[Kathmandude's Midweek] The Argentinean

Image Credits: blog.nepaladvisor.com
[Madeinepal is very pleased to have blogger Kathmandude write a weekly column on the blog. You can find him at www.kathmandude.com]

‘Patriotism is cheapness glorified en masse’, he responded ardently to a rather heated argument over the delicatessen.  He wanted to have salads for lunch while his dear friend, the fabulous gentleman with a leather lapel on his tweed coat wanted to have the casual rice and lentils, with leg bones on ichors.  He was explaining to the gentleman, ‘You see, it’s the cheapness of the mass, patriotism. I don’t know anyone who is patriotic because of love for the people of our glorious nation. It’s hate. We are always united over hate, an object which we can loathe, an idea which can detest and assert our guilt’.

‘What guilt, now?’ The gentleman was surprised. 

‘Oh! The same old guilt that we have in our guts when we know we are posing. Of course there’s going to be guilt among people when they masquerade about such a divine idea such as patriotism’, he concluded.

‘This is going nowhere’, the gentleman smirked and rapped his hand over his shoulder. ‘You are trying to make me go nuts over my own conviction, it seems’.

‘No, No, No, I tell you, It’s not that. Let me give you an example as we are made to wait mercilessly for our lunch’. He pursed his lips and stared at the cook. The cook in turn smiled and nodded so as to give an impression that it will take no time.

‘I was moping around Thamel, when suddenly a fight broke out. There was this bald and lanky Argentinean being battered with a slender, high quality drum-stick made from nylon, you know, those Regal Tip ones. It was being delivered with precision by an ebony, blood-lipped and virile Nigerian. It was a pretty bizarre sight as the Argentinian would only wriggle and plead. He could have stood up but he didn’t. Anyways, some good-hearted, tiny Nepalese interfered.  Of course, the Nigerian had already doled out a fine ramming. After a minute or so, of guerrilla warfare, the embarrassed Nigerian ran away, surprised and reluctant. 

The tiny Nepalese enforcers helped the Argentinean to his senses. ‘Are you all right?’ asked one.
‘What kind of answer do you expect?’ replied another, smirking.

‘Ahh, let me…’ the Argentinian was saying but as it happens in Kathmandu, another one chimed in, 

‘Why was he beating you?’

‘I don’t know’, replied a faint voice.

‘What do you mean, you don’t know. You don’t look like you are from WWE, to not know’ , said another inquisitive savior.

‘Oh, the WWE! I like Orton. The way he does his snake thing. Have you fought him?’ the first one interrupted. He clearly misheard the previous interviewer.
‘The interviewer’, questioned the gentleman, furrowing his thin eyebrows.
‘Yes, I am deliberately using the term. It’s a wont among us. What do you expect?  Now, listen to me will you’.

As I was saying...the Argentinean, he got up slowly, evidently in pain. He picked up his soiled rucksack, darted his broken Ray-Ban further down the street and began rummaging through the pockets of his embroidered trouser.

‘Hey, how can we help you?’, asked a cheerful one.

But instead of a grateful ‘Thank You’ from the white guy, he begins by giving dollars to his saviors. ‘Here you go. Thank you very much’. Now, the thing about people in Kathmandu is that, if anyone asks for some cash, be generous. If you insist on being generous, it can only yield bad consequences. It’s like our morality suffers from manic depressive episodes. 

‘Please, take it’, insisted the Argentinean. Nobody took the money.  Everybody stared back.
‘Where do you come from?’, asked an estranged savior.

‘Arrrrrhhhh……Argentina’. He tried to smile but only produced a condescending faint smile.
‘No wonder! You think you can come here and treat us like beggars on acid. I am going to whip your ass like our grandfathers did in F***land (unintentionally pronouncing, Falklands). You don’t let Gurkhalis enter you country. You put such notices in you constitution, I hear. And here you are, offering us pity. F***ing Maradona…..’

‘Hey, don’t curse Diego’, a voice asserted. Everyone approved, ‘Ho, Ho’.
‘Ah, okay, I won’t curse him. My bad, okay’, He apologized to the Argentinean.

The Argentinean gave a sigh and said, ‘No worries’, trepidatiously. 

‘So, you come to our country and we help you when you are down on the dumps. Someone beats you up and we rescue you, though, we could have easily been thrown over rickshaws and Buddhas. But we help you anyway and you disrespect us with some dollars, you petty, little,…..’. But before the tiny, angry Ghurkha could finish, the Argentinean blurted out, ‘More dollars, eh? ’.  

Before he could even breathe in another lump of air, he saw a white light flash. He fainted after that. He didn’t know what happened anything after that. He woke up in a shoddy, damp, tobacco smelling cell.

Their food had already arrived. He was already gorging on the salads. ‘Your rice is getting cold’, he said nonchalantly. ‘So, how does the incident reflect your notion of patriotism’, inquired the gentleman, quite confounded.

‘Well, had it been a Brazilian then there would be no such actions’, he remarked with a smile.
‘What about a Brazilian?’, the gentleman asked, exasperated.

‘Well, don’t you see, it’s not about Neymar or Messi. It’s about the idea of patriotism and how much it is contingent upon hate.  Most of us are patriotic because we are united over some hateful notion rather than admirable traits of our respected countries. Yes, there is to so-me degree, love and admiration. But hate is a stronger trait in patriotism. It’s almost like friendship. Look at our friendship, we barely agree but we are friends. Do you remember how it started? It started when we began privately ridiculing Mr. Kayastha for his obsession of Indian cinemas. Of course they suck but don’t you see, that was how our attachment burgeoned over time. It’s all because of such revulsion that we are united just like people do in the name of their glorious nations. Patriotism is clearly trying to show off. We are better than you ********…….’

‘I get your point. It’s not as ridiculous as I thought before. But it still is vainly’, the gentleman said. But one question, ‘Why did the Argentinean end up in jail?’

‘Oh, poor guy. The police arrived at the scene moments after the beat down. The tiny people fled the crime scene. They took him to the hospital and began investigating.  The Argentinean turned out to be an American who was hot with the DEA and Interpol. Had he just been a Brazilian, eh?’, he chaffed his brows and asked for a decaf.
   

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