At times, when I’m at my desk, with a new Word document on my screen, and my notes spread out in front of the computer and my hand rested on the keyboard ready to start writing, I can’t help stop and think: What’s the point of all this, eh?
You write, report, and point out issues. But what difference does it really make, pray? Street dogs starve, die, are assaulted; the rising pollution of air, water, noise puts to risk the health and lives of a number of people; a master woodcarver lives in poverty, unnoticed and unappreciated; the Mahakavi’s discarded abode fades away into oblivion; and you just write.
“Concerned” authorities never seem to be concerned enough, or they never have enough time and resources, or there are always more important things to be done first.
“People are dying everyday of hunger. How could the government focus on street dogs?”
“There’s poverty to deal with, so there’s very less or no budget at all for the environment department.”
“The country suffers from political unrest, we need political change. We don’t have time for a cultural genius dying in neglect. Forget about the house of a dead poet.”
I wonder how long you’ll have to wait for the change to happen so that the number of issues, large ones at that, deemed to be of lesser importance, could come on the priority list. Will it happen in your lifetime? How many more articles, reports, write-ups, photographs, videos, documentaries would you need to conjure up for the “concerned” people to feel pressured enough to act?
Sometimes, it all feels hopeless. But then my mind takes a turn to think: maybe I’m just looking in the wrong direction.
“Start where you stand” is a motto of one of the cool projects that’s happening in Kathmandu. But I feel this is the mantra that people who have actually made a difference have followed all the while.
It’s rare but I get to meet these people sometimes and I get to write about them, too. And when I write about them or on any positive developments, what then is the impact of that?
I’ve had people messaging me on Facebook and in emails congratulating me on the stories I’ve done, thanking me for a profile I had written, or simply for showing them what were unnoticed before. This line of work has its many perks, and the kind words of appreciation are definitely one of the best.
But again, those are only words. Like the words that I write in an article, a story, or a report. I can only wish these words had voices that have actually gotten the message through to alert ears, willing hearts and working hands.
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Got to love the monsoon
My friend was complaining how the constant rainfall has been ruining her pretty shoes. Sick of dealing with the rain mayhem, she was telling me how much she wanted those Wellington boots.
She made complete sense. Our sidewalks are not pedestrian friendly, either. So walking on a rainy day can really be a bummer.
As she mentioned those rubber boots which she thought would keep her away from the rain mess, it reminded me of those tall boots – I don’t know if it was the actual name but we used to call them Gum Boots – which I used to wear as a kid during rainy seasons.
In fact, it was not only me. Almost all of those kids I knew owned a pair of those at least. I had a black one and when I had to go out in the rain, I would cover up with those full body raincoats and those rubber boots.
With the perfect rainy day attire, I used to walk on the streets holding my mother’s hand. I am sure I must have put her into trouble by jumping and splashing water whenever I used to see huge puddles. It sure used to be fun and that’s how my love for monsoon started.
I just love everything about the downpour. When the first shower falls, the whole city gets drenched in it, leaving a fresh sight. And at least for a while, we get to escape the dusty roads. Things also appear to be greener and lush as opposed to rainless days when everything seems dry.
Even now, whenever it rains, it just lifts up my mood, invigorates my senses and brings a smile on my face. Not to forget, a rainy day is also an ideal day to stay cozy inside your blankets and have a movie marathon.
I don’t know what it is but maybe the smell of the rain when it hits the earth or just the chill feel of it, a rainy day just feels like a perfect day for me. And if you get to stay indoors by the window with a warm drink admiring the outside view, then it just makes up for one of those perfect moments.
It was really getting unbearable to beat the sweltering heat of the summer; and the monsoon came as a huge relief. Until I enjoy more of this rainy-feel good season, I still have to go help my friend find those Gum Boots.
Life’s complicated; but you’ve got to make the best of it anyhow!
George Bernard Shaw said that a life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. Up to a point in life, I agreed. Now I’m just not sure.
Aama seems to think I’m too old to be making mistakes now; that I probably should’ve learnt my lesson or lessons, so to speak. But that’s hardly ever the case – for anyone, that is! You keep making mistakes and keep promising yourself never to repeat it until life grabs you by the lapels and you can’t help but react – just the way you did last time.
