culture

SHH…THANK YOU LETTERS IN YOUR INBOX

Yeah, you guys heard it right.

In the next couple of months, I have decided to send a thank you note to almost all the people who have made differences in my life. The degree of difference does not carry any weightage to me. Even if people lent me their pencils in the exam, they deserve a thank you note.

I know it will be tough. That is exactly why I want to do this. On the new year’s day 2016, someone in the WordPress community talked about his experience of writing a thank you note to all his LinkedIn followers throughout 2015. He had written almost 1100 unique thank-you email/LinkedIn messages. It was amazing to see someone devote a part of his time to thank others who devoted theirs.

So, yeah, the inspiration from that blogger has influenced me to push myself. There are no fixed people in my list. It could be anyone. Family, friends, teachers, mentors, coworkers, brothers, sisters, followers. It could be in any medium. Email, text message, Viber message, Facebook message, or you may even get a phone call from me.

Now, most of you may already be thinking, “Since he’s a blogger, he is definitely going to write the same messages to all his people. Just CTRL+C and then CTRL+V.” Sorry, I won’t. Where’s the fun in that! If I decide to implement it (which I won’t), I will have finished the task in one day.

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Life’s too unpredictable as the weather! That is why I am gonna go along with it. (From left: me, Bikash and Achyut)

When you think about it, the task I am going to carry requires a lot of effort and thinking along the way. I have to emphasize about the relationships that I have developed with these people and mention few incidents with them that affected my life. Talk about how encouraging they were. Debate about how their weird opinions shaped my cognitive skills. Appreciate about the sacrifices they gave me in order to make me a better human being. Idolize about their visionary insights into some pressing matters that I was interested in. Pardon about any differences we had over the course of my life. Grateful for their considerations into picking me for their works. Providing me with even the smallest suggestion in whatever problem I was leading into. Anything in the way they molded me into the present Manasbi.

Tough work, right. Well, lo and behold, any day in this year, you maybe the lucky one to get a thank you note from me. Take time to read that. I may have spent days to write those two or so paragraphs. I am not so picky about getting a reply back because I may not be an inspirational figure to you in any sorts. Just be patient about getting one from me. You may or may not get it. It all rests on probability.

I am looking forward to learning from this awesome experience and share my thoughts along the way. Lastly, the very absolute reason that I wanted to do this was because sometimes I feel that life may be unpredictable and ephemeral at the same time. I may or may not live to be 80 years old. I may die this very instant, next day, next month, next 5 years or next 30 years. What I do not want to do is wait before it is too late to thank all the people who helped me along the course of my life.

Take time to imagine what the body of my letter to you folks would be like!

 

DAI, EK PLATE MO:MO LYAUNU NA!

Mo:mo. Nepali Dumplings. THE 8th wonder of Nepal. THE staple food in the afternoon. THE most talked about food in Nepal. THE food that Nepalese can do anything to get their hands on. THE food about which many have already written numerous accounts and their fascination with it. THE food which did not get any mention from me until now. This post is about the stories I had when this mo:mo was/was not around.

Well, if you are one those people who spent a majority of your schooling years living inside your school and rarely get a chance to taste exotic dishes such as mo:mo, then the sight is truly divine. The moment I and all the students who went outside the school to nearby shops (we were restricted to go outside the school boundary), the first thing that we did was to gather around a thela and ask for three or four plates of mo:mo. For some, it was seven or more plates in one go. Normally, we get either eight or ten mo:mo in a plate. It was a common practice to see BNKSians out in the streets every Friday in the mo:mo shops and spending upto NRs. 100 per plate. We tasted Everest mo:mo, Sangam mo:mo and Darjeeling’s Unique mo:mo. I really liked Darjeeling duo’s mo:mo. Truly, one of the best treats we got although they only served vegetable mo:mos.

