Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Eight Million Person March


No smoking,and no weapons in the polling booth. In case you weren't sure.
We just had an election here, and so I am forced to take a brief detour into that dark and muddled realm called Nepali Politics. I said when I started this blog that I would not, not, NOT pontificate about politics. I will leave that to the other 99.9 percent of people here, because they are all so very good at it. Politics is the Nepali national pastime. It’s what football is to Americans. Or rather, it's what football would be to Americans if they were fated to have no team but the Cleveland Browns. The whole country follows politics, talks about it, speculates about it, hopes and dreams and cheers … and loses. Because nothing ever works. 

Of course, it's always possible that this time around, the people elected for this version of the 601-person team assembled to write the Constitution will actually write a Constitution. Heck, it's only been five years of not-writing so far. Eventually the folks in the Constituent Assembly (when it meets) will get tired of back-stabbing, tripping each other up, and holding their breath until they turn blue. Right? After all,  Western donors have prepared them so well with junkets (whoops, I mean training trips) to Washington DC to see politics in action.

Wait. Let me think about that.

But here's the thing. Even though the enthusiasm level is in the doghouse ...

and even though NO TRAFFIC was allowed on election day ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY, meaning no cars or buses or motorbikes from 5 a.m. until midnight by order of the government, so that any of Nepal's 12 million registered voters who felt like casting a ballot had to walk to the polls like this ...

Kathmandu street on Election Day
... and even though there were rumors of bombs, threats of bombs, and sometimes real bombs from a hardcore Maoist splinter group and a coalition of 33 allies who didn't join the election because, among other things, they said it was irresponsibly expensive (a point they decided to make by exploding some bombs)   ...

Temple doubled as polling place near my home
Nepal's voter turnout was 70 percent.

That's right. Compared to the US's measly 57.5 percent in 2012.

In Kathmandu, where people tend to actually live where they're registered, the turnout was 75 percent.

That's in contrast to the rural areas where a lot of people are officially registered but really live in Kathmandu or work in Malaysia or the Persian Gulf, and there are no absentee ballots, so if people want to vote they have to return to their home villages like players in some kind of mass Christmas pageant, and then the decree went forth that all the world may vote, but only from the house of thy parents, except Nepalis take buses instead of donkeys. If you want to vote at a place not your parents, you have to prove you really moved by getting a Migration Certificate to show you have a Permanent Residence that isn't mom and dad's, even 20 years later. And no, a driver's license or a lease won't "prove" it. The teashop owner below has lived in Kathmandu for 22 years, but could only vote by going back to Biratnagar, a 14-hour bus ride. And of course if you live where you're registered but it's mountainous and remote, the walk to the poll might be as long as five hours. Although that beats several days on multiple buses, followed by walking.

"Ease of voting is a factor in rates of voter turnout," the ever-helpful Wikipedia informs us. Which suggests that if Nepali voters didn't have to take arduous rides on buses that might have bombs tossed at them, or weren't busy building World Cup stadiums in Qatar and sometimes dying in the heat to earn money for a better life back in Nepal, the voter turnout would be what? Ninety percent?

But people voted in spite of potential "voter turnout dampening factors" that included at least one explosion (with two people injured) in Kathmandu the night before the election, and another one that went off outside a Kathmandu polling place during the voting and injured three people, including the eight-year-old boy who picked up the bomb thinking it was a toy. Here are some writeups from BBCAl Jazeera and Agence France Press which give confirmed details. We've seen  reports of other bombs and IEDs in the Nepali language press, and if you hang out for a while in any shop, everyone has a friend who saw a bomb or heard a bomb and is absolutely certain about it. Some of it might even be true.

And yet ... 70 percent. And not all of them are really votes cast using the name and voter I.D. of someone working in Qatar who has no idea he just voted. Pretty impressive, Nepal. Now if that Constitution can just get written ...

