KATHMANDU, APRIL 05
As I stay indoors at my brother's place built on a slope land that agents tell me costs Rs 7 to 10 million for 1/16 ropani today, strange thoughts infiltrate my mind.
First, I was thinking about how pretty the weather was around this time last year and beautiful sunny days with air devoid of haze and free of liberal doses of dust that a tourist called Nepali powder.
Some of us took the beauty of the valley for granted. We grew up under the benign glare of the Himalayas on the verdant green fields among the pretty winding rivers. Even the early tourists counted more temples than houses and more deities than the population. Today, both tourists and we are petrified and sad by the loss of ethereal pulchritude. We did not expect the valley to degenerate into an urban slum.
I could not help thinking about the mind boggling land prices here. Economic stagflation, or recession, has failed to check the skyrocketing prices of land in the country. Rocky Rambo reportedly lost one million dollars on the sale of his abode.
Being a man of bookish proclivity, I scan world headlines all the time. The NYT recently mentioned our precarious position in a story about the scourge of the pandemic on child marriage at 17 years.
While the NYT worries about Nepali lasses marrying and getting impregnated at 17 years or younger, I couldn't help thinking about western single mother teenagers, at 18 or younger, or juvenile female criminals at 13 and 15 years. Which is worse? To become pregnant at 17or double down as criminals and pregnant at 13 or 15? Returning to the crux of the matter, the western media and governments seem more concerned about Nepali teenage girls than their own. The western media and the government do not realise that the Nepalis cannot enjoy sex without marriage, unlike their western counterpart. Sex is the driving force behind marriage.
Similarly, Britain is worried about protecting rights to protest elsewhere while bringing laws to scuttle protests at home. Surprising? Equally stunning is the Nepali decision to allow FDI in agriculture.
Why not in infrastructure? If we can privatise health and education, why can't we privatise airports or railroads or roads? Before he died in a plane crash, a pilot friend invited me to the hills beyond Chapagaon, where he planned to build a STOL airport with private investment.
That would have been a cause celebre.
A final concern: Will Gautam Buddha Airport take off in 2021? We need tourism to save hoteliers who are complaining about Rs 1.8 billion daily losses.
But, strangely, at least two new hotels appear daily on FB. Is it a case of money laundering?
A version of this article appears in the print on April 6, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.