My Inner Journey

“Fulko Ankha ma Fulai Sansara, Kada ko aankha ma kadai sansara” This song by Ani Choying Drolma is one of the most beautiful musical creation ever. We all have been captivated and must have hummed this many times. Yet, how many of us actually accept and uphold the songs true essence? Well, I thought that the song probably demands too much of us. “Mero Paitala le, kirai namaros” is that even possible?

“There are no problems only situations, it’s in how you approach them”. I randomly shared this quote in Facebook. I was impressed by the thought. My father gave a thumbs up in agreement. This was my first encounter with “Jaggi Basudeva” better known as ‘Sadhguru’. Long white beard, and eloquent eyes; the first two things you notice about this guy who speaks to the youth. Gradually, I started listening more of him in YouTube. He spoke in a language that not only I, but any 16-year-old could comprehend. The way he sheds clarity to subject matters was simply phenomenal. His perception of life and everything for that matter was so clear. He could put the world’s most complex issues in a very simplistic, logical and practical manner. So, an Indian Baba whose discourses are in English, followed by the youth and shared a common love for motorcycles. I found his overall personality really intriguing and felt an instant connect.

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Risk is in the eye of the beholder. For the one who does it, it could be calibrated action. -Sadhguru

Just out of curiosity about this guy and his methods, I decided to join his yoga class branded as ‘Inner Engineering’. A chapter that started out of intrigue and curiosity turned out to be one of the most significant part, which has probably changed the rest of the script.

After one year of Inner Engineering, I can definitely say that It was one of the best decisions of my life. The experience was so enriching that it changed something inside of me. In this blog, I have shared some of the changes I experienced within me.

  1. Anger

“Joy, misery, anger, pleasure and ecstasy are all created within us and by us. External events are just triggers to which we may choose to respond or not to respond. Whenever you are angry how do you feel? Do you feel pleasant or unpleasant? Of course you feel unpleasant. Now, if you had a choice to keep yourself in a state of pleasantness or anger, what would you choose?” – Sadhguru

Inner engineering made me realize that I had a choice. I had a choice to remain in a state of pleasantness or become miserable.

  1. Clarity

Clarity comes only after chaos. A person who is in the path of spirituality might look very calm and composed from the outside, but a thousand questions are constantly running in his mind. His mind is an ocean of questions that people might not give much attention to.

Currently, I have a thousand questions and most of the answers lies within me. The clarity that I am referring to is the realization that it’s time to turn inwards.

  1. Relationships

My relationships have improved. Today, I have a better grip over my emotions and thoughts which has led to improved dynamics in my relation with my parents, friends, colleagues and even strangers.

  1. Responsible

Only if you feel responsible towards something, you feel accountable and try to do something about it. One of the virtue lacking in most of the people is the feeling of responsibility. We feel that everything is someone else’s responsibility. One of the basic example is our country itself. We feel it is the responsibility of the political leaders and civil servants to make the country better. Whenever we abuse a leader or question their integrity, it is very important to question ourselves first. Before questioning the people in authority, think whether you have performed your duty as a citizen or not. We have to understand that democracy is a participatory and not a spectators sport. In an interview, famous Nepali entrepreneur, Karna Shakya rightly pointed out that we Nepali’s were “Praja” in the Rana and Shah regime, today we are ” Janatas” but, we could never become a “Nagarik “, a citizen.

  1. Consciousness and compulsiveness

‘Consciousness’ is one of the most debated and researched topic in the world today. Most of the things we do today are a result of 98% unconsciousness and unconscious behaviors are reflected through our everyday compulsive habits. Whatever is compulsive is unconscious. Few instances may be the bad habits you want to quit. If you think carefully, most of your bad habits are a result of unconscious behavior. If you were conscious enough, you would have corrected the bad habit. But, the problem is that most of the times we don’t even realize that we are actually doing it.

I proudly announce that I quit smoking. Previously, I made several attempts but failed happily. Every smoker knows that it is injurious to health and yet quitting is almost impossible. Continuous inner engineering practices made me realize that smoking is actually causing harm to my own body. I always knew this but once you consciously feel and experience the poison, quitting was suddenly easy and came rather naturally. One of the important aspect of yoga and spirituality is to maintain one’s body in perfect harmony with the universe and smoking was not helping.

