Register Saturday | June 15 | 2019

Something to write home about

A Winner in our Taking Things Seriously "Thingamajig" contest

I wanted a postcard, but I got the King of Nepal’s marbles instead.

Before my friend Tina went to India, I gave her the only piece of advice a native could: latch onto a local when trying to cross the street. Upon her return, limbs and all, my reward was placed on the table before me. I looked at two marbles, both cat’s eyes, rolling around the tabletop. I pondered the gift, which could have come from any dollar store in Canada.

“They’re the King of Nepal’s marbles!” my quirky friend squealed. I stared blankly. She explained: no matter where she went in India, the King of Nepal was there first, closing off all major tourist attractions until he was done his private tour. “Sorry, the King of Nepal is here, we’re closed,” had become her mantra, and the King of Nepal became the bane of her existence.

One day, Tina and her companion went into a little but well-reputed restaurant. They’d been there a short time before people were ushered inside from the patio, and the now-familiar security detail of the King of Nepal cordoned off the royal entourage. “He must be reading the same guidebook,” Tina joked.

Since she and her friend had arrived first, his royal highness didn’t inconvenience them…for once. Curious about the traveling saboteur who’d thwarted their every move in India, they ordered tea long after their meal was done. The security was on the move, and the King of Nepal was swept off the patio without so much as a glimpse. Tina stalked to his table before the waiter had a chance to clean up. The marbles were lying there, forgotten. She snatched them up and slipped them into her pocket, knowing I’d like the marbles more than any postcard.