education

DEATH NOTE

Before you start calling or texting me after you read the blog title or before you even question my state of mind, I want to assure you all that this is a regular post. You do not need to worry about anything. It has been a while since I wanted to write about the emotions, if any, that people who know me will feel after I die. This is a genuine statement. Sometimes, we just have to accept how fleeting our lives are and should not underestimate the value of our lives. When I first started writing this post(January 2017!), I was on my way to NYC on a bus. I had the wildest thought of surviving the journey and then publishing it when I got connected to the internet. The wildest thought is just one of many complex emotions that makes us humans: the will to live. After all, who does want to die, right? Ever since then, I was tweaking few sentences now and then and had labeled this post as a draft. Somehow, I felt I was doing this post injustice by not publishing it sooner.

Death Note is meant to thank and also apologize to all people whom I have had a connection with in my life. This is just a regular blog post that I want all of you to read. I do not know when I will die. Maybe tomorrow, next month, in five years, or even at 64. Hence, the beauty of this uncertainty inspires me to write to you all before it is too late.

First of all, as always and will always be, I want to thank my parents for everything they have done from the moment I was born into this beautiful world to guiding me in becoming a respectable person either by giving me reliable advice based on their experiences or by criticizing my actions and showing me the right path. At the same time, I want to acknowledge the efforts they put into ensuring that their children are getting the best from their lives and, like all parents do, always hoping for our best. Sometimes these efforts go unnoticed by us, and I want to apologize to my parents if there have been such moments. Maybe I did not call you for weeks, or maybe I questioned your advice rudely. Whatever the case, I am sorry about that.

Next, I am profoundly grateful to my elder brother and my younger sister for making every moment of my life worth something to be cheerful about. Without you two, life would have been too dull as we would not witness each other’s short-tempered behavior when we did what the other did not want. Lovely times. To my brother, thank you for introducing me to the world of Arsenal. Without its beautiful football, my life would have been very boring. Arsenal is a family to me; their win brings me immense joy while their loss greets suffering (as is the case right now). Furthermore, thanks for the advice that you give in different aspects of my life and for showing your concern regarding what I do. On the other hand, I love my younger sister, and it is so much fun to tease her all the time. Making her angry by doing insane things is always going to be one of the best moments of my life. It comes with a complete package: her subtle micro-expressions, the short temper that she shows and my laughter that follows shortly. Sister, I will always want to see the best of you and hope that you live the life you have always desired. After all, a brother needs to take care of his nakkali sister, right? Thanks again to my brother and sister whom I consider the closest friends.

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Like brother, like sister!

Moving on, I would like to thank all of my extended family (uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, grandfathers, grandmothers, maternal uncles, maternal aunts and everyone who fall in this circle) who have been my second family and guided in every way possible. Thanks for being there when I was away from home and worrying about me. I apologize if I have made some mistakes that have hurt your soul either by not calling you often (honestly, I find it difficult to keep track of all the members of my extended family) or by not following your advice. Thank you for being there.

Budhanilkantha School has been my third family. I cannot truly express into words the best ten years of my life that I spent in this school from 2004-2013. The importance of this school has been so much that I have written numerous posts about my school experiences in this blog. Of course, the members of the family need some attention too. To all of my friends, I have a confession to make: I don’t have any best friends; it is too difficult to differentiate. Kudos to anyone who had. That is a decision I will never be able to make. Thanks to all of my 3000 D batch friends whom I studied with together, played together, teased together, basked in the sun together, went to picnic together, fought together, made sweeping changes in the school together, danced after our events together, confronted our teachers because we thought that was in the best interests for all, spent weeks not talking to each other together, cheated in tests together and what not. I can write a book about all of you. The essence of our stay in the school is so high that when we meet and decide not to talk a single thing about school life (coz we tell the same stories again and again and again and never get tired of them), we end up talking about it somehow and spend the entire day reminiscing about our school lives. A distinguishable BNKS trait! As a side note, I apologize if I went out of my way and had hurt your feelings in any way possible and thus would like to re-cherish our friendship. Apology to anyone whom I had been rude to or whom I did not help when you requested for it.

