Everything that is wrong with the Education System of Nepal

The classes begin at 10 am. Its 9:35 and the students are all scattered in the school ground, everyone in their own groups, doing their own thing. Everyone trying to fit in someplace or the other.

Its 9:45 am – the bell rings * Ting Ting Ting * — the scattered students all move together to form their respective lines for the morning assembly. Ivan Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning is so perfectly applied on the school students.

Its 9:55 am. The bell rings again *Ting Ting Ting* – all the students gradually moved to their classes. They called it discipline but the students were turning into robots, reacting on bell sounds and acting as they were told to. If anyone comes late, they are punished, because how dare their houses be too far or how dare they get stuck in traffic jam and miss one great day of coming closer to turn into a robot.

Its 10 am – the first class begins – Its Mathematics period. “Students, turn on your Math book, take out your calculators and while you are at that, make sure you turn on your mathematical brain or else get punished.” , says the teacher. The student good at math becomes the teacher’s favorite whilst the bad ones get punished, because how dare they not solve a problem they could not understand. – 40 minute passed – * Ting Ting Ting*

With no break in the middle, the English teacher enters and says, “Make sure you go from being logical to being creative in 0.001 seconds because you are my students.”, students who were trying to prove that   “ LHS = RHS “ for the last 40 minutes, now suddenly have to shift their minds to “Where the Mind is without fear” and interpret the hidden meaning that the poet is trying to convey. But they also have to make sure that their interpretation is exactly the same as the teacher’s interpretation because hey, the teacher is always right. The 40 minutes pass. *Ting Ting Ting*

This goes on for 8 periods straight with one lunch break in between and maybe one 10-minute short break. With all that “studying” and “acquiring education” , the students then have to go home with rather heavy bags, and then with the little ounce of energy left with them, finish the “not-so-many” assignments given by all 8 of the teachers.

Oh well, and when there are exams, you either mug up all the answers and memorize everything that there is on the books and textbooks and get your “intelligence” or your “eligibility” and your learnings of one entire year tested in 3 hours with 8-9 questions. And dare the students get low scores or fail in any one of the subjects, they are criticized by their parents, by their teachers, by relatives, even by the aliens that don’t even exist in the planet.

Our Education System believes that “Education” is finishing your schooling, your college and your university studies with straight ‘A’s or at least a ‘B’ and acquiring a certificate that proves that this particular person is educated. This is exactly what’s wrong with the education system of our country. The students are given information about various things and areas but they aren’t taught to utilize those information. Students are taught to mug up chemical equations and science theories, but they aren’t taught basic life values. I am always amused to see little school children spitting on the road or throwing wrappers on the road even when their parents are with them. What is the point in finding out the value of ‘x’ if the kids are still throwing the wrappers of their chocolates on the road? What is the purpose of knowing the name of father of Computer Science is if you don’t know how to respect fellow human beings.

The school does not teach the students life values such as respect and empathy. Rather, it implants the feeling of competition within you – competition not to make yourself better but to compete against others. They are not taught to be okay with failures but are taught that if they fail, they are not worthy of anything. The only person given respect inside the classroom is the kid who comes first. The kid who is a great musician but is not that good at studies is shouted at, humiliated in class in front of all his/her friends. The notebook of the kid who loves to write is torn apart every time he/she is found scribbling down a plot of a new story. The kid who doesn’t like to play sport are forced into it because it’s compulsory. Everyone is made to participate in art even though some students are not even interested in holding the paint brush. Everyone should have write essays and everyone should participate in talent shows. Students are molded in such a way that they start believing that if they are not good at studies, they are not good at anything. Their interests are not motivated but are suppressed in such a way that between assignments and mugging up and vivas and exams, they lose the interest or their passion.

The teenage suicide rate of Nepal is increasing so rapidly, and I believe that one of the major push factors in it is the screwed up education system of Nepal. Yes, students should be taught discipline but at the same time, they should be taught to lead themselves into becoming unique individuals, not to follow others or fit into what they are not. Yes, students should be taught to compete, but not with others, – with themselves! Yes, students should be motivated to win, but they should be taught that it is okay to fail. They must be taught to work hard to achieve success and failure is only a small obstacles in his/her path of success. The students must be appreciated if they study well but if they are good at something else and are looking to take it forward, the school should motivate the children. Intelligence is not restricted just to the parameters of the grades you get, but your analytical skills, your thinking capacity, your opinions and so on.

