Metallica. The band that first got me into listening heavy music. One of the bands that any ‘genre-specific’ person has heard, at least once. I first started listening with their hits, but slowly they got me very attached into their music. It all grew on to me, album by album. And being a citizen of Nepal, getting to watch them live was one of the last things I could have expected. But one summer evening when I log into facebook, there’s an invitation to like a page ‘Metallica Comes to India’!

At first I took it to be only a hoax. Dreams for the simple minded. But eventually, I checked their official website. They had indeed mentioned about touring India. Two concerts were scheduled- one in Delhi and one in Bangalore. In the beginning, I could get only slightly excited because I just couldn’t picture myself actually watching Hetfield playing live in front of me! It was too real to believe. But calming my emotions, I began finding out more about the concert and soon spoke to one of my friends on actually attending the concert. In a few days, we made our mind. We decided to go to Delhi. A guitar pedal was sold (Metallica being the band paid most tribute by it!). Tickets were booked. Heart was set. After some days, he said that our tickets were actually confirmed- Yes, I was actually about to see Metallica Live! I had my travel plans; I had the gig tickets, now all I needed to do was be there!!

The gig was scheduled to be on October 28 and we reached Delhi on October 27. The time passed by slowly, waiting, waiting for the clock to tick-tick-tick away faster and faster’¦.Finally, October 28, we reached the gate at 1:30 and already there were hundreds of people, just like me, waiting under the heated sun. To see them, Metallica, LIVE!! We entered the venue, scrambling against each other- hardly worrying to see who it was you were with or against. It was all push and go. A mad need. We entered the venue and there, in front us, was the stage, that big stage, where Metallica were actually about to perform!

We were not sure who the opening band was, nor how it was about to go, but none of that mattered now that we were going to see Metallica for sure. The gig was scheduled to start at 4:00, but half an hour past the schedule and still there were no signs of any bands opening. The audience was getting impatient. A feeling was growing amongst us. Due to the pressure from the crowd, the barrier on the left front broke. There was confusion. An announcement was made by the officials to the crowd to take a few steps back so that they could fix the barricade. ‘Take a step back if the program has to start’. The crowd did not oblige. People at every corner were getting restless. There was no sign of any music, even after an hour or two had passed after the scheduled time. Anxiety was growing. And then, things got worse.

A man went up to the stage and announced that ‘the gig that day had been postponed to the next day, Oct 29, at 4:00 pm in the same venue’. All around me, the news hit the crowd with a shock. I was at total disbelief. I could hardly know what was going on anymore. The visions came crashing to the ground. People climbed on to the stage, began hitting the speakers, damaging the monitors and other equipments. I kept staring, not knowing what to do. The expectation; it all came crashing down.

In the night, we slowly walked away from the venue; from the joys of hours past. There was little to be said. Later that night we came to know through the news channel that the gig has actually been cancelled. An official statement. Over time, I heard many things from people. Many say, and I partly agree, that it was poor management that caused this. Some say it was to be expected. For myself, I know I was not expecting this. Many things can be said, but I don’t think it is easy to write out those feelings. It isn’t easy to say how I still feel, to have to return without watching them, when at one point in time, I was only ten steps away from the stage. Ten steps away from where Hetfield would have made love to his guitar. Ten steps away from where they would be playing what I first regarded as good heavy music. The failure of the gig is also a national level embarrassment. That is what will happen if managers underestimate the crowd capacity for a band like Metallica.
From that guy who would have sang the songs word to word and remembered the day for his lifetime, I say, hats off to the Indian organizers, who were able to fool 30,000 people at a single time on a single day- which led October 28 to be the best day I never had.

This is what my friends and seniors had to say when they were disappointed like I was;
Puru Lama (Bassist who is not currently active)  ‘So pissed off with those faggots who broke the security barricade. Those indian butt-heads really showed an Indian Attitude- arrogant, proudy and savage.
bottom line-dream shattered, sad, unhappy’

Monica Thapa (Runs a Montessori school in Pokhara)‘Bekar ma paisa kharcha. Cunning Indians have good ideas to make easy money’
Raul Regmi (Plays for a local Nepali underground band ‘Consequence’)  ‘Never trust Indians! They can fool you anytime, anywhere!’

