Monthly Archives: February 2013

Pretty in Pastels this SUMMER

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in Feb 2012 issue.

977fashion

Pastels are so sweet, soft, romantic and ethereal. Pastels may be pale in hue, but combined with right jewellery and shoes give them a bright look. This summer pastel is not only for kids but everyone who wants to make a fashion statement. You can look sweet despite the heat in a rainbow of taffy-coloured hues.

You can choose outfits from a beautiful pale pink, gold, green, blue, salmon rose, milk caramel, velvety peach, powdery mint, banana, guava, lavender, baby blue and many more. Bags in pale pink, banana, lilac or mint are winners this summer.

Tips to wear pastel colour

  • The most important rule of pastel shades is not to overdo it
  • Wear with a neutral colour like beige, black or white.
  • When wearing pastel make sure to put on more cheek and lip colour
  • Highlight the look with statement accessories
  • Metallic gives pastels a glamorous edge
  • Combine pastel jeans with a white and black top
  • Accessories in pastel shades can also be used separately with full black attire
  • Pastel shoes look amazing in combination with white pants or a light coloured dress
  • Try using a pastel coloured nail polish.
  • A scarf is always a good way to add a touch of pastel to your outfit.

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*Autumn Trend Alert: “Dot On” *Fashion from Nepal
*Spring 2012 Trend Alert: Hello, PETAL!

Forever Blackout

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in Feb 2013 issue.

977post

Living in Australia we always hear things happening in Nepal like strikes, Nepal Band, political instability, traffic problem, pollutions and of course load shedding. We always sympathise with the people who have to live with these conditions and we feel sorry for them as they how to put up with all this hardships in life.

I have to admit it is easy to say “Bichara” and move on with our happy life in Australia but it is a different ball game when you are facing the problem first hand. I have been in Nepal for a few weeks now and I had never imagined how much load shedding can affect one’s life until now. How can you lead a normal life if you have to live without electricity for 12 hours a day and it is predicated to be more hours in coming weeks.

Living in Sydney I never have to plan my life around electricity but in Kathmandu you must be a great planer if you want to live a smooth life. Most days, working people of Kathmandu won’t see electricity at their home as there will be no lights when they leave home and there is still no light when they come back  home. It’s like you live in the city that has no electricity at all.

Currently, the only days, I wake up with electricity is twice a week on Sundays and Mondays and rest of the week, no lights during mornings and evenings. If I want to do something that requires electricity, I need to wait till 11 or 12 in the afternoon and quickly finish my chore before electricity goes out again.

It is winter here so if I want to shower with hot water using the hot water geyser, I must run and turn on the geyser as soon as electricity comes on as it is a luxury of only for 4-5 hours. Also I must iron my clothes, charge my entire electrical appliance in that time as well otherwise I have to wait another 7 hours before I can use all the gadgets.

Some people have even water problem because of load shedding. If water is supplied when there is no electricity most people can’t fill their tank which is on their rooftop so they have to ration water to live for day to day life.

We all know that Nepal has a huge hydropower potential. Nepali rivers and the steep gradient of the country’s topography provide ideal conditions for the development of some of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects, approximately 40,000 MW of economically feasible hydropower but currently Nepal has developed only approximately 600 MW of hydropower. Therefore, bulk of the economically feasible generation has not been realized yet.

Nepal is not able to generate even half of the 900 MW peak supply demand during dry season. The electricity demand in Nepal is increasing by about 7-9% per year and so has pollution in major city like Kathmandu so until and unless major hydro electricity projects get started in Nepal, there seems no hope of people of Nepal to expect normal electricity supply in the country.

I hope Nepal will  get its act together soon and generate electricity not only for whole Nepal but also to export electricity to India and China, both of which are in need of more power to fuel their development goals.

There are a few alternatives that people are using in Nepal when power is out like inverter or solar electricity but not everyone can afford this luxury which means people are still using candles everyday like in 1800 in this 21st century to do their everyday tasks.

Most evening if you walk around Kathmandu, the whole street has no light which make the city less safe to go out after sunset affecting lots of shops and restaurants around the country.

