happiness

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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LAST MAN STANDING

Year: 3114 AD.

Location: Somewhere in Greater Himalayas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE MIND PALACE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

SHH…THANK YOU LETTERS IN YOUR INBOX

Yeah, you guys heard it right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DAI, EK PLATE MO:MO LYAUNU NA!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

WHAT DOES A FACEBOOK LIKE MEAN?

Facebook. Our new lives. Our virtual social lives. A crucial platform to stay connected with friends and families and share similar opinions with people of similar tastes. Sadly, I dislike it. Not the opposite of what FB’s ‘like’ holds meaning. My dislike is entirely different. For me, FB is only a medium to bring visitors to my blog. Nothing more. Nothing less.

The growing FB likes that we see in our posts seem to give us different meanings than intended. For example, when I see people giving ‘likes’ to the post where I shared my blog-post, I question in their (‘likes’) authenticity. I ask myself, “Did they really like it?” Not that I would be stupid if someone condemns at my action for not appreciating the number of ‘likes’ that I got. What I mean is if they did they really love it! Did they really love the way I raised up the issue? Did they agree on my points? Did they think my writing adopted narcissism? Did they really take the time to read the entire post? Or are they fooling themselves in trying to make me see the positive ‘likes’ I have been getting in the post?

Please take note that ‘liking’ a shared article is entirely different than ‘liking’ few sentences of status. The statuses are short and hence their meanings are easily grasped. Moreover, the viewers can spare some time to analyze and appreciate their meanings. If they want, they will comment. Their ‘liking’ the post means that they are in sync with what the person has shared. It is also the case with ‘liking’ a photo. I cannot say about the video as some videos tend to be a bit longer than others and the first 20-30 seconds will be the key to someone ‘liking’ them. Else, they will scroll down their screens and give a damn to videos.

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“Ahh, oh!! The author busted our secret behind ‘false likes’!”

Blogs and other written articles, if shared in FB, require the users to click the link and read them. The administrator can know if his web traffic is authentic and matches with the number of visitors from FB’s website. In my case, over the course of over 87 articles, I have always found the discrepancy in the number of ‘likes’ that my followers left in the shared status and the number of visitors who actually visit my blog from the social media website. Most of the time, it affects my credential as the discrepancies psychologically persuade me to think that my writing failed short of its standard. That my writing did not fulfill its purpose.

Now, do not get me wrong if I sounded demanding from my viewers to compulsorily read the post. No, if you have not ‘liked’ my post, I expect nothing less. However, if you fall under the category that ‘liking’ the shared link will increase our relationships, then you are wrong. Whoever you are. Family. Friends. Teachers. Brothers. Sisters. This is not a symptom of a healthy reader-writer relationship. If you really value what I am doing, then give some time to read what I write. I care less about getting hundreds of ‘likes’ than about the constructive feedback that you guys give.

The discrepancy had been annoying me for the last couple of months. There was zero correlation between the standard of my writing and the number of ‘likes’ I averaged a post. Please, do not misuse the meaning of a ‘like’. Please do not ‘like’ simply because I am a member of your family. Please do not think that liking my post will cement our friendship. Please do not assume that your student will write a perfect article. Please do not idolize me as the blogger you want in the future to be. I am nowhere near perfection. If you really value our relationship, take time to read the entire post but, please do not ‘like’ my post and give me a false signal that you have indeed read it. I will appreciate if you scrolled down your newsfeed and go right past my post and not ‘like’ it in the process. Just be careful when you stop for a moment and just ‘like’ it. That is not the reason why I invest my time to write a blog post even when I have college assignments due next day.

I write because my stories may relate to yours. Now, we don’t want others to spoil our adventures by not appreciating them, do we?

PHALAANOLE TA HAI…

We have democracy in Nepal. The problem though is that we aren’t quite enjoying it. Sure, there are right to free speech, right to expression and right to information but we never exercise them to the fullest. Our conservative culture has affected our mindset as we seem to value too much of what other people think about us than believing in ourselves.

Most of the time, when we begin to think something new and daring, we immediately focus on what other people might say. It has become our culture to accept everything that these people say about us even though only 5% actually make sense. We hear from them that phalaano (a person of interest to the discussing party) has done some amazing stuffs or phalaano has become a successful entrepreneur or phalaano wears traditional clothes and thus respects culture and, so on. Such accusations are carried out of concern for someone close but they take negative connotations.

The victims are forced by the parents/families/friends to become someone that these people admire. The perpetrators want their beloved to copy what phalaanos are doing. They want these victims to be as successful as phalaanos. In all the situations, the victims’ opinions are not entertained. Not at all. It is as if democracy has lost its charm in such situations. The effects are that people become less creative and lose confidence in themselves.

