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Connectivity. Media. Networking. Undoubtedly this is how history will recall this generation. Social media, social networking and now social activism are powerful mediums redefining how we communicate and interact. Technology is evolving at incredible speed presenting individuals and groups alike with the opportunity to learn, organise and act in ways that have previously never been possible. But what does it mean to be a part of or similarly excluded from these new sites of social interaction? This month,Verse explores how the Internet and mobile technologies are being used by Nepalis to achieve very different ends. When discussing social media, it hard not to think of the organising potential of mobile technologies and new branches of “citizens media”. We have all heard of the Facebook revolutions in Egypt, Syria, and Bahrain. Just this month the upheaval across England was apparently facilitated by the Blackberry messaging system. But what does this all mean in the context of Nepal? It means there is a precedent, it means people get ideas. Fortunately, though, the rallying calls are for “united” and “peaceful” movements; one where people get involved to shape their own future, without relying on the actions of others. As Nepal Unites and Come on Youth Stand Up champion, it is about action, accountability and responsibility. At the everyday level, we all interact with social media in one way or another. For those abroad, similar to myself, it helps us feel connected to the world we left behind and interact more readily with the new social circles we encounter. But by relying on social media as the primary site of communication, people can become absent with the real world; we live our lives by usernames and passwords. For others, however, such as Sunny Tuladhar -Nepal’s first professional guitar maker- social media affords the opportunity to learn, create and do. But creativity and innovation come in all forms. Last month, the first Technology Entertainment and Design (TED) Talk was held in Kathmandu. As a platform for discussion, sharing and debate, TEDxKathmandu brought global issues to the local arena. Next month, the capital will also host another inaugural event- the Kathmandu Literary Jatra. Showcasing Nepali writers, the event will conversely help bring Nepali literature to the global stage. If you haven’t become involved in events around town, I urge you to find something you’re interested in, be it music, art, film, literature, a cause or even a festival, and go. Say yes, participate, do and live. We have endeavoured to provide you with a starting point- info on people and places, websites and links. So click in and start getting connected today.Verse is here to take you on a journey; whatever that may be and wherever that may take you.


Editor Laura McManus

Assistant Editor Marina Menuka Lama

Creative Directors Sujin Joshi Ghanashyam Neupane Kishor Maharjan

Photographers Rajan Shrestha Sumit Shrestha

Illustrations Michelle Lama

Writers Rhea Gurung Manjil Shrestha Amrita Gurung Gokul Atreya

Marketing Shyam Malakar Minnat Joshi Gaurav Dhungana

Promotion Kiran Shahi Kelsang Wangdu Reshma Tuladhar

Distribution RB News (Kathmandu) Safal Media House (Pokhara)

Printing Print Point Publishing(3P) Tripureshwor, Kathmandu 4249674/75

Consultant Dr. Bipul Man Singh Contributors Akriti Shilpakar, Liza Weber, Pranjal Poudel, Ritesh Bhandari, Suraksha Nepal, Umes Shrestha,Yuvash Vaidya

Publisher: Line Media Pvt. Ltd. Manbhawan, Lalitpur, Nepal. Tel: 01-5546194 Regd. 251/067/068 Verse magazine is published 12 times a year by Line Media Pvt. Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior permission of the published. The publisher will not accept responsibility or any liability for the correctness of information or opinions expressed in the publication. Each Issue: Rs. 50, Annual Subscription: Rs. 500 | Send us your subscription requests to

on cover

Ina Ismail Photo : Rajan Shrestha

contents 52 Sunny Tuladhar

The New DIY


Innovation. Change. Sustainability.

TEDx Kathmandu

Kathmandu Literary Jatra Digitisation of Socialisation So you think you can blog? Word on the Street (facebook) Upiano The Imprints of a Soul

24 Pariwartan ka lagi hami Nepali ek

Can Social Media Help Unite Nepal?

18 32 36 49 55 77

66 40 A tussle to create jam free roads

The Busy Road Less Travelled

Fashion with a Click!

Style IT


Final step of the stairs As a tribute to their drummer Prabin Lal Manandhar, who is leaving for India to pursue his further studies, Stairs Of Cirith performed a farewell gig at House of Music, Thamel on 29th July. It was the last gig for Yuskey K.C (vocals), Bhavin Pradhan (guitar),Nikhil Sikarmi (guitar), Prabin L. Manandhar (drums) Kritagyan Shrestha (bass) and Yuvash Vaidya (keyboard), to be playing together as Stairs of Cirith for a long time to come. They entertained the house-full crowd with their original numbers like Annunat, Niskarsha, Hamile hideko Paila, Madhyam, Ek raat harek raat and Yak Cheese. Also they covered songs like Highway Star, Perfect Stranger and Open Car with Bijent Bikram Shah on the bass guitar and Shailesh (Haku) on Keyboard. The band, along with Anjesh Shrestha, performed a humorous song “Laley” to show their affection for Praveen, aka Laley. Towards the end, the band members of Jindabaad- Sunny Tuladhar, Abhisek Bhadra, Rajan Shrestha and Kiran Shahi surprised the crowd by performing together after a long time.

House of Music birthday

To mark its second birthday, House of Music shared the love on 4th August hosting one of Kathmandu’s newest music sensations, Lyrics Indy alongside established rockers, Albatross. Lyrics Indy kicked off the night with a remix of ‘Spit Your Game’ by Notorious b.i.g. followed by Triumph, an original composition. While rappers, Gaurab Subba, Yanik Shrestha, Aidray and a brief appearance from 15 year old Dougie Adhikari, maintained a tight set, Abhisek Bhadra on keyboard/synth provided the music to get the crowd going. Kiran Shahi joined in on drums as B’boyin acts rightly stole the show at the front of the stage. Albatross then hit the stage with some of their originals Chaina, Khase kaa tara and Timi Bhane, before the artists collaborated with some Linkin Park and Rage Against the Machine inspired riffs such as One Step Closer and 99 Problems to bring the night to an explosive end.

ktmROCKS e-mag Not only does ktmRocks organise concerts but also they also release an e-mag at regular intervals. And that too is very popular among people. The e-mag focuses on different themes in every issue, and in the current edition (published August 2012) they have focused on local drummers. They interviewed different drummers from the local scene and some from Bangladesh, Srilanka and Germany. The team asked the drummers about their influences, how they started, their current playlist, their kit shell, etc. The team also managed to know about their practice routine, which I think has certainly helped some struggling drummers. Some of the drummers that were featured were – Surya Pun (Antim Grahan/Define Mental), Kiran Sahi (Jindabaad), Mike Parker (Ayurveda, USA), Lille Gruber(Defeated Sanity, Germany). I would recommend any music lover to download the e-mag via internet from different locations. (Facebook, ktmROCKS website). The drummer special issue also features drummers/bands from Hetauda and Pokhara too. The e-mag, however did not just cover everything about drummers. It managed to pull off an interview with John Gallagher (Guitarist for Dying Fetus) one of the biggest death metal bands right now, thanks to its team. The mag also covered some interviews with some other bands/guitarists too. And yes, one name that no one ever forgets to mention when talking about ktmROCKS is Mr. Umes Shrestha, who has been there since the very beginning. Many thanks to him for what he has done till date and wish him luck to continue his great effort.



Earthy “We love trees, that’s why we made a shop with one inside.” This is what the Earthy team had to say when I asked them about their new shop in Kupondole, with remarkably creative earthy interiors. Their brand name is Earthy and this team comprising of Srijana Limbu, Julian James and Subin Shakya are a team of young and creative trio with diverse backgrounds. Srijana with her love for environment, Julian with his artistic imaginations and Subin with his presentation and marketing, synergize to create original designs for their hemp T - Shirts. But Branded Nepali t-shirts are not all you find in their shop. They have a section for handcrafted leather belts, exclusively designed and customfitted for individual customers. They also have Earthy Craft, a collection of creative handicrafts built by the team themselves, and collected from other Nepali brands like the awesome Masala Beads along with various Hemp accessories. So they are a couple of enthusiastic Nepali “ketos and keti” trying to differentiate their Made-in-Nepal products, so go check them out to find out if they did!

Sphinx ... Sphinx, a boutique style designer store, has recently opened a funky new store in Time Square Mall, Durbarmargh. With walls of shoes, racks of dresses, shelves of bags and stands of the latest fashion in sunglasses, Sphinx is the perfect place to add a unique signature piece to your wardrobe. Their shoe collection, in soft, earthy summer hues of browns, tans and black is one of the best in town, while their small but beautiful collection of clothes bring feminine chic back into vogue. Products are imported from Bangkok, Hong Kong and China. Sphinx Lingerie line at City Centre Kamalpokhari, sells an intimate collection of Victoria’s Secret products. Lace trims and fun summer colours are this seasons trends. The Sphinx store, also in City Centre, caters for both men and women.




Mero Desh Merai Dayitwa Let’s Clean up Kalmochan Temple Nepalunites is organizing another campaign, ‘Mero Desh, Mero Dayitwa’ to clean up Kalmochan temple in Thapathali. Nepalunites is an inclusive activist organization of Nepalese citizens from all walks of life that first started off as a movement towards the delay of the constitution writing. Since then, Nepalunites has been functioning via mostly Facebook and also YouTube to locally carry out tasks of national significance. Kalmochan Ghat is a temple next to the religiously pious yet infamously polluted Bagmati River. With the pledge “This Saturday we will exhibit one more time that the Nepalis just don’t ask others to perform their duties; as citizens, we perform our duties as well towards our nation” the members of Nepalunites will be working with the administration, local guthis, local clubs and nagarpalika to clean the place up. The event is set to take place on 20th August 2011 beginning on 1:00 pm. People are invited to come in their casuals with cleaning materials including brooms, buckets, gloves etc. Besides cleaning, there are plans to repaint the walls.

Silent Music Festival This October, the people of Kathmandu are going to behold one of the biggest musical events in Nepal-ever. Silence Entertainment will once again be organising their annual show, “Silence fest”, where bands from different countries and of different genres will share their music on the same stage. To be organised on Jawalakhel Football Grounds on October 15 this year, the event is excitedly being awaited by all heavy metal - hard rock fans of Kathmandu. And looking at the line up a huge crowd is expected at the show. Much of the excitement follows the energy of the previous “Silence Fest”. The team organised the first of this event last year at the same venue to a huge success. Different local and foreign bands performed including Engimatik and Motherrocker’s Gang, both from Switzerland. But the bands this year are even larger, the highlight of the show being one of the most inspirational death metal bands-VADER! Yes, the Polish death metal giants from the early 80’s will be coming to town, a dream come true for all death metal fans in Kathmandu, thanks to Silence Entertainment. The other bands that will be playing are also quite impresive, including Helmut, a metalcore band from Switzerland, Inner Guilt from Lebanon, Innercore from Hongkong, Undying Inc from India and our own Antim Grahan and Hatebook from Nepal. So yes, if you’re a heavy metal music lover you definitely wouldn’t want to miss this. With the highs of the first Silence Fest still fresh in our minds, expectations are that this year will not only be louder, but bigger, better and more memorable. The lights and sound setup, done by the organisers themselves, are hoped to be as good as last year. And add that to the most prolific lineup we’ve seen around our side, what results is a whole lot of gut wrenching drum rolls and knee bending guitar, all surmising the biggest music festival in Nepal ever- ‘Silence Fest 2011’.



Nokia C2-03

General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 Display: Type TFT resistive touchscreen, 56K colors Size 240 x 320 pixels, 2.6 inches - Handwriting recognition Features: - Dual SIM - Easy Swap SIM support (no reboot required) - FlashLite support - GPRS / EDGE Camera 2 MP, 1600x1200 pixels Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email Colors Chrome Black, Golden White

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LG Optimus 2X

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II

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General: Display: Features:

2G Network GSM 850/900/1800/1900 3G Network HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100 Type Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors Size 480 x 800 pixels, 4.3 inches - Gorilla Glass display - Multi-touch input method - Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate - Proximity sensor for auto turn-off - Gyroscope sensor OS Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread) CPU Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Mali-400MP GPU Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, IM GPS with A-GPS support Colors Black

Acer Aspire One Netbook Happy Processor: Memory: Hard Drive: Optical Drive: Display: Graphics: Webcam: Intercace: Dimensions: Weight:

1.5GHz Intel Atom Processor N550 1GB DDR3 250GB No 10.1” CrystalBrite TFT LCD Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 1.3MP camera 2-in-1 card reader 25.6 cm (W) x 18.4 cm (D) x 2.4 cm (H) 1.26 kg


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HP Pavilion G6-1008TU

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Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 2410M (2.3 - 2.9GHz) Memory: 2GB DDR3 Hard Drive: 500GB Optical Drive: DVD Super Multidrive Display: 15.6” LED Display Graphics: Built-in Webcam: Yes Interface: Memory Card Reader Dimensions: 37.4 cm (W) x 24.5 cm (D) x 3.05 cm (H) Weight: 2.55 kg


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specifications provided by Virgin Mobile



Kathmandu Literary Jatra Kahi nabhayeko Jatra Patan Durbar Square ma!

Every year when Nepalis return home after attending the biggest literary festival in South Asia, The Jaipur Literature Festival, people bring with them the hope, one that is mostly tinted with nostalgia--- of Nepal having a festival to boast of its own. The wait, is seems, has come to an end as Nepal gears up for the inaugural “Kathmandu Literary Jatra”. Inspired by its Indian counterpart that has already hosted the likes of Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk and Ian McEwan among other high profile names in English literature today, the Kathmandu Literary Jatra is going down a similar path with writers and publishers like Namita Gokhale, Mohammad Hanif and Tarun Tejpal in line to attend the country’s first literary jatra of such an international stature. The three-day Literary Jatra (September 16-18) or litjatra as it has come to be known will be held at Patan Durbar Square and the surrounding area. Some of the writers who will be speaking in the event are Alecia Mckenzie, Alka Saraogi, Buddhi Sagar, Deepak Adhikari, Deepak Thapa, Devendra Bhattarai, Indran Amrithanayagam, Kanak Mani Dixit, Karna Sakya, Kesang Tseten, Kiran Krishna Shrestha, Kunda Dixit, Manjul, Mohammad Hanif, Momila Joshi, Namita Gokhale, Narayan Wagle, Nayanjot Lahiri, Patrick French, Poorna Man Vaidya and Pratyoush Onta. While Nepali readers and writers are excited about the possibility of hearing and learning from international writers, the organisers defiantly assert that the organisation of the jatra has the sole purpose of promoting the works of Nepali writers rather than glamorising international writers. Furthermore, the jatra will give international exposure to Nepali writers. This will help encourage Nepali writers by giving them the idea


that they have the potential for an international breakthrough, said Subani Singh, Festival Director. “It will be a better platform for the Nepali writers to showcase their works both in Nepali and English.” Ujwal Prasain, the Kathmandu Post journalist who has contributed to the development of the sessions to showcase the works of Nepali writers, acknowledges the effort of the organisers to particularly support and promote Nepali writers. Prasain, who is himself an avid reader and promoter of Nepali literature, has been writing about Nepali literature in an attempt to help people cultivate an interest in it. “The kind and quality of works that are available today proves that we have both the literary mass and the writers whose works deserve international appeal,” he said. However, as optimistic as it can get, it needs to be brought into light, especially when the literary fest is just a month away, that there are sections of writers and publishers whose professional lives have been nothing short of one hurdle after another. “It is even much tougher when a publisher is a woman,” lamented Archana Thapa who is the founder and editor of Akshar Creations. Launched last year, Akshar Creations’s first publication Telling a Tale, edited by Thapa, is a collection of personal stories of over 30 Nepali women. In three ways,Thapa said, she has been dominated; first as being a woman, second as a beginner publisher, and third as someone whose choice of books to publish differs from the mainstream. Telling a Tale brings to light personal stories of women, and this is something which has “not been done before”, and that is where “I suffer convincing the reader”. In addition, the publishers have financial burdens to take care of. Fine Print is a publishing house which has over 20 books to its credit including the critically acclaimed books of Buddhisagar’s Karnali Blues and John Wood’s Microsoftdekhi Bahundadasamma. The latter has

the highest sale figures of 18,000 copies while the former 13,000. But, the figures do not really compensate for the cost of publication that are often done in India informed, Niraj Bhari, one of the founders of the Fine Print.