We are taught from our very childhood that school is our second home and we are taught that education is the pathway to success. Let’s work towards making our second home a place where we are actually educated with knowledge as well as values. Let the children believe that school is not a place where they are shaped into someone that the society believes is correct, but it is a place that gives a hand in building them as what they believe they want to become. We have so many people in our country who hold so much potential, are they losing their confidence in their potential because of this education system?

 

Is Fair Only The Lovely?

Dear Fair and Lovely Brand Owners and Promoters,

I grew up watching the “Fair and Lovely” or “Fair and handsome” advertisements that are all over the television channels. The advertisements of your product has played a very significant role in my growing up process. Why, you may ask? To put it very straight, I have a dusky complexion – which does not fit into the stereotypical definition of beauty that is assigned by the society we live in. Whenever I would watch the advertisement of your product, I would feel like I have done something wrong to have been born into this skin color, and I felt like I should change it. Well, you should be happy because that is what your advertisements promoted anyway! The basic story-line always was that a dark-skinned girl is experiencing failures, rejection, hatred etc. from people around her until she uses your product that makes her dark skin go away and makes her fair and ta-da, she gets promoted, she has more friends, many boys ask her out and she is loved by everyone basically.

Imagine an 8-year-old girl watching this advertisement, looks at herself in the mirror and sees that she is the same skin color as the girl in the former part of the advertisement. What thoughts does she have inside her mind then? Let’s brainstorm over it! Well, she might think she is not beautiful enough, she might feel as though people won’t be friends with her, she might think she is not smart enough and mainly, she would feel like she must change her skin color. I have a 7-year-old niece who tried to wash her dark skin away by excessively using some whitening soaps on her legs. And the worst part is that all her mom did was laugh at what her daughter was doing. Later she confronted her daughter saying that the dark skin will go away if she studies well. A 7-year old girl, who knows nothing about the world, has been conditioned into the notion that she is ugly because she has dark skin and she can either use some whitening product or she can study well so as to remove the darkness in her skin. Well, cheers to that! The media promotes fair skin. The parents promote fair skin. And from very childhood, little girls and boys grow up thinking that fair skin is the epitome to describe beautiful or handsome. Awesome! Well congratulations to you, because your product has a great role to play in encouraging this perception.

To be honest, I am not against fairness products or whitening creams. I am not against your product, let me specify this.  I am only against the representation of these products by the media. I, personally have gone through some major self-esteem issues in my early childhood because of these advertisements. I would look at myself and all I saw was an ugly girl, and I associated it with everything. I thought I was not good enough to come first in my class. I thought I was not capable of making friends. To be honest, I don’t remember finding myself beautiful until the age of 13 or 14, and that impacted a hell lot in my life. And to top it off, I had a lot of relatives telling me that I was uglier than my sister because she has fair skin. I would secretly use Fair and Lovely before going to school and all I wanted was fairer skin. As I grew up, I became more confident about my skin. How? – Because of my mother, who made sure that I was comfortable in my skin and in my body. She made sure I did not degrade my self-image because of what others had opinions of me. She would call me beautiful even when I thought I was not. She would always tell me that we should not focus on what we look like because there is much more to a person and there are no parameters to beauty. And that gave me confidence. I started looking at myself and I liked how I look like.

I am one in a million people who are affected by your advertisements. We talk about racism in a large scale, and I think these advertisements of fairness products are also promoting racism. In the earlier 20th century, the term “mongoloids” was used to refer to people with down-syndrome, highlighting on the fact that Mongoloids are not as capable as Caucasians, and that became one of the things that triggered racial discrimination against Mongoloids in the earlier days. Quite similar to this, your advertisements also promote that dark-skinned people are not as capable as the fair-skinned people are, and that has a greater impact on people because it is the media that is promoting the idea in a very large scale. I mean, it was an Indian advertisement originally, that was translated into many other languages including Nepali so that people of all language understand it and believe in it. And it was promoted internationally. That is how important the media thinks promoting fair skin is. You want to sell your product, I get it. You have a huge market demand because of it. But I think we are in the time where we are well-aware about how much media can affect a person’s self-esteem. Then, how come you haven’t understood that? Why is it that all that your product promotes is how magical it is to have a brighter skin complexion? Why?

