A week of destinationless travel

It all began from Kharkatta village, Madi valley, Chitwan. Maja decided to take some rest as well as start some writings for her report. Maja, an MSc student from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark was doing her field work for MSc thesis, in the Madi valley of Chitwan. I had the responsibility of assisting her. At first the plan was like, to finish the whole field work within a month, or stay for some more days if we didn’t become able to complete our target. But she wished to take a break after two weeks of work. She planned to go to Sauraha and stay there for a week. I had nothing to do (except for a few transcriptions), nowhere to go!

“Should I go to Kathmandu or Pokhara?” I don’t know. I can go anywhere. But I have to go to Bharatpur bus park at first and get a bus, for her, to Sauraha.

February 17

We left Kharkatta at 7:30 and reached the Bharatpur bus park at 11:30. The auto drivers started decreasing their price themselves; we just needed to stand silently for a while. After haggling with one of them for some time, she decided to take an auto rather than bothering to look for buses that would go only to another bus park but not to the hotel she had booked.

But where should I go?

I had made mind to go Pokhara because it had been quite long I hadn’t met my college friends. But the Mugling-Narayanghat road section was closed till 16:00 for maintenance. That meant I had to consume around 4 more hours.

What suddenly came to my mind is – Why not go to Sauraha! The auto was right in front! And I had never been to Sauraha! How lucky me! And I travelled towards Sauraha.

After wandering around Sauraha for about 2 hours, I went to the Pokhara bus park. When I reached there at 15:45, there was only one microbus to Pokhara crammed with people. And the khalasi was saying that was the last bus to Pokhara. Lol, the road opens at 16:00 and the khalasi was saying, at 15:45 that, that was the last bus. More amazingly, there were people who believed. How easily these people believe khalasis! No matter to me even if that was the last one. Because there was nothing that I needed to reach Pokhara the same day. I could stay around there and go Pokhara next day early. So I just waited for another bus.

But it took too long. No sooner had I decided to look for a hotel than the bus came. It came at 17:00. I boarded the bus!

It was obvious that I would reach late. I reached Pokhara at 22:00. Where would I go other than my Institute of Forestry! That is the only reason, that there is this campus, I go to Pokhara. That was that.

February 20

After two days at Pokhara, Professor Santosh Rayamajhi called and asked if I was free for 2-3 days. He only needed a friend to travel to Tansen, Palpa for some of his work. That too in his car.

Why would I deny! I had never been to Tansen. And I was aimless throughout the week!

But he told later that he needed to go up to Tamghas, Gulmi. And the journey to Tamghas began on Feb 21.

February 21

February 22

The whole day, we travelled to remote villages of Gulmi; Isma, Dhurkot, Madane etc.

February 23

The journey back to Pokhara began. We stopped and wandered around Ridi bazaar, Palpa for a while. And in the evening, at Pokhara again.

February 24

Now it was time to go to Madi for work. I had to reach Bharatpur on Sunday, Feb 25. Being unsure if I would stay at Mugling in the evening and start for Bharatpur early next day, I started my journey from Pokhara at around 13:00. Fortunately, I reached Narayanghat the same evening.

And the week-long destinationless travel ended!

February 25

The EPI Report and misunderstanding between #Air Quality and #Air pollution in Nepal

Last week, researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities published a report; the 2018 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) report, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranking 180 countries. The ranking is based on Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality of each of those countries. The environmental health topic covers three issue categories namely Air quality, Water quality and Heavy metals and the ecosystem vitality topic covers seven issue categories namely Biodiversity and habitat, Forests, Fisheries, Climate and energy, Air pollution, Water resources and  Agriculture; hence a total of ten issue categories. Each of these ten issue categories is, in turn, scored based on one to six performance indicators and there are altogether 24 such indicators.

After the report got published, Nepalese media published news stating that Nepal ranks 176th among 180 countries in terms of air pollution. Some ‘mainstream’ called media too published news stating the same. They further stated air pollution as a leading environmental threat to public health. The press release by Yale has clearly stated that air quality is the top environmental threat to public health, not air pollution as most of the news reports in Nepal wrote. They did not note the distinction between air quality and air pollution and wrongly transliterated air quality as air pollution. No doubt that Nepal is ranked at the bottom (180th country) in terms of air quality with a score of 3.94. But the rank of Nepal in terms of air pollution is 87 with a score of 49.58 and the overall EPI rank is 176 with a score of 31.44. (See country report/Nepal)

The performance indicators of air pollution in this study include Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions and Nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions whereas performance indicators of air quality include (Particulate Matters of less than 2.5-micrometer diameter) PM2.5 exposure, PM2.5 exceedance and household solid fuels. The level of PM2.5 we have been hearing generally and exclaiming air pollution level in Kathmandu is the indicator of air quality, not air pollution in this study.

