Month: April 2015

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: IT’S EITHER NOW OR NEVER

On April 25, 2015, Nepal experienced its most powerful earthquake in over 81 years. Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale with its epicenter in Baarpaak, Gorkha, it proved catastrophic and fatal as it claimed more than six thousand lives and billions of property damage. Furthermore, the death toll continues to rise as more of the rescue teams make their way into the most affected rural villages in Nepal. More than nine thousand have been injured and it is estimated that the earthquake has affected over 8 million people in 39 districts. That is too much to take for a poor country like ours.

It has been documented that Nepal is known for its immense hospitality throughout the world. Maybe it is one of the reasons why we have been getting so much help from countries across the globe. But among all this scenario, there is something subtle that we have neglected-the urgency to act ourselves.

People volunteering in the aftermath of the earthquake

People volunteering in the aftermath of the                   earthquake

Days after the disaster, most of us have been posting/sharing Facebook statuses about the pictures/videos taken by the eyewitnesses. It is fair to say that only a minority have utilized the social media in the best way possible by sharing links to authentic donation campaigns carried out by trusted agencies. It mirrors the passive involvement from folks who boast of their ambitious ideas/plans to develop Nepal.

Here’s a video from my friend Achyut Gautam that summarizes my opinions.

This is not what we expect from our youth. We must be out there involved in rescue efforts in any way possible. Because that is what humanity truly is. It is not about staying in your homes worrying that another aftershock greater than the main one would come. Had it been the case, it would be called foreshock. I understand that fear of earthquakes has impregnated the minds of people who have experienced the worst scenario possible. And it’s fine. I am not blaming them. But what I dislike is people complaining that the government didn’t reach them at 1200hrs on April 25. Nowhere in the world have we seen examples of government reaching the disaster area one minute after the incident. It takes time and we must admit that. But until help arrives, it is our duty to help each other because that is what we have been living for. A testament to humanity. Social deeds in action. Proof that people who were left unscathed can do something for people in need.

It is hard to admit but we are largely at fault. No one can predict earthquakes. It is a universal fact. But it is also true that once you have identified yourselves as uninjured, it becomes your duty to search for survivors. Just take the next step. It is natural to worry for 72 hours after the earthquake, and I know that news from our family gets a top priority. I welcome this truth. Even I would be tempted to stay back and let the rescue teams do their jobs. But I wouldn’t lament at the poor design of buildings and condemn that the present government’s efforts were lackadaisical. I would act and that is what I humbly request anyone reading this.

There is a reason behind all this. Seismologists have hypothesised that major earthquakes in Nepal occur every seventy to eighty years. They don’t know the reason behind this but with the history of earthquakes it just seems true. That means we will experience at least one major earthquake in a lifetime. And we have just experienced that.

When we pass four or five decades of our lives, we should tell stories of how we rescued survivors even after two or three days after the disaster and not be questioned on our indifferent attitude towards the victims when we just surfed the internet watching others getting involved, directly or indirectly. That will prove decisive as you just taught the value of humanity from your experiences. Your decision now largely impacts your future, more precisely your outlook of life.

I request you all to make a difference in the lives of these people. You don’t need to be at the site. You can collect relief materials in your area and hand it over to the Red Cross. You don’t need to collect money when you can’t convince the strangers to do so. You can volunteer at trusted agencies and request them to let you get involved in any ways possible. You don’t need to complain whenever you watch news reports claiming that government’s efforts were not enough. You need to get out of your comfort zone and make an impact. Trust me, that will be the most memorable experience of your life. Even though the nation doesn’t recognize your efforts with medals, your deeds will have forever been engraved in the hearts of the people you have saved. You will leave a legacy and be proud when you reminisce this account. A sense of belonging encapsulates your soul. And prove that in dire times, your humanity attitude didn’t fade out. It stood strong. You passed the test.

I plead all those who are reading this to contribute in any ways possible. Because you are lucky to survive the disaster. You are few people who have an access to the internet. But you are equivalent to many people who can get out and do something. Something that will give meaning to the lives of those who survived the disaster. We have witnessed the worst disaster of our lives. We have to stay strong. We must build what we once cherished and it is only possible when we all get out and rebuild this great nation of ours.

Remember, IT’S EITHER NOW OR NEVER!!

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: BNKS IN PICTURES II

From Dikendra Karki, here are some more pictures of the damages caused to the school properties of Budhanilkantha School, Narayansthan, Kathmandu.

1. Corridor of Gaurishankar House 

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2.Corridor of Gaurishankar House

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3. Black Gate Walls turned to rubble

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4. Tents at Garden Pitch

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5. Area in front of Nilgiri and Pumori Houses

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6. Belongings scattered in one of the flats

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7.Black Gate wall premises

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NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: BNKS IN PICTURES

With help from my friend Dikendra Karki, here are ten pictures that speak of the damages from the aftermath of the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal in April 25 at 1156 hrs local time caused to my Alma mater Budhanilkantha School, Narayansthan, Kathmandu.

