There is no escaping politics these days. Whenever we friends get together at university, the talk invariably kicks off with Euro 2008. Spain might finally do it. Villa will be the top scorer. Germans are good but not a championship winning team... Then, out of the blue, someone pokes his head in: “Hear that? Nepal is to get the presidency...that wily, old fox”.
Come on, give us a break. Ever since the onset of Jana Andolan II, politics has been meddling in virtually all aspects of our lives. The university is closed for half the year owing to strikes and bandhs and there is no place to hang out with no vehicles on the streets.
To get away from it all, I volunteered to organise a picnic. It was a balmy day, the blue sky clear as a crystal. On the way to Godavari, we sang ourselves hoarse. Then the cooking started. Chopping, mixing, arrangement for fire, everybody got busy. It was so much fun.
The beers were out and before long everyone was swaying to the beat. After an hour of sashaying, everybody sloshed down for a breather. To my horror, a close friend of mine rummaged out that day’s leading Nepali daily from his bag. Then, everybody was off again...
“Why doesn’t the old man call it quits? See, one day he’ll kick it in his chair”. “Why blame him? It’s the Maoists, idiot. They can’t be trusted yet.” “Should I stand for prez, ha?”
I had had it up to my neck. “Hey, could we not discuss politics for just one day?” Again the talk turned to Euro. “What a match last night, did you watch?” Nope, no light in our area. “Damn this country, darn the politicians. It’s all the fault of Girija.”
The only constant in the capital seems to be strikes and garbage. What would Kathmandu be life without either? Wouldn’t it lose its identity? And what would the country be without all the newly-minted amateur political commentators?
I now realise that it is futile to try to ignore the ubiquitous Nepali politics.
It would rather be much wiser to learn to enjoy oneself ‘despite’ the politics. No vehicles? Why not buy a pair of skates? Take a long hike with your beloved? Laugh out loud at the
expense of our much-vaunted politicos? When you are Young, you can have it your way.