Month: January 2016

EPITOME OF GROWING UP

“परिपक्व हुनु भनेको यथार्थको महसुस हुनु हो।

जिन्दगीको सुत्र फेला परेपनि आफुसंग त्यसको लगाम नभएको स्विकार्न सक्नु हो।

आफुले बुझे भन्ठानेका कुराहरु अझै बुझिसकिएको छैन रहेछ भनेर थाहा पाउनु हो।

आफुले सत्य ठानेको कुरा भन्दा अरुको सत्य रहेछ भनेर देख्न सक्नु हो।

प्रत्येक जटिल प्रश्नको सहज उत्तर हुदैन।

त्यसैले समयलाई स्विकार्न सक्नु हो सायद परिपक्क हुनु।”

– प्रधानमन्त्री आशा, “सिंहदरबार” टेलेसिरिअलको भाग सातबाट

“Growing up is the realization of reality.

It is to know the rule of life and yet, accept the lack of control over it.

It is to discover that there is much more to things that we feel we’ve understood.

It is to see that there are alternate truths to the things we feel are true.

Growing up is accepting that you don’t always have an answer.”

-PrimeMinister Aasha, From episode 7 of Nepali mini series “Singha Durbar”

 

The above monologue encapsulates the epitome of what it means to growing up. At the end of that episode, the lead protagonist realizes that growing up is accepting what happens in our realities and letting ourselves open to new interpretations that either others come up with or which we improvise over the course of our lives.

Many a times we do not question the truths that we had established from our experiences. For us, our truths are the only ones out there. We do not conform to new outlooks that others have formed. We reject the idea that there are new interpretations to what we perceive from our lives. If we hold these thoughts, we are not making any progress in our lives. We will not have developed mentally or socially. We will have failed to growing up.

Humans need to evolve. Their evolution is the collection of individual evolution. When individuals accept whatever is happening in their realities, then they are growing up. These individuals do not waste their time in questioning the realities they live in and blaming these realities for not being in sync with their realities. They have concluded that their only option is to move forward. They know that they can improvise their future in order to make the future realities as close to their realities as possible. Even if they fail, they move on and try again to realize the impossible. I am implying that they do not worry if the realities they live in go against their expectations. They would be foolish if they did that. If they are doing what I just discussed, then they are growing up.

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The moment we realize that there are different interpretations to this picture is the moment we will come to the possibility that we are indeed growing up.

For example, it is interesting to read what other bloggers write in their blogs. Unconsciously, we may even feel that writing a post for a blog requires less effort. After all, most bloggers use informal tones in their writing. By experience, we may also have stored in our conscience that informal writing is effortless. Well, when we do begin to write, the very reality we just established breaks. We slowly unravel the truth that informal writing requires the same dedication as a formal writing. We understand that informal writing needs the same words as a formal one. Both use diction in a similar way, and only their styles are different. In this case, by involving in a new experience, we infer that there are alternate truths differing from our own. By accepting this reality, we have grown up mentally.

Now, all of my above explanations assume that we will get answers when we question our realities. Well, it may not always be the case. Not everything we come into contact with is fathomable. There are many things about which we do not even have the slightest idea. The only thing we can do is to accept that these things have a reason to exist and that we have yet to find answers to them. For example, theists believe that gods created the universe; however, cosmologists argue that it is impossible for gods to create a universe because there was no time variable possible until the universe actually formed. In other words, since time did not start until the universe existed, how is it possible for gods to exist in a reality where time does not exist? Well, as someone new to this question, we can take whichever side we want because there is no definite answers to the arguments.

In the above case, we failed to get an answer. The bright side is that we will continue to search for answers to the unanswered questions. We accepted that not all questions have answers and that is the key to growing up. In a nutshell, accepting that we have no control over our realities and being able to open our minds to innumerable explanations of our own realities are the key traits to assessing our development. So, have you grown up?

