Nepali Times Asian Paints
SURABHI RAJ BHANDARI
Nepalipan
The Nepali dream


SURABHI RAJ BHANDARI


I left home at 16. By the time I graduate in 2014, I will have lived in America for six years. It would seem only natural for me to work and live in the US after that. Yet, somehow, the idea of living away from Nepal never appealed to me.

There are entire institutions at my college dedicated to helping international students in networking, internships, resume building, mock interviews and job searches. They offer brochures of life in LA, San Francisco, Miami, DC, New York and I have often pictured myself as a working woman on Wall Street after graduation. Maybe a year or two at Morgan Stanley then on to a private equity firm, a future CEO who will one day live in a penthouse in Manhattan: The American Dream. It's a dream that I've been told should be mine, and many people around me have assumed it should be theirs too. It's tempting, but it is not my dream. My ideal future is one closer to home, closer to my reality. Let's call it the 'Nepali Dream'.

Keeping in touch with what is happening in Nepal while in the US fuels my Nepali Dream. My daily dosage of nepalnews.com punctuates never-ending papers and college classes, and reminds me that Nepal doesn't cease to exist while I am abroad. The happenings back home are reflected in headlines, all of which shout 'opportunity'. Somehow, I see light in every seemingly negative article as they suggest the need for change and a solution.

Problems outnumber solutions, but luckily we have a new generation of educated and driven Nepalis both abroad and at home who can help solve them. We are a generation fueled by revolution, one that has seen 20 years of change. We are a part of this movement and it is our collective responsibility to keep the ball rolling.

Opportunities for change exist at both the local and national level. Coming back to Nepal this summer, I have had the opportunity to work at an INGO in Kathmandu where the majority of staff are also Nepalis who studied abroad and have returned. I see the difference that can be made, and is being made.

There is a niche for anyone and everyone in the social, political and economic milieu around us. There is so much to be done, but not enough of the right people to do it. Returning, one can become a pioneer, making a big difference to society and to oneself. This is a path reserved only to those risk-takers who are willing to face and defeat technical, political and structural hurdles along the way. Nevertheless, there is something valuable on this difficult road: home. It is everything that defines me: my family, my friends, my home, my food, my culture, my religion and everything else that comes with the privilege of being able to live and work among your own people.

Coming home should not be an obligation or burden. The choice of returning is individual, and it should be driven by the Nepaliness in us. If you do come back, it is bound to be a win-win situation for you and for Nepal. Many my age may dream of a one way ticket out, but my return tickets home are already booked.

Read also:
Court chronicles, RABI THAPA
Politics matters, but so does the rest of Nepal



1. Aditi Adhikari
Great article. Thanks Surabhi.
I agree with what you say about how "Coming home should not be an obligation or burden." Many Nepali people studying abroad see it as their duty to improve the situation of the country, but I feel like we sometimes consider ourselves "saviors", much like Westerners do when they see the third world. A better way to think of it may be the idea of "giving back". 
I like how, for you, coming back isn't necessarily about "saving Nepal" or "helping the poor". You want to come back home just to be home. I think that way, it'll definitely be a win-win.


2. Nepali Reality
There are many advantages of living like an American in Nepal. Apart from the inherited influence, fortune, and boundless opportunities, you also get to sound like you are doing the country a great favor.

"There is so much to be done, but not enough of the right people to do it"- oh yeah ! Maybe they are in your classroom or elsewhere in the States? There have always been enough right people in Nepal- the only thing we don't have is an end to telling them they have to go out to become "right."

The biggest winners of the modern age - the culmination of capitalism, globalization and technological progress- are the rich people in poor countries. Ask the aristocratic French why they love to live in Morocco or Tunisia.


3. Artha
Sounds like the movie lost in translation.

@Nepali Reality
You are right about saying that there is pompousness in saying that I want to go and improve Nepal. This seems like product of SLC level Nepali language classes which keeps on brainwashing people about the benefits of Nepali nationalism.

But, what you say is just one part of the story. The rich people in the rich country are the ultimate beneficiaries of this globalization.

The only good thing with globalization is the export of nepali labor, which has permitted to reduce poverty level pretty fast and pretty well.




4. jange
Coming back to Nepal this summer, I have had the opportunity to work at an INGO in Kathmandu ...

Interesting that you chose to work in an INGO and not in commerce, industry or agriculture...or...


5. KiranL
The Nepali diaspora has to exaggerate how bad things are in Nepal so as to assuage their guilty conscience about having left. so when someone like Surabhi Raj Bhandari comes along who says she is actually going home, they have to run her down saying she is from a  privileged family! If you can't help your homeland in any tangible way, at least stop exposing your own inadequacy by criticising someone who is. Or just don't say anything negative, that would be a great help too!


6. Nepali Reality
@Artha
Show me evidence of poverty reducing pretty fast and pretty well as a result of the export of nepali labor alone. Please also try to find if it has anything to do with our deflated exports and bloated imports (and thus the business of product-dealership). Other variables I'd like to see are if the static reserve of remittance money in banks has done anything to the purchasing power of rich-class and an increased suffering for the poor because of the resulting inflation.

Yes, rich people in rich countries are benefiting, but I think- put in proportion, the profit reaped by the rich of poor countries is no less.


7. Rajkumar

Dear Surabhi Ji,

I really appreciate your feelings to Nepal, But I wanna to write comment that you have not been involved the real senario of Nepali life, status, the direct way to touch-"Poverty". As you know, among the nepali student/ese dream to have America due to their status, and want to see changes.

You don't need anything for your life, I recon. If not so, your first prority to stay and work USA, Earning money for your family, your future would be your dream. I give a example;

Suppose you've a sister and sick mother, Father is a farmer, thousand is big dream to your family. Your education loan are remain to be returned. Doctor says million is the expense of caring your mother, sister need admission for school. in that case,

Put yourself in that family.  and if solution found, mail me. Yeh.... really hard life are there in Nepali society. I can't express to these words, you need to born in poor family. bye.



8. shakti raj
.....its nice to hear like this from the migrants.....


9. LN
I applaud you for your honestly. However, the idea of going back to Nepal and working for an INGO is something that can be debated.  A risk of returning from the land of opportunities is when you can work in the real world in Nepal and not the NGOs and INGOs where the remuneration and perks are pretty generous. Compare that with us who work for an NGO in the US of A where we pay for water, we pack lunches, we furnish our workplace with donated furniture thus setting aside very very little money as administrative cost. The true spirit of INGOs and NGOs can come only if  can step outside of a well conditioned, well furnished and big paycheck and try to solve the real problem and when I say real problem, I don't mean "research and grant writing".


10. manika

as long as the rich and western education come back and work in the 'infamous' INGOs, there will be no development in Nepal. Please use your education to create something meaningful and sustainable and one where the locals actually benefit from.

Working in an INGO should be a job after retirement not an internship.....



11. Gopes Niraula

Nepali Dream:  I would like to appreciate on your power of positive thinking that will surely guide you to the right direction.  I agree that a person can make a difference, at the sametime there is a lot to do to make it  happen, "Persists and you will succeed."

I think you have made a right decision. I would love to read your posted article on Nepalnews.com soon taking a step ahead to make a difference in people lives. Congratulations!!!

 



12. ST
I think it is commendable that someone, despite her privileged background and education, is passionate about returning and wanting to be part of a positive change in Nepal. Like she says, "Many my age...dream of a one way ticket out" and I don't think it is fair for people to beat her aspirations down just because of who she is. Perhaps working in an INGO in Kathmandu is not the best way to spend a summer at home, but then instead of criticizing her for it, why don't people give her better ideas/suggestions of how she can make better use of her time?  I think this is where we all go wrong here in Nepal. It's easy to find faults in others and bring them down but if positive change is ever going to be possible in our country, then it needs to start within each of us. How many times do we criticize politicians for pointing at each other and playing the blaming game? Be the change you want to see right? We need to encourage positive attitudes and aspirations, idealistic though they can sometimes sound. If you think you have a better grasp of "Nepali Reality", then share it with everyone. So everyone step back, gain some perspective and encourage young people like Surabhi who want to make a difference but may not know have figured out the best means to go about it...

