Tag Archives: interview

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.
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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!

An Evening With Wanda Vivequin

Saturday in office means facing very few people in a calm environment. A few cups of tea in the nearby teashop are must because guffs with colleagues like Deepak are enjoyable. No hustling and bustling in the newsroom. All calm and quiet. Okay, what did I do today? Nothing special in the afternoon but the evening was great as I spent hours with an amazing Canadian lady in Thamel. Wanda Vivequin is a travel guide and writer whom I found very much in love with Nepal.

Some people work for passion and fun not just money. Wanda is one of them. She is more worried about Nepal’s unorganized and mismanaged travel and tourism industry. She told me a few stories about how Nepal can benefit by opening up new places and controlling the number of trekkers in certain areas. It’s all about management. As she is a travel writer for websites, newspapers, famed Lonely Planet guide books, she was interested to know more about Nepali society. I tried to give her my perspective.

I always love talking to new people and especially those who are not arrogant and eager to learn something new. I myself find learning new things in each and every new encounter. Meeting new people and traveling to new places are same. You learn about people and places and societies. The best thing that I liked about her (well, there are many things still let me single out one) is her confidence over herself and her passion to adventure. She doesn’t like western media exaggerating security situation in Nepal and I agreed with her that recent reports in New York Times or National Geographic tell one-sided story of Nepali society.

Kathmandu is a city that is growing and growing. It is not unusual for it to have problems that other big cities also have. We both agreed upon that. Wanda added: “They (western media) don’t report about general crimes in big western cities but make big headlines about, for example, a foreigner missing in Kathmandu. That’s unfair to Kathmandu.”

It is really good to know people like Wanda who are bringing tourists in Nepal and contributing to our economy in many ways.