Final rituals  
It is heard that ‘When words are inadequate, have rituals.’

Rites and rituals are what help us express, albeit in a symbolic manner, our deepest thoughts and feelings about the important events of our lives. There are numerous rituals that make up a person’s life: birth, name-giving and feeding ceremonies, weddings, and many more. 

  Have your say  
Floods and landslides are a common occurrence in Nepal every rainy season. And so are the fundraising endeavors organized to collect cash, medicines, clothes and other stuffs for the victims of those natural disasters.

This year, too, people have been conducting fundraising events to help the victims of Sunkoshi floods. But there has hardly been any transparency regarding the money that is being spent or the cash that was already deposited in the Prime Minister’s Fund in previous years.

  FEDERALISM DEBATE No midpoint in the Far West  
Now, as the country is once again waiting for a new Constitution through the second CA, the agitators seem to get back to the form.

On the eve of the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly (CA), a month-long agitation with the clashing demand for an ‘undivided far west’ and a ‘separate Tharuhat state’ had sent tremors throughout the country. Both parties were compelled to cool down as the CA itself that was supposed to address their demand in the statute no more existed. Now, as the country is once again waiting for a new Constitution through the second CA, the agitators seem to get back to the form. Both sides have been ruling out any possibility of compromise.

“Our 32-dayagitation had saved the country from division. Any move that would divide the far west can’t be acceptable,” said Gopal Deuba, coordinator of the Undivided Far-West Struggle Committee. “If they go for federalism, dividing the far west, we’ll intensify our protest,” he added.

  CHINA CHRONICLES A Tale of Tibet  
Tibet, here I come! My happiness knew no bounds when I was offered a chance to visit this mystical land under a program organized by the State Information Office of China. Who wouldn’t want to go to Tibet? A friend who had been to Tibet a few years ago said it was a place you should see and experience at least once in your lifetime. A colleague who had been denied entry was jealous I would be in the ‘forbidden’ land soon. Even all I could think about, up until the week of my scheduled trip, was the majestic Potala Palace I had till then only seen in pictures and postcards.

But as the day to leave approached, I wasn’t so sure if I had made the right decision. Worries over issues like the altitude: Tibet is the highest region on Earth with an average elevation of 4,900 meters (Would I be able to breathe normally?), the language barrier (How would I talk to the locals who spoke mostly Tibetan and Chinese?), and the tension there among Tibetans (Wasn’t the issue of the encroachment of Tibetan culture and land by migration of the Han Chinese a constant source of discord?) took over and I wanted to lock myself up in my room and pretend to be too sick to get on that flight.

  Power of rings  
Some people believe that gems and rings possess some divine powers that act like a shield against mishaps.

You just failed your exams. You are going through a bad breakup. Your visa has been rejected by the US Embassy. To add to these misfortunes, you also fractured your leg. And then, all of a sudden, in this sky full of dark clouds, you stumble across a silver lining. Your astrologer has made the revelation that your Jupiter is not very happy at the moment and your Saturn has decided to overstay its welcome. And the only way to make right the fault in your stars is to wear certain gems. Relieved, you put them on and wait for miracles to happen in your life.

Gemstones, precious or semi-precious minerals in cut and polished forms, are regarded as one of the most important aspects of Graha Shanti – a ritual performed to placate troublesome planets. The culture of having faith in the power of gems is as old as the science of astrology itself. And it is believed that the trend of wearing gems held just as much charm in the Vedic times as it does in this modern age.

  Rise of social media campaigns  
When the ALS Ice-Bucket challenge was taking the world by storm, a different kind of bucket challenge drew the attention of Nepali youth: #FillTheBucket, a campaign where you donate a bucket with essentials like food, water purifier, sanitary napkins, etc for flood victims. Hot on the heels of the global sensation ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which received support as well as criticism for wastage of water, #FillTheBucket became quite popular in Nepal.

The use of social media for social campaigns is on the rise these days, with one or the other request popping up in our newsfeed every day. But only some of this content becomes viral while others are lost in the ever-renewing stream of online contents. Certain common factors underlie most of the campaigns that succeed.

  TECH TALK Reinvention of the iPhone  
Since Apple released its iPhone 5s in 2013, Apple fans have been waiting for a long time for a new addition to their iPhone family. Apple responded with the iPhone 6, scheduled to be released on September 19, 2014.

The iPhone 6 makes significant changes to the iPhone line, with sleek new design elements and marks Apple’s journey into bigger screens. The new iPhone 6 is impressive in the fact that it represents one of the biggest overhauls that Apple has performed on the iPhone line since their release of the iPhone 4.

  MICRO YATRA Some roads less traveled on  
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH!) is attributed to have said, "Don´t tell me how educated you are. Tell me how much you have traveled."
It is difficult to fathom what value formal education had during his times. But the wise Prophet must have traveled a lot spreading the message he propagated. That perhaps meant that he had to take the road no man had taken before.

However, based on his own experience of having numerous microyatra –short travels on a daily basis – yours truly would like to suggest that a road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.

Sadly, wisdom comes out of bitter experience.

  Half a writer  
Bhagat’s vision was to tap into the youth, and in this he succeeded.

Even thinking of Chetan Bhagat’s reader base leaves me dizzy. According to the Nielsen Book Scan, his books sell a staggering half a million every year – almost equal the population of Luxembourg. With barely twenty days left for the publication of his seventh book and sixth novel, Half Girlfriend (with the cheeky alias of 0.5 Girlfriend), 0.5 million more readers are waiting with an exuberant heart. And an equal number are curling up their lips and proclaiming him worthless – as only half a writer.

It is highly fashionable to dislike Bhagat, to say that you couldn’t get past ten pages – which is understandable. If all the readers in the world liked the same books, every single one of them would be a huge hit. Just like everything else, we have our own preferences when it comes to books and writers. It is perfectly all right to avoid Bhagat and keep a mile away from him, but quite another to trash his writings (more often extending as an attack to his intelligence, judgment and persona).

  BOOK CHAT For the love of writing  
  BY Sushant Shrestha  
Saru Pokhrel, who recently published her collection of short stories entitled “Chiso Gham”, loves writing short stories. Professor of Sociology at Padma Kanya College and once an RJ, she has also published “Muna Tusayepachhi” which is also a collection of short stories. She has been writing since her childhood and looks forward to publish more stories and even poems.

Sushant Shrestha
, intern at The Week, met up with her where she talked about books, her writing habits, her desire to write and the messages in her stories.

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