In a nutshell, it is not that the air pollution is the highest in Nepal but that the air quality is the worst.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Nature khabar

News published in Nature Khabar. They deleted the news after the comment.

 

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News in Kathmandu Post stating AIR POLLUTION as the leading public health threat, citing the EPI report.

 

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News in PHP Nepal copied from the Kathmandu Post.

 

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No clear message in Republica.

 

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AIR QUALITY is the top public health threat according to Yale, not AIR POLLUTION

 

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News in Kantipur daily. I commented but they did not think that it needs to be corrected.

 

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My long comment for the news in the Kantipur daily. They approved the comment but did not correct the news/information.

हावा कुरा….

नेचर खबरमा प्रकाशित, यो लिंकमा पनि उपलब्ध छ – http://naturekhabar.com/ne/archives/8505

जूनकिरीले अतिनै कचकच गर्न थाली । केहि गरिपनि बुझाउन नसकेपछि केहि दिनअघि हेलो सरकारलाई मेन्सन गर्दै ट्वीट नै लेख्नुपर्यो । कुरो के भने, मैले केहि दिनदेखि दिनको दुई खिल्ली चुरोट पिउन थालेको थिएँ । “चुरोटको धुवाँले स्वास्थ्यमा गम्भीर असर गर्छ, मुटु, कलेजो, फोक्सो, रगत के के हो के के लाई नकारात्मक असर गर्छ, चुरोट खान पाउनुहुन्न” भनेर हैरान । “ए बाबा, म काठमाडाैँको धुलोमा चोबिसै घण्टा ढुक्कसँग सास फेरेरै बस्या छु र त अहिलेसम्म ठीकठाकै छु । दिनभरीमा मैले पिउने जाबो दुई खिल्ली चुरोटले के नै असर गर्छ र भन्या” भन्ने मेरो खास कुरो ।

म चुरोटको अम्मली भने होइन । पहिलापहिला, बच्चा बेलामा बाख्रा चराउन जंगल जाँदा, सुकेको पिठौरीको पात माडेर सुर्ती बनाएर, त्यही पिठौरीको पातमा बेरेर बिँडी बनाएर तानेकोलाई अपबाद मान्ने हो भने, मैले कहिल्यै पनि बिँडी वा चुरोट खाएको, पिएको, तानेको त परै जाओस्, सल्काएको सम्म पनि छैन भन्दा हुन्छ ।

हेलो सरकारलाई लेखेको पत्र ठ्याक्कै यस्तो थियो – “डियर हेलो सरकार, हेर्नुस् न, चौबिसै घण्टा काठमाडाैँमा सास फेर्दा त म ठीकठाक छु । दिनभरिमा खाने जाबो दुई खिल्ली चुरोटलाई लिएर जूनकिरी सधैँ कचकच गरिरहन्छे । कसरी सम्झाउने होला, सुझाव पाम् न ।” “काठमाडाैँको धुलोले समेत केहि गर्न नसकेको मान्छेलाई, दिनको जम्मा दुई खिल्ली चुरोटले केहि असर गर्दैन, धेरै कचकच नगर्नु…” भन्दै हेलो सरकारले कम्तीमा, जूनकिरीलाई एउटा पत्र काटिदिन्छ कि भन्ने कत्रो आश थियो । तर अहँ, हेलो सरकारबाट पनि केहि माखो मरेन । सरकारलाई समेत गुहार्न पुगियो हैन? भन्दै उल्टै घरमा रडाको बढ्यो ।

अघिनै भनिसकेँ म बिँडी चुरोटको अम्मली होइन । तर कुरो के भने, सरकारले केहि महिनाअघि एउटा निर्णय गरेपछि मैले पनि, जिन्दगीमा केहि नयाँ अनुभव पनि लिउँ न त, मौका यहि हो भन्ने ठानेर दिनको दुई खिल्ली चुरोट पिउने निर्णय गरेको हो । सरकारको निर्णय के भनेयदि काठमाडाैँको धुलो धुवाँले गर्दा कुनै रोग लागेमा उपचार खर्च सरकारले बेहोर्नेछअनि मनमनै सोचेँ – यदि धुलो धुवाँकै कारणले कुनै रोग लागेमा सरकारले उपचार गरिदिने भएपछि जीवनमा नयाँ अनुभव पनि लिइहालूँ न त । धुवाँकै कारण केहि भएछ भने, यो चुरोटको धुवाँले हो कि काठमाडाैँको हावाको धुवाँले हो भनेर कसलाई के थाहा ? उक्त रोग हावामा भएको प्रदूषणकै कारणले हो भनेर डाक्टरले प्रमाणीत गर्नुपर्ने भएपछि चाहिँ अलि संकोच लागेको थियो तर ती मुला डाक्टरलाई पनि के थाहा मेरो फोक्सोभित्रको धुवाँ चुरोटको हो कि काठमाडाैँको हावाको हो भनेर भन्ने सोचेर ढुक्क भएँ । डाक्टर अलि चलाखै रैछ भने, यस्सो कुरा मिलाउँला नि, कति नै लाग्ला र भन्ने लाग्यो । अनि त्यही दिनदेखि हो मैले दिनमा दुई खिल्ली चुरोट पिउने निर्णय गरेको । तर जूनकिरीको कचकचले हैरान ।

