Nas and The Bokas: Coming to a Night Club near you
They wore leather gloves, dark glasses. They each sported a cigarette in their mouth as they squinted their eyes and wove through the Kathmandu traffic. Cars, when they saw that Nas and his homeboys were behind them, would just give way. They would inch to the side, nudging the fruit sellers with their bulging baskets full of apples and oranges into tight corners.
The soft belching of acrid smoke mixed with the smell of cigarettes enveloped the bikers like dark clouds in the monsoon. The bright lights from their Harley’s penetrated the dust cloud like flood lights in a fog. The bikers shifted their weight side to side as they sliced between the crevices formed between honking traffic on one side and squeezed pedestrians on the other.
Dark haired women in sarees and kurta suruwals, returning home from either school or work were doing their last minute evening shopping before rushing home to cook dinner for their parents or husbands. And as much as they were rushed for time, haggling on the side of the road with the fruits and vegetable peddlers, threatening to walk if they didn’t reduce 5 more rupees on the price of vegetables, the women looked up when the parade of gleaming Harley bikes rode by. Whatever fruit or vegetable they were admiring, was neglected for a full moment, and they would nod in the bikers direction and whisper conspiratorially with each other. But the bikers would not see any of this. They were fixated on going where they went on most evenings.
As the giant wheels of their Harley’s caress pot holes and blow the dust around them, boys playing in the street, stop and hold their soccer ball to gawk. Many were tempted to bite their lower lip, repressing a smile, as hopes sprung up like pink lotus flowers out of murky dirty waters. They could just see themselves atop of such bikes when they hit their twenties.
Street boys, pulling their shorts up so as not to reveal their bony butts run in the dusty streets. Their lusty eyes dart around to molest the sparkling chrome of the Harley Davidson’s that the Bokas command. That was the name chosen by the motorcycle gang—The Bokas. And to fit the image, the tall and bulky leader, Nas, had ordered similar hairstyles. The guys sported silver pirate earrings and goatees with dangerous looking green and red tattoos carved in their tightly strangled biceps. The whole image was tastefully put together. And if it wasn’t for the backdrop of Nepali faces that their bikes carved through, they could have easily been mistaken for something out of a Bollywood movie.
After the twenty minutes of guiding their well trained hands through the pliable Kathmandu traffic, the bikers zoomed their wheels to park parallel to each other in the parking lot that was reserved exclusively for them, in an establishment they were quite familiar with. After carefully unzipping their leathers and gold chains and locking them in place on the motorbikes, the gang sauntered into the dance bar, dusting their cigarette in random places. Heads turned and whispers started.
There was a line to go into the dance bar. And as the The Bokas, led by Nas, entered into the white building with flashing neon lights around it, the queue slithered to the side like a centipede being brushed aside by a tidal wave. They guided their voices down and spoke with their eyes, “That is Nas dai.” There was no need to over emphasize. When little kids wouldn’t go to sleep, mother’s in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur would raise their eye-brows and menacingly hiss, “Nas dai lai bolaidiu?” Little innocent faces would hurriedly clasp their eye-lashes shut, trembling, even though they may have felt as awake as an owl at night, just seconds ago.
In the gentleman’s club, The Bokas, would take their usual table in front of the center stage where they could see, and be seen. Nas would just smile and snort when he heard that there were rumors circulating saying that he was the new prince in Kathmandu since Paras Shah had fled to Singapore. He would pick his eye brows up, deliberately, amused. That’s just how he rolled. When he was feeling extra good, Nas liked to modestly hint to girls that he couldn’t help it. He just naturally over-flowed with more confidence than the water from the rivers in Nepal over-flowed to India. Shrug. When you have it, you have it. Why hide it? And the girls would adoringly smile, obviously tickled.
As soon as Nas and his Bokas took their seat around the main stage, the girls from the dance club would saunter in, their eye lashes curled up to the ceiling. They knew the appetites of these men well. Their eyes wide open with wonder they sashayed their rotund hips as they slid in besides the men, bumping their feminine hips to the guys for effect.
Fluttered eye lids blinked in elation like they hadn’t seen a grown man since they grew out of puberty. It worked every time like a charm. Each of The Bokas stretched out in the black leather couches as smiles curled out of their bad-ass exteriors. The girls allowed it. At the end of the day, it was they who knew how to keep these guys spell bound like they were high on pot. They hid the quiet serenity of the wisdom hardened before their time behind innocent and vulnerable looking faces. It wasn’t rocket science. They knew that if they kept working their hips like a pendulum, Nas and his Bokas, hypnotized, eyes round as saucers, and a little bit of spittle crawling our from the side of their mouths would start clapping, shrieking and dropping cash like a goat having diarrhea. All it took was a wink and a smile.
For many of these girls coming from poverty stricken back grounds because of Nepal’s condition, as soon as Nas came, it was like Dasain had come. He was a Nepali Santa-clause in a black leather suit. And Nas, his face lightening up to see all those eager eyes fixated on his person, would start doling wads of cash, demanding drinks and chips be brought. This was Nas’s chance to feel like he mattered. And they knew it. People would go down their list. They would start ordering beers and chicken chilies to begin with. But that was only until Nas started to get a bit tipsy. Then soft smirks would start lighting up around the table. The hints and the winks would subtly caress subjects best left under the table. And that was when they would go to town and start going down the most expensive items on the menu. Some would whisper to the waiters as they ordered “to go” to take home with them.
The Bokas too were fully aware of their fearless leader’s tastes and weaknesses. The unspoken expectation instilled into Nas was that he would pick up after them. And on most days he would do it dutifully. But there were days when the mood was over-enthusiastic on the ordering. And on these days Nas’s eyes would softly stare into the distance as he wondered why no one else volunteered to pay. He would sulk softly and hiding his pout, count out thousand rupee notes like a gambler losing money deals out an angry pack of cards.