I would like to thank all of my teachers in Budhanilkantha School who were more than just teachers as we had the luxury even to discuss the EPL matches and tease them if their team had lost. Such was the atmosphere that we thought of our teachers as friends and shared interesting stories with them while they would openly share theirs. Thank you to all of our teachers who gave us valuable life lessons that we still keep with us and thanks for your immense passion for teaching which has made us what we are today. Also, I apologize if I have hurt your feelings when discussing some issues, but I hope you understand that there were genuine reasons (best interests of the students 🙂 !) behind those actions.

Lastly, I would like to thank my friends, seniors, juniors and the fantastic professors at Ramapo College whom I currently have the luxury of spending my time with. Trust me, you have also contributed greatly to who I am today.

Of course, when you write such post, there will be people missing in this list and who feel they should be included too. Apologies from the deepest of my heart. I would like to thank all the readers who have finished reading this post. Else the blog post would fail to serve its purpose and mine too. Once again, I would like to reiterate that I am in the best state of my mind and this post is just a medium to express my gratitude to all people who have had significant impacts in my life.

Thank You. Arigato. Dhanyawaad.

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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!

 

EPITOME OF GROWING UP

“परिपक्व हुनु भनेको यथार्थको महसुस हुनु हो।

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

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

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

प्रत्येक जटिल प्रश्नको सहज उत्तर हुदैन।

त्यसैले समयलाई स्विकार्न सक्नु हो सायद परिपक्क हुनु।”

– प्रधानमन्त्री आशा, “सिंहदरबार” टेलेसिरिअलको भाग सातबाट

“Growing up is the realization of reality.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

QUORA, QUORAER, QUORAEST AND WHY IT MATTERS

Quora is a question and answer platform founded by Adam D. Angelo and Charlie Cheever. It was founded in…All right, you can check its full story by searchin… Nah, not by searching in Google but by asking it in Quora. Yes, not by searching in your search engine but by asking Adam D. Angelo in Quora. It really is possible to ask a company’s founder in Quora. You cannot do that elsewhere. Besides, have you ever got a chance to ask the founder of Wikipedia? If not, then Quora is there. Sign in and ask Jimmy Wales any question that you have. Or are you wondering whether he is a Wikipedia user? No, he is the real founder. The point I am trying to make is that Quora has much more to offer than just asking real questions from the very exact people you want to ask.

Most of us have embraced the social media culture and used them in a daily basis. We tend to scroll down our page to check if there are any new Facebook status that we can like or make a silly comment on, search for sentences that are less than 140 characters or venture into the world of selfies. In my case, I have limited myself to only messaging on Facebook as I cannot avoid the fact that every single human connection I ever formed are in Facebook. I have forgotten what my Twitter account looks like. I do not have any Instagram account since I do not have a flair for taking selfie photos with all the silly poses. Something made me realize that it was a complete waste of time waiting for your friend to post something new and getting ready to ‘like’ it. That something was Quora.

I was introduced to Quora by my friend Rajnish who noticed how I had spent my time reading 140 character tweets and sometimes, articles from Arseblog. Then, he forced me to signup in Quora. I hesitated. I had thought that all social media served the same purpose. I was wrong. The next day, I signed up. Days passed and I removed all my social media apps in my smartphone because I spent the entire day enjoying the beauty of Quora. I thanked Rajnish for introducing me to this world of authentic encyclopedia.

My Reading list in Quora.

My Reading list in Quora.

Quora is a platform where you learn new things. The community comprises of users who have real experiences to the topic you are following. You can ask any question that you want to and get authentic and interesting answer to quench your thirst. Follow the topics and the people you always hear about in the newspaper and get inspired when they answer questions. Or you can share your expertise in any field and become a top writer in that topic (currently, I am a top writer in “One Piece.” Just bragging.). Contribute more so that you can brag when you eventually become a Quora Top Writer ’16. Unlike other social media accounts where the celebrity asks his company to look after his account and post on his behalf, users in Quora manage their own account and answer professionally.

If you are someone who wants to learn new things and cannot wait for others to post something, then Quora is the place you need to be. The answers enlighten you and, sometimes the success stories of popular figures such as Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, make you feel that there is still something you are missing in your life. Basically, the knowledge you gather up-voting answers in Quora or adding your favorite answers to your reading list boosts your spirit and commends the time that you wisely spend. The vast topics that you try to devour propels you to understand more about your surrounding. Is not that interesting? Absolutely. For me, I can talk an entire day about its impact in my life.