1.LEARNING RESOURCE CENTRE

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2. LEARNING RESOURCE CENTRE

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3. SWIMMING POOL

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4. NILGIRI HOUSE, HOH BLOCK

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5. SCENARIO OUTSIDE BUDHANILKANTHA SCHOOL

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6.PUMORI HOUSE

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7.ENTRANCE TO BUDHANILKANTHA TEMPLE

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8.BYASRISHI AND GAURISHANKAR HOUSE

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9.LADIES’ ROOM

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10.ENTRANCE TO BUDHANILKANTHA TEMPLE

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TALKING ABOUT ENGLISH SERIES

I have watched numerous English serials. Serials such as Castle, White Collar, Sherlock, The Simpsons, Prison Break, House MD, Lie To Me, HIMYM and Friends have been my favourites while some such as My Family, Undercover Boss, Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon remain my casual picks. Each of these serials and few others that have not crossed my mind right now have taught me various valuable lessons.

Some of these serials baffle my senses with ingenuity, some take me into the world of medicine, some lure me with a creative partnership between a fiction mystery writer and a detective, some showcase the inthinkable symbiosis between an FBI agent and an ex-con artist, some take off monotony from my life and take me to a laughter marathon. Each serial just takes my breath away. Both literally and figuratively.

There is so much to learn about the creative plots and suspense that gets built up as you watch their episodes. Moreover, the flavours each serial cook up is refreshing than ever. Different scenarios, different identities, different cases, different tensions that get built up between the protagonists. You name it. It’s all totally awesome. That is why I love to search the best series out there based on the reviews that they get or from my circle of serial addicts. It is synonymous to venturing to a new world.

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A snapshot of ABC’s Castle.

Watching serials is a must. Movies are a short term entertainment that lasts from an hour to three. But serials are completely different. Most of these either last 20 minutes or 45 minutes. And if you are watching from the channels, the anticipation of a new episode really haunts you. Maybe a day. Maybe a week.

When you have a collection, either through your peer circles or from DVDs, marathon viewing is the best way to relieve those moments. You scrutinize every miniscule details and build up your own conclusion. You don’t get tired about losing the storyline even for a split second as you aren’t restricted to watching ads. You just need to wait few seconds, and not a day/a week, before you get on to the next episode. Just pause, rewind, fast forward(don’t do that please) and play. Your daily serial digest at your service.

I advise you to build a serial watching habit. Trust me, you will dwell your mind into infinite imaginative plots. And it’s more fruitful than scrolling your pages to read what your Facebook ‘friends’ are up to.

If you think that watching serials is a waste of time, I understand that you are referring to the boring trite family rows that get showcased in most of the Indian serials and mostly watched by your mother/spouse. It just means that you have not walked outside of the comfort zone. Basically you have been punished by the boredom. And that’s why watching serials produced by ABC, CBS, FOX, USA and BBC are better and cooler. It does not let your time go to waste.

So next time you think about ways to pass your time, watch any of the aforementioned great shows and you will thank me for the great advice. Let’s start a serial marathon!

A NEW FORM OF STRIKE

If you stumbled here thinking that I would talk about the protests held by the opposition parties in Nepal, it’s just a coincidence. I don’t intend to analyze the strikes that are  organized whenever demands are not met. Nor am I here to brief on the hunger strike that was categorized successful given the mass support from the medical fields and the locals.

I have witnessed thousands of such bandhs. They all bear one common nasty quality: vandalization of public properties to the fullest. But what if, we organized a protest that would be supported by 99% of Nepalese? Wouldn’t that be great if it is for the benefit of the whole country? I thought about it and just seriously thought about it, so serious that I think it is a much better alternative than the ongoing ones. A Cleanliness Strike!

Yeah, you guys read that absolutely fine. A strike that is absolutely crucial if we are to make a nice image of Nepal to the outside world. We have always dreamt Nepal coming close to the most clean country in the world. A feat that is not impossible if we analyzed the level of cleanliness maintained throughout the organization of SAARC Summit in November. It covered the news headlines more than any other events. People questioned the capacity that Nepal had because they had never experienced it. To some, it felt like being a pedestrian of a developed country.

Now, for just one day, were we to organize a Cleanliness Strike, wouldn’t our country change its landscape? Our wildest imaginations would turn into miracles. But this time, citizens will not comment on the miracles because they themselves will be a part of it.

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When we take part in an event actively, we bear responsibility towards it. And that is the exact philosophy that must be cultivated in our citizens. Let the cleanliness strike be mandatory enough that even the lazy ones will flood the streets, even the politicians will feel ashamed that it is much better than vandalizing public properties, even the tourists will applaud at the new initiative and force them to prolong their stay, even the children will feel responsible to clean their cities, narrow passageways, and maybe even turn it into a week long revolution. Every denizens will find it hard to resist the temptation to stay back at their homes complaining that it is just for a day and tomorrow all will be back to where it was.

The best part is that Nepalese will realize that nothing was impossible. Their participation will justify that their attitude ought to be changed to see noteworthy developments. And voila, the strike would completely change the mindset of the Nepalese. Maybe in the next five years, we may come close to matching South Korea’s and Singapore’s emergence into a developed country? After all, we are free to dream, aren’t we? We just have to believe that it will work.

