I don’t know about you, but I miss the good old days when Nepal was a feudal landlocked Himalayan kingdom in which nights were still dark. Then, we went from feudal to federal, even though no one can tell the difference. We replaced one king with a herd of them. With our own merchant marine we will soon no longer be landlocked, and we have emerged from the dark ages to become a nation of fly-by-nights.
Many of us are still old enough to remember that Nepal used to suffer load shedding for up to 18 hours a day. This was the single most outstanding achievement of the post-1990 dispensation. It forced Nepalis not to take power for granted, and as the noted 20th century philosopher Batman used to say — with little power comes great responsibility.
Today, with 24-hour electricity supply, we have turned a powerless state into one where the powers-that-be get their power from India. We must bear that in mind as we use the remaining space in this week’s column to make an inventory of all the things that we as a nation have lost with the end of load shedding:
Nepal cannot sell its darkness as a tourist attraction anymore. We have gone from being a nation of star-gazers to a country of navel-gazers.
Nepal Tourism Board will have to scrap imaginative slogans like ‘Nepal: You Want It Darker’, or ‘Be a Torch-bearer in Kathmandu’, and replace them with ‘Make Nepal Dark Again’.
Diesel generator importers have gone bust.
The sale of Nightvision visors has plummeted since the war is over and people will no longer need these to take accurate aim in the general direction of waterloo at night.
The sun has set on solar panel vendors.
Nepal has doubled its carbon footprint, and will soon become a middle income state.
Instead of engaging in our national pastime of playing interactive games with each other in the dark in order to procreate, most of us now just fondle fones.
As a result, the country will soon have below replacement level fertility. Who is going to take care of us in our next incarnation?
The proposed 17-floor skyscraper on Purano Bus Park was all set to be a symbol of national pride and get listed in the Guinness Book as the Tallest Building in the World Without a Functioning Lift. But now that we have 24-hour electricity it will just be listed as the Ugliest Erection in South Asia.
There is more electric power now, but it is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.