Now you can imagine how lucky we are in Australia and rest of the world to have electricity facility and how privileged we are not to have to plan our life around electricity. And I salute all the Nepalis in Nepal who are still happy despite living in a country with major blackouts everyday.

My nephew’s Pasni Party

After the Pasni Puja in the morning everyone was tired including the little one but there was no time to rest as we had a reception organised for 300+ people that evening to celebrate the Pasni ceremony. Pasni ceremonies have become very lavish these days, with large parties of not just close relatives, but also colleagues and friends being invited for the event. As my nephew was the first grand kid for my parents and for my SIL’s parents, they wanted to make sure everyone necessary was invited.

After lunch my MIL, FIL and AS left for home to get some rest and also to get ready for the evening. So as soon as I finished eating, I rushed to my parents’ house to prepare for the evening. There was not much to do as these days you just need to order catering in the party venue and they look after everything for you.

PARTY PASNI (11) PARTY PASNI (9)

So I just made sure that mum was ok with what to wear for the evening and she didn’t need any help. My SIL had 2 of her cousins helping her to get ready. We had already decided that my nephew was going to change into a red velvet pasni dress with blue and gold embroidery that I had bought for him.

PARTY PASNI (2)

So it was my turn to be ready and be there before guest arrived. I first went and did my hair and make-up. I was so excited to wear the special sari I had designed and ordered. It took me more than 2 hours to finally be party ready. When I was done AS picked me up to go to the party venue.

PARTY PASNI (7)

When we arrived at the venue, most of our close relatives were there already and a photo session was going on with my nephew.

PARTY PASNI (14)

He was looking really cute and adorable in the red velvet special pasni dress.We made sure we got heaps of family photos as well as photo of the little man.

PARTY PASNI (1)

Proud Grandparents

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Slowly guests started to come one by one. There were lots of relatives from my mum and dad’s sides so I spent lots of time mingling and making sure that everyone was looked after properly.

PARTY PASNI (10)

PARTY PASNI (4)

Also AS’s side of the family including his aunts, uncles and cousins were invited. Once they arrived at the party I was even busier as I had to talk to everyone and make sure they were eating and drinking properly.

PARTY PASNI (13)

By this time, the dance floor was slowly getting busy with my uncles, aunts and cousins dancing. I wanted to join them as well but it was a bit hard for me initially as I didn’t know what my in-laws would think. For me party has always been more about dancing and fun more than food but being a new DIL and having all AS’s close relatives at the party, I didn’t want to  go and jump on the dance floor.

PARTY PASNI (6)

But then one of AS’s aunt showed her desire to join the dance floor and asked me if we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves too. That was the only excuse I needed so I asked all AS’s relative to join us on the dance floor. And yes, that included my MIL as well. I am so glad my MIL took it well and did show her few moves . It was really fun and nice of everyone to just go with the flow attitude. Also AS and his cousins joined and we had a great time. I had to go away from dance floor from time to time to meet relatives who had recently arrived but I was really enjoying everything. I also had few of my good friend joining us for the celebration.

PARTY PASNI (8)

The evening went quickly and slowly guest started to leave in ones and twos. By the end of the evening only close relatives were left so we all had our meal as well. We made sure everything was OK and then left for home.

PARTY PASNI (5)

Proud Grand ma

It was really great to be a part of the celebration and it was nice to meet everyone during the celebration.  One of the nicest memories I had from Nepal this trip.

PARTY PASNI (12)

Happy Fufu

And my nephew was an angel whole day. He didn’t cry and was smiling at everyone. He was held by more than 200+ hands that evening but he was just smiling and playing with everyone that everyone was so impressed to see such a playful happy baby.

He is growing up so fast and every time I see him, there are some nice changes with him. These days he has learnt how to move his fingers in the “come here” sign so it is so cute to watch him do that. Sometimes he is so amazed that he can do that, he keeps on looking at his own hands. Also he is falling in love with himself. Every time he is in front of the mirror, all he does is smile,

My nephew’s Pasni Puja

As I told you before the main reason we went to Nepal this time was because my nephew was having his Pasni ceremony. My brother, SIL and the little one had gone to Nepal a week before us to prepare for the ceremony. Me and AS landed 10 days before the ceremony and all we did until the ceremony was to prepare for it.

