Open Defection-free Zone

It warms our cockles in these bleak times that the General Conventions of Nepal’s main parties have been declared Open Defection-Free Zones. But even more noteworthy than politically promiscuous cadre is the fact that delegates have thrown inhibitions aside to take calls while attending to calls of nature in the wild open spaces.

One could even say, without putting too much of a scatological point on it, that one gets the sense of a nation that is going down the tubes. However, this trend of going back to nature is a welcome move to reverse the Municipality’s misguided construction of fancy touch-free state-of-the-arse public toilets at strategic intersections when we have a glorious tradition of doing our morning business in the wild yonder in focus groups of three or four.

Such communal bonding helps build partnerships and encourages teamwork, giving citizens a sense of national purpose. Waking each other up at the crack of dawn, filling tin cans with water and, treading carefully through the minefield of previously laid booby traps, finding a scenic spot to participate in joint exercises -- it all helps social mobilisation.

By suffering irritating bowel syndrome in unison as a community, rather than individually, we show that we stand by each other through thick and thin. We can exchange notes and carry out a free and frank exchange of views as we prepare ourselves for the challenges of a brand new day. A sense of solidarity is thus built with fellow men and women, demonstrating that we will always be there when we need each other.

Not only is this a great way to fertilise the radish patch by restoring valuable nutrients to the soil, but it also saves vital water resources. Think about this: an average flush uses 8 litres of water. Now, multiply that by 30 million. It is the same as adding a new Melamchi Project every day.

But (and this is a big butt) with the advent of the modern water closet, these extended pre-dawn conclaves are in danger of becoming extinct. Were that to happen, we will be erasing oral testimony from the annals of our folk tradition.

Instead of collective action, we become self-centred and egocentric by locking ourselves up in cubicles and going solo, selfishly eschewing the myriad benefits of kinship that have knit our social fabric together for aeons.

What a wasted opportunity, what a loss to the national development process that we callously fritter away the chance that nature gives us daily to bring back people's participation and capacity building at the grassroots. Sadly, it is now every man for himself or herself.

Solitary confinement also deprives the nation of downstream benefits such as the multiplier effect on ancillary industries, and makes Nepal more dependent on imported chemical fertilisers.

That is 480 words. The Ass has another 50 words to go before I duck behind the bush at the party convention at Bhrikuti Mandap to attend to an abdominal emergency. Join me if you want. Ten more words to go. Five, four, three, two, one.

Ass s