For the strike to be successful, no one must be allowed to rest back at home or cancel their active participation in the event. Then, at the end of the day, who knows our country will be credited in the international media for organizing a weird but fruitful event? After all, we have been dreaming about it since decades.

Let’s hope that it gets organized one day, because sometimes all it takes is one stupid crazy idea to be implemented and the next thing you know, it will prove more than just a miracle. Happy Cleanliness Strike folks!

WHY YOU MUST WATCH/READ ONE PIECE !

I am a cartoon/manga addict. It’s a truth that I have embraced and practiced throughout my life. The context of imagining life without dwelling on creative plots and a flurry of imaginative scenarios remains out of question for me. That is why I hate people who detest these series just because they are ‘cartoons’ and ‘shouldn’t be watched by grown ups’. I had compiled my top ten cartoons list in the initial stages of my blogging venture but had quite surprisingly failed to note the impact that One Piece has brought to my life. I affirm that the series comes close to other manga series such as Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tail when it comes to popularity but, in my opinion, One Piece beats them.

One piece is about a devil fruit user named Monkey D. Luffy who with his rubber powers aims to be the Pirate King and be the rightful owner of ‘One Piece’, a collection of all the treasures that Pirate King Gold Roger had in his life and which was left at the end of the island called Raftel in the Grand Line. A pirate age enveloped the world when Gold Roger spoke of the treasure as his dying wish in Loguetown. Now, Luffy and his eight crew members, sail through the seas and into the mercurial Grand Line where they meet strange devil fruit users and challenge to battles and make their way forward.

The Straw Hats crew

                      The Straw Hats crew

Most of us categorize pirates as dangerous hooligans but Straw Hats are the antithesis of this. Adamant in his aim to pursuit One Piece, Luffy makes sure that every challenges are overcome by the crew no matter what. And that is the most captivating quality that the crew possesses. They are resilient and beat the hell out of monstrous pirates or the Navy whose sole aim is to capture all the pirates that are causing ruckus in the world. Be it the pirate who caused anarchy in Alabasta or the Shichibukai (warlord pirate) who has a penchant to steal shadows, Luffy and his crew make sure that the victims do not have to suffer like they have suffered before. In other words, they have a soft spot for people who have been terrorized by the evil doings of pirates or to some extent, even the Navy.

One Piece encapsulates the necessity to make amends to the society through the actions that Straw Hat pirates take on their course to achieve their separate aims. Zoro dreams to be the best swordsman, Nami ventures to map the whole world, Usopp aspires to be the sharpest shooter, Sanji is lured by the All Blue legend, Chopper decides to be the best doctor, Robin swears to study the world’s history and examine the 100 year void, Brook lives to fulfill the promise he made when he entered Grand Line, and Franky heats up to make his self-built ship reach the end of Grand Line. They all have different ambitions, but such is the stubbornness towards fulfilling their dreams that they don’t care if they have to cross any lines or fear that their wanted posters surge in their price. As an audience, it is very inspiring to push you towards your limits as the manga teaches you that nothing can stop you from fulfilling your dreams.

Most of the mangas (comics that are released in Japan) bear a common quality that echo the mentalities of their main characters and it is friendship. A quality that has been portrayed in such a compelling emotional gesture that it is hard to put down reading one if you start on a manga reading/watching spree. One Piece depicts friendship in a truly spectacular ways with scenes of betrayal, rescue missions from hell (Enies Lobby), and faith and trust towards the captain that it is impossible to go along with the emotional weight and shed tears in your face. In some of the scenes, you just can’t put an end to tears and have difficulty in muttering a single word. The emotions such as ecstasy, joy, faith, rage, outburst, and determination steal the show and the show just maintains this emotional level throughout the series without interrupting the anticipation that you have built since the last episode.

Characters that have appeared in One Piece. (Image credit: fanpop.com)

Characters that have appeared in One Piece.        (Image credit: fanpop.com)

When you are a big fan of anything, you want it to last forever. And One Piece does just that. The characters that Eiichiro Oda has created bring out more action scenes and the fight seems to never end. Straw Hats have built such a large circle of friends and enemies that you never get tired of guessing what would happen next. It is this very quality of One Piece that I believe edges out other manga series or even American cartoons. Right now, One Piece has crossed just over 50% of its story in its eighteenth year in print. An amazing feat considering the fact that many of the other manga barely cross fifteen years in print. For an avid fan like me, it makes a perfect sense as I can still relish the adventures of Straw Hat Pirates for the next ten years or even more than that.

For those of you who quite don’t know that such a manga/series existed, go google it or watch it or read it. And I bet it may turn out to be the best series (animated or non-animated) that you have ever experienced till date. When I told my friend Nimesh who was a die-hard Naruto fan that Naruto is nothing compared to One Piece, he had laughed at me. Now, he thanks me often for the entertainment that gets packed in reading/watching One Piece. So just grab a copy of One Piece and who knows that you will have a similar experience to share with me?

HAPPY ONE PIECE ADVENTURES WITH STRAW HATS!