Tsho Rolpa: A fusion of nature and culture (photo feature)  
Tsho Rolpa is one of the biggest glacial lakes in Nepal. Located at an altitude of 4,580 meters in the Dolakha District, this lake lies between the famous Langtang and Everest ranges.

My friends and I decided that Dashain would be the best time of the year to make this trek since that was the longest holiday we all had. We headed to Dolakha on our bikes from where we took a local bus and reached Gongur Khola. We enjoyed the bumpy ride, winding road, cool breeze and beautiful landscapes the whole day and reached our destination in the evening.

  THE FEDERALISM DEBATE Deal on federal provinces: So near and yet so far  
With leaders from various political parties of late intensifying negotiations on major contentious issues in making a new Constitution, the subject of federalism has yet again emerged as the most debated issue within and outside the Constituent Assembly (CA).

Leaders closely involved in the interparty negotiations believe that the dispute on what should be the major bases to federate the country, determine the number and nomenclature of provinces is the major reason behind the deadlock in the task of Constitution making—in both the present and previous CA.
The course of the debate on federalism among the major political parties isn’t uniformed over the years, though.

  Gossip! Gossip! What's in it, really?  
You go to a family function and are enlightened with the knowledge that your aunt’s brother-in-law’s youngest sister recently got divorced. She was apparently having an affair with her boss’s best friend who was married to your first cousin’s high school classmate. With red wine, chicken curry, black dal and Basmati pulaao, the spiciest of family secrets are dished out on the table. And whether you like it or not, you are introduced to the grand arena of one of the most popular and common means of entertainment in the world – gossip.

There is no concrete reasoning that sheds light on why people gossip. Whether it is at home, school, office or anywhere else, human beings derive innate pleasure in talking about their fellow human beings. They love to know about all the juicy details regarding another person’s life. People, in general, love to gossip about anything and everything that catches their fancy. But again, it also cannot be denied that gossip always holds more interest if the person being gossiped about is portrayed with a grayer tinge.

  The joys of having a sibling  
Sabina Luitel, in her early thirties, is a mother of a three year-old-son and is now expecting her second child. She and her husband decided to have another child so that their first-born would always have someone besides them to call his own.

“I had three siblings, and I know how having brothers and sisters feel like. I wanted my son to have a similar environment while growing up,” says Sabina , adding that even now she and her siblings are extremely close and share everything.

  COVER STORY Harbingers of death  
During Tihar, the festival of lights, five different elements of nature are worshipped. What many might not know is that the five elements are all associated with death, and the festival ‘Yama Panchak,’ is named after Yamaraj, god of death. But crows and dogs, particularly, are also known as ‘Yamadut’ or messengers of death, and their association with death is almost universal, even beyond the Hindu culture.

Dr. Bina Paudel, Professor of Culture at Tribhuvan University, explains that the festival is a very logical one from the ecological point of view.

  UNREPORTED LIVES The Man Booker of Thamel  
Vision Books houses Nagendra´s 30 years worth of collection including first editions and rare books

If you love browsing through bookstores, you might be familiar with the all too nosy bookseller who finds his way to you the moment you enter with queries or recommendations of what he thinks you should read – usually the ‘bharkhar aayeko kitab’ or the book he claims to be flying off the shelves. But have you ever walked into a bookstore and found the man behind the counter immersed in a book and not rushing to ask you what you are looking for?

At Vision Books in Thamel, that is exactly what happens. Nagendra Singh, the owner, won’t disturb you because he knows buying books is a journey in itself and also because he would very much like to continue reading, if you let him, that is.

  MUSINGS Love story  
There was a romance to the Maoist insurgency

The African American movie producer and director Spike Lee frequently finds himself in controversy for his observations on race relations in the US. It is not his fault that the predominantly White American media is uncomfortable with the bloody origins of their society. “Africans were brought here

  TECH TALK Windows eye-candy  
Windows is a great piece of software that we all have grown accustomed to and love, and since Microsoft’s release of Windows 7, productivity and ease-of use of Windows operating systems have improved. Windows 7 is great but there are still certain aspects of the Windows 7 platform that you can improve to obtain a more streamlined one. Let’s face it, Microsoft has been behind Apple and Linux on visual appeal for a long time, and Windows 7 doesn’t bring a competitive game in comparison to the latest orientations of Mac or Linux operating systems. But don’t let the default look of Windows fool you because there are tons of third party applications that improve how your Windows behaves and, most importantly, looks. These tools will definitely change your experience with Windows but will also put more pressure on your processor. But you have a pretty decent computer, it shouldn’t make much of a difference.

  Q & A Work and beyond  
Christian Manhart is the UNESCO Representative to Nepal. He came to Nepal two months ago. Before coming here, he was based in Paris and had traveled to a number of Asian countries during his long career in the development sector. He came to Nepal following his desire to work firsthand as the head of a field office. Roshani Dhamala met Manhart to talk about his experiences in Nepal and his future goals and plans.

What did you like in Nepal?

I had imagined Nepal differently. As a country located between two big countries, India and China, I had imagined that Nepal would somehow be a mixture of these countries in terms of culture. But Nepal, I found, is not at all like that. It rather has an incredible cultural richness. It has more than just monuments and cultural heritages. Beyond and more than that, Nepal is a home to a vividly living culture that people venerate and actually live. That was one positive surprise in Nepal. The next, of course, are people here who are extremely nice and warm.

  The Ultimate Thrill (photo feature)  
Switchback Nepal recently organized a first of its kind event – urban downhill mountain bike race – a new concept not only in Nepal but the whole of South Asia.
Downhill mountain biking is a time-based event held on steep, rough trails with obstacles.

The event was held in Tansen, Palpa, in Western Nepal, and the organizers are now planning to give continuity to it and make it an annual event.

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