In my senior year at the school, our group of School prefects would go outside Narayansthan (our school address) and eat mo:mos. We continued this tradition when our friends gave treat to their fellow peers when they got the opportunity to pursue undergraduate degrees in the US. Even in birthdays, we would take our friends for mo:mo treat. Mo:mo was our first choice in almost every celebrations.

Once, after the school had organized its Annual School Fest in 2012, me and my friends, Sawal and Bibash, went to Darjeeling duo’s “Unique mo:mo” pasal. Midway into our treat, three of our female friends came in and they had to wait for an empty table for their next turn. We finished our mo:mos and were preparing to go out. However, these girls decided to block our paths with their feet stretched by sitting in a bench and covering the alley. Now, for anyone not familiar with Nepal’s culture, this may be a casual prank. Well, it is not. In Nepal, you are not allowed to jump over girls or touch with your feet as our culture believes that girls are pious and tantamount to goddesses. Now, in that particular instance, our beliefs were about to get shattered. The girls were too stubborn to let us go. We did not have any choice but to go against our beliefs. We could not do it for numerous attempts. Then, the inevitable happened. For the first time in my life, out of absolute necessity, I forgot my beliefs and escaped from the trap. I became a bad boy. As for my friends, they passed easily after the girls were amazed by my antics and decided not to block my friends’ paths (or so I guessed).

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Bibek and Sailesh having mo:mos in Cafe Himalaya in Queens, NYC.

In another instance, Prabesh, Rajnish and me were just returning after visiting few places in Pokhara, my home town. We were obviously tired. Then, we decided to have …. mo:mos! Well, Prabesh (who also lives in Pokhara) took us to a new mo:mo shop and it was in an area that I often went past whenever I went shopping but which I never had stepped inside. Samrat mo:mo pasal. It was the first time that I had entered this shop and the first time that I had a free vegetable soup before I had mo:mos. A new experience for me.

When I was around 11, I had my first taste of chicken mo:mo. Always, me and my sister would order vegetable mo:mos. Once, when our cousin brother came in, he decided to order chicken mo:mo without consulting us! Once it was ordered, we had no choice but to taste it. We did. Our first taste of chicken mo:mos.

A few years later, I had my first taste of green colored mo:mos. Yeah, from “8 o’clock Restaurant”. Interesting, I thought. A new experience.

Even in my home, we cooked mo:mos every once a month. A family get together. My siblings and I helped our parents and our kaka and kaki. It was here that I first learnt how to make mo:mos. The best thing about cooking at your home is that you have the appetite to eat more than 40 mo:mos without any difficulties. My maximum is 35 mo:mos in a space of one and a half hour. I really miss my home’s mo:mos. No emoji can express it. I am honest about it.

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My birthday celebration in Oct 2014 with mo:mo treat in New Road, Kathmandu. 

Here in the USA, I consider it a treat to taste mo:mos. I had first taste of mo:mos in the eve of Thanksgiving day at my kaka‘s home in Dartmouth, three long months after I first came to the USA. I tried to help my kaki to prepare raw mo:mos. I was disappointed at my poor performance. I managed to prepare three mo:mos by the time she prepared 17 of them. Poor me. I managed to eat around 30 mo:mos that night. Who wouldn’t if it was the first in a long time and in a foreign country?

Immediately, in the Black Friday day two days later, ten of my friends decided to check out Cafe Himalaya mo:mos in Queens, NY. I had heard that it offered the best mo:mos in all of NY. What I heard was true. It was too good. $7/plate spent good. By the way, you would get almost six plates back in Nepal.

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(Clockwise from bottom left): Rajat, me, Bibek and Sailesh having mo:mos at Cafe Himalaya in Black Friday.

One month later, at my cousin sister’s home in Boston, I had the luxury to taste mo:mos once again. Another great treat. Another more than 30 mo:mos. Fantasy turning into reality. Three mo:mos treat within a month.

