Bliss at Sathimure

October 31, 2018.

You have been climbing for three hours. Every pore of your skin is sweating. Your legs are tired. Your head is spinning. You are still conscious of not slipping down the narrow foot trail. There are small round seeds that have fallen off the tress beside the trail. They threaten your existence. The peak is just “there” but you can’t seem to reach it. The peak is just at an elevation of thousand metres, and it takes your breath away. “What if it was Mount Everest?” you ask.

One of your friends, Anish, climbed a five-thousand metre peak last year, above the Everest Base Camp. “It was cold. I felt my fingers would fall off. But once I reached the peak, I forgot all the pain.”

‘This is not even a tenth of the harshness of close to the Everest’, you think. Your spirit lifts up a little. Legs drag you up better than they had a couple of minutes back. But your lungs are not helping. Your low stamina hampers your movement.Luckily, your friends are in your support. They themselves are tired, but they do not lose the hope of reaching the peak. The hope of finding the target village-Sathimure.

***

Your climb began from Mugling—an old hub connecting Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan with three of your friends: Anil, Anish and Ishwor. The town is at the altitude of about 180 m from the mean sea level,well-developed, full of life. Your twenty-eight years old topographic map shows a foot-trail leading to the village in question. The policemen show you a road. It looks easy, but it’s long. ‘How long will you have to walk?’ you discuss with your friends. You and your friends decide to take a foot trail if possible.

You are not hiking. It’s a geological exploration. You measure the rock orientation, wonder at the folds you see and imagine the amount of stress the region might have undergone. You know these rocks tell the history of the evolution of the Himalayas over a million years. These mountains are not as tall as the mighty mountain peaks that are popular as the Himalayas or Great Himalayas. You call them Lesser Himalaya, but reaching its peak is tough. More so, when you realize you have to climb up another two hundred metres and climb down to Kalikhola if you are to make an accurate geological map. But you lack time, and you make a rush.

You realize your stamina has lowered because of eating and sleeping for the last couple of months. You are panting. You take long breaths. Nothing helps. You have not walked a mile and you have felt the heat. You strip off your jacket. Your body balances heat by sweating. You reach a shade. The sweat cools you. After a rest, you don’t want to move. Yet you carry your legs forward. “Return back if you can’t,” your friends suggest. It’s a good advice. One person should not slow the group. Yet your ego gets hurt. You can’t give up before it has begun.

You ask help from the locals. Most of them are girls. Some help, some don’t. It’s a cultural thing. Villagers don’t trust city men. Girls are told to shy away from men in most of the occasions. Male-female interaction is still spied in the cities. Anyway, you find help and catch a foot-trail, width decreasing with each footstep.

You don’t find villages along the trail. One house at an interval of about one-hundred metres climb. They have farms and gardens. You and your friends express desire to reach Kalikhola. The locals say it’s a dangerous path. Three people died some months back. You and your friends are scared. Safety comes before the map. Your teachers did not expect you to go all the way. You give up the thought of completing the track. Had you been allowed to stay for a day at Sathimure, you could have hit the target. But you have restrictions. You decide to reach the village, at least.

A garden somewhere in the route

***

“Look out for the real trail,” Anish calls. Foot-trail has forked. Each time you saw a fork, you made a unanimous decision: “Take the route that goes up.” This time, the up-going trail looks dangerous. Ishwor says the other path goes nowhere. “Are we stuck?” you fear. Anil goes up the dangerous route, reaches the peak and calls out. You follow. The ground is slippery and covered with grass. You don’t know where you are stepping. “Goats would not climb this,” your friends behind you tell. You are attacked by ants.One last step. And you reach the top. You lose yourself for a moment. At that moment, you have become victorious over the mountain. You feel blessed.

A little farther, you see what you had been longing for. Sathimure. A small village. A place where you have found solace in it even from the distance. Bamboos, oranges, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables. A farming village. That’s what you wanted all day.

The village has less than twenty houses—small, all of them painted in blue and red. The people are amicable. Your group wants to buy some oranges. They don’t fix a price. “Give whatever amount you want to give.” These people have hardships. There is some help from the NGOs but the nearest town, Mugling, is miles downhill. There is no good road. They have to buy everything.Yet, they are generous. They don’t take our offer for granted. They believe in emotional relationship, not commercial. They give you noodles. You longed for it but can’t help wonder that noodles have made way into even in a village that small.You eat anyway. The taste reminds you of home.