Madan, by the great Nepali author and poet Late Laxmi Prasad Devkota. “That was just that,” he said, “we need more of these issues in our literature so that we can depict reality and still make people aware about the situation of Nepalis living elsewhere.”

The litjatra can offer many lessons, confirmed Thapa. The range of programs from workshops, readings and panel discussions will surely help build proximity between national and international writers, publishers, journalists and academics. “Nepalis can learn lessons from them with everything related to publishing,” she said. Thapa is mostly interested in and believes others would similarly take interest in “knowing how publishers select the works of new writers”, and the process of “bringing out a new book and brand new writer to the readers.”

The Jatra will be attended by writers, academics and journalists and thus is expected to brew a good amalgamation of discussions, readings and issues where people can engage themselves in the discourse of Nepal after it was freed from the Rana Oligarchy in 1951. Since then Nepal has been a vibrant country with discourses of inclusiveness, rights and democracy. It was also the time when the country’s literature scene really developed and engaged a wider scope of readership as well as publishing books. “In a way it is also a way of recollecting the literature vis a vis the political development of Nepal,” said Prasain.

Devendra Bhattarai who is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Registan Diaries” is also renowned for his indelible efforts to pen the stories of hardships and sentiments of Nepali migrant workers in the Middle East. It was while he was serving his tenure as a Kantipur National Daily journalist based in Qatar that he came in direct contact with thousands of Nepali migrant workers who were insignificant to the dry desert and whose hardships were oblivious to all those that may care. One thing that pulled Bhattarai towards the Nepalis were their human sentiments and feelings “that is often heart rending and poignant”. Bhattarai protests that these issues are seldom represented in Nepali literature. “The only thing that continues to dominate the headlines in the papers is remittance, and hardly there is anything that would tell people about their personal lives, their hardships and emotions of being so far away from home and their loved ones,” he explained. This is what compelled him to write in a way that has never been written in Nepali about migrant workers. The product is a book that has touched thousands of hearts.

Adding to the discourse is also Sanjeev Uprety. Uprety has authored the famous, “Ghanchakkar” which was also made into a play. Ghanchakkar was of a huge political and social importance in the context of Nepal as it depicted the scenes after the Royal Takeover of February 1, 2005. Uprety’s second book “Sidhantakaa Kura” will be read, and he will speak on the recollective period of literature, in addition to the socio-political aspects of Nepali literature. “The Jatra will be an important platform for writers as there will also be international writers sharing the same platform. Ideas and knowledge can be shared and exchanged between the countries,” he said.

As a speaker for the Jatra, he is planning to read a section of his book “Registan Diaries” and relate what he saw and experienced being with the many migrant workers in the Middle East. He cites that it is important for people to explore soft lines of emotions in order to understand the hardships that Nepalis working abroad in difficult and dirty environments often suffer. This will enable readers to better understand the socio-political and economic structures of our society. “There are larger implications to how they suffer in the desert, to the extent that some either lose their hope or their lives,” he said, highlighting the need for the representation and reflections of these stories , which are often full of human interest, poignancy and pain. He agrees the last and the most popular book related to these themes to have emerged in Nepali literature was Muna

The Jatra will altogether host 30 national writers and poets including those who have been writing in their mother tongues and 10 international writers. “It will be a good platform as people will open up to the fact that there are people who have been writing in their own languages other than in English and Nepali,” said Singh. Prasain further added that including the works that have been written in native languages and bringing them to a bigger audience through the Jatra is an important realisation Nepalis can have. “Our culture and languages need to be preserved and showcased as much as there are works that have been written in Nepali and English.” The Kathmandu Literary Jatra will not just promote works of Nepali writers but it will also highlight the importance of music and art. There will be reading sessions during the daytime and musical performances in the evening which will help garner a larger section of people; not just those interested in taking part in discussions but those who would also like to listen to local music, sipping tea in the lap of Patan Durbar Square; Similarly the addition of art will add much needed zeal and zest. Something that Nepalis have been looking forward to since they heard that the jatra is being held.

TEXT : Amrita Gurung 19

Innovation. Change. Sustainability. On the 30th July, nine Nepalis with an “idea worth spreading” became the first group of speakers in the inaugural TEDxKathmandu conference. As an independently organised TED Talk, TEDxKathmandu placed Nepal among a host of nations bringing a global discourse on Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) to the local fore. Originating in the US in the 1984, TED talks create a secure space for new, inspirational or innovative ideas to be shared. The collective ‘lessons to be leant’ often transcend time and place. Based on universal themes, talks may be persuasive or courageous, fascinating or informative, beautiful or funny. A good presenter will challenge you to think beyond the norm, thus stimulating debate, provoking ideas and facilitating a new conversation. The range of speakers at TEDxKathmandu reflects the diversity of social, political and activist cultures that are pertinent in Nepal today. Speakers included social activists Haushala Thapa and Anil Chitrakar; Mark Zimmerman, a doctor and Executive Director of the Nick Simons Institute; Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal’s first openly gay member of parliament; and Kedar Sharma, a writer, journalist and documentary film maker, to name a few. Responding to the theme “Innovation, Change and Sustainability,” speakers were allocated eighteen minutes to present their idea in the most captivating way. The theme, explains co- event organiser, Nimesh Ghimire, aimed to


challenge the dominant national discourse of politics by providing a space for innovators, entrepreneurs and “those who think outside the box”. He elaborates that “particularly in developing countries like Nepal, when tackling various social and economic problems, we believe that delivery is more effective and efficient when we find ‘new ways’ of doing things”. TEDxKathmandu can itself be considered one of these ‘new ways’ of doing things. Twenty year old Nimesh, along with his nineteen year old colleague, Shirish Pokharel truly embody the message they are trying to spread; that young people can and will make a difference. Through TEDxKathmandu they explain how PHOTO : Ankur Sharma ( “we wanted to create a platform whereby the 100 attendees - who themselves have a strong track record of innovation and connection to their communities - could get the inspiration and motivation to continue their works and take it to new next level”. The pair’s long term outlook is that TEDxKathmandu, as a yearly event, “will serve as a hub for someone seeking the inspiration, motivation and confidence to explore ‘new ways of doing things’ in society”. Indeed, with plans already in motion for 2012,TEDxKathmandu is sure to carve its niche as an important site of dialogue and exchange in the years to come.

Memorable moments from TEDxKathmandu 2011 Ani Choying Drolma Change It is always something special to listen to Ani Choying Drolma perform. Singing from her soul, each performance encapsulates the depth and breadth of Ani’s experiences growing up as a girl in a distinctly patriarchal household and society, and later her encounters with womanhood as a Buddhist nun. Reflecting heavily on her past, Ani addressed the TEDx audience on the importance of transforming negative experiences into opportunities for empowerment. Revealing that her own childhood was met with instances of domestic violence which she “always felt just wasn’t right,” Ani developed the courage to say no and resit the strict social hierarchy she was expected to conform. Embracing nunhood as a form of salvation from married life, Ani found the nunnery to be like a paradise when she entered. It is here that she met her guru and the “best man in the world” who helped her transform anger and hatred into understanding and giving. Change starts within. It starts with a change in attitude and a change in how we perceive the world. Delving further into mechanics of change and personal growth, Ani reiterated that spirituality does not necessarily mean giving to a temple or charity. True spirituality is “cultivating more and more the goodness we have in ourselves.” It is about cultivating a thought process and praying for the wellness of people. “It is those things that make me happy,” she concludes.

Salil Subedi Performance, activism and transformation Performance actor, Salil Subedi, or Salil Kanikar as he is also known, energetically closed the conference with a captivating narrative of his experience as Nepal’s first didgeridoo player. Self taught fourteen years ago, Salil found succour in this fascinating new instrument, one which was pivotal to his personal quest to regain some control over his life. Today his didgeridoo, Rainbow Snake, is Salil’s main means of expression during his work with underprivileged children across rural Nepal. Bringing his performance to the hills and Terai, Salil says “you don’t need to explain anything, just go out and do it. They too will have something to teach.” In keeping with the didgeridoo’s Aboriginal Australian heritage, Salil uses the instrument for storytelling. Combining music with activism, dance and performance, Salil communicates and presents social issues as an art form. It can also be a form of therapy. He explained the magic in how a “single hollow tube can bring so much joy and meaning to people…the simple tube can bring a lot of youth together.” The environment and animal rights are also issues close to his heart. Asking “who speaks for the wildlife?” Salil imparts that we need to take care of the earth’s rich biodiversity because “it took care of us for billions of years.” His parting words and aptly those of the conference, succinctly reaffirmed the aspiration of TEDxKathmandu to create a new conversation on innovation, change and sustainability. “If you reach fixity of thought,” he probed, “it becomes a commodity. We need to live in the twilight zone. All of us are artists- go find your twilight.”


Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati Interpreting history through photographs “History is never only history of, it is always history for.” - Levi Strauss History and the interpretation of history are powerful tools. With historical recounts often shaping a nations psyche, the construction of past events often serves a contemporary agenda. Why do leaders evoke images of the nations past hero, and neglect to recall the struggles of the everyday? Why is history written from the perspective of the victors, while the rest of society- the women, the children and the minorities- are systematically excluded? Is it truly possible to suspend one’s preconceived notion of a historical narrative and view the world from a decentred position? Yes. According to Nayantara, this is all possible when we believe that history begins at home. Over the centuries Nepali history has been a history of kingdoms, where Gorkha or Rana rule dominates the discourse. But the nation’s collective history must stretch far beyond that. As Nayantara proposes, memories are your history. They become the nation’s history when told together; A collective memory. The Nepal Memory Project, an event run by Photo Circle, is Nayantara’s attempt to contextualise, redefine and reshape Nepal’s history from the perspective of the people. The stories from each photograph become a part of a larger narrative that builds a socio-cultural pictorial of old Nepal. Postmodernists are relativists. They argue that there is no such thing as an objective truth as historical practice his inherently shaped by context and bias. A distorted historical construct is thus meaningless when truth and accuracy remain in the hands of the dominant culture. The Nepali Memory Project endeavours to construct a more accurate and enduring history of real Nepal; one that is removed from the dominant culture and is shaped by the people. After all, “we are all historians”. See for more information about the Nepali Memory Project and also their upcoming event Rewind, Recapture and Rewrite.

Prabhas Pokharel Innovation- Half Inside Half Outside I was thoroughly impressed when Prabhas Pokharel, an activist for social development, opened his presentation with this not so threatening but otherwise exciting proposition: innovation and change come from being both within and outside of a system. The system of course refers to that intangible but all powerful entity that you know needs to be modified but you just don’t know where or how to start. So you don’t. Or you endeavour to challenge the system only to find that it is too big and too established to even be slightly rocked. So the solution, Prabhas probes, is to play their game.You become a part of the system. In this way one will have the contextual knowledge necessary to identify sites of change, while simultaneously having the fresh and innovative perspective of an outsider. The leverage, thus, from those inside and outside is that they have the potential to bring about change within a constrained system. This potential lies in their ability to talk in an open and systemic manner and to decentre themselves from a perceived reality to readily embrace the different actually they are confronted with. When applied to a Nepali context, there is great potential in reaching across borders to stimulate discussion and source innovative ideas from across the globe. Recognising this potential, Prabhas helps to lead “Nepal ko Yuva” an organising bridging Nepali youth at home and abroad. Pariwartan (change) is one of their most recent projects that seeks to “promote the spirit of social and political entrepreneurship within youth”. Ending just as he begun with something to get you thinking, Prabhas concluded that if the sun and the moon, which rarely see each other, can co-exist on the Nepali flag, then Nepalis should be able to build bridges across boundaries to find innovative solutions to contemporary problems. By being half inside and half outside of a system, people will have the knowledge and competency to initiate change.

TEXT : Laura McManus


Verse’s Top Five TED Talks Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Patrick Awuah: Educating Leaders

Tim Brown: Design Thinking

Elizabeth Gilbert: Nurturing Creativity Pranav Mistry: The Thrilling Potential of Sixth Sense Technology


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Can social media help unite Nepal? Nepal is not poor. It is just poorly managed. And to manage it better, Nepalis are finally getting a unique kind of help that comes in the form of “social media�. This time we citizens have a powerful ally, an amplifier. It is neutral, it is free and, in fact, it is inexhaustible and virtually indestructible. With its help Nepalis are uniting each other with resources, knowledge and action so together we can build a more prosperous Nepal.

state of chaos and into prosperity. Just over a decade ago there were no mobile phones in Nepal. Now, more than one in three carries one. Six years ago, there were no Facebook users in Nepal. Today, there are nearly twelve Lakh Facebook users inside Nepal. In the next decade, each Nepali will not only be browsing the Internet but they will be doing so through their mobile phones. We will chat, write, talk, and organise events right from our palm of our hands!

government services which now take months to contact and receive a response, will be within reach through your mobile.You will be able to track what progress your public officials are making on making your passports or how they are responding to your complaint about poor health service in your local hospital. You can check your local politician’s history and recheck whether they kept their promise or lied, when elections come around. All information will be

So what is social media, you may ask? Simply it is the use of Internet based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialog on a massive scale. In the old days to communicate with someone you had to go to their very door to get their attention. Now we have reached the point where we communicate from our chair and actually open thousands of doors (virtually) at once! Social media holds thousands of attentions simultaneously. It expands our social circles and can strengthen our real life relationships at a much faster scale.

A girl in Humla will answer within seconds a maths question posed by another girl in a village in Ilam. How? From this inter-connectivity. An old farmer in Janakpur will access the weather forecast and receive advice from a Facebook group on how to negotiate seeds for a bargain price with a seed bank in China. The seeds will be parceled to his village within a day or two and he would have never met those people who helped make it possible.

online; facts and history will be within your reach and shared with many within seconds.