Surabhi, the best suggestion I can give to you at this point is to learn more about your country. Working in an INGO in Kathmandu and making sweeping generalizations about the country will not do you any good, nor give you any credibility. Travel, understand your country and its needs - then maybe you will have better ideas/means to make an actual, tangible difference. Keep the motivation going......


13. Been there!
I never said I will go back to Nepal and I never did. No feeling of guilt either. Is something wrong with me?

14. Chyangba
After spending nearly of decade my best years in few of the richest countries, working in probably the best Institutions and after one of the highest academic qualification, I am back home working happily for more than a decade, which I never ever regret. I am a Citizen of Nepal but I wish the younger generation of this county could be not just a citizen of Nepal or North America, Australia or anywhere in Europe but the citizen of the world and wherever they are, they are there for the humanity we serve.

15. Praz

Returning back to Nepal is a great thing. But again, for some people, they are asked, 'lau, why are you back for good? Did you not get any jobs? Dukha cha? Garoo bho?" Next thing you know, a rumor is spreading around, speculating on your early return to the motherland. You turn into a broken record, explaining that you genuinely had no desire living abroad. You are compared to the person two blocks away, who lives in Australia, who is adding two more floors to his house, while, you are starting out from scratch again. Who wants to listen to this kind of negativity anyway? This brings grief. Why do people think like that? But to all of you who returned home, shunned out the negativity, and did and are doing what you came back home for, Jaya Hos!



16. bhuwan khanal
Dear Surabhi ji, great to read your plans after graduation! I had the same feelings while i graduated! I was in Nepal for a few months, working for a media. I could not stay there for a long and was eventually forced back to US; as I could not refrain from my personal idea of gaining wealth, fortune- MONEY in the US (I guess these were the underlying/subconscious reasons)! My mind, nevertheless, rationalizes the only reason i left Nepal was- Nepal Band/strike every other day! But after reading your article, I have decided to fly back to Nepal. This will be my second shot, and hope things work this time! Guess what, YOU and I should work for an INGO and one of our research topics should read '' the variables that force many Nepalese to vandalize, manhandle and strike Nepal every other day''. People, Surabhi and I should be wished GOOD LUCK! 

17. Ram Rajabhakta Kaji
@nepali reality - i've got a great saying to go along with your commentary. As they say in Nepal "Nepali kukur ko Amerikan bhukai."


18. bideshi
i agree that some returnees can often sound patronising -- pretending to be serving the country but really just serving themselves. would they ever return if there was NO self-interest involved? you might notice that the patronising/disingenuous types are the loudest, but it doesn't mean they are the most prevalent. 

the fact that some people can be patronising/disingenuous does not make the need to return any less critical. she said "win-win" herself didn't she?

but there's a staggering amount of cynicism from some of the comments. some of the idealism and optimism in this article may have its share of naivete in regards to the bit about working for the INGO, etc., etc. but people have latched onto it in an effort to undermine her entire argument. don't listen to them, S.R.B.!


19. Kale
People who think INGO is a bad word are just jealous of the salaries employees there earn.


20. b172
it is this generation, that will pave the way for a bright future. NYCE.



21. R RAI

All the best Ms Rajbhandari. Nepal really needs young people like you-positive,motivated,knowledgable and of course,daring.

Who dares wins.



22. sunil
Thanks very much for the wonderful article. The truth is that, each time I read such article - it makes me feel homesick. It makes me want to return back to Nepal. It makes me want to meet wonderful positive minded youths. And, I did make an effort to go back to Nepal (2010). However, I ended up recording an album (a shitty talentless junk), and ended up travelling all over the country until I went broke. Saw that it was almost next to impossible for me to find a job that I would be willing to work. And then got my ass straight back here (london). 

Perhaps, after I graduate, I hope to make it back with a new refined hope and inspiration. Thanks again for the article - feels like its calling me back too. 


23. Sujan
Well, not all people are daring as you are. I wish I could dare to say and do something that you are thinking of - returning back to Nepal of course!

24. Issac Pun
I would return back to Nepal if I could. If the government could allow dual citizenship. I mean, I was born here in Baltimore (not the best place to be). Even though my parents are both Nepalese, I was denied the right to naturalisation. I want to venture to Nepal and find my heritage. I might be an American just because I was born here, but I have an equal right to be Nepalese too. 

25. The Yeti
Stay in the US, work for one of these big businesses you seem to think will have you. Learn from them, they'll be very different to college then come back to Nepal and set something up that will employ Nepalis. 
The biggest problem with INGO's is that they take the best educated, those most capable of creating wealth, so instead of creating wealth we are dragging those just under the poverty line to just above it.


26. Lauren Walsh
Surabhi I am so proud of you! Don't allow the haters to deter you from your mission--part of what makes you such a phenomenal person is the fact that you thoroughly understand your privilege. That in and of itself is a beautiful thing, and is crucial to your success in every aspect of your life, especially in regard to public service and humanitarian efforts. Love for the people--all people--of Nepal pours out of your every pore. You are driven, compassionate, and an incredible listener. You are and will continue to be a powerful force on behalf of the Nepali people, in Nepal, in the U.S., and as a part of the global conversations and actions of human rights efforts. You are already doing great things for your country whilst in it and out of it. You are a leader. Keep doing the most you can for yourself and others with what you have. It will bring you passion, determination and joy your whole life long. 

27. farkeka Nepali initiative
"farkeka Nepali" is a new initiative that is supported by various organizations. Surabhi is an intern at one of the  organizations which launched this initiative!!!This girl actually DOES SOMETHING. people should learn.
congratulations surabhi!



28. Naresh Neupane
Welcome home!!
Let's see whether you'll boast your credentials around or weave a genuine tie of positive change. 
If you come here to get paid at some INGOs, it may be like someone is already here to get the same job, and that may jeopardize your public confession.

.....It may then be a parallel situation to a thief clamoring never to  pickpocket, so much for another's good, patronizingly. 

Please when you come here, be clean that you are coming here to be a part of us, not that you have a hallmarked superiority to lead us being a US educated graduate. Because for me, you, being a fellow countryman, will never be more than a Jumli or a Sirahabasi, who also are my fellowmen, as much as I'm theirs. But I appreciate your genuine feeling for Nepal.
Thanks!


29. ashleyl

@ kiran and raj kumar!!!!!!! i think u a guys are right!!!!



30. Reality bites
My dad has been working in INGOs for the past 20 years and the only reason he is still there is because of the financial stability he can achieve with their high salary. Because at the end of the day, your family is the most important thing in your life and you will do anything to make their lives better than yours. That is the reality. So the next time you see a vegetable vendor, or a microbus driver or a white- collar worker like my dad, just know that they are just taking the best opportunity available for them to make their and their family's lives secure. Ask them what that means, and it all comes down to better education, a good healthcare when they are sick and maybe a decent home to stay. I don't think you'll hear them say, they are working to make our mother Nepal better. And it's definitely not easy when you get no help from the government at all, way down to the basic necessities....




31. Rajaram
327 Issac Pun.
Most of us still live in a twilight world;discussing ussues that are already solved elsewhere.all we want to be is politically free and democratic,  economically prosperous and equitable, socially peaceful and cohesive.

The present leadership of this country is like used condoms or discharged batteries. Don,t expect any progressive forward looking development from them.  They excel in lying repeatedly like Geobbel.
Jati jogi ayepani kani chiriyeka. ,ukhan chha.
 Nehruvian socialism , as you know retarded India,s development for almost five decades;they are still 15 years behind China. These rascals in paradise in Nepal are people who are living in an age which has nothing to do with the present.
The days of those who come under the spell of dogma of any kind, become victims of myopia and inhuman.
They promise d dual citizenship to Nepali diaspora but back-tracked later.
I support persons like you who can be a great asset or the country by maintaining regular contact in every sort of business. The strength of three generation of Nepalese overseas will be tremendous.
 They should be given a place in the upper house of the new parliament also  say three or five seats.
 Nepalese in India don,t need dual citizenship as they get all facilities to work or own properties. So Nepal should give dual citizen -ship from a dozen or so selected countries at this stage for 15 years period as experimental case and extend it further as is benificial to her.
 You are a  deserving case. Let us have a strong bond with people and their children who were once Nepali citizen. Nepali harule dada kanda dhakun.  We will be 25% more in strength if we follow the principle of Nepali by blood.
 Once a Nepali always a Nepali. 