(Quote credits: Search for Common Ground Nepal’s SinghaDurbar Episode 7)

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WHAT DOES A FACEBOOK LIKE MEAN?

Facebook. Our new lives. Our virtual social lives. A crucial platform to stay connected with friends and families and share similar opinions with people of similar tastes. Sadly, I dislike it. Not the opposite of what FB’s ‘like’ holds meaning. My dislike is entirely different. For me, FB is only a medium to bring visitors to my blog. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The growing FB likes that we see in our posts seem to give us different meanings than intended. For example, when I see people giving ‘likes’ to the post where I shared my blog-post, I question in their (‘likes’) authenticity. I ask myself, “Did they really like it?” Not that I would be stupid if someone condemns at my action for not appreciating the number of ‘likes’ that I got. What I mean is if they did they really love it! Did they really love the way I raised up the issue? Did they agree on my points? Did they think my writing adopted narcissism? Did they really take the time to read the entire post? Or are they fooling themselves in trying to make me see the positive ‘likes’ I have been getting in the post?

Please take note that ‘liking’ a shared article is entirely different than ‘liking’ few sentences of status. The statuses are short and hence their meanings are easily grasped. Moreover, the viewers can spare some time to analyze and appreciate their meanings. If they want, they will comment. Their ‘liking’ the post means that they are in sync with what the person has shared. It is also the case with ‘liking’ a photo. I cannot say about the video as some videos tend to be a bit longer than others and the first 20-30 seconds will be the key to someone ‘liking’ them. Else, they will scroll down their screens and give a damn to videos.

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“Ahh, oh!! The author busted our secret behind ‘false likes’!”

Blogs and other written articles, if shared in FB, require the users to click the link and read them. The administrator can know if his web traffic is authentic and matches with the number of visitors from FB’s website. In my case, over the course of over 87 articles, I have always found the discrepancy in the number of ‘likes’ that my followers left in the shared status and the number of visitors who actually visit my blog from the social media website. Most of the time, it affects my credential as the discrepancies psychologically persuade me to think that my writing failed short of its standard. That my writing did not fulfill its purpose.

Now, do not get me wrong if I sounded demanding from my viewers to compulsorily read the post. No, if you have not ‘liked’ my post, I expect nothing less. However, if you fall under the category that ‘liking’ the shared link will increase our relationships, then you are wrong. Whoever you are. Family. Friends. Teachers. Brothers. Sisters. This is not a symptom of a healthy reader-writer relationship. If you really value what I am doing, then give some time to read what I write. I care less about getting hundreds of ‘likes’ than about the constructive feedback that you guys give.

The discrepancy had been annoying me for the last couple of months. There was zero correlation between the standard of my writing and the number of ‘likes’ I averaged a post. Please, do not misuse the meaning of a ‘like’. Please do not ‘like’ simply because I am a member of your family. Please do not think that liking my post will cement our friendship. Please do not assume that your student will write a perfect article. Please do not idolize me as the blogger you want in the future to be. I am nowhere near perfection. If you really value our relationship, take time to read the entire post but, please do not ‘like’ my post and give me a false signal that you have indeed read it. I will appreciate if you scrolled down your newsfeed and go right past my post and not ‘like’ it in the process. Just be careful when you stop for a moment and just ‘like’ it. That is not the reason why I invest my time to write a blog post even when I have college assignments due next day.

I write because my stories may relate to yours. Now, we don’t want others to spoil our adventures by not appreciating them, do we?

REALPOLITIK AND NEPAL

Wikipedia defines Realpolitik as “the politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances and factors, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises”. In a nutshell, people who implement realpolitik are able to modify their ideologies as long as their plans focus on the vested interests of the nation. In 19th century, Otto von Bismarck used realpolitik to unify all German-speaking states into one nation. During his reign as a German Chancellor, he faced oppositions that had ideologies opposite to his; however, he would diplomatically align to their principles so that they would not be an obstacle to fulfilling his grand plan.

