Category Archives: Wagle Web Log

Langar: The Gurudwara Community Lunch

Wagle eating Langar in Gurudwara

Wagle enjoying the delicious Langur, the community food served in the Gurudwara.Pic by Bikas Rauniar

After the Carter press conference, I went to a Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) located near the Thapathali bridge with Bikas Rauniar. Shikhs were celebrating the birth anniversary Guru Nanak and Bikas wanted to take photos of the celebrations. Since I was in his car, he asked me to come along with him for possible stories. Yes there was a story. I talked to a Sardar, original and from Punjab, India, as he was taking part in the musical celebrations. That was a pleasant conversation which I have included in a story about him and the celebrations that appeared in today’s Kantipur. Then there was a surprise for me: They serve food (the Prasad). Shikh devotees sit cross legged on the floor in several lines- male and female have separate lines- and eat the food that is cooked by the volunteers (which I found delicious and well served.) That was my first experience with the Gurudwara food. Continue reading

Advertisements

Architecture Blog: New York Times Building Vs Kantipur Tower!

New York Times BuildingIt’s 10:22 PM now and I spent most of my last three hours with the Nehru autobiography that I started reading yesterday. The winter has arrived in Kathmandu for I find it very difficult to wake up early in the morning. Like yesterday, I slept today till 12 AM and I have decided to wake up early from tomorrow.

One thing that I feel good about today was reading a report in New York Times about the new New York Times building (see pic by Vincent Laforet via the Times) in New York. I found the story written by Nicolai Ouroussoff and titled ‘Pride and Nostalgia Mix in The Times’s New Home‘ very interesting. The story provides lots of insights about the building and is an example (for me personally) of how stories on a building could be done. A building is not just the block of bricks and cement (and the Times Tower is certainly not!), it’s more than that. It has to be lively and some sort of distinct personality and aroma. I have never thought that a story like that could be written. Nicolai has considered the building almost as a living person (with some star attractions) and has done wonderful analysis of the personality of that man/or woman. He has pointed out the good sides and lacking aspects of the building. My impression is that the building is really beautiful and a cool place to wrok. Continue reading

Clear View of Himalayas from Kathmandu

First the GK: Kathmandu is the capital of the country that is known around the world as the Himalayan Peopledom! But not always we see the mesmerizing Himalayas from the valley of Kathmandu though the Himalayas serve as our geographical borders with China. Because of the poor atmosphere that surrounds the valley most of the year, Himalayas are hidden behind the hazes of clouds and mists. That has changed in the past couple of days. The ugly haze over the hills (for some they are mountains!) that surround the valley has disappeared. We are having spectacular views of snowy mountains from the Kathmandu valley. Just look, where else, northward and you will be greeted with the long range of smiling White Mountains.Pics by Wagle unless otherwise stated.

View of Himalayas from Kathmandu Valley
Continue reading

When You Meet Wine and Women of France Together

Continued from previous blog: Chinese Wife of the French Ambassador

Dinesh Wagle in the wine party organized hosted by the French ambassador in Kathmandu in his residence to taste the Beaujolais Nouveau Pic by Girish Giri

I was wandering around looking for people to talk to. I see this celebrated TV personality and former editor standing whom I had quoted in the beginning this story about the life in Thamel. “I read your story,” he says. [And says it was nice.] Then he charges me of removing one word-also- from the quote that I had attributed to him in the story. “But I had said you might ‘also’ meet celebrities,” he says. “Where is the ‘also’? Don’t put your words into my mouth.”

“It’s good to visit Thamel once in a week,” a famous TV personality and former editor had told me this a few years ago. “You might encounter celebrities from around the world.”

I should have written, he says, “…also encounter celebrities….”

“Well, I don’t really remember you saying “pani” or “too” but if that’s what you had said, then I admit my mistake,” I say. “I try to put exact quotes as far as possible.”

“Okay,” he says, “I am going now. Pani, pani, don’t forget pani!” Continue reading

Again on Gmail: I am Loving It

Notice: Want to hear the new Nepali national anthem? Please download it by clicking here. Read about the song here and here.
………..
It’s no secret that I am a great fan of Gmail. Whenever I am accessing the internet, I love it. And Gmail is doing their best to make users like me happy and attached to their services. Almost a week after another, they come up with exciting feature and service that only makes my Gmail experience even better.