As much as I hate it, your product has a great market value. Your advertisements get a lot of audience. So here’s an advice! Why don’t you use your media platform to aware people that every skin type is beautiful and you don’t have to have ”fair” skin to achieve great things in life? For once, instead of promoting your idea of what “beauty” is, try promoting “self-love” and maybe then your advertisement will start making sense. Because you know what? Not everyone’s mothers teach them to love themselves. In some families, dark-skinned people are considered as curse and your advertisements put a cherry on that cake. Well, this is just an advice, take it if you want! And please once in a while, ask yourself, is fair only the lovely?

With hope for change,

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Six blissful days – Mumbai IDYEP

Rotaract, I believe is a place where you explore yourself while exploring new things, you meet a lot of new people and make lifelong relationships, and while doing that you also develop yourself and contribute in benefitting and uplifting the society. I was 17 when I first joined Rotaract Club of Kasthamandap – unknown of what it was and what it meant to be a Rotaractor. I would say I tumbled into Rotaract while trying to explore new things, and I definitely fell into the right place. 2 and half years later in Rotaract and the greatest opportunity came my way when I was selected amongst the six people to participate in the Inter-District Youth Exchange Program (IDYEP) 2016 to Mumbai.

When I first read the email of my selection in the program, I was quite skeptical about if I wanted to go. I was concerned about missing a lot of classes, and… oh well, that’s all I was concerned about. But then I decided to give it a go and make the most of this opportunity. Little did I know, a great chunk of beautiful surprises awaited me.

The journey began on 27th August 2016 when we were all called for the orientation in Entrance Cafe, Pulchowk. The day I met with the team. Five of us who were in Kathmandu came for the orientation while one didn’t because he lives in Biratnagar. The first day I met with them, I was concerned if I would be able to jell up with these people, being the socially awkward person that I am. But I got very positive vibes from everyone from the very start.

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Then started continuous phone calls from our team leader telling us to start packing and to convert our NCs into ICs. But the procrastinators that we are, did everything the night before we had to travel, leading to a sleepless night just before we started travelling for almost 50 hours continuously.

The next day we had to catch a microbus at 8 am for Biratnagar. However, sleepless nights plus unfinished packing plus procrastination again led to most of us being late. We made the bus wait for half an hour until all four of us arrived. One of us had already started travelling a day before so as to meet us directly in Biratnagar. After delaying the bus on self-demand, we started our travel. The travel was rather amazing and fun, except for the road with a lot of twists and turns, and have us a bit of a hard time. However, we reached Biratnagar with a lot of excitement and happiness.

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Then we finally met with our team leader, the one and only Sajal Pokharel. He took us to his place to rest for a while, freshen up and get ready for the farewell program organised by Rotaract Club of Biratnagar. We were given a very warm and heartfelt farewell by the club.

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We had what was our last proper Nepali dinner for the next 10 days. Then came the part where we had to cross the border. For someone like me, for whom it’s the first time crossing the border, I was quite amazed and shocked by the carefreeness of the people in the border. We finally reached Jogbani station, where we witnessed everyone staring at us as if we had come from another planet. Amused and shocked by everyone’s behaviour, we all went to a corner to avoid eye contact while our team leader went to book our tickets to Katihaar.  Our train was scheduled to 2:30 am which meant that we had to wait for 4 long hours.

The 4-hour wait which we thought would be very long passed in the blink of an eye as we were bonding. During the wait happened a lot of things, I celebrated my 20th birthday with absolutely new people in my life, we were scolded by the people of the station for making too much noise, laughing our hearts out… and oh so many memories. Finally came the time to get on the train, and to finally have my first train experience. The weather perfectly complimented the excitement I was feeling. The thunderstorm, the drizzle and the cold breeze was all just perfect. We were basically going to live on trains for the next two days, so we were preparing ourselves for the journey. After we reached Katihaar at 6 in the morning, we were in a rush because we had our train at 6:30 to Mumbai.

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The 36-hour train to Mumbai was another unforgettable experience. A lot of inside jokes, nicknames, and funny stories were the outcome of the journey.