In Nepal, realpolitik has the potential to transform its politics and build selfless leaders. Currently, Nepali politicians are so stubborn in sticking to their ideologies that they fail to acknowledge the wrong directions they often take Nepal into. The end result is that the citizens struggle to cope with the political instabilities.

In addition, the motive behind being a political leader in Nepal is to finally become the Prime Minister (PM). Interestingly, this job is the epitome of a successful political leader. It explains why there are a lot of incompetent applications for the single post and why there has always been two PMs every year. If a PM cannot deal with a major crisis, then it is certain that he will lose his position. The opposition parties will vote for no confidence in the parliament and the next day, newspapers will announce the resignation of the PM. Then, there will be no government for two-three months until another senior most political figure from the opposition party will be sworn in the office.

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“Shall we raise politicians who will practice realpolitik?”

Had Nepal’s politicians implemented realpolitik in their lives, Nepal would develop at an unprecedented pace. They would no longer bother adhering to the selfish motives put forward by their political parties; instead, they would take stringent measures to steer the country towards development.

For example, KP Oli led government has not been able to take any concrete measure to end the political stalemate and deal with the unofficial economic blockade imposed by India. Even after 100 days in his office, PM Oli cannot invite the agitating Madhes-based political parties and reach a consensus to end protests. Some analysts have even termed his tenure as a fiasco. Realpolitik persons would understand the subtle reasons behind Madhesis organizing protests without basing their decisions in preexisting stereotypes and take required actions. They would not hesitate to go against their parties’ decisions as long as their decisions solve such issues.

Nepalese need leaders who practice realpolitik. They need people who take decisions based on the situation the country is in. They want to be governed by politicians who change their moral ideologies according to the era they live in. They want to be followers of the government that places the interests of its citizens before the parties’ interests. They want laws that genuinely punish and not grant amnesty to corrupt leaders. They do not care if the government ultimately fulfills its selfish demands. As long as Nepal continues to progress in every possible sectors and, Nepalese can meet their daily needs without any political hassles, Nepalese may one day take the parties’ selfish motives into consideration. After all, history has taught that Bismarck fulfilled socialists’ demands and cancelled his plans to oppose Catholic Churches even though he viewed both of them as potential threats to his grand scheme of unifying Germany. Well, realpolitik ensured he remained in power and allowed him to accept differences so that when time came, Germans would unhesitatingly vote in favor of Bismarck’s dream.

One day, I hope to engrave Nepalese politicians as the next Bismarcks. One day…

 

PHALAANOLE TA HAI…

We have democracy in Nepal. The problem though is that we aren’t quite enjoying it. Sure, there are right to free speech, right to expression and right to information but we never exercise them to the fullest. Our conservative culture has affected our mindset as we seem to value too much of what other people think about us than believing in ourselves.

Most of the time, when we begin to think something new and daring, we immediately focus on what other people might say. It has become our culture to accept everything that these people say about us even though only 5% actually make sense. We hear from them that phalaano (a person of interest to the discussing party) has done some amazing stuffs or phalaano has become a successful entrepreneur or phalaano wears traditional clothes and thus respects culture and, so on. Such accusations are carried out of concern for someone close but they take negative connotations.

The victims are forced by the parents/families/friends to become someone that these people admire. The perpetrators want their beloved to copy what phalaanos are doing. They want these victims to be as successful as phalaanos. In all the situations, the victims’ opinions are not entertained. Not at all. It is as if democracy has lost its charm in such situations. The effects are that people become less creative and lose confidence in themselves.

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Be ourselves, no matter how stupid we may be!

Now, it is true that these victims have absolute rights to not hear what others want them to hear. That is not the case in Nepal. The intricate relationships that we value even to our distant of distant of distant relatives compel us to think about our next actions before these actions become the cause of disappointment for our family in not respecting their opinions. Consider that my parents want me to become a very successful and dutiful son just like my distant of distant of distant uncle’s son. I do not have a choice to argue that I do not want to be like the dull phalaano. If I say that, then I am a bad son. No arguments. End of story.