केहि दिनदेखि वातावरणकर्मी भनाउँदाहरु पनि खुब तातेका छन् । जाडोको बेला तात्नु त राम्रै कुरा हो, तर यो कागजमा बल्ड्यांग्रे अक्षरमा कुन्नी के के लेखेर चाहिँ किन दुनियाँलाई देखाउँदै हिँडेका होलान् । त्यसले हावामा भएको प्रदूषण कसरी घटाउँछ भनेर अहिलेसम्म बुझ्या भए मार्दिनु । बरु पोहोरपरार हाम्रा स्वास्थ्यमन्त्रीज्यूले जस्तो यसो पानी सानी छर्केर सडक बढारेको भए केहि हुँदो हो । तर खै, हाम्रा कुरा कसले सुनीदिने र ?
सबका सब जान्नेसुन्ने आजकल त । प्रदुषणको तह सरकारले तोकेको मापदण्डभन्दा धेरै गुणा बढि हुँदा पनि सरकारले केहि गर्न सकेन भनेर कोकोहोलो छ । जूनकिरीले अस्ती घरमै एक लेक्चर दिईहाली । “बाहिर हिँड्दा मास्क लगाउन कहिल्यै नभुल्नु, म घरमा नभएको बेला केटाकेटीलाई धेरै बाहिरतिर डुल्न नदिनु, मर्निगं वाक स्वाक गर्नु पर्दैन, बिहान प्रदूषणकाे मात्रा धेरै हुन्छ…,” के के हो के के । अस्ति छोरोलाई अस्पताल लिएर हिँडेकी थिई, हावा राम्रो छैन भनेर मास्क लगाइदिइछे । डेढ वर्षे छोरो निसास्सीएर झण्डै मरेको ।

प्रिय सरकार, म राम्रोसँग बुझ्छु अरुको कचकच सुन्नु पर्दाको तनाव । तपाईँलाई कस्तो भइरहेको छ भनेर सजिलै अनुमान गर्न सक्छु । त्यसैले, काठमाडाैँको प्रदूषणलाई मापदण्डभित्र राख्ने एउटा अचुक उपाय सुझाएको छु । वायु प्रदूषणको लागि सरकारी मापदण्ड २५० माइक्रोग्राम प्रति घनमिटर भनेर तोकिदिऊँ । त्यति गरिदिने हो भने हावामा प्रदुषणको मात्रा मापदण्डभन्दा कहिल्यै बढि हुन पाउँदैन । अनि न तपार्इँलाई यी वातावरणकर्मीहरुको कचकच सुन्नुपर्ने चिन्ता न मलाई जूनकिरीको लेक्चर । चुरोटबारेको जूनकिरीको कचकच बरु केहि दिनपछि म आफैँ मिलाउँला ।

Today’s learning !!

I learned a new thing today. I’m writing this post via “Windows Live Writer”, not by logging in to my wordpress account as I usually used to do. And I learned it accidentally. I was just looking the windows’ built in apps/tools and saw “Windows Live Writer” among many others. Thinking it as a publishing tool, like blogs, I just got intrigued and clicked it. And that was that. Smile Am now posting it via the same tool.

At first it asks to configure your blog account to which you want to publish your posts. And after the blog address is configured, it just opens as a new Word document in the window (I don’t know about mobile devices). Then you can write in the similar way you do in a new Word document. Categories, tags, post date, author (if multi-authored), slug, excerpt etc. can be used too.

It’s not sooooo different than the generic style of publishing a post by logging in to your personal blog. But, it’s a new learning for me.

But, am not that good at describing things. You need to give a try yourself to know how it works.

Let’s see if plugins are required to display tables or not. I’ve inserted a table below here in Live Writer.

1 One
2 Two
3 Three
4 Four
5 Five

 

 

Better than The Kite Runner

Salaam Alaykum!