Here are a few shots from election day while I was bicycling around the 'hood on the beautifully clear-except-for-soccer-ball roads:


Above: Posters for a mainstream Maoist candidate.
Yes, we differentiate here between mainstream Maoists and splinter Maoists.
Below: U.N. observer takes picture of other U.N. observer.


Above: Collecting votes, under the eye of armed police;
Below: I counted no less than six ball games along one stretch of main road.
If you were a bicyclist, dodging those balls was almost as perilous as traffic.
(OK, not really. But there were some near misses.)



There's no John King and his Magic Board in Nepal, and no projections coming up at the top of the hour, so there's also no sitting around the TV waiting for the results to be announced. Counting starts today, by hand, of the votes cast by the roughly 8.4 million people who walked through shuttered streets, braved the pre-election strikes to take buses to their villages beforehand, trekked for hours over the mountains, and hobbled by cane to the polls to cast their votes ... in spite of being utterly disgusted and discouraged by Nepal's dysfunctional democracy.

One of these years, I hope they win.




Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bunned in Kathmandu




Ever heard the expression, "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"

That's how the Kathmandu version of the current Huge Mega-Spectacular Multi-Episode 10-Day Bandh is turning out.

Before I get into the latest bandh, which is the Star Wars: Phantom Menace of bandhs (another episode? it'll be a SMASH! the BEST OF ALL! oh ... uhhhh ...), here's a word of explanation for those who have stumbled onto this blog from a place that is not Nepal. A bandh is what snow days would be in Washington DC if political parties could order the snow to fall. It's a general strike wherein one group tries to prove how many people agree with whatever statement they're making, so the city (or country) shuts down, in theory because everyone supports the statement, but in reality because (a)  it's a day off work and (b) you might get your shop windows broken or your motorbike or taxi or car torched, which makes a day off work sound like an extra good idea.


Unless, of course, you're a rickshaw wallah or a porter, in which case your work load increases. Sometimes literally.

Porter carries sofa on a bandh day. Note the high number of rickshaws,
and also the not-very-intimidated motorbike. Of course porters work like this on other days, too,
but sticking a sofa on a taxi or truck generally isn't an option during bandhs.


The current Bandh has been called by the Dash Maoists, who ...



WARNING! WARNING! 
NEPALI POLITICS EXPLANATION! 

... are a splinter group that broke off from the main Maoists and now call themselves the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, which is confusing because the party they broke with is the United Communist Party of Nepal and still another party is the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist)You'd see red just trying to sort it out. And that's before you get into the dozens of little parties. 

At any rate, their name has a dash, so they're called the Dash Maoists (Dash Maobadi) to set them apart from the Cash Maoists (Cash Maobadi), who include the main leaders from the insurgency who went into the government and presumably pocketed a lot of loot. You can read all about it in this article from the New York Times, wherein the wife of the leader of the Cash Maoists cheerfully admits to their reputation as shakedown artists. Incidentally, they're said to be called "Cashists" and "Dashists" by the Times, which rhymes nicely and is less unwieldy in journalesebut if you google it, you'll find the term "Cash Maoists" gets all the hits and "Cashist" and "Dashist" are just found in a few measly pages, which point back to the New York Times. Good article. But when the New York Times checks my blog, I want an explanation. With sources. Ahem.

Anyway, yesterday was Episode Three of the Ten-Day Mega-Bandh Directed by George Lucas. My day started with drum banging and music from a long line of Cash Maoists outside as they wound through the area politicking, since they actually are participating in the election that the Dash Maoists and their coalition of 33 supporting parties are boycotting for various reasons (some of them rather sensible, actually, but I won't get into it).



This turned out not to be the only noise during the bandh. The other noises were the beeping and honking of traffic.

Motorbikes. Taxis. Even public transport like micros and buses.