32. WTF

In majority of the comments above I sense nothing but personal anger against the last name this sweet lil gal carries...Its not sin to be part of the "have"group...they work equally hard and more than anything they create jobs for the "lesser have"...this article in no ways communicate the pompousness of a girl from "have" demographic....

The article seems like more of a blog of a young girl who is trying to figure out her identity...So what she worked for iNGO in her summer vacation...what's wrong with that...its better than smoking joints, partying with boys in inappropriate skanky clothes...the young kids like her are trying to learn and trying to understand the inconvenient truth of being Nepali...obviously her life will be more easy than a girl from her own age who is working in kuwait for a mere 15,000 per month or a gal sold in a brother in mumbai...but if priviledge kids too are now thinking beyond gucci and prada..they should be heard...and be directed for something positive...

Here is my 2 cents for her...

Surabhi..u are fortunate...you have a choice...you didn't have to flip big mac during your summer vacation like me..you get to come home and  explore work with iNGO...its good that you are at least thinking...i know many gals your age in k-town from priviledge family..thinking only about the LV bags and the Chanel shades...use the time you get to come here to understand NEPAL..Nepal is not the life you see in K-town..Nepal is beyond K-town...understand that Nepal..not to find direction for your post graduate academic destination but to fulfill ur own desire to solidify your identity...first find out what you love to do...regardless of you choose to live here or not..know that you WILL make a difference...

YOU made the decision to come out and publicly share your agenda...so be brave to handle comments or the guilt trips or even the frustrations ppl will throw you through ....take it as a learning opportunity and be true to yourself...use your privilege wisely be it working for iNGO or Private sector and trust me doing so WILL make a difference...



33. BP
Thanks Surabhi !!!
I guess it is called meeting of minds.
After spending over 25 years in the US and other countries around the globe, my wife and I have settled in Kathmandu. We are trying to pay the "debt" to Nepal and Nepalese by initiating charitable activities  (Please understand that we are not involved with any INGO or NGO. We are completely dependent upon our own resources).
My suggestion ?
When you feel that you have made enough (technically and materially), you may seriously consider the path that we are following.
For those like Issac Pun and other in somewhat similar position, my wife and I would like to welcome you to our home. Please do come back even for a flying visit.You can contact me at bedhp@yahoo.com


34. comfy_numb
Not to diminish the aspirations of the writer, but I have always wondered why the "rich, privileged" few are the only ones (devoid exceptions) passionate about returning to Nepal. Oh wait! They're the rich, privileged few!


35. ctl
whatever the outcome be....but i must agree, you are dearing.....kep ur motivation up and high.....

36. Bikalpa Pokhrel
"There is something valuable on this difficult road: home ......." so true Surabhi ji. It is our home that has defined us. The way we are , the way we behave and the way we see the whole world has everything to do with our "home". when the time comes to do something for it, we must not hesitate. It is because of the people like u we can dream of "New Nepal" an ultimate utopia for all of us. If the youths of today like you, myself and many work together, the utopia is not so far.
u have written an inspirational piece so i hope that people will be able to feel what u feel. i also live outside nepal but after i earn knowledge and experience, i want to work in nepal -"home".......


37. Meri
@ Surabhi

I must say this is very well written, you inspire nepali students abroad to come back, and change their way of thinking. I just hope there were more Nepali people who were thinking the way you do. Even though you can stay and work abroad and enjoy the luxuries that cannot be found in Nepal, you seem to want to go back to your country. I think thats great! You should definitely write more. 

For people who are talking about how you are not in touch with the "realities" of Nepal- the poverty, I think they should know that its hard to ignore that once you go back to Nepal. And I think education abroad can help change Nepal and help create a --New Nepal--. 


38. rosi
@ jange
Coming back to Nepal this summer, I have had the opportunity to work at an INGO in Kathmandu ...

Interesting that you chose to work in an INGO and not in commerce, industry or agriculture...or..

I have always noticed( Based on over 100+ family and friends) that most US graduates prefer to work in NGO'S/ INGO'S despite going to B-School in the US of A? However graduates of Australia/UK  prefer establishing  business or working in commerce, industry or agriculture no matter whet they study.




39. Soni
Forgive my instrusive remark #44, but this may have something to do with the fact that philanthropy is all the rage in America currently.

"We are a generation fueled by revolution, one that has seen 20 years of change. We are a part of this movement and it is our collective responsibility to keep the ball rolling."

My only problem is that at 29, I now feel old, like a relic of lost time, slowly waiting to fade away. I simply can't still see the point being made. Collective responsibility, new generation, right people, foreign educated - sort of baffle me, but then I like the article for at least some optimism, even if misplaced. 

I would think that the only reason anybody would really like to return home is because this is the only place that will ever be home, and the only place you will ever belong. Running away will only help for as long as you can run.


40. Mr. Poudel
lol... why are majority of the people attacking Surabhi and not what she has written. I guess many people are afraid that she is gonna end up being one of those trying to Americanize us.

It's good that you are coming back, we welcome you Surabhi, but I seriously hope you will come here with a helpful mind and not a exploitative one. We all know that INGOs (especially USAID, DFID, GTZ, etc...) are here to plunder and ravage us. They pay their employees well to do the bidding of big brother who in turn works at the behest of big corporations and the money masters. I hope that is not what's in your mind.

If not, then I suggest that you prepare yourself for a tonne of frustrating and depressing moments. But, you will be greatly appreciated in due time.


41. Ramchandra Ranabhat

Surabhi,

I salute to your thinking but i am not agree at all with you. your vision is only the beauty of newspaper pagr but not in reality. What can you do after returning to Nepal. your knowledge, your education wouldn't work here. You need to the support or poltical parties for small position too even a clark. your words seems only socalled nationalism. by the way article sounds good and funny both.



42. Rosi
Forgive me in advance #45

but working in NGO/INGO doesn't make you philanthropist.Neither do these INGO/ NGOS make people lives any better.And why is this  among Nepalese returnees only? I hang out with lot of Chinese /Koreans  and most of them  definitely don't want to work for NGO/INGO when they return home.

Philanthropy may be in rage in USA because
1.This  makes you look good
2.You do not live with guilt
3.You do not need that kind of  money anyway and its better to help other than to give it to the son/daughter who are busy  either taking naked picture of themselves and posting them in face book/Twitter or making porn of themselves

and this rage has nothing to do with Nepalese graduates.These graduates opt for NGO/INGO job in Nepal because they simply do not want to do the hard yards of setting up business and take risks or work in other private/government jobs because the pay is less.

The point I am making is,  are they not teaching how to innovate or to  start a business in USA universities?why is it graduates from USA opt for NGO/INGO jobs most of the time when a graduates from Australia ( that too from 2 room college) will start a business right away and start employing people.

Forgive me if I offended you in anyway.


43. Aashna Lama
 Surabhi diju, ignore all the haters. Or in a more subtle form, disagreers. 
I think this article was great and those who criticize it have clearly not found the actual meaning of it. 
I am quite disappointed that some of these nepali people who have commented fail to see that, in fact, Surabhi, actually has a passion and is using her resources effectively to help the country. She is as part of the 'situation' in Nepal as is any other nepali. Regardless of where she lives.





