Jabbed and drugged I am today…

“Just relax your arm, let it rest” were the words before I felt a pinch. It had been ages since I last had a syringe pinch my body. I don’t actually remember exactly when I last had somebody put a needle on my body, but I am sure I haven’t had any injections or anything after I left Nepal years ago. I was anxious, to say the least, when I visited my travel clinic this afternoon to get the Yellow Fever jab.

Yes, that’s why I had to “feel the pinch” and the numbness around the “spot” afterwards. It wasn’t too bad actually, a lot easier than I had anticipated. The only discomfort I felt was the pinch when the needle first pierced my skin. I didn’t feel the liquid go in, which is actually more painful if I remember correctly. Apparently this vaccine goes inside the skin but not into the muscle, hence less pain.

Okay, I had to get this vaccine for Yellow Fever because if I don’t I wouldn’t get entry into Mali, the country I will be visiting in a few weeks’ time for a project meeting. Apart from a visa, you also need the international Yellow Fever vaccination card (yellow in colour!) to enter Mali. And the list of vaccines, medications, precautions doesn’t end there. I was given this dozen-page printout about the health risk when travelling to Mali and few other countries that I’ll be going later in the year, required and recommended vaccinations and medications for those destinations, and at the end, “security advisory”!
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Google Apps…How could it help?

I spent most part of last night setting up Google Apps to use with one of my domains. Google Apps is a set of google web applications (i.e., gmail, calendar, gtalk etc.) that you can personalise to use with your own domain.

I have been using Gmail since the day it was released and despite all the talks about privacy (or the lack of it), I think its a great email service. Very clean interface and easy to use, and the (virtual) sorting of mails using filters and labels just works great. I use Gmail for most of my email needs, including backups of other email accounts, either using email forwarding or now using Gmail’s own built-in pop mail retriever.

Its not just the Gmail however, I also use Google’s calendar, and love the SMS alert of the events! I have tried Google Documents (Text and Spreadsheet) and know how useful it can be for collaborative work, if all you want is to create a simple text document or a spreadsheet, especially in collaboration with your friends/colleagues.

And last but not least there is Google Chat. It has really made staying in touch with my contacts a lot easier, without the use of fancy IM programs.
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कफी ककटेलको कथा…

‘रेनसाँस’ क्याफेमा कफीका लागि आउनेहरूको लाइन नभएको दिन भेट्नु भनेको बालुवामा सुन भेट्नु जस्तै हो। शनिवारको बिहान कफी लिन जाँदा पनि आफूभन्दा अगाडि दुईजना थिए लाइनमा कफीको शुल्क तिर्नको लागि। दुवैजना विश्वविद्यालयमा भइरहेका अनेकौं निर्माणकार्यहरू मध्ये कुनैमा काम गर्ने कामदारहरू रहेछन्। उमेरले अलि पाको देखिने महाशयले दुइवटा कफी र एक क्वासँ (croissant) माँगे र त्यसको मूल्य चुकाउनलाई खल्तिबाट केही सिक्काहरू तथा एउटा दस डलरको नोट निकाले।

यसैबीच क्याफे चलाई बसेका भाइले सोधे – “क्वासँलाई अलि तातो बनाइदिउँ?” उनी त्यस्तै ३० सेकेण्डजति माइक्रोवेभ ओभनमा राख्दिन्छन् न्यानो पार्नलाई। तर ती कामदार महाशयले बुझेनन् के सोधेको भनेर। दुई-तीन चोटी सोधेपछि बल्ल बुझे उनले। अनि तुरुन्तै “हुन्छ” भने। त्यसपछि मूल्य चुकाउन तयार भए ती महाशय। सिक्काहरूले मात्रै कफी र क्वासँको मूल्य तिर्ने पहिले, अनि पुगेन भने मात्र दसको नोट चलाउने विचारमा रहेछन् तिनी। सिक्काहरूले नै सबै मूल्य चुक्ने थाहा पाएपछि निकै खुशी देखिए दुवैजना। अनि एक आपसमा त्यस क्याफेका खानेकुराहरूको भाउको अनि क्याफेको बारेमा केही प्रतिक्रिया साटे, सकारात्मक प्रतिक्रियाहरू! त्यसपछि ती महाशयले आफ्नो खल्तिबाट वालेट निकाली त्यो दसको नोट त्यसभित्र राखे अनि वालेटलाई फेरि खल्तिमा हाले – तिनको अनुहारमा हर्षका रेखाहरू प्रष्टै देखिन्थे।
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An unapologetic apology…

Okay, its obvious that I say ‘sorry’ too often, even when it is not required. Which singer was it who said ‘sorry seems to be the hardest word to say’? Was it Elton John? I don’t know for sure, and I’m not a huge fan of Elton, and it doesn’t really matter on what I’m going to write here anyway. Well, we Nepalis, at least (up to or) from my generation, are never brought up to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’, even when we really ought to be saying those words. We are used to asking somebody to do something for us, and don’t care to add ‘please’ when we ask. May be that’s slowly changing nowadays due to ‘western influence’ (one good influence I’ll say), but when I left Nepal some 8 years ago, I left without learning these etiquette. Of course I had hard time getting used to saying these words, especially when you have to use at least one in virtually every sentence. But when you have to, you have to, and you learn pretty quickly too!

I now think at least my generation, and generations after us, have learnt to be polite (please), grateful (thank you), and taking responsibility of our actions (sorry, when things go wrong) – although I would be the first to acknowledge that I don’t always MEAN them when I say these words. And I presume its same for a lot of others, but at least we ‘appear’ well behaved. Hypocrite I am, we all are to some extent but what matters in a lot of cases is that we appear ‘nice’ in our “bolibachan”.

But when I think of the generations before my own, especially our leaders, bureaucrats and all those who were in one way or other ‘running ruining our country’, ‘sorry’ really seems to be among the unspeakable words in their vocabulary – may be it doesn’t exist at all in their “gidi” which has so successfully ruined our country during the last decade or so.
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3 dreams, 3 characters…

He always considered himself a guide by birth.
He has been guiding trekkers through these rugged himalayan terrain ever since he can remember.
A Bramhin by birth but a Sherpa by deeds,
that’s what he always replied when asked about his life,
not forgetting to add that he was a Nepali by birth but now known as Irani.
He doesn’t know why.
His identity was contradictions,
so was his life.
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