Kathmandu has been ranked #3 in TripAdvisor’s travellers’ choice ‘Top Ten Rising Destinations in Asia in 2014’. Ahem. If you have taken a look around The Mandu lately, you will have noticed why the federal capital of New Nepal made it to the list:
The street corner garbage pile is rising
Lots of high rises rising
It has a paper named Rising Nepal
The price of a kilo of onions is rising
People are rising and shining every morning
The barometric pressure has been rising
Parts of the city are rising from the ashes
The High Level Political Mechanism is rising again
Lots of dust still rising on Lajimpat road
Geologists tell us the Himalaya is still rising
Of all the sour grapes sound bites after the elections, the most astounding one came from the lips of Shri Rajinder Mahato, who said, and I quote: “The loss of the Madhesi parties is India’s loss.” That statement has been analysed to death by now, but the Ass’ take on it is that Mahato is keen to set things right in Nepal by standing as a candidate from Bihar in next year’s general elections in India.
And from the North comes the news item that China’s state media has listed the benefits of unprecedented levels of air pollution in Shanghai and other coastal cities this month. Global Times said that there were military advantages of the smog as the country tried to enforce its air defence zone over the East China Sea, saying that the low visibility would make enemy missile ‘miss their targets’. Chinese tv said the smog was enhancing the sense of humour among the Chinese. All this is important information for the denizens of our Capital Valley in Nepal where the winter smog level is just as bad. Although we have no empirical evidence to prove that Kathmandu’s pollution has made us funnier as a people, it definitely serves as a military deterrence for countries that are hoping to interfere in our internal affairs in the future. If you can’t even see the tip of your nose, there is no way they can manipulate the composition of the next coalition led by the Mao-Deshi Dhan Adhikar Forum.
The latest competition among the politicians who did not fare well in the Conshitunot Ass-embly election is to issue threats left and right. The Cash Baddies have been threatening to take the country back to 1996, which is a veiled way to say that they may go back to killing people, not that they ever stopped. And after the Dashies lost the elections, they want to put us all on reverse gear back to the pre-ceasefire days of 2006. The royalists are even threatening a return to 1770 and the reign of Prithvi Narayan the Great. Nepal is probably one of the few countries in the world where politicians have such great hindsight and vie with each other to set the clock back.