When I got to the chowk in our 'hood, it was being circled by scores of motorbikes going round and round and waving flags of Nepali Congress, one of the few major parties that does not have "Communist" in its name, zooooooom zooooooom take THAT you Dash Maoists, we're out here on our motorbikes, weeeeee!, and after that came lots of cars with Congress flags waving from the windows, nyanyanyanyanya.

Meanwhile, business owners drove their cars around the city to bravely show defiance in an anti-bandh rally, which had the unfortunate effect of clogging the traffic that wasn't supposed to be there. It seems that, as Republica reports in the wonderfully headlined article Life Normal in Capital, 10 Arrested, "the transport strike was foiled after laborers of the lower class and communities themselves started the services."

There's a radical notion. Rebel! Revolt! Power to the People! LET'S GO TO WORK!

Of course, there was another factor involved. The government had promised compensation for anyone whose vehicle was destroyed in the bandh, and somehow there were a surprising number of cruddy taxis and even buses (the cruddiest ones) on the road. Burn mine! Hey, burn mine! It's REALLY valuable!

So my husband, who like many people (including the "laborers of the lower class and communities") had decided to just go about his business as usual, and also to do it by car (heck, we wouldn't mind a brand-new car either), got stuck in a traffic jam caused by a protest against the lack of traffic.

Nevertheless, my son's school has closed down for a week. Maybe it's secretly a teacher's strike. The Teenager is not as happy as you'd think, given that it means Homework By Internet and also School on Sundays for a Month afterwards. Turns out school in Nepal isn't that different from homeschool after all. 

The Alleged 10-Day Strike will continue through the election next week, which will also cause its own shut-downs. All of which is well-timed to follow a month of festival-related shut-downs. 

So what's really happening out there? And how do we know? Well, we can check the news online, which I have helpfully screen-captured for posterity:


Nepal strike passes off peacefully

Times of India - ‎12 hours ago‎
KATHMANDU: A strike called to oppose the November 19 elections in Nepal went off peacefully even as traffic stayed off the roads and businesses were shuttered across the country.

Nepal opposition-called strike turns violent

Aljazeera.com - ‎Nov 11, 2013‎
Dozens of Maoist activists were arrested as a general strike brought Nepal to a virtual standstill amid sporadic violence aimed at disrupting next week's elections.


OK, I give up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Deushi Bhailo Sing-Along Cheat Sheet


Right now the nights are filled with song, because it's Tihar, the festival of the goddess of wealth, and people are out there working to get some of it. Remember that line in "Here We Come A-Wassailing" about "give us some figgy pudding, we won't go until we get some"? Well, Tihar singers won't go until they get their money. And it has to be the amount they want. It's as if trick-or-treaters stood outside making ghost and princess and Elmo noises until you gave them the whole bag of candy.

Whatever Lord-of-Misrule edginess used to exist in caroling and wassailing and trick-or-treating has long been scrubbed in the West into good clean well-regulated fun, but here in Nepal the spirit survives with raucous and extortionary enthusiasm in the tradition of Deushi Bhailo, a house-to-house songfest by mobs of makeshift minstrels armed with drums, dance moves and loud voices.

Many groups also come armed with electric guitars and amplifiers and Bollywood-meets-Michael Jackson dance moves, which they perform to pop music blasting from sound systems. You can tell these groups because they're really big, and they're often raising money for A Cause, such as their picnic later on. But I'm glad to report that traditional a capella Bhailo is still going strong, and that so far this year, we've mostly been feted by Bhailo-ites who are singing, drumming and strumming their own guitars with out-of-tune zeal. It's neighborhood music, by ordinary people, and sometimes we can hear two or three groups at once and it's great. (I exempt from praise the wedding band that showed up at nearly midnight and went bleeting and blooping around the neighborhood. That wasn't Bhailo. That was torture.)