I believe social media may find ways for us Nepalis to finally help unite our citizenry to emerge out of this current


With social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, what you say can be seen, heard, and amplified to anyone around the world. That is a potential audience of millions of people.Your ideas can never be cut off from the rest of mankind. Even

As with such great power comes a great responsibility. I believe we should harness this power so that Nepalis help Nepalis. Already social media is helping us do that. Did you see photos of Jamuna, a malnourished child in Rukum recently? People created Facebook groups to support her, contributing hundreds of thousands of rupees. She is now on her way to recovery. A group of friends started the Shanti school project to raise millions and built

schools and libraries in Nepali villages. They remain connected to their donors on Facebook. Social media is helping unite us to help those less fortunate than us. Maggie Doyne, an American working with orphans in Surkhet, manages to get on YouTube and share a video which immediately touches thousands of hearts. She raised enough funds to unite Nepali orphans together to give them a better future. A Nepali youth, Sagar Prasain recently started building teams through Facebook to make audio books for the visually impaired. A youth group, Paschim Paila, is launching a petition online for all to pledge for an epidemic free Nepal. Many of you may remember two years back

when many hundreds died from a simple and preventable epidemic in western Nepal. This group wants to ensure it does not happen again. A remote health clinic in Accham called Nyaaya, share their stories on facebook to notify well wishers and donors living seven continents away of the progress, big or small, they are making each week. Aren’t they uniting the less fortunate Nepalis towards a healthier future? The unorganised here in Nepal are finally organising into platforms, thanks to social media. If you are tired of Bandhs, join an anti-Bandh Facebook group. Same goes for entrepreneurs, consumer rights protection groups,

even bike modification groups. Overwhelmingly, Nepalis are working together for a positive change. Nowadays, previously disinterested “Facebook” youths are gathering in huge numbers through social media to talk about holding politicians accountable, and being responsible citizens themselves. Here are two campaigns that I am involved in that harness the power of social media. First is a citizen’s movement called “Nepal Unites”. Second is a blog called “”. They are two of many examples of how social media and activism together has a potential to create positive changes.

platform for opportunities not yet used and for Nepali citizens who were previously disinterested to become involved. Today 1200 youths leave every day to work abroad. 7000 women are trafficked to brothels in India every year. We were once prosperous. We built palaces like Patan Durbar Square long before countries like the United States were born. But how did we end up in such a situation where we now have to take aid from them to renovate these monuments?

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popularly known as “Nepal unites”, is a citizen’s movement working to unite Nepalis for a positive change. As citizens

The answer is simply we Nepalis now have become extremely divided. We no longer trust each other. That is why we Nepalis have to work together to make our leaders accountable. One of the campaigns of Nepal Unites

start becoming responsible ourselves, Nepal Unites believes we can also hold our leaders accountable to their actions. Only through this balance of citizen’s responsibility and leader’s accountability, will Nepal become prosperous.

is to get Nepal’s leaders to show their accountability by making our constitution on time. The campaign simultaneously rallies all citizens to unite responsibly and positively to help the leaders actually achieve this.

100 days ago this movement didn’t exist. Today it has over 15,000 members who believe in the cause. It uses YouTube videos (viewed more than 70,000 times) to both disseminate information and inspire people with updates of positive events that are happening in Nepal. This is accessed by people in all corners of the world. As the product of a group of citizens who decided to take action rather than complain, it provides a

Nepal Unites is a forum for Nepalis to lead initiatives themselves. Here, anyone can share their ideas, learn from others, organise events, collectively find better solutions to social problems and rally around each other. By this, Nepal Unites hopes to achieve a just society where responsible citizens walk hand in hand with accountable leaders. To start on your own journey to unite Nepalis, try interacting in their website: facebook. com/nepalunites


Another way to spread knowledge and your cause is through internet blogs. Here is another example of my blog which carries a simple yet powerful vision, “Nepal doesn’t need to change. We do.” My intention here is to provoke Nepalis to: Act instead of talk To listen instead of chat To do instead of complain

Started in September 2007, it is a collection of my experiences, ideas and questions plus other inspiring stories of successful Nepali citizens. I use these to provoke readers into going on their own road to becoming an inspiration themselves. This blog originally started as a way to document my experiences in opening an IT business, but the entrepreneurial content soon evolved

into a broader conceptualisation of leadership and management. This then evolved into more thought provoking ideas on change, progress and how to manage conflicts in Nepal. I use social media technologies, like Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, youtube and Google to spread my messages across. And the cool part is all these articles here are free for anyone to use anywhere! Knowledge is meant for sharing. The more one shares, the more one gains. I

thousands of others. It also provides examples of how we can use social media to jump start citizen activism by thinking out of the box. I hope you will also start using social media to form networks, platforms, groups to further the cause you are interested in. The world can be your close ally. In the end, remember Nepal doesn’t need to change. We do.

believe in this. provokes each reader into becoming a doer and to inspire leaders to be bold enough to take initiative. It is a style of communication that spreads through social media - as soon as an article is published, thousands will know about it, read it, digest it and then chose to share with another

Ujwal Thapa Activist Entrepreneur Find him on Facebook here


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Come On Youth Stand Up TEXT : Anil Prd. Udaya We are an open community of civilian-activists (especially youths) that believe in democracy and social justice. We believe that only by responsible action from every member of society shall we achieve a prosperous, progressive and peaceful society and nation. We originally came together to ensure the completion of the ongoing peace process and constitution-drafting as promised to the populace at a time when unaccountability and incompetence of the politicians had been well-established. We are a youth movement for instituting a culture of responsible actions directed towards the healthy survival and progress of society.

Our GOALS 1. Accountable and effective governance: A Nepal where the government and the politicians are accountable towards the people satisfying their duties with optimum efficiency. 2. A responsible citizen: A Nepal where all of us, citizens, act responsibly and fulfill their duties to the society. Each one of us needs to take responsibility for our actions in a democracy. Each one of us should actively voice for a proper progression of the society and therefore of the nation in its entirety. 3. A prosperous, progressive and just society: A Nepal where every citizen has right to decide for the regime to live under, where every citizen gets an opportunity to work for his/her survival and pursuit of happiness, where every citizen shall be treated equal in the eyes of law and not a single citizen shall be denied or delayed justice. Our VALUES This movement voices the frustration of common people, diagnoses the immediate and long-term problems of the nation, searches for their remedies and acts for getting them solved by pressing the responsible organ of society to act on it. We believe that the ultimate change has to come to the person in the mirror. Therefore, we also move to change our own behaviour while also motivating the same in others. We do not believe in perfection but in continuous progressive evolution. This movement is completely independent of political affiliation and donor funding. We raise our funds from the voluntary contributions of individual Nepalis.

Current CAMPAIGN The ongoing campaign tends to demand timely deliverance of the democratic constitution by the CA and conclusion of the peace process by integration of the combatants in the society and provision of post-war justice. The campaign is also intended for pressing the political leadership to deal with the current issues of energy crisis, corruption and passive economy in a responsible fashion.


Responding to questions posed by Verse, Anil, truly utilising the medium of social media, posted the questions to members of the Come on Youth Stand Up (CYSU), Facebook page. Here is what the core group and active members had to say:

In what context did Come on Youth Stand Up emerge? Diwash Pradhan: It was emerged as a frustration of the youth with the current scenario, a inner voice calling “It’s too much now, we can’t just sit down, we need to do something”. Our Slogan - “clxn] gu/] slxn]< xfdLn] gu/] s:n]<” says it all. We joined hands initially to raise our voices for timely constitution.

of common interest and have started small campaigns like Cloth Bank, donating books to libraries and building audio books. These things can be done alone too. There is no need of CYSU. But I believe that this platform has given a slight push to those who came up with these initiatives.

How do you utilise social media? Diwash Pradhan: Social media is utilised for the purpose to find people with similar views and share ideas and information. We share views, inform about upcoming events, debate and discuss. Different groups with different causes have come up, and we are always there to support them and encourage them.

Why do you choose to communicate in this medium? Nischhal Pradhan: Social media has been an integral part of life for today’s youths. They pour down all their frustrations and share their happiness via social media. They can express their views regarding any matter because it is often easier for people to write their feelings rather than talking one on one. There are people from all over the country in this media and it has helped us create a sense of awareness and unity across the nation.

What are the main aims of CYSU? Udeep Shakya: The aim is to make youths and people to stand up and feel responsibility towards the state and start acting for it. There were about 2000 participants in the ground movement but about 10,000 supported the movement in Facebook. It was sure that they all wanted change but may be most of them don’t know how can they fulfill their responsibility to bring change. Then CYSU became a platform where people share ideas, read the information or comments and try to learn more. There are doers, who makes new friends

Would you consider social media integral to your success and overall campaign strategy? Diwash Pradhan: Well it’s just the beginning, but a better Nepal is of course a better future for us all, and taking part in these types of campaigns is being responsible. With the popularity of the group we now have to act more accountable. We have hopes.


What do you consider the benefits of social media activism? Pramod Pandey: social media have a free access, are transparent and most of all we can be in touch with large no of people in short period of time.

What does CYSU hope to achieve?

What do you consider the limitations of social media activism?

Udeep Shakya: When all Nepalese people start thinking like a real Nepali, then it will be an achievement for CYSU. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jaba Nepali harule mero pani yo desh tira kartabya chha bhanne kura bujhchaâ&#x20AC;? tyo huncha CYSU ko main achievement. Making a corrupt leader fall down is not an achievement if there is not another leader (who feels the responsibility towards nation) to take that position.

Umesh Ghimire: Social media is limited to only a segment of Nepali society. For a country like Nepal which lacks sufficient infrastructures social media is limited to only a portion of the population. As such activism in rural communities can be deprived of the valuable information being shared in networks of social media. One other limitation of social media activism is the collision of minds of people with varying thoughts. It is always challenging to bring everyone into a specific boundary of thoughts as you never know what kind of people are engaged in the movement.

Do you believe CYSU can really create long term change or just initiate short term protest? Anil Pratap Adhikari: We intend this movement to last decades. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re here for a stable change that not only alters the superficial system but also the mindset of every individual. The rest depends on how successful we become.



Digitisation of Socialisation Two essential words: Communication and Interaction. What do they signify? Perahaps it would be wiser to rewind the historical clock. To, well, the past. During all of time, the aforementioned two words have been the cornerstone of societies.Yes, there are other physical factors as well, but take a moment to sit back and think about it. Where would we be without either communication or interaction? Look at all the people around you, people you know. Then think about something else: words. We think in words, we talk in words, we express ourselves in words. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that without words, we are next to helpless. Without words, without any universal means of communication and interaction, what we call a society wouldn’t exist. Of course, it’s all hypothetical, but that does not mean it cannot be true. Imagine a world without words. The thought that we can’t communicate with others. Or share our thoughts. At this point, you should really be thinking. Making use of that thing called imagination. Thinking in images. In words. Creating a virtual scenario within the confines of the brain. Needless to say, communication and interaction have been continually evolving. A chronological listing seems appropriate. From the use of inanimate objects and gestures, we moved on to simple sounds and symbols. Although the order may vary, the meanings surely are the same. Onto more complex sounds and symbols. It was probably at this point that the alphabet came into being. The problem of communication seemed to be solved.


However, with expanding civilizations came the need for communication over longer distances. Along came the letter. Delivered by hand or pigeon and extremely slow. This went on for quite some time. Then came cable… Time to cut out the foreplay. Enter the world of social networking. Gone are the days of the telegraph and email (partially, at least). This is the time of Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, Google Plus. And let’s not forget the et cetera at the end. No example is complete without an “et cetera”. Based on guesswork, the primary role of social networking is communication over long distances. In this increasingly digitized world, we have witnessed the digitisation of words, images and sounds which, in turn, has been succeeded by the digitisation of complex combinations of the same things. Our world is shifting more and more from the physical realm to the digital realm. This shift has brought about a lot of changes. Not least in communication and interaction. Since the initial purpose of social networking was communication, it comes as no surprise that usage is very high. In Nepal it seems that Facebook is the most commonly used social networking site. Of course, this only applies to those who have internet access, which is roughly 2 percent of the population. Nevertheless, when you meet somebody new, and want to keep in touch, rather than phone numbers or email addresses being exchanged, it’s adding each other as “friends” on Facebook. Something I have noticed, and I’m sure most of you have as well, is that interactions these days are mostly online. Ask somebody if he/she knows a certain person, the reply you get will be along these lines: I haven’t met him/her in person, but we are friends on Facebook. The whole concept of friendship has been distorted by social networking. Of course, it could be just as likely that notions of friendship have simply been redefined.Your call. Anyway, you can add almost any person as a friend, regardless of whether you know them or not. There are no boundaries, no limitations.

you would like to sound. If you want to use some big words, you just have to open another tab on your browser and use a thesaurus. If you want to keep it simple, you have your brain. That aside, I shall proceed to mention an interesting thing. On one hand, you have who you are. On the other, you have your virtual identity. What social networking has done is that it has created a new, digital world. Where you have a digital identity. There are no pressures of face-to-face interactions. It’s the world of chat, hellos and his, lols and hahas, brb and gtg.You can interact with anybody you like. And you can be whatever, whoever you want to be. The possibilities are endless. For example, my real name is Pranjal Poudel, and I live in Kathmandu. Nothing is stopping me from being, let’s say, Randall Martin from Johannesburg. I can project myself to be whoever I want. For most people, social networking seems to be about the popularity thing, vying for likes or comments. Or for that matter, a larger amount of friends. Behind the safety of your screen and with innumerous resources at your disposal, there is almost no barrier. Another trend I’ve noticed is that many people are so different when you interact with them online, and when you actually meet them in real life, they are not what you expected. The extent to which interactions are based online would be well illustrated by the fact that we make friends online, and even start relationships online. And what’s even more fun is that you don’t even know who that person is. You can talk all you want, and if you don’t like that person, you can simple remove him/her. This rarely happens in real life. It seems that one of the reasons behind people resorting to online interactions is the sense of power it gives.You can choose who to talk to, who not to talk to.You can say whatever you want and not have to be answerable to anybody. And as mentioned before, you can be whoever, whatever you like. Not that everybody does it, but the option remains open. And think again. Without words, where would we be?

Ease of use is probably another reason why online interactions are so prevalent these days.You can talk to people from the comfort of your home, or any other desired place. Simultaneous interactions are another advantage.You can sound however

TEXT : Pranjal Poudel


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Internet Activism. Really?