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After 36 hours, we reached our long-awaited destination, Mumbai. My first impression of Mumbai was that it was way too crowded, and full of people rushing to reach somewhere. In the Kalyan Station, we were picked up by our first host club, Rotaract Club of Ambernath. We were tired, and hungry and needed a proper bath, but as soon as we got off our train, we again had to get into a local train in the very crowded luggage section, standing with our luggage on, – that was our first local train experience. The best part of this day was the dinner, – a proper dinner after 2 days, and wow, it was so delicious. After the dinner and the formal Rotaract letterhead exchange, we went back to the apartment we were staying in, where began the streak of sleepless nights for the next five days.

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The second day started off with our first dose of extremely spicy breakfast and also being acquainted with the Bangladeshi team and Delhi team. We were then ‘given away’ to another host club – Rotaract Club of Ambernath East. The club that introduced us to the phrase ‘What happens in Ambernath stays in Ambernath’. The club that gave us the most fun car rides and bike rides. The club that took us to Parle-G factory. And the club that hosted the most epic pool party!

The third morning started off with our third host club coming to pick us up. Again, we were given away to Rotaract Club of Uhlaasnagar Sapnagarden- the club with the sweetest people who are very good with names! This day, the Tamil Nadu team joined us. This day was a religious one! We were given a tour to some of the famous temples of Uhlaasnagar and a taste of their culture. With Ganesh Chaturthi the next day, the excitement in the streets were so evident. We were very much pumped up because of the energy we were witnessing, except for our team leader. He was “pumped down”- sick, in the bed for the next 2 days. We had to leave him in Uhlaasnagar only and move on as we were given away to another club the very evening.

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We were so tired after three days of fun and sleepless nights that we all fell asleep throughout the train journey to meet our next host club. Rotaract Club of Saraswati College and Rotaract Club of Navi Mumbai jointly hosted us that evening. Rotaract Club of Saraswati College, the club with the most active engineers and Rotaract Club of Navi Mumbai, the club with the very adventurous members. We were set to go on a trek the next day, so we slept earlier than previous days to charge ourselves up. The next day, we were taken to a 7-hour trek, which as we were told was supposed to be very easy – so easy we could do it in our normal shoes. But, it was the complete opposite. However, it was the most fun we had. We trekked all the way to 2,400 metres above sea level to Prabalghad, Kalawantin. After coming back from the trek, we freshened up and went to Saraswati College for Ganesh Chaturthi. Then, we were instructed by our next home club to sleep early this night because the next day was going to be hectic.

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The next day, we were again given away to another club, – Rotaract Club of Dombivli. The club that made sure all our wishes on our bucket list got checked off. We were reunited with our team leader again on this day, and we were finally feeling complete. This club had warned us that this day was going to be hectic. And we were ready for it because we are Nepalese people full of energy. This club made sure we did not sleep all night. we went to all the exciting places on this day, Bandra Bandstand, McDonalds, Marine Drive, Gateway of India and so on. This was the day we danced on the road with the local people.This was the day we had that extremely fun yet emotional dinner with RID 3142. This was the day we actually experienced the excitement of Ganesh Chaturthi. The day we didn’t sleep at all.

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The final day, the day we left Mumbai. This day started in a lot of rush of getting ready, finishing packing and leaving for the station but whilst in that rush, there was also a sadness within us because this extraordinary journey was coming to an end. When we reached the station after having lunch, we were waiting for our train, while we came to know that it had been delayed for 7 hours. So, normally a news like this is a bad news but for us, it was 7 more hours to spend in Mumbai with our friends. We went to Marine Drive again, and the memories we created on this day were probably the most unforgettable ones. All my wishes had been fulfilled in this trip, except for the one, that was to go to Starbucks. However, I was so satisfied with this trip that it didn’t matter that this wish wasn’t fulfilled or not. But in the last hour, when we having dinner and were already very emotional, these amazing people made sure even this wish got fulfilled and they took us to Starbucks. And finally, it was time to say Goodbye. When I came for this trip, I didn’t have the slightest of an idea that I would leave in tears but I did.