44. Soni
#48, don't worry you are not offending me, nobody is. I like the article its honestly written.

45. Dr. KC
@Everyone: Surabhi is an INTERN at an INGO.She is not working there as an employee. Just a clarification.
Either way, great article! Keep up the good work.
P.S. Surabhi was featured a while back on Kantipur too. check out the article: http://blog.pradeepbasyal.com.np/2010/07/blog-post_5985.html 


46. Yogesh Aadi
Hats off for your thought !! Keep it up... there is no short-cut to success.


47. shanti
I think a lot of people abroad turn to nepalnews.com for news. it doesnt matter who daughter you r.,

48. layman


There are some things to be familiar to understand this article

First, concept of the USA and its lifestyle and, need to know what Nepal is.

Two different paradigms could not be fit on same contest. I have been living in the USA for almost 6 years, but I could not match certain things each other. Before anyone writes about something need to keep in mind various things clearly. What she tried to present on her article was not wrong. The opinion of her on this article is enough to inspire for those students who disappears in the so called land of opportunity (but not now).

To know about Nepal she needs to know what four corners of Nepal, simply Humal to Jhapa and Taplejung to Kanchanpur. It is difficult to see change desperately although all foreign migrated people return to Nepal.

I believe that if someone could not survive in one place, he or she needs to find new places to foster, but how this situation work on diverse people's mind set; it depends upon them.

What people have in their mind about US and their preconceived thoughts could not be assumed by thinking simply about the USA's media broadcastings. Widely, California's Mexican gangs to Illinois Ghettos and DC's suburb's (PG County) to elderly people's wedding on Florida. How people view about US should be changed.

I can tell how pity the undergrad Nepalese students live. It may not be applied for her but majority students have hard time to study in the USA. Because of those situations Nepalese students barely think about going back to Nepal.



49. reader
Without a doubt this article has its good points and its bad points.

But first and foremost, I am surprised that the moderators on this forum have allowed for personal attacks on the writer to be posted.

My understanding of the purpose of this forum is for readers to critique the article for its merits and its shortcomings and NOT to personally attack the writer or her family in the degrading manner that can be seen above.




 


50. P Rimal

Surabhi,

Welcome to the grim reality of Nepal! It is full of detractors, nay sayers and skeptics. A glimpse of the comments on your article provides sufficient proof of the negativism that drowns this pathetic country.

You are a brave young girl (my guess is that you are around 19 years old) who has written an inspiring piece. When you return, you will be confronted by the likes of people who are tearing at you and your article (but mainly at you and your background). If it is not your background, it will be your ethnicity or gender or looks or heaven-knows-what, which they will attack and attack viciously. You will need all the courage (and a thick hide) to rise above these losers and do the very best you can.  This country will be blessed to have young people like you return.

I have forwarded your article to my daughters who, having graduated, are working in North America. While I do not expect them to return home anytime soon, I do want them to know of a girl, probably still in her teens, whose writing I have found inspirational. Thanks Surabhi!



51. ktmdude
well-written and heartfelt. surabhi = instant legend!

52. Aditi Adhikari
Dear Surabhi,

I return again with my 2 (more) cents. 

Really, ignore all the people who are talking about you, your father, and your family. Situations are different for every one of us, but back coming to Nepal is a choice you're making, and I respect you for that. right now, also ignore all the comments that are made here about what a smart, understanding, passionate person you are. This article is not about either of those things- your family, or your personality.

Like ST said, explore Nepal. travel- it teaches so much. But keep the attitude. We need to have (and spread) the attitude that Nepal is not just a livable place, but somewhere we can all flourish. And please take back this statement. "There is so much to be done, but not enough of the right people to do it." Again, if you come back, don't come as a savior, come back as a Nepali.


53. B2B
Keeping in line with #59 I dare say that it ain't going to be a cakewalk for all those expats who made beeline for far away countries for their higher studies.

More often than not, some of our compatriots back home remained so much negatively indulged in their poor lifeline. If it ain't intelligence failure, pray what is?

And their fumbling and bumbling might burn us all lest there be no more positive thinkers like this lass who oozes plain patriotism and affection for her motherland.

I humbly bow my head before such a precious soul!?!


54. Sanchita
Either way, best wishes to Surabhi!
If you want to stick with the privileges that you already had, those more likely gave you the confidence to return back, you do not need to worry. But if you are making it a big deal like- serving poor, fighting injustices etc. then please get more experiences and grounded as some people already suggested. There was some guy, a US returnee trying to act like a superman and faced lots of troubles; I don't know, if he's already back to the US or around; might be helpful to read his article:

http://www.mysansar.com/archives/2010/12/id/15988



55. Nirmal

This type of flame of patriotism could make some patrakaars' inferior complexity get disappear for sometimes........, a few jingoists recite those national anthems created during panchayat regime proudly....., satisfy those fellow nepalis who get offended with the presence of NRNs skills and critical sense as they themselves are poor in that aspect BUT knowing what they(the majority of returners) will get once they are in land of extreme corruption, rising impunity and where culture of patronage is deeply rooted, would probably say:  SURABHI I wish you could achieve your dream without being a patriotic capon.



56. Zombie
I will give you an A- for the style, but for content, I'll stop at a B+. Sorry.

I'm not going to deride you for being from a privileged background. In
fact, your father is a very savvy businessman and Nepal needs more
like him. In any society, there will always be the rich and the poor,
but some of the commies in this comment board will forever be
delusional. Let them smell their own armpits.

I will however take exception to your premise. You still hold a Nepali
passport, don't you? Does Nepal not allow its passport holders to work
in Nepal? But no, you want to set up the cliched premise of a Nepali
with boundless opportunities sacrificing them all to be part of the,
did you say, 'revolution'? People are free to roam and work wherever
and in whatever they want. I see absolutely no point in making it
sound like returning to Nepal in itself is a noble thing to do,
especially when one returns to work for the usual rapists of
developing world, i.e. INGOs, the World Bank, and others. They have
been around for decades, and one simply has to wonder about their
impact in the lives of Nepali, apart from the direct beneficiaries.

Hanging out with 'farkeka Nepali' and all that airy talk over lattes
in Kathmandu won't make you special. Holding a mere Bachelor's degree
and bearing the false confidence of having seen it all to take up any
challenges is the hallmark of the Harvard types. 'I went to Harvard
and I like the sound of my own voice, and wait, you can follow me on
Twitter!' Â You can do much better than these shallow individuals. You
are at Wellesley and you can take classes at MIT! So be brave, be
bold, and be innovative. Someone like you has an enormous potential to
actually make big differences in the lives of many, but for that, you
will need more than a degree, or knowledge, or affluent background.
Kathmandu likes to forget the rest of the Nepal and the treacherous
livelihood of our fellow countrymen. They need our help and for them
it doesn't matter where we went for schooling. What they need is
someone who understands the word 'Empathy'. Be a good listener, be a
good thinker, and be a good human being that you aspire to be. I sense
an honesty in your writing and I sincerely hope that 20 years down the
line, I won't be disappointed. My best wishes.


57. bishnu
It sounds good! But there is no dearth of people in Nepal who are contributing their society without making hue and cry. Coming back to Nepal from US alone is not a heroic deed. It is too early to assess on what someone makes commitments; it requires some time to see how far the commitments are materilized!!!

58. Bijayendra Rauniyar
I think the problems with US returnees are that 

(1) they all have to first tell poor Nepali what they gave up in US to return home
(2) Forgetting that their education at top US school is often funded by foreign exchange remitted to Nepal by poor Nepali working in gulf
(3) With a mere Bachelor degree, assuming that they can do alot in the world and had seen alot of things ,
(4) Mistaking working for INGOs as returning to Nepal and helping poor Nepali (ah, let's forget the international salary at home!)
(5) Forgetting that they are not superhero.

But it is true that many US returnees have done well for our society, my best example is Mahabir Pun. Which INGO did he work for, by the way? Did we see him sipping coffee in Himalayan Java? You look at his life and you know he showed the premise of being someone well beloved from the early stage.


59. ayusha
very bad article

60. Sal P
Those who venture to go back to Nepal are the ones who are rich and already have a substantial asset in Nepal. The typical middle class does not have that option. I wholeheartedly support the notion of going back to Nepal, but then I do not see it as an option that is available. Good luck to all the brave people who do !

