Early in the Morning: A Radio Interview and Blogs

Blogmandu: The story of Ratnapark and the debate of men on the street. Read in Nepali.

Thanks to the CA election I have started waking up early in the morning these days. (Be warned, waking up early is NOT my cup of tea. I rarely see morning tea actually.) It was 6:35 and I hurriedly plugged earphones into my, where else, ears to get the latest on the polls. The KFM 96.1 was reading out news from Kantipur so I quickly pressed 9 on my cell which means I am tuned into the BBC World Service. A BBC reporter was screaming from Philadelphia, he was live commenting on the Democratic presidential debate. As soon as I heard the word Obama, I threw my siraks off (yes, I still use two but one of them always goes out of the bed sometime in the midnight!) and went to the TV. I was disappointed. Since the debate was on ABC, CNN wasn’t broadcasting it. There were two options: go back to bed or open the computer (because there was electricity which has become rare again after the polls). I decided to go for the second one. Thankfully, as I was briefly updating UWB, Anderson Cooper started showing snippets of the debate on CNN. I was little bit sad to know from one of those commentators (including the BBC reporter) that Obama didn’t do very well in the debate. Still I wished him luck. (After all he is the candidate I have proudly endorsed for this election season in the US.)

My original plan was to write an article about the current state of Nepal for an Indian web site. They had requested me and I had emailed them that I would write in two days. So many things are happening so quickly that it’s difficult to focus in one particular topic.

It’s about 3:34 PM and I haven’t started writing the article. Instead, in all these past hours, I was surfing the web and going through many Nepali blogs- many of whom I had never seen before. I was basically looking at Blogspot and WordPress blogs. As I surfed and found new blogs, I became more interested in them. Many of them were Hello-I-Started-Blogging-But-I-Don’t-Think-I-Will-Update kind of blogs that with a couple of posts and then the silence on blogger’s part. Some were very interesting and I read couple of posts on them. But I know how difficult it is to maintain the blog and keep on blogging. It’s been four long years, baby, that I have been blogging (on at least two sites) and it’s freaking challenging to continue writing. Sometime you are excited, sometime you are not; sometime you are fcking tired, sometime you are away from computer. So many factors to take care of!

There is a context for my blogosphere dive. Yesterday morning I was interviewed by Radio Sagarmatha for a program called “Prabidhi” (Technology) and I talked with the host Deepak Aryal for about 10 minutes over the phone about blogging and the trend in Nepal. Though the program was live at 8:30, I had to wake up at 8 to recieve Deepak’s call so that he could be sure that I was alive and ready to talk to him.

I thought no one would listen to the program (in this election season, I thought, who would first tune in to Radio Sagarmatha or listen to a program about technology.) So I hadn’t told anyone about the program in advance. Actually there was no time even if I had wanted to tell- Deepak had called me at around 9:30 PM previous evening.

To my surprise there were listeners, at least two! A member of the interim parliament called me two hours after and started talking about how passionate he was about the technology in general and blogging in particular. He also recalled his blogging foray during the king’s rule as after he was inspired by an article about blogging in Nepal Magazine. Deepak Adhikari had written about him last year (I am not linking!) and that article on UWB, he said, had made him “famous”. Sensing his strong desire to re-start blogging, I suggested him to start with WordPress and post his experience of being a member of the parliament. It would be a nice read, I told him, a parliamentarian’s blogs. We really need some inside stories coming out, uncensored, from the parliament. Unfortunately he didn’t have much time in the parliament. He told me that he lost the election. “I couldn’t give slogans of ethnicity,” he said.

When I came to Kantipur canteen, there was another journalist with KTV who said he heard me in the radio.

There are about two dozen radio stations in Kathmandu valley and I don’t know name of all of them. You can see many radio reporters in many of the press conferences in Kathmandu. I think it’s good to have many radio stations. It’s good for a listener. But is it good for the radio themselves? What’s the population of Kathmandu? How many people listen to radio? Which radio? My guess is that one radio station gets at least around 1000 listeners at any point in time (barring from, lets say, 11 PM to 6 AM).

Immediately after the polling, many FM stations were providing us live updates on the vote counts and that was really cool. I did one story for Kantipur about that phenomenon which also included, for the first time in elections, TVs as well. Many of the reporters, anchors and RJs were inexperienced but they tried their best to provide the information as soon as possible.

Arrreee, where am I going? I started with the morning, went on taking about blogs and jumped to the radios. I just realized that I am damn hungry.

Distantly related blog Meeting Barack Obama: Nepal is a Beautiful Country!