desire

DOES ACTION FOLLOW INSPIRATION?

 

Here is a cliched fact. We are the sum of all the experiences that we encounter as we live. These skills may be good or bad. In either way, we feel inspired to do something new or change the way we carry out our tasks. Whatever the reason, most of the time we are inspired. The surge of adrenaline pushes us to become ambitious, and we begin to imagine taking action to turn those immature ideas into reality. Alas, the effects are ephemeral.

Imagine that we recently finished watching a documentary about the life of Elon Musk. It strongly depicted his visionary in turning an impossible idea into reality. The struggles and sacrifices and the criticisms he had to overcome to become the most influential figure. The story about how he founded PayPal and sold it to concentrate on SpaceX and building fuel efficient electric Tesla cars.

If we know more about Musk than I have mentioned here, then we might have already been inspired to do something new. The jumbled impossible ideas in our head will start to make sense as the neurons connect and provide meaning to our thoughts. So far so good. An hour later, we are still as determined as we were when we finished watching that documentary. Ok. Turn the clock 12 hours forward, and I bet that we are spending our time talking about the hundred reasons why Messi retired from the international stage. The inspiration is no longer there.

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Nature sure inspires us but for how long can we keep under its influence?

Sometimes, all these thoughts do not make any sense. The brain is fooling us. It wants us not to indulge in tedious tasks. For the brain, less means more rest. We slowly lose productivity in our daily tasks.

Or imagine watching our favorite TV series or movies. I bet that most of the time, we come out inspired at the end of the show. Then, we are energetic for the time being and after few hours, we are back to watching something to get inspired once more. The cycle repeats.

In my case, I am writing this post after more than three-month hiatus. Between this post and the last post, I have been inspired to write at least more than thousand times. I never made it to writing one, though. The thoughts about spending an hour in front of the laptop and writing a blog post so that it can influence those who read could never outsmart the idea of watching cool YouTube videos for that hour. I lost the reason for my writing. I decided that it required a lot of efforts and a lot of edits before it gets published. There was no profit in writing a blog post, or at least that was what I thought. That was it. Excuses piled up and before I realized that it was making me less productive, it was already too late.

But why so much hesitation? Why can’t we push ourselves beyond our limits and not slack in any possible ways? Why do we need to wait to get inspired until we watch the next exciting show? The reason is that we don’t get any incentive even if we had completed that task. To illustrate, let’s say that we want to create a new social media app that can challenge the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. We begin to work on it. Midway, we convince ourselves that there is no reason in continuing our work because our efforts do not get appreciated. We are not getting any chocolate. We are 100% sure that our idea will not persuade any investor. We are 200% sure about wasting our time, and that is when we quit on our idea even though we had watched a movie 12 hours earlier where the protagonist never gives up and shines on the big stage.

Why can’t we continue our inspiration in building something until we reached the end product? Or are we just lazy and living in a different reality where putting in efforts is not the best way to enjoy our free time? Or did someone inspire us to do so?

LAST MAN STANDING

Year: 3114 AD.

Location: Somewhere in Greater Himalayas

I write to you all as a time traveller of the 21st century. Not so in the distant future (21st century), I am able to build a time travelling machine. I then travelled to 31st century. Exactly to the year I am well connected to, 3064. Now, most of you are anticipating about the discoveries that mankind made in this century. If I were you, it would be tempting to read about them.

Now, 31st century is way, way, way, way, primitive. No typos there. Primitive. I guess it has to do with the catastrophic turn of events in the early 29th century that led the earth to completely change its landscapes. I have already been here for 50 years. However, it just feels like I landed here yesterday. In this entire time, I have not been able to meet a single human. I have travelled to far places that you guys now know as Antarctica, Arctic, Sahara Desert and even tried contacting the humans living in Mars but all in vain. You see, there’s no question that I am the last man standing here.

The reason I am writing to the 21st century folks is that I want to convince myself that there were people whom I had spent a significant chunk of my life with. Also, I want to avoid the possibility that I am alone in this world. That there existed an interesting species called humans. Sure, 31st century has given me no hope. Maybe dwelling in the past will ease my pain. I will continue to explore, though.

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“What else can I do than smile at the trees and ask if they can communicate with other tress in the world and tell if any humans exist?”

Haha, funnny thing is that the advances we so strived for in the 21st century took a U-turn in the 27th century when an ingenious scientist by the name of Langtang Caesar developed an immortal body made possible with the advances in picotechnology. After integrating nuclear and solar energies into it, his madness pushed the world at the brink of extinction. He demolished all the things that symbolized human. There are hardly any manmade sculptures of your day that you will see in this century. The era of artificial intelligence and centuries of war pushed some space organizations to send humans to space. God knows if they are still alive.