Nikita Tripathi (Student and a local gig-seeker) ‘It didn’t feel very good returning back after waiting two hours in the sun before they let us in, tugging into God-knows-whose t-shirts, getting in and out of the crowd with much effort, spending almost three hours inside the venue’
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Renasha Ghimire (Nepali student at a Punjab University) ‘ With all hopes shattered it’s ironic that I don’t want to remember what happened that day’.

Avishek K.C (Vocalist for Underside/E.quals/Lost Oblivion). ‘I couldn’t listen to my favourite band ever. What was going to be my happiest day ever turned out to be the saddest day ever’

And this is what Sujan Shrestha and Saleem Akthar, who were one of the organizers of the recent SUCCESSFULLY held ‘Silence Festival’ headlined by VADER, had to say when they returned with sad faces too.
‘It’s a shame for a team like DNA to have failed to manage such an event. 30,000 sad faces on a single day for a single cause-well, if that doesn’t make DNA one of the worst event organizing teams ever-what does?’

‘”     October 15, Jawalakhel Ground

Dismantling the humdrum of the metal scene in Nepal, Silence Festival, organized by Silence Entertainment, was a much anticipated concert for Kathmandu’s metal-heads. For the first time, the legendary metal band ‘VADER’ was performing live. Equipped with a stimulating sound-system, the on stage extravagance was complemented by a decent lighting and visual system. Metal-heads were growing gradually in number as the daylight showed the way for the dusk and called for darkness. Security, on the other hand, was tight enough to control the mass.

Hatebook, who have deservedly emerged in the local underground scene, opened the show playing their originals. The fire from their songs was exuded to the rebellious souls of the metal-heads expecting a grand event. Even though the initial crowd was small and with the scorching heat draining revelers’ energy, Hatebook still managed to get the crowd going.

Innercore ‘” the metal band from Hongkong ‘“ were up next. As they mentioned at the start, the band played metalcore pieces inspired mostly by Lamb of God and As I Lay Dying. Even they were successful in thrilling the slowly growing crowd.

Kalodin were next to occupy the stage. Replacing Innerguilt just a week before the festival, the band was definitely one of the local bands the crowd was looking forward to. Some who were sheltering themselves from the sun at the shades came forward to enjoy the thrilling performance. The overall physical appearance of the band, especially the petrifying make-up on their faces and the metal-ish get-up, would have rather suited them at night with the digital lights shining on them. Nevertheless, their exuberant mentality as they greeted the crowd, followed by a commanding on stage-presence, brought a metallic riot around the park.

Then it was time for a solo-performance by Guido Wyss, the drummer from Enigmatic who played last year in Silence Festival I. Named as ‘Commando Noise Terror’, the project was fresh to the music listeners as it brought the hybrid environment of different genres of music ‘“ jazz, electronic and classical.

Another foreign band, Helmut ascended to the stage when the sun was setting at the horizon. First up, they fused classical Sitar played by Anil Dhital with technical metal; an experiment that was very interesting and sounded astounding. Then they started playing their originals, ranging from blues to thrash metal. The thrill and technical expertise of a ‘foreign’ band was evident throughout their performance. Helmut remained completely tight and different from the previous bands for the duration of their set.  Be it their music quality, wisdom or on stage energy, they got the crowd enjoying themselves and head-banging during each of their songs.

Antim Grahan, one of the roots of Nepali underground music, played for a comparatively larger crowd as the sky descended into darkness. Playing their well-known songs like ‘Forever Winter’, ‘Infected’ and the cover of Iron Maiden’s song ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, they made the crowd go wild with everyone making a circle and running towards each other like that in every other metal concert. The essence of the melodic death metal could be seen reflected in the reactions of the audience.