If you already have a Quora account, I thank you for being a part of a community of curious individuals. For those of you who do not have one and are not aware of its addictive (in a positive sense, of course!) characteristics, I strongly urge you to sign up and spend more time learning new things than logging into Facebook every five minutes to see the number of likes in your profile picture. Please, please, please, join Quora and spread the word about its benefits. I hope to follow you in Quora and vice versa! Share your stories about how joining Quora has transformed you ever since. I promise you that it will influence your life and career. Enjoy Quora!

FACEBOOK AND NATIONALISM IN THE CONTEXT OF NEPAL

फेसबुक र राष्ट्रियता

फेसबुक नेपालीहरुको जीवनमा एउटा अभिन्न अंग हो। सायद त्यसैले होला मैले कसैलाई केहि सोध्नुपरेमा यसैबाट सोध्नेगर्छु। कहिलेकाहिँ कसैको फोटाहरुलाई लाइक गर्दिन्छु त कहिले तिनीहरुमा केहि शब्द थपिदिन्छु। तर आजकल फेसबुकमा नयाँ चलन आएको छ। यसबाट हामीहरु आफ्नो राष्ट्रियता झल्काउन प्रयोग गर्छौ। यसमा पनि मेरो कुनै आपत्ति छैन। छ त केमा भने राष्ट्रियता कुन तरिकाले झल्काइएको छ। हो, हामीमा देशप्रतिको भावना यस्तो तरिकाले बढेको छ कि हामी बिर्सिन्छौ कि त्यो तरिकाले खासै केहि असर गर्दैन भनेर। हामी बिर्सिन्छौ कि त्यसरी गर्दा हाम्रो संकुचित सोचाई झल्किरहेको हुन्छ। हामी बिर्सिन्छौ कि त्यसो गर्दा कसैको मनमा ठेस पुगिरहेको हुन्छ।

संसारभर ख्याति कमाएका वीर गोर्खालीहरुको उत्पत्ति नेपालमा भएको हो र नेपाल तिनीहरुको घर हो। नेपाल गौतम बुद्धको घर पनि हो। संस्कृत यहिँबाट अरु ठाउँमा फैलिएको हो। यी सबैप्रति हामी नेपाली एकदमै गर्व गर्छौ। म नि गर्छु तपाई नि गर्नुहुन्छ। यसमा म केहि भन्दिन। तर आजकल फेसबुक हेर्नुभयो भने एउटा कुरा छर्लङ्ग देख्नुहुन्छ। मानिसहरु यहाँ नेपाल बेचिराखेका छन्। हो, नेपाललाई अझै नयाँ तरिकाले चिनाउनुको सट्टा “नेपाल वीर गोर्खाली वा गौतम बुद्धको देश हो, त्यसैले बढी बोल्ने हैन” भनेर फेसबुकमा अरुहरुलाई तर्साउँछन्। यसो गर्नु मुर्खता मात्रै हो। सक्छौ भने बरु देशको निम्ति केहि गरेर संसारभर चिनाउनुपर्छ। अरु देशहरु हेरियो भने यो कुरा स्पष्ट देखिन्छ। जस्तै बेलायत कुनै जमानामा विश्व आफ्नै बनाएको थियो। उसको औपनिवेशिक नीतिले धेरै देशहरुमा बजार बिस्तार गरेको थियो। तर आजकल हामीले तिनीहरुबाट हामी संसार राज गरेका हौ अब झुक भनेर सुन्दैनौ। अहिले तिनीहरु आविष्कार र नयाँ विचारले आफुलाई चिनाएका छन्। हामी नेपाली भने बुद्ध र गोर्खाली बाहेक केहि थप्न सकेका छैनौ। हामी आफ्नो राष्ट्रियता नकारात्मक तरिकाले प्रस्तुत गरेका छौ।

को हिमाली, को पहाडी, को तराई, को मधेसी, को थारु, को बाहुन, को शेर्पा, को पश्चिमेली, को पूर्वेली, को साम्यवादी, को समाजवादी। जहिल्यै हामी सबै नेपाली। कि कसो?

को हिमाली, को पहाडी, को तराई, को मधेसी, को थारु, को बाहुन, को शेर्पा, को पश्चिमेली, को पूर्वेली, को साम्यवादी, को समाजवादी। जहिल्यै हामी सबै नेपाली। कि कसो?