Most Nepali have the habit to think too much of phalaanos. They view stories of phalaanos as the epitomes of role models. Phalaanos are their deities. Hah, they never realize that they are wasting their lives in taking others’ opinions to their hearts. Hah, they have never experienced the freedom when they give a damn to what their seniors are blabbering about their favorite phalaanos. 

I was also one of those Nepali. In due time, I did not care what other people thought about me. I did not care if they thought of me as stubborn, stingy or bad-tempered. Or if they want me to be like Bikash-phalaano, Sunil-phalaano, Dikendra-phalaano or Prabesh-phalaano. I have learnt to correct myself if someone kindly points out my wrongdoings but I will never be like those phalaanos. I will be Manasbi. After all, if I try to become like those phalaanos, what is the meaning of my existence? Who will be Manasbi? If I try to go with their ideas without arguing, then what is the point of having a brain that took millions of years to evolve?

It is crucial that we realize the significance of being oneself. We may have some crazy ideas. That should not just stop there. We should blindly follow our next steps and see where they go. If we are wrong, then we will push to improve our efforts. If those ideas are successful, we will finally understand the meaning of our rights to democracy. If we think some of our culture needs to be changed or that we need to westernize ourselves, let us go for them. As long as they transform us for the better, our conservative societies should not prove to be a menace in how we live. Trust me, this small transformation will be the key to unlocking creativity of thousands of Nepalis. So, shall we start being Ourselves?

 

VICIOUS CYCLE OF RESILIENT NEPALI

If people were to analyze the political turmoil surrounding Nepal, they would discover that its citizens seem to tolerate everything and move forward with their lives as if nothing happened. Nepal’s politics has been full of governments that did not complete their tenure due to the circumstances that other political parties create. Ten months in and the government collapses before it takes another few months for a new government to change all the policies that the previous government implemented to favor its own. This has created a political instability in the South Asian region. What is amazing is that the citizens do not seem to take any concrete action that would drastically change the political system. They have accepted that Nepal will never progress or fail.

Nepal will be stable. That is what most Nepali seem to think. There has not been anyone who can lead it properly and who would selflessly devote the time necessary to steer the country towards the path of being a developing country. I admit that most of our political leaders have been running around to place first in the Prime Minister race without ever realizing that they are running out of their tracks. All rules work for their favors, not against them.

What concerns me is not the rise of competent and able political leaders but the stereotypes Nepali people have based their faiths in. They feel powerless to act against the political system which works towards achieving all the political gains of a party and not for the good of citizens. Obviously, the citizens have criticized and debated the effectiveness of the government in all the areas possible. What has not been done is taking strong action to uproot the bad political practices. Sure, the government will pretend to listen our demands but it will never implement our ideas. This is why we need to step in.

Youths are the most prominent demographic age group in Nepal. They are also the work force capable to topple the government if they feel the necessity to. Ever since the Rana regime ended in 1951, youths have only hoped to see their country prosper. Their hopes have been shattered. No generation has witnessed the birth of selfless political leaders who would forget about the agreements tabled by their political parties and who would make bold and tangible steps to check corruption and bring programs to push the nation to compete with other countries.

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Nepali people be like…waiting for someone to make something happen!! 

Youths need to take in charge of political parties and collaborate with other parties to implement projects of national interest. Projects that include generating electricity from local hydropower projects, introducing new international standard highways, banning strikes once and for all so that education, tourism, medical and transportation sectors are not affected. Many political leaders have pledged to ban bandhs but the culture is so dear among protesters that they believe it as the only way to address their demands.

Youths need to step outside of their comfort zone and take extra effort to record any wrongdoing by the government officials. This will expose corrupt acts and the public will be informed about it. The perpetrators will be humiliated at their actions and then they may change for the better.