It’s true that I am becoming more and more dependent on Gmail, or Gmail monopoly! But the ‘monopoly’ comes with so many advantages that that is bigger than the 2 GB space! I have couple of Gmail accounts and the one that I use most is filled with about 920 MB. I try to divert many email to other Gmail account and I occasionally delete many large files that I feel will not be needed in any case in future. Many have talked a lot about the space; it’s clean and elegant layout and the cool search facility. Its chat service has also received a lot of accolades from many users including myself. It’s “Send Mail As” service that lets use Gmail “to send from your other email addresses” is also very cool. I have been using this service to send emails from my several other addresses. The latest is a new service that lets users “get mail from other accounts”. I was really in need of this service. This doesn’t only save my time but also lets me save emails using Gmail GB. Yes, I could have done the same by logging in to my other address and activate the auto-forward option and forward every incoming email to Gmail. But what if the email account doesn’t have the auto-forward option??? I was facing the same problem for quite some time and thanks to Gmail now I can retrieve emails without having logged into the account and have stored them (or delete them as I wish!)

Recently, Gmail opened up itself for all at gmail.com. Before an existing user had to invite (that feature is still inside my inbox) those who wanted to use Gmail. Initially, that was like losing exclusivity but then the feel that everyone interested in Gmail can easily sign up and have a new account was pleasant.

Wait, how can I forget to mention about the new thing from Google called Google Apps that lets me, among other things, host my wagle.com.np emails to Gmail. For instance, I log on to Gmail to check my dinesh at wagle.com.np emails and send. Plus, I can also create many other wagle.com.np emails for other people want to use emails with that domain. I mean the whole idea is so cool that I am just loving it. I haven’t used the other Apps much but Word is great (to save documents online).

Related Blog:

1. Inviting Nepal To Gmail: An Experience

Smoking A Cigar: Dinesh Wagle Experience

Because of journalistic ethics, source-reporter relationship and embargo on a particular information, I am not writing more about other Shivaratri activities and talks for now. I plan to write more when Ozomatli band leaves Nepal. For now just a photo and (cigar) credit:

Photo by: Wil-Dog Abers of Ozomatli (Bass, marimbula, background vocals)

Cigar courtesy of: Raúl ‘El Bully’ Pacheco of Ozomatli (Guitar, tres, jarana, vocals)
Lighting by: Ulises Bella of Ozomatli (Saxophone, background vocals, requinto jarocho, keyboard, melodica)

Barack Obama and Weather (Here and There)

I was expecting a warmer day in Kathmandu today but it is not. Woke up at midday and read newspapers. Nothing new. One news report that I was eagerly waiting to read but wasn’t expecting in today’s Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post was about the American senator Barack Obama’s announcement of his candidacy for the president of the United States. I had seen him on TV last night when he delivered an electrifying speech. Every news article and report about him pulls my attention just like the news about Gmail used to do in mid 2004. I have been a great admirer and user of Gmail service ever since.

I strongly feel Barack Obama is in the race to win. I am thrilled by just the mention of his name. It creates energy. Hillary Clinton, whom I admire, is Obama’s key challenger for now but I think the senator from Illinois has the vision and capacity to do what needs to be done. He is young and energetic. He talks sense and he seems genuine. Leaders are those who come up with a vision and direction. Obama has shown that he has vision and ideas about new America. Because he is young, (at 45 he is younger than Hillary, 59) he has the potential to bring about the generational change in the United States. When Tony Blair was elected the Prime Minister of Britain in 1997 at the age of 44, his victory had some kind of psychological impact even in Nepal. I heard Sher Bahadur Deuba, former Prime Minister of Nepal, once saying Nepal needed a younger generation of leaders to lead the country. In the name of experience and unifying figure, we are still relying on octogenarians to run our country. I can’t vote for Obama because I am not an American but I will be closely following his campaign (thanks to the Internet).

Talking about the Internet, I should thank Nepal Telecom for providing free connection for a week (which will end tomorrow) on CDMA phone. I know the free lunch can’t continue forever but I really wish NT reduced the price so that people like me could be online as long as they wanted. Rs. 3 plus 14 percent tax for an MB of data is expensive. NT has recently reduced the corporate charge for Internet connection significantly after it started using fiber optic connection with India. Now it’s our turn, the consumers, to benefit from fiber optic line.

I was talking about the weather in the beginning. It’s raining outside, there is an Arnold Schwarzenegger flick on Star Movies (he has been cloned!), and brother is occasionally flipping through sports channels to follow three separate cricket matches that are being broadcast live. I have had two cups of tea (one milk and the other black) since I woke up. I am feeling lazy. I don’t want to go to work but I will go. Or may be I won’t. See, I am undecided, like many of those voters in the United States who make their mind on the eleventh hour! Yes, it is a cold day in Kathmandu not not as cold as it was in Springfield, Illinois where Barack Hussein Obama last nightsaid:

It was here, in Springfield, where North, South, East and West come together that I was reminded of the essential decency of the American people – where I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America.