  1. Joy

“Peace and joy are not the ultimate, but the basic.” -Sadhguru

Imagine having your lunch while you are angry and disturbed. Can you enjoy it? Even to conduct a simple act of eating we need to be at peace within us.

I can joyfully state that inner engineering practices have made me more joyful and peaceful within me. Today I am less angry and more lively. I feel more responsible towards everything in general and most importantly it has made me more conscious than ever before.

I have understood what “Fulko Ankha ma Fulai sansara” means. But understanding is one thing, and I am glad I do, but it is simply not enough. I want to experience and become the flower that she is referring to. I want to be in that joyful and ecstatic state every moment of life. The experiences I had might just be a drop. I want to experience the ocean.

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राराका यादहरु (Memories of Rara)

Day 1: Butwal to Surkhet

Our moods suddenly changed at Surkhet when we were informed that the snow in the upper regions of Mugu had not melted. Some said it was impossible to go beyond Nagma and we may have to abandon our vehicle and walk for several days. Prediction of heavy snowfall in days ahead, further put a dent on our timeline. Our driver dai had decent experience driving off-road, but he had never driven this part of Nepal and was the most nervous among the eight of us. We were about to navigate through one of the most treacherous roads in Nepal on a two wheel drive, where four wheel vehicles struggled. Despite of all, we decide to start our journey the next day.

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Team Rara: Aditya Bikram Karki, Niraj Lekhak, Nova Khosin, Shubhechcha Budathoki, Rishav Devkota, Shuvam Dotel, Kawish Shrestha and Sujeet Regmi
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En route to Surkhet

Day 2: Surkhet to Nagma

We decided to leave before sunrise in order to reach Nagma. Foxes were roaming freely in the highway and we were lucky to spot a few in the twilight. En route to Nagma, we witnessed a mind blowing sunrise, and magnificent eagles flying alongside our vehicle. Some road sections could have killed us, not only with its precarious state, but also with its beauty. The sound of Karnali River was omnipresent. From here on Mobile signal was rare and electricity a distant dream. Most houses had installed solar panels which was the only source of power.

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Sea of clouds at Tallo Dhungeshwor
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Manma Bazar
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The omnipresent Karnali (PC: Niraj Lekhak)

Day 3: Nagma to Rara Lake

Journey from Nagma to Rara Lake was an experience in itself. Clear sky, snow laden hills, and tall pine trees. All was good until we reached BhoteJiula, when the Army officials warned us about the road ahead. That section of the road was called Sat Ghumti. Seven mind boggling snake like turns, covered with thick snow. We were both thrilled and nervous at the same time.  As the driver maneuvered the vehicle through the slippery turns, we could clearly see him sweating even in that temperature. Slow and steady we reach Pena where we had to park our vehicle and hike towards RARA.

The most dangerous road section of the trip (VIDEO)

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Less road more ice
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Just another view

A 45 minute hike through a barren, but beautiful grassland followed by a thick forest. The forest did not allow us even a glimpse of the lake.

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Snow River?

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Barren and beautiful
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The final walk towards Rara

Our patience was running thin when suddenly there it was. Our eyes sparkled as we got the first glimpse of the majestic Rara. The queen of all the lakes in Nepal graced us at 3000 meters above sea level; surrounded by thick forest and tall mountains. Rara is spread over a total of 9.8 square km which makes it the biggest lake in Nepal. The Lake having a length of 5 kilometers and a width of 3 kilometers has a maximum depth of 167 meters (548 ft.).

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First glimpse
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Getting closer
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Reflection
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The Dock

Unlike the rave reviews and the outstanding pictures that we had seen in social media, our view of RARA compared to those pictures was gloomy. May be it was because of the time of the day, time of the year or maybe we were not on the right spot.

