Print Edition - 2015-10-26  |  The Collegian

Hidden from the world

  • The situation here is completely heartbreaking. It’s a place where eighth grade girls don’t have dreams

Oct 26, 2015-

Fifty minutes in a public bus from Old Bus Park through the traffic of Kathmandu Valley, and a 20-minute walk from Gokarna bus station, you will reach a place of complete perplex--from where you can excavate diamonds. This place is not a mine. It’s a school--a public school. But the school is highly affected by the April 25 earthquake. The real situation, however, is more clear when you see the teaching and learning activities inside the so called “school”.

When you enter inside one of the rooms (made by bamboo sticks) of the school, all the students alertly stand up to greet you. As you start the class you will cry; the situation here is completely heartbreaking. It’s a place where eighth grade girls don’t have dreams and a sixth grade innocent boy says, “My aim is to be a driver.” When you try to make the class more interesting and ask the students to come in front of the classroom to show their talent, some will come with a bamboo stick i.e. a flute and entertain the class with melodious tunes. Another will come and give a top class beat box session. This is only the start; it will continue with some break dance, robotics and melodious singing. This shows the talent behind the curtain. Unfortunately, these talents are suppressed, underestimated and ultimately murdered before they get chance to evolve.

And again, when you start the course of the class, the front benchers listen and concentrate with great care. Enthusiastic eyes and attentive ears make me wonder what they would achieve if they were given proper education.

I ask them to take out their math books but the answer I get from the kids saddens me. They scream in resonance, “We don’t have math book sir. School has not provided us.”

This is my experience of teaching in one of the public schools in Gokarna, Kathmandu. This is only one model of many schools in the country. Eager and enthusiastic students have no place to develop and evolve their talents. They are born with their own unique talents, but are not able to hone it and show it to the world.

Drishan Dahal

Dahal is a +2 graduate from Trinity international College

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Learning from the best

Subu Shrestha, one of Nepal’s trailblazing ad-innovators and copywriters, is known as an executive who runs ventures that are both hotbeds of creativity and fun places to work in. He has created advertisements for some of the biggest brands in town and is the executive director of three leading market research and advertisement agencies (Advantage Group, Business Advantage and Brand Advantage) and the director of Windmill Advantage. Shrestha, who credits non-fictional books for sparking many of his creative outputs, talked to the Post’s Marissa Taylor about his love for the written word. Excerpts:

How did you first come to love books?

Growing up in the hostel of St Joseph’s School, in Darjeeling, we were very lucky to have a well-stocked library. It started with the usual suspects--Hardy Boys and similar fare--and with the encouragement of our librarian, Mr GB Rai, I graduated to Louis L’Amour Westerns and then on to Sherlock Holmes. Books were my refuge and my escape into a fantastic world--long before the internet came along and spoilt it all! I used to read about two books a week and quickly exhausted the good ones. Having an older sister who loved reading also helped--especially during the long winter holidays in Kathmandu, where we’d sit in the sun and devour bhogates and read novels.

What was the last book you read and how did you like it?

The last book I read was Dongri to Dubai, by Hussain Zaidi. It documents the tale of Dawood Ibrahim and his rise to power and notoriety. It’s written by an investigative journalist who knew Dawood well and was the only person Dawood trusted enough to speak to. I found it a fascinating read--knowing that every astounding tale unfolding was most likely true. It is indeed amazing what one man with guts, cunning and ambition can achieve--something that is especially challenging when accomplished on the wrong side of the law. One interesting takeaway from the book was that the Indian authorities will always hunt for him but never capture him, simply because he knows too much about every bigwig to ensure they will join him should he ever go to jail.

Which book do you want to read next and why?

Just before Dashain, I had purchased From Third World to First, by Lee Kwan Yew, and wanted to read it over the holidays, but I haven’t started as yet. With the current mess Nepal is in, I wanted to read about how Lee Kwan Yew transformed Singapore into the current uber metropolis it is today. I just wanted the knowledge and perspective of what it took to achieve that level of success.

What is your favourite genre and why?