TEXT : Rhea Gurung

TEXT : Rhea Gurung

2011: Blogs, protest groups, online petitions, e-campaigns and e-activism are all the rage. One of the earliest successful examples of internet activism was the class struggle in the early nineties by the indigenous EZLN Zapatista movement in Mexico. For an indigenous group, comprised of mainly of farmers from a low socio-economic status, internet communication in the nineties, let alone internet activism, was a foreign concept. But, by aligning with social movements across the world, the Zapatistas became the symbol of a collective identity rooted in opposition to privatized and individualised capitalist endeavours. The outstanding response that this rebellion generated was outstanding can be attributed both to the gravity of the issue and the manner in which it was communicated. Though the face of the internet has greatly changed, the role of the internet in activism then and now is to circulate information and provide a space for the participation of a global audience. From piracy culture to terrorism, the internet has seen an aggressive evolution in virtual vices too. However, with its infinite expansion in cyberspace, the internet has shrunk the world into one robust information village. Bryan Appleyard once said that ““unlimited and uncensorable flows of information would spread democracy and undermine tyranny”. Since media has always been a key element to activism, the internet, as the biggest medium for communication today, is transcending the boundaries of traditional means of activism. On the other hand, has internet just changed the face of media and not the cause and enthusiasm


of the activists? Does internet just put together an army of people set to make a change or does it create a comfort zone where people join in because one: it is free, two: it is hip and three: everyone else is into it? Perhaps it adds a little colour and a little risk to your personal life or, simply it could be something just to add to your profile. Has crowd-sourcing enforced shallow and mostly random opinions on topics that require serious thought? Has the internet induced a bigger participation space at the expense of authentic activism? Even if it has, isn’t that what was expected of internet activism in the first place? Social networking is getting all the more global. Technology has changed the essence of our social being and interaction with the booming rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Accessing people is as easy as accessing information. A number of activist organizations thrive on networking online- many a times simply through Facebook. A protest is just ‘creating an event’ away and a petition is just ‘creating a page away’. But, the question is whether it is delivering. Early June this year, Nepal Unites, a group on Facebook organized a peaceful protest in Kathmandu against the delay of the constitution writing. In a month and a half, the group and its cause had generated over 6500 ‘likes’. The group that constituted many known faces of Kathmandu city gathered in front of the Constituent Assembly with placards and the flag of Nepal. However, Nepal Unites has been criticized for being elitist in nature and looking

through rose-tinted glasses at the number of people ‘Attending’ events as opposed to the number of people who actually turn up. Late July, Come on Youth, Stand Up put up a protest against the political deadlock as did The Red Revolution in early August in Basantapur, Kathmandu. It was Facebook that drew them together. Unfortunately for them and us, the protests did not always manifest with the same enthusiastic gusto as portrayed online in the lead up to the event. They drew much attention, often save that of those whom the protests were directed at. It seems political activism (and sometimes the not political too) in Kathmandu is perhaps in need of deep thinking before gathering in a rush. The internet- an easy tool at our disposal is encouraging the latter as much as it is repressing the former. The Saffron Revolution of 2007 in Burma collected 440,000 members on Facebook. The wall was then so crowded with useless and sometimes pointless posts that it became too easy to miss out a key point, message or an important event. Most of the members were assuredly, not committed or even serious activists. The group then, to retain its ingenuity of cause, moved the

‘serious’ activists to the website. The activism there has become more organized and effective. Also Facebook and MySpace have an application, most of us are aware, known as Causes created by Project Agape to use the networking towards philanthropic causes. The application has been known to raise a lot of support if not a lot of funds for different causes. The arrest of James Karl Buck by the Egyptian police was revealed by the American student himself through twitter. Last year, we voted Anuradha Koirala to be awarded the CNN Hero of the Year. People were encouraged to vote for her by her supporters through Facebook. If internet were tangible- it would be made of rubber since it is so user-dependent. The point here is that web activism is not a failure, not at all. In fact, it is the biggest platform for dynamic activism to ever take place- only, the focus seems to have drifted from the cause that beats inside it to the limbs that pull it off. There are countless websites and forums for democracy, environmental, women, animals and homosexuality activism etc. that maintain blogs, debates and information exchange today. Digital activism should now synergize its abilities of speed, reach and cost towards improved efficiency and ethics.


So you think you can blog Do you wish that you could have a successful blog but you think that you are too young to start your own? If you have heard about blogs before and you are wishing to have your own blog, then you should start at once. Or even more, it is possible that you are already a blogger but you are missing something in your blog. If you are familiar with term ‘blog’ then you must have an idea that a blog is a type of website which is maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as pictures and videos. Here are my some ideas on blogs that I’ve learned during my blogging career.

Requirement If you are planning to start your own blog, then you must have some basic idea of using the computer and Internet. A blog is like maintaining your personal dairy online. If you have basic idea of navigating the Internet, then you can start your blog within five minutes. It would be great if you’ve internet access at your place, so that any time you can post your thoughts and ideas on your blog.

No Money Needed Most people have a misconception that you need money to start blogging. But if you are really passionate about blogging, then you can set up your blog within minutes. There are dozens of sites such as Blogger, Wordpress, Tumbler, and Posterous which offers blogging space for free.You just need to sign up to use those free blogging services with your email id. But if you are thinking to have your own domain,


then it costs you some bucks. Otherwise, use a free service to create your blog.

Define your Blog Your blog can be personal or professional. But you need to decide what type of content you are going to post in your blog since there are different types of audiences for different kinds of blogs.You may blog about technology, you may blog about literature, and you may blog about politics, or sports or videos or photos or anything else. The choice is yours; you can even cover many topics in your single blog. If you are going to cover many different fields in your single blog, then don’t forget to give particular tags and categories.

Be Regular I’ve seen many blogs that are dying after 2-3 posts. But if you think you can blog and you are a blogger then post regularly - at least post one blog in a week. Generally, bloggers give up their blog when, they feel no-one is reading them. There are various ways to attract a readership but to start just try to become consistent with your blogging. No matter what type of blogger you are, regularity is a must.

Add value There are millions of blogs in this world and billions of words being posted every day. Thus it’s important to write those things which people will value. Write what you know, be thought-provoking, provide worthwhile information and a fresh perspective.


Be Polite It can be easy for people to use the anonymity of a screen and keyboard as an excuse to be prickly and come off as offensive. It’s important not to fall into that trap, especially when disagreeing with others’ opinions.You need to be polite, and do not use slang words or hate words on your blog. If you are tossing up whether to post something or not, then spend a minute trying to figure out what is bothering you and fix it. If it can’t be fixed, maybe it shouldn’t be posted. Most people think, it’s my personal blog and I can write whatever I want, but it’s not the case.You need to be polite and you need to be responsible for whatever you write on your blog. Respect for the privacy of your audience is also important.

Give Credit If you’re referencing other material, then give clear citations and links. Please note that, do not copy and paste it into your blog without giving a proper link back to the source.

Getting and Engaging an Audience This is the most difficult task for bloggers.You are writing blogs but no one is reading you or let’s say you are not reaching out to anyone. Then after some days, it will lead you to frustration, a lack of motivation and probably your blog may die. So, I suggest you comment on your fellow blogger’s blog. Don’t just write yourself, read others as well. When you leave comment on other blogs, then there is a chance that someone will read your blog. And if your blog is interesting and updated regularly, then those other bloggers might read you regularly.

You can also email your blog link to your friends. If they found it interesting they will share it with their networks as well. But sending an email to your friends may seem a bit old fashioned. These days, you can just share your blog on social networking site such as Facebook and Twitter. When you post your blog link on Facebook, there is maximum chance that your friends will read your blog. If your friends find it interesting, then he/she will for sure share your blog. But many of the new bloggers make the mistake of publishing a blog as a ‘Note’ on Facebook and keep complaining, that no one is reading his/her blog. It’s true that you can tag your friends on Facebook ‘notes’ but seriously it will not help to grow your blog. Thus, my suggestion is that, just post links to your blog on your Facebook. Simultaneously, you can use twitter to promote your blog as well. Tweet your blog on Twitter, if people found your tweet interesting, they will recommend your blog to others. Just don’t post on Facebook or on Twitter, but you need to engage with your audience as well. If someone asks you something on Twitter or Facebook or even on your blog, then try to reply him/her. If you really want to promote your blog and you are passionate about blogging, then you must join Twitter and Facebook, if you are not already using these sites.




How To Date Someone In 2011

Ryaan O’ Connell


t’s hard to tell if dating was ever easy, if people ever courted and loved each other differently than they do now. After all, how am I to ever really know? I was only born once in one generation. That being said, I have to believe that things were better back then. I look at the photographs of my mother from the ’70s and she just looks…happier. I swear, it’s because she didn’t have the internet, didn’t have something around 24/7 to make her feel anxious and weird. When we were flirting with people in middle school under the bleachers, we had no idea how much things were going to change, did we? We had no concept of Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter. We just liked three-way-calling and Xanga. Ah, the simple pleasures. Perhaps if we had known, we would’ve been like, “Can I just go back into my mom’s vagina and come back out when the internet has been blown up and/or people start getting less weird?” We have so many rules now, so many games we have to play, that it’s easy to just get exhausted before we even begin. At 24, I thought I would be driving around in some boy’s car and going to the movies and showing up at his front doorstep when I wanted to hang. The internet would be there but it wouldn’t be such an invasive third party. Unfortunately, that’s not what ended up happening with my generation. Now, it often feels like I’m dating the internet more than an actual boy. It doesn’t help that I’m a blogger either obviously. It’s my job to be up the internet’s ass 24/7. So here’s how people date in 2011.You meet someone on the internet or maybe in real life. It doesn’t really matter because a big chunk of your correspondence is going to take place online anyway. Either before your first date or after, you’re going to experience the internet equivalent of a handjob, which is G-chatting. G-chatting with your crush will be fast and furious.You’ll message each other at work and send videos back and forth. “OMG, have you heard this song yet? You gotta!” Emoticons will be used and virtual boners will occur. All of this tension will lead up to an IRL date, in which all of those virtual erections will result into an actual boner. Or maybe not. Maybe the lead up has taken too long and seeing each other in real life now feels strange and unnatural. The very thing that built the flirtation up is also the one to tear it down. This is why if I really like someone, I try to minimize our internet contact and texting because I don’t want us to get stuck in a flirty online K-hole. I make the transition quickly to let the other person know that I want this to feel real, that I want to be with them and touch them and build actual memories or whatever. Otherwise, it will just get lost. And boy, do relationships get lost when they exist online.You spend three weeks texting and G-chatting and video chatting constantly with someone and then it just stops. The person falls off of the earth or maybe you do because things have just become too belabored.You wonder what the point of all this correspondence is and decide to sign offline for good. All of these forms of communication have made us have no responsibility or ties to anyone. We can come in and out of someone’s life as we please because we’re not actively involved in it. We don’t see them in their apartment cooking dinner or socializing with friends or reading a book. We just see their name pop up on Facebook chat. We owe them nothing. Furthermore, they owe us nothing. In the back of our minds, we know all of this. After all, it takes two to tango. But we find ourselves in these weird dating situations all of the time. We want something “real” so we go somewhere “fake” to get it. The internet has also done wonderful things for romance. That goes without saying. What I’m talking about here though is how social media has effected how people relate to each other. The more we know about someone via their internet presence, the less of a chance we seem to build a connection with them in real life. And I wish I could offer some kind of solution to all of this, but I don’t really have one. I will say this though. Use the internet to meet people and start relationships. But also know when to get off of it, know when to tell someone “BYE!” on Gmail and meet them in a park. Don’t get stuck in the 2011 dating K-hole.



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PHOTO: Sumit Shrestha


Word on the Street (facebook) How many medals do you expect Nepal to win in Olympics 2012? And what is your motivational message to cheer on our athletes?

Miss Nepal 2002

Rapper, Nepsydaz

Manas Ghale

Sahana Vajracharya

As I googled Nepal’s participation in the Olympics, I found that there was none. Nepal’s name wasn’t even in the list as I suppose they still haven’t finalised the participation. This seems a little sad as the players need a lot of practice to compete with other countries. But anyway, I do hope that despite all the hurdles, Nepal will outshine previous performances and do much much better. I do expect them to win in all the categories and I am hopeful.

I am hopeful about Nepal bringing at least 2 medals home.

Any competition is about performance and it takes a great deal of focus and support. Hence, more than the medals, I expect Nepal to give 101% of their dedication and play with no regret. When an entire nation prays for its representatives, I too pray that our players do not disappoint us with their performance, game and most importantly behaviour. Well, a couple of Golds would definitely make us scream with joy.

Malvika Subba

Message to the players - Give it your best, please don’t forget that all the Nepalese will be rooting for you and do us proud.

My message would be-Sports is not just about victory at your side and shall it be yours until you convene all your weaknesses to let it consolidate into your ultimate strenghts.The only one that defeats you is not the winning party but yourself. And,with a history of Nepalese absconding to foreign countries, Nepal has suffered a lot of damage to our reputation. I would like the players to correct such a reputation and I will be happy to see them back with pride and honour.

Miss Nepal 2010 first runner-up

My message to them is, do your best, never lose focus and even if you lose, learn something from the loss. Come back as winners.


Eelum Dixit

Adrian Pradhan

Lex Limbu

12 medals.

Wish there was a a race for the hypocrytes, I’m sure Nepal would win one medal.

I am hopeful yet realistic, maybe we might bring home 2 medals this year. If not medals, the players must bring back the experience and share with others. TEAM NEPAL, we are and always will be behind you!


Don’t worry about a thing - we are all behind you, and we know you will give it your best.

Wake up before its too too late.


Sunanda Baskota

Sunny Manandhar

Smriti Bajracharya

As they say sky is the limit, we’ll try and win few medals but won’t be able to give you exact number as for now.

We will at least win a medal.

First of all I want to wish all the players good luck, I wish they win as many medals as they can and make our country proud.


Work hard, exercise a lot to built your stamina and never say never. But think of possibility of winning. Always have positive approach to anything and that’s when you know you are a winner.


Vocalist, 1974 AD

Guitarist, Albatross

Be strong, don’t give up easily. It’s not just about wining, it’s about playing and being a part of it.


TEXT : Suraksha Nepal

Google+ Google+ Google+! This was what everyone’s mind was screaming about a month ago. The fact that the site had gained 20 million users after just three weeks of operation (and that was the “invite-only” phase) clearly speaks of its popularity. So what is G+? What is it that made everyone go crazy about this site when there are clearly other related websites? Google+ is a social-networking site by Google. Many people had named it “The Facebook Killer!” Needless to say, this name served to increase its demand even more. Facebook, the social networking giant, had everyone hooked (which it still has, no doubt).Yet, all of a sudden this new site appeared which was said to throw that giant out of the market. Everybody, especially those who like to keep abreast of new technologies, became intrigued by this curious new site and wanted to know more about its special features and services. This intrigue was compounded by difficulty in registering, which afforded users a sense of exclusivity. At first the members could simply invite the people they wished but the high demand from users compelled the administrators to block the invitations. Well, blocking the invites only increased its already high demand. If people are said told they are not allowed to open a locked box, they will try everything in their power to get that box open. A similar situation emerged with G+. Everyone wanted to join and everyone wanted to see what it was all about. Hence the 20 million users in three weeks, a feat that no other site has been able to achieve. Moreover, Facebook was, for some long term users, becoming old and boring so

a new social networking site seemed just the perfect thing. It was quite interesting to see people’s Facebook status and tweets (mine included) exclaiming “I want a G+ account!” So how does it differ from Facebook and other social networking sites? The concept of “circles” in G+ is quite similar to lists in Facebook and Twitter; one simply creates a circle or uses the default ones to add people. Then you can just share it with the circle you like. Each time before sharing a post, the user selects the circle they intend to share it with; that makes it easier to limit the availability to the ones we want. Then, there are sparks. These are similar to the interest pages; there are different fields to choose from such as fashion, movies, recipe, novels, dogs and Harry Potter (these are the ones I have added). News related to these topics can then be displayed with just one click. The site is also easily accessible. One can be using Gmail or Google search or any other Google app and then check G+ from the same page. So, even if you are searching for your college assignment on Google, you can simply click the top right notifications tab to access G+. And, of course, there is the great tracking capacity of G+; I was shocked when it pinpointed my exact location on the first attempt. Well, even though it hasn’t exactly “killed” Facebook as first expected, G+ is certainly attracting a lot of users in its beginning phase. What you have read are just my personal opinions as a G+ user. I have only

touched on a few basic elements as I haven’t explored the site deeply. So there are still so many features left to be discovered. But, don’t blame me; Twitter, Facebook, mails, chats and now G+ really is a lot to handle at the same time!


