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Food For Thought

Monologue: Curse of being urban Nepali

My definition of being urban Nepali is someone who grew up in one of the major cities of Nepal, like Kathmandu, Pokhara, Hetauda, Narayanghat, or Biratnagar or any municipality with easy access to school, hospital, transportation, water and electricity; has gone to private school and college; has relatively comfortable life with access to media and Internet; generally belongs to middle class and above; informed about global trend, ideas and concepts; up to date with technologies and styles and fashion; can read and write English.  Basically someone like I character in the monologue below.

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All my life, I thought it’s a privilege to be an urban Nepali until lately.  It was all well and good.  I could go to better school, better college, have that cool life – less to worry about what to eat or wear.  I could watch movies I like, read books I want.  Take my bike and reach to places I love.  I could talk on GOT to Netflix series; could discuss for hours on sports to world politics.  I could try anything that I am passionate about.  Looking at my life, people of my age from rural areas would wish to be me.  And then came the phase where I could no more live like a prince on parent’s earning.

Oh shit, now I need to earn.  Where do I start from?  No office looks good enough for me.  Either salary is too low or the team does not look like of my type.  Government job? I got no connection as such.  Moreover, I suck in Nepali to crack the exam.  Interested on private corporate but then they may make me work like donkeys for long hours.  I better start my own business.  Where do I start though? Unless something cool and fancy, my friends gonna laugh at me.  Moreover, all my relatives with that level of lifestyles, how can I stand in front of them starting small?  I will look weak.  I can’t afford to look weak.

I am broke but I can’t lower down my standard.  Everywhere I look, I see majority of those shutters are occupied by small-scale businesses but my mind only desires for next Java or departmental store and nothing less.  In streets, in markets, I see people selling goods and stuffs but I can’t stand by them and do the selling.  I see bike mechanics, I see plumbers and electricians, but I can’t go to them and ask to teach me their skills.

I wonder where can i sell my knowledge on GOT, opinions on world politics and English premier league.  I know how a good movie should look like, where can I sell that? I have great tastes on songs and fashions, but no one buys that.  Damn! no one gives a dime about the school I went and college I graduated from. I got 4-story building in prime location but it means nothing than to get rent for my parents.

The anxiety, the desperation, my ego, my dreams on one side and in another side, the reality.  Reality being I am a citizen of a country with income per capita of 2.5 dollars per day, that makes it roughly 1000 dollars a year or 10 thousands per month.  Whereas my desired life is that of global citizens who make 4000 dollars per month.  Huge majority of people don’t have problem living in that reality of 2.5 dollars per day but I can’t because I got a different tastes and habits, because I am an urban Nepali.

I so wish now that I was never born as urban Nepali, lived as urban Nepali, that I could pick up a cycle and sell something on streets.  Or, I could take any job and give my best.  All my people and relatives would be from village and no one would judge me or laugh at me.  I could manage in small one-room apartment and no girl from my village would call me poor.   I would be the majority, neither my ego would hurt, nor my perceptions would distort.

This country is not for me.  I should try abroad.  There, I will look like  a guy from village starting from zero — the condition I truly belong, I desperately need, for my own good.

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Food For Thought

Opinion Vs Fact: Things to understand while communicating

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Once, I was in a camp designed to train youths on liberty, freedom, free-market, and governance. Four foreign nationals were conducting the class.  There were interactions, discussions and Q&A sessions.  There were many instances where the foreigners would ask questions about Nepal, and students would answer them, and sometimes answers used to be totally exaggerated one or sometimes completely untrue, but then those foreigners would believe them anyway as if is true.  Stepping onto the shoes of those foreigners, I surely would have found Nepal a horrible place to live in based on the answers and views shared by Nepalese in the class.

I still remember the Human Rights report during the Madhesh andolan and how that irked many people then. I remember an article written in response to the report stating “many times, western media and organisations cover Nepal and build their views plainly based on correspondents living in New Delhi or only by interviewing opinion leaders from Kathmandu.”  I also remember one of the videos by Al Jazeera and how that actually shaped views of others regarding Madhesh Andolan.

What can we learn from these incidences and observations is that we often end up spreading false messages or half truth, about our country and people, especially in crisis-hit time.  I suppose it’s same everywhere in developing society.  So, how do we end up spreading false messages? It’s in our lack of communication skills.  There is something else.

When we are telling something to somebody about our country or government or an incident, we are either expressing
1. Our opinion, OR.
2. Telling the fact.

Opinion is what you feel, what you think. Fact is something that has been proven, is backed by evidence, or a conclusion from an extensive research.  People generally don’t take opinion that seriously but take facts quite seriously.  What happens when you express your opinion in a tone of fact-telling? People will take that seriously as if is a truth.

Let’s put it in example.
“Nepal is a very highly corrupted country. Everyone is corrupted here. You can buy anyone for money.” This statement sounds like a fact.

” I think, Nepal is a very highly corrupted country. To me, everyone seems corrupted here.  I even think you can buy anyone for money.  That’s just my opinion though.” This statement sounds pretty much an opinion.