A lot of thoughts got implanted in my head after reading The Kite Runner. I don’t know when was the first time I heard about the book and how I heard about it. The book was written in 2003 A.D. when I was about just 10 years old. It had been a long time I wanted to read it but hadn’t found it in my college library [ I don’t buy books as long as I can find it in a library or with a friend 🙂 ]

There was a book exhibition in the exhibition ground, Bhrikutimandap in Kathmandu. I had gone to spend my free time around there as I was free after completing my final year at the college. I saw the book again. The desire to read it surged again. I flipped through the book, looked the price, and began reading the author’s foreword, praises for the book and the highlights/description of the book which I usually do before reading a new book. When I came to know that the novel is about childhood and friendship, I could not stop myself to begin reading the first chapter. I read some of the pages standing in front of the stall. Then I decided to BUY THE FIRST NOVEL 🙂 

I was so attracted by the first novel [The Kite Runner] that I could not stop myself from reading the author’s second work; A Thousand Splendid Suns. Though this novel has portrayed the male characters [Baba as well as Rasheed] as evils, I loved the second novel [ A Thousand Splendid Suns] more than the The Kite Runner. But yes, one book cannot be compared with another; each has a different purpose/theme. It’d be better to say I loved the story of the second novel than that of the first one. 

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a melange of conspiracies, love, war and at last patriotism. It shows how war has shattered Afghanistan and how people become bound to the circumstances they don’t even want to imagine. The following lines from the novel describe how it is the melange of conspiracies, love, war and patriotism. 

#conspiracies: 

• Her (Mariam’s) gaze skimmed over all of these things before they found a face, across the garden, in an upstairs window. The face was there for only an instant, a flash, but long enough. Long enough for Mariam to see the eyes widen, the mouth open. Then it snapped away from the view. A hand appeared & frantically pulled at a cord. The curtain fell shut.
• “Yes. But I’ve seen nine-year-old girls given to men twenty years older than your suitor, Mariam. We all have. What are you, fifteen? That’s a good, solid marrying age.” … It didn’t escape Mariam that no mention was made of her half sisters Saideh or Naheed, both her own age, both students in the Mehri School in Herat, both with plans to enroll in Kabul University. Fifteen evidently, was not a good, solid marrying age for them.

#war:

• “They have food here (orphanage)”, Laila (mother) said shakily. She was glad for the burqa, glad that Aziza(daughter) couldn’t see how she was falling apart inside it.

#love

• In the middle of the night when Laila woke up thirsty, she found their(Laila & her second husband, Tariq) hands still clamped together, in the white knuckle, anxious way of children clutching balloon strings.
• “Me?”, he (Tariq) says, “I will follow you to the end of the world, Laila.”

#patriotism

• A year ago, she (Laila) would have gladly given an arm to get out of Kabul. But in the last few months, she has found herself missing the city of her childhood. She misses the bustle of Shor Bazaar, the Gardens of Babur, the call of the water carriers lugging their goatskin bags.

If you read The Kite Runner and liked it, I think you will like A Thousand Splendid Suns more.

Happy reading !! 

Amplifying happiness

Also in this link: http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/amplifying-happiness

Happiness

How would you feel if you found five bucks while walking on a roadside? Happy? Extremely happy? Maybe that depends on the amount of money you find.

Same happened to me some weeks ago. I found five rupees (Nepali currency) while walking on a roadside. I felt very happy. Five rupees is not that great amount of money, but I had found it without any effort. The bank note was right in front of me and I just had to bend down to pick it up. That was all.

Without thinking anything, I picked up the note. Holding it in my hand I continued my regular move.

After walking for a few minutes, I just remembered some beggars asking for money while I was coming from my room in the morning. I had to pass across a hospital daily and there used to be so many ailing people in the road in front of the hospital asking for money or food or something else.

To be honest, I hadn’t given them (those in front of the hospital) anything till that day. I don’t know what prompted me but I thought of giving the five rupees I found just before, to one of them while returning back to the room.

In the evening, on my way back to the room, I did as planned. There was a guy with no legs. I didn’t throw the note into the begging bowl. Instead, I put it in his hand and asked what had happened to his legs. He told me that he was born like that. He was so grateful for that small amount of money – I cannot describe it here by writing.

Now I know how to amplify happiness. If I find hundred rupees, I will be extremely happy. But if I distribute it to ten destitute people, ten rupees each, ten more people will be happy and I can feel the happiness eleven times – once because of finding the money and ten times because of sharing it. What I think I discovered is, one sorrow (of the person who lost the money) can be changed into lots of happiness. The one thing we have to learn is to find happiness in sharing and seeing other people happy.

No, I am not bragging but just wanted to share how my little happiness, on finding a small bank note, got amplified.

My dear friends, what will you do if you find a hundred bucks? I know you will be happy. And hope you will amplify it too!