The frustrations that youths have need to be channeled to work their ways to government jobs where they can work towards creating a entrepreneur work force. They can change the system within the organization and allow future employees to continue their legacy. With technology, these youths can start movements to change the political system and influence neutral Nepali citizens to join in their crusade. We have waited too long to witness the birth of a prosperous Nepal and it is time that we do it as an independent entity from the government. Let the movement begin!

DEAR BUDHANILKANTHA SCHOOL

Dear BNKS,

I have already written couple of posts to thank for the opportunities that you provided in my nine years of stay that shaped me into the person I am today. This post is not about the same set of achievements every BNKSian receives. I will focus on what you can do to make drastic changes to cement your legacy in Nepal.

Every alumni has a desire to see his/her institution mature and set examples for others. As a SEBS (Society of Ex-Budhanilkantha School) member, I want to help the school in whatever way I can and repay my debt for supporting me in those nine fabulous years. Probably the best years of my life. The experiences I gained after my high school graduation have allowed me to come up with some suggestions that you can implement. In some cases, I want you to challenge yourself and set an example for schools around the country. It is something I think is possible as we have a large and intellectual SEBS members who want to contribute in any ways possible. Here are few suggestions:

1) UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE!

This is the most important thing that you need to do. I am glad that you finally changed the cover photo in your home page. I remember that the previous photo of Road Race event had been there for couple of years. I do not care which photo you put there as long as you update your website every once in a while. This is BNKS we are talking about. There are so many stories in you. You should know that better than anybody. When I browse the website, there is nothing there. Literally. Even if there is, those details have not been updated. I mean, come on, you can get help from the students or even ask some alumni to work in it. Do not ask for recommendations. We most probably have given many. We need someone to implement them. In this digital age, websites are the most preferred medium to get information. Anyone wanting to explore BNKS will get less than 1% from the current website. I know we do not have ample amount of time. That is why ask for help. Ask. Gather volunteers. Put the request in the notice board. You will be amazed to see the turnout.

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A snapshot of your website. (Image credit from http://www.bnks.edu.np and modified by the author)

2) BECOME TECH-SAVVY

Yeah, anyone surviving the 21st century knows this. Technology is the most important factor that can truly affect the progress of an institution. You can reach new heights if you invest in technology. Just look at the example the solar power installation has given to the school. It is groundbreaking. Why not take technology to a similar level? When we talk about technology, internet comes to mind. The school’s internet may not be super fast but with what we have, we can achieve more in different areas. We can use it in our library to go digital. I know this talk has been going on for long but we have never asked why it was not implemented. The Council of School Prefects can look for the matter and inform the mass about it. Library is the key area where use of technology can be taken as a reference for success.

I remember when I and Rajat (our school captain) urged the school authority to make the school’s official Facebook page. We were told that students would then use Facebook often in their IT times. Desperate, I secretly opened a BNKS page which Rajat also encouraged to do. Well, I did not share the page info but that is another story. One and a half year later, you finally made your FB page. I am glad that you realized the potential it had to the BNKS community even though the execution was a bit late. I want you to do the same thing in other areas. It is just a matter of putting in that extra effort to achieve something big.

3) USE GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION

This is absolutely necessary if BNKS wants to make dramatic progress within classrooms. All the universities and colleges in the USA and even in other parts of the world use this service to act as a server and disseminate information to the targeted members in the institution. It is how I have been getting info about college activities, how I do not need to remember email address of the person and just their name, how I have been getting feedback from my professors, working in the same document in a group from different locations. Google makes it possible to do all these. Now, you maybe already thinking that it costs huge amount of money. It does not. It is free! Well, most of the Google services. This is incredible. I can see the potential implementing Google Apps for Education can have in all the departments around school such as classrooms, subject departments, teaching staff, kitchen, maintenance department, principal’s office, library… The communication between all the BNKS members will be highly efficient and the productivity will rise. Moreover, the school will be using less amount of paper and contributing to lessen carbon emissions.

