Niche religious cults  
Self-proclaimed religious and spiritual leaders attract many people in our society. These groups coexist with the dominant worldview and cater to all kinds of religious needs.

Sanjay Sai Baba is seated at the end of an open hall that can easily seat a thousand people. Hundreds of people line up every week for his darshan. Though he is just 26, men and women far older than him address him with honorary titles.

Swami Kamal Nayanacharya’s sprawling ashram in Bhaktapur is a favourite haunt of the country’s bigwigs, including politicians like Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and several businessmen.

  Have your say  
We all find a million things wrong with Kathmandu. We complain about the dust, the traffic, and the rules or rather the lack of it, the roads, the public transport, and everything else. But we still live here and there must be something we like. The Week asked a few Valley residents what they particularly like about the capital city.

Kathmandu is a beautiful blend of the traditional and the modern. This is a city where you can sip Chiya squatting on the roadside stall or enjoy a Cappuccino in a swanky coffee shop. Both Wifi and witchdoctors hold equal footing out here. Take a walk through the serene Basantpur Durbar Square, feel the hustle and bustle of Thamel, and experience a “Human Traffic Jam” in Ason. The sight of people shelling peanuts in Bhugol Park, young sports star showing their skills on Tundikhel, people being awestruck by the Dharahara, the serenity of Swayambhu and Pashupatinath, and the ubiquitous steamed momos are only a few of Kathmandu’s quirks.

  Nepali Muslims in Kathmandu and elsewhere in Nepal  
The history of the arrival of Muslims dates back to 500 years ago when the Kashmiri traders traveling via Kathmandu to Tibet were asked to settle here.

Asmin Shrestha, 17, a resident of Indra Chowk in Kathmandu, had a wonderful time this week. Invited to his friend Ashraf Uddin’s home, the Shebais, Sarbats and Kababs were some of his favorite items that he was served. In return, he had immediately promised his friend to get him yomari whenever the item was prepared at his home.

The incident of the exchange of cultures between one Newar and a Muslim was not noticed here for the first time, but Asmin and Ashraf are repeating the trend set by their fathers and grandfathers.

  An unfruitful sustenance  
Farmers who work hard in the fields actually earn significantly less than those who transport or sell the food.

Goma Ghimire, a farmer in Kavre District, is almost always found sowing and weeding crops on her farm that is adjoined to the road connecting Paanchkhal and Banepa. She spends most of her waking hours like this – sweating and toiling in her farm – to support her family of four. But in the end of a harvesting season, all she gets is Rupees 10 per kilo for her tomatoes, and slightly more for her eggplants and beans.

“It’s been even worse this year compared to last year. Nobody is giving us a good price,” she says.

  A Firefighter's Call 101  
Burns on the firemen’s bodies prove there are some things more important than fear.

Angry flames have engulfed most of the house. The upper floors are crashing down. Many people are trapped on the ground floor. Amidst all the haste and hullabaloo, he can hear a faint whimper somewhere nearby. His years of firefighting experience kicks in and his eyes quickly survey the disaster scene. There is a woman squashed under the rubble. Eyes blazing with single-minded focus, he rushes to her and starts the tedious task of rescuing her.

“Those were the most memorable forty five minutes of my life,” says Kishor Bhattarai, Chief of Fire Brigade in Kathmandu who has been working in the sector of Disaster Management for the past two decades. “I still remember the victim’s name. It is Masini B.K.”

  Shrawan sartorial slumming Paint it green!  
Shrawan came and brought along a mid-summer revival of brilliant green and yellow hues. Experimenting with the colors of this religious month, young women have taken to the tradition of wearing green in Shrawan in their own personalized ways and turned it into a fashion statement.

Regina Tuladhar, whose family runs a boutique in New Road, says Shrawan brings an influx of tailoring orders, mostly from married and older women.
“The orders are for simple green and yellow blouses, kurti tops, and kurta surwal sets,” she says.

  TECH TALK In tune with the games  
With the recent World Cup and the upcoming Barclay’s English Premier League just around the corner, there’s a constant need to stay updated with news of the summer transfer season. The Premier League starts on August 16 which further emphasizes the need to stay connected with the sports world.

Staying close to a TV may not be an option in today’s hectic lifestyle which further arguments the need of apps keeping you up to date. With smartphones and some good apps, keeping track of all football news gets easier. There are apps that will help you never miss out on games with live scores and commentary, and here, we raise a glass to all the good apps and services out there that keep us connected with the big games. 

  MICRO YATRA A short route but a long yatra!  
“Why do you speak in Hindi?”

The female voice startled yours truly as soon as he entered the three-wheeler, called Safa Tempo in local parlance. Safa means clean in Nepali, an apt name for a vehicle that doesn’t guzzle fossil fuel and throws smoke at whoever is right behind them – mostly the ones who want to get inside.

  Men who define us  
The stories we read and tell have a large role in defining who we are, how we perceive the world around us, and how we react in different situations. Some characters in books seem to understand us better than real people, and there are some we like more than our friends. We see hints of these characters in people all around us; some even seem to have leapt directly from the pages of our favorite book. The Week lists some of these literary men who follow us around in waking hours.

The hero: Lancelot

Before there were gray characters, there were only the villain and the hero. Every boy wanted to be him, and every girl wanted to be with him. Heroes like Lancelot in the Arthur Chronicles were full of good qualities like wisdom, bravery, chivalry, honor, and not to forget, good looks. The first work of literature in English, Beowulf, is the story of one such hero who slays a monster. Heroes continue to manifest in modern literature, in popular figures like Superman and in bestsellers like the Harry Potter series. Among thousands of characters in Game of Thrones, many readers point to the character arc of Ned Stark who embodies the characteristics of the typical hero, as the most emotionally wrenching and memorable one.

  REVIEW The trap of enlistment  
The book begins with a lighthearted discussion among young ladies about returning Lahures and possible marriage with them. Indeed, such positive facets of Lahures like their desirability in the marriage market, their wealth, and their general aura, are their most talked-about aspects. But behind this façade lie many dark aspects that are often glossed over.

For example, Manoj informs that there are no formal rules or policy about the Nepali soldiers that the British army takes in. In other words, they can be dismissed at any point, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. This lack of formal understanding makes it easy for the British government to pay the Gurkhas lesser than their British counterparts: Nepali soldiers are paid approximately 20 percent of the regular salary.

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