***

You begin to descent. There was an error in the map. You have decided to correct it. Sitting upon a ground facing north, you look at the Great Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the miniature town of Mugling. You can’t see a human from that height. You feel lost. “Humans might have built civilizations and have dreamt of exploring other planets but we are microscopic in the universe. If a portion of the Earth is this big, how big the Earth is! And it is not even the largest planet.” The extent of universe amazes you. It’s not for the first time, though. The universe has always fascinated you. Geology was one way you thought that would help you understand the universe.

Mugling viewed from Sathimure

The walk downhill takes two hours. The villagers at Sathimure had told it would take about forty-five minutes. “Time is relative,” you begin to understand. They have lived their whole lives going up and down the hill. Their legs have strengths your legs do not. They are faster because they have lived with the mountain. You see school children going up and get a stronger proof.

When the journey ends, you are satisfied. You might not have met all your goals but you made memories. You have learnt something. You have something to tell others. You have stories for your children and grandchildren.

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Examples Jhamak Ghimire has Set

Introduction

On Bhadra 20, 2073 (September 5, 2016) the Madhya Paschimanchal University (MPU) granted Jhamak Ghimire an honorary doctorate. The inspiring litterateur never went to school. Yet, she has received the honour because of her talent in literature. 

Jhamak Ghimire was born on Asar 21, 2037 in Dhankuta. She suffers from cerebral palsy. The neurological condition does not allow her to talk and move her limbs properly. However, she uses her two toes and immense power of observation and  imagination to communicate and create literary works. She has published thirteen books of different genre- poems, stories, essays and autobiographies. Her autobiography, Jeevan Kanda ki Phool (won her Madan Puraskar, the most reputed award in Nepali literature.

Examples she has set

1. Nothing is Impossible

Even with extremely limited movement, if one has healthy mind, nothing is impossible. Though she has never attained school, she gained knowledge on her own. And has become an inspiring figure.

2. Thoughts are Limitless

One may be limited physically but thoughts and imagination have no bounds. She writes as if she has experienced things herself. She has shown her abilities in critically analyzing things she hears and reads.

3. Life is full of Struggles

There are hardships in life. One has to undergo several struggles in life. Ghimire has faced the obstacles of the family, and the society. The obstacles inspired her to revolt against them. Her literary works represent the revolution.

Conclusion

Jhamak Ghimire is an exemplary personality who has challenged her physical weaknesses to inspire people all around the world.*

Note:

*Jhamak Ghimire’s autobiography Jeevan Kanda ki Phool has been translated into English, Hindi, and Japanese languages and is being translated into several other languages.

Source

1. MPU’s circular on Honorary Doctorate to Jhamak Ghimire

2. The Kathmandu Post

3. The Himalayan Times

4. Ratopati

सम्पदा स‍ंरक्षणको अद्‌भूत नमूना : ठाउँ नै सारेर पनि यसरी जोगाइयो — Mysansar

– सुबिक कार्की (इजिप्टबाट फर्केर) – गत वर्ष वैशाखको महाभूकम्पले नेपालका थुप्रै सम्पदा भत्किएका छन्। त्यसको पुननिर्माण अझै हुन सकेको छैन। सम्पदा संरक्षणको चिन्ता जागिरहेको बेला यहाँ म एउटा सम्पदा संरक्षणको अदभूत नमूना प्रस्तुत गर्दैछु। एघार देश भएर सुडानबाट इजिप्ट हुँदै भूमध्यसागरमा विसर्जन हुने संसारकै सबैभन्दा लामो नाइल नदीको इजिप्ट खण्डमा सन् १९५४ मा […]

via सम्पदा स‍ंरक्षणको अद्‌भूत नमूना : ठाउँ नै सारेर पनि यसरी जोगाइयो — Mysansar

Looking at the Negative Side of Things

Nothing in this world is perfect, including us. If we were perfect, we did would be so. Sometimes, I doubt even in the perfection of God. That story will be shared soon. However, this story is on the imperfection of humans, their creations and creativity.

I was brought into the reality of imperfection by an e-mail. Well, it was a regular notifying mail from Quora, a fantastic site where you can ask, pass and answer questions. That day, the question I was notified of was, “What do you think are the weakest points of the Harry Potter series?” (Something like that. I don’t exactly remember.)

