Tag Archives: wagle

Nepal Banda and Power Cut

By Dinesh Wagle
This is part of an article that appeared on today’s Op-Ed of the Kahtmandu Post. The other part is here. The complete article in PDF is here.

In my five-month-long stay in Delhi, I almost missed two things in particular about Kathmandu. 1. Why no bandas here? 2. Why no power cuts?

I was back in Nepal for a week recently and experienced both in ways that were in no way enjoyable.
A colleague at Kantipur told me about the banda the next day as I reached the office in the evening after booking a nonrefundable ticket with Buddha Air. I was destined to get stranded in Biratnagar (from where I planned to reach Delhi via Darjeeling). I thought, okay, a day of banda has become a non-issue for many of us these days, so I’ll take it. It’s like only a couple of hours of power outage a day. But eastern Nepal has become a hotbed of protests of all kinds. So my sixth sense and my colleagues at the Biratnagar office were saying that there might be another sudden banda or disturbance on the East-West Highway the next day as well. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

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30

3 and 0. That is, 30. A life that is THIRTY-year-old (or young?). Whatever. Thank you for encouraging me to post this entry.

Winter Flagbearers: Delhi Cold and JNU Food Festival

JNU holds its multi-national food festival in the midst of a Delhi winter that is not very cold

Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
[This article originally appeared on the Op-Ed page of the Kathmandu Post today. See it here as it appeared on the paper.]

The hottest news in Delhi is the absence of cold. “Who stole Delhi’s winter?” asked the Times of India the other day and went on to conclude that “winter has cheated Delhiites this season.”

It was widely reported in December that the month entered record books as the second warmest in 108 years. January — traditionally the coldest month in Delhi — too has been freakishly warm with as many as 20 days out of 28 having recorded above average minimum temperatures, wrote the paper. The average minimum temperature of the Indian capital for the first 28 days of January was 8.9 degrees celsius.

Before I came to Delhi almost three months ago people had warned me in Kathmandu about the extreme weather conditions in the Indian capital. “Flying crows fall on the ground in summer heat,” one well-wisher had cautioned me. “And people die because of cold. Delhi has a very different kind of cold: treacherous and dangerous.” पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

Hips do Lie! I am not Dancing in These Photos!

Dinesh Wagle Dances in a Nepali Village 2

I know I am a horrible dancer. Actually it would be wrong to associate the word “dancer” referring positively in the same sentence that talks about me. I can’t dance, plain and simple. But I really wanna learn the art. What you see in these photos is not me dancing but just posing for the camera. When I saw these photos for the first time on my camera’s LCD panel I was pleasantly surprised. It seemed as if I was dancing. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

Ear of Corn (aka Makai Ko Ghoga!)

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The food price is rising worldwide making ghogas like these ever expensive. A VOA report titled ‘Corn-derived ethanol shares blame for food price hikes’ quotes John Ashworth of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, as saying that the ethanol industry’s reliance on corn has had some noticeable impact on food prices, especially meat.

“Because grain is valuable, when you take a good chunk of that supply out for making fuels, you are going to have upward pressure on the price of the raw material. Particularly for the cattle industry, which uses a lot of corn, when the price of corn goes up, then the price of beef is going to go up,” he said.  Pics by Dinesh Wagle

The Krishna Dharabasi Autograph

So as we were chatting with Sharada Sharma I saw someone who almost looked like Krishna Dharabasi, the acclaimed writer of, among others, the novel Radha that I had bought an hour or so ago in the book fair in Bhrikutimandap (on Sunday, 11 May) before coming to Narahari Acharya residence. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

Narahari Acharya’s Thanks Giving Meeting

Dinesh Wagle and Narahari Acharya

Narahari Acharya, while giving me the Nepali Congress manifesto and his book about national restructuring, tries to show me something from the manifesto that was related to our conversation. Pics by Suraj Kunwar

Sharada Sharma, the writer and wife of politician Narahari Acharya, had invited us (Suraj and I) at a small gathering of writers and literary figures in their home on Sunday 11, May. I haven’t stopped wondering how and why I fell into the category of ‘writers’ for her but I saw no harm in attending the program as a reporter though I wasn’t there to report the event. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

In the Peopledom of Gorkha


Self-portrait. Dinesh Wagle

The district of Gorkha, in my mind, was always a very remote place. That was before I went there last month (in the first week of March). I couldn’t go outside the district headquarter and trek in the villages. I found the district headquarters nice and beautiful. I had to trek for about half an hour- climbing all those stairs- to reach the fabled Gorkha palace and the Gorakhnath temple. That is where I took the photo displayed above. Camera isn’t allowed in the temple and palace premise so I did the self-portrait just below the the main entrance gate. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

The Spirit of the Karnali Highway!

Super Tired. Nearly Depleted. Almost Finished.

There are some moments when you are tired and almost finished with whatever energy that you have got in your body. But the fact that there is still some work to do makes you go crazy. I was in that state when these photos were taken by David Geoffrion, a French TV cameraman inside the compound of Kalikot District Hospital in late February. We were waiting for some people at MSF, an international humanitarian medical agency that operates in Kalikot, that’s located inside the District Hospital compound. पढ्नेक्रम जारी राख्नुहोस्

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!