible to making illegal U-turns, the procedures for issuing driving licences will be fairly simple. All we need to do is require applicants to obtain a Chromosome Certificate before they go to Baggi Khana so that those with U-turn error in their DNA can be weeded out. Similar certificates can be required before anyone applying for a party ticket at election time. Invertebrate party cadre who have a mutant Kickback Gene lodged in their chromosomes will not get tickets. All smugglers and money launderers will be required to undergo a gene-change operation so that the particular DNA responsible for smuggling mobile phones or Russian uranium can have their offending jeans surgically removed with laser guns at the Centre for Investigation of Abuse of Authority's Special Anti-Corruption Clinic at Bag Bazar.

Since there isn't much of a difference between the human genome and the genetic make-up of a dung beetle, there is now hope that we can meet the WHO target of eradicating corruption by the year 2010

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)