When Headlights didn’t Work!

20th December 2012

It was late, cold and dark, a typical winter evening. I was waiting for a tempo, at Bijulibazaar, to take me home. Tempos are 3- wheeled public vehicles that run on Electrical / LPG Energy also known as TukTuk, rampant on the Kathmandu roads. Lifehouse Band was playing “Blind” in my ears. After a long wait, a tempo arrived. It took me a second to register the route, had to ask the boy at the front seat, where the Tempo was headed.”Lagankhel”,came the shrill reply. “The driver could have put on the front lights,” I murmured to myself and got inside the back of the tempo. The tempo was pack. A tiny bulb was lit inside. After making myself comfortable in the little space, available for me, I stared at the passenger across me. A middle-aged lady, with a big, golden earrings stared back to me. I then looked left and right to her. One of my fellow co-passengers was a college girl, in uniform; two were uncles, one with a mustache and the other without, while there was a young mother at the far right, with her infant on her lap . There were 3 more ladies to my left and an elderly gentleman to my left who was asleep, drooling at his mouth, head resting on the window. I also threw a glance at the front too. The driver was a lady.
After glancing 120 degrees, and getting stared back at, I began examining my Wellington boots, all worn and dusty! “My poor Wellingtons!” I sighed. “Victims of the road expansion drive, Jai Baburam!” A few minutes later, I realized that the tempo was moving at a snail pace. Tempos are, by default , slow moving vehicles, but this one was unnaturally slow. I took off my earplugs and stared at the lady across me. “Why is this moving so slow?,” I inquired  She pouted her lips and replied, “The front light stopped working, re!” Other passengers also nodded in unison, disapproval clear in the nods.

I shot a look at the front seat. Without the earpluggender-equality-scaless, now I heard the conversation. The kid was looking down from the window and telling the driver, his mother to keep moving. “Its okay, no holes”, he would say to the driver, and she would keep the vehicle rolling straight. He would also flash lights occasionally to where the front tyre of the tempo is, making sure the tempo wasn’t heading for a hole or depression. The people were angry and restless. “Its getting late”, the lady with the baby shouted to the driver, “If you cant take us fast, then let us get off and take another vehicle, that will go fast.” The driver, without looking behind, made a meek reply, “The light was working till Maitighar, I don’t know what happened suddenly. I cannot see the road without the light. That is why; I am driving slowly, to avoid accidents”.

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The Dying Rose!

24/2/2013

Well, it was there on my work desk early in the morning. It must have come from some distance, promising happiness and joy, planted to add beauty and fragrance to this world. It was beautifully red, as if a heart full of love had bled somewhere and the love had trickled onto the flower. Painfully beautiful! And fresh as rain! It brightened my day, added more to my happiness and lightened up many people’s faces as well!

The day went by and I put it in a glass full of water. The rose stayed fresh and beautiful, awe-ing my heart every time I darted my eyes from my screen towards it, and making me happy at the same time. There may be billions and trillions of such roses in the world, beautiful than this one yet this one was special in itself. And when one such rose could make me so happy, I could only  imagine how much happiness the trillions of roses, exchanged on that day, must have had added to the world. At the end of the day, I wanted to take it home. But thought it looked prettier there. And I didn’t want to risk damaging it. Continue reading

Plight of youths!

September 15, 2012

“Youths” If you google the word, there will be more than 795,000,000 results in less than 0.39 seconds. Read any national daily, the word will be mentioned at least twice. Policymakers, leaders, social-workers, writers all love the dearly. “Catalysts of change”, “Backbone of the country”, “Pillars of the nation” are how youths are defined, attributed and referred to. Youths, who together make about 18% of the global Homo sapiens population, are the major focus of any system or ideology. Because youths are a good resource for any country, if a country invests on youth, it ensures sustainability of the country. Globally, Billions of dollars projects run on youths alone. Name any area, you will find many youth clubs, networks and organizations dedicated overtly to build the capacity of youths. Come August 10, the whole world focuses on youths; with the whole day dedicated to youths, many competition, program, trainings, events will be organized globally and locally for youths. Why are youths important? The youth is the future, and timely, effective investment in youth is the key to making that future prosperous and viable, both economically and socially. The future is changing rapidly. The trend of change is so dynamic that within years, we have moved from tapes to flash drives, from desk phones to touch pads. The change is dynamic, inevitable and the youths are the agents of these change. Youths can accept the change and acclimatize the society with the change. I am a youth myself, a 22 year old; with all the zeal to bring about good changes and the grit to hang on till I make my mark in this “youth-friendly” world. I was quite lucky to get some of these trainings; prove myself at such competitions, learn from various occasions. We travel around, and take part in seminars, and when we cannot, we google around and take part in webinars but learn anyway. In this information age, with all the “youth-friendly” opportunities I and my fellow youths strive for knowledge, find opportunities at our fingertips, learn, share and grow. Lucky us!