Could you see the difference?? That “I think” makes a whole difference.

So, how an opinion should be expressed and not make it sound like fact telling? It’s very simple. You begin or end a sentence with “in my opinion” or “I think.”

I get to read many comments, I get to hear many stories, get to observe many interactions, and I have been noticing everywhere that we don’t know how to express our opinion and how to put facts. We just talk.  The problem is not just in youth.  It’s in everyone.  It’s in politicians, it’s in media, it’s in streets, it’s in home.  Basically, it’s in our culture.

You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.

I understand, we cannot be always politically and technically correct, but that should not be an excuse when representing your group or country and talking to outsiders or talking to media.  If you fail to rightly express your opinion, your opinion can be taken as FACTS.  Eventually, we may end up establishing an opinion as a fact.

That’s what has happened to us. We mix up opinion with facts. We claim to know things about government without even knowing in true sense.  We claim to know things about people without even knowing in true sense.  We claim to know about many things without even knowing in true sense.  Foreigners may not know that.  Children for sure can’t know that.  Students may not know that.  Online users, readers and viewers, may not know that.  They all will go home thinking they have learned about something because you said so.  “They told in TV bla bla bla…”

Look around!! Because of the very same culture, there are all kinds of nonsense taken as facts.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an American sociologist, once rightly said “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”  Many people here don’t get that.  You please don’t be that.  When you are expressing your opinion, make it sound like an opinion and not a fact.

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Food For Thought

Don’t settle quick

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If you are in your early 20s, you are young.  You have at least another 5 years to worry less about finance and familial responsibilities. See? This is not the time for you to run for money, to run for car and house. The time will come that you will have no option but to run for those things. You will be stuck with familial and social responsibilities, even if you don’t want to.  BUT, THIS IS NOT THE TIME.

This is the time to know people, to try, to experiment, to explore. The energy that you have at this age bracket won’t be same 5 years from now. You will realize that only when you are nearing your 30.  So, make best use of the energy that you have. not to live like a 30-year-old person but like a 22-year-old, as you are. Your 30-year-old life anyway is there waiting for you.  But hey! your 22-year-old life won’t be there.

So, live your 20s life now. Don’t waste it by living your 30s life, just to live the same life 5 years from now.

This is the time for you to join new circle, new people, join start-ups, try building things, try creating things, try winning deals, try ruling markets, try this, try that, try everything. Even if it does not work out, you are young and you will be alright; not like in 30s, when you mess up, your chance to grow further shrinks by half.

So I say, don’t look for job in Facebook, job in Google, job in CG or NCell or NTC or some big corporate house, where you would feel secure, would earn better.  Instead, look for job in start-ups, and make it next Facebook or Google or CG or NCell.  If you want to try your own, that’s even better.  How much ever you give for big companies, you will be still only known as employee. When you give your best for start-ups, you will be known as founding team, founding member. When the start-ups become big, your name will be in its history book, you pics will be in companies wall.

That’s the beauty of working with start-ups. You are just in your 20s, I repeat, don’t run for money. Run for a team that is worth investing your time and energy up on, that you look back 5 years from now and shout “YES! WE MADE IT.” That sense of achievement, you will never feel in big companies nor job abroad, in same manner as you would feel when turning start-ups to next Facebook or Apple or another big corp.

One life, don’t waste it. One youthfulness, don’t settle too quick.

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Food For Thought

People don’t forget the way you made them feel

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We often think “once everything becomes alright, all the bad things and relationships will be fixed as well.” Some of us have a habit of not picking up calls when in middle of something even if is being called many times thinking “will call later and make things alright” or “anyway am meeting the caller in the evening, I will talk then

Or, we avoid talks or contacts with some people that we are supposed to pay back or deliver a commitment thinking “will talk once am able to pay back or deliver the commitment.

Later, we often manage to pay or deliver or meet them, but things don’t remain same from there. We turn out to be a bad person though we are good deep inside, though we didn’t cheat or betray, in the end.  Still people ignore us, friends and relatives set a distance from us; they don’t trust us and we wonder “what did I do??”

WHAT DID WE DO? we made people go through unpleasant emotions. And those people don’t want to go through that emotions again. So, instead of calling hundred times and going through “WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?” with that angry unpleasant feeling, they learn to not call you and avoid the unpleasant emotion. Instead of giving you money, and go through “WILL HE EVEN RETURN THE MONEY?” the anxious feeling, they learn to not give you money in first place and avoid the unpleasant emotion.

Same goes in romantic relationship. That’s how once-a-great relationship dies off without a clue. Deep inside, it’s because of the same reason stated above.

Many good people by heart has messed up in interpersonal relationship (ghar-samaj bevahar) simply because of this one little thing that they could not consider and understand.

Humans are very easy animal if you rightly understand their pleasure-seeking nature and tendency to avoid/reject unpleasant emotions and activities.  If you don’t want others to keep a distance from your life, don’t feed them or push them to unpleasant emotions and activities.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

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