The commercialization of holidays is a universal theme the world over and I doubt it surprises anybody anymore. In this day and age, the sort of conspicuous consumption it encourages is par for the course with festivals everywhere else and our country is no different.
After the Marshmello fiasco last week, there were people quick to brand the whole event a scam and a fraud. Others, including me, saw it for what it was – a series of unfortunate (and unintended) events that ended up in the shambles that we saw on video. Anyway, the intriguing bit was the reaction of the event goers when they felt that they had been swindled – all outrage and vandalism.
We have been having more than our fair share of election mania lately, what with our recent history of holding elections on a biennial basis. Every time an election is announced, the circus seems to come to town. You would think that with the election overdose of the last few years, at least some of us would be sick of it by now, travelling all the way home to cast our vote for some political dilettante or the other with no real interest in serving their constituency. But no! We love our elections and I have heard people say this is the real deal. But just because the ones before were Constituent Assembly elections don’t make them any less of an election.
In the year 2000, at an event in Florence, South Carolina, the then president of the US, George W. Bush, addressed the audience with this statement – “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” This subject-verb disagreement was one example of many grammatical errors that characterized the public speaking of the former US President.
How many times have we been here before? All of these entirely avoidable tragedies – resulting from neglected infrastructure, administrative lapses, and human negligence – leave more than 50 people dead and most of us shaking our heads.
Don’t we all just love Dashain? I mean, what’s not to like? An extended holiday period, some quality family time and erm…. lots and lots of food. Except that for thousands (millions perhaps?) of over nourished people like me, with a tendency to put on weight at the mere sight of food, the festival of Dashain is a minefield that is getting increasingly harder to negotiate. At the best of times, my weight fluctuations are quite enough to make Oprah Winfrey blush but while Dashain comes around once a year, it never really leaves me – if you know what I mean.
For those of us stupid enough to follow the news every day, the never-ending tales of corruption are starting to stack up as tall as our mountains.They tend to weigh us down every morning and make us anxious of the direction this country seems to be taking.
One of the contemporary stories of interest for people who watch and read news on a daily basis is the ongoing saga of the Tax Settlement Commission and its one-time honcho, Chudamani Sharma. I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but every time I see him on TV or on print media, he has this permanently smug expression which seems particularly unusual for someone in his current predicament.
You needn’t bother with the next few lines of that celebrated song because our country roads are not designed to take us anywhere, never mind home. Around this time every year the monsoon lays bare our infrastructural deficiencies – whether it is the death trap‘roads’ in far flung parts of the country,the only ‘highway’ connecting Kathmandu with the rest of the country or even the major roads in the capital. I’ve been in Nepal for quite a while now and the roads of the capital, in particular, are as bad as I’ve ever seen them.
It has been brought to my attention that a lot of you ‘common’folks are getting worked up over my request to acquire a brand spanking new set of wheels to upgrade my motorcade. My demands have been labelled ‘un-presidented’(and here I was thinking this word only applied to Donald Trump), and many of you have accused me of being greedy, apparently because you pay something called taxes and resent funding my extravagance. Ooh, cry me a river!