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I met so many amazing people here, made so many friends. I have five people to call my family, my team Nepal. I got a sister from this trip, who I can fight with for no reason and also talk about serious stuff with. I got a very special elder brother from this trip who takes care of me, annoys me and fights with me. But he is the sweetest person ever. I got a really great friend from this trip, who is filled with so much energy and enthusiasm that you just want to dance when you’re with him. And I got two amazing brothers from this trip who make me laugh so hard, that I can fall off the sofa and still keep laughing. And the friends I made in Mumbai.. only god knows how much I miss them and how much they mean to me even when we spent very less time together. All I can say is Mumbai is dearly missed and the people, they are what I miss the most.

 

Something so wonderful about real friendships

Uncertain. Unstable. Unbalanced. Life’s full of these ‘un-somethings’ and it’s always going to be. It is not going to be what you thought it was going to be when you were 14 and all excited to come out to the real world and be free. In that process of growing up, in that process, in that excitement of wanting to live a life where you are no more grounded by school rules and you are allowed to roam around with your friends, you grow up and without realizing it, a lot of things change.

Do you remember when you used to hang out every day with your group of childhood best friends and maybe just have a cup of tea together and talk all day about anything and you felt happier than you ever were? And then suddenly you do not have time to do that because you have your own life and your career to look after. Your friends have probably moved to another city or another country or they have really hectic jobs, and so do you. And amidst the rush of trying to do better in your life, you feel lonely. You miss them. You miss how amazing these were a few years back. You come back home after a tiring day, and see a new picture of them on Facebook or Instagram – maybe with the group of their new friends, maybe it’s a really happy photo, maybe they won something on a competition or topped their class, and in that loneliness, you feel so proud of them. You feel so happy for them, and you know they are proud of you too.

Maybe the daily chit chats have turned into video-chatting once a month or shooting each other messages every time something exciting happens, but you know that your friendship is still real, it’s still strong. You probably only meet once a year, or sometimes, you miss that meet because of your own commitments, but you know that you are going to hug them and maybe shed a tear when you meet them because you have missed them so much. And in that hug, you realize that the friendship has not changed, it’s the same. Maybe you have made some new friends, and probably lost a few, and it has changed you but that friendship with the people who have seen you grow up from a cranky little girl to a crankier a-little-older girl, that friendship is special.

These people have wanted to disown in public because you embarrass them by talking too loudly or acting all crazy but instead, they act crazy with you. They don’t let you be alone. These are the people with whom you had all those serious talks about what you would do after your school was over. These are the people who know about all your stupid crushes, and flings and still don’t judge you. These people know you’re not feeling okay if you send a ‘hi’ instead of an over-excited ‘Helllooooo’. These people know your fears and also know why they exist. These are the people who were ready to slap the person who made you cry, and slaps you too if you were crying for the wrong person. These people are your real friends.

Maybe they are not with you right now, because you study in different universities, because you are in different cities or different countries, because you both have very hectic jobs. But, you know, they are there to pull your hair or sing a crazy song for you or just talk to you when you need them. These are real friendships, and yes, they exist.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Renewed hopes, and a little selfish smile

And then.. she decided to smile again. But this time, it was different. She smiled, not because her parents liked it when she smiled, not because her boyfriend thought she looked pretty smiling, not to make a lot of friends. She smiled, but this time, for herself. She smiled…. because she realized that she, like everyone else deserves to be happy.

She looked at those people who hurt her in the eyes, but this time, not with the feeling of anger or hatred or vengeance or anxiety. She looked at them, smiled to herself and felt relieved. Relieved thinking how she was happier now, – now she was open to positivity. The days where she locked down her own happiness for the happiness of others was gone. Because she didn’t have to please them anymore, neither did she have to hate them. She had moved on, and now she looked at them and smiled, in her heart, she told them, ‘Thank you’.

She thought about those scars left on her, – on her body, on her heart, on her soul. She remembered how she looked at them before, and felt the pain every time, every day. But now, the pain had healed and all she felt now was a breath of fresh air.

Now, she was free. She no longer had those pent-up emotions. She no longer felt sad or alone. She felt free, she felt happier. She realized that she had much more going on for her than she believed she had. She went back home to her dog wagging her tail at her, and her family sharing a laugh together, and somehow she couldn’t stop her tears. But those weren’t the sad tears she cried of loneliness, it was happy tears. The tears of hopes being renewed and positivity being bestowed. The tears were of happiness. And she was no longer scared of loneliness.  She, was now, happy. She was smiling, and this time, it was for herself.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Background noises.