हामी नेपाली त्यस्तो मुर्ख छैनौ। तर कसैले राष्ट्रियताको कुरा निकाल्यो भने आँखा चिम्लेर उसको प्रस्तावलाई स्वीकार्छौ। एउटा उदाहरण दिन्छु। कसैले तपाइँलाई फेसबुकमा एउटा यस्तो फोटो राख्ने भन्यो कि जसले मधेसी र पहाडीबीचको आत्मीयता झल्काउँछ। तपाइँहरु के गर्नुहुन्छ? तपाइँहरुको कुरा छाडौँ। मेरै साथीभाईहरुले यस प्रस्तावलाई अँगालेका थिए। अब यहाँ म कता असन्तुष्ट भएँ भने उनीहरुले पहाडी, मधेसी र हिमाली जस्ता सानासाना कुरालाई नेपाली  भावनाभन्दा बढी  ठानेँ। ठिक छ अहिलेको परिस्थिति हेर्ने हो भने नेपालमा मधेसी र पहाडी भन्ने दुईओटा भावना छुटिएको देखिएको छ। म यसमा पुरा सहमत छु। तर हामी यति पढेलेखेका र बुद्धि पुर्याउने (आखिर फेसबुक चलाउनेहरु पढेलेखेका बढी हुन्छन्) नेपाली भएर फोटोको तल यो भन्न सकेनौ कि पहाडी र मधेसी भावनाभन्दा अहिले देशलाई नेपाली भावना बढी चाहिरहेको छ। हामी यो भन्न सकेनौ कि हामी नेपालीहरु एकअर्कालाई भित्रैबाट बुझेका छौ। यो भन्न आँट गर्नसकेनौ कि दक्षिण नेपालको समस्या भनेको देशभरिको समस्या हो र सबैजना मिलेर सुल्झाउन प्रयत्न गरिराखेका छौ। यो विश्वास फैलाउन सकेनौ कि उत्तर नेपालीहरुले दक्षिण नेपालीहरुलाई दाजुभाइ मान्छन्। यो बुझ्न सकेनौ कि नाकाबन्दीले हामीलाई नयाँ अवसर प्रस्तुत गर्न खोजेको छ। हामीले देशभित्रै उत्पादन बढाउने अवसर गुमाउदै छौ। देशलाई आत्मनिर्भरको महत्त्व बुझाउन हिच्हिकाइरहेका छौ। मलाई हामीमा देशभित्रै संसार हल्लाउने बुद्धि छ जस्तो लाग्छ र अहिलेको समय हेर्दा जति डरलाग्दो देखिन्छ त्यति नै केहि ठोस गर्न सक्ने अवसर लाग्छ। यो परिस्थितिमा देशको रुप फेर्न अवसर थियो। तर हामी त्यस्तो गाह्रो बाटो रोज्दैनौ। हामीलाई जे चिज पनि सजिलो जो चाहिएको छ। यतिबेला विदेशमा ज्ञान र शीप जानेकाहरुले केहि तहल्का मचाउने काम गर्न सक्थे जस्तो लाग्छ। आखिर हामीले जस्तो सुकै परिस्थितिलाई पनि आफ्नो फाइदाको लागि प्रयोग गर्नुपर्छ भन्ने पाठ पहिल्यैदेखि सिकिराखेका छौ। त्यसलाई अपनाउने बेला आएको छ।

फेरि फेसबुककै प्रसङ्ग ल्याउछु। हामी राम्रोसँग सोचौ। के नेपाली भावना बढी ठुलो कुरा होइन ? ल ठिक छ, यदि फेसबुकमा ट्रेन्डिङ्ग नै पार्ने हो भने #हामीसबैनेपाली अनि फोटोको तल “को हिमाली, को पहाडी, को तराई, को मधेसी, को थारु, को बाहुन, को शेर्पा, को पश्चिमेली, को पूर्वेली, को साम्यवादी, को समाजवादी। जहिल्यै हामी सबै नेपाली।” भनेर लेख्न पनि त सक्थ्यौं। तर गरेनौ। यसमा के बुझ्नुपर्यो भने राष्ट्रियता देखाउने नै हो भने सोचेर देखाऔ। हामी भित्रका संकुचित भावना ठ्याम्मै नदेखाऔ। म हजुरहरु सामु यहि मात्रै बिन्ती गर्छु।

(PS: यहाँ भनेका कुराहरु सबै यस ब्लगका लेखकका आफ्नै विचार हुन्। केहि असन्तुष्टि छ भने अवश्य टिप्पणी गरिदिनुहोला।)

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE: IT’S EITHER NOW OR NEVER

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

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

People volunteering in the aftermath of the earthquake

People volunteering in the aftermath of the                   earthquake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, IT’S EITHER NOW OR NEVER!!