I ignored at first. Though I believed that the Harry Potter series could have flaws, I thought knowing the weaknesses would just take the fun away. But there is another thing that makes one  do something, even when you do not want it to push you. Yeah, I am talking about curiosity. Curiosity made me dive into the ocean of imperfection.

From the connection between the Muggles and the Magical Worlds to the mathematical mistakes, from absurd Quidditch scoring to clumsy and witches and wizards all were included in the flaws of the series. One answer even pointed out that the horcruxes which become the central theme, aren’t introduced until the sixth book. “Looks like the series evolved on the go,” some had said.

By the end of that session on flaws of the Harry Potter series, I didn’t find myself being drained out of fun. Instead, I was looking at the negative side of the world’s best selling series and was saying to myself, “If I ever write a fantasy fiction, I will be careful not to make mistakes Rowling made.”

What more, I surfed the web searching the real negative criticisms on the Harry Potter series. Not only that, I came to know that even Tolkien was criticized for the Lord of the Rings. The last in the list of criticism was Amish Tripathi, whose Shiva Trilogy I had recently read.

I have also been reading negative book reviews on Goodreads recently (as eagerly as the positive ones). I have learnt that nothing is 100% perfect. That there is still some flaw even in the best of things humans do. So, why do I need to worry if I make some mistake? A mistake can be an opportunity for correction. A chance to make things better. (Even if not absolutely perfect.)

I have also understood that in life, perfection is not achievable but passion is. The passionate artists I mentioned above are the role models of those who want to do something new. They are the epitome of success. But they are also humans and they also make mistakes. Embrace their imperfections. It will make you happy. And next time you read anything or do anything, look at their negative sides. Next time you rate something (a book, a movie, music, an app, or anything), do not rate them to perfection. (Also, never rate them below average. There could be some positive in the worst work you believe. The creator might be discouraged by low ratings because it is their work that allows you to rate them.) You might have overlooked the flaws and the creator may not get an opportunity to improve.

New Year Resolutions

2072 was a year to remember. Earthquake, economic bloackade, fuel shortage, intimacy with China and coldness with India. Dark clouds loomed all over but every dark cloud has silver lining- ancestors told in proverbs. Do we seek for the silver lining? Yes, we do.

The silver lining we seek for depends on our resolutions. Our resolution should be the following so that we can do something to help ourselves.

1. Developing sincerity
We do tasks for the sake of doing them. We do homeworks so that we can show them to teachers, that too with an intention to cheat. But we did so because our teachers were not sincere. They did not instruct us well.

Why would they? Facilities and wages at government schools and colleges are not enough to solve their family problems. The government run academic institutions say that they have not been sent enough budget. The money to be spent on education is not sent because the Secretary at the Ministry of Education is on a leave. Some parents are trying to bribe him so that their children can get a medical scholarship. He does not want to support corruption but he alone can not do anything. The “system” does not help. We make the system. It is insincere because we are, fair and square.

Sincerity on our own part can help a lot in upbringing of a good system.

2. Learning to be happy

We are not happy. Why? We are not involved in the works we are the best at. The society wants us to do whatever it wants. We give in. Our dreams die.

Did they really die? Not quite. They might have been unconscious. Suppose we wanted to be famous in robotics but under unavoidable circumstances, we could not join science in plus two. We had to study commerce. We had pledged to be sincere. So we sincerely studied and sought for happiness. Happiness came up when we saw Computer Programming as a subject. We took an interest and then one day, we dream of writing a program for a robot. Our dream was alive all the time. It was just unconscious for some time.

3. Willing to fight
As said before, we set up the system and if we are to change it, we have to fight the people who support wrongdoing in the name of system.

Are we thinking of beating them up? Wait! Life is not a movie. We can not do that to someone who supports the system. Someone on the top of the system can attack us easily.

What do we do? We seek help of the constitution and laws. We seek help from each other. We raise our voices, not our arms. We sincerely do our works. We happily get involved in the change. We gradually fight the system. Slowly, steadily we reach the common dream of making Nepal the most prosperous country.

4. Developing rational/logical thinking
Suppose we have moved on to pursue the Great Nepalese Dream. Meanwhile someone says, “We were happier while we could easily bribe officers. The new system controls corruption but does our work slow.”

