The Ass takes umbrage at Nepal celebrating Horse Day with an official holiday in Kathmandu Valley on 25 March, whereas there is no special day earmarked for us donkeys. Horses are snobs, they exude entitlement and high caste privilege. A day just for these high horses proves just how exclusionary the Nepali state is towards other members of the genus Equidae, despite the 2015 Federal Constitution.
But hold your horses. Those of you who know us Jack and Jenny Asses will not need to be reminded what we think of our equine daddies. After all, it was because horses horsed around with asses to produce progeny known as mules that we have not taken our relationship any deeper than that. Ever since, jackasses and the mares observe decorum and have strictly platonic relationships.
That makes me question why Nepal does not have an Ass Day. And why, during these austere times, do we need a separate Horse Day and Cow Day? Why not lump them together? That way, bulls can take part in equestrian events on Ghode Jatra at Tundikhel, and horses can horse around on Guy Jatra.
It is precisely because Nepal has so many jatras that it has now been declared the happiest country in South Asia. The Ass was happily going about his morning business the other day when there was a headline with these glad tidings.
It is not a coincidence that the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network has ranked Nepalis as the 84th most jovial out of 146 countries around the world. We are more cheerful than even Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis. And this makes us happier still.
This announcement followed another headline last month that Nepal was the second-most corrupt country in South Asia, so this probably means that we are happy because we, as a nation, merrily offer and accept bribes.
The Global Unemployment Ranking also puts Nepal below most other countries in the world, and that makes us mighty pleased with ourselves. Deservedly so. Imagine if we really had to work.
We are also at the bottom of the heap in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, the Fragile States Index, Global Competitiveness Quotient, and the Index of Economic Freedom. But all that just makes us all irrationally happy because when you hit rock bottom there is nowhere to go but up.
This week, IQAir brought out the annual list of the world’s most polluted places. And as if the Swiss were telling us something new, they ranked Kathmandu as the city with the sixth worst air quality, and where it is like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. But happily, happy-go-lucky Nepalis are thrilled to bits saving all that money in buying cigarettes.
The other reason we Nepalis are unnaturally happy is probably because alcohol consumption per head is at an all time high. Just look at all the booze ads in this paper. And it is typical of the optimistic nature of us Nepalis that even when we do a bottoms up, we still see the glass as half-full.