Being Babu Ram!
I’ve spent almost 58 years – yet to celebrate my birthday on 18th June this year – trying to explain the world it’s not easy being me. The worst part is, I am not sure if I’m going to celebrate my b’day as PM (what a spectacle it could’ve been). I’ve already signed to make some Congress guy as my successor.
It starts right with the first part of my name, Babu, which translated in English means ‘a kid’. Just imagine me explaining everyone – in the voice that I have – that I’m not a kid anymore, while almost becoming senior citizen. I, a senior leader of UCPN (some mistake it for Union of Confused/Corrupt People of Nepal) Maoist, have to request people to spell both parts of my name, so that it sounds adult (and Godly). How difficult is that?
And I still get sweaty during my sleep, imagining my mother calling me, “Babu”. Some idiots say, the sweat is because I get terrified sleeping next to Hisila Yami – the Prime Ministress (pronounced mini-stress). Difficult life I’ve had.
I’ve had terrible times in school. Not easy at all. I was perhaps the best student ever from United Mission to Nepal’s Amar Jyoti Janata School in Gorkha. I topped the SLC exams in 1970. Board first, can anybody beat that now? But throughout my school life, I had this guy breathing on my neck. Upendra (Devkota). I always felt I was better looking than him, but this gawky looking guy eventually got more girls (he became a real doctor and was surrounded by nurses and patients). And guess what, I was the topper and this guy beats me in becoming the Minister.
He became Minister of the Royal regime (and I labeled him a crony), a few years before my Party Chief, The Fierce One (Prachanda), made me finance minister. Imagine, this guy also beat me in being a communist, right during school days. I was more pro-Congress then (Perhaps Sushil Koirala knows it and still bullies me). I even used to say Girija Prasad Koirala was the most revolutionary personality in Nepal (again to be bullied by the big man, later).
Not only that, the shorty (my pet name for Upendra) gets to damage many people’s spinal cord (he’s neurosurgeon) and gets away with it. I make one mistake (of joining politics) and am ridiculed time and again for it.
One of my school friend once said, “I have two friends who are doctors now. One is saving people and one is killing them.” Maybe, it’s time he gets his spinal cord operated by shorty.
I overheard that somebody at Kantipur Television said Namaste to Hisila, “Namaste dai!” Apparently the boy had poor eyesight and thought it was Bhusan Dahal (Chief Executive Producer of the TV network). Now tell me, what am I supposed to feel on that? Based on the same rumors (it’s my party manifesto to deny anything we don’t like as rumors), some started questioning my sexual orientation. Damn it… I have a daughter for crissake (or hanuman sake) to prove my orientation. Now, I learnt that Bhusan Dahal also told someone, “Thank God, I’m not bedded by Babu Ram Bhattarai.” Now that hurts. Somebody is spreading rumors that I am bad in bed.
But then, a question did arise in my head. Given her look, was I drunk when I proposed her? Or was it she who proposed me when she was drunk? Ah! I’d rather take Alka Seltzer now…
The other problem is: My friends (or rather foes) keep suggesting, she is neither hissi (nepali translation for cute) – हिस्सी – nor is she yummy. Damn… Who the hell gives you right to find out whether she’s yummy or not. And about cute, she must’ve been cute at some point of life. Don’t you know, all children are cute?
40 point demand
When I felt that the system adopted by some parties and King after 1990 could not catapult me to the top post, I decided to turn the table. The communist revolution demanded that I do something. In order to do something, I had to make so many demands – a total of 40 demands – to then PM Sher Bahadur Deuba, while threatening of civil war.
Imagine I had to learn all of them by heart (I reckon now, Deuba did not agree to them ‘coz he could never remember more than 3 points, and that too if a single point was repeated thrice). Thank god I was the topper at SLC, so I was fairly good at remembering and I’d manage to remember till 13th point. Some close friends, while hiding in bunkers would take swipe at me, “what’s the demand number 13th, or 18th, or 37th?”
I used to have tough time remembering all the points preceding those and then find out I’ve forgotten the count somewhere in between.
Name given by Party
When we were singing songs of red revolution in Nepal’s jungles, calling it People’s War, some nincompoop from our party decided to give everyone with a different name. While we (the top leaders) thought it would be nice not to be called ‘Babu’, later it dawned on me that the plan was to make fun of me again. I was given the name ‘Lal Dhwaj’ (लाल ध्वज), meaning Red Flag in English.
Now tell me, someone who has as many international contacts as I have: How am I supposed to introduce myself as a flag? That too, when we opposed the two-triangle flag this country had.
Moreover, people often misunderstood Lal Dhwaj (the red flag) with red underpants. Who on right frame of mind would want to be known as underpants? Imagine feeling like the Hindu God Hanuman, who doesn’t wear clothes, wears underpants and sports tail. Damn it, I have had had nightmares and sleepless nights thereafter, imagining a tail growing behind me. I also had a fear, what if someone would actually want to wear me, considering me as underpants?
Do you now know what it is like, Being Babu Ram?
Disclaimer: The story is “as imagined by” Somesh Verma (Yours Truly imagined a while becoming Dr Baburam Bhattarai, out of sheer respect for him, and realized he’s human after all and not all that lucky).