61. Saurav
Lets be practical. We, Nepalese, are very emotional people and can be easily carried away. I am a Computer Engineer, by profession. I can not help Nepal by coming back there and working in a Software Company. Neither I can help Nepal by sending money to build a house or something wasteful by importing materials from third country!! Having studied in US, I plan to use my network to set up an outsourcing company there in my homeland which can give at least employment to several dozens. That way, I will be doing something, and I will remain attached to my roots. This generation is the age of globalization. We should be enterpreneurs. People take immigration in negative tone. Remember that Nepal stands now solely on the money sent from the hot desert of Middle East. Having said so, I feel sad to see such hard earned cash going waste for unproductive consumption. Lets set up some industry!! We have such a great human resource.

62. Battisputali

There is a presentation on YouTube dated Dec 29th, 2007 in which Mahabir Pun describes the genesis of his efforts to connect Nepal's high altitude villages. He says,

" [in 1992] I helped to start a high school in my village� From 1992 to almost 1999, I had to come down to Pokhara to check my email once a month. I had to walk about five or six hours down, take a bus, go to the town, check my email, and go back to the village. I did [this] for seven [to] eight years�Finally, I got tired and wanted to find ways to bring [the] internet to the village. "

Did "nepaliness" or "nepalipan" figure in Pun's decision to bring the internet to his village?  The way I figure it, Pun's problem was personal and explicit and his solution was realistic. It was the reality of his own personal state and his community rather than the abstract notion of "nepaliness" that drove Pun to act. 



63. Samjhana Singh
With the American Dream shattered by the great recession and the double digit unemployment, a Nepali Dream could be more realistic to a Nepali student who is about to graduate from any US college. Gone are the days when people aspire to work for investment banks and I doubt if such aspiration even falls within the American Dream. Getting employment in the US (especially for foreign students) is next to impossible. This is a good thing for Nepal that we now have people like Ms. Surabhi who has no option but to think of a Nepali Dream. Good luck!

64. Sam L.
@Samjhana Singh
Yes America has gone through a recession and yes there may be unemployment but if you educated and skilled you can ofcourse still get a job in america!there are several opportunities all of the world and if u are the right candidate you can get a job anywhere. no dream is out of reach. u just have to choose the one you want, given that you have the necessary qualifications. 


65. Dhiraj
Surabhi: Wellesley is a great college -- very, very hard to get into. You've already achieved what even the most driven American students fail to achieve. After Wesllesly, you can pretty much do whatever you want in life. It's great to have that sort of freedom. Congrats!

But whatever you do in life, do NOT be a snarky, miserable, unhappy but inflated-with-self-importance Nepali PhD doctor-saheb somewhere in America, who 

- can never get a tenure-track appointment at any well-known university (because he does not the have the creative chops to do first-rate field-altering research), 

- is always under-employed but always feels that the world owes him a first-class job after all the hard work that he put into his PhD degree, 

-  cannot come back to Nepal because he has wife and children and various small-time obligations in the US to look after,

- always dreams of that job someday with National Planning Commission through his party-political connections, and is furious that others in Nepal ("much less qualified than him, no doubt") seem to be getting those jobs at his expense,  

- has too much ijjat to uphold in front of his village (where he surely was the first boy ever to have secured a First Division in SLC 15-20-25 years ago!) somewhere in Nepal so he has to give a sign that he's been a success in the US when all he does is obsessively check nepalnews.com for news about the success and the happy lives of  his former classmates and acquaintances, 

- loses no time in disparaging/ridiculing/making fun of his former classmates and friends who returned to or are in Nepal, and are happy and doing surprisingly well, 

- looks down on other people's various academic, personal and professional achievements as if all lives must conform to his and only his definition of THE only way to succeed in life (which is to earn a PhD in any subject regardless of the fact that supply of PhDs is much, much bigger than the demand for it in almost all professions, and that outside of academia, nobody really gives a moosa ko chak re: what sort of degrees you have and from where so long as you let your performance speak for itself, which is the true essence of America, which he never grasps.)

- cannot stand what he calls 'Kathmandu ko elites' and has a visceral hatred of them while forgetting that he too is a member of the elite in his village and jilla.

- tries to win arguments not by logic and evidence and good arguments but through a show of his hard-won academic credentials 

- is generally unhappy and irritated and likes to treat the world as if it were his personal ashtray

Now, you get a sense of some of the people who are furious with you, with your background, and with the fact that you "dare" to express an opinion to return to Nepal.

Whatever you do in life, do NOT be one of those people -- the energy vampires, who suck energy and happiness out of you.

I run an investment company in Kathmandu. Would be happy to hire you as an intern next year or the year after. Will get your details from the editors.
  


66. Jash Kumar Rai
(#65)Dhiraj,

You nailed it, man. Those villagers must be the reason why our country is so backward. They shouldn't either do PhD or should return after PhD like we elites do. We elites enjoyed our undergrad in the states, drank/danced our way through our 3.1 GPA graduation and showed them what the life is. Eventhough our GPA never allows us to even apply to graduate school, let alone get into one, we will disregard the difference between getting into a graduate program and getting into a top university as a tenure track professor. In any case, most of the PhD students in top US programs are from our own class(which is elites), so why give these lowly state university PhDs any respect?

Surabhi, I also run a superduper consultancy, and pay people, with right connection and a good degree, way more than my competitors who are offering you an internship. Don't ask which consultancy, for all you have to do is stand on the Baneshwar Chouk and find out the best building and get in. You don't have to apply, I will just ask the editors to give me your address. Wait for the right email.

To those Phds from village with a wife and kids, get life you suckers. You guys won't even know where you made mistake in your life, or whether someone made a mistake on your behalf to make you have a miserable life.



67. baba
The dust,smog,foul smell following us at every nook and corner of the cities,ultra bad politicians and bureaucrats, insecurity,joblessness, deep ingrained conservative attitudes in the mind of the people in the society no matter how modern they call themselves,etc are the nagging reminder that  we are NOT getting to live our life yet as long as we are living in this country ,which they believe, was cursed by sati. Kuro ra kulo jata lagayo tata jancha. But the fact remains the same. 

68. Fellow Returnee

Great read, Surabhi. This is an article that should really please all those that wish and work for the development of this country. Yet, as much optimism as this article exudes, the negativity in some of the comments is so far reaching, it is almost laughable. The debate to be had is about how to encourage returnees and the best ways for them to be successful here and make a difference- not about the personal merits or the social status of that person. How is the desire of a young and motivated woman who wants to return to do some good for her country anything but positive and deserving of encouragement? This is a purely PERSONAL perspective on an important matter for our country. She isn't imposing this on anyone (read: "The choice of returning is individual") nor is she claiming to be Mother Teresa. Anyone that sees it as anything else is prying for negativity and offense where there is none- simple as that. As the saying goes "Cynicism is the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence."

 

On the other hand, it is encouraging to read all the valuable insights from people that have clearly given the issue thought. Surabhi, whatever you decide to do, I am sure you will have a positive impact. Seek advice but follow what you know is the best way to make a difference.



69. Gopal
Love the discussion generated by this article. Wish the borders were freer so you who hate Nepal so much could leave, and you who love it so dearly would find fewer frustrated people trying to drag you down.

Surabhi, I'd suggest spending a few more years in the US before going back -- and having a plan to increase employment and opportunities rather than take existing ones if you really want to help. Just going back is not going to do anything. Taking real-world skills and wisdom back just might...check out the folks who started D2Hawkye in Kathmandu.

And for those of you who love Nepal but don't want to live there, we can always give money to support the change we cannot bring about with our labor.