Formed just before the Silence Festival, with Founder director of Silence Entertainment, Bikrant Shrestha as the guitarist, Underside took over the platform. The songs they played had the roots of thrash metal and incredibly thrilled the audience with their tight performance. Definitely, Underside has proved themselves as one of the bands to turn to in near future.

Finally, the moment of time the whole mass was waiting for arrived ‘” VADER! With the background music like that of a military marching band and the coherent chant of the entire crowd calling ‘VADER! VADER!’ the entrance was as epic as it could have been. ‘Namaste Nepal’ ‘” a shout out to the entire crowd was followed by a roar in return. When they started to play their songs, metal enthusiasts could not stop themselves from banging their heads to the noise of a Polish legend. They played their own classics such as ‘This is the War’, ‘Silent Empire’, ‘Back to the Blind’ and ‘Impure’. The energy and passion with which they performed fueled the fire inside the souls of the metal-heads as the night was turning out to be one of the marks in the musical history of Nepal. No matter how tiring the entire day was, the crowd couldn’t stop jumping and hammering their heads to the noise of VADER.

After a short-break, they came up with the cover of ‘Black Sabbath’ (Black Sabbath) and ‘Raining Blood’ (Slayer) which were much heavier than the originals. The audience enjoyed the legendary tribute from a legendary band. As they left the platform, they farewelled the audience with ‘Subharaatri Kathmandu’ and gave away drum-sticks and guitar-plectrums.

The festival left an unforgettable memory on the minds of everyone present at the grand metal event. After such an implausible display, the metal-heads are hoping for even a greater festival next year at Silence Festival III! online casino bonus

While the unplanned urbanization has diminished the beauty of Kathmandu city, the once beautiful city lives only in the memories of our grandfathers and grandmothers. Many of us listen to the stories of yesteryears before the unplanned urbanization turned the city into a ‘concrete jungle’ bearing the population beyond its capacity.  But Kiran Chitrakar is one such lucky person whose grandfather not only left him with the stories of the heavenly city but also the vivid pictures.

Kiran Chitrakar’s grandfather Dirgha Man Chitrakar and father Ganesh Man Chitrakar captured the Kathmandu city from 1901-1945. Their pictures tell the story of architectural touchstones of the city and the changes that underwent, showing the modern city in the making. Inheriting photography as a profession, Kiran Chitrakar works for Nepal Television and is looking after Ganesh Photo Labs, founded by his father. Kiran Chitrakar is also handling the photographic treasures left behind by his grandfather and father including the first aerial photographs of the Kathmandu Valley taken by his father.

‘Can you imagine, this used to be the same Kathmandu,’ says Kiran as he flips through the old photos adding, ‘There is no space now, except Tudikhel.’ Kiran sees little possibility of managing the crammed houses and congested roads. He argues that the photographs by his father and grandfather could have been used as a reference by the city planning and management. ‘The government officials do not know the value of these photographs, let alone use this for the city’s benefit,’ Kiran expresses his nuisance.

According to Kiran, the core durbar areas in both Kathmandu and Patan have been the major disappointment over the years. Also, he expresses astonishment as well as frustration over the idea of narrowing down the city’s rivers rather than campaigning for cleaning and restoring them. ‘It is not that these structures and resources cannot be renewed,’ states Kiran, ‘some of the places and buildings such as Garden of Dreams and Dharahara prove that these can be maintained and preserved.’

Kiran believes that blaming only the government will not help at all. The people are themselves not aware. He thinks that the people do not support any programs introduced by the government and thus the many planning programs have failed in the Kathmandu Valley.

The photographs of Kathmandu before the 1934 earthquake and Sighadurbar before it was burnt down are of historical importance for scholars, students and general people as well. Kiran wants to compile these photographs along with others in a book to document them and make it viable even for the general public. Kiran hopes that the book will make people compare what Kathmandu was then and what is left now, and help make them aware of their mistakes. The book will also be a step towards documenting history and preserving the old photographs.

