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Mero Dhaka Topi   [Updated on 2008-01-08]
By: Bishwas Hamal 11625 views 0 Comments
The article below has been reproduced exactly the way it was sent to us by the contributor. No editing of any nature has been done so as to keep the authenticity of the writer's experience in his/her own words intact.(except for spelling corrections for obvious reasons) --- Editor (
We love our motherland though we don't tune into Nepali television channels. We are too embarrassed to play folk music at our fancy dinner parties. Forget about our national dress, the daura suruwal or our national cap, the Dhaka topi. Have you ever worn a Dhaka topi? Be honest. You may have, if you are married or you probably donned one while taking that passport photograph for your nagarikta. But besides these two isolated instances, it is unlikely any of you have considered the inclusion of the Dhaka topi in your everyday wear.

We savvy Kathmanduites take pride in our fashion mobility and show it off any chance we get. To be frank, I too am affected by this caprice. I trimmed my hair recently and came out of the barbershop sporting those thin side locks that are the craze amongst young adult males in the city. At home, staring into my king size mirror, I decided the new hairdo definitely made me look 'different'- a much sought after commodity amongst urban youth. Pleased with the reflection, my eyes slowly focused on the periphery of the mirror. Hanging casually over the top right corner was my Dhaka topi. The dangling topi was a Tihar gift from my sister. I continued eyeing it. Yes, I had worn a Dhaka topi… once. And yes, for that nagrikta picture. Now I found myself toying with the idea of taking my topi out for a walk but I wasn't quite convinced. I picked up the cap and scrutinized it. I put it on. Surprisingly it looked good over the short crew cut I just got. Then I thought, why not?

The next day, me and my Dhaka topi walked to college. Not surprisingly, I was the talk of the day. Amidst the jest and side ways glances were comments like, "look at that guy". A group of pretty girls enquired about my mental health, "Bishwas, are you alright?" I did not bother to convince friends or clarify things with pretty girls. To add insult to injury, these days our national dress and the Dhaka topi are closely associated with the voracious and corrupted mantrijis who dominate our political landscape. Pointing at my cap, a relative of mine exclaimed, "Since when have you entered politics?" All that day people tried to make me feel humiliated and I must admit that I was embarrassed. With one finger pointing and a quick whispered, "Look at that guy," three fingers were pointing right back at these fools. It is tragic that the nation builders of tomorrow and the educated of the country find the absence of the Dhaka topi in our everyday wear a joking matter.

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