The Birthday Muddle

I was born on August 24, 1978 AD. It was Bhadra 9, 2035 BS and the day, according to astrological calculations, was Krishnastami – the birthday of Lord Krishna.

In Nepali, they are known as tarekh (for English calendar day), gate (for Nepali calendar day) and tithi (the astrological day). They all fell on the same day in 1978 but then onwards it’s always a mess.

I only remember one instance when both English and Nepali calendar matched otherwise the tarekh, tithi and gate are all on different days – leaving me with a question: when exactly do I celebrate my birthday?

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Lows and Highs of Highway

Finally, I watched Highway!

Let me begin with a disclosure: I’m a longtime friend of Deepak Rauniyar, the director/producer of Highway. I was not invited to the premier show or private show of the movie. I have donated USD 5 at Kickstarter for Highway and promoted it via my blog and twitter during its production. And, a statement: I have tried to be fair with my writing here (with knowledge gained during my cinematography training in 1992 in Kathmandu and 2011 in Koln; a year of film reporting/reviewing in 1995 in Kathmandu; and a little bit of film studies in 2010 in Oslo).

Is the movie good?

The answer depends on with which movies you compare. If it’s to be compared with mainstream Indian or American movies, it lacks many things. If you compare it with mainstream Nepali movies on the aspect of enjoyment, it’s probably not very good.

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Resolutions 2.0 11

I am normally not a great follower of resolutions but despite that I am making a list of 11 things I want to do in 2011.

RETHINK LIFE: I was to do a lot of thinking on life. Review what I have achieved so far and what I expected me to be. This is probably an effect of reading The Last Lecture and Tuesdays with Morrie – two great just-before-death memoir and advices of two professors. Possibly I would also buy The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction to try to understand a little more about life.

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A Day at Ghalegaon

I spent almost 20 hours at Ghalegoan, Lamjung – a popular tourism destination for community based rural tourism and left wondering why exactly the village is so popular during the return trip on a jeep through rocky risky road (that took almost three hours to reach Besisahar – the district headquarters).

Ghalegaon, Lamjung

To say, the village is nestled on the lap of mountains including Lamjung, Annapurna II, Macchapuchhre and Manasalu, the village is at 2,070m (well, Nagarkot which is at one-hour easy drive from my home is at 2,175m), but the scenery I was offered was, well, not breathtaking.

For me, it looked almost foolish to travel/trek/ride that far for the views of the mountains that are offered better at many other easy destinations.

The homestay facility is something to look for. The food/night at a Ghale home was worth experiencing but I like it, I am not fond of homestay. However, my first experience of homestay at Goljung, Rasuwa felt much better (even the mountains).

The traditional-ness of the village is somewhat intact (despite the fact that the traditional Gurung house photo on the brochure is the only one of such type in the entire village).

And, the thing I was expecting but did not get was the briefing. Despite being a member of 30-member team to visit the village, the local tourism committee did not brief us on anything. We were left with hours with nothing to do other than roam around the village.

* * *

Welcome offered at Ghalegaon.
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New Year 2067 Hope

Hope is a big thing. It’s the thing that keeps us happy and alive.

With every occasion, we feel happy – for we hope that the occasion will bring us goodness. New Year is one such occasion that brings more hopes that any other occasion.

The first day of a New Year is a beginning, and with the beginning, there is a year – 365 days – to bring us goodness and joy (at least we all can hope so).

So what to hope for 2067? This new Bikram Sambat year has a lot of stake for Nepal, especially politically (unless out politicians decided to turn into the biggest villains of the history).

Regardless of the issue of term extension of the Constituent Assembly, the 2067 will give us a new constitution. The promulgation of new constitution also marks the conclusion of the peace process; the beginning of an era with unprecedented social equality and more-or-less a new look for the country.

The political success will have an effect on all other fields, be it social, economic or sports.

Let’s hope big in 2067, then!

Happy New Year 2067.

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Tihar: hopes of enlightenment

tihar

Bhailini aain angana, gunyu cholo magana!
He aausiko baro, gai tiharo bhailo!
or
Ye hai bhana mera bhai ho, deusi re!
Ye hai ramrai bhana, deusi re!

Each echoing sound of these Tihar songs gives a nostalgic vibration to me (as to many Nepalis). For these were the songs, we probably waited most eagerly to sing during our childhood. Among five days of Tihar – the festival of lights – the two evenings before the final day of Bhai Tika gave most of us the most entertaining moments of the childhood!

To go to people’s houses, sing deusi or bhailo and return happily (and sleepy) with some money was always the best feelings of the festival. And, the next day’s tika from sisters (and the nuts, sweets and fruits) makes the festival a win-win situation!

This Tihar is at the moment when there could be win-win situation for the country. Politically, there is every chance that a national government will be formed; the disrupted parliament will function and the much-awaited constitution writing process goes ahead on a fast lane!

Since before Dashain festival, the Maoists, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML – the top three parties of the nation – are talking consensus. Deadline: Tihar!

The Maoists are threatening bigger movement – thankfully they are not saying bloodier! – if no consensus reached. The other two parties – octogenarian Girija Prasad Koirala’s Congress and divided CPN-UML of PM Madhav Kumar Nepal – are saying Maoists are not being flexible enough.

For people: the thing that matters is consensus! No more conflict, no more dirty politics! We need leaders and parties to do something for the nation – without thinking of benefits of their parties.

Could this Tihar prove win-win for all Nepalis! Let’s pray!

Happy Tihar!