Do we pause thinking that the person is right or do we move on solving the problem he pointed out- slow working? The correct logic would show us new paths. The incorrect one would take us back to where we had struggled to come from.

If we can distinguish right from wrong, we will definitely progress.

Lastly,
Our resolution is the silver lining of the dark clouds. The silver lining been found, we need to work them out on solving our problems. The dark clouds will scatter soon. The sun will shine brightly. The sky will be our limit.

Note:
The New Year I mention here is the Two Thousand and Seventy-Third year of the Bikram Sambat (Calendar of King Bikram).

Life’s Lessons

यस्तो रहस्यमय जीवन बुझ्नलाई
जानु कहाँ ? पढ्नु के ? गुरु को बनाई ?
फुल्दो गुलाबबिच ज्ञान अनेक फुल्छन्
उद्यानमा बस गई सब तत्व खुल्छन् !
-लक्ष्मीप्रसाद देवकोटा

Where can we learn the secrets of our life? Laxmi Prasad Devkota asks and answers himself, “Go to the Garden and you will find all the answers.”

The Garden here means Nature. There is everything in Nature we can learn. Nature is an open museum. What we need the eyes that analyse the beauty of nature, and that explore the knowledge within Her womb.

One day, I had written, “You see what you want to see. And nothing else.” I have been aided on this by my Teacher’s words, “You see what you know.” There are many things that might have gone unnoticed around us, but other people from far off can be seeing the same thing from some other perspective. Interpretation of what you have seen is equally important.

Life runs in a weird way, and people act in even weirder ways. It’s life that can teach you about life. A closed room that supports internet might teach you many things but to have a firsthand experience, you have to step out. In the words of my friends, “A bird has wings so that it can fly, not confine itself to its nest.”

For the last fifteen days, I was close to the Nature. Call it a tour or an excursion or a camp, whatever it may be called, it was an experience of a lifetime. The Geological tour for B.Sc. 3rd year gave many unforgettable memories.

What could be better than the assemblage of people from all parts of the country at one place? So many cultures, traditions and ethnicities mixed up into one. There was no discrimination, only friendship and love. No one cared if you looked dirty. Everyone was the same. Nobody raised questions on the religion and the customs one followed. No one fought in the name of sex, caste and religion. There was one friendly existence of like-minded people- all devoted to learn the science of the Nature.

There were rows, there were quarrels, there was a fight- which we can never forget. But I am proud to say that it was not in the name of personal biases. The tension the fight caused was immeasurable but the peace that came up later was extraordinary. I personally thank both the boys who were expelled for fighting(sadly)- despite your untimely rage, you acted like men.

Life is not just about the flowering rose. Even with the rose, thorns show themselves up. The task we did was not easy. It was nothing but determination that made us walk almost ten kilometers a day, observing, learning and sweating. Some of us even risked our lives in the quest of knowledge. However the sleep that came up after the hardworking was the best ever. Congratulations to all who accepted the challenge! Keep it up and one day, you will all stand up as wonderful human beings.

The camp was frustrating at times. Hours of work and no approval! We spoke out the frustration to our friends. We worked together. No matter how many times our work was rejected, we worked on to make it better. When we finally came out at the end with the maps, graphs and the reports we had prepared, I remember the smiles we all had. We had finally shown the spirit that we never give up despite all the failures we might have had.

The tour was not only a chance to learn different cultures within the camp but also to know the lives of people around us. Shree Bageshowri H.S.S., where we stayed, showed an excellent example of hospitality. Little students gave up the comforts of their rooms so that we could take a rest in the evenings. The love the villagers showed us, wherever we went was incredible. Their selflessness moved me. Here in city, where people run for money, there they act as humans and believe in humanity.

What else did I learn? For the first time in my life, I studied my friends closely and found that they are not entirely perfect. They have flaws in one way or the other, but they are also the best as humans. And one important thing- teachers are just like us. They have had more experience than us, but they are students in their hearts. They too are not perfect. They too are learners paving paths for the new ones to come up and take up their places.

Finally, life is the only entity that can teach us lives. Thanks to Nature who has given me life and an opportunity to learn about it.

Does Crying Make One Weak?

I asked the question last Saturday. How that question came up? How I tried to find answers? What were the conclusions? Coming up in this post.

Background

On Saturday morning, while I went to the barber’s for a haircut, I saw a couple with their daughter there. The little girl’s head was shaved. Her mother said, “She does not have nice hair. Will she grow nice hair after the shave?”

