Menstruation practices in urban households  
Tussles between older and younger generations turn urban homes into constant battlefields.

Chhaupadi, where menstruating women are made to live in sheds away from their homes, is a much-derided tradition in Western Nepal. But most Hindu families, even urban ones, continue to follow some form of menstrual segregation. Though most of these traditions are not as extreme as Chhaupadi, they discomfit young women to a large degree.

Mina Paudel, 66, was raised in a tradition where a girl was kept inside a closed room for 11 days during her first period, and not even allowed to see the sun. She ate separately from the family, washed her own dishes, slept on the ground, and took care to avoid being seen by elders when they were eating because even the sight of a menstruating woman was inauspicious. She raised her two daughters in a similar culture, though not as extreme as her own times.

  Have your say  
Using social networking sites is no more limited to the sole purpose of entertainment. It has also become a platform where friends, family members, distant relatives, colleagues and strangers from all over the world have come together to support a cause that they believe in.

The Week asked a few people what they think about the use of different social networking sites for various campaigns, and how fruitful the trend can be in the long run.

  How long will Thabang remain 'Communist'?  
Communist Ideology was introduced in Thabang, later the Maoists’ place of origin, in 2012 BS (1955 AD). Since then, Thabang has always been for one or the other communist party. While Thabang’s consistent support for the left is viewed as historic, questions are emerging as to how long its loyalty for the Communists would remain intact in the competitive multiparty society.

Mohan Bikram Singh of CPN–Mashal attributes Thabang people’s support for the communists to their deep faith in the ideology. “Why these people have remained supporters of communists for so long is because of their faith in communism. Here it has become a sort of tradition for one to be for communists actually,” he said.

  The day of the Elephant-God  
Accidents, mishaps and misfortunes can be avoided by worshipping Lord Ganesha before beginning any auspicious activity.

Goddess Parvati, the better half of Lord Shiva, was yearning for a child. One day, while she was taking a bath with turmeric and water, she started rubbing the turmeric off her body. Then she molded the residue thus derived into a human structure. With her powers, she breathed life into the image. Within seconds, a little boy magically appeared before her. She called him her son and commanded him to guard the main gate of her palace. Lord Shiva, who was not home at the moment, returned in the evening. The little boy stopped him from entering his own house. Shiva was so angry with the boy’s audacity that he cut off his head and entered the palace. When Parvati came to know about this, she told her husband that he was her son and pleaded him to bring him back to life. Lord Shiva, softened by his wife’s tears, asked his messengers to bring him a head of any creature to be attached to the dead boy’s body. They searched far and wide and stumbled across an old elephant with a single tooth. They cut off its head and presented it to their lord. Shiva then brought the boy back to life with his powers.

This day, also known as Bhadra Shukla Chaturthi (the fourth day of the waxing moon period), is regarded as the birthday of the little boy brought back from the dead, who went on to be worshipped as Lord Ganesha.

  Clothes, cuts, and designs  
Can you cut this saree and make it into a dress?” a customer enters the room, asking.

“This is simply too beautiful to cut. How often do we get such materials nowadays? Why don’t you have a dress made out of different material,” Amika Shrestha, designer and the owner of Amika’s Attraction, a boutique at Naxal, replies. Amika then pulls out a pen and paper and quickly draws a flowing dress design for her visitor. As her hands work on the design, it seems as though everything comes to her naturally and designs automatically take on incredible shapes.

  The Uninvited  
In the feeble moonlight I see that the red of the dreams is now on my fingers.

Fifteen years of the same thing happening month after month. I should be better prepared for it by now, and yet it delights in surprising me whenever it can. Possibly every month, if it had its way. The thing that is called a ‘period,’ and it tries hard to insert a comma into life.

Imagine this. The whole day I have been irritable and tetchy. I want to eat three croissants and a packetful of mushy titaura and then a jumbo pack of chips. My stomach is about to burst, and I still feel hungry. I have gotten into an argument with my best friend and snapped twice at a colleague about inconsequential matters. I feel sad and nervous and edgy, like something bad is about to happen. Finally, I give up trying to work or think or even read and crawl underneath my blankets. A beautiful dream awaits me, of lush green pasturelands and bright blue skies. There is even a rivulet with an arched bridge – how romantic! And suddenly, the rivulet turns red. It flows not in my dream but between my legs. My eyelids turn into lead. They refuse to look, the logic is that the river will dry up if I just turn over and go back to sleep.

  TECH TALK Minimalism Art and Adventure  
Gaming on mobile devices has come a long way as many people can be seen tapping away at their cellphone screen trying to crush that last piece of candy or calculating the precise angle to destroy the thieving pig’s base. Little kids can be seen tapping away at tablet screens and adults can be seen passing time with a game of Solitaire or Mahjong. There are a plethora of games to choose from on Google Play Store or the App Store. But mobile gaming has developed a lot too, with stunning visuals and clever gameplay. There are a lot of games that are gorgeous to look at and immensely fun to play as well, taking gaming on the mobile sphere to a different level.

Here are some games that you may have missed out on.

  MICRO YATRA Is Customer the King?  
The cab came. The cabbie, around 35-40 years, with slightly graying hair. Very politely, he asked, “Are you looking for a taxi?”

You’ve heard of smile being the best thing you can do with your lips. But, at times, it is a killer, especially if it comes early in the morning (married men may choose to disagree). This particular smile, from the silver haired gentleman, incited yours truly to commit suicide. No, it wasn’t repelling. Just that for a ride that would have cost me Rs 30 – in a regular microbus service – I was ready to become poorer by Rs 150. I agreed for the journey.

  READER'S CORNER The art of reading  
Bal Bahadur Thapa is a Lecturer of English at the Central Department of Tribhuvan University. An avid reader with a flair for writing, he has also translated plays such as ‘Desire Under the Elms’ and ‘Night Mother’. He is currently working on his Ph D dissertation titled ‘Trajectory of Nepali Modernity: Ruptures and Repairs.’

The Week’s Nitya Pandey and Sushant Shrestha met up with Thapa and he talked about his reading habits, favorite books and future plans.

  Nepal in fiction  
A lot has been written about Nepal by foreigners: from history books to scholarly papers about its art, culture, and people. Memoirs about alpine trekking in Nepal are equally plentiful.

Fiction set in Nepal is not as famous, but it is nonetheless numerous, and many of them make for good reading. The Week brings you a list of fiction books where the events happen in Nepal.

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