Sunny’s guitars: Where are they now?

• The body of his first ever guitar remains in Sunny’s room as a reminder of how hard work can finally pay off. • The first Custom Stratocaster is with his teacher from music school, Iman Shah. • Ryan Jordan of the Cruentus, had his Custom RG signed by Joe Satriani. “He is my ultimate idol,” Sunny beams, “I was so excited to hear that my guitar was signed by Joe Satriani”. • His sixth guitar, a Custom Flying V, is with friend, Sashank Shrestha. • A Custom Modified JS remains a work in progress, but Sunny intends to keep it for himself. • Originally made for Gokul Atreya, Sunny’s ESP Replica is now in the United States. • Taking the order through Facebook, the Custom Telecaster for Sudip Ale is being put to good use in the UK. • Prabil Bradhanang had the next Custom Stratocaster. • Sarun Tamrakar’s Custom Telecaster just recently toured Australia on the Uglyz tour. • A Custom PRS 7 String Replica is currently in the making for Sunny’s fellow Jindabaad band member and friend, Abhisek Bhadra

PHOTO : Rajan Shrestha 52

The new DIY


unny Tuladhar is better known in the Kathmandu music scene fhis explosive performances as the electric guitarist in the popular underground rock band Jindabaad!!! Perhaps lesser known but equally impressive is the fact that in and around playing, recording, practicing and teaching music, Sunny manages to make guitars- from scratch! As the first real professional guitar maker in Nepal,Verse sits down with this humble musical genius to learn more about his craft, the intricacies of guitar making and how the internet enabled him to turn a dream into reality. As a guitarist for more than a decade now, Sunny first became interested in repairing because he wanted to be able to fix his own guitars. “You couldn’t rely on anyone else,” he explained, “because there simply was no one here to do it.” After fiddling around with his own guitars, Sunny would then fix friends for free. It was here, some six years ago, that the idea was born to professionally repair and ultimately make guitars right here in Nepal. But how does one go about doing that when there is no school to attend or teacher to learn from? Sunny, like many others faced with limited tangible resources, turned to the internet to research, learn and teach himself how to make guitars. Youtube and the Internet are the new DIY. For six months Sunny spent “every free moment” downloading tutorials and “reading the same stuff more than ten times” in order to really comprehend the material. Surfing Blue Theory websites and meticulously watching the process on Youtube, Sunny slowly pieced together parts of the intricate guitar puzzle. After a period of intense orientation study, Sunny spent the next two years concentrating on the technicalities of design and “the extent to which things could go bad.” The proceeding six months were dedicated to preparation, until, exactly three years ago this month, Sunny made his first guitar. Unable to source proper wood at that time, he lamented that “the first one played well – it had the right measurements – but it didn’t finish well.” After using it for a couple of jam sessions, the wood gave way because of its poor quality and the guitar broke. But with the belief that “I could do it and I wanted to do it,” Sunny headed for the books.

and tone woods. It is “basically carpentry,” Sunny says, “but you need to be really precise because when making guitars every millimetre counts.” This is particularly important to ensure the string alignment is perfectly centred. It is these tiny details that distinguish a good guitar from an amazing one. The hardware for the guitar is supplied by the clients. After just three years, Sunny has completed nearly a dozen guitars, the most recent of which just toured Australia with Sarun Tamraka, a member of The Uglyz. Yet despite making so much progress where he “gets better and better with each guitar”, Sunny insists there is a long way to go. “I will always be studying and experimenting. Real craftsmanship and professionalism comes from experience.” In the future, Sunny hopes to expand and run a workshop that meets the demand. This includes having somewhere more secure to store the woods and even hiring an assistant to help in the construction phase. “The support from family and friends is beyond what I ever expected,” Sunny reveals, as the interview draws to a close. “Especially in the past few months when I upload pictures to Facebook, the response is 98% positive. People are really interested in what I am doing.” This interest, which is predominantly sustained through social media, is also instrumental in providing a free and ever expanding platform for Sunny, and artists like him, to showcase their work. “I already have 7-8 orders and most of them have come through people seeing my work on Facebook.” Sunny’s experience of learning from and now operating predominantly by social media sites, is emblematic of a paradigm shift in learning and business. Ushering in an era of the DIY entrepreneur, social media affords people the unique opportunity to access a wealth of information and knowledge they otherwise would not have access to. Sunny epitomises those highly dedicated and self-motivated few who have grabbed this opportunity with both hands. “I didn’t know what would happen,” he finalises. “But I tried and succeeded.”

“I would spend hours at the Botanical Gardens Library in Godavari looking through different books and I found that there were lots of woods supposed to be in Nepal but when I went to source them I couldn’t find them,” Sunny reflects. The main raw materials he now uses include American Mapal, and the more basic supplies of rose, mahogany, elder, ash, berch

TEXT : Laura McManus





Members: Upendra Lal Singh – Piano/ Keyboards Roshan Kansakar – Bass Babu Raja Maharjan – Percussions Raman Maharjan – Flute

There is a growing movement of music and musicians that is undoubtedly becoming a phenomenon here in Kathmandu. This diverse emerging trend has started becoming noticed as more and more artists refuse to limit themselves in a particular genre. It is welcoming to see that listeners also are appreciating such efforts by artists to overcome the monotony that has been felt from cover-only live bands. Upendra and Friends is one such group that has chosen to break traditional boundaries by performing folk tunes with the exception that the popular western instruments, the bass guitar and piano, blend with the flute and the percussive elements to create a unique “nostalgic” sound. Upendra Lal Singh, on piano, has transcribed a whole range of folk songs over a whole range of cultures into recognisable melodies that one might have heard on the radio or someone might have sung; basically a repertoire of tunes showcasing the rich musical background of our traditional musical culture. They have been invited to play at the Fuji Rock Festival this year in Naeba, Japan. It is one of the world’s biggest rock festivals and brings in crowds 150,000 over 3 days in several

stages around the Ski Resort. Some of the bands featured this year are Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, The Chemical Brothers, Incubus, Wilco and Asian Dub Foundation. In 2004, Hiraka Sang, the organiser of Fuji Rock Festival, came to Kathmandu with a plan of organising an open concert; Upendra Lal Singh luckily met him through a mutual friend and conversed about the audience’s choices for music. Upendra gifted him his CDs and soon Hiraka Sang became impressed and invited him to participate in Fuji Rock Festival. Since then, Upendra Lal Singh has been appearing in the annual festival.

Having been a renowned piano player in Nepal for more than two decades, band leader Upendra Lal Singh is no stranger to the instrument. Many say that his take on folk music is one that revives the oldies and classic tunes but with an approach that looks at the music from a different view: the music is still alive and he has chosen to express it in a special way with improvisation. Being an avid fan of jazz and blues, which he cites as his main influences, he is aware about making the music interesting and including improvisations live. “Keith Jarret!” he replied, “and all other pianists, I could go on and on”, when I asked him to name a few of his influences. Upendra has studied piano in Bangkok for 8 years. It is there that he says, he learned the importance of having to swallow his pride and start from basics. “You might know a lot of tunes, but if you don’t have ideas about the basics you cannot evolve in your musical venture.” Having been offered opportunities in Bangkok, he chose rather to come back to Nepal and teach here in order to participate in the progress of Nepali music. It is in his work that his contribution to the already rich Nepali musical culture seen. Like for instance, in his third album, Nostalgia (2010), he has recorded pieces such as ‘Malai Maaf

Garideu’ (Gopal Yonjon) and the traditional tune ‘Resham Firiri’. He says it is in expressing tunes such as these that he feels proud because there are so many ways to present them. In live situations, as seen in the performances with Upendra and Friends in different venues in Kathmandu, he is not afraid to play tunes even with a DJ. The presentation of familiar songs by this band is commendable. Surely as they have been doing annually, they will keep traditions alive and kicking in the land of the rising sun.

TEXT : Yuvash Vaidya 55


Define Mental, Redefining Music The Nepali underground music scene is becoming quite popular with an increase in the formation of and performances by new bands. There are many young music enthusiasts in the capital, Pokhara and indeed all around the country. Four enthusiastic musicians from White House College who previously jammed just for college functions, decided to continue making music together. And with that thought the band - “Define Mental” came into being. First performing one year back at an underground gig, Define Metal has since taken part in band competitions, including a win at last years KCM. The group and individual members have become actively involved in most of the gigs organised by the local scene.

Members: Samyam Shrestha ( Session Vocals) Dipesh Shrestha (Guitars) Yudhir Gautam (Guitars) Prashant Maharjan (Bass) Surya Pun (Drums) Past member: Sulav Nepal (Vocals)

Here, we catch up with the bassist of the band, Prashant Maharjan, for a quick glimpse into the start of Define Mental’s short career.

How did you come up with the band name? The band name came up an interesting and an easy way. We were just watching Shutter Island and then on a particular scene there’s a line with “define mental”, so, there you are.

What type of band are you? Well, we haven’t exactly specified a genre for our band as we are experimenting with different sub genres of Death Metal. Each song we compose is different in one way or the other so I think it is a bit too early to be genre specific.

What are your major influences? There are too many to mention actually. All of us have similar influences but if we have to name, Decapitated and Dying Fetus would be the first two names that will hit our head.

Who writes the songs? As far as lyrics is concerned Sulav (our previous vocalist) was responsible, but now he has left for India. So right now we’re auditioning new vocalists who are also good with words. As far as the music is concerned,Yudhir and Dipesh (the guitarists) come up with a certain riff pattern and we improvise on them during practice sessions.

Any say on the importance of crowd appreciation? Yes, very important keeping in mind that we’re a developing band. And as far as our performances are concerned we don’t

think we have disappointed the crowd at any performance on any level. But that doesn’t mean we’re not trying to improve, we are and will certainly get better on each performance.

Is there anybody outside the band members and crowd that have played roles in supporting the band? Yes, we have ktmROCKS that has been there from the very beginning with us. We also have another group Mortem; these two organizations have been organizing gigs at different periods which are always a good thing to us and other new bands.

Have you toured outside the valley? No, not yet, but we are planning to play in Pokhara sometime soon and if things get better for us we will certainly go to other places too.

What are the bands future plans? Right now it’s just practice and perform. We haven’t thought about anything big right now, but we are working on originals to come up with an EP (soon - hopefully).

At last, is there anything you’d like the readers to know? Just want to say that you are the people, so, support your local scene, support the bands, and support the music. That’s pretty much it.

PHOTO: Umes Shrestha TEXT : Gokul Atreya 56


album review

Atti Bhayo -Albatross

‘Atti Bhayo’, the third studio album by the popular Nepali rock outfit Albatross, is an attempt by the band members to vent out their frustrations at all levels – from those in personal relationships to those which ail the entire nation. It is a sincere piece of work and has some very interesting tracks. The quality of the musicianship on the album is high, and there are some songs that are likely to garner many listens. However, the album is rather inconsistent because of some less-than-memorable tracks and some unnatural and forced sounding material. It also suffers from a serious lack of experimentation, resulting in music that is pleasant when heard and pleasantly forgotten. However despite some of these elements that depress the quality of the album, this is still a solid piece of work and the quality and energy that Albatross bring to this album and their live performances have turned them into a respected name in the Nepali rock scene. Songwriting on this album is fairly straightforward because of the theme; songs do not linger on abstraction and instead vent out frustration in simple words and phrases. A good example of this would be the song ‘Chaina’ (which was also released as a music video on youtube.) It received a pretty positive response, in which vocalist Shirish Dali shouts ‘Chaina, kehi nai chaina’ (Nothing, there is nothing). However, because of the straightforward songwriting, lyrics are seldom poetic and memorable. The quality of individual songs fluctuate, making the album an unpredictable and not totally gratifying ride. Some tracks

like ‘Shristi ra Drishti’ and ‘Chaina’ sound excellent from the very first listen. ‘Shristi ra Drishti’ has a dynamic intro section that seems to flow and merge seamlessly into a well sung verse and chorus. The acoustic guitar-work on this song is especially notable on this track because of interesting rhythm playing and creative harmonisation between the electric and acoustic guitars throughout the song. The wah-pedal solo in which guitarist Sunny Manandhar uses his guitar cable as an instrument is very innovative and clearly shows his Morello influences. ‘Chaina’ is an anthem that contains a powerful chorus and a lot of aggression. On the other hand, some tracks like ‘Nischal’ start off very well with a melodic intro but are spoilt by vocals that sound extremely unnatural and clearly quite forced (and somewhat constipated). Despite the unnatural vocal dynamics, the guitar-work on the track is quite noteworthy; it contains sections with Manandhar’s tasteful fills and arpeggios as well as a melodic chord progression played on the acoustic. In stark contrast to some of these original and memorable songs, some songs clearly sound heavily influenced and fail to make an impression. The song ‘Janata ma Appeal’ (which contains lyrics by Bhimnidhi Tiwari) is so heavily influenced by Rage Against The Machine that the band’s originality seems to be compromised. Another RATM influenced song, ‘Kahile Kahi’, is the most forgettable song in the album. Its attempts at sounding dynamic and funky, ends up sounding inane and is problematic due to stiff vocals. ‘Abhiman’, has an intro that

Waking Up - One Republic Born this Way - Lady Gaga


4 - Beyonce Knowles

starts off well until some completely irrelevant volume swells (one of the rare instances where Sunny Manandhar’s lead guitar work seems quite off) spoil the fun. The latter part of the song, and another similar track called ‘Jhariko Raat’ are rather mundane. The lack of consistency, quite apparent from the very first listen, does serious damage to the listener’s overall response to the album. The musicianship on the album is solid, and reinforces the fact that Albatross is a tight rock outfit. The guitar-work on the album is especially noteworthy, with Sunny Manadhar’s innovative electric guitar blending nicely with Shirish Dali’s tasteful acoustic playing. Manandhar uses the wah-wah pedal to excellent effect in many sections, and has a good guitar tone that adds a great deal to the album’s overall sound. His riffing is solid too, although the guitar tone seems to have been deliberately lulled because it visibly lacks meat in certain songs (The intro to ‘Janata Ma Appeal’, for example, sounds much better live, because it’s much more aggressive and distorted). Rhythm sections and harmonisation between the electric and acoustic guitars is noteworthy. The acoustic guitar is used very widely on this album, perhaps more widely than any other Albatross album. This adds a great deal of texture to the music, although it still is nothing out of the ordinary. Some heavier riffing (closer to the Hi-Fly era material) would be welcomed by many fans who have perceived the gradual mellowing of Albatross’s sound as the Nepali equivalent of Metallica’s ‘sellingout’. The bass and drums are solid but quite inconspicuous. Some more experimentation with more dynamic drumming and bass sections would do a lot of good in any subsequent albums. Shirish Dali’s vocals are very inconsistent – sometimes they sound great and sound absolutely horrid at other times. The problem lies in the lack of conviction that is quite apparent in parts where he is supposed to show aggression and anguish. And for an album that is based on these very feelings, halfhearted sounding vocals don’t really do much good to the band’s cause. The band experiments with dual harmonised vocals in many sections, most notably in the opening track ‘Maa’, and uses it to mediocre effect. The voices of the lead and backing vocalist do not gel, and the result is likely to receive only lukewarm appreciation.