70. Kindred Spirit
Long live the Nepali dream! Kudos to Surabhi for taking the initiative to write this article let alone making the choice to go back so that she can aspire to make a difference in Nepal (Note - Not just Kathmandu)! All the negativity and hostility in the comments above only serve to reflect on the people that wrote them and perhaps their life experiences have conditioned them to feel the way they do. Does that mean such vitriol is justified? I would urge every person to take a moment to think back in time (or forward) if you will and remember what their priorities were/will be when they were/are around Surabhi's age... I certainly wasn't anywhere as motivated and inspired as she is to return and make whatever difference she can!  Sweeping generalizations such as the ones made above about someone they do not even personally know only hurt our collective cause which at the end of every single day is a better Nepal for every single Nepali!
 If we could *collectively* find a way to meet the needs of the entire Nepali population, would so many of us choose to leave home and endure all the struggles abroad all because we have to start all over from scratch?
Every person that returns to Nepal from abroad is not one and the same. The decision is entirely personal and subjective. Surabhi has listed some of the reasons that she took into consideration when making her choice and obviously they are not all selfless. Regardless, what is even more worthy to note is that her decision isn't based on reasons that are entirely selfish either.
In order to serve Nepal, one needs to first ensure that their basic needs are taken care of. Those with the luxury to not have to worry about basic amenities are the ones who are in the best position to make a difference for they have the time, energy and resources to be able to do so and make a positive impact if they so choose.
Not every person "privileged" or otherwise returning to Nepal from abroad is choosing to go back in order to serve the country so why attack the few that dare to hope?
Surabhi, your article along with the comments (both negative and positive) have inspired me to further solidify my commitment to return and return I will. So will many others. There will be those who make a difference, those who don't, those who won't even care to try, those who will gripe about those trying and even those who will resent those that succeed and patronize those who fail.
Yes, it isn't as easy as most of us think it will be. Yes, not all of us can make the commitment that Surabhi has. Yes, there will be bumps/hurdles/bandhs and a whole range of corrupt and frustrating variables to encounter and overcome. It isn't for everyone but it is for some and the last thing we should do is discourage and disparage them!
Fact is Nepal needs her youth back and as cliched as it is if not us, then who? If not now, then when? Fact is *ALL* of us need to do whatever we can and however we can wherever we are in the world or in Nepal to commit to bettering Nepal for both our descendants and our ancestors!


71. Pragati Nepal

I am writing this ...but no offense.  

It is easier said than done!!

I got back 8 yrs ago with a very positive vision but working here ...for last 7 yrs..i am thinking and planning to migrate now. No doubt, Nepal is a beautiful country and people, esp *rural* inhabitants are innocent, kind and deprived but..those who drive sedan in Kathamndu are someone we need to think about. I have special name for them: SEDAN DWELLERS!!

I have just one question for Surabhi: what are your thought on recent development banks bankruptcy and their CEOs motive? Have you seen ordinary folks queuing for hrs and hrs to get their own deposits back? Is this new Nepal we are creating? And, ha..ha majority of the CEOs of these banks are foreign graduated. For example: Vibhor Bank's CEO.

Do we deserve this from those who drive SEDAN? Truth is always bitter, but it prevails...sooner or later?.

If this is the reality of the city dwellers think of those Karnalies who are not having enough food to eat.

Having said this, I am still optimistic because I believe in "CHANGE DO HAPPEN". No worries our grand grand daughters and son will experience the change. That's the way NGO/INGOs talk about sustainability here..

My Request to the writer: Do have a close look at reality and think twice before venturing..Good lick and Jay Nepal!!

 


72. superwoman
@Bijayendra Rauniyar

 You say:  I think the problems with US returnees are that: 

(1) they all have to first tell poor Nepali what they gave up in US to return home
(2) Forgetting that their education at top US school is often funded by foreign exchange remitted to Nepal by poor Nepali working in gulf
(3) With a mere Bachelor degree, assuming that they can do alot in the world and had seen alot of things ,
(4) Mistaking working for INGOs as returning to Nepal and helping poor Nepali (ah, let's forget the international salary at home!)
(5) Forgetting that they are not superhero.

I say:

1)Yes people do give up something when they come back. But the fact that they chose this life over another DOES say something. nobody is trying to run anything in the face of "poor people".
2) Many Nepali student abroad are on financial aid that is funded by the college
3) This is the power of education, It shows you that opportunities are limitless. Don't try to diminish the value of education, be it a high school diploma or a bachelors degree.
4) you obviously do not know enough about the work on INGOs.Also, is it wrong to strive for a high paying job!?!?!?
5) She's superwoman


73. Rimi
Surabhi, great you have come back but if you have come back to work in INGO then please you better go back and make sandwiches like Karishma. If you have really come back then find a school and teach English. And please dont make noise (you guys are really smart to make noise) that you come back, why you are back and what are you doing. DO SOMETHING that is a need of Nepal and then we will find  your history. Yo keti america chhader aaki raichhe, kya khub garichhe! 

74. @rimi
@Rimi.Have you read the article? It says she will be back in 2014. She is interning this summer at an ingo. It seems YOU are need of an english teacher.

75. Mr Khadka
I believe that it is great to see a  young lady  coming back to her motherland despite lot of investment financially and  opportunities at hand after study.It also encourages many young talents to explore the opportunities back in homeland upon completion of their study abroad.

However, it may  not be an interesting  choice for many Nepali young talents who are studying abroad with lots of investment by their parents , although many have ardent desire to return. The reality is different for many. There is no guarantee that all young people will get their money back once they return to their country and all of them may not have good connections that lead to the job which matches to their studies abroad. Most of the people studying abroad, i am also one of them studying in foreign universities, want to return homeland, but lack of opportunities force them stay where they are studying or living.


76. Dhiraj (#65)
Nepali dreams are most vivid -- not for people like Surabhi who can come in and go out any time they like -- but for those over-educated but underachieving fools who can only return to Nepal in their dreams. 

(If you are among over-educated and overachieving Nepalis, carry on, where-ever you are!) 
  
The fools are the souls whose view of Nepal is that of an uninvited guest pressing his nose against the glass window to see how the party inside in Nepal going. They like what they see, but are frustrated that they are not really invited in and that their circumstances do not let them in. 

They are adrift. They are confused. They are bitter. They are angry. 

Neither much of a success in their adopted land, nor carrying any weight in their motherland, these are the sons of Nepal who  stay up till 2 am in their suburban apartment to email silly op-eds for Kantipur on how to fix Nepal's political/social/economic/cultural problems, as if they know!

These are the guys who think they have the solutions to all of Nepal's problems if only someone political invites them back to help run this damn country. They wait and they wait the calls from Sushil Koirala, from Prachanda or from that guy with a cat-like face Madhav Nepal.

These are the guys who get angry stand when others (with or without means) talk about actually returning and doing something.

Surabhi's innocently positive article is a big slap on the face for these guys: hence their visceral attack-dog mentality.


77. Bijayendra Rauniyar
@superwoman,

What's your point? Your rebuttal is not a coherent set of arguments. Put together, they read like

"It's not important to take any education degree. Those who go to US don't use Nepali govt's foreign exchange. Your comment #1 doesn't mean anything remotely sensible, let alone provide some response to my comment #1. You trust that there exists superwoman and they may be working for an INGO, drawing high salary, while simultaneously letting us know that they may have a better career elsewhere (say in wallstreet)."

Once you begin to believe that INGO-working superwoman exists, we cross the realm of rationality and approach faith based realm.Our current era goddess(or superwoman), worshiped by likes of you, therefore, may work for INGO to bring the change in poor people's life by drawing high salary to pay for her diet. This much makes sense, but let me know what the role of the superwoman's education abroad is, if you are so cavalier towards education degree.

Got nothing against the gal, who obviously wrote the stuff with alot of patriotic fervor. Her hint that she gave up Morgan Stanley job to work for Nepal , however, follows the pattern of how many US-returnees in Nepal talk. 

One of my cousins returned to Nepal and worked for an INGO because money offered in other places were not good, and he found the job at INGO suitable for his desire to have a comfortable family life.If he tries to give many meanings to his job choice (i.e. helping poor Nepali people etc), then I would certainly laugh it off.


