There were two young men, brothers
Who left their homes
In the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas.
The older one, for his father had barked at him,
'Go to Nepal and never come home again.'
The younger, for he couldn't bear the beatings
At the hands of his old man.
The older brother sobbed and stifled his sorrow and anger
For Nepal was in fact Kathmandu,
With its colleges, universities, Education Ministry,
Temples, Rana-palaces and golden pagodas
And also its share of hippies, hashish, tourists,
Rising prices and expensive rooms to rent.
The younger brother went to Dharan,
And enlisted in the British Army depot
To become a Gurkha,
A soldier in King Edwards Own Gurkha Rifles.
He came home the day he became a recruit,
With a bald head, as though his father had died.
He looked forward to the parades and hardships
That went under the guise of physical exercises.
He thought of stern, merciless sergeants and corporals
Of soccer games and regimental drills
A young man's thrill of war-films,
Scotch and Gurkha-rum evenings.
He'd heard it all from the Gurkhas,
Who'd returned in the Dasain festivals.
There was Kunjo Lama his maternal cousin,
Who boasted of his judo-prowess,
Showed photos of his British gal,
A pale blonde from Chichester
In an English living-room.