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Be ourselves, no matter how stupid we may be!

Now, it is true that these victims have absolute rights to not hear what others want them to hear. That is not the case in Nepal. The intricate relationships that we value even to our distant of distant of distant relatives compel us to think about our next actions before these actions become the cause of disappointment for our family in not respecting their opinions. Consider that my parents want me to become a very successful and dutiful son just like my distant of distant of distant uncle’s son. I do not have a choice to argue that I do not want to be like the dull phalaano. If I say that, then I am a bad son. No arguments. End of story.

Most Nepali have the habit to think too much of phalaanos. They view stories of phalaanos as the epitomes of role models. Phalaanos are their deities. Hah, they never realize that they are wasting their lives in taking others’ opinions to their hearts. Hah, they have never experienced the freedom when they give a damn to what their seniors are blabbering about their favorite phalaanos. 

I was also one of those Nepali. In due time, I did not care what other people thought about me. I did not care if they thought of me as stubborn, stingy or bad-tempered. Or if they want me to be like Bikash-phalaano, Sunil-phalaano, Dikendra-phalaano or Prabesh-phalaano. I have learnt to correct myself if someone kindly points out my wrongdoings but I will never be like those phalaanos. I will be Manasbi. After all, if I try to become like those phalaanos, what is the meaning of my existence? Who will be Manasbi? If I try to go with their ideas without arguing, then what is the point of having a brain that took millions of years to evolve?

It is crucial that we realize the significance of being oneself. We may have some crazy ideas. That should not just stop there. We should blindly follow our next steps and see where they go. If we are wrong, then we will push to improve our efforts. If those ideas are successful, we will finally understand the meaning of our rights to democracy. If we think some of our culture needs to be changed or that we need to westernize ourselves, let us go for them. As long as they transform us for the better, our conservative societies should not prove to be a menace in how we live. Trust me, this small transformation will be the key to unlocking creativity of thousands of Nepalis. So, shall we start being Ourselves?

 

VICIOUS CYCLE OF RESILIENT NEPALI

If people were to analyze the political turmoil surrounding Nepal, they would discover that its citizens seem to tolerate everything and move forward with their lives as if nothing happened. Nepal’s politics has been full of governments that did not complete their tenure due to the circumstances that other political parties create. Ten months in and the government collapses before it takes another few months for a new government to change all the policies that the previous government implemented to favor its own. This has created a political instability in the South Asian region. What is amazing is that the citizens do not seem to take any concrete action that would drastically change the political system. They have accepted that Nepal will never progress or fail.

Nepal will be stable. That is what most Nepali seem to think. There has not been anyone who can lead it properly and who would selflessly devote the time necessary to steer the country towards the path of being a developing country. I admit that most of our political leaders have been running around to place first in the Prime Minister race without ever realizing that they are running out of their tracks. All rules work for their favors, not against them.

What concerns me is not the rise of competent and able political leaders but the stereotypes Nepali people have based their faiths in. They feel powerless to act against the political system which works towards achieving all the political gains of a party and not for the good of citizens. Obviously, the citizens have criticized and debated the effectiveness of the government in all the areas possible. What has not been done is taking strong action to uproot the bad political practices. Sure, the government will pretend to listen our demands but it will never implement our ideas. This is why we need to step in.

Youths are the most prominent demographic age group in Nepal. They are also the work force capable to topple the government if they feel the necessity to. Ever since the Rana regime ended in 1951, youths have only hoped to see their country prosper. Their hopes have been shattered. No generation has witnessed the birth of selfless political leaders who would forget about the agreements tabled by their political parties and who would make bold and tangible steps to check corruption and bring programs to push the nation to compete with other countries.

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Nepali people be like…waiting for someone to make something happen!! 

Youths need to take in charge of political parties and collaborate with other parties to implement projects of national interest. Projects that include generating electricity from local hydropower projects, introducing new international standard highways, banning strikes once and for all so that education, tourism, medical and transportation sectors are not affected. Many political leaders have pledged to ban bandhs but the culture is so dear among protesters that they believe it as the only way to address their demands.

Youths need to step outside of their comfort zone and take extra effort to record any wrongdoing by the government officials. This will expose corrupt acts and the public will be informed about it. The perpetrators will be humiliated at their actions and then they may change for the better.

The frustrations that youths have need to be channeled to work their ways to government jobs where they can work towards creating a entrepreneur work force. They can change the system within the organization and allow future employees to continue their legacy. With technology, these youths can start movements to change the political system and influence neutral Nepali citizens to join in their crusade. We have waited too long to witness the birth of a prosperous Nepal and it is time that we do it as an independent entity from the government. Let the movement begin!

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!