Overall, the album is a mixed bag and listeners are sure to be disappointed if they want an album that is gripping from the first minute onwards. It yields a couple of excellent songs, a couple of cool songs that you enjoy while listening and are likely to forget later, and a couple that you will definitely not want to go back to and listen to again. Albatross’s dedication and perseverance is admirable; they have kept going while most bands of their days have long since disbanded and disappeared. They have continued writing good material, but the quality of their material has been quite inconsistent and ‘Atti Bhayo’ is a confirmation of this fact. What is promising is that they can still write good songs and continue performing live and touring with the intensity that is unparalleled in the Nepali scene. However, that being said, Albatross need to experiment more and work for longer in order to make their next album more memorable than ‘Atti Bhayo’. They need to write more dynamic songs and keep pushing their own boundaries so that each new album widens the band’s horizons. ‘Atti Bhayo’ falls well short of that, and one can only hope that the next album will contain songs that are more interesting, experimental and memorable. After all, they definitely wouldn’t want to be called the ‘Farki Farki band’ throughout their career.

TEXT : Apoorva Lal

Mylo Xyloto - Coldplay

Tonight Tonight - Hot Chelle Rae


movie review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II When the best is left for last. It is sad for a Harry Potter fan like me that it all ends with the Deathly Hallows II. There goes the anxiety and the excitement which arrives with the release of the each movie of the series. But it is probably for the best. It is always better when we know the right time to let go off things we love. So there I was in the houseful theatre eagerly waiting for the beginning of the end. The finale of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows had been split into two parts. While the first part was slow, with Harry, Ron and Hermione grasping at the straws, struggling with their friendship and their lack of direction, the second part is fast paced and has shown the trio’s bond stronger than ever. The finale is a treat for all the committed Harry Potter fans and it can also put the new comers in their seat.

The movie is just over two hours in length, making it the shortest of all the Harry Potter series but still the best so far. The story picks up just where the first half ends. The three sorcerers are on their quest for the remaining horcruxes, objects that contain pieces of Lord Voldemort’s dark soul. During the search, the trio find themselves in dangerous situations, managing escapes and donning disguises. All the action is set at a tremendous pace which succeeds in giving one an adrenaline rush, but it also comes with the ever-so-prized special moments of the beloved characters. There are the classic punch lines which we are accustomed to in a Potter film, in addition to those magical moments like the kiss between Ron and Hermione. Director David Yates has not failed to give us those shining instances that we so adore. The escape from Gringotts

on a dragon is simply breathtaking and the final battle at Hogwarts is totally epic. Every actor has played his/her part marvelously, as they always have. Ron and Hermione are at their best and so are the rest of the Hogwarts members. We have seen the trio literally grow up on screen and they have matured not only as wizards but also as individual actors in their own right. As the last film of seven, The Deathly Hallows Part II reveals all the secrets we have been waiting to hear. The pieces of the puzzle finally come together and give us the whole picture. Severus Snape’s character comes in a whole new light and he emerges as one of the heroic figures rather than an evil one. There are many surprises in store, the greatest being one particular memory of Snape’s which not only reveals a lot about his character but also serves as the crucial

The Debt

The espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Helen Mirren) and Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciarán Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Jesper Christensen) in East Berlin.

Apollo 18

Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in December of 1973, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.


The Whistleblower

This ripped-from-the-headlines thriller is inspired by actual events. Kathy Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) is a Nebraskan police officer who takes a job working as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. Her expectations of helping to rebuild a devastated country are dashed when she uncovers a dangerous reality of corruption, coverup and intrigue amid a world of private contractors and multinational diplomatic doubletalk.

fact during the battle. Alan Rickman has given a heart-wrenching performance which is one of the most memorable of all time. There is Dumbledore’s as well. Since the sixth film, we were presented with a more allusive side of the Hogwarts headmaster wherein more questions were raised than those answered. The Deathly Hallows Part II again elucidates those secrets from Dumbledore’s past. This part shows Neville Longbottom’s character to be more than just a background comic slapstick. While Harry has been destined to greatness, Neville had to work of it. The unsung hero, who almost became the chosen one, is instrumental in supporting Harry and finally gets his moment of glory, and what a moment indeed (the entire theatre was filled with applauses, so you should get the idea). But then again it all comes to the

epic battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort. This isn’t just a fight between these two, but between good and evil. Hogwarts is immersed in battle where teachers, students, ghosts even the armours play their role. During the darkest time, there is no separation of houses, students from all the houses (excluding Slytherin house, obviously) unite together to save their school as well as their world. There is a lot of death and destruction during this historic battle. Hogwarts falls and crumbles, only to rise back up of course. Technically, I don’t think the 3D effect was necessary. The movie was magnificent in itself and the 3D didn’t serve much. And, well if you know the book by heart and want to see every detail as it was described, you might be a bit let down during the battle. But, then again, the whole book can’t be shown in a movie and the modified parts

have only made it a more exciting watch. One of the prevailing themes of all the Potter films is that love- real, strong, genuine love- can overcome adversity and ultimately protect you from evil. No one will be disappointed in the scene between Harry and his parents where we are at once confronted with a great sense of emptiness but also a resounding comfort knowing that Harry has never been alone. Overall the movie is a roller coaster ride. It has its high and its lows, there are twists and turns. It is thrilling and scary but when the ride is over you want to go through it all over again. A great movie and one of the best finales of all time. Harry Potter has indeed ended but it has left with a BANG!

TEXT : Akriti Shilpakar


book review

Message in a Bottle

- Nicholas Sparks


o you believe in love? If yes, then you are sure to be spellbound by Message in a Bottle, a brilliant novel by Nicholas Sparks. The beautiful mixture of love, tragedy, happiness and family make this book a true international bestseller. A movie based on the novel and of the same name has also been made, following its huge success. Theresa Osborne, the central character of the story, is a columnist for the Boston Times and a single mother. While enjoying a very hard to get vacation at Cape Cod, she one day faces a bizarre event; she finds a bottle floating in the sea. Upon opening, the bottle reveals a heart wrenchingly sad letter written by a man named Garret to his late wife. Intrigued very much by the letter, Theresa sets out on a mission to find the mysterious Garret. This is how the story starts. The rest of the novel details, their initial meeting and then how their relationship develops over time. From the very first time she read the letter, Theresa finds herself drawn to Garret. This attraction only deepens after they finally meet. Love is blind. The story follows this saying as without ever seeing Garret, Theresa falls in love with him. Sounds bit hard to believe right! But, the letters, so beautifully written, make

it happen. Obviously, the course of true love never did run smooth. Both protagonists also have to face many problems and have different issues to handle. And, sometimes the characters behave in such a difficult manner that you want to get inside the book and give them a piece of your mind. The story speaks of maintaining the balance between family life, work and love. The bond between Garret and his father and Theresa and her son can be easily seen. Sparks’ books are known for being the tale of timeless love, be it A Walk to Remember or The Notebook or Dear John. Message in a Bottle is no different. The words flow beautifully throughout the whole book captivating the readers. Wilmington, North Carolina, where the story takes place, has been described in such detail that it feels like one has visited. The waves in the ocean, the cool breeze, the beautiful scenery; all of it seems so real. And, there are adventurous parts as well, sailing and diving, which make reading a fun experience. It is a love story packed with anger, confusion, hope and fear. As in his other books, Sparks’ has created real characters with real emotions, characters that we can easily relate to. As we go deeper into the book, we find ourselves learning more about them and even feel like we know them. Sure, at some points,

The Help


Southern whites’ guilt for not expressing gratitude to the black maids who raised them threatens to become a familiar refrain. But don’t tell Kathryn Stockett because her first novel is a nuanced variation on the theme that strikes every note with authenticity. In a page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, she spins a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of The Keeper of Lost Causes The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment the American racial divide. of Adler- Olsen’s Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl MØrck, who used to be a good homicide detective-one of Copenhagen’s best. Then a bullet almost Now You See Her took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so With a thriving legal practice and a beautiful lucky, and Carl, who didn’t draw his weapon, young daughter, Nina Bloom is the envy of blames himself. other New Yorkers; but what her friends don’t realize is that she’s been hiding a dangerous secret for nearly two decades. Nina’s secrets and lie come back to haunt her in a frightening way. The arrest of an innocent man for murder pricks her conscience and she realizes that she must put everything, even her life, on the line.

This book can make your heart leap with joy in a page and literally make you cry in the next, such is the power of Sparks’ writing.

the story might feel bit far-fetched but this only makes it an even more interesting read. But, other than these parts, it is just a simple story of two normal people who are brought together by fate and who struggle through the obstacles in hope of finding everlasting love. The two are so different from each other in their way of viewing life; after her divorce, Theresa moves on and no longer reminisces about her ex-husband. Garret, on the other hand, finds it much more difficult to let go of the past and move on to a new life. Theresa has little faith left in true love but Garret still is strongly in love with his late wife. And yet, their differences, rather than pushing them away, aid in bringing them closer; the understanding and respect for the other person’s opinion strengthens their bond. This book can make your heart leap with joy in a page and literally make you cry in the next, such is the power of Sparks’ writing. A sweet and sentimental tale of love and heart-wrenching moments has always been his strongest point.You won’t be able to read the book and not be touched by the pure love, affection and the tragedies. And, the great thing about the novel is that the tragic parts, rather than just sending out a sad vibe, contain a lesson and inspire us. However hard it may seem, we have to and can let go of the past and move on towards a better future; this is the message given out in Message in a Bottle. There are some lines that may strike you as clichés, but be prepared to expect surprises, that will keep resonating even after you have completed the book. And, don’t forget to keep a box of tissues by your side; dry eyes and this novel definitely don’t go together!

TEXT : Suraksha Nepal

Gyanmandala, Jhamsikhel

Pachali Bhairab Khadga Jatra

TEXT: Nija Maharjan Bhairab, the fierce manifestation of Shiva is one of the most important deities in Nepalese culture, sacred both to the Hindus as well as the Buddhists. According to mythology, the origin of the Bhairab is traced to the times of Shiva Maha Pauran where Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahama are entangled in discussion about who is more superior and thus who should worshipped first. Lord Brahama argues that he should be worshipped prior to other gods as he himself is the supreme creator of the universe. Upon hearing this Lord Shiva becomes angry and incarnates himself in the form of Bhairab to punish Lord Brahama. The fearsome Bhairab beheaded one head of Lord Brahama leaving him with only four heads. The vicious Bhairab has many appearances, among which Pachali Bhairab is one of them. As we explore the mythology, Bhairab was the king of Pharping. Having a perchance for mealtime, he used to lock himself in a room and devour a grand feast of rice and goat. Doubting her husbandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s curious behavior, the queen insisted on joining him during his meal. The king accepted her request but warned her that he would have to transform in another state of being. He directed her that to bring him back to his human form she would have to hit him with the grain of rice. Agreeing, the queen joined her husband.Yet, despite his warning, on seeing the fearful form of the king, she ran away without hitting him with the rice grain. To prevent being discovered, the king took shelter in the palace, which now is the temple of Pachali Bhairab. The festival of Pachali Bhairab Khadga Jatra, originated some 500 years ago during the ancient period of Gunakamana Dev. It is said that the king from the Thakali clan from Nuwakot ruled over twelve places in Kathmandu. Ratna Malla (son of Yechya Malla) killed all the Thakuri kings and extracted all divine power from them. He then summoned up the Malis and began the festival of the Khadga Jatra. Even though it was Ratna Malla who began the Jatra, it was Amar Malla in B.S.1556 who organized the Jatra in a more efficient and official manner. Every 12 years the festival of Pachali Bhairab Khadga Jatra is held. The ceremony begins from the day of Gathamunga chariey. Priests, elders and the performers as gods and goddess gather in the Dya Cheinn and prepare for the Jatra. During the Aasthami of Dashain the ritual of Khadga Jatra is performed. The king and Lord Bhairab exchange the Khadga three times. This ritual is known as Khadga Siddhi. The main idea of this ritual is to transfer divine power to the king ruling the country. It is believed this will bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom. During the Vijaya Dashami, there is the custom of performing Pachali Bhairav Naach (dance). The person wearing the mask of the Bhairab is chosen from the Mali family. The Bhairab is worshipped and a puja


is performed sacrificing a duck and goat. During the second day of dance, other deities (Ganesh, Brahamayani, Rudrayeni, Kumari, Narayani, Barahi, Singhini, Byangini) are worshipped and a goat, duck, buffalo are sacrificed. The gods and goddesses perform the sacred dance wearing a ceremonial dress and Khwapa, or traditional mask. It is believed that while wearing the mask, the person in the role of god and goddess enters into a trance and posses miraculous power. The whole procession is interesting as well as surprising. After the animals are sacrificed and offered to the gods, Bhairab drinks the blood of the sacrifice and feeds it also to other gods. Since olden times, the Naach was first performed at the palace of Thakku juju (Newari King), and then it was performed to other places (Jyabahal, Lagan, Goffal, Barha Barsey Einar, Hyumatt, Marru, Chikkamugal, Bhaktapur, Patan, Nakshal, Haddigaun, Hanumandhoka, Tebahal, Bahttu). During the Jatra, there is a ritual called “Dya Chahikku“ where Astamatrikka (family of 12 gods and goddess where, Bhairab and Barahi are husband and wife and Ganesh, Brahamayani, Rudrayeni, Kumari, Narayani, Indrayani, Chamundrayani, Singhini, Byangini, Pachali Bhairab, Mahalaxmi, Nasa dya are the children are escorted to a procession along with traditional Bajjas. This year the Jatra will be concluded on “valval asthami” of Asar, 2069. On this day five gods and goddesses (Ganesh, Brahamayani, Rudrayani, Kumari and Chamundrayeni) perform the ritual dance. After the dance, according to the tantric rules, puja is performed with a sacrifice of a goat and duck. The person wearing the traditional mask are offered “shi jaa” (death rice) and then followed them to Marru. When they reach at Marru, the performers are offered “shi la” (death water), from there they are escorted to Pachali Peinth. At Pachali Peinth, the performers’ take off their mask and the elder priest, again according to tantric ritual, removes the performers from the trance. All the performers then take their mask to the bank of Tekku, where the masks are kept on the pyre. The person acting as the Bhairab sets the pyre and masks on fire. Once the masks are ritually burnt the Jatra is officially finished.