I'll write a bit about Tihar and what it's really about in another post, and how we celebrate it in the village, which we sadly are not doing this year thanks to a kid's camping trip (fun) and a last-minute car breakdown (not fun). But for the moment, here's something on Deushi Bhailo, complete with a cheat sheet for anyone in Nepal and who is getting assaulted in Sensurround by people singing what sounds like EH BABA WAWA DO-SHEE-RAY! Next time they come, you can sing along. Or if you're hiding inside so they can't see you, you can whisper along.

Oil lamps on our balcony during Tihar, Festival of Lights. They're
supposed to welcome Laxmi, goddess of abundance. They also draw
Bhailo singers like helicopter-sized moths to the flame.
In Deushi Bhailo, neither the repertoire nor the lyrics are set in stone (although you'd probably appreciate a handy stone if you're getting Bhailo'd by a group with a sound system and bad pop music. Actually I deal with this, in the village, by telling them that if they want money, they're going to have to make the music themselves, because if the music can be canned I'll bring out my music, and I'll dance to my music, and then I'll charge them to watch me dance to my music. Because, well, what's the difference? Thus I single-handedly champion the live music folk tradition and entertain them by being a crazy foreigner. Two good deeds at once.)

But at some point, if it's an a capella Bhailo, the singers generally launch into a mish-mash of disconnected traditional verses that praise and bless the homeowners, tell them how much trouble the singers had getting to the house, and can be stretched out as long as possible until the homeowners emerge from hiding and deliver the hush money.

Some of it can also be made up on the spot, like a folk rap. And there are regional variants; in our family's area (the midwest terai and adjacent hills), the refrain of "Bhailo" is sung by men and "Deushire" by women, while in Kathmandu, it seems to be the reverse. Since both genders do Bhailo but men tend to do it in greater and rowdier numbers, this means that what we hear all night, if we're in the village, is BHAI-EE-LO! while in Kathmandu we're hearing DEU-SHI-RE!

It's done as a call-and-response, with the main singer delivering the lines and the whole group answering with the refrain (which is largely meaningless or has lost its meaning as far as most people seem to be concerned.) Here's a transcription of the basic Deushire, complete with a Nepali version of we are not daily beggars who go from door to door. In practice, the verses are mix-and-match and can change on the spot, and are limited only by the Bhailo players' imaginations and how much time they have before the homeowners hand over the loot.

Deushire 

deushire bhana (deushire!)       देउशिरे   भन            देउशिरे !
ramrari bhana (deushire!)         राम्ररी  भन              देउशिरे !
yo ghara ka (deushire!)            यो  घरका                देउशिरे !
gharadhani (deushire!)             घरधनी                   देउशिरे !

Deushire, say Deushire! Say it well!
To the owner of the house, deushire!

dubo jhain (deushire!)              दूबो  झैँ                    देउशिरे !
gajai jaon (deushire!)               गजाइ  जाउन             देउशिरे !
santana le (deushire!)              सन्तानले                 देउशिरे !
danda kanda (deushire!)          डाँडा  काँडा                देउशिरे !
dhakuna hai (deushire!)           ढा कु न्   है               देउशिरे !

May its offspring sprawl like dubo grass,
Covering every hill

[note: dubo grass has an extensive and sprawling root system, hence the reference]

yo ghara ka (deushire!)           यो  घरका               देउशिरे !
gharadhani (deushire!)            घरधनी                  देउशिरे !
bansa jhai (deushire!)             बाँस  झैँ                  देउशिरे !
nuhi jaun (deushire!)              नुही  जाउन              देउशिरे !

May the owners of this house 
Live to be ancient, 
Stooped like bamboo

raato maato (deushire!)        रातो  माटो                देउशिरे !
chiplo baato (deushire!)       चिप्लो  बाटो              देउशिरे !
lardai pardai (deushire!)       लड्दै  पड्दै                देउशिरे !
aeka hami (deushire!)         आएका  हामी             देउशिरे !