Including all the students in this program may not be possible since all cannot have access to internet at the same time. Hence, the school can initially make it mandatory for non-students (teachers and administrative staff) and the post-SLC students to participate.

Forget delaying to implement other suggestions, make it a first priority and get amazed to feel its benefits. Be Digital.

4) USE QUORA

I love Quora. I have written even a post about it (Quora, Quoraer, Quoraest and Why It Matters). It is why I request you to make it mandatory for the students and the teachers to use this Q&A platform. All those years I spent at IT classes hearing our teachers not to use social media sites makes Quora the perfect choice to spend time on. When we browse for new knowledge, we do not waste our time.

Mandatory may be hard to take in. Maybe our teachers can influence students to share something they learned in Quora in classes. Students seek knowledge and being a part of a community that encourages to gain knowledge is beneficial. I encourage current BNKS students to make it an integral part of their lives.

5) STOREHOUSE OF ONLINE CLASSES

In my 9 years of stay, you never shut down when the entire country’s schools were shut down when strikes and bandhs were held. Most of the teachers lived inside the school and this helped to continue our classes without any interruptions. We never worried about missing classes. Even today, this aspect of my Alma mater stands out as the most important quality. I wish it was possible for other schools, too.

In this regard, with the talented teachers that we have, why not start recording our classes and freely provide the digital content to other Nepalese students who are missing classes. Think about how students have been hampered by the current political turmoil. Why not set an example and help those students? It would turn out to be most important thing that you have done since your inception. You started the trend of recruiting students from all over 75 districts every year and are already pushing efforts to have a 50-50 gender ratio in every batch. Now, it is time for a new one!

However, recording classes needs a lot of investment. It is why SEBS can be of big help. You will surely receive generous donors who want to contribute to this enormous project. I assure you that our school can be the next MIT OpenCourseWare of Nepal! MIT’s OCW has helped many students in the undergrad level around the world to learn from the best professors. Maybe, in the near future, we can help countless Nepali students to get the most out of their classes and make out for the missed class! I can already sense the legacy you will make when this project goes underway.

6) ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO WRITE BLOGS

Honestly, we did not write or share personal stories outside of classroom when we did our subject assignments. If those were finished, we rushed to play in the Middle Pitch or grab a book from the library to read. We did not write anything. It is a hard fact to take in. It is why you need the teachers to influence their students to start their own blogs and write in a weekly basis at least. As someone who likes sharing personal stories, maintaining a blog has helped me a lot in becoming the writer I am today. Sometimes, I wish that I had maintained a blog during my school days. Hence, I want every student to write something. Anything. Students do not need to compulsorily maintain blogs but they do need to write! You may argue that writing for Bhanjyang is already there but this is done yearly. Encourage everyone to write in a weekly basis and share the events going on in the school.

Reading and writing needs to go together. Students can be asked to maintain blogs in their long vacation instead of assigning projects that are largely plagiarized. Maybe a class can maintain a class blog, house members can maintain a house blog, department teachers can post new developments in their fields, even the Principal can write about something. Then, we have a collection of blogs ready to be shared with anyone interested in you. Wouldn’t that be great? To make things easy, you can maintain a common site to navigate all these immense personal stories. Then, put the link in the school’s official website.

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As alumni, we will always make time to share our personal stories and about how you can improve!

Well, these are some suggestions that I wanted to share with you. It is up to you to implement. I strongly urge you to turn all of these into reality. It will definitely take time. Once you start, everything that I said will make sense. The achievements will reach you to new heights and a legacy will be born. A Budhanilkantha legacy!

Your well wisher,

364 ‘D’ Manasbi Parajuli

PS: Any current student reading this needs to understand the impact that these can have to the school. They can inform teachers about these and push the school authority to implement. After all, isn’t it our responsibility to give back what the school has done in other meaningful ways?

