There are so many recent things I want to blog about, but I don’t have it in me to write several long posts so this is one condensed post to get the bulk of my thoughts out before they become old news and irrelevant:
Lit Jatra – a reflection
I was stoooooked about the Kathmandu Literary Jatra that just happened a few days ago. Three days of authors/journalists/writers and just people who love literature in one place sounded so wonderful to me – but I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed.
Some of the sessions were far more appealing than others but I don’t feel like any were ground breaking (like the earthquake…haha) and I don’t think we got to the meat of any of the topics. I was also mildly sad that there wasn’t too much interaction going it – it just felt like three days of lectures/discussion panels.
Although having a place for literature fans to get together with acclaimed names from around South Asia was AWESOME, it felt like something was seriously lacking… maybe there should have been literature games? More organized book readings/signings with authors? More ways of being interactive… something different from people talking… for hours… all day…for three days…
Anyways, it was a first time effort and for that I am impressed with how the organizers were able to keep things running smoothly (mostly) – almost all of the sessions stayed within an hour even if a few were monopolized by older men with “dui saabdahs” (“two words”) that lasted half an hour.
Of course I do hope for improvements in the future.
Also, I would have liked to see some new names and faces, if you ask me, Rabi Thapa being everywhere is getting kind of old…how about getting more Nepali authors who don’t get any publicity… but their books are found all over the city being sold on sidewalks!
Best part of the LitJatra? – getting to meet and TALK to published authors who are international successes. Drooooool
EARTHQUAKE – shake things up
More than 24 hours after the quake there are three major thoughts that have stuck:
1) Survival – I always say I’d be happy to die now, I have few regrets and have lived a good life, but I never thought about how much I’d fight to live. When the worst of the quake hit, it was amazing how the first thing that popped into my head was safety, as in “I don’t want to die”.
2) What REALLY matters -The mini -quake was a great way of discovering what matters the most to me. After getting to safety (and taking my purse just in case I should need money or ID), in a real life situation it appears that ultimately, it’s people that matter the most. While the phone lines were jammed my thoughts automatically went to my mother, my sister, and the Man (my father is out of the country).
After getting in touch with the three of them and realizing they were okay, my mind opened to thinking about other friends and extended family… I was with friends so there wasn’t reason to worry too much about them 🙂
3) Are we ready? – The earthquake is a reality check for Nepal. Even though we only felt the smallest of the disaster from Sikkim and other parts of Nepal, the reality of earthquakes has hit us and the thing that leaves a sinking feeling in my stomach is the fact that we not prepared for it.
We lack the leadership and infrastructure to ensure we can make the best out of a worst case scenario. Even with the small tremor people panicked, houses crumbled, and unfortunately, some people even died.
When and if the long anticipated “Big One” hits us – Kathmandu will be a wreck that it’ll never recover from. Many people are now saying the most important bits: fix a meeting point with family, make a safety grab-bag with some food, water, and most essential documents. They say prevention is the best and there’s no harm is having a bag with flashlights, water purifiers, and a blanket by your bed – and should a large quake hit us, we’ll be better for it.
People – educated yourselves!
Kathmandu Fashion Parade – not really walking the walk or talking the talk
Like the LitJatra, another not so earth moving event was the Kathmandu Fashion Parade. Well marketed, the event was “meh” and perhaps even a bigger disappointment because people had higher hopes for the show.
I will say, the event, especially in terms of fashion and execution was FAR better than any other fashion event I’ve seen/watched on TV from Nepal, but saying it’s better than the past is no excuse for not having a show that is of international quality. If there’s one thing this show taught me – Nepal is capable of it, but by now the people off the runway and behind the screen should know how to prepare for things like load shedding and technical issues since they are sooooo painfully common here and it’s really tiring how even this event started laaaaate.
I do have other criticism: House of Alternative Apparel should not be proud of the collection since it was not runway worthy. Cute? Yes. Wearable? Yes. But it complected lacked originality, and nothing was actually “alternative”… it just looked like clothes I’ve seen on the hangers and shelves of H&M or Zara. Whereas I’m happy to have these outfits now available in Nepal at prices that don’t inflict pain on my back account, I don’t think the designs are fashion show worthy – they should come up with original styles if the label is marketed as such.
Some of the more cultural designs were pretty, but again, they were either common or trying so hard to blend different ideas that it ended up being a wreck. Also, I believe a lot of the outfits were designed for engagements/weddings so they were flashy… but they seem like they’d only be worn in Bollywood movies or by celebrities on reality TV. I don’t know any real life people that would have worn those outfits at matrimonial ceremonies. ——–>
I enjoyed the display of bags and accessories – the models were in simple but still trendy clothes that didn’t take away from what was being showcased… but the bags and accessories themselves didn’t leave me desperately wanting to own any of them.
<——– Astik’s collection was much anticipated, and though I liked the idea behind blending Asian and Western patterns/concepts/cultures, the actually mash-ups failed to stunned me. What I thought was a big fail was the supposed to be wedding dress – with hand embroidery, the 136 hours of work didn’t seem worth it on the final product.
Last comment: the models themselves. For the most part, I was impressed. Most of the models carried themselves well, they had confidence, (most) kept a straight face, and they carried themselves (and the clothes) well. I was really enjoyed the floor runway and the way the clothes were brought out. Each designer had a different way of having their models walk down the runway which made for a better show than the usual walk down – pose – turn around – walk back that I’ve seen here.
Over all, the fashion parade has stepped above other fashion events in the country, but we’ve still got a loooong way to go.
Cool thing happened today! For my job I spend a large part of the week running around for interviews but I’m always the one asking questions. Today I got an email from someone wanting to interview me! Okay, well, not ME exactly but more of my blogging identity which made me feel sooo cooool!!!
(Also, a few people have asked why I’m “underground” hahah… I’m just more comfortable with another name, I’m a bit of a private person and I don’t like drawing too much attention to myself 🙂 )
On criticism and how critical it is
There are two things about Nepal that annoys the heck out of me (okay, there are a billion things, but two I’m going to bring to light right now: 1) Nepali people don’t know how to criticize 2) Nepali people don’t know how to take criticism.
Most of the time when I’ve come across comments (not just on my blog, in a variety of places) it’s just people complaining or saying “You suck”, valid arguments aren’t used and the oddest of all things, people resort to saying “You’re not Nepali” or “You shame our flag” if we criticize Nepal.
People need to understand that feedback is important to ANYONE making an opinion, but if you’re going to disagree, patriotism has little to do with it. What’s more important is to do the research, be polite, be respectful, and if you strongly disagree – offer alternatives!!! Resorting to crude remarks is embarrassingly immature and not helpful to the person you’re criticizing.
On the other end, when people are criticized, they get angry/indignant/discouraged by any feedback that doesn’t say. “OMG you’re sooo freaking awwwesome!” In Nepal, especially in Kathmandu, it’s so small that people are afraid to openly say “This wasn’t as good as I had expected”. If anything, being told there’s room for improvement is a great experience because it humbles you (hopefully) and offers you insight on your weak points. Everyone here kisses everyone’s ass and we all think we’re so fab for getting great reviews when really that’s the most harmful to our work…leaves no room for progress.
SO… criticize by all means, but criticize well, and when criticized, take it with a grain of salt and with the understanding that you’ll do better next time.
Constructive criticism = BIG MAJOR WIN
Okay, so this post makes me seem like I’m just disappointed by Nepal in general… and I’m not. I applaud the effort being made because clearly I’m not running around trying to organize huge events, I’m just saying, we’ve come this far – we just need to tighten things up to reach the caliber we’re capable of.
One day… one day…