For me, the hair seemed nice. At least it was better than mine. But that’s not the real thing. The girl, like most of the girls, loved her hair and was crying as the electrical razor was moving over her hair. Her mother first said, “We’ll not throw the hair. We will braid it and keep at home.” While the girl was not convinced, “Don’t care what other will say. Your hair will grow up again. You need to be strong. You should not cry. Crying makes you weak.

The first response my mind gave was that the notion was wrong. Occasional crying has actually helped me psychologically and emotionally. Later on, as I thought more, I felt that she might be right.

[Note: It would be unfair if I did not tell you that the woman was actually obsessed with the hair of her daughter. I was compelled to think that the hair was not bad at all. The couple might have thought about selling the hair to make a wig. I can’t be sure, however. God knows what they wanted to do with it- sell it or keep it on display.]

index

Discussion

I debated within my mind. Whether or not crying could make someone weak, I could not say. Thankfully, I am a member of a blogging forum, Blogger’s World! (Blogging 101:Alumni, until December 9- you can note the old name on the web address!) I posted this question on Sunday, December 6, 2015 and received comments from about at least ten people.

The first comment came from Piyusha @Wandering Soul.

I strongly disagree that it makes one weak. People certainly perceive the one who is crying as weak, so it may make you look weak. But doesn’t make you weak. and honestly, which is better? To bottle up emotions inside you and not let them out because you are to scared to express yourself or to be brave enough to freely express emotions and hence, emotionally healthy even at the risk of being perceived as weak because people don’t understand emotions as much as they should or as much as they think do.

The next was from Heather @heathernotes.com, began the conversation with the evidence of physiological difference between men and women:

Scientists speculate that women cry more because they have shallower tear ducts than men.

The third one came from Anand/Vibrant @Blabberwockying. His comment was worth a post and he did it as well. In short, he said that crying could be weakness if we do not care when and where to cry. He also said that devotees cry for their God, thus attaining a deeper connection with the higher consciousness. (He was also attacked by other bloggers for the comment, but because that does not meet my objective here, I would want you to click the link to the forum above.)

Cathy Lynn Brooks@cathylynnbrooks.com said that children should be able (allowed) to express emotions and cry. Ishita @!shita believed that crying was healthy no matter however people looked at it. Ria @koko boocro, Amanda @raniamanda, 21 Time traveler agreed that crying was not a weakness at all. It was an emotional outlet, difficult to handle to most people. Darshith Badiyani and Bethany Harvey @Overlooked Nature said that people had to embrace crying as any other human emotions. Rashmi @Mind and Life Matters said that crying was just as important as laughing. Dawn Marie, Indira and shinepositivepower accepted that crying did not make one weak, but was a method of cleansing one’s soul.

Conclusion

It’s impossible to say whether crying makes one weak or not. Though, the participants in the discussion generally agreed that crying did not make one weak, I now believe that it actually depends upon the situation.

When can crying become your strength?

  1. When you are in a problem and need help, crying can help you get help easily.
  2. When you feel sad from deep within, shedding a little amount of tears can help your soul.
  3. Crying can be a process of healing your psyche.
  4. If you can manipulate someone by crying.

In short, when you cry to let out your emotions, you become healthy. What can be more beneficial to a person than a healthy mind?

When can crying become your weakness?

  1. When you cry in wrong places and at wrong times.
  2. When your fears and emotional problems are exposed to your enemies.
  3. When you can not decide when to cry and when not to.

The Dual Nature of People Who Cry

Being sensitive can make you weak, so is the condition when you become too expressive. Becoming insensitive or inexpressive does not mean you are strong either.*

Almost every one in the discussion believed that we cry while we are emotional and it is difficult to handle someone who cries often. We also say, “Don’t cry,” to someone who is going through an emotional stress. But we also encourage someone to cry if their burden can be decreased.

All in all, crying is a result of overwhelming emotions- sad or happy and it has to be accepted as a part of our emotional, spiritual and bodily health. (Crying is good for your eyes!)

[*Final Note: The topics of sensitivity and expressiveness were also prominently discussed in the forum. Here is the link again. These are the inherent characters of humans, which tell people of your strengths and weaknesses. For example, seeing you cry often (expressiveness) people might say you are weak, even if it is not the case. Also, crying may not always solve one’s problem.]