As Nepalis, we value our relationship with the international community so much that we are willing to sacrifice time, fossil fuel, and our mental health when a foreign guest visits Kathmandu. In fact, you can gauge the pecking order of a Visiting Very Very Important Person (VVVIP) by the number of hours that traffic is gridlocked at Mandala.
The rule of thumb is that if the Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament decides to visit Nepal, traffic will be stopped for only 12 minutes. But if it is a Very, Very, Very, Very Impertinent Person (VVVVIP) like the one we had this week, then anything less than three hours would be an insult to our guest.
Being a card-carrying member of the Much-Maligned Movement, Nepal adheres strictly to the doctrine of equidistance between our southern and northern neighbours. This means that if we held up all traffic cumulatively for a total of 7 hrs inside the Ringworm Road for a visiting Indian VVVVIP, then we cannot block traffic for any less time than that for a Chinese VVVVIP.
As the founding great-grandfather of the nation, Prithvi Narayan Shah, put it so eloquently in 1776: “Nepal is a chewing gum stuck between elevator doors.” Having such large neighbours with such fragile egos means that we need to torture Kathmandu’s commuters for exactly the same duration for the Chinese as we do for the Indians. Otherwise they could take offence, triggering a major diplomatic incident, and geopolitically we cannot risk that at such a sensitive time in our history and geography.
And it is not just on the streets, Nepali air space also has to be closed as a mark of respect for the arrival and departure of distinguished visitors. There are NOTAMs for all flights when there are incoming Very Important Projectiles (VIPs). This is an important precaution, since we do not want any untoward incident like a mid-air collision with a UFO.
Nepalis are familiar with these stoppages from the time the king and queen travelled anywhere during the monarchy days, so it does not bother us one bit. Which is why VVVVIPs should take it as a badge of honour that we treat them like the royalty we deposed.
As a survivor of a three-hour traffic jam at Tin Kuney on Tuesday, The Ass has some advice for the next time Nepal decides to invite another Very, Very, Very, Very Impotent Person (VVVVIP) as a state guest:
- Follow the Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared”. Pack breakfast, lunch and dinner in your car trunk since there is a fat chance you will be stuck all day at Koteswor.
- Make sure you have a travel pillow so you can take cat naps on your motorcycle.
- Don’t forget your blood pressure medicine, and a handful of Valium pills may be a good idea.
- If you see a high velocity VVVVIP convoy approaching at Baneswor intersection, speed up and race the motorcycle outriders to Shitall Nibas.
- If the convoy is too fast, pull over and greet the VVVVIP with a Boy Scout middle finger salute.
Read Also: Exit visas for Nepalis, The Ass