AS I am married now we need to take gifts for everyone which included little nephew, my brother, my mum, my aunty and uncle (they being the head of our family) as well. So we were shopping for the first 7 days straight.

Also my mum and SIL had to give saris to all our relatives so I went with them to buy the saris. Saris seem to be so expensive so we had to increase our budget significantly to get the type of sari we wanted. After going to a few saris shops, finally we were happy with a sari and luckily they had 35 pieces of them so we just took them all. Also we needed to buy Pasni outfit for the little one which took another hour as there were so many choices.

sari

We went to many shops and after many days we managed to buy everything we needed for the ceremony. As I was living at my new home, I needed to go to my parent’s house whenever required to help my parents to organise the ceremony which kept me busy as well, traveling back and forth.

I also ordered a sari for myself in a boutique for the party. I went to many boutiques in Kathmandu and they were all pricy but they didn’t have what I was looking for. Luckly I found a small boutique in Kupondole who were happy to make what I designed. So I ordered my design and was pleased to get the sari that I wanted. The price was really high but as I got what I wanted, I was happy at the end. 🙂

Once everything was set at my parents end, it was my time to help my MIL for the ceremony. We needed to take Sagun (eggs, bara, chicken, fish, yogurt) for the day along with gifts from my new home. So the day before the ceremony, the whole day I and my MIL were in kitchen making bara, chicken, fish and other items. We also went out and bought rotis and fruits.

My BIL and AS helped to wrap all the trays beautifully with wrapping paper and bows.

my nephews's pasni (1)

Finally, the morning of the Pasni ceremony, me and AS left for my parents’ house early in the morning to help around. My in-laws were coming in few hours later.

When I reached there, most of our relatives were already there. Everyone seemed to be busy doing one thing or other.  I help my mum and SIL to get ready.  The auspicious time (saayit) chosen by an astrologer for Pasni was 9.45 am so around 9.30, the priest started making preparation for the puja.

my nephews's pasni (10)

This puja is performed so that baby can taste all kinds of food. Although this is a centuries old tradition, modern science has also established the fact that child’s digestive system is capable of processing solid food when they are approximately 6 months old.

pasni puja

my nephews's pasni (19)

Normally, the baby needs to have a bath but as it was winter, we just cleaned the little man and he wore new cloths. He sat in his mum’s lap with his dad beside her and the ceremony began. My aunt started the puja with the help of the priest. The first step was to worship Lord Ganesh and sukunda and all the gods. Then she put tika on the forehead of the baby, and he was given a special outfit which was made of silk in red colour (Taas) embroidered with golden threads along with gold ornaments like chain, earrings, bangles and silver ornaments like anklets (kalli) carved with dragon at both the ends to keep the bad omens at bay.

my nephews's pasni (18)

 He was also given a tray of stuffs like books symbolising learning, jewels symbolising wealth, a pen symbolising wisdom, clay symbolising property, food items symbolising a love for food. When the tray was given to him, the first thing he touched was a book so we are hoping he will be a big scholar one day.

my nephews's pasni (20) my nephews's pasni (16)

The priest asked the baby to be changed into the special outfit so I helped my SIL to change the baby into the red Taas outfit. He was really happy to play with us while we were changing him. We also put golden chain, bracelets and anklets on him but he cried a lot when we exchanged the earing he had on, on his recently pierced ears with the gold earring. I felt so bad that he was crying because it hurt but after a while he was ok.

my nephews's pasni (17)

Again, my nephew, SIL and my brother sat down to continue the puja. The next step was to feed him his first solid food. As per our newari custom, it was Thaa Bu (Big plate with rice, eggs, yogurt, wine, fruits, Roti, meat, fish, vegetables and much more). Of course the little one is not going to eat everything but he got to taste salty food for the first time.

my nephews's pasni (14)

my nephews's pasni (12)

After that it was my parents turn to feed the baby. Then it was my turn to give sagun. By then my MIL had arrived with my FIL. So I helped my MIL to give sagun to everyone. All the work we had done was for that moment. We stared with my nephew followed my SIL, my brother, my aunt, my uncle, my dad and my mum. Then we gave sagun to all the family members. We also gave the clothes we had bought for everyone.