I walk into my classroom and approach to talk to a person I feel most comfortable with, and the first thing that person says after seeing me is,
“Why are you wearing pink today? It is making you look very fat!”
Or, “Your boobs look really huge today, how many bras are you wearing?”
Or, “You look so dull today, didn’t you sleep all night?”

The normal reaction to all these harsh comments is probably a smile followed by a joke you make on yourself. Well, that’s what I do normally. I smile and let it go.

I am sure many of us have been through this situation where people comment on your behavior or the way you look or act and you feel very vulnerable, it breaks you down, it breaks your self-esteem. People don’t care about the constant battle you are fighting to love yourself no matter what, to love your body and to appreciate it. People don’t understand that maybe you didn’t sleep all night because you have been facing insomnia all your life, and what’s it like to have trouble falling asleep. People don’t understand that you stood in front of the mirror for so long just to make sure your breasts don’t look big. People don’t understand. All they know is to comment on you and then to expect you to be fine with those comments.

I grew up listening to all those comments about me being fat and dusky and socially-awkward. I, who used to a happy-go-lucky kid, started having social anxiety because of all those comments. It broke me down, big time. I lost the confidence to even go to a shop to buy something I needed. I started staying up all night thinking about how I was going to face those people again the next morning. Before I knew it, I became an insomniac.

I have always let people define me, I have always measured my self-worth on the basis of people’s opinion about me. When I was in seventh grade, one of my teachers told me that I was talent-less and I believed him, I didn’t believe in myself, I only believed him. One of my friends commented on me saying I chew too loudly and I stopped eating properly every time I was with that person. But as I reached that moment of clarity, I realized that those comments do not matter, they are just background noises. And if you choose to unhear it, it’s possible to actually unhear it.

One fine morning, you are going to wake up, and what that girl said about you looking fat, it’s not going to matter. You will realize that you have so much potential stored in you and those background noises can not stop you from achieving your highest potential.

I have realized that my relationships do not define who I am. Its me who is going to choose who I want to be. I love my body, regardless of the fact that I am fat or thin. I have a curvy body, and I love it. I accentuate my appearance as it is, and its upto me if I want to change the way I look. Nobody can tell me to do it. I am the writer of my own story.

I know, many people growing up feel the same way that I do. They diminish their worth for others which is not worth it. I did the same thing and the only thing I achieved was feeling bad about myself. So, to all the young people who are facing the same things I did, I suggest you to love who you are. Those comments are eventually going to fade in, and you are going to come out a stronger person. So, take your time, reflect on it, and love yourself, every version of yourself.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Kakani : Take a hike, you’ll like it

Very little do I feel the feeling of ‘being alive’,  amidst all the rules I am surrounded by, and all the responsibilities I am liable to fulfill. But what’s life without the feeling of being alive? I think one feels alive to the most when they do something for themselves. And very recently I felt that feeling when I travelled to Kakani with my friends.

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Kakani is a beautiful place that lies in Nuwakot District. It’s a one-hour bus ride from Balaju Bypass, Kathmandu to Kakani Bus-stop.  I think it’s very adventurous to travel in a local bus to another district, for you get to experience so many different things happening in a single bus.

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A cramped bus, that won’t move until and unless it is filled with people all over the place, in the seats, standing on the bus and sitting in the roof as well.

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When we got on the bus, there were no seats available for us. The four of us were startled, thinking about whether we should get off the bus and wait for another one  or we should just stand in the packed bus. Then, the conductor suggested us to sit on the tyre that was placed just before the first seat. We looked at each other making eye gestures and finally decided to sit on the tyre. After waiting for about half an hour in the bus, the bus finally moved. Little did we know that we were in for a rather exciting day.

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From crying babies to people screaming at each other, from pushing each other to stand comfortably to the conductor coming to and fro the door of the bus and the roof in a moving vehicle, the bus ride was filled with different emotions. Adding to that, the under-constructed road and dust gave us quite a difficult time, but too excited for our little trip, we enjoyed every single moment. We even tried taking a selfie in the bus, which didn’t turn out so well.