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NEPAL SMILES when children smile

Three times in the past, I have tried to operate a photoblog of the smiling children and failed to continue. This time, I am reviving the project with new enthusiasm at www.nepalsmiles.com.

Please visit the site, and if you have any complaint or suggestions about it write to me. If you have photos to fit the site, please submit at nepalsmiles@gmail.com

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Fagu Purnima: It’s all about colors

Thanks Dipesh Shrestha for the photo.
Thanks Dipesh Shrestha for the photo.

Red for victory; yellow for happiness; blue for peace; orange for joy; green for wealth; pink for love and purple for health: may all these colors blend you and result a new color called your life.

So goes the only sms wish I received on Fagu Purnima [or Holi – the festival of colors]; it may not exactly represent the meaning of the colors but it surely represent the theme of the festival. The festival of colors meant to bring happiness on us as we celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The festival, celebrated of good’s victory over evil, by smearing colors on faces. For my community, we sacrifice a he-goat to god Bhairav in a temple that existed in our neighborhood since before my birth. Since the offering is done in the morning, it takes half-day to complete the function and then, with all hands smeared in red color while hand-painting the big stone – that we call Bhairav, there is hardly any chance to leave the temple without red smeared on face.

So, despite many people of my age, not playing with colors and water, I along with my relatives generally celebrate it. Same was this year [also drinking of Ghhotta – a drink that sometime makes you more than tipsy and smoking marijiuana].

myholiIt was a joy! The festival is a joy [ok unless you turn to be a girl on the street as pointed out in this blog post.]

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A Day to Remember!

Since leaving Kantipur Publications [The Kathmandu Post], I have been busy because I was involved in a new online news project of Dhumbarahi Media Pvt. Ltd. Sometimes so busy that many asked me what I was doing in an office of newspapers that are yet to publish.

Today, we launched the beta version of the online project – MyRepublica.com and it’s a happy day. Eight years ago, on this night, I impatiently waited for the night to go by. On the next day was my marriage with the girl I have loved for eight years.

Tonight, I am impatient because I am waiting for comments from people about the website. Tomorrow, the comments will pour in – from everywhere and every form; negative and positive. But anything will help me and my team [I told it was a great team and it indeed is] to improve the website.

We hope to redefine Nepali online news media. MyRepublica.com has a team of almost two dozen experienced journalists who will be working fully for the site [at least for two months until the print edition comes out]. And that is simply great!

Since gaining a little popularity as pioneer blogger in the country, I have always thought that someday I will be doing something on online journalist and I am very satisfied that I have contributed for the establishment of a website that is likely to change the online media of Nepal.

Right now, I am feeling my decision to leave Kantipur was one of the best decisions of my life [it was like the engagement with my beloved].

Links: MyRepublica.com Dainikee.com Some Photos of Soft Launch

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Bye Bye Kantipur!

Changes are inevitable! Despite the fact that we fear the change for a sole reason that everything set into current track of life has to be modified. I still remember how hard it was for me to leave my first job, teaching, to join Nepal Samacharpatra daily in late 2000. For more than a month, if I missed anything then it was the school and the smiling faces of my students.

Then it was little easier to join The Kathmandu Post after 18 months. I was a sports journalist and I moved to the Post as a translator (and that too with a pay almost 15 per cent less than that of Nepal Samacharpatra). My reason behind – I want to do it in English and that Kantipur Publications is a dream place for a budding journalist.

Justified. I went through various departments. In my first two years at the Post, I moved to district desk, then to international desk and then to the night-desk (the hardest part as I have to work till 1AM). Then I went to assist in the opinion section and finally appointed as the sports co-ordinator.

Now I am making yet another big decision. Leaving Kantipur – it’s hard for many to believe I am actually doing it because Kantipur is the biggest publication house and I am a permanent employee there.

[I submitted my resignation 15 days ago as required by the contract I signed with the publications. It was feeling numb. I had to struggle hard to tell it to my editor, who congratulated me and asked me not to hesitate if I consider moving back. I roamed around the office premises thinking that I would not belong here in a few days.]

My logic this time is simpler – opportunity. I am moving into new job in a responsible role in online journalism. And, that’s something I consider will be a big challenge as well as a learning curve for me. Because of my involvement in NepalCricket.com for last eight years, and then as a pioneer blogger of the country, I was thriving to do something for online and here came my opportunity.

How different the new online project will be? Well, I will try to utilize whatsoever I have learned in my hobby involvements and I will of course be looking to become the destination for all (especially because I will be working with a great team).

I and my bosses at my new job are hoping that the new project will contribute to make Nepal’s online journalism more thriving and truly ‘online journalism’!

[Meanwhile, this is my first blog post in more than six months, and I hope to continue blogging now on!]

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That’s Why We Don’t Want King

I was invited for the Nepali adaption of George Bernard Shaw’s The Apple Cart by director Yubaraj Ghimire. I had once tried to read the drama itself, but couldn’t find enough energy to complete it so I just read a long summary of it and thought it was a Monarchist drama. I was surprised when Ghimire said Silpi, a theatre group he has co-founded, had staging the drama.

The long drama was shortened, I was informed beforehand, and I found I would have enjoyed it even if it was not shortened. I was amazed to see how the drama perfectly fitted to the present context of Nepal. And, then it changed my belief that The Apple Cart is an advocacy to monarchy.

Actually, the drama tells you why the King is always a threat to democracy; reminds us how he could be at a position to take decisions that may undermine people and sovereignty. And, for us, sadly, it also reminds on how the political parties are performing. Of course, there were a few lapses in drama (the thing I found most disturbing was the use of sleeping dress as national dress…).

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