family

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?

 

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!

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।)

MOBILES AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS:THE UNTOLD STORY

Majority of the tech savvy folks may feel overwhelmed by the opportunities the technology is bringing. With just few clicks, they can make payments for their football tickets or deposit their money with the available android applications just by sitting on their sofa. Life seems so easy when each one of them holds a smartphone in his hands; desperately trying to sort out the best apps in the market. However, the promises that these smartphones are bringing in tend to have some effects in the relationships we have within our families.

A few months back in Kathmandu, I got a chance to sit among my grandmothers. Spending some time with them made me cheerful as they talked about their golden days. Slowly, their gaffe caught my attention when they began to complain how the current generation is beginning to forget the family bond that was highly valued in the past.
We are all aware of the intricate relationships we have within our families. It is one of the exemplary characteristics of Nepali. Our relations spread within two or more families. All sort of typical names come out when we meet people who are very distant to us. The love we share among each other is so deeprooted that failing to contact them in a long time compels them to complain about our aloofness to our parents. After listening to a long lecture, it becomes the only time when we rush to search for their contacts and pretend to ask about their whereabouts.
Most of us are contempt that our addiction to the social networking sites has brought us ever closer to our friends. We are thankful that the text messages get delivered instantaneously. However, we overlook the fact it is causing to the way we prioritise our social relationships. 
We have so many of our families’ contacts on our mobile phones. But, it is surprising to know that we rarely phone them. It is not that we do not phone them but the frequency is far less than the ones we call our friends. Bonds between our families directly affect the status of our own family and stay with us for the rest of our life. What I am emphasizing is that the frequency we call to our families and close relatives should increase. We should phone every family members on our contact list at least once in a week. It strengthens the bond we have with them. 
Have we lost our family time?
The way we are giving less priority to maintaining the family relationships does not illustrate a typical characteristic of Nepali. We value relationships more than anything. It occurs to me that the unique hospitality we have must have originated from our commitment to maintaining family relationships. But, the culture we have developed in our homes depict an alien relationship. We care less about what our parents are discussing as we immerse ourselves in sorting out the statuses that will get our likes. It is not genuine to get completely absorbed in our apps as the guests get served in the dining room. It is not just the way we are. Questions get raised at the way we depict ourselves and it will throw questions at the we have been raised to our distant families. 
It is necessary to keep in touch with our families all the time. Also, we have to make sure that they are getting more attention than the amount of time we give to check the number of comments or likes we have got for the recent status we posted. And we should not just keep the family contacts for messaging only but to have a talk as well.