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After a vexatious one hour ride, we finally got off the bus, and as soon as we got off, we felt a cold breeze of fresh air, complimenting the breathtaking beauty of Kakani. We then began our most-awaited hike.

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One of my favourite things to do for fun is hike. I love the feeling I get every time I hike to new places and see new things. I love the adrenaline rush I feel and  I love the smell of fresh air. I still remember the first time I saw a waterfall during a hike… wow, that was one of the best moments of my life. That is why,  I knew I was going to love whatever was about to come my way.

Surrounded by greenery, peaceful environment, breeze of fresh air and the silence. That moment had so much of magic stored in it that I was already feeling detoxificated from all the negative energy and baggage.

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One of the reasons we chose Kakani for our hike and picnic was because of the famous Strawberry farming. We found many strawberries farms on the way. Many people of Kakani indulged in strawberry farming for employment

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They pick out fresh strawberries and sell it to their customers, at the rate of Nrs. 400 per kilogram.

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We bought some strawberries, and they were not only very organic and healthy but are also very tasty. The farmers plucked out fresh strawberries for us, and then our hike was complimented by fresh yummy strawberries.

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After getting the taste of fresh strawberries, we stopped in our picnic location, and started with our pot-lock.

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We rested for a while, enjoyed the view, the nature, laughed our hearts out and then decided to return back since it was getting late.

Even after a walking for a long time, we didn’t feel tired, instead we felt fresh. We looked for more strawberries farm but didn’t find any in the market area. Then, we waited for the bus for a while,  when we saw a board that said ‘Organic Kiwi – 200 miles away’.  Two of my friends ran to get those organic kiwi for all of us. But as soon as they left, a bus with empty seats arrived and we got confused, we didn’t know whether to get on the bus and hope for them to come on time or just stand there and wait for them while waiting for another bus. However, we decided to wait for them inside the bus. The bus-driver was very sweet, for they agreed on waiting until our friends arrived. After about 20 minutes, our friends came running, with kiwis in their bags for all of us.

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And we all finally got seats in the bus on our way back. Woohoo! I take that as a great accomplishment.

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After an amazingly fun day, we reached Kathmandu with smiles on our tired faces. We ended our day with yummy momos.

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After a very very long time, I felt alive. I felt as if everything was in it’s right place. I felt good. So, that is why, whenever people say ‘take a hike’, I literally do.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Aama

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Its a matter of realization that the world is filled with so many hateful people, who talk bad about people and enjoy doing so, who aren’t loyal to their friends, who plan murders and foul play but amidst of all these bad people, there are very good ones too. My ‘Aama’ was one of those people who always gave me the reflection of goodness. When I was all packed up last night and I was sleeping,  to get back home to Kathmandu from Pokhara the next day, I got a call in the middle of the night about her demise, and when I heard about the news, I felt an incredibly heart-wrenching loss, and somehow I felt as though the loss was not just mine or my family’s, I felt as though the entire world had faced the loss. Loss of the goodness that she carried within her all her life. I couldn’t express the pain in my heart to anyone, for some reason, at that very moment, no one seemed so important.

When I think about my Aama,  words such as Discipline, Strength, Love and Beauty comes to mind. A woman with so much of elegance and integrity that she wouldn’t let anything break her down. And now, that strength has gone away, that goodness has gone away, and the heart feels empty with no emotions whatsover to show. Losing grandparents is always a hard thing, but what’s more tuff is not getting to see them one last time, and I felt the same pain. The kind of pain, that might not be understandable to everyone, but it’s not necessary for people to understand at the same time. Now, when she is gone, I am sure she is up there with other good people who went away, and is still trying to spread goodness in the world.

This year has been a year full of losses, and it has ended with a major loss. I have been trying to be strong through all the loss, – losing my pet to losing people I thought were my friends, to losing who I was, but this loss is the greatest. Strength is all you can have in such situations but that strength is an inch away from extincting, and it keeps decreasing with every loved one I lose. But I will try to keep that strength alive, like my Aama would.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Let’s assert ourselves!!

The society, it keeps judging us, picking on us, no matter what we do and what we say, it’s time we start telling them that no matter how hard they try to put us down, we’ll rise up even stronger.

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Here are some stories and comments . Even though they are not real but I am pretty sure they are all relatable.