78. Jash Kumar Rai
@Dhiraj(#76),

I wholeheartedly agree with you. In fact, I laud you for your amazingly accurate guess that those writing against Surabhi here must be villager sicko, with PhD, living in America, feeling neither here nor there. We do need investment bankers with such accurate predictive power.

Them Kantipur op-ed. You are so right on. Why do Kantipur (and other newspapers) asked these people to write op-ed? Are they running out of decent writers in KTM? I recently met a op-ed writer here, and he had worked in Nepal as a pucca partyman for many years. He was initially approached by Prachand to be ambassador, but when he turned down, he sent another curio shop attendant to Australia as an ambassador. Them partyleaders do call, afterall. 

But I praise your fearless comment here. You raised the issue of city versus village, lousy phds etc which was so pertinent with the discussion. Your poisonous tone contributed to the health of discussion. Your double standard that one person should be lauded for writing on the issues of Nepal while others (from village) should be lynched for exactly same reasons has added many insights. Although many may see that you are nothing but a bitter soul,with no obvious talent and vacuous bravado about having run an investment banking firm in Kathmandu, I would like to see you otherwise. I think you are a gem, you are the future of our country, and I agree with you that villagers should stop writing about our country, whether they are in US or in UK. I mean, how dare they?







79. world
It does not matter where you live or work, so long you (will) use your knowledge and wealth in helping the needy people, town and country you desire. Someday!

There are people in the US who went to poor countries to help the poor and needy people. Although they knew there were still millions in the US who needed financial, legal, medical and many other needs, but they chose to help those in other countries. There might be many reasons behind... other than their person choice and desire


80. Lohani
"Got nothing against the gal, who obviously wrote the stuff with alot of patriotic fervor. Her hint that she gave up Morgan Stanley job to work for Nepal , however, follows the pattern of how many US-returnees in Nepal talk." - Exactly my thoughts.

 I too did my undergraduate in the United States and worked for two years. Finding a job during recession was painful and my friends who didn't get a job decided to go back to Nepal to help the country..for god sake! These were the same people who spent the whole one year OPT applying for jobs and giving numerous interviews. Its great that some came back and decided to be entrepreneurs ( thanks to financially stable families in Kathmandu) or what not. And then there are others who went to great schools in thew US but haven't found a job yet in KTM because they do not have the right connections ( and are not from Kathmandu). My point- its easy to say you want to come back to Nepal when you have a good network in place. 


81. jange
80 comments. Let's see if it breaks the 100 barrier.

82. Tennessee V.

This article has really touched a nerve among its readers and perhaps a reflection of what transpires in the mind and heart of the nation, whether rich or poor. Obviously, it stings the poor more than the former. As a foreigner who have visited Nepal and fell in love with the people, I am also pressed in my mind how I can be a contributor in a grassroots way to the people with whom I have crossed roads with.

As Surabhi astutely notes, "There is a niche for anyone and everyone in the social, political and economic milieu around us. There is so much to be done, but not enough of the right people to do it. Returning, one can become a pioneer, making a big difference to society and to oneself",  we have to find that niche for ourselves individually, a contributing niche that is, whether you are out of the country providing financial assistance to your family in Nepal, or you are a returning Nepali to be with people or community you care.  And if I may partially tweak Surabhi's quote above, making a "significant" (not big, for good things can come in small packages as the saying goes) is what we have to hope to accomplish.

That's where I am, though a foreigner, hoping to be - to significantly contribute to the Nepali people whom I have build bridges with. And hopefully it shall be to the readers of Surabhi's article and all the ensuing comments herewith.



83. B2B
Hear, hear! Fanned and faved!! Encore buck up!!!

That's quite a tall order for some of our compatriots. But nobody will throw you under the bus, anyway, to have been hoist with your own petard. I didn't mean to be offensive and judgmental.It was with the benefit of hindsight.

Always chicken and egg conundrum! Are we any the better!?!


84. @rimi and @
@rimi
I understand and appreciate your voice and the point that a person should speak more with their actions.  But please refrain from targeting people as - "Yo keti america chhader aaki raichhe, kya khub garichhe!"

@ "@rimi"
I think what Rimi might have meant is that she is back for the summer.  I appreciate you pointing out that Rimi might have overlooked a key point in the article.  However, please refrain from targeting people as such - "It seems YOU are [in] need of an english teacher".  Just pointing out that she might have overlooked that point would have been sufficient. 


We are all flawed in some sense - whether you like to admit it or not.
And that's what makes us human and beautiful.


85. TD
Dear Nepali Times,

I think it's wonderful that this article is generating so much discussion. Minus the negativity, the comments have made the article and the topic more insightful. However, I really think that Nepali Times should moderate the discussion and have a way for people to comment under someone else's comment if they want to refer to someone's comments. Some organization would definitely make the forum better rather than posting comments in a haphazard manner.




86. Dangdung
In home , feeling kinda low and not so well .no energy for being devils' advocate  :)   ...saw reflections of myself and people one stumble into, in most folks comment ...i'm happy that some sparks of inspiration has been ignited for me !  had good read  n didn't know NT is so flexible for all the comments ...


87. NR
Let's not undermine the efforts of those who come from dire financial background and are forced to devote their lives to fulfilling their family's basic needs before they can think of other causes.  From my perspective, even working to fulfill your family's needs is serving the nation!  Any honest toil that an individual performs is a service to the nation.  A farmer or a lowly paid rickshaw driver who toils away all day deserves the same respect as one would attribute to a white-collar worker.  It's just that their scenarios are different and they have different things on their plate.  They are all serving the country through their work.

We "celebrate" our diversity all the time but this is one area where our diversity comes into play.  Everyone has different scenarios/experiences/backgrounds/skills.  Hence, everyone contributes differently.

Another aspect is that being in Nepal or being outside Nepal is not a factor in serving Nepal.  It's just serving in different ways.  One can be in Nepal and not do anything to serve Nepal and one can be away from Nepal and still do so much.  Depends on the individual.

In response to the article, I am not concerned with whether Surabhi chooses to stay in the US or whether she chooses to come back  home to Nepal.  I do not attribute merit to either of the choices.  I do commend the drive/initiative she has in terms of wanting to serve the nation and hope that it turns into a fruitful effort.  "To serve our nation" is a purpose that we all should have in our hearts and mind and we should criticize those who lack that purpose.

I also want to dispel the negative stigma that has been associated with working at INGOs.  There is nothing wrong with going for higher pay as long as it's not something immoral, harmful to others or hindering progress and development.  But those who choose to join INGOs, please seek out what critics are saying and educate yourselves on what the critics are pointing out.  Be critical of those aspects when you actually work in the INGOs and be the change.


88. deeps
we must appreciate Surabhi seeing Homeland for making her future dream....not in wall street.
Good thought of Surabhi coming back to nepal after graduation...its a kind of inspiration for others nepali can be...but let see whether Surabhi turn her reality into real life can be judge by the time ...



89. please publish
Dear Editor of Nepali Times,
I read it from top to bottom, two times. I can not understand the point of this article. I do not know who the writer is. I have never seen the writer's articles elsewhere, so I guess she is neither your staff writer nor a writer elsewhere.

I read your paper once in a while. I can scribble a few words too- I enjoy writing. I have some ideas that I want to share with other people in Kathmandu. I always wondered if you publish articles written people like me. I'd be happy to know if you have any policies for such articles- I couldn't find then anywhere on your website.

Please do not hesitate to say if the policy is: only "we" can write, "they" cannot- I'll apply elsewhere.


90. Family dream

Well it is always easier said than done; I finished my studies in the US and work here because not only do I have to look after myself but also take care of the family back home. Some of my friends- Shahs or Ranas Shumsher Thapas or Dixits or Pandeys could afford to go back home and rely on family inheritance, or become a CEO in family owned businesses; or my friends the Shresthas or Vaidyas or Rajbhandaris or Amatyas could get top level positions in INGOs through nepotism and favoritism; or sons and daughters of politicians like the Nepals or Koiralas or Joshis or  Adhikaris Bhattarais or Dahals land lucrative multinational deals. Would I be a better option than any one of those in Nepal if only my education, my skills were considered?- of course yes. But would I be able to get any of those opportunities- of course not!!