Red mud, slippery road 
Slipping and falling, we have come

tessai hami (deushire!)        तेसै  हामी                  देउशिरे !
magna aeka  (deushire!)      माग्न  आएका             देउशिरे !
hoinaun hai  (deushire!)       होइनौ  है                    देउशिरे !
Balirajale  (deushire!)          बलिराजाले                  देउशिरे !
pathaera   (deushire!)          पठाएर                       देउशिरे !
aeka haun (deushire!)         आएका  हौँ                  देउशिरे !

We haven't come just to beg,
We came because Baliraja sent us 

[Baliraja is a character said to have been so insanely generous and proud of his wealth that Vishnu eventually had to concoct a clever plan to kick him out of heaven and down to the underworld, where he visits him every month of Karthik. Which is now. So FYI, Vishnu is currently on holiday. If Baliraja sent the Bhailo players ... well, that's "good" like a white elephant is good. The homeowner had better ante up.]

yo ghar katro (deushire!)                 यो घर कत्रो              देउशिरे !
Singha Durbar jatro (deushire!)        सिंहदरबार  जत्रो        देउशिरे !
agan katro (deushire!)                     आँगन  कत्रो             देउशिरे !
Tundikhel jatro (deushire!)               टुंडिखेल  जत्रो            देउशिरे !

How big is this house?
As big as Singha Durbar!
How big is its courtyard?
As big as Tundikhel!

[This version may be specific to Kathmandu, with the local references to Singha Durbar, a vast old palace and seat of government, and the Tundihkel parade ground at the center of town, a kind of flat, scruffy Central Park. In our family's village the house would be simply "as big as a palace" and the courtyard as big as some local landmark.]

jhilimili kati (deushire!)           झिलिमिली  कति                देउशिरे !
keko jhilimili (deushire!)         केको झिलिमिली                 देउशिरे !
bhatti ko jhilimili (deushire!)    बत्तीको  झिलिमिली            देउशिरे !
phul ko jhilimili (deushire!)      फूलको  झिलिमिली              देउशिरे !

So very glittery!
What makes it glittery?
It's glittery with lights,
It's glittery with flowers

[It's also glittery, of course, because Tihar is The Festival of Lights, and houses are covered with lights and doors garlanded with flowers.]

And then there are some great ones, like this one we heard last night:

syau ko rukh ma (deushire!)        स्याउको  रूखमा                  देउशिरे !
amba ni phaldaina (deushire!)      अम्बा  नि  फल्दैन               देउशिरे !
saya ko note le (deushire!)          सयको  नोटले                     देउशिरे !
hami lai chaldaina (deushire!)      हामीलाई  चल्दैन                  देउशिरे !

You can't get guavas from an apple tree, 
And a hundred-rupee note won't work for us!

With a note of thanks to my long-suffering husband who helped me wade through the lyrics and did his best to make sure the Nepali spelling is correct. 

For anyone who has never had the joy of getting Bhailo'd (and maybe some who have), I've been looking for video of real, ordinary, door-to-door Deushi Bhailo to show what I'm talking about.

Update: I was just sent this YouTube video, which isn't exactly traditional, but it's great stuff from Jazzmandu 2013. Enjoy the Nepali reggae Deushire from about 3' 35", and on into a blazing hot Cuban version. Taste the sel roti global special! Very musically jhilimili.


Global Groovin' with a Fusion Deushi Bhailo at Jazzmandu:




Update No. 2: Late last night, three guys and a drum came by the house in a straggling effort to wring the last rupee out of the holidays, and I recorded this (audio only. Well, it was late. It DID look that dark.). It's a traditional Deushire with the lyrics above, more or less. Sadly I stopped recording just before our neighbor started yelling at them.  


Traditional-Style Kathmandu Deushire by 3 Guys and a Drum:


video




Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Worship Your Dog Day. Where's the Shampoo?


If you were a dog and it was your festival day, wouldn't you start it by having a nice roll in a big steaming pile of fetid food rot and composted poo mush and unidentified green stench? If my dog had a Facebook page, her status update would say, "I stink!"