⇨ “I went to watch a movie with my friends. It was quite an emotional movie and so it made me cry. They laughed at me and commented that I cry like a girl. What does ‘Like a girl’ actually mean?”

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⇨ “My friends say just because I belong to Brahmin community, I am unnecessarily proud person. Why do you  determine my personality on the basis of a tag behind my name”

⇨ “Being born into a specific caste or religion determines your worth in the world? Sorry, I didn’t know I wouldn’t get a chance to explore my abilities, since you have already done it for me.”

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⇨ “I walked into a so-called classy shop in a mall, in my trackpants and everyone stared at me as if I was an alien. Its my body. I have full right upon it. I can put on the clothes of my own choice. Then, why am I judged by the clothes I wear?”

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⇨ “When you’re too friendly, people call you people pleaser, when you’re introvert, people call you anti-social. What do we do then, just so that your comments would stop?”

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⇨ “Yes, I drink and I smoke. It might be a bad habit. But, sorry I am not a bad person.”

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⇨ “Everyone have their own strengths and  weaknesses, that’s what makes everyone a unique being. I might have more problems than you do, and maybe I am somewhat emotionally or physically down. This doesn’t mean I am trying to seek your attention or sympathy. I am trying to seek for a place, where my strengths are encouraged, and I am appreciated.”

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⇨ “Everytime I meet a relative of mine, I’m said I am getting fatter and I should start losing weight. How do you think it makes me feel? ”

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“Society” – a place where we seek for safety, togetherness and acceptance… isn’t it quite ironical that we experience the exact opposite of what the meaning of society implies? Do you ever wonder why all of this actually happens?  Maybe this is because we give them much more priority than necesary, or maybe it is because we give them the audacity to do so. We are all brought up in such a way that it’s not only our desire but it’s our living style to impress the people of the society. And when we try to come of out of this cliched world of impressing these bunch of people who don’t even matter in our lives, they start pulling our legs, they start judging us, they keep making efforts on putting us down and they succeed in so many levels. Why is it so easy for them to put us down though? Why are we such easy targets?- Because we make it that easy for them.  So, why don’t we tell them once and for all that we’re not that easy to be put down? Why don’t we raise our voice and make sure for ourselves that we get to live our lives the way we want, the way we plan to live? Let’s tell them they don’t matter and we don’t value their opinions because if we say it doesn’t matter,  it really won’t matter.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Evocation of memories, Unending Melancholy

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I dream of you, I remember you everyday. I won’t say I miss you because you were never forgotten, but yeah I wish you never left. There are times when I feel , maybe I could have given you a little more, – a little more time, a little more love . One more conversation, maybe that could have given me some peace in my heart. But no, you have left and I am here with broken heart, eyes full of tears and body with no strength to bear this trauma. I saw you there,-lying , I knew you weren’t coming back but my heart wished it was just a bad dream, a bad dream that my dreamcatcher would keep away. When I heard the news, I was numb. I wished that my ears heard it wrong. But it had already happened, and I had to face it. I had to keep myself together to go through your loss. I had to gather all the  strength I could to accept the fact that I will never see you again, I will never hear your voice, you’ll not be there when I look for you. The pain was almost like a bullet straight through my heart.

To lose a person you love is the hardest thing in the world but when its someone almost like your mother, its even harder. You can always fake a smile and stop the tears but what you can’t do is convince your heart to accept their departure. But as they say, ‘What doesn’t break you, makes you stronger’ , so yeah the grief makes you stronger, and you get the courage to overcome the trauma, but what you can’t overcome is the beautiful memories of that person. The memories come like flashes in your mind, and takes you back to the time when they were with you.

Its been really hard but I have made myself strong to go through this pain. I know that she is looking at me, I know she thought of me like a daughter and I know she loves me. And I love her too till infinity and beyond. What I have realized is, the person might go away but the love never fades and the love is what keeps you going. Sometimes, I think of her and I can’t stop but cry but then I control myself knowing that she’s in a better place now. And other times, I am left with a big smile on my face because of all the memories and all the good times. I don’t miss her because I haven’t forgotten her. I never can. But the good thing is that I know she’s in a better place. I hope I come out of this agony one day and get myself into a better place as well.