While we were taking some pictures and soaking the view, we came across some school children who were also on a trip to Rara. Within minutes we were dancing and exchanging lok dohoris with the children and their teachers in a famous song from the west ‘Raizuma’. It was a beautiful moment and the best welcome we could have ever imagined. After half an hour of singing and dancing, we bid them farewell as we boarded our boat to cross the lake. We could not stop humming the Raizuma tune throughout the forty minute boat ride across the lake. The initial disappointment started to fade as we saw more of the lake from the boat. Slowly, we realized that the lake actually grows on you. The more we saw, the more beautiful it was turning out to be. The Mountain range started to look vibrant, as we got a clear view.

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Dancing with the children
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Welcome to Rara
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Vibrant mountains
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View from the boat
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Across the Lake

The next morning we hiked towards Murma top. While we were hiking through the dense forest some of my friends were lucky enough to see a flock of Danphes (National bird of Nepal) disappear into the forest. We saw various colorful and unique birds during the two hour hike.  Rara national Park is home to 51 species of mammals, 272 species of birds, two species of reptiles and amphibians, and three species of fishes.

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Reflections
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Lonely or Free? You decide (PC: Sujeet Regmi)
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Hiking route
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Hiking towards Murma top
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Rara sanga Luka-Mari

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The resting spot

As we climbed further up, we could see a different view of Rara from different angles, each time more beautiful than the previous view. When we reached at the top (3900 m), one of my friend could not hold her tears. She had just witnessed probably the most beautiful view she had seen in her entire life. We were surrounded by Mountains from all the sides. We had come here to view Rara from the top, but were surprised to see such a fascinating view of the mountains. The whole place was like a painting which must have taken years to be crafted. We could also see the mountain printed on Nepalese one rupee note along with mountains like API, Panch Mukhe and Saipal.

Experience Murma Top (Click for video)

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Mesmerized yet??? wait for it…

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Different shades of Rara

Along with the unexpected and astonishing view, the thing that surprised me was the lack of publicity this place received. Such a beautiful place and no one talks about it. We were not even aware about the place. Thanks to the school teacher we met the previous day who informed us that that this is a must visit place when you come to Rara. Statistics show that the total number of tourists visiting the National Park was nearly 8,000 in the fiscal year 2015/16 which is the least tourist flow among the National Parks of Nepal. So, it was the least revenue generator in the same fiscal year with NRs. 5 lakh 52 thousand whereas the Chitwan National Park generates NRs. 290 million. (The Himalayan Times)

After spending almost 1.5 hours, spellbound by the beauty of the place we realized that this place was even more beautiful than the lakeside itself.

No words or pictures can capture and describe its beauty. I would like to use the analogy of an Apsara, an angel from heaven. Just like gods used to send these supernatural beings with unimaginable beauty to seduce gods and men, this place must also serve a similar purpose. The water is crystal clear, it sparkles like a diamond in sunlight and changes its color according to the time of day. One just can’t get enough of it. Its splendor can break hearts and heal them simultaneously. Unlike other natural lakes, its beauty is irrespective of the season. Just like an apsara, rara takes numerous beautiful forms, perform all forms of dance and is capable of breaking any vows or tapasya taken up by any sage.

Leaving you with some more pictures…Enjoy

Crystal clear Rara (CLICK FOR VIDEO)

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NAMASTE AND GOOD BYE

Also Read: Mountain High

Management Lessons from people wearing different lenses

This article is a part of my assignment in the Seminar in Business Environment course at KUSOM. Five very successful personalities from their respective fields shared valuable insights with us. I have tried to sum up each one of their experiences in this article.