So, yeah. When we talk about mo:mos, we focus mostly on the texture and the taste we get in various shops. We compare the rates. What we fail to appreciate are the stories we connect to ourselves. Stories of desperation. Stories of fantasies. Stories of new experiences. Stories of coming near to opposing our beliefs. Stories of connectedness. Stories of friendship. Stories of watching live sports together. A whole bunch of stories inspire the very best in us. It is all possible just because we yearn for that one plate of mo:mos whenever we find time to have one.

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!

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.

 

HEY THERE, 30s MANASBI!

Aanch jhilke, k chha yaar tero belaako zindagi? Chill haaniraaxas ta?

I am literally laughing right now because it’s too weird for me to write a letter to you. Yeah, you. You, moron! Now, where should I start?

Ahaa, how about what every one of my time asks to his 30s future self –Have you married? Love or arranged? Nepali or foreigner? Wait, what? You don’t want to answer! Are you shy? Haha, all right, all right. I did not mean to ask such personal questions (although me asking myself is not personal, duh). Where was I? I don’t intend to lose your interest in my banal talks.

Hah, ok, ok. I will get to the point. The most important thing I really wanted to ask was this one: Have you returned to Nepal? Because, right now, I had decided to return to Nepal after my graduation. Wait, you did not?? Then, ladies and gentleman, behold the clichéd answer that comes from my 30s mouth: “Times change, pal (with a typical Nripesh pose)… We are then forced to change.” Or “That time, we were kids. Now, we are adults. We don’t dream anymore.”

I suspect the following scenarios then: you got a job, well paid, maybe $1,000,000 per year (that’s huge Manasbi! No wonder, you are living a boring life. Hah, contradicted you, twake) or even more, found a girl, married, and then, lived happily ever after… Just like the ones we watched in Disney movies. Or, maybe Nepal banned you from entering the country because you stirred the internet with your radical views in your blog in a not-so-distant-future. Or, the worst case scenario…..you know what it is, right? I don’t want to think about it. I will leave it up to you.

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Hello on the other side…

So, do you remember when we talked to each other through the reflections in the mirror? You became the future guy and I talked on and on about countless stupid ideas. You would then comment on those ideas and extrapolate the efforts that I currently have in order to guess whether I will turn it into reality or not. A couple of those ideas included forming a tech company based in Pokhara with strong influence in Myagdi (our birth district), living the life that Phunsukh Wangdu lived at the end of 3 Idiots, earning US$s by outsourcing your CS talents and then pushing the Nepali communities to embrace tech in every aspect of their lives (besides the unlimited times they spend surfing to like statuses in FB or Twitter), and completely relying on solar power for your home or office (hopefully, you will have one).

We sure dreamed big. Those were the glorious days. Freedom, we had enjoyed. Well, we had promised to deliver the results (after all, we were heavily influenced by Elon Musk’s insane ideas and his craziness to make them happen). So, did you? Or, is it the money issue? Man, money is always there. But, did not we figure it out?

I don’t know how you are spending your life in your time. Just don’t follow what most people do. Get a job. Go to office at 8. Work until 5. Return home. Dinner. Sleep. Live life like a DC current. Mundane, pal. We had talked about it. We promised not to follow that path.

Does your era rely on TV?? Isn’t that obsolete? Isn’t it time to watch through goggles and with the use of holograms? Sounds interesting, if that is the case.  

Oh, I remember again. Did not we plan to fully utilize the lands we had in our village to modernize agriculture and hold Skype (provided it still is the first choice) with our office employees from our village? At the same time, work together with Mahabir Pun and advance Myagdi district!

When I think about those ideas right now, I firmly believe that they will one day be possible. I don’t know why I wanted to write to you. Your future is uncertain. Still, there is a part of me that still seeks answers to these questions and still a part of me that wants to encourage you to have an adventurous life.

Maybe you should go out and carry out our ideas if you have not been doing so. Get out, now. NOW. Don’t let family responsibilities or workloads impede your lively spirit. Be young. Come on, pal. Let this letter remind you how I look upon you. Be my hero. Push yourself. Influence other people’s lives. Only then will you be able to create a legacy among your countrymen. Isn’t that what you always wanted? Leaving a legacy behind. Isn’t that what you learned from Luffy, Naruto, Roger Federer and so on some ten years ago?

