COVER STORY Proxy Parenting Kids at day care  
Roshani Paudyal admitted her son, who is seven, to a playgroup when he was two years old. She recently enrolled her 28 months old daughter to a kindergarten. With the rise of nuclear families and the number of women choosing to pursue their careers soon after the birth of a child, sending small children to daycare centers, playgroups, and pre-schools has become a common practice today. According to a partial survey carried out by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) office in 18 out of 35 wards of Kathmandu, there are currently 3,200 such playgroups and preschools.

“I have a job and have to stay away from home for long hours. In such a case, I can only trust a daycare center or a kindergarten to take care of my baby,” says Roshani, program officer at UNDP Rule of Law Program. Roshani believes that although nobody can replace a mother’s role in a child’s early life, a good institution can be trusted to take care of kids in a way that’s more or less satisfying. Both her kids go to DRS Kids, a kindergarten at Koteshwor.

  ART BEAT Her domestic spirits  
Braids, blouses and bordered saris are plenty on Pramila Bajracharya´s canvasses. Her ´Nature & Eternity-II´ series presents her continuing fascination for women in their domestic sphere. She paints them at home with the order of their daily lives. They are often caught resting or relishing in festivities.

Through the stroke of exuberant colors—red, golden, orange—she adds celebratory moods to her canvas. Her women are swaying or stagnant. 

  THE FEMALE FACTOR Struggles for citizenship  
Janaki (name changed) never ever thought life would lead her to a point when she would seriously consider committing suicide. The suicide attempt was the result of the disappointment and trauma she underwent while trying to acquire citizenship certificates for her children through her name. Though her husband saved her life, the pain of not being recognized as a Nepali citizen has left a scar in her.

Her husband, who was an orphan, didn’t have a citizenship certificate, and so the responsibility of having  citizenship for her children was solely her responsibility. Janaki, who had had a citizenship issued prior to her marriage through her parents, couldn’t get the required recommendation for her children’s citizenship from Kathmandu Metropolitan City. Because of biased citizenship laws, she couldn’t have her son and daughter get citizenship despite her relentless efforts.

  The pursuit of austerity  
After the elections to the first CA, most female CA members from the Maoist party turned up in similar outfits: grey suits. Among other things of state importance, their monochrome uniforms were criticized a whole lot too. But few outside their closed circles knew that these uniforms had come out of a deep conviction in simplicity that they had imbibed during their years underground.

“Women wear sindoor to tell the world they are married,” says Smita Dewan, 23, who was a cultural worker during the insurgency. “Do the men wear anything for women? These are just signs of servitude.”

  Living in the Shadow of Light  
Back when I was a teenager, getting whistled at while walking down the street or being the target of an unmelodic voice chanting some forgotten Hindi song was quite a common occurrence. Over the years, the incidents have (thankfully!) scaled down at a remarkable rate. And yet, I do get greeted with an occasional “pst pst!” or a ridiculous “gore gore mukhdepe kaala kaala chasma” here and there. A part of me gets annoyed at this twisted idea of fun. But mostly I just laugh it off.

And yet there are some things that can’t be overlooked so easily. The newspapers are full of stories of women being raped, burnt and murdered in the most brutal manners. What cuts me the deepest is the fact that those men who abuse our female folk are no strangers. They are our own grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, husbands, boyfriends, friends, colleagues and in-laws.

  Life after marriage  
Does your life change after marriage? Yes, it does. If you’re a man, then you’ll no longer be able to hang out late with your friends. Once it gets dark, your mobile phone will constantly keep ringing. Your wife will want to know where you are, with whom, and when you’ll get back home. If you tell her that you’ll be home by nine, she’ll ask you to come back home by eight. And if you don’t show up by eight, you’ll probably have around 43 missed calls by the time you get home 15 minutes past the deadline.

And when you get home, you’ll feel like you’ve just entered the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Yes, your wife, the judge, will charge you for crimes against marital bliss. You will then begin your defense by stating that sometimes, one should be allowed to hang out with their friends at least until 9 pm. The judge will then tell you straight in the face that only goblins and evil spirits hang out after dark, and no loving husband will want to piss off their wives by hanging out with bad company.

  Poetry passion and pursuits  
Bill Wolak is an American poet and teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University of New Jersey. He has authored 10 books so far and is currently touring across South Asia.

The Week’s Roshani Dhamala met up with Wolak to talk about his poetry passion and pursuits.

  Memoirs of Nepal  
From ancient times, visitors coming to Nepal have been fascinated by Nepal’s unique beauty and culture. Nepal has inspired several personal accounts, some of them very scholarly, and some quite personal. The Week brings you a selected list, among hundreds, of some noteworthy memoirs of Nepal.

Seeing Nepal from the eyes of outsiders gives us quite a different perspective on what we see everyday and believe we know intimately.

  Relax! It's weekend!  
It’s weekend! After working nonstop throughout the week, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief and take it easy. You can take time and do those things that you have always wanted to do but never had the time to.

And you have this opportunity once a week to totally relax and let go of all the worries and stress that keep bugging you otherwise. Almost like a cell phone that needs to be recharged every now and then, you too can invigorate yourself only if you give a little thought to it.

  A wonder called Boudha Nath  
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say. But clichés never appealed to me. I thought I would never use such phrases, but those were the very words on my mind as I flew back home after a brief hiatus abroad. The view of my much beloved city gave me goose bumps as my eyes hungrily took in the all too familiar views from the small window of the aircraft I was on board.

In the ride back home from the airport, I took in the sights, sounds, and smells of a city I called home. I had grown up in Kathmandu, snacking on tato-tato samosa from Tip Top after a shopping excursion in New Road with my mother. I still remember how an excited little me had jumped up and down on seeing Pawankali, the elephant from the Central Zoo, on the streets. Police personnel on horses amidst heavy traffic, the roadside vendors selling what not, and everything else the city offered always left me mesmerized.

  • Filling a void

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