The Busy Road Less Travelled A tussle to create jam free roads


INTERVIEW AND TEXT : Manjil Shrestha

pedestrians alike, should they not abide the law.

raffic jams! K-town dwellers are truly saturated with this phenomenon and it’s almost correct to assume that they don’t care anymore. The ship of nagging, complaining and hoping for a clearer street has sailed. However, the presence of Shekhar Chandra Rai, better known as Mr. Ravi Rai has always made me feel that I can still make it to my destination on time. He is not traffic personnel by profession nor is he carrying out a specific assignment to help clear the seemingly awful traffic jams in and around the streets of Kathmandu. He is just another layman like you and I. The only difference between him and us is precisely his decision to take a different path, unrestricted and unrestrained by anything or anyone. He is a volunteer working with traffic personnel during peak hours.

On a personal note, his work requires him to be strong and perseverant. But despite the hectic rush of controlling the daily traffic Mr. Rai remains an equally joyful person in his every day life. Manjil Shrestha had a tete-a-tete with Mr. Rai and shares with you the joys he has had over the years as a self-motivated traffic controller.

Excerpt: Tell us about yourself. I was born in 2029 B.S. in Beldangi, Jhoda of Jhapa district. I came to Kathmandu in 2053 B.S. in the search of better job opportunities and opened a lodge in Gaushala. I have a joint family of 20 members. And it’s been almost half a decade since I started volunteering as a traffic controller.

How did you get inspired to volunteer as a traffic jam controller? I run a hotel in Gaushala. Being one of those parts of the Ring Road that is densely overloaded with big buses, trucks and micros, traffic jams had always been a sad thing to see while working in my hotel. The frustrated honking, hyper tensed faces of the drivers and the despair of a solitary traffic policeman trying to control the difficult scenario, really made me contemplate the situation a lot. I guess that inspired me to volunteer in the first place. I initially participated in a Traffic Awareness Program and, as time passed, I started to enjoy what I did. It became a part of who I am today.

How many hours do you volunteer in a day? Rai has been controlling the traffic over four consecutive years, and still continues to devote six to seven hours of his time every day to the busy streets. Does he get paid? He certainly does not. It is Rai’s desire to create less congested roads that keep him coming back to the traffic hot spots of Thapathali, Gaushala, Chabahil, New Baneshwor, and possibly anywhere there is a jam. In addition to alleviating jams, Rai hopes to encourage respect for traffic rules among restless and undisciplined local bus drivers, micro and tempo drivers and


Usually 6 to 7 hours a day, depending on the traffic jam. Normal jams can be cleared in less than two hours but traffic in Thapathali can take as long as 3 hours to clear. The roads have been widened in a lot of busy places, and yet that hasn’t been able to reduce the traffic jams. What’s your say on that? I don’t think wider roads will make a difference until a positive attitude towards traffic rules is shown by all drivers as well as

pedestrians. The new spaces will only be neutralizing the pressure of new vehicles on the road. The traffic jams will still be the same.

The bus, micro and tempo drivers and also pedestrians seem to be agitated by your presence. Does that bother you?

structures should be widened for a better traffic flow on peak hours. Traffic personnel must be stricter. An irrational habit of charging motorbikes with Rs. 200 penalty and micro buses with Rs.60 for stopping on the wrong place must be stopped.

Do you still want to continue volunteering?

I really don’t care what they think about me. But I do want my presence to pinch the soul of all the careless, sly, misbehaved and disobedient drivers and pedestrians. I am contributing to society as an unpaid volunteer. They should realize that fact and appreciate it. I may appear harsh and mean to them but that’s how I must be for a better result and their own safety.

Managing traffic during peak hours has become an addiction for me. It gives me pleasure and complete satisfaction. That’s where I find happiness now. The moments I feel true satisfaction in what I am doing is when I see systematic traffic flow with no obstructions. That’s actually all I have ever wanted to get from volunteering. It will be a long time before I retire from this.

How has your personal life been affected by your volunteering service?

Is there a remark that you remember in particular that someone made to you while you were volunteering on a busy street? (Smiles) I get a lot of that but one incident which moved me was when I was volunteering in Maitidevi Chowk three years ago. Some young college boys looked at me and I overheard them saying, “Who is this guy? Why is he here? Why is there always a Jam when he is there?” But I took this remark positively. People were acknowledging my presence and my being there made sure that drivers did not stop in an undesignated place. And, I would like to add (chuckling) that it’s not my presence that causes the Jam. I am there because there is one.

What does the traffic system of Kathmandu lack? A lot of things, actually - traffic lights aren’t much use during peak hours. Many times when we manually manage the busy traffic light areas, we have to violate the rules of the traffic light and regulate the flow of traffic based on the situation and time. The penalty charges for local transportation stopping and picking up passengers at the wrong spots must be properly implemented. Even today, a driver will pull over at the wrong spot, take as many passengers, bargain with the traffic police, disturb an entire lane for about ten minutes, pay the penalty of Rs.60 and still be on a profit. The cunning drivers pass through the same road dozens of times. They know the psyche of every traffic person in charge there. They know who is strict and who is liberal. Also, the pedestrians must abide by the traffic rules. It’s for their safety.

What can make the traffic flow more relaxed and easy? Overhead Bridges on the busy intersection of Thapathali, New Baneshwor, Chabahil and Maharajgunj could be a good step to begin with. Small micro buses shouldn’t be added to the existing number and instead mini buses that can carry more passengers must be given priority. Bottle neck road

The drawbacks and negative impacts of every action can always be minimized by perceiving it in a positive way. Had I not been volunteering, I would have more time for my joint family of 18 members and my hotel business. I could have earned some more money in these four and a half years. But I wouldn’t be as satisfied as I am today. And with the support I get from my family, I think I have been able to balance everything that I am doing. I once went to Banepa to attend Barha Barse Mela (a twelve year festival) where there was a tremendous jam. I came out of the bus and started easing the traffic and got us through along with all the others in the queue. I still remember the faces of my family members then. They were proud of what I did.

Any embarrassing moments? Believe me, it is an awkward moment to be offered money or presents when you are volunteering for a social cause just for personal satisfaction. Once a man on a motorbike came to me in Gaushala chowk and tried to give me some money as a note of appreciation and also a foreigner who did the same when I helped him steer out of busy traffic. I felt embarrassed and uneasy about it.

Do you have any words of advice for the readers or should I say the riders? Speeding and overtaking will not make you reach your destination any faster. The vehicles that you have left behind will surely catch up with you in the jam at the next stop. Therefore, I request people to be considerate of fellow drivers, and abide by traffic rules. And if you are a pedestrian, respect the presence of a traffic person who is there for your safety.Yes, they may seem mean and tense but standing under the scorching sun and whistling back to all the horns and managing the jam is quite an arduous task, which people do not always realise.



Being a Leo WE SERVE!

When I entered a restaurant at New Road to conduct an interview with the president of Leo Club, Leo Pramod Shrestha, I was expecting him to be in formal attire and with a serious face. But he was very different. Wearing the bright yellow and dark blue T-shirt of the Leo Club and with the signature friendly Leo smile, he looked very casual, approachable and just plain nice. Leo Pramod was the president of Leo club of Kathmandu Samakhusi for 2010/2011. Kathmandu Samakhusi is one of the Leo Clubs of District 325B. His role as the president of the club has come to an end but he has greater responsibilities now. He has been elected the coordinator of District 325B. Honestly I had no idea about District 325B. When asked he told us that, 325 is the code provided to Nepal by the international Leo Club. All the Leo Clubs of Nepal have been divided into two districts; Dis 325A and Dis 325B. There are a total of 25 clubs in 325A and a total of 52 clubs in 325B. The Leo Club of Kathmandu Samakhusi is one of those 52 clubs. Kathmandu Samakhusi has never been a standout club.Yes, good things were achieved, but it had never won the limelight or even shared it with the other clubs before Leo Pramod Shrestha came along. Joining Leo in 2007, Leo Pramod admits “it’s been a pretty long journey since then till now”. One of his biggest achievements was being honoured with Membership Growth Award by the International Leo Club. Wanting to learn more about the organisation and Leo Pramod’s role in it,Verse spent an inspirational afternoon with the Leo man of the hour.

What motivated you to join Leo all those years ago? I have been interested in social work since a very early age. That is what attracted me in the first place. Other than that, Leo is one of the best places to meet people from different areas of life. It is a great platform to learn about other people’s experience. Many people actually join in for the key purpose of social networking. Ever since I have joined Leo I have come across so many different people and learned so much from them.

What are the aims of the organization? “We serve”, it is the motto of Leo and that is what we do.

During the time you served as the president of Leo club of Kathmandu Samakhusi, what are the services you have done? As long as I have been involved in the club, I had a wish to organise a health camp. I got my wish fulfilled during my service


period as the president. We organised the free health check-up camp in Nuwakot. It focused on women’s health and eye-sight check-ups. Along with that we also organized a free health camp for the old age home.There was a cultural preservation programs at Mhyapi. Then we also organized an interactive program with children the Nawakiran Ashram at Hattiban and supplied stationeries and sports equipments for them. On 30th December 2010 we conducted a charity program for blind students of Sanjeevani School at Dhulikhel. In the program we distributed tape recorders and musical instruments for classes VIII, IX, and X for their study.

What is one thing you did during your service that you are really proud of? There are so many, it is hard to pick one. But one thing that I am really pleased with is the health camp that we organized. It was self satisfying- a long time dream that came true. Other than that, we broke a cliché in our club too which I am really happy about. We moved from doing regular programs and initiated fundraising programs.We raised Rs. 80,000 which is a record for the club. Out of the total amount we donated equipments worth Rs. 35,000 to Sanjeevani School.

Are you satisfied with the services you have provided? Is there anything that you feel that you still missed to do? No, not really. I did everything that I possibly could do as the president of the club. Moreover, I accomplished my lifelong dream of conducting a health camp which is my biggest achievement. We did not organise more than nine programs that year but it was a successful year. Aantepachi safal bhaincha.

Any advice for the youths of Nepal? The best thing you can do is explore yourself. So, utilise your time and get to know the creative, athletic side of yourself. Find your identity. Leo helped me find mine, may be it will help you to. Else, there are other mediums as well.You can join a club or get into sports. The alternatives are plenty. Leo is more than just a club. It is an opportunity for selfdevelopment. The word ‘Leo’ itself stands for Leadership, Experience and Opportunity. Becoming a Leo is just a step away. All you have to do is find the nearest Leo Club and ask. For more information you can visit the Leo office located at Mustang Holiday Inn, Thamel, Kathmandu. Or search online at

INTERVIEW AND TEXT : Akriti Shilpakar

An Afternoon with Shambhu Pd. Poudyal, Director of Nabil Bank It was a bright sunny day when Shambhu Prasad Poudyal, the Director of Nabil Bank, walks into the coffee shop at 2:30pm, his grey tuxedo appearing suave and sophisticated, as usual, for the interview. Calm and collected, he settles down, orders a cappuccino. As we start our conversation, I notice that with spots of grey hair and fine lines on his face, he gives the impression of a wise, no nonsense kind of a person. And why shouldn’t he be? He has been a respectable figure in the banking industry for almost 35 years.

the lucrative salary range that they provide to their employees. “You compare the salary, and grooming opportunities given in banks to their employees with any other sector and you’ll see that banks will always be on top.” Not just that, he believes it is also because banks now are equipped with many modern technologies in tune with the advanced world, which helps young minds flourish more than in most other institutions. It is only natural for the young and talented crème of the crop to be attracted to this sector.

Beginning the interview by discussing his family, I was told that Mr. Shambhu was born the second child in a family of three sons. When he was 4 years old, his mother passed away. Growing up, he shares fond memories of his father, who he claims to be his best friend and his inspiration. And now that he’s the father of two young adults himself, he feels he shares similar chemistry with his children.

But his message to those interested in joining banking sector is that “Just the idea of working in a bank is not enough make sure you are able to represent it! You can always learn and augment your knowledge, and skill. But always remember that hard work and sincerity is the key to becoming a good banker.”

Nabil Bank is known to be the first joint venture bank of Nepal. Running in its twenty sixth year, it has become one of the most successful commercial banks earning the good trust of its customers and providing quality service. Since he was elected the public director in 1986, Mr. Shambhu has been working with the bank close to its inception. He had been working assiduously in the banking sector even before Nabil. Starting his career at the Nepal Ratra Bank in 1982, he has worked with regulating institutions like Rastra Beema Sansthan in leading positions. He was also appointed the national advisor of national insurance committee by the Ministry of Finance. Although he has worked with other corporations, a glance at his career path is telling that most of his years were spent in the banking sector. “Monetary institutes that are accountable to public’s interest need more sincere and honest people. That’s what enticed me to banking, initially,” he explains. “In my younger years, more than anything, I knew I was a sincere and honest person and that I wanted to be in a position where I could represent the public, and make sure that their hard earned money was taken care of astutely.” Headstrong on accountability and incisive, he shares that the perk of banking is born from the professional working environment it facilitates, and being able to deliver service at the right time.

Digressing to other things, we begin discussing his youthful years. Shambu smiles, sips his cappuccino and goes on, “When people look at my profile, they might assume that I was very serious, career oriented person, but I was very different from that.” He then shared his love for sports, and lightened up the serious tone. He retold his stories of teen years playing soccer with friends, leading youth clubs and, with pride in his eyes, reclaims that his club was the first to introduce snooker in Nepal. As he spoke more of his achievements and involvements, including being member of the Red Cross Society and the mountaineering club, I couldn’t help but wonder how he must have been a leader and a role model even to people of his generation in his wonder years. And now, after many years, he is still regarded as an inspiration by many in our generation. Upon asking him what message he has for today’s youth, he says “Youth are the power of the nation. For me, youth are not to be called youth because of their age but because of their stamina and their strength to stand up against the system to correct it. We didn’t have the exposure like you do and now that you have the technology and liberal minds at your disposal make sure you utilize that for the better. We were confined to studies, but now you have many more creative outlets to hone your abilities and potential. You have the time and people to support you.” “Kaam garna ko lagi janne hoina, janna ko lagi kaam garna parcha!”

We all know that these days, banks have become one of the most sought after workplaces for youth. He believes this is because of

TEXT : Ritesh Bhandari 69


Ingredients (serves 8)


375g dried penne pasta 100g green beans, trimmed 1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted 2 green onions, finely chopped 1 Lebanese cucumber, halved, sliced 250g cherry tomatoes, halved 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard 1 tablespoon pure cream

Method Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling, salted water, following packet directions, adding beans for last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain. Transfer to a bowl. Cool. Make dressing: Place herbs, oil, vinegar, mustard and cream in a screw-top jar. Secure lid. Shake to combine. Add capsicum, pine nuts, onion, cucumber, tomato and dressing to pasta mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Serve.