It seems like my judgment is still clouded by whimsical needs and the innate search for something to keep myself happy and jovial. While I’ve argued last week and come to a wise conclusion (if I do say so myself!) that nothing can make you happy and that you have to choose to be happy, irrespective of what life throws at you, I’ve realized that to say it on paper is way easier than living by it.
While the constant search for the ever eluding happiness will inevitably make you unhappy, that shouldn’t deter you from finding happiness in small things.
Be it a song, a memory, a 10-minute break at work where you stare at the sky and still don’t find the answers you were looking for but walk away with a sense of ease – it’s the small things that hold the power to lift up your spirits.
Being caught up in the chaos called life, we hardly ever realize it. While we try to untangle ourselves from the mess we’ve created and get out of the hole we’ve dug up, we’re left cribbing and complaining that oftentimes we forget to notice the little things that can turn our frown upside down.
For each of us, if you look, there’ll be tiny things like this that hold the key to making you smile, no matter what the odds.
It’s just that we’re so wrapped up in the petty issues and complications of life – and there will invariably be plenty of those – that we don’t take a moment to step back and focus on things that uplift our mood. If we did, we would see that there’s happiness lurking in corners we had never bothered to look before.
And when we start seeing things that way, and I’m saying this from experiences, you automatically become more relaxed, and life doesn’t seem like a chore anymore because life may not be perfect but you’ve chosen to look beyond the imperfections, and sometimes that’s all it takes.
The bottom line is that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably keep repeating my mistakes and hence digging bigger and larger holes for myself with every blunder.
But when I channelize my attention to the little things that make me happy, I’ll still be smiling despite it all. And that’s what I urge each one of you to do, too. Because, yes, life’s complicated; but how you choose to deal with it makes all the difference.
Beware of the aftereffects of Ma.Pa.Se
At the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, or commonly known as the Baggikhana, I asked an officer about the certain SP I was there to interview. He said he hadn’t arrived and that I sit in the nearby waiting area till he got there.
I obediently walked to the waiting area. To my surprise, at eight in the morning, all the seats were not only taken, the area was heavily crowded.
There are varieties of people who come to the police station for so many different issues, I thought. But I was wrong! Well, there were varieties of people, but they all were there for the same reason: Having taken alcohol while/before driving vehicles and caught by the Traffic Police for that “offence.” The charge is called Ma.Pa.Se or “Madak Padartha Sewan” in Sanskrit Nepali.
When an officer announced that all of the Ma.Pa.Se-charged vehicle drivers stand in a straight line according to their ticket numbers, all of them, every single person to be precise, obliged to his command. I was the only one unmoved from her position after the announcement.
The line of more than 85 people had no female participant and then I understood their earlier curious glances and stares when I walked in to the waiting area to join them.
Right then, the SP drove in his jeep and called me inside his office. He helped me contact all the concerned authorities and at his command, nobody dared or cared to decline.
I was surprised by the way things worked out so easily and smoothly till the SP asked for a favor. It wasn’t a big one, but it wasn’t what I was considering; he wanted me to accompany him to the Ma.Pa.Se class!
When I walked inside a medium sized room, I could feel the humid atmosphere at once. People at the back were standing due to lack of chairs, and an officer was concluding the initial phase of the class.
So when the SP and I entered the place, his subordinate officers provided us with two chairs, which I gladly seized, probably to the dismay of the back standers.
The Inspector changed the slides one after another, from data of drunk driving to elaboration of some serious cases. He even remarked on the erroneous driving habits of people. He had lots to tell.
When we hear about someone taking a Ma.Pa.Se class, we are curious to know about the proceedings. So if you ask me, I can only say that it wasn’t much fun. And I don’t think it is intended to be fun.
Though I was impressed by the efforts put in to make those slides and come prepared, I am not sure whether the convicted will be applying any of those suggestions in their lives.
They will of course try not to be caught in any Ma.Pa.Se sweeps again, not that they are enlightened by the presentation but they would not repeat their mistake of getting shut in one tedious class for sure.
When the SP left the room, I prepared myself to sneak out too. So I waited for the Inspector to pause, opened the door and slipped out. Though I know that people inside the room might have envied me for my privilege to choose not to take the class, a guy standing nearby surely liked me getting away for he could at least grab a seat!