Among the many silver linings of the Corona outbreak, The Ass learnt at the friendly neighbourhood watering hole this week, is that we can now stop worrying about Nepali politics. There are more serious things over which to panic.
GONe has been criticised for not doing enough to detect and control the virus, but that is unfair. Let me be the devil’s legal adviser here and note that playing dead is Nepal’s time tested method of solving a problem: pretend it does not exist. If you don’t see it, there is nothing to fear. Out of sight is out of mind. It is really effective, you should try it some time.
Still, one cannot be more careful during these perilous times, so here are some simple precautions to stop the virus in its tracks before it violates Nepali air space.
Doing the namaste is going viral. The hand gesture is back in vogue as an alternative to the handshake, and even Prince Charles is doing it.
But the advice about namaste-ing left and right is misguided, and may actually make the problem worse. What if the virus is in one palm and not in the other? By executing a namaskar you have infected your other uncontaminated hand as well, and helped spread the pandemic.
A safer alternative is the traditional Maori haka greeting of showing tongues at each other as a welcome gesture. The president could greet new ambassadors at Shitall Nibas with a tongue-lashing next time she receives accreditation from, let’s say, the Plenipotentiary of São Tomé and Príncipe.
Health officials are promoting hand washing as the best antidote to the virus. We know this works brilliantly because the most effective way politicians have devised to deal with any problem is to wash their hands off it.
If, like most places in Nepal, there is soap but no water, just rub your fingers for 20 seconds, and utter a powerful Vedic mantra. That should kill all coronaviruses lurking in the immediate vicinity.
As the flu season ends and we enter the season of political unrest in Nepal, the government can ban all assembly of five or more people, citing the Covid threat, and stop all pesky demos at the Mandala.
Domestic airlines can announce further belt-tightening and stop serving peanuts on board. Next to go will be cotton earplugs, which hungry Dhangadi passengers sometimes eat. And no more barf bags, queasy passengers can open the emergency hatch to throw up.
If the situation worsens, airlines will switch to gliders which will use updrafts to gain height and cruise to their destinations. A test flight from Pokhara to Jomsom this week landed safely in Ladakh.
Meanwhile, security is beefed up at Kathmandu to apprehend any viruses trying to sneak into Nepal without visas. Masked gunmen are posted at the arrival concourse to apprehend suspicious micro-orgasms. Immigration officials are trained to be hostile and make germs feel unwelcome in Nepal.
Customs officials at the metal-free x-ray downstairs will now carry out aggressive antibody searches.