FOCUSING ONLY ON CLASS 10?THINK AGAIN!

The year of 2013 proved a headache to the educationalists of Nepal. The country saw an uninspiring 30% pass rate of the government students who appeared in the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam. While in the private sector, there was a pass rate of somewhere between 75-80%. The results were enough to give us a glimpse of the country’s poor education policy and the quality of education it was disseminating to the future leaders of Nepal.
The news spread like a wildfire and got a place in the front pages of the newspapers and became a talking point for the TV presenters to question everything they had about the situation of education in the country to the folks who implemented the promising policies. The policymakers were in no position to accept the blame they had been put into. They found it interesting to appear in the national arena as if the government school’s students were handed an Asar 15 presents. And even if these policymakers had to defend themselves, they were confident to blame on the political impasse for this worst scenario. Hopefully after the issue got a national status, the government pledged to increase the pass percentage to 60-70% in the next few years. And to reach the target the government encouraged the teachers to give a special focus to the Class 10 students. It requested them to do whatever they can to uplift the standard of education in their school. After all, the development has to be a collective effort. 
Subhay Manandhar, utilizing his winter break in 2013, teaches the students to solve simultaneous equations in a government school in Kathmandu

Amidst all these flawless plans, something very much bugs me. If the government’s decision is implemented by every schools in the country, there is a high chance that the target cannot be met. The decision to increase the number of classes that the SLC students attend while the education in primary and secondary schools gets a second priority is very alarming and potentially a major blunder. The result that we may get is ephemeral and not revolutionary. It would be a failed attempt to getting closer to the aim of achieving 60-70% pass rate in the allocated time frame.
Instead, I would suggest to give more priority to incorporate quality education in the national curriculum of primary and secondary level classes, especially in the rural areas. That way, when these students reach their age to sit for the iron gate exam, the results will be concrete. If we are able to focus right from the beginning, then the primary level students can make a direct impact on the results of the secondary level and the secondary level students would improve best when they sit for the exams. That way, the government can feel contempt and hopeful that the amended education policy has finally paid off and the target was accomplished easily. It is definitely the best way. 
The happiness that we get when we disseminate knowledge is greater than the desire for getting salary 
The other flaw that led to the poor performance in SLC was the inadequate teaching materials in the schools. Most of the government schools lack proper infrastructure and some are even forced to study under roofless buildings and with no books and exercise books. The other factor is the depth of knowledge that the teachers possess to answer any questions their students ask them. We all know how significant ‘learning by doing’ can enhance our attempt to understand the subject matter in greater depth. However, the schools in the rural areas are not privileged to play with scientific apparatus. Even if they do have some of these toys, they lack adequate knowledge to operate them efficiently. 
The big solution to these issues is to send capable and skilled manpower to the farthest nooks and corner of the country. These may include students who have passed SLC with great percentage or teachers who have established themselves as professionals in private schools. I am already sensing the issue of salary obstructing this solution. But hey, aren’t we the ones who bragged ourselves as the literate and who always complained that nothing is possible in Nepal? I find it amusing when a bachelor student goes out into the streets and demands employment. He could enjoy the joy at sharing the knowledge he possesses and increase the literacy rate of the urban areas. 
Money should not bother their prejudice. I can also definitely claim that our very own teachers would refrain themselves from getting involved in such acts. I don’t blame them for this but they should consider it as a moral responsibility. 
It is a great deal to increase the pass rate in our country. The education sector will have to pay a heavy price if the gap between private and government sector widens at an alarming rate. It will be very difficult to narrow the gap if the trend continues for another decade. It is therefore wise to upgrade the education quality in the rural areas. For this, the government, policymakers, educationalists, teachers and the urban students should extend their hands and transform  the education sector for good. We would definitely need competitions for the next urban generations from the rural folks as well, wouldn’t we?