I could not afford the partying that they all could during the college years; I had a scholarship that barely covered my expenses. Did I get to go home frequently like they did? Hell no-I had to work during long summer days so that I could save some $$, alleviate financial burden that fell on my father, pay for my brother's education back home. I come from a very simple Brahmin family (by the way,  not all Brahmins are rich, corrupt, greedy or cunning, just as not all the people from the casts I mentioned above fall within the stereotypes) and although am the only daughter, I have made up my mind that I will not get married until my two brothers complete their education, and my future husband will have to agree that just as he will want to support his family, we will have to continue to do so with mine as well. Do I think that if I did not have to worry about all these issues and just could devote my time for myself only, I would have achieved a better success. Maybe. But I could have turned out as a brat, asking for money wired to my bank account every month just like some of my friends did, party often, cram during exam times and barely pass, go back to Nepal as a US graduate and land amazing opportunities. That would be more appealing than working so hard here to climb up the corporate ladder. Having interned for a reputed organization even back home would have helped me land a better job, but unfortunately did not have any connection back home, so had to intern anywhere the professor recommended me.

Yes, the climate might have changed back home, and there might be more opportunities, but the most lucrative ones still go to those with better networking,connections, relations etc.  And with so many leaders from so many parties whose children might be vying for the same jobs, the chances are very slim for me. So thank you for the insight- but my family is better off if I remain here than return back home. At least I can afford a decent living for myself and save some to send back home.



91. Family dream

Another point I forgot to mention is-- money attracts money. Everyone involved in International Business/Economics know that the next big money market is Asia. Even savyy Americans are shifting to Asia for better global positioning for their children; they believe that immersing their young children in Asian culture will help them become better prepared for the business world of the future. As the livelihood of Asian populations are improving compared to decades ago, Asia will be a very big consumer market. And although we lag behind most Asian countries, we are making much progress in the private arena. So the people with money in our country have also already become aware of this and thus the return of the rich kids back home as much money is to be made in Nepal than in US for them. One good thing to come out of it is that a lot of labor jobs will be available.

And as always it is people like us who have to struggle everywhere- because of the sluggish economy in US, it is hard to switch jobs or demand higher wages. Whereas the rich can go back and multiply their wealth exponentially, we are living in uncertainty, always worrying whether the next person to be let go is you; whether each unscheduled meeting it to announce the closing of your department, the shrinking of your staff or the outsourcing of the company.

I am in no way jealous of the rich; I believe in capitalism. I do not think that wealth should be distributed; I believe that people should be acknowledged for their skills, talents and intelligence.We need rich people to create jobs for the masses;I would rather see a rich businessman's son/daughter become an educated person, continue in their family business and create more jobs than to become brats or crackheads. But the article made me slightly resentful-it is easier to feel "holier than thou" when you have resources. And going back to your own country, when you do not have to worry about your daily expenses and have opportunities lined up for you should not be considered as "Nepali dream".



92. NRN
Now, lets not confuse building a nation with going back and actually living there. Yes, we do lack examples of Nepalese who have served enough while abroad but we have quite a lot of them who live here and have done nothing, nothing at all. 
So, couple of things, 
1. Its great that you are thinking of doing something positive for your nation. But, guess what, you can do that even when you are abroad. If you think about national boundaries in today's globalized world, you don't become a nationalist, you become extremist. So, think globally. Yes, we do need to save ourselves before we serve others, but never delusion yourself with the idea that confining yourself within a nation will bring great benefits to either you, or your society. 
2. Now people might ask me, you talk about going global, but you have a Nepali citizenship. You are a Nepali citizen no matter how global you might think you are. My answer- Well, thats true, totally. But, you know what, if it were just about citizenship, there are lots of people who are not Nepalese who possess Nepalese citizenship (i guess you know what I mean, wink). They are Nepalese, legally. But, they are not Nepalese by heart. Now, on the other hand, there are foreign nationals who have come to Nepal and done great things. I need not tell give examples, look around you, and you will notice. So, its totally not about citizenship. 



93. Kailash
Surabhi ji, you wrote a great article which is very appreciate able. You are most welcome in our homeland. People who are living under the poverty line expecting something tangible help from the daring people like you since many years. Best of luck..

94. P Rimal
@Family Dream

Hmmm, Surabhi's article seems to have touched a raw nerve there somewhere. Your 880 word, well written, comment/s on a 450 word article contrasts your situation with Surabhi's. You are hard-working, contributing to your simple yet honest Brahmin family, not privileged yet industrious, so on so forth. You then draw an implicit profile of Surabhi as being not hardworking, feverous, getting internships only because of her contacts, not honest in her writing, etc.; so much so that you are resentful of her (your own words) and that her dream does not even deserve to be termed Nepali. I would presume that if you had a similar dream, it would qualify to get the "Nepali" tag. This baffles me. Is her privileged Kathmandu family background such a major disqualification? I am wondering if my daughters would receive a similar reception, were they to return home. Alas, they too come from a privileged family.

I do wish you all the best in your studies and hope you are successful in whatever you do.



95. Sour grapes
Grapes (dreams) in America are sourer than they appear. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/wealth-gap-whites-minorities_n_909465.html

@P Rimal: You are surely frustrated in life. What are you doing in this pathetic country- bashing a young commenter in a news site and advertising your 'privileged family' and daughters? I pity upon your situation- I hope you get some help.


96. Family Dream

Mr Rimal,

I do not have anything against the privileged, the more going back and create businesses and jobs; but what  I do not understand why a Nepali, most likely Nepali citizen only ( no GC or US citizenship) going back to her own home, and that too to a privileged life is being self-labeled as following a "Nepali dream".  Someone returning home after study and doing their thing need not be so advertized in a media of this calibre. I hope that one day she joins the ranks of Mr Anil Chitrakar, then she will receive a "wow" from me.

In my eyes, the guy from Parbat going to MIT is more applaudable than someone who went to a British school, then to American high school and  then to Wellesley. By the way, a lot of rich Chinese and Indian parents are sending their privileged kids to private high school in USA so that they will score better  at SAT and can get to the likes of Harvard and Yale on international scholarships allocated to their respective countries.  So Mr Rimal, if your daughters are in school, you might consider these options.

We little people have our intelligence in our favor, we might not get into the best schools because our English is not score perfect or we have not been coached for the entrance, but we will get ahead inl ife nonetheless. So no hard feelings sir! The more Nepalis achieve success, the better.!!!



97. Sour grapes
#96. Family Dream,
I like what you say- let's touch base. Write to me nepalidream at googlemail.com


98. amit uk

Wow!!Wow!!Wow!!!

Do all yank nepalese bretheren hate each other,ey??.I thought it was just a simple article about a girl wanting to do something back in the Nepal.

Of course we are all financially driven to a degree but do you expect her to be a Mother Teresa... Get real guys..

Absolutely godsmacked to see the arguements..I stared reading it and lost track ..

lots of anger,resentment,bitterness from our Naya Nepal..

Think i will hold on to my re-immigration plans for a while..

Jay Nepal!!



99. Russian babe
Some of the usual "jealousy-stained" cynical comments here remind this scribe of these lines from Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground:

"I could not become anything: neither bad nor good, neither a scoundrel nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation than an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything: that only a fool can become something."


100. AJ

Surabhi,

You touched my heart! All the best to you.



101. amul

:) the comments are interesting... ranges from all the different angles, i must say... well if u read the comments the topic itself becomes vague...

 everyone will have their own say n they will make sense in their own way.. everyone has their own problems and they will no doubt talk from their own prespectives one way or the other... u are not a supreme being who can fulfull everyones satisfaction... people should realise u are just a lady who wants to do good... simples :)  so its as simple as this... u are meant to be admired and i agree with Lauren Walsh (26)...

my best wishes are always with u and without a shadow of a doubt, Nepal will be very happy and proud to have u here...



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638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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