Sometimes I reminisce ….
Have you ever heard of Ghurkas? They were legendary figures in the folklore of my boyhood. They are soldiers from Nepal who served in the British army; heroes in stories of incredible bravery; in my world view as a boy they were the ultimate bad-asses..
Imagine my enthusiasm when I actually worked with them when I was in my 20’s. Those little Nepalese men were amazng but real life carried other interesting details….like how they were paid in English Pounds; when converted into Rupees they could support their whole extended family back home with their salaries; those guys were often broke because they sent all of their pay back home.
They all had these crooked knives called cookri, and the rumour was that every time they unsheathed it, they were honour-bound to draw blood before replacing it. I had heard this as a boy but it wasn’t quite true… They were just men, but the mystique is hard to shake: When one of these tough, little guys said of his knife, “you a big man but I cut off your head, one chop.” it sounds unbelievable but has a tone of confidence and certainty you wouldn’t argue with.
Google them and learn something already.
By many standards, they’re impressive men but from my brief time working with them, I’ve learned the weakness of these Nepalese super men and I’ll fill you in on the secret; if you want to flush them out of their position, just send out a blonde lady with an unlit cigarette…they’ll come out of the woodwork to offer her a light; I learned this incredible secret in an Ottawa bar.
When I was in shape, I was a cardiovascular monster by most standards, but I never felt so much like a fat, lazy Westerner as when I worked with those guys. Running during an Ottawa heat wave, they stayed as fresh as daisies and were breathing through their noses! I can’t say the same….not by a long shot.