It would also say, "Happy Kukur Tihar, all my dog friends. Weren't you impressed today with how nicely I stank? Is there a better way to celebrate a day on which we, the dogs of Nepal, are worshiped for our essential dogginess?"

Kathmandu is full of dogs. In addition to households dogs, there are an estimated 20,000 dogs living on the street. Those aren't strays, which implies they strayed from somewhere. They're born and live on the street, though many do adopt a house (or a meat shop or a temple where people offer food to the gods) and hang out around it, patrolling it and hopefully getting tossed scraps for their trouble.

Our dog Sandy began life as one of them. She was born on the streets and followed our son home in iconic fashion as a small pup, about three weeks after we'd moved to Nepal. Actually he'd gone out to do "homeschool Animal Science research" (translation: feed a pack of dogs), and discovered in his research that if you feed dogs, they'll all follow you home in a wagging shoving mob. Sandy, always adventurous, was first to venture through the gate. She's a classic Indian Pariah Dog, a dingo-like critter with a curly tail, barrel chest and a vocal range that sounds like singing. The local dogs of South Asia are landrace or "primitive dogs," which means they're not formal breeds but self-selected survivors of the earliest types of dogs, much as you might have seen in Pompeii or Ancient Egypt.


This guy is either doing his morning exercise or yawning after a sleepness night filled with dog barking

The status of dogs in Nepal can sometimes be quite sad. That's true for owned dogs as well as street dogs, sometimes more so, because at least street dogs are free while owned dogs are often chained all day. Below is a street dog (though I've seen owned dogs that skinny), now cared for at Animal Nepal, an animal welfare non-profit where my son volunteers. Further north, good work is done by KAT Centre (Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre)



But every year the dogs of Nepal are king and queen for a day, when well-loved companions and chained guard dogs and street dogs alike are feted with food, garlands and prayer. I'm sure there are various explanations out there in WebLand, but what people really say when you ask "why do you worship dogs?" is pretty simple: They're the best friends of people. It's often said that dogs become people in their next lives. So you can think of them as Almost People.

In conversation, people tend to connect the dog festival to a beautiful story about the great warrior Yudhisthira, who after his victory in the epic Trojan War-like battles of the Mahabharata made the arduous journey over the Himalayas to the home of the gods, accompanied by his dog and his brothers. During the journey, his brothers proved to be good guys but not that good, and Hindus come down on the Works side of the Faith vs. Works debate, so the good-but-flawed brothers died along the way, like this:




When Yudhisthira finally got to heaven, only he and his dog were left. They were met at the gates by Indra, the god of rain and thunder. "What do you mean, coming to our home with this dog? You can't enter heaven unless you give up your darned dog."

"No," said the brave Yudhisthira, "my dog has been loyal to me, so I have to be loyal to him. I guess I'll go ... wherever I go if I don't get into heaven. Back for another round on the wheel."

And then Indra revealed that it had all been a test, and he had passed. The dog, in fact, was actually Yudhisthira's own father, Dharma, who had been with him all along.

Notice the curly tail on Yudhisthira's dog (a.k.a Dad in Disguise.) Curled tails are such a common feature on South Asian dogs that the letter  (dha) is memorized in school with the chant "kukur puchhure dha," or "dog-tailed dha," because it curls like a dog's tail.

Back to Almost Heaven, Kathmandu, where the dogs have been having their festival. If you live here, you're probably thinking, "What, don't they have a festival every day? What else could all that barking be?" Because the sound of Kathmandu at night goes like this:


silence ... somebody hawking and spitting on the street ... BARK? BARK! BARK BARK yip yip WHOOF ME TOO BARK ME TOO ME TOO .......... silence ......... silence ............. BARK? BARK. BARK! bark bark BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK!


The 20,000 voices of Dogmandu. If you come to Nepal, it helps to either appreciate dogs in harmony or have a quick exit plan.