“Rise Above Self”  -Mr. Bhoj Raj Pokharelbhojraj

Bhojraj Pokharel was the Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal from 2006-2009. During that time, Mr. Pokharel skillfully managed to bring the former Maoist rebels in the democratic electoral processes. He is one of the key architects to ensure more than 33 percent women representation in the parliament and also to make this elected body most inclusive and participative. (Annual democracy Forum)

Rise above Self is something so easy to say, but equally difficult to practice. It basically means to keep one’s personal motives and gain aside while doing your job and always thinking about the means and not the end. Among the five speakers, I was really inspired with Mr. Pokharel. He practiced rising above self and successfully conducted the elections in 2008 in a very hostile political environment. In spite of 80% of Nepal being controlled by the Maoists and absence of a single credible institution, Mr. Pokharel successfully conducted the election. Some of the key learning for management students that we can take from his achievement are:

  •     Transparency: Transparency is very essential in order to bring all the stakeholder in the same page. Understanding the scenario helps build trust and credibility. This is also an inclusive technique that makes everyone feel like being a part of the occasion. So, as management students it is imperative to maintain a clear and transparent work environment.
  •    Building informal authority: Building informal authority is all about building an image of yourself that does not require a formal position to exercise power. In organizational context informal authority is more important than the formal authority. It is because of the informal authority a manager can actually push his employees to practice selfless acts like Organizational Citizenship Behavior. All successful managers exercise informal authority. However, building informal authority is not easy. While formal authority can be acquired through  hierarchical position, informal authority requires quality performance and high credibility. Technically informal authority is known as referent power.
  •     Command over the subject: It is essential for leaders to have sufficient command over the subject they are managing. If a manager does not have the command over the subject, he/she might  never be able to build a strong informal authority and attain organizational goals. Times have changed and so has people’s fear for the authority, if one does not have enough command over the subject, formal authority becomes less effective. Technically having command over the subject matter is known as having expert power.
  •    Establish accountability: Another vital task as a manager/leader is establishing accountability. A leader can’t do all the work by himself, which is why there is a team. If the leader fails to establish who is responsible and accountable for a particular job then it becomes very difficult to monitor and push the members. Accountability should usually be given to one individual for one task.

“Funds are not the problem” -Mr. Kenichi Yokomayo

Kenichi-Yokoyama

Mr. Kenichi Yokomayo, Country Director ADB shared his experience of working in Nepal. He finds it very difficult to spend the allocated amount of concessional loans to Nepal. Nepal Government is not able to spent concessional loans that it gets from ADB due to various reasons. Mr. Yokoyama informed that ADB has sanctioned loans worth $1.73 million, out of which the government has only been able to utilize 17% and the rest $ 1.43 million is still not dispatched. Another major challenge for ADB seems to be in the monitoring of the funds dispatched. The contractors, government officials and the security personnel themselves find hundreds of ways to cheat ADB officials and misuse the funds. So, a lot of time and energy is wasted on monitoring.

Mr. Yokoyama kept reminding us that funds are not the problem, proper utilization of those funds is the major problem in case of Nepal. Nepal has been growing at a rate of 0.5% which is not sufficient. Mr. Yokoyama also coined several reasons behind our slow growth:

  1.       Political instability
  2.       Inadequate infrastructure
  3.       Raw human capital
  4.       Structural transformation
  5.       Cartels

Despite these growth constraints and rampant corruption, ‘Melanchi ko Pani’ will finally arrive in Kathmandu in about 18 months. Mr. Radhesh Pant, CEO of Investment Board of Nepal assured us that we will be drinking fresh Melamchi water very soon. The event was in April 2016, so about 6 months more.

“All Nepali migrants in Qatar are not miserable”  -Mr. Diwakar Shakya

Mr. Diwakar Shakya tried to show us that not all the migrant workers in Qatar are in a miserable state. According to him 40% of Nepalese in Qatar are doing very well and are in respectable professions like doctors, lawyers, teachers and even entrepreneurs.

The decreasing oil prices may not affect us here in Nepal, as we are always living in shortage. But, the Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar are the ones who are facing a difficult situation as the decrease in prices have affected the whole economy and lots of Nepalese are losing their jobs and are forced to return home or to find a lower paying job.

“MBA’s should have a General management view” – Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari

Ashutosh-Tiwari

Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari, CEO, Sherpa Adventure Gears reminded us that MBA is all about having a General management concept. I personally always thought that we have to choose a sector and work our whole life in that sector in order to be successful. But, Mr. Tiwari having worked in different sectors successfully with no prior experience really gave me a lot of hope and a sense of adventure of working in different sectors of business. Being diplomatic and being on the good side of the governing bodies is important for a CEO. Although, a CEO should be nice to the stakeholders, he should also be able to say ‘No’ in relevant situations.

