With regards to the 7.8 Earthquake in Nepal

4-up on 2011-08-26 at 18.36

You should care because as a human, you are connected to every other human just by virtue of being human. You know what it’s like to find something funny or to be tired or to be upset by how unfair something feels. You also know what’s it’s like to focus on differences but I want to suggest we have similarities and a lot of them.

I know I’m biased. I found the most beautiful people when I was 18 who loved me and put up with my silliness and gave me countless chances to grow. I one time refused to wash my hair for two weeks since I was too cold and really just didn’t want to, and nobody said a word besides always offering me kettle of hot water if I ended up changing my mind. I was given the opportunity to teach math in a school and wasn’t a great teacher but discovered how much I loved math. I learned that joking about how excruciatingly warm it was outside when it was so cold you had to sit in your bed for 3 hours in order for it to be warm enough for sleeping actually helps and is pretty fun. I adventured and laughed and had lots of fun. I was, well am, pretty lucky.

For the last 4 days, I’ve prayed every time I opened facebook, gmail, and my phone that today would be the day I heard from my family.  It’s stupidly easy to see Deepika’s rosy sandals or to hear the sweet melody of Habia Una Vez Un Barco Chiquito from Pramila.

Two hours ago I finally received word that everyone is alive.  It hurts to tell you how little they have right now to survive on and how worried I am they’ll run out of something basic.  Right now, their camping in their garden and it’s the monsoon, which is cold and horrible. There are a lot of aftershocks, more than two hundred, and everyone is still pretty terrified.

With this in mind, I don’t want what I say or anything else you read to make you feel guilty.  In fact in Tibetan (Nepal’s sister country), there isn’t a word for “guilt”, which they retrospectively justify by citing how useless it is as an emotion.

But you can help.

What can you do to help?

1. Skip coffee/dessert/spend 5 dollars less on that graduation present and instead donate the money you would have spent.  In a place where lodging is usually 2 dollars a night and a full meal is 1 dollar, rest assured the marginal value of a dollar spent is high.  This is the link to my honest and hardworking friend’s farm:


2. If you have 15 minutes when you’re eating dinner tonight, stop by the the Vigil on Sproul from 7-8:30 pm.

3. I urge you to learn from Nepali and engage with other humans around you, ask people genuine questions, smile, and look for beauty.  Also give someone a hug, hugs are great.



Tashkent is an old Soviet city with a Red Square of it’s own.  People only drive white cars, and policemen (stationed every 10 meters) won’t allow you to take their picture nor that of government buildings, check posts, or rivers.  Every person looks exhausted as if they just finished a marathon and came in last place.  Uzbekistan sounds as exotic as Nepal sounds plain.  Yet Nepal has no separation between new Business centers and hundred year old Ashrams, everyone (rickshaw, scabrous dogs, travel agencies, and fruit vendors) melt together: it’s exciting, colorful, and vibrant.  While Russia tightly controlled the economy of Tashkent and rebuilt the streets to model Europe, Nepal’s economy is at a standstill due to the lack of any government action, and the streets are littered with every colored fabric, pot holes, and vegetables.  Tashkent is clean, and Nepal is dirty. It’s unfair to compare a city to a country, but I’m not sure what comparison is ever really fair. Continue reading “Taskent”

Monkeys and the Likes

One monkey, the length of two palms, hooks his legs on a stone peg jutting out and stretches his body to reach a pool of water.  The more he attempts to grasp the water with his small pink fingers, the more his grip loosens and slips from the peg.  His mother finally spotting him, begins to lick and clean him in front of his friends, punishment for any adolescent. Such is the life of a monkey at Swayambhunath, more commonly called Monkey Temple for the vast amounts crowding the aisles and trees surrounding. Continue reading “Monkeys and the Likes”

Beginning Anecdotes

Everyone speaks to me in Nepalese because I am Indian and thus look Nepalese. Between the Hindi that I realize I already know and the Nepalese I’m picking up, I’m not terrible at understanding the language. Unless of course the person is speaking fast and is leaving words off at the end which for some reason seems to be the vast majority of the time. #Winning? Continue reading “Beginning Anecdotes”