Waiting for your days….waiting…make me proud.

Yours Yourself,

Manasbi from 2015

PS: Ah, couple of extra things that I wanted to ask you. Has Arsenal won premier league titles? UCL? Who is your new lawn tennis best player as Federer had already retired by then? Who is your new favorite soccer player? As One Piece has ended already, did Luffy find the treasure? If yes, then how? What do you read in the manga these days?

WHEN NEPALESE VOTE FOR A NEPALI FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AWARD

Two days ago, CNN named Maggie Doyne as the CNN Hero of the Year. She was the third winner affiliated to Nepal, after Anuradha Koirala and Pushpa Basnet, in the last eight years who was awarded for making huge impacts in the lives of Nepali. As a Nepali myself, it surely made me proud. Honestly, sometimes I think that whenever there is someone who is nominated for an international award, Nepali community will do whatever it can to make sure he/she gets the award. It is no coincidence that the pattern has repeated in the last couple of years.

In October, when Maggie Doyne was listed in the top ten, Nepalese knew that she was the founder and CEO of BlinkNow, a nonprofit organization that is helping over 400 children from poor communities to educate and prepare them up to post-graduate level with the establishment of Kopila Valley Children’s Home and School. Then, it was time for Nepalese to spread the word like a wildfire in the internet. Many urged to vote for Maggie and then thousands joined in. Their dedication finally paid off two days ago.

Nepalese feel a great sense of responsibility to show their gratefulness for someone who is involved in benevolent work and who gets recognized by the international community. It is something we closely connect to with the person. Even if they are foreigners, their contributions to the Nepali community stands out. We automatically categorize them as Nepali. They become our family and their happiness is our happiness. So, we become desperate to vote them. Most of the time, we will have become victorious.

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Next time you see a Nepali nominated for an international award, there is high chance he/she will eventually win it.

 

Sometimes, I feel strange that a country with a small population has a bigger influence in an international award. Sometimes, I wonder why countries with wide internet access and with large population do not commit enough to win their countrymen. Perhaps I think that maybe they do not have to, as they continuously win other prestigious prizes. But for Nepal, just to see someone who represents/kind-of-represents the country is a great achievement. We have very little that we can symbolize ourselves proudly in the international arena besides being home to Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) and Lord Gautam Buddha to name a few. It is why Nepalese do not want to leave these chances that will help in cementing their country’s name in the world.

It was no wonder that Sano Babu Sunuwar and Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa from Nepal were named as People’s Choice for Adventurers of the Year 2012 organized by National Geographic Society. They had amassed the majority of the 72000 votes. Even in this case, Nepalese made sure that they took the title. In another instance, in 2007, Nepalese collected enough money to go to India and vote for Prashant Tamang, an Indian from a Nepali-speaking community in Darjeeling. They made sure that he won the title of Indian Idol. And, they were successful.  

The vast circulation of voting guidelines over the internet followed by a sense of responsibility from Nepali is more than enough to make sure that a Nepali or someone affiliated to Nepal shines throughout the world. The probability for this is so high that the next time you see a Nepali or someone who has contributed greatly to it nominated for an award, you will notice that he/she will have eventually won it. Just watch to deduce if I was wrong or not.

 

WHY DHOTI IS NO LONGER IN MY DICTIONARY

There was a time when I was taught to call my south Nepalese compatriot with bhaiya or with a derogatory remark, dhotis. Whenever I saw someone relatively black and closely resembling from an Indian descent (as was the stereotype in the Pahadis), my brain automatically used bhaiyas and dhotis to address them. I never realized the negative influence that my Pahadi stereotype had on my life.