Mr. Tiwari, warned us that firing employees is not easy in Nepal due to various labor unions, who are usually associated with some political parties. The unions are so strong that they even resort to physical force if things are not done their way. So, being able to manage these unions is a key role of a CEO in Nepal.

Overall, the session was really fruitful as we were able to view the subject matter from the eyes of different stakeholders. Mr. Tiwari and Pokharel taught us how to lead and motivate employees in challenging situations. Mr. Panta and Yokoyama shed light on what is happening in Nepal in terms of growth and development. Mr. Shakya showed us a different Qatar, in terms of Nepalese workers and how the oil prices are affecting them.

Claudio Ranieri: A Transformational Leader

‘There’s still a place for magic in leadership’

The title winning team Leicester City’s manager has redefined the qualities of a leader by transforming a relegation battling team into the “Champions of England”. Leicester city’s success is one of the most incredible achievements in the history of world sports. Behind their success is a very humble guy named Claudio Ranieri. The EPL title is Ranieri’s first in his 30 year old career. Even though he was a close second a number of times with many other clubs, the coveted trophy had always eluded him.

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Claudio Ranieri

 

 

Now let’s dissect Ranieri’s success in terms of four dimensions of a transformational leader.

  1. Idealized influence

Ranieri was not a conventional charismatic leader. Rather his personality traits revealed himself as charming and humble in nature. His charisma lied in his simplicity. His team Leicester city is considered to be a minnow in England. On the other hand, Ranieri was very experienced and had managed bigger clubs like Chelsea, Roma, Inter- Milan and Juventus. Given his background he was a strong role model for the players of a club of Leicester’s stature .

Although the clubs vision and mission was not to win the title, Ranieri was able to instill that belief as the season progressed.

The club ranked second in the fair play table this season which is an excellent evidence of him instilling a high standard of moral and ethical conduct. (Competition)

  1. Inspirational Motivation

‘We’ instead of ‘I’ was Ranieri’s mantra for establishing the core value of ‘Team spirit’ in each of his players. He focused on the team and helped them discover their true potential. His honest and humble nature inspired the whole team.

He used unconventional reward mechanisms like teaching the players to bake Italian styled pizzas when they managed a clean-sheet. The charm of the Italian kitchen; the warmth of the communal dining table; the pleasure and camaraderie of cooking and eating together. What a secret weapon!(Trafford, 2016). This is a very unique way of motivating and inspiring a team in a world where bonuses and monetary incentives are considered to be a strong motivating factor.

Ranieri had a unique way of keeping his players focused during the training session. He used the symbol of an imaginary bell by making a bell sound ‘Dilly-ding, dilly-dong, wake up!’Initially baffled by the unusual sound emanating from their manager, the players quickly got the message and, once they had suppressed their giggles, they snapped out of their slumber with renewed focus.(Agency France Press, 2016)

  1. Intellectual Stimulation

Ranieri followed a participatory approach and build the team around the characteristics of his players.(Mohdin, 2016) He could carefully read the state of the players and strategically let the team develop a strategy of their own. He did not impose his tactics into the team which helped him to gain the trust of the players. Gaining the trust was very crucial as he built the core competency of his team around it-ceding possession to opponents and setting everything up to serve fast-paced counterattacks. (Quartz, 2016)

Even though the odds against Leicester winning the title was 5000/1, which reflects the lack of belief everyone had in them, Ranieri was able to instill the winner’s mentality and belief that eventually paid off.

  1. Individualized consideration

The fact that he had built a very strong bond with his player’s shows his man management skills. The players were very fond of him and his style of leadership. For instance, he had given Jamie Vardy an unprintable nickname and ordered a standing ovation for Shinji Okazaki after the Japanese striker passed his English exam in London.(Percy, 2016). One of the reason the players loved Ranieri was due to his ability to understand the players need. Star striker, Jamie Vardy hailed his manager for his incredible foresight in the title winning run. (James, 2016)

The players that looked mediocre until last season suddenly started looking invincible. The sudden rise in the performance of the players is another proof of his incredible influence and ability to identify individual talent and use it to the team’s advantage.