my nephews's pasni (9)

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Then my SIL’s parents gave their sagun followed my aunties and other family members. Everyone gave my nephew clothes and jewelleries. Once everyone was done, my SIL’s maternal uncle put tika and garland on the baby and took the baby from my SIL.

my nephews's pasni (15)

my nephews's pasni (21)

Everyone took some sindoor, rice and flower and threw it towards my nephew so the maternal uncle could now take the baby outside for a temple visit. With the help of the priest, we took the baby to all the nearby temples and did some puja. It took almost an hour so when we came back home, the little one was so tired, he was fast asleep.

my nephews's pasni (23) my nephews's pasni (22) my nephews's pasni (11)

By the time we returned home, lunch was ready in the party place nearby so all of us went there for lunch. Before the lunch, we took family photos and lots of photos of the little man. He looked amazing in the red outfit and was smiling a lot enjoying his big day.

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My parents and my SIL’s parents were really pleased to witness their only grandson’s pasni in Nepal.

By the time we finished eating. We had less than four hours left for the guests to arrive for the Pasni party in the evening. I will write more about the Pasni party in my next post.

The experience of watching Dabangg 2

As many people already know, Bollywood movies are  big in Asia and Nepal is no exception. Bollywood movies run in theaters in Nepal more that Nepali films, as far as I know.

Even when I used to live in Nepal, I hardly went to cinemas. I used to look at cinema as total waste of my time and money and if it was Bollywood movies, then it was waste of more than 3 hours of my life. So I have never been a big fan of watching Bollywood movies in cinema. If I get good reviews from my friends, I get the movie at home so I can fast forward songs or anything I don’t feel like watching. Also, the DVDs  have subtitles which help me a lot to understand the dialogues.

While in Pokhara, we normally had lots of time in the evening as it got dark early in winter and the hotel also had load shedding so we couldn’t do much or even watch TV. So one evening while we were there, we decided to go for a movie. My MIL was keen to watch Dabangg 2, a Bollywood movie sequel of the successful movie Dabangg.

So my FIL decided to call his friend who owns a cinema complex in Pokhara. He just asked him if it would be possible to reserve 5 seats for us for the evening show of Dabangg 2, just to make sure that we got tickets once we reach the cinema.

 After the conversation we drove from our hotel to the cinema hall asking for directions several times to the passers-by as the place was far from where our hotel was. After more than 30 minutes’ drive, we were finally greeted by this friend at the gate of the cinema. As we parked we noticed that there was no one in the cinema hall and the whole building seemed empty and dark.

The owner asked us to come upstairs and we all were introduced to him. He seemed pleased to meet my FIL and was addressing AS as Mr Engineer when he spoke to him (In Nepal, many people used that term to address AS). We sat on the lounge and he ordered tea for us while FIL and few other people from cinema had conversed.

The whole cinema complex was dark expect the place we were in. So my FIL asked why there was no one there. His friend then told us that in Pokhara, they are not doing night shows as the movie had been on for many weeks and night show was not popular in the winter. So my FIL said that it was ok that if the night shows was not running then he did not want to touble his friend and we could leave but his friend insisted on running the movie just for us. And to top of that, there was no power so the movie was running on generators.

Once we finished our tea, we were escorted to one of their halls and asked to seat anywhere we liked. We chose the best seats in the house. Me, AS, MIL and FIL sat in one row while our driver dai sat on another one. The owner and few other people sat behind us and the movie started. I am not sure when but the owner and other people left while the movie was running so at point when I turn around it was only 5 of us in this big cinema hall. With the movie running for nearly 4 weeks they must have watched it numerous times already!

As usual the movie turned out to be a full-fledged Bollywood movie with songs every 20 minutes and unbelievable fight sequence every 10 minutes. I was a bit annoyed that there were no subtitles as I couldn’t understand some parts of the movie. But apart from me, everyone seemed to enjoy the movie and we had a great experience of watching the movie with just the five us in the whole theatre.