But they are all prepared for this. A silent alarm goes off when they see the face of their leader drop. And eyes signal in morse code as they try to diagnose the cause. As soon as any of the girls or The Bokas see that Nas is starting to get upset, immediately, they start to hum poetry in his name like the artisans of a nawab sing his glories. They would croon and crow about what a wonderful leader he is and how they love him and respect him. They would iron their chests with open palms declaring their fidelity. They could never live without him. Why even the thought of life without Nas was sacrilegious. He was, as they all put it, their fearless leader.
Gently nudging Nas out of his funk, they would gradually work the compliments up. And Nas in turn, though at first reluctantly, gradually allowed himself to be massaged into a smile. Slowly Nas, his nose puffed up like a clown about to tell a joke, would swell in pride--his chest impressing out. And he would play the embarrassed devil’s advocate saying that it wasn’t true, and that they were lying. Sporting a boyish smile he would shake his head, like a cow trying to avoid the rope being pulled on her. But all of them working their magic on him at once would be too much. And he would allow the collective wetness of all of their love for him subdue the desperate thirst for acceptance and respect that his father never gave him. And the reward to those that complimented his frail ego, by saying how wonderful and desirable he was, Nas would smile and give them extra-cash. The recipients in reciprocative gestures would put the money to their heads and slip them in pockets and purses. And that was when the tug- of-war would ensue about who adored Nas most.
One would chime in and say, “I don’t know about all of you but I respect Nas more than my own parents. Why, if Nas asked me to jump right now, I would jump first, and ask ‘how high’ later.”
Not to be outdone, another would feel forced to declare their allegiance, “Well, I think Nas Dai is the most handsome hero character than anyone in Bollywood movie. That’s what I think.”
As stares would start circulating like an active roulette table, another, not wanting to be left out would say, “That is nothing, if Nas dai told me drink all this rakshi on the table, I would do it without hesitation.”
Feeling the pressure, yet another would wave all of them away. “That is nothing,” he would say, “Me, I’m ready to kill myself if Nas told me to.”
At this point, most of them would look at this guy quizzically as if to say, ‘we were kidding, you moron, are you serious?’ And an uncomfortable silence would envelope the smoky brown table filled with beer, alcohol chips and lit cigarettes. And at that point the poor fellow would try to embarrassedly laugh the situation away while the rest would shake their head, and roll their eyes, without attracting Nas’s attention.
Each of The Bokas had their own stories about why they had taken to Nas’s gang. But the story generally had some common theme about a lack of opportunity in the Kathmandu valley for guys who would sooner crush a head between their fists than a pen between their fingers.
But life wasn’t pefect for them too. The Bokas, for their status as thugs in the area had to regularly tolerate Nas’s immaturity and his erratic antics. They knew the stakes at play. As long as they kept smiling their shit-eating grins at his inane jokes, Nas kept asking for more money from his daddy to pay for his fake and expensively put together lifestyle. It was a Win/Win situation and it was on full gaudy display. He had paid for their leather, their bikes, and all their get-up, including the girls hanging off each of their shoulders.
Each Boka, in turn, slipped a peppered cigarette between his bluish lips, and inhaled the calm and peace of the ambience. They would never utter these irreligious words out loud, but it was tattooed in the calloused pupil of their eyes. Before Nas, there was some other idiot who had an image problem and was willing to pay good money for their muscle. And after Nas’s daddy ran out of money, there would be someone else to flatter and faun over while he paid the bills. Meanwhile, today, they flashed smiles, and teased drinks into each other as they forced raucous laughter out of their chimney like black lungs. Enjoy.
The girls hanging off of their shoulders weren’t all bad. Some came from pretty decent families but had gotten used to the fast life. They had gotten addicted to the taste of Western luxury products that couldn’t be afforded by an honest Nepali salary. Someone had to pay for it. And this is where someone like Nas came in.
Each girl, had devised her own way. Some, mouthing their cherry red lips in front of lit mirrors had perfected facial gestures to go along with their life story. She knew exactly when to heave her breast and drop her top lip into a delicate frown as she wiped away a tear that had dried long ago. Put crudely, what it came down to was that they had learned to tell their life story in such a way that they could get Nas to shit more money then he had. But that was only when they were around the boys. Later they would all compare what stories they told Nas and describe how they told it and hide their laughter. They would imitate to each other about how he looked with his limp open mouth and drooping eyes in the drunkenness of his stupor.
They would each, jiggling their head atop their necks, brag about how they worked their particular guy that evening. Some would obviously exaggerate. “Nas, his open heart flying like the flag of Nepal swallowed every word I said like a Pashupatinath beggar getting some fried puri,” one would say. The girl, her long hair dragging to her shoulders threw her head back in laughter, while slapping another on the arms.
So the competition was fierce. Many of these girls would take Nas’s phone number to fill him with their stories so that by the time he came to the dance club, he would be ripe and ready to shit his “dyadis” cash. The mood was like merciless businessmen making cut-throat deals with minister’s in Nepal. And no, they would tell each other, they didn’t feel bad. Word around Kathmandu was that Nas’s daddy was a corrupt official in Singhadurbar who had milked the government and the Nepali people through taking bribes and making deals on the side. So, basically each girl found a way to justify her actions. As all them saw it, they were just really taking what theirs in the first place. They were not responsible for Nas being the weak link in his daddies retirement plan. If becharra Nas was sojo enough to be played like a violin, and they were all enjoying the sound of the tune, why be foolish and arrogant enough to interrupt either the conductor or the musicians?
Last edited: 16-Aug-10 01:38 PM