There is no doubt that the Italian was able to transform the clubs fate. But, before he was able to transform the club, he had to transform himself. He was considered to be a manager who constantly rotated his squad and experimented with his team and tactics. At Leicester, he has used the same players, in the same formation, more than any other team in the Premier League. Thus, he was able to adapt and change his leadership style according to the organizational needs which makes him a versatile and change oriented leader.

Now the biggest challenge for Ranieri is to keep his star players in the club. The departure of star midfielder N’Golo Kanté to Chelsea is a big blow for the upcoming season. Mahrez and Vardy have also been linked to various clubs.  With just 19 days left for next season and with the arrival of Pep and Conte in the mix, next season poses an even bigger challenge for the humble guy. Watching them in the Champions league is another mouth-watering prospect. What do you think are the odds of Leicester winning the Champions League?

How I got my driving license without paying a penny extra

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Gadi ko License lina paryo, kati pardo rahecha? The answer usually ranges from 15K to 40K according to the type of license, festive season, department head, rush etc.

Last year I went to Yatayat office, Ekantakuna to add the ‘category b’ which is a car to my existing motorcycle license. Unfortunately and embarrassingly, I failed. A graduate level student from Kathmandu University failed in the government driving license written test. Would you have been embarrassed? Probably yes. So, the first lesson here is to study for the written test. However, this time I was determined. Although the system tested my nerves and dedication to its limits, I have personally learned in life that hard work and dedication never fails.

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The transportation office accepts application for Car license on Mondays and Fridays. In 2070 BS, after implementing the new trial system, Kathmandu is the only place where you can apply for the license. Recently the government has started the service in some other regions. Since the applicants from all over the country come to Kathmandu to apply for the license, we have to wait for a month to be able to submit the form.

I had board exams during my allocated time to submit the form. Fortunately, I got to know that the office does accept late forms. So about a month and two weeks later there I was standing in queue for about 2 and half hours to submit my form. Finally when I reached the concerned department, the officials refused to accept my form because I was late. I felt helpless and literally begged them. After standing in queue for about 7.5 hours (5 hours in order to register your documents and 2.5 hours to submit), they refused to accept my documents. They were asking me to stand in line for another 8 hours and re-apply after a month. One argument they put forward was that since my board exams won’t be postponed for the license test, why they should accept my form late. I sensed that they were actually looking for bribe as I was already informed that forms can be submitted later than the allocated date, but not earlier than that. Not surprisingly they asked to meet them later that day to see if something can be done.

My decision of choosing the right path by not offering any bribe had taken a massive hit. Having worked in an IT company, and regularly filling online forms, I was thinking to myself, why all this hassle for a five minute work online.  Can you guess why?

I was sure they would ask for a bribe and the thought of paying them did cross my mind. But then again I thought if I pay them today, I will keep paying such corrupt government officials throughout my life. Today, it may be a matter of 25 thousand, tomorrow it can be 25 lakhs. Even worse, if I pay them now, the next generation will also have to go through the same.

The first step to change is to change yourself. Not complaining about the system, rather challenging them.  As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “be the change you want to see in the world”; I want to see a corruption free and prosperous Nepal. Who doesn’t?  And the first step towards such a nation is my own little step. So I had decided, I would rather stay in queue for another 12 hours than to offer a bribe.

Later I went to the same official and surprisingly after arguing for a minute or so, he just signed and asked me to continue with the further procedures. It was that simple and I was like “What the hell?” Yeti Kura bihanai garna sakinna thio? I don’t know why he agreed to accept my papers then instead of doing it in the morning. May be he was impressed by my persistence? Naahhh. May be he just wanted to get rid of me as I seemed educated and unwavering and focus on a more vulnerable and gullible person who he may be able to extort easily.