My perspective drastically changed when I joined Budhanilkantha school that brought a diverse group of students from all the 75 districts of Nepal every year. Never before had I been exposed to such a diverse culture for I was reared in an area dominated by Gurungs, Brahmins and Chhetris. I had only read about the diverse ethnicity and culture that Nepal boasted of from my social studies book, but I had not experienced it directly Now, I had the chance to refine my stereotyped views in this Mini-Nepal.

I had a daily interaction with almost 60-70 different ethic groups. That was a lot to take in. Why did I need to look them in terms of which areas they come from? Why did it matter to categorize them as Southerners, Northerners, Westerners,  HimaliPahadi, Madhesi,  and Sherpali? Why did my brain have to process their Nepali accents and come up with different permutations to determine their place of origin? Why did I never think that a common term would free me from all these subclasses? That is when I discovered that all these terms were just a bunch of electrons circling a nucleus, Nepali. Yes, it was that easy. These affiliations were nothing but sub groups of being a Nepali.

I rejoiced at the beauty of my interpretation. It was simple yet enormously powerful. I no longer had to gaze at my friends and unconsciously  invite my brain to categorize them before I communicated. I started to call my brothers dais and stopped using dhotis. Calling someone from southern origins dhotis was a shame to the diverse education  I was exposed to and a sign that echoed my narrow-mindedness. I analyzed the society I was brought up in and noticed that it had not embraced a cosmopolitan view of the world. I was surprised that it could still focus its energy on such trivial things instead of diverting its attention to much more important matters.

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There are more than 40 different ethnic groups but unless I told you, you didn’t know about it. All you saw was a group of students who smiled and laughed together.That is what it all matters.

People have come up with various reasons over what has been happening in Nepal right now. However, what I would like to emphasize is the subtle cause of these problems. Interestingly, the reasons trace back to our narrow mindset when our society taught us to follow the stereotypes. What we did was oppress the feelings of our southern brothers. We never treated them as Nepali. The cumulative effects are being felt right now. Even today, the Pahadis view Himalis as Nepali and their definition even extends to the Nepali-speaking people of Darjeeling, India, but they categorize Madhesis as an extension of Indian diaspora. Does language play an important role to defining who we are? If so, then why don’t we provide citizenship to an American who speaks fluent Nepali instead of making him wait to fulfil the conditions stated in the constitution? Most of us disagree with what I just said. Why? Because it’s nonsense? If we follow the stereotypical view, does not it make sense to legally grant the American a Nepali status?

The above scenario is where our ideology fails and gets highly criticized. Our moral stances have placed a greater emphasis on the dialect that one can converse in than the decades of life spent in the territory. It discriminates a native who narrowly fails the criteria to become a citizen just because he does not speak proper Nepali. It is outrageous to categorize that way. But, like I said earlier, the stereotypes of the pahadi CDOs (people who look after the administration of the district) drive their unconscious brain to not provide a citizenship to a Madhesi who has lived in Nepal for more than thirty/forty years. He is driven by the fear that someday, Madhesis would meekly accept to India’s sovereignty and it would lead to the division of Nepal.

This narrow perspective is what needs to be changed. Unless we care to teach our kids to call and treat their southern friends as Nepali, no amendment in the constitution will ever make a difference. I am not limiting to the kids only. I am focusing on them because their innocent minds are fooled by what we direct them to believe in. The vicious cycle has to end right now and what greater way than to show our solidarity to our southern Nepalese in the current humanitarian crisis. Moreover, every one of us must refine our thoughts and call everyone Nepali. Treat everyone Nepali. Make sure that everyone is treated Nepali. Slap someone who does not treat the southerners Nepali. Leave a discussion that treats Nepali as Indians. Only then, Nepal will steer towards an era of development and peace. Only then will all the blood-sheds that occurred in Nepal prove worthy.

It is with these very reasons that I no longer care if I am a Brahmin or a Pokhreli and I no longer call my people Dhotis or Madhesis. Why? Because we are, above all our classifications, NEPALI!