And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a divided house to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States.

I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness – a certain audacity – to this announcement. I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change. (read the complete speech here)

Links:

1.Barack Obama Web Site
2. Barack Obama Campaign Blog
3. NYT coverage on Obama announcement
4. A Washington Post report on weather and Obama
5. NYT blog on the weather in Springfield

Time for Nepali Journalists to Improve Quality

Two years after the royal takeover and censorship we have now democracy and it’s time for Nepali journalists to focus on improving the quality of their reporting. Scribes took out a rally yesterday to mark the black day (Magh 19) and demanded that the Rayamajhi Commission report be made public. Pic via ekantipur

Just realized that Feb 1 (and Magh 19) passed largely unnoticed this year. May be whatever going on in Southern Nepal overshadowed the relevance of the date. Heard that journalists organized a rally in downtown Kathmandu to remember the black day (Feb 1, 2005 or Magh 19, 2061 BS is when, if you don’t have any idea, King Gyanendra went on rampage and dismissed democracy, imposed emergency and installed his autocracy in Nepal). I was too busy in other works than attending the rallies. I was planning to write something about the date but later abandoned the thought. Instead I went on to the web site of New York Times and read a few very good articles. I have always been a very big fan of New York Times and I utterly enjoy reading their coverage. (Though I was utterly disappointed a few weeks ago to find numerous mistakes in an article on Nepali politics. I sent a letter to the correction section of the paper but that never got attention of the editors there. Even we don’t do such silly mistakes here in Nepali journalism.)

I try to learn from their writing but when I sit in front of the computer to write stories like that the poor quality of research in Nepali journalism reminds to me of reality: where I am. I recently read an article about Nora Jones’ new album and, coincidentally, had to write the same kind of article on the new album of Nepali rock band 1974 AD. There I realized the difference between reading New York Times articles and writing for Kantipur. In such occasions I get frustrated and feel bad about myself and my being in journalism. Why am I here if I can’t contribute in some qualitative way? What is my role in Nepali journalism? Be just another reporter in the crowd or do something important and make some significant contribution so that our journalism standard reaches new height? There are so many things to learn. We are not perfect, yes, but the problem is we are not even trying to learn. The way we deal with issues in journalism needs to be changed and reporters’ approach to the stories must be different then that of the current ones. We have done a lot of progress in journalism in the past decade in terms of reporting, writing, presenting stories, circulating newspapers etc. But there is a long way to go.

Oh… why am I lecturing on journalism now? Because I think now is the time for all journalists in Nepal to focus on the quality of their work. Well some can continue with political mission as politics has always been there in the blood of Nepali journalists but there must be some sort of united effort to raise the standards of our journalism.

So days are normal these days; nothing fascinating is happening. Attending a few programs in the city, coming back to the office, and writing. Life is revolving around reporting. Good stories: enjoyable time, not so good stories: just another reporting.

Since I started this post with Magh 19, I think it’s relevant to be nostalgic. Boy that was a damn bad day. As I was watching Gyanendra on TV, phones went dead. Came to office, wrote a blog but found that there was no Internet. No phone in house meant no Internet there too. No Internet meant No life at all. No phones meant life faced hell lot of difficulties in reporting. No stories to translate and fill the pages that were suddenly blank because there were no advertisements. Struggling through wire reports to find useful articles to translate and work under some constant uncertainty (what will happen tomorrow?) was strenuous. Don’t even want to remember those days, particularly that first week of February.

Related Blogs

1. Nepal is closed friends [A blog notice posted from US mission in Kathmandu]

2. Great to be here Again! [First blog after the restoration of Internet]

3. New Kind of Journalism in Nepal- I [Journalism in censorship]

New Baneshwor Street and Girls

A journalist friend of mine (who works for a different newspaper) yesterday invited me for a Nepali movie screening for this afternoon. That wasn’t strange given the trend in Nepal that reporters covering movies in Kathmandu routinely work on behalf of film makers. They also help filmwallas with managing the press show and publicity. I shun the idea and I can’t even imagine me doing the same but can’t really say anything about others, can I? I happily accepted the invitation as I am trying to give more coverage of Nepali film industry these days in the newspaper I work for.

As I was about to go to the theater (again the same horrible Shivadarshan in New Baneshwor), Pawan Neupane of the Kathmandu Post came smiling.