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Remembering Ram Mama..

1st July 2012
Some people have a way of touching lives; blessing others with their presence. These people need not be magicians or superheroes…. simple day to day people; who transform lives with their simple acts of kindness; concern and immeasurable care. Sometimes, a mere sense of justice in them can cause a drastic change in others lives. They can be your one of you kith and kin; a friend, a mentor, your boss or a mere stranger. And they are essentially always normal people; day to day human beings.
Today is my mama’s 3rd death anniversary and I am sitting alone in Sri Lanka, remembering him. My mother’s brother, my Ram mama was a simple human being with a family and two daughters; he owned a shop and he smoked and drank as well. But then whenever we had problems, he was always the first one to come to our rescue. Whenever my mother got worried, he was the one she would go to. May it be a mere tiff within my parents or some grave lurches; my mama was always the one to hold us all. And it was not only us; my other aunts, other relatives; some richer than him …all of them, when needed help would turn to him. It was not about money or power; it was about empathy; about love. He could feel our pains like nobody else did and even if he couldn’t help, he would find some way, find others who could. When I was small, he had once caught serious jaundice. He got hospitalized and we were very close to losing him. But then thanks to all the prayers and wishes, he miraculously recovered. He had stopped smoking since then. In the added lifetime, he kept on doing what he did. He never said anything to others, never asked for anything back; never even pampered us. He had his own ways of showing his care. I remember, once it was his daughter (my cousin)’s birthday and I was invited for the annual night party. I was returning from my college and it had rained. I had my umbrella so I reached there anyways. Upon reaching their, my other mama asked me if how I hadn’t met Ram Mama on the way. ”He went to fetch you with umbrella; he was scared you would get wet and sick, since you are always getting sick.” Later, he came back. He had carried an umbrella for me but hadn’t bothered to take his raincoat and while searching for me on his motorcycle; had managed to get drenched completely. Continue reading

My last flight

March 31st, 2012

It is an awesome feeling to be in love, to have a partner, to chirp mindlessly to each other and to prepare to bring our kids into this world. In our case it is seasonal. When the spring starts, the feeling of love also blooms within ourselves and we start searching and courting our partners; flying, soaring, finding homes and laying eggs. We were quite late this time; however we decided to build our nest on a yellow wall inside human shelter. It was a flower basket actually, that we chose; but the flower neither smelled, nor withered. But it was dry and warm; just as we needed and we had it right across our entrance window. Earlier there was no one, there in that shelter. A lady and a dog would be there downstairs and at night a man too. Later a girl started coming for night and leaving early morning. Maybe it was her nest too. She never bothered us; she would pretend as if she didn’t notice us flying in and out; but sometimes I could see her putting white cotton balls in our nest and sometimes she would put a plate of grains below our nest. Maybe that was her way of acknowledging us; giving food and keeping us warm. Though we lived in harmony, I could hear a big, buzzing sound whenever she stayed in her shelter, within her section of nest and she always sealed her entrance, when the noise was there.

We laid eggs; 3 pretty brown eggs and I started warming them. I would sit on eggs and my hubby would bring me food. Sometimes, when he got late I would make do with the grains the girl offered; sometimes I would fly inside the shelter and find insects for myself. This particular day, it was very hot. I sat on my eggs the whole day and the girl was also within her section of shelter the whole day, occasionally coming out. Soon, it got dark and my hubby hadn’t arrived. I got restless and hunger was driving me mad. I flew inside the shelter but couldn’t catch a single insect. There was no offering from the girl either. Then, the girl came out of her section and left the door ajar. I perched on the door and peeped inside her section. It was lit, like day. The humming sound was there and something was moving in the center. I hoped I would catch some food, so I decided to check in. As I flapped my wings, something pulled me towards the center. It was like being sucked by a vast air current and I hit the part of the moving thing. I was instantly thrown somewhere and as I was falling I could hear the girl screaming. I was numb; the pain was blinding and I could feel the blood oozing from me. More screaming and then the lady came upstairs. Now, the girl was wailing and so was the lady. I couldn’t move. After what seems like an eon of pain, the man came and held me in his palm. He said something and the females sighed. Then, he slowly touched me, held mu hurting wing, and examined me. It hurt when he lifted it, though he was trying not to hurt me. He then applied some sticky paste on my wounds; while the girl fed me with some sweet, salty liquid. I wet my beak; thirsty as I was, I was scared too. They were humans and yet so close to me. I was broken, helpless so I stayed still. From the corner of my eyes, I could see the two females putting same white fluffy things over my nest. “Don’t hurt my babies,” was all I could think then; as he carried me downstairs and put me in a box.

