culture

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 ūüôā !) 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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DOES ACTION FOLLOW INSPIRATION?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST MAN STANDING

Year: 3114 AD.

Location: Somewhere in Greater Himalayas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.