“Wanna go for a movie?” I asked.
“Which?”
“A Nepali movie. It’s called Durga.”

Pawan frowned at me. Perhaps he wanted to punch on my face. What? Nepali film? His reply:

“Hyaa…janna ma Nepali film herna. [No, I will not go to see a Nepali film.]” Now Pawan, the darilwal Pawan Dev, started speaking about a few thousand things he had to do in the afternoon.

“Come on, jau na jau yar, may be you can write something out of it,” I insisted. After he realized I would not let him go Pawan was read to accompany me.

“But you have to sponsor my trip [to New Baneshwor and back to office],” he said as we got out of office in an ‘if-not-i-am-not-going’ tone.

“Okay,” I said. “We will leave the show in the middle and come back if the movie is too boring.”

As we were walking on the streets of New Baneshwor with BICC on our right, Pawan nearly stumbled upon a few girls several times. “Damn beautiful,” said my bearded partner. “Oh…yea,” I said. [Rest, when we return back from the theater!]

We saw a band jaba procession and Pawan commented: “Kati biha bhayeko ho!” Then we talked about the marriages of Rajaram Gautam in Kathmandu and Deepak Adhikari in Jhapa. “It’s the season of marriage.” But what we were seeing now was a strange “marriage” procession. The music was in full volume and some people were walking with the tune. They were not Jantis and there were no behula or behuli. They were carrying placards of the movie Durga that we were going to see. A new way of promoting the movie in town just before its release in Kathmandu!

We reached there and met the scribe who invited me. There was no sign that the screening would start on the given time. After a few hand shakes and exchange of smiles, we became increasingly bored. “Let’s enter the theater and see the movie for about 15 minutes,” I told Pawan. We waited for about another 15 minutes but saw no sign of the film being screened. “Lets go,” I said and we moved out.

“Wow,” Pawan’s eyes were not on the street but on a girl walking on the other side of the road. “So beautiful!”

“Where, where?” I asked.

“There. Not that beautiful but still…”

“Look at her,” I said pointing to another girl. “She is more beautiful.”

“Yes,” Pawan said.

“Too many beautiful girls around these days.”

“Exactly. Don’t know what has happened but I am also seeing too many beautiful girls. Look at her!”

Ha, ha. Enough with ‘beautifuls’. I was feeling dehydrated and wanted to drink sugarcane juice. “Want to have?” I asked. Why not?

We came back, safe and sound, to office. Job of writing stories was waiting for me.

Hi America, Hi Hillary

Hillary Clinton

So Hilary Clinton has decided to take part in the 2008 United States presidential race. What does that mean to us, the people in Nepal who are far away from the US? How far can you be from America if you are living in this world? If life were a meal, America would be the achar (pickle) without which the food’s tasteless. You get your daily dose of pickle in your life via countless mediums. Internet is America, TV is America, Film is America, Coca Cola is America. Heck, I am not typing Nepal is America and the world is America. But does that really matter? A small event in America is BIG for the world and makes it to our living room in an instant. Take Hilary Clinton’s announcement as an example. Hillary has just made public her intention of entering into the presidential contest, she hasn’t even secured the nomination from her party yet. The election is months away and God only knows if she will win or lose- first the Democratic ticket and then the United States presidency.

I can’t believe I wrote a blog in November 4, 2004 titled “Congratulations President Bush! Hillary, are you ready?” While congratulating George W. Bush for his reelection (“Though I endorsed Senator Kerry’s effort for the White House…,” I wrote) I had ended my blog with these lines:

“Let me end this blog with a hopeful note. I genuinely expect Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for the 2008 Presidency. That can be possible. She should be prepared for that race. The US needs a female president which will create history in its own right. Hillary, are you ready?”

Did Hillary read my blog post and decide not to disappoint me? 🙂

Whatever is the case, I am sure the times have changed and there is a brand new competitor for Hillary: Senator Barack Obama. Ever since I learned about this guy, I have been thinking about the possibility of the United States with a black President. Obama is not just a black; he is indeed a talented man with charismatic personality. This year too my support goes to the Democratic candidate (as if that mattered to the Democratic Party!) but who will be the lucky one (Hillary or Obama) is still not decided. [After all as a citizen of this world, I think I must have my say over the American politics, economy, culture and many other things because whatever happens there definitely affects us.] Both Hillary and Barack Obama will create history in the US if they become successful in their aspirations. So for the next few weeks, I will play neutral and, for now, extend my best wishes to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

> Pics above, taken from Hillary Clinton web site, show phuchhi Hillary and Lady Hillary.