Snowman Yes, there are cafes in Kathmandu with similar features, but Snowman has its own unique comfort. So much so, that even on one’s first visit, one might feel that they’ve been there already. TEXT : Gokul Atreya PHOTO:Sumit Shrestha


athmandu - the busiest city in Nepal, where people from all walks of life face a hectic day to day schedule. Filled with restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and cinema halls, this city has been the center point for many people from different corners of the country. Different people have different ideas on establishing themselves in this city. And on this course, one man, Mr. Ram Pd. Manandhar, came up with an idea of opening a small cafe in Jhochen in 1965. With ideas from his colleagues, he decided to name it “The Snowman Cafe”. It has been a popular cafe in the city ever since. Little did Mr.Ram Pd. Manandhar know that this idea would later be one of the most popular junctions for young people in Kathmandu. Since it was started in the mid 60’s, the cafe has been very popular amongst hippies, informs Raju Manandhar (son of Ram Pd. Manandhar). Snowman provides its customers with cakes, pies and coffee - treats that have been popular since the day it was established. When inquiring about where the cakes are made, Raju says “We bake everything here, everything is homemade and everybody seems to enjoy them this way.” Rightly so, Snowman’s has been able to entice everybody with their delicious desserts from their very first visit.They offer their customers black forest, cheese cake, apple pie and arguably the world’s best chocolate cake at very affordable prices. Not always busy, Snowman provides customers with a very comfortable ambiance too. The different paintings adorning the walls were made by foreigners who visited the café over the years. Another note worthy element is the music. Without being too genrespecific, Snowman always provides its customers with groovy music.You can hear artists ranging from Tracy Chapman to Mr.Big on their stereo, soothing and comforting to anybody at anytime. Yes, there are cafes in Kathmandu with similar features, but Snowman has its own unique comfort. So much so, that even on one’s first visit, one might feel that they’ve been there already. There is nothing fancy about where it is located and how it is decorated. It just feels homely. I personally have visited this place more than a dozen times and I can

assure anyone that there are no other cafes in Kathmandu as comfortable as this one. Better yet, you don’t have to be rich to go there. Good service for a good price is what you get. Considered a cool place to hangout, Snowman’s two floors are often packed with youngsters both before and after school. With more than four decades of service, Snowman has been through its fair share of struggles. Having conquered all obstacles, Snowman has rightfully earned its place as one of the best cafes in Kathmandu, and indeed in the world.


restaurants 72

Durbar Marg


New Road


Magic Beans Sherpa Mall DurbarMarg, Kathmandu 4230914 Gazebo Restro Lounge DurbarMarg 9841397603 Coffee Shop Durbar Marg 4221711 Ghar-E-Kabab DurbarMarg 4221711 Vintage Café & Pub Woodland Complex, DurbarMarg 4254831 KFC Restaurant/Pizza Hut DurbarMarg 4226287

Attic North Gate, Lazimpat Bhumi Restro Lounge Lazimpat 4412193 Olive Garden Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat 4441818 Street Café Lazimpat 9841657041 Pizza Express Lazimpat 2161212 Shambala Garden Café Shangri-la Hotel, Lazimpat 4412999 Him Thai Restaurant &Bar Lazimpat 4418683

Shisha Café New Road 4263668 Café Olla Restaurant & Bar Kantipath, Jamal 4232673 Vishram Restaurant Basantapur 2012127 Revolving Restaurant Ratna Plaza, 4th Floor, NewRoad 4241712 E.D.E.N. Food Court & Lounge Bar Kathmandu Mall 4150062

Rum Doodle Jytha Street, Thamel 4248692, 424815 Sisha Terrace Bar & Restaurant Thamel 2091137 Jatra Thamel 4256622 The Factory Thamel 4701185, 4701187 Fire and Ice Pizzaria, Thamel 4250210 Aqua Java zing Thamel 4254809



Babar Mahal

Moksh Gyanmandala, Jhamsikhel 5528362 Café De Patan Mangalbazar 5537599 Patan Museum Café Patan Durbar Square 5524694 Dhokaima Café Patan Dhoka 5522113 Absolute Bar Hotel Narayani Complex, Pulchowk 5521408

The Café Hyatt Regency Taragaon, Boudha 4491234 Rox Restaurant Hyatt Regency Taragaon, Boudha 4491234 Boudha Stupa Restaurant And Café Boudha 2130681 The Bakery Café Boudha 4464438

Walter’s Restaurant & Bar Babar Mahal Revisited 4253337 Baithak Babar Mahal Revisited 4267346 Shogun Restaurnat & Bar Babar Mahal Revisited 4263720 Chez Caroline Babar Mahal 4263070


Everest Base Camp Trek

Up and Down the Mountain


tooping to board the 16 seated Sitar Air Jet bound for Lukla and the Himalayas, my thoughts bloat with fantasised fables and imagined trails. The mind is a leech when it comes to expectation. For the past few months whilst working in a ‘quintessential’ English Pub, mechanically serving pint after pint to already inebriated customers, my mind has been premeditating my Nepali adventures; weaving threads of information as thin as gossamer into a lucid tapestry of tall trekking tales. So as I seat myself, instantaneously reaching for my belt -Lukla having been quoted “The most dangerous airport in the world”- I tell myself to curb all calculations so as to live presently. Moment by moment.

Himalaya flag swinging in bold motion. We pass O mani stones, napping porters and yaks with heavy loads and seesaw gaits; pause at the dubious wooden sheds boasting “2-6pm Happy Hour” and loiter for bemoaning dogs eyeing Gary’s canvas bag brimming with biscuits. At Phakding we lunch for Dal Bhat (one of many to come). Reaching Monjo I’m shown to my room, a 6x6ft MDF box, adjacent to the lodge’s only toilet. I shrug it off: clearly the pure air has drugged me with nonchalance. But later, cocooned in my sleeping bag, my mind is orchestrated by a symphony of lumbering rats, grunting floorboards and sluggish slashes followed by a flush. Not a moment of shuteye. Ke gar ne! A hearty breakfast of Tibetan Bread (so hearty my Swiss army knife finally finds its calling), omelette, honey and masala tea sees me striding forth to Namche Bazar, always following two steps behind Babu our assistant guide who saintly renders to my automatism of “And how do you say…. in Nepali?”. Reaching ‘Namche Bowl’, we meander through tunnelled streets of North Face fleeces, Fair Aisle wool beanies, yak bells and mountain literature. Suddenly we are back in Thamel, only 2040m higher. So we retreat to our lodge for a game of “Backpacker: The Ultimate Travel Game”.

An air stewardess bends down with a silver tray offering ‘mango chews’ and cotton wool. She is wearing full make-up, a pencil skirt and heeled, patent court shoes. Her composed demeanour and soft, scarlet smile juxtaposed with the dozen or so sleepy trekkers’ shrivelling in their seats makes for a sublimely surreal scenario. One that wasn’t written! (Well, at least in my mind.) As the jet wheels from beneath us spiral into the morning haze, I turn to my window and like a child press my cheek against the sticky plexiglass. And there I remain for the next half an hour; fixated, sucking on my mango chew, watching the heavenly Himalayas roll past as in a cartoon flipbook. Until the equally illusive Lukla 200m uphill runway appears in view and with it an unremitting replay of unnerving ‘Lukla Landing’ Youtube clips… We survive! After a warming brew of Tibetan Butter Tea, we’re headed for Phakding with our walking poles and the Sacred


After an acclimatisation day ‘strolling’ to the Everest View Hotel and Khumjung to pay witness to the Yeti scalp and Sir Edmund Hilary School, we set off for Tengboche. Feeling quite invincible, Mark and I venture ahead of the group, scrambling up the rocky terrain like mountain goats. Only to be called down soon after and told off for losing ourselves on the Old Yak Trail. So our leader, Binay, taking authority sets the pace naming us ‘Team Bistare’ and we snake somnolently to our goal. On arrival our eyes meet Her Majesty Chomolungma and neighbouring Lhotse and Nupste. Seemingly floating on a carpet of celestial cloud they peer omnisciently down at the German Bakery. Even at 3820m there is cake!


and mind half-closed to the world. At some point we meet two men walking in the opposite direction who, on seeing us, turn back on themselves to relieve Babu from his load. Taking it in turns, they haul me from one another’s back dragging their feet for over three hours until we reach Periche’s Tokyo Medical University Clinic and I’m seated before Adam who hands me two pink pills and a mug of orange juice. That evening delirium finds me as my body oscillates between high and low temperatures and I exhaust the lodge’s supply of blankets. I awake the next morning to Babu performing Puja for me as he knocks his Mala against my forehead, mumbles mantras from his Sadhana and tosses herbs and plants out of the window. Fortunately I’m a practising Buddhist, and rather than taking alarm at his mystical incantations, I smile as he greets me with “Good morning Bahini”. He asks me to slowly rise from my slumber and begin our descent to Lukla. I look at him with pathetic eyes, swollen with tears of failure and resentment, and answer him reluctantly, “OK”.

The following morning, shielding our faces with buffs, sunglasses and factor 50 Sun cream, we set off for Dingboche, stalking our way through winding woodland, crossing bridges cloaked in prayer flags and circling Stupas, old and new. The ascent is quite demanding and proves gruelling to those few members already suffering from altitude sickness. We arrive at our lodge, sloth like. Swimming through that ‘snooze’ period when your first morning alarm has sounded and with groggy thoughts and groggy vision slowly, slowly images come into focus and actualise. Indeed, it’s sometimes quite overwhelming to comprehend the sheer beauty and scale of the landscape that you tend to estrange it, labelling it with “not of this world”.

Taking me by the hand he leads me along the twisting trail, pausing every five minutes to let me rest and sip flat coca cola. Hand in hand, we hum “Om Mani Padme Hung”. He teaches me Nepali and sings to me “Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes raining, sometimes singing”.

On our second acclimatisation day, headed for Chhukung at 4730m, the effect is dreamy, otherworldly. As if promenading in a parallel universe; a plane of existence where time stops ticking and magical phenomena breed. Where the land and sky merge, shaping an ethereal mass of ivory blaze. The feeling is vertical! Until later that evening, when I’m lying FLAT in bed tossing lethargically as my stomach swells with cramps. The following morning I’m significantly weakened, but try to stomach a few spoonfuls of porridge to see me to Lobuche. The few spoonfuls see me 20 minutes along before I disgorge of them and continue to wander like a drunk to Thokla, 4620m. There I’m shrouded in several blankets as a cold sweat and shivers swathe my bones. Babu spoon-feeds me garlic soup, which my senses radically reject as I run for the doors to retch and writhe for an audience of over 50 people, all taking their lunch in the sunshine. An American medic soon comes to my aid, and pointing to my heart rate and oxygen saturation levels strongly advises me to descend unless I’m prepared to “fork outa twenty thousand dollar Helicopter ride outa there”. So after another grand performance, I try to walk, only to fall. Babu, 5ft tall and small boned in stature, heaves me onto his back and begins to jog down the hill. At that moment I give way to total exhaustion and remain slumped over his back, my eyes

TEXT : Liza Weber


writer’s block

The future is now TEXT : Ashesh Maharjan


’m not surprised, not at all. I knew all along that this day would come. I knew it right away, back in 2008. Well, I know it’s easy to boast about your ability to predict the future when the future is ‘now’ and nobody is really going to know if you really predicted it right. But it doesn’t matter at all, since it’s too late and nothing can be done.You have no choice but to walk all the way to your office, a few miles from here, and your home is a few miles in the opposite direction. This place, in Maitighar, used to be a busy traffic island. Now it’s a park. We come here to ease our poor legs, since they have been working all morning. I live in Lagankhel and work at the Bir Hospital in Sundhara and it’s a tough day. Anyway, it’s 2048 A.D. and Kathmandu is a dark, cold city. It can hardly be called a city as there are no automobiles running on the street anymore, just a few ambulances pass by now and then. Ambulances don’t scream as they used to, because the road is all theirs now. We had a few of these things around till 2015, some distinctly rich could put up to ride till then. But the unfortunate ones wouldn’t tolerate them. I heard they flipped those cars and burnt them. Still, we see a few aeroplanes, since they are fueled elsewhere. But, aeroplanes are of not much use to us since there are only a few fortunate ones who can afford to get the hell out. Load shedding schedules were modified every six months or so, all the while lengthening the dark hours, till it stabilized about a decade ago. Since then we have had three hours of electricity a day, three days a week. Television and music systems are no longer a part of daily life. The crime rate has gone up. People have been shifting from one alternative resource to other since. The owners of candle businesses, those with manual industries, and the few with land have become the wealthiest ones in our society. But they are no less anxious than you or I. They have their own aches to ease when it comes to transportation and efficiency. People have changed professions. Most of them are turning toward agriculture since people in the city are short of food and it’s quite impossible to transport food from elsewhere without fuel. I used to believe that everything happens for good. Now I don’t. Since I work in a hospital, I’d observed some brighter sides of the crisis. Less people suffered


from respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, throat inflammation, chest pain, congestion and a host of other different diseases pollution would bring. But that was only during the few years that followed the crisis. After a few more years, people poured in once again. A massive number of malnourished people came to us. With the abated food supply everything had started to become more expensive. The poor were the first to suffer miserably. People who studied at night in the candle light suffered all different kinds of defects in vision. Myopia, hypermetropia, purblindness to name a few. Every now and then we heard that an international agency had arrived to deliver aid, but it never happened. Or maybe the donation was never large enough to be noticed. Or maybe we had expected too much. Or it could be the same old story of dirty politics. Politicians- they never seem to back off. Not even in these desperate circumstances when we seem to be going backward. When I was young, back in 2008, we had lots of vehicles around. Anyone older than their mid forties should be able to recall the dreamy scene back then when Ratnapark was just a few minutes drive from Lagankhel. Now, it’s a two hour walk on a day like today and an hour and a half when I’m in a hurry. Legs are the kings of the street, bicycles too. I wish I hadn’t damaged my old bicycle after I had my motorcycle. I guess I shall buy a new one soon. It’s hard to believe I once had a motorbike. I see it every day in my garage, but I miss riding it. It had only been a few years of luxury. I was a kid back then with a thirst for speed and risk. I was amazed by the way bikes could make you feel the rush of the air. Then, we ran out of fuel. And it was never the same again. I keep telling myself not to be nostalgic, but I can’t seem to help it. Not a day goes by with the thought that kid in me is long gone. This old man is all there’s left. I got to live with that. And hope. Hope is a good thing, probably the best of things.Yes, I hope that someday the dust covered piece of metal in my garage is going to come alive once again. And I’m going to feel the same rush of air, with the rays of crisp sun on my shoulder. Well, I know it seems unlikely. But not impossible, or is it?

The Imprints of a Soul - Evangeline Soleil (Part 3) Rebirth Give me your hand, The child whispered to me. I’ll take you somewhere Alive and free. It was in those hands, I saw the fate Of awakening. In those shimmering eyes, I saw the life that was calling. A longing to be. Another chance, you may call it. The day it all began.

(Part 4) The End of the Beginning I remember. I remember the tears behind the veil. The cries Of scales Digging into my pink flesh. The vultures arriving. Talons and decay. Nothing left. “One last breath, I beg you.” She cried. And as she opened her eyes, the madness died. The vermillion pools of Scarlet red. Another stranger she thought was dead. He said to her, ‘Believe in me when the candle flickers, behind the iron gate.’ ‘Don’t let it fade away.’ ‘Just wait.


art space

Apol Sta. Maria



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Verse [Aug-Sep 2011]  

Issue 4- Verse Magazine - August-September 2011

Verse [Aug-Sep 2011]  

Issue 4- Verse Magazine - August-September 2011