THOSE SOUNDTRACKS

Listening to soundtracks is the first thing that I do when I want to concentrate in a work that I am currently doing. The pleasure I derive from this act is matched by none. The ambient atmosphere that I feel when listening to soundtracks helps me to focus and give my best in completing the assignment at hand.

Songs are in a completely different stage than soundtracks. They influence us to memorize the words and sing along with them. This way, we lose concentration in our work and, instead, we try our best to learn the lyrics. We all have experienced this phenomena wherein we memorize a song after listening to it for a certain number of times. There is no way of knowing that we are in control of our present situation as it seems that the song is desperate to stay in our conscience for a pretty long period of time. In other words, the lyrics are addictive and can contribute to losing concentration if we are completing our course assignments.

However, since soundtracks have no lyrics attached to them, we are not distracted. Whenever I work on my homework assignments, I have made it my habit to listen to soundtracks from YouTube or Spotify. Time seems to stop when I listen to playlists as I am glued to the rhythm of the tracks and the beautiful melodies created from a mix of musical instruments or by even using crazy mediums such as a glass of half-filled water.

Soundtracks need incredible amount of time to make them appeal to a wide audience. They literally need to pierce our hearts and change our state of mind in order to make a lasting impression. Also, since music is an industry, composers make sure that their works deserve attention from the listeners and motivate them to produce even more soundtracks that stir our imagination and lift our moods.

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One of my favorite soundtrack album! (Image credit: trailermusicnews.com)

Mostly, I listen to soundtracks from anime shows and popular composers from the movies that I have watched. I love listening to the Official Sound Tracks (OSTs) from anime such as Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion and Death Note. These two shows provide me with such a great list of soundtracks that I listen to them on repeat mode for an entire day. Death Note’s OSTs are my favorite pick as all of them are equally soothing and exhilarating. There is a playlist from YouTube channel EpicAnimeRequiem of the best soundtracks of Death Note which I encourage you to listen. My other OSTs from the anime include Code Geass: Continued Story, Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni: Dear You, Anohana: Secret Base, Angel Beats: Ichiban No Takaramono, Code Geass: Madder Sky and Cowboy Bebop: The Real Folk Blues. I also listen to some OSTs from One Piece and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. When listening to these soundtracks, they increase my productivity, reduce stress and avoid negative emotions.

As for the non-anime soundtracks, I prefer listening to all of the tracks composed by Hans Zimmer and my best composing company, Two Steps From Hell. They both produce epic soundtracks that just relax my body, decrease fatigue and improve motor reflexes. Since I am a big fan of Batman, Zimmer’s work in the Dark Knight Trilogy appeals to my music taste. Also, I highly regard all of his OSTs featured in Christopher Nolan’s movies, most notably from Inception and Interstellar. They are simply astounding. As for TSFH, I love the soundtracks from its album SkyWorld. Occasionally, I listen to this playlist from YouTube channel Epic Music VN as they have some of the best soundtracks from popular online video games and movies. This does not mean that I do not listen anything except the ones mentioned above. There are many movies that have appealing soundtracks which I listen every once in a while.

Soundtracks have become an integral part of my life just as songs once were. With no lyrics to hum often, they help me to complete my tasks without any disturbances. I highly value the time that composers dedicate in creating heart warming soundtracks. Their devotion to craft tracks encourages me to push out of the comfort zone and value passion and time to craft my own products. I highly recommend readers to listen to soundtracks and discover the benefits that they can inculcate in our lives.

 

RELATING TO FICTIONAL CHARACTERS

Fictional stories exist in various forms with interactive media topping the list. We watch our superheroes battling against the villains who desire power to rule the world or a regular student who inspires his friends to make a difference in other people’s lives. After either watching the countless TV shows or reading them in books or newspapers, we tend to relate our lives to the fictional characters in those mediums. That, for most of us, is exciting and inspiring.