I'm in the Appreciating camp. One of the coolest aspects of daily life here is the chance to observe dogs in a more natural setting than the First World, where they're Well-Bred and Properly Regulated and stay inside glued to their TVs and don't get to roam and interact freely, so that even observers like Alexandra Horowitz, the author of the fascinating Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know, have to draw conclusions about dog-to-dog interactions by going to a dog park. That's like trying to figure out people by observing them at cocktail parties with their bosses present.

On my daily walks with Sandy, I've learned the territories of the local dogs, can see how they form alliances, and watch the interplay of personality and status. Sandy is an amiable type, always game for fun; after all, she was first through the gate as a pup (which worked out well for her personally, though not so much from a perpetuation-of-the-genes standpoint, since she got "fixed.") She seems to be a "leader" without being alpha; perhaps dogs, like people, can be taken as leaders in part because they're just nice and fun. Sandy tends to run at the head of a pack with other dogs following, but she's also very quick to roll on her back and show her belly. So leadership isn't all about toughness.

This is how she spent her Annual Day to be Worshiped. The day began as always, by meeting up in our yard with her BFF Khoire, the dog-that-adopted-our-landlady's-house. Her name means "brownie" or "mangy," depending on pronunciation. She's blind in one eye, and it took her about three months to come close to me, and even longer to warm up to Sandy. They had a big fight and Sandy still has a scar from it and now they love each other. Also Khoire is now addicted to belly rubs.


Then off to the wall across the lane to meet Saibo. He has another name, too: Chocolate-y. When "Saibo" doesn't work to call him, they resort to "Chocolate-y." Nepali dogs are great at climbing walls. This is Saibo a.k.a. Chocolate-y on his wall,  displaying the classic Pariah Dog pointy ears and, of course, a lovely malla (flower garland) and tika (vermilion powder) because he has already been worshiped. Even his paws are powdered.


Hey Khoire and Saibo. Come on down and play. Oh I love you guys, you are my very best friends!


Harumph. I'm here too. Behind the wall. I act like I live here in Saibo's nice yard, but actually I'm just a big macho bruiser and go where I please. And where I please is Saibo's yard. He isn't as big as me, so he doesn't disagree. And somebody worshiped me today, too, because they'd better. I've got an agreement with Saibo -- you don't kick me out, I don't beat you up, and also I won't tell other dogs you're called "Chocolate-y" -- and I'm OK with dames like Sandy, although somehow she never comes into heat. What's up with that? That Valuable German Shepherd at Sandy's house came into heat and the owners locked her in a cage but I GOT IN and they found me in the cage with her in the morning, bwahaha. So the gals are OK. And Saibo, because he knows his place. Which is mine now. But I HATE Sisumanu from down the lane. Do not come into my turf, Sisumanu. 


Here comes Sisumanu, to play with Sandy and Khoire. Better watch out for Nameless Bruiser.



Hmmm. This looks like a nice place. Lots of trash around. 


Hey, I've got a great idea. This is WAY more fun than something Nameless Bruiser would come up with. Let's make a mad dash for the other side of the field here ...


... and roll in a STINKY COMPOST HEAP that makes us smell like fetid puke!

Of which I have no pictures. Because I was too busy blocking my nose. A stinky dog covered with green slime is all the more exciting on a day when there is no water in the house, because it's Kathmandu and there is often no water, so it was shampoo + a single bucket of water dribbles + many non-worshipful comments.
So my advice to dogs is this: Watch out for that whole plan about becoming a human in your next life. You might get your wish. And then, someday, you'll be cleaning rot-scented green slime off a dog when there's no water. See how you like it.


I'm sorry. Was I bad? Yet somehow I still got my Worshipful Garland and Worshipful Vermilion Powder to show what a Worshipful Dog I am. The very embodiment of love, loyalty and joy. Including joy in stinkiness. Can I go out with my friends again? This shampoo smells kind of weird and I know just how to fix it.


Happy Kukur Tihar!