Reflection

For 5 hours, I fought with myself to decide against paying the bribe. The easy way is not necessarily the right way. Sometimes I think if my father had not bribed himself out of the procedure a decade back, may be the concept would not have crossed my mind. I am not blaming my father or anyone else who has offered a bribe in their life. The system is so confusing and difficult that anyone can be easily tempted to take the easy way out. But then again such people should not complain about the country or the leaders. At least the privileged once like me, who have acquired quality education and can understand the consequences of such corrupt practices should stand against it. It doesn’t even require high level of education to understand that corruption is bad. Does it require a master’s degree to understand that not doing anything is being a part of the crime being committed? All that is required is not do it yourself and try to influence whatever number of people you can. Is it that difficult?  Apparently it is.

Even though I learnt a lot of new things while I was preparing for the written test, it is totally impractical. Even the trial exam is traditional and does not reflect the true driving potential of a candidate. Most of the experienced drivers who drive in Kathmandu streets will probably fail the test. The driving institutes are literally looting the general public with rates that rise up to about Rs. 2300/ hour. I don’t understand the logic behind re appearing for the written test if a candidate fails the trial test. Mr. Lila Mani Paudyal, former chief secretary had mentioned that Yatayat office is one of the most corrupt government offices in Nepal. People pay crores of rupees in order to get transferred to this department. Even his persistent efforts has been to no avail due to high political interventions. In my opinion external efforts will not bring any result until and unless we don’t change and start challenging the wrong in the society.

For those who are still interested, yes I did pass my written and trial test. Thus, obtaining the license in Rs. 300. But, many failed and I feel for them. They have to go through the same frustrating procedure again. Each time they fail, they are more likely to bribe the sharks who reside inside the Yatayat office. But then again, what if we all refuse to pay? For how long will the sharks survive without munching on the ignorant and Sojha-Sajha Nepalese janta? How many more generations of Nepalese must go through the painstaking government procedures? What if I say, when we offer them bribe now, our children’s will actually have to pay for it in the future.  Let’s give it a thought 🙂

Mountain High

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View from Machhapuchchhre Base Camp
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Mountain Ranges near Deurali
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The other Side – Fishtail
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A closer view

I have always had a lust, a longing, a dream, a love for the mountains. Mountains represents peace and serenity. It takes me to a state of mind which I haven’t experienced in any other terrain the earth has to offer, not that I have experienced everything though. Amidst the mountains I feel a high, may be the best kind of high there is to experience.

When I say mountains it does not only mean climbing one, one can experience the mighty right from its lap. Not to forget it’s not easy to even get close to the mountains. If it was than most of us would have, but very few dare and even fewer make it. Not a long time back I used to think that humans conquer mountains, it is like an obsession, a sense of victory over the mighty rock. For me, a movie changed my perception about reaching the top or even reaching the base camp. 7 years in Tibet is a movie about the friendship of Dalai Lama and Heinrich Harrer, where a Tibetan women explains that it’s foolish to even think that a human can actually conquer or gain victory over the mountain. It is the mountain that lets you climb and makes you feel that you have actually defeated the invincible. If it does not want you to, you can’t. It is the mountain that accepts you and lets you reach the top. The Sherpas organize a puja ceremony before climbing the mountain in order to receive blessings and good fortune.

“Before any work begins on the mountain we’ll have a Puja ceremony, this ceremony is believed to make contact with divine Sagamartha (Mount Everest) and ask her for clear the passage for everyone, the Sherpa climbers will not climb before they are blessed, this will take place tomorrow morning so the trekkers can be part of it too. This is the most important blessing for our team; Western climbers, Sherpa climbers, food and equipment.” (Everest 2013: Base Camp Puja)

The above statement is given by a Sherpa describing the puja ceremony.

A trek to the Annapurna Base Camp gave me a glimpse of what mountain climbing is like. The glimpse might be only 1 per cent of the actual ascend, but at least I got to experience the 1 per cent. The trek also made me realize that I should and I can aim for more. Now, I want to reach the Everest Base camp which is at 5400 m, ABC is at 4130 m. At Kathmandu we are at about 1400 m. Talking about heights I have acrophobia, yes I am an acrophobic who is in love with the mountains.

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