They had wrapped my broken wing in a white material. After sometime, they left me alone. When all human noises ceased and darkness dominated, I slowly tried to get out from the box; but to no avail. I was broken; I couldn’t fly. Even lifting my wings was tedious.  I slowly dragged myself off the box; my babies…I had to reach them somehow. They would be cold without me. But the hall seemed longer now; it was not so long when I flew in it. But now, it was dawn already by the time I made halfway the hall. Human noises buzzed again and the lady came to me. She scooped me in her hand and kept stroking me gently. Scared, I decided to stay still again. The girl came down a few moments later and both sat there, staring at me. They fed me that liquid again and later the man put me outside, below the sky, in the garden. He would sometimes put me inside the box and sometimes on the cold ground. But they left me alone. Soon, my fellow friends found me and my hubby also came. But they just stared at me. They were helpless too. I was broken, I could never fly and they couldn’t help me. Continue reading

Another super hero-villain story!

5th April 2012

We have all heard about Joker, Venom, Dr. Doom and Penguin, haven’t we? They all have horrible laughs and are always intent on hurting mankind; till the superheroes such as Batman and Spiderman avenge them and save the planet. Similarly we have all loved transformers where, optimus prime and company defeat extra-terrestrial villains like Megatron and his fellow decepticons in a superb hi-fi way! So, this is also another “superhero V/s super villain” story!

The super villains! They are small, particulate matters but not alien. These villains have been born and bred by the humans and can be seen in fume, hazy shapes. They are worst as they can be colorless too. Though born unintentionally by humans, they have been attacking humans with their toxic nature and making them sick. They have silently killed 750000 people in China alone in 1 year and many more millions sick worldwide. The most dangerous part is no one can finish them totally, their existence can be controlled/ minimized but once they reach the earth, they are invincible. The most prominent ones among these super-pollutant-villains are Hydrocarbo-tron (HC), Nox-ions (Nox), Sox-curs (Sox) , Dr. VOC and Carbonmonoxide-zion and they are emitted from tail pipes of vehicles! Continue reading

Home-Stay Experience- Back to the nature :)

October 2011

It was flooding in Bangkok during our Preparatory course; one of the worst cases Thailand had seen. Since, Fk Preparatory courses mandatorily need the participants to stay at local homes for at least two nights, our course organizers at AIT were in awe to find homes because of the flooding incidents. The purpose of home-stay in the preparatory course is to make the participants have the experience of living in the worst situation with minimal facilities; exposed to foreign food, foreign culture with minimal or nil English. All participants had to stay with a Thai family and would not be allowed to contact other participants during the period. I had heard earlier participants complaining that the home-stay experience during the prep course was tougher than their whole stay in their respective host countries.
Now, the usual villages for the home-stay were flooded, our organizers selected a village in Chochaengsao Province for our home-stay experience; only this time all it was not a home we were heading to and all the participants were going to be together. 🙂 So, all the participants got into two vans as we travelled to Chocheangsao Province. It was an amazing drive as we left the concrete Bangkok behind and into the green Thai Countryside. Wanakaset learning Center situated at Sanam Chaiket Chaochengsao is actually the name of the agro-forest and a network of agroforest practitioners . So, we were heading into a forest, private but still a forest. When we arrived there, we were awestruck. As we moved inside the forest, through a narrow track, we could see a modest bamboo hut perched into the wild and a stream flowing right below it. So perfectly in harmony with nature!
As we dropped our bags and looked around we saw that this was more like a camp, with two spaces to sleep (no doors or barred windows); all built with bamboo sticks and the amazing stream flowing right below you. Mosquitoes were there and we were warned about the leeches but well it was all part of this broad “into the wild” experience. The owner then welcomed us and briefed us on the basic rules. We were supposed to cook in shifts, there would be local help and we had to do our own dishes. We were also requested not to use our shampoo, soap, detergents and even toothpaste and were provided with more organic, non-foaming, eco-friendly alternatives. We were then shown around the land; the huge expanse where many tress, herbs and crops of ecological and medicinal values were conserved sustainably. Later in the evening, we were briefed by the owner and introduced to the story behind Wanakaset. Wanakaset actually means “forest agriculture” and it also refers to the farming concept which goes beyond agricultural production to look at self-sufficiency and the relationship between man and his natural environment and resources. The idea was practiced and preached by Pooyai Viboon Khemchalerm. A farmer by profession, he had been attracted to the cash crop production and chemical farming and its preliminary gains once upon a time only to be plunged into loss of fertilityof his land and severe debts. Then, he had accepted and submitted to the power of nature. He had then switched to sustainable farming practices or Wanakaset. The current owner, his son is also abiding by his father’s doctrine “if you take care of the nature, nature will take care of you.” A simple, yet vital idea! An inspiration for all! Continue reading