KATHMANDU, May 19: Words don’t come so easily when you live in a time of uncertainty. You try to explain it this way and then hit that backspace button.
You try to explain it the other way; you hit the backspace button so hard that the impression created on the button hits your heart.
You want to express, you want to explore, but reasons fail you because it is so unreasonable. Your fingers scribble away meaningless junk because, at the crux of it, everyone is just trying to play a game.
An array of images has become very popular among Nepali Facebookers; and people are having fun liking, commenting and sharing those images.
Naturally, I have to witness this amusing virtual satire on the current political issue on the indecisiveness of the political parties over how many states should the country be divided into. Let me illustrate one of those images.
Nepal and its five development regions are named “veg mo:mo,” “pork mo:mo,” “chicken mo:mo,” and the likes of it. Given the addiction of Nepalis with the ever-so-popular dumplings (count me in), at first I found the scene amusing.
There were so many “likes” and “shares” that after a while, it wasn’t even funny! I take it people are dissatisfied, people are enraged, and people are definitely disappointed with the dreams of “New Nepal” crumbling down. I take it all and support it. But somewhere, the line needs to be drawn – pun intended.
And the pun is where do you draw the lines of nations? I’m sure my friends on Facebook are worried (I hope so!) but there are far better things to be “liked” and “shared,” apart from the evident dark humor.
Having said that, I’m forced to think twice if I’m right to think that way. Dark humor has been instrumental in any form of political satire, nudging people to feel the discomfort, laugh at it but be unable to shrug it off, and reflect over how a comical situation can be translated into something so grim.
Maybe that’s what’s unsettling for me; and perhaps, that’s why I don’t want to be a part of it. I can humor about LPG-cylinder shortage, petrol shortage, micro-fare hike, electricity-that-is-not-in-the-city; but something about humoring over Nepal and its politics leaves me sad.
Our country, not nation and not state – I’ve always related to Nepal as my country – is going through a crucial phase; erm…again, but the uncertainty has increased. Ideas have become more fragmented, identities more plural, and belonging much questioned.
Virtual public spaces like Facebook and Twitter are subject to personal use, so I really can’t prevent someone from expressing their personal views. However, there are times when I feel that these spaces can be put to better use, and I’ve seen them being put to better use.
Maybe at the end of it, we’re all confused. We don’t know if we want our country to be federal or not; whether my nation can be yours, too; whether what I prefer to be called is exactly what you prefer to be called too! Maybe we’re scared because we’ve given our voices to the representatives who don’t care any less or more.
Maybe we can all eat veg mo:mo, chicken mo:mo, and pork mo:mo in the same plate, or at least at the same table and enjoy ourselves. Maybe it really isn’t about the “veg” or “chicken” or “pork” that we want but “mo:mo”?!
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