Every day, I wake up expecting someone to be here. Someone whom I can talk to. Someone whose existence will help me in deducing that mankind has not perished. I live in a small hut near Mt. Manaslu. Living near the hills was a bad idea. I could become a prey for the animals. Living near a mountain is not good either. The cold bursts of wind make me difficult to find foods. There are a few animals whom I can hunt confidently. I have to say, the knowledge of edible plants that I gained in the 21st century is the only thing that is still keeping me alive.

Normally, I have two meals a day. I have already lost a major portion of my weight. Life is hard here. Once every few months, I cross the Himalayas and go to China. From there, I make my journey into Europe. The deserted looks of many popular cities such as London, Munich, Paris, Vienna horrify me. Sometimes, I reflect back as a species of human and think about where we had gone wrong. Sometimes, I try to understand the raison d’etre of my life. I question about my journey. I reason with animals whom I cannot communicate with. No point in that. I get it. How do you expect me to deal with this situation then?

Oh, why am I crying at a time like this? Why does it feel so sad to write a simple letter? Wait, why am I even writing this? These are some questions that often come up. I try to suppress my emotions. Of course, I fail everytime. I just hope that one of these letters will find you. One of these will definitely be the turning point for mankind. One of these will convince me that I am not alone. That I am someone who is stranded in the distant future with the title “Last Man Standing”.

 

THE MIND PALACE

Mind Palace. Do not get confused. It may/may not be royal for you. For me, it where I sojourn whenever I run into any problems or face a dilemma. I did not consciously realize about its existence until I watched the latest episode of BBC Sherlock‘s “The Abominable Bride”. I won’t be talking about that interesting episode. I don’t want to. The intriguing thing was Sherlock’s ability to roam in his mind palace and solve a century old crime.

We all have experiences where we think over a particular problem and try to visualize what we would do when faced the problem in an alternate universe. Yeah, alternative universe. Just like those in DC and Marvel comics. It is interesting that we can modify whichever way we want to in our alternate universes. That way, sometimes, we try out all the possible options to overcome our challenges. After being certain that one of those options can solve our problems in the main universe, we bid adieu to the alternate universe and thank our alternate personalities (You, mirrored!) for allowing to make unlimited changes to their realities.

For me, most of the time, getting immersed in the mind palace works perfectly. I can manipulate what other people will react to the situation and analyze the changes going on in that reality. It is phenomenal. I can’t perform these absurd changes with the people I cherish in the real life. Now, don’t think that what I am talking about is no different than the dreams we have everyday. Well, you may be true to some extent but not fully.

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The mind palace. Royal and not royal. (Image copyright rests with the author)

In dreams, we are forced to see the things that we desire to see. Or we see interpretations of our lives where real life characters and the places we know of form a collage of that reality. On the other hand, in mind palace, we see what we must see. We see the reality as an extrapolation of the possibilities that we form at the present moment. We don’t enter mind palace in our dreams. We cannot manipulate the reality that we see in a dream. There, it is our mind playing the trick on us. While in the mind palace, we are the masters and our minds our slaves. As simple as that.

Now, there may be some of us who interpret my alternate universe as a part of my subconscious mind. In a subconscious mind, we are able to feed our mind stuffs that we want and bully it to change into a reality. Say, our car’s brakes failed. Imagine, in the worst case scenario, it will be quite a time before we run into a serious accident. What do most of us usually do? We imagine the options that we can implement in that situation. We enter our mind palace. We observe the consequences of the options that we have thought. Finally, the one with the highest probability of helping us in surviving the crash will be executed by our mind. Upon its execution, we would deduce if it was able to completely nullify the damages we had incurred in the aftermath of the crash. If it didn’t, we again enter our mind palace to find out where we went wrong. See, you won’t be able to perform these possibilities in your dreams. Your mind palace is the only savior here. Isn’t it interesting?

Therefore, I enjoy entering into my mind palace and changing how it looks to the outside world. Just like the actors had manipulated their dreams in Inception. You do not want it to be in a mess if DiCaprio came to implement an idea in your mind, would you? I have all sorts of things in my palace. You name it. Justice League members protect the city I live in. Robert Langdon and I meet often and have cryptography gaffe. I also have an aerial football field where I bring in Arsenal FC players to play with me. The most important thing that I enjoy when I am here is being Sherlock and the Flash at the same time. Slowing down my alternate reality so that I can access the environment in high speed and deducing the consequences of the ideas I come up with when I am in a deep trouble. I just hope that my mind palace does not make any errors. Else, it will be its own downfall. Hahaha.

 

 

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?

 

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?

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!