desire

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?

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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!

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?

USURPED BY LEGACY

Nothing has fascinated me more than the desire to leave a legacy in every work that I do. That is why I long to master perfection by carving my abilities to their full potential.
Whenever we study a successful figure, we do not revel at the developments he did but are inspired at the way he let the world dance along to his beats. It is not the money he earns or his products that so much impacts the way we perceive the world but due to the very way that he led us believe that such a thing was even possible in the first place. And that is what I have been closely scrutinizing whenever I hear about people, famous or not, shaping the world in surprising ways. The very attitude to leave a legacy in every work they do, however small it may be, grabs my attention and pushes me to unchartered territories.
I am not certain of my career fifteen years from now but I have pledged to leave a legacy for others to follow from whatever work I find appealing. Because small or not, my work may inspire a small group and as inspiration is exponentially powerful, it slowly dissipates the legacy that I have created.

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I have no intention of blabbering whatever comes into my mind but when I self-analyze my surroundings, I feel that most of us live our lives for granted. At the same time, talk about legacy may seem too ambitious but I can’t deny the fact that creating a legacy in itself is very inspiring and pushes you to achieve more. In other words, it lets you to be in charge and compels others to learn from your lives. After all, we all learn something from whomever we meet in our lives.
Legacy is all about polishing what you do and spread the good in a contagious way. Thomas Alva Edison’s legacy was to try on and on no matter the amount of failures that we experience. Steve Jobs taught us to think ‘out of the box’ and strive towards excelling at creativity. Many other people that I have come across have taught me something significant. I learn from them and grow. Or when I see people involved in their quotidian acts, I revere the legacy, charming or not, that they are creating for the passersby.
I feel that I am blinded by leaving a legacy for others to follow. I have no control over the future but I can begin to realize my faith. After all, when I die, I want to be remembered for the legacy that I left behind and not for the countless other stories surrounding my life. Because legacy is what immortalizes me whatever the backgrounds I present to the world. My name will be forgotten but I wish to live on through my legacies.

VISIT POKHARA: POST EARTHQUAKE APPEAL

Two days ago, I visited Lakeside and the place took me by surprise. The place seemed deserted with no human movements at all. Few people were audacious enough to open their shops and spend their day. Most of the locals were not in the mood for anything new nor did they seem interactive. Some of the shops were closed as Indian and Chinese owners returned to their home countries.

As a resident of Pokhara, I could not tolerate the fact that the city that was embellished in night lights every time I visited it was no more the same. People closed their shops by 8 o’clock. Restaurants stopped playing music and not a single resident could be seen hanging around in the once vibrant city.

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View of Lakeside as seen on Thursday, June 4

The popularity went a record low as the tourists cancelled their reservations for an indefinite period. As a city that relied more on its natural landscapes foreseeing the Annapurna Range, the post earthquake scenario crippled the city’s economic status. The earthquake was not to blame for the major part as the tourists continued to roam the place even after the April 25 earthquake, but the fact that the international media totally misinterprated the situation at Pokhara, including other tourist spots, justified the tourists’ cancellations to visit Nepal.

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I want to remind you that Pokhara was safe even when the first major earthquake striked, with every buildings within the vicinity of the city safe and sound. The consequent aftershocks did little damage than just to develop minor cracks in the walls. Pokhara is safe enough to be included in your vacation plans. I urge you to visit my beautiful city and bring along your family and friends. If you are scared just because you saw 10 districts severely affected by the earthquake, I have enough reasons to justify that the 65 districts are totally safe and we need you to bring back to the state it was in before the quake. You can immediately head to Pokhara once you land in Tribhuvan International Airport. We Pokhrelis know that had we had our own international airport, the number of tourists would exponentially grow to revive our tourism business. And we are continuously working despite the disaster.
I plead anyone reading this post to please pack your belongings and head to Nepal. It will be the greatest relief operation that you guys will be opting and we will promise to deliver with the ubiquitous hospitality that we are famous for. I thank you for the thousands of donations you have made to various organizations and send in mattresses and tents for the homeless. For the long term, you know we can’t just depend on your donations. Our livelihood must be sustained. We have to raise our families and provide hope for the next generations that hope was never lost.
Please, visit Nepal and being a Pokhreli, make it your priority. The hotel owners have brought out heavy discounts, with upto 50%, because they know that you will answer their pleas. And I believe that you will not disappoint us. The Annapurna Trekking Route is safe and if you still have doubts, I can clear them up by helping you connect with the trekkers and if necessary, provide a live feed of the area.
Let us celebrate VISIT POKHARA 2015/16 and make it the grandest of all adventures. Let us go on a trek to the Poon Hill and get a majestic panorama of the Annapurna Range. Let us boat our way to the Barahi Temple and The World Peace Stupa through Phewa Lake and make it a legendary weekend. We are there to extend your holidays and make sure that you get the best from our city.
Please, Visit Pokhara!! Or help spread the word…

TA-KA…THE BARRIER?

In Sanskrit, the oldest language in the world, taka means money. And in our life, it is a mandatory ticket to everything we do in our lives. It is something we value to meet our lives’ expectations. Or it can be considered as the burdening factor to all the negative images we get of the society, theft, murder and arson, for example. But I am more concerned about the fact that it is just not only about following our dreams that only counts. If we were to dig deeper into reality, we would be startled to discover the strong connection that money has with our ambitions. 
Let’s say that you have an innate passion to help the people around you, especially the unfortunate ones. You have a dream to build schools and libraries for the children in rural societies. Or you make up your mind to grant a society access to electricity by constructing a hydropower plant. In any case, it is necessary to estimate the cost and get ready with it to turn the dream into reality. It is just one of the many examples concerning what money has to offer to make our wishes come true. 
Money: the root of all problems or the solution to all problems? (image courtesy: http://www.globalresearch.ca)
Money rules our lives. It is as simple as that. The extent of its influence is another story to deal with. Some may be inspired to donate a large amount of their money to construct something tangible and beneficial to the communities like temples and schools. Most may think about investing the earnings to buy stocks or real estates. While some may be forced to indulge in robbery and terrorism to compensate the paucity of money that is making their lives miserable. Whatever the case, it is money that tops necessities charts.
Few may argue that whatever I am talking about is utter nonsense. It is possible to live without entirely depending on money to turning dreams into realities. They may claim that selfless service does not require money. But I bet that most of the dreams they crave has not seen the light at the end of the tunnel just because lack of money blocked their path. 
I know the hazardous possibility that focusing too much in earning money can have to our lives. But it is irrelevant to not to accept the above mentioned fact. Most of the success stories that we hear were only possible through money. Money made possible to let them receive education, it granted them access to opening a business or it got them all the amenities required to brag the lives they were living. 
Yeah, hard work pays for your efforts. It eases the burden in your family by providing you money. In other words, it rescues you. Had it not been possible, you would be left to search for alternatives to carry on with your dreams. 
Perhaps, it is not just to think about making dreams. Resources are another aspect of our dreams. Without them, it is in vain to think about what we want in our lives. That is why for the most part of our lives, we push ourselves to earn more money and get a step closer to fulfill all the adventures enlisted on our bucket list. We people do not give up our dreams just because money proved a barrier to our ambitions, don’t we? Still, it is beautiful to consider what money can do with our dreams, either we like it or not. It is just another unsolvable variable we have to pay attention to if we are to move on.