Over the last couple of months, I have finished countless anime shows and two real-life TV shows. Anime shows include Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist:Brotherhood, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Stein’s Gate, Cowboy Bebop, Ano Hana, Baccano, Ef-A Tale of Memories, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Garden of Words, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, 5 Centimeters Per Second and Parasyte. I have also finished most of the animated DC movies released after 2007 that revolves around Superman, Batman and the Justice League. Also, I am currently on the latest episodes of The CW’s Arrow and The Flash. Now, these shows have exposed me to a lot of characters whose lives have affected me in some aspect.

Characters from Death Note and Code Geass give perspectives of how powers were used by the main characters Yagami Light and Lelouch Lamperouge respectively in their attempts to rule the world. No other shows have matched the critical thinking skills than these ones. After finishing these shows, Code Geass helped me to realize that having brains was not enough. It was necessary to use powers for a noble cause. Well, unless you reach its final episode, you view Lelouch’s actions to be the same as Light’s actions and then bam, you would make sense about the sacrifices that was made till the last episode. I highly recommend watching these two shows as they completely blow your mind.

FMAB is all about the importance of having brothers by your side. The journey that two brothers take in order to cure the younger brother’s body with the use of alchemy is truly awe-inspiring. The short but intense battles that take place balance the flow of the show. Roy Mustang’s desire to dethrone King Bradley is nicely orchestrated.

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Characters from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Image Credits: http://static.minitokyo.net/ )

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Stein’s Gate are time-travel centered shows where the characters mess with time. This creates different timelines and the characters need to deal with the consequences of the Butterfly Effect. I highly rank Stein’s Gate as the best time travel show of all time. The lead protagonist Okabe Rintarou has to undo all of his actions in order to prevent both the deaths of his long-time friend Shiina Mayuri and his girlfriend Makise Kurisu. It teaches just how precious our relationships with other people are that when in times of crisis, we are in a dilemma to save a person at the cost of the other. In other words, it is all about preferences and hard choices. Are you ready to save your love for your long time friend or vice versa? Sometimes, we are left with a difficult question to name one person whom who we want to save between two persons whom we hold as the most important people of our lives. The show beautifully showcased the choice conundrum in terms of relationships and it made a lasting impression in my life.

Among all these shows, Ano Hana was the most emotional show that I had watched. It tells the story about six childhood friends who distanced themselves after one of them drowns in the river. It is set years after the incident happened when the ghost of the dead child roams until her promise is fulfilled. In case you are wondering if it is a ghost series, it is not. With just 11 episodes, the show has many eye watering moments. The desire to unite all of the distanced friends and share the ghost’s promise involves patience and belief that there is ghost among the friend circle. For most parts, the show reminded me how distanced our friend circle can get as we get older. It gave me chills about moving away from my friends and the lack of communication as a consequence. There are some friends whom I have not talked after high school. It is why I created a Viber group of over 30 friends where we communicate and stay in touch. For anyone who is moved by friendship stories and cannot handle serious emotions, this is a show worth watching. I am so obsessed with it that I can watch again and again. Just give four hours for it and you will become its huge fan.

I also loved the remaining shows equally. The point is that when we finish a show, we try to extrapolate the characters’ personalities into ourselves. We find that there is something missing in our lives or something that can fill the void. We take inspirations from them and move forward in our lives. Maybe we even long for the powers they have and pretend that they have effects in real lives. Maybe we even relate the difficult circumstances we once were in. Maybe the atmosphere that these characters are in bear some resemblance to our lives. In my case, I totally enjoy rumbling like Felicity Smoak, imagine processing my surroundings at a speed of attosecond just like Barry Allen does, try my best to think critically just as Light and Lelouch did, try not to time travel and not get into trouble like Rintarou and Makkoto Konno (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) and, not distance myself from my close friends just like Anohana portrayed. I don’t know why I involuntarily mimic the fictional characters from my favorite shows but one thing is certain-I am in love with it. In doing so I realize the power that these fictional characters can have in my life and it is awesome!