Kulman Ghising is a man of his words. Within months of being appointed the Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), Ghising lived up to his promise of ending the decade-long load shedding problem in Nepal. In doing so he not only lit up the homes and streets of Kathmandu Valley but also brought to light many of NEA’s underlying problems.
Laxmi Sharma, even at 68, has the same energy she had when she ventured into the business world 34 years ago as a young single mother of three. Resilient and determined, Sharma is Nepal’s first female Nepali tempo driver and the founder of Laxmi Wood Craft Udhyog. Popularly known as The Button Lady, Sharma took the path less travelled–along which she encountered many hurdles. In this interview with VMAG’s Gaurav Pote, Sharma talks about her childhood, her broken marriage, the challenges she has had to face and how she overcame them all to be where she is today.
If you can tell a story in an elegant way, no matter the medium, people will pay attention. Ace photographer Mani Lama is one such eloquent storyteller, and his three-decades of work is a case in point.
Despite his family’s resistance, Bharat Adhikari decided to go against the grain and start his own venture. He started out by running a humble handicraft shop in Bhaktapur and today heads one of Nepal’s most modern knitting houses.
Partners in life and in work may sound like a dream. Fortunately for some, that dream is a reality. Umashankar Shah and Dr Seema Sharma Shah, an artist couple known for their etchings and oil paintings, share a passion for depicting nature, culture and religious figures through their artwork. They met while studying in the ancient city of Varanasi, and a few decades now, the couple have been teaching art at the Lalit College of Fine Arts, painting side-by-side in their home studio, collaborating and exhibiting together, and most importantly, supporting one another. In this interview with Alok Thapa of M&S VMAG, the duo provide insight into their creative lives and shares their struggles, their fears and their hopes for the future.
In a country where every second person wants to secure a 9 to 5 job and lead a safe life, Santosh Rai dared to dream differently. Rai, who has always felt more at home in nature, started Himalayan Single Track in 2011 with Jenny Caunt, a fellow mountain biker who shared the same passion for the outdoors. An avid cyclist, Rai prefers to explore Nepal on two wheels, and encourages other Nepalis to do the same. In this interview with VMAG’s Alok Thapa, Rai talks about his days of struggle, his company vision and why he believes in the potential for mountain-biking tourism.
Every time Shreeti Pradhan feels like expressing herself or wants to feel better, she turns to music. The singer, songwriter, composer, music teacher and music therapist, believes music has the power to not only entertain but also heal–to heal even those who have lived through extremely traumatic pasts. In this interview, Pradhan, who is also an active community worker, talks to Alok Thapa of M&S VMAG about how her experiences–professional and personal–have helped her become a music therapist for both children and adults.
Her refusal to let society dictate her fate says a lot about the steely resolve Sunita Danuwar has developed, despite her horrendous past. Once refused citizenship by her own country, Danuwar is today the president of Shakti Samuha, the first anti-trafficking organisation founded in Nepal by girls and women rescued from brothels in India.
Pravin Chitrakar, Founder and Director of Patan Handicrafts, and the Creative Director of Yala Mandala, decided to take a chance and embrace the age old advice–follow your heart. Since he made that decision, life, for him, has been all about learning about, preserving and furthering Nepal’s rich artisan traditions. He has been in the skill-based business of arts and craft for more than a decade, since 1992, but his love and passion for Nepali craftsmanship remains alive, and shows when in conversation. In a chat with Alok Thapa of M&S VMAG, Chitrakar shares that the increasing interest in the provenance and authenticity of handicrafts in Nepal is bringing about a renaissance of the arts and crafts. He also talks about how our country needs more critical thinkers who can foster creativity and passion in this industry so that Nepal can carve out an identity as the nation of the finest handicrafts.
Shila Thapa, once a homemaker, currently works with individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. Credited with being the first person in Nepal to advocate about the disorder, Thapa is the Founder President of Down Syndrome Society Nepal (DSSN).
At a time when everything is moving so fast–changes in habits, attitudes, technology, life itself–Kishor Kayastha wants his photo work to do the opposite. With a click, he can freeze a sliver of time, and document it for the next generation. He wants to draw viewers into “his world”, where people can create their own interpretation of stories from his photos. On the cusp of releasing his short film Shifting Valley, Kayastha talks to Alok Thapa of M&S VMAG about his early days, what Kathmandu Valley means to him and how his unique vision is sometimes misunderstood.
Temba Tsheri Sherpa encourages everybody to find their own Everest and work towards reaching the top – just like he did, one step at a time!
Dibesh Karmacharya always wanted to work in wildlife, and later, in genetics and biotechnology. And he wanted to do his work in Nepal. The first time he tried to do so, after having finished his studies in the US, he couldn’t get things going here, so he went back to work in the US. But even as he worked on challenging projects there, he kept thinking about doing cutting-edge research here in Nepal.
Rosy Pun is today one of the most sought-after fitness instructors in town. Pun, the owner of Niraamayae Fitness Studio and Academy, a 12,000 sq ft fitness facility, in Chakrapath, is known for being the consummate fitness professional. Little do people know that she has gotten to where she is after having had to piece back her life after living through years when she had lost all hope that she would be able to make something of herself. In this candid conversation with VMAG’s Alok Thapa talks about her unique life journey.
Everyone has a story to tell, and for Prachanda Man Shrestha, film has been his platform through which to tell a variety of incredible stories about ordinary people. The noted scriptwriter’s second directorial venture Love Sasha is imbued with many subtle nuances that are at play in interpersonal relationships, and Shrestha is confident that the movie will resonate with its audience on an emotional level.
Dr Uma Shrivastava, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at Infertility Centre Nepal (ICN), derives immense pleasure from giving people hope. Through her work, Dr Shrivastava has helped many infertile couples make use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures to conceive, while at the same destigmatize infertility. In this conversation with Alok Thapa of M&S VMAG, the IVF specialist talks about the intricacies of IVF treatment, why we need to regulate IVF practice and what infertile couples need to know before resorting to IVF.
Listening to Lochan Rijal sing makes for a cerebral experience. His unconventional approach to music has given him something that he was not too keen on garnering when he started out–popularity. Known for his reverence for Nepali ethnic melodies, Rijal is the first South Asian to complete a PhD programme in ethnomusicology.
Ghana Shyam Gurung, the Senior Conservation Program Director at WWF Nepal, is a part idealist, part realist whose love of nature began from his early childhood spent in the rugged, arid and haunting wilderness of Upper Mustang. Growing up in a herding community, Gurung’s psyche, much like others, was programed to hate the killers of their main source of livelihood – snow leopard.
A passion for the work one does and the ability to turn an idea into reality is what makes a good entrepreneur. Shyam Badan Shrestha is one such entrepreneur: she dared to start her own venture of knotted handicrafts with a paltry sum of Rs 200, out of a makeshift workshop in her house. Today, she has successfully turned her hobby into a profession.
In Nepal, it can be exceedingly difficult to make a living through football. And yet, unfazed by the challenges, Raju Kaji Shakya has devoted his life to the game and ended up winning SAF gold as a player, captain and coach for Nepali national football team.