Within the non-fiction category, I like biographies, creative nonfiction, chronicles and self-help books. Non-fiction is often more gripping and compelling than fiction. It allows me to explore things and learn new stuff. Self-help books motivate me and help me in day-to-day life, while business biographies and great company chronicles make me think differently about running several businesses. Nothing against fiction though, it’s just that my purpose of reading is more inclined towards reality.  

How do you select books to read?

I generally select books that match my interest of the moment. It could be the longer-term goal of learning something or it could be based on a shorter term fancy. I am a big fan of the Dummies book series. Whenever a new topic interests me, I look for a Dummies book on the topic. A few years ago, I felt the need to re-educate myself regarding finance, investment and accounting. I Googled the best books on the topics and bought several of them, not only from established writers but also from the Dummies series. I just feel that the Dummies series of books are non-pretentious and immediately get to the heart of the matter and are structured to give me what I’m looking for. I often read reviews on Amazon to get a feel for what the book offers before I buy it.

Name a book that you would or would not recommend, and why?

Well…I tried reading Ulysses, by James Joyce, a long time back. I was curious as it had been voted the book of the century by a poll. I gave up after a week, as I couldn’t make head or tail of it. I was completely lost. I would not recommend it if all you want to do is explore what the hype was about, but if you care for modern literature and can keep up with the puns and parodies then it’s definitely for you. I would recommend Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki, to anyone. While the book does have its share of detractors, I feel the book truly helped me understand financial matters and work out life-changing plans and strategies to achieve goals.

What is good writing for you? What would you say makes a good writer?

There is a section from one of my favourite books of all time, the afore-mentioned Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Apparently, Kiyosaki was being interviewed by a journalist/writer who was resentful of Kiyosaki’s success. The journalist/writer was critical and said Kiyosaki could not really write and did not deserve his success, to which Kiyosaki pointed to a star on his book’s cover and said, “You’re right, I’m a best selling author, not a best writing one.” To me, good writing is simply writing that does not get in the way of my learning something from the work. And a good writer is someone who can hold my attention enough for me to learn that something.

One book that inspired you a lot and why?

I came across the book Seminar, by Tom Peters, during my MBA days at KU. It was so different from the typical management book of its day. For starters, it had a photo of the author in a tie, suit and an underwear on the back cover! The great anecdotes within it inspired me tremendously when I started out working professionally. The whacky ideas and stories within it were ingrained in my mind when I started Business Advantage, along with my friend, Deependra Tandon. I really wanted the company to be non-conventional--thanks to Tom Peters. We had funny job titles and a toy basketball ring in the hallway and we held regular TT tournaments, where we’d use the meeting room table as the TT table. Often, clients took part in a quick match after the meeting was over! We worked with a disdain for traditional management hierarchies. We easily put in 14-hour days and I often slept in a sleeping bag on the office couch because there was so much to be done and going home would be a waste of time. Tom Peters instilled in me that any work can be fun if you really loved what you were doing.

Your advice for general readers?

Jack Niklaus said he never went out to practice without a specific goal in mind. I would say the same applies to reading as well. Don’t just read to fill your time or because there is nothing else to do--read with a purpose. Read to learn something or even to unlearn something. Read anything from the best authors: it will be well worth it. Inculcate the habit of reading and you are set to learn from the best people for life. I don’t remember the bulk of the course books I’ve studied in college, but I hardly ever forget a non-course book I’ve read.

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Biased world

Aayush Gautam

Biased world

Malevolent to the kind ones

Hard to tolerate

The pain

Hard to heal

The scars

Fears, which it doesn’t understand

And stops the other

Biased world

One having the humanity

One having the emotions

One knowing the real purpose of existence...

Get me out of it!! I beg

Gautam is a student of Aroma HSS, Chitwan

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Feather in the wind

Gaurav Panthee

I just don’t know what I am up to

My brain is puzzled

And my heart is lost

I think…

and think…

and think…

A flash

And an idea enters

And then gets lost

Nothing is consistent ,

My life--

like a feather  in the wind

Driven by the will of air!

Panthee is a +2 graduate from

GoldenGate international college

Published: 26-10-2015 09:13

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