Kiran still owns the glass slides negatives of the photographs but their archiving has now become a huge problem. ‘This is an earthquake zone and these fragile glass plates can be easily destroyed,’ says Kiran. He ultimately is looking forward to open a museum, also showcasing the cameras used by Dirgha Man Chitrakar and Ganesh Man Chitrakar. But there are a lot of financial difficulties to overcome. He has approached the government but does not have their nod, thus he is looking for other donors. Meanwhile, he is also open to working with academic institutions. The colleges and libraries wish to print them and frame them for the walls of their libraries and halls. ‘I don’t need the money, I just want these photographs preserved and open to public view, as long as they are rightfully accredited.’ declares Kiran.

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I just came back to kathmandu after traveling to a few other cities in Nepal which included Butwal, Bhairawaha, Narayanghat, Tandi etc. And Guess what? Kathmandu looked just like an overgrown version of these towns. As we entered Thankot I felt like I was entering a town that was chaotic, dirt filled, dusty, and what looked like a partially finished city with much to go before it became complete. It didn’t look like the city renowned for being one of the most beautiful in the world 500 years ago. Chaos is the ultimate and only organizing force here. I attribute this to one thing – us Kathmandu citizens and our attitude to our lives. We have stopped asking ourselves, what the purpose of our existence is. The collective view seems to have become that of mindless sheep.

As a Kathmandu citizen, it is very easy to blame others for the problems that we face. Whether it is the government, the city authority, the donors, the gulf between the rich and the poor, the remoteness, and the insecurity being one of many plagues. But the primary problem in my opinion is our lack of civic sense and lack of responsibility to our environment. As citizens we have failed Kathmandu. This is a country where citizens actually bribe officials so they can build unsafe houses for themselves and their families.
So how do we turn back the clock? I believe Kathmandu can still be turned around. All we need is to just take care of some of our immediate problems that we see around us. Here are a few ideas and suggestions.
Kathmandu, a heritage valley.

How have we failed as inhabitants of this beautiful valley? Maybe, partly it is because we have forgotten our heritage. Our heritage has been the accumulation of our past, our culture, which was based on simplicity, creativity and communal living and our obsession with ‘creating’. With time, we have simply become lazy copy-cats who have lost faith and insight in a far-sighted vision, building concrete boxes instead of beautiful homes and destroying what little of value we have left. Simple examples of how stupid we have become include building houses that are colder in the winter, and warmer in the summer by using marble or tiled floors and cemented walls. Also, in the past few years, the sky rocketing high-rises being built without proper construction consultations and the lack of homework being done on massive earthquake resistance are very worrisome thoughts. Despite this, every one of the millions living here knows ‘Kathmandu is the number one earthquake vulnerable city in the world.’ There is a very notable lack of developers talking prominently about earthquake proofing when they advertise for the sale of their high-rise apartments, but there is unceasing talk about the superficial beauty aspect and how beautiful the interior of the houses look. Such blatant displays of foolishness!
Don’t you wonder? How we have failed from being creative Nepalese to being lazy boring Nepalese? Just look at the Krishna Mandir and the Patan Durbar square. Built 500 years ago by our very own forefathers, they are by far more beautiful than the houses we have built in the years since. It is hard to swallow that our generation has nothing to show in terms of aesthetics of building. In the span of each generation, we have turned from creators, builders, innovators, and concerned citizens to copiers, followers, and apathetic citizens prone to a passive tendency to be dependant.

Kathmandu, a trash free city.

20 years ago, I don’t recall people dumping their trash out on their street. I would see many of them turn it into waste to put it in their small gardens where they would dispose of these wastes. 20 years ago, there was also enough space for us to plan around. Now people are content cramping around in houses that get smaller and smaller stretching thinly to the sky. What’s more, they throw trash right in front of doorsteps on the street, because they know someone will pick it up. They do this because they think they can get by. With no knowledgeable authority including the municipality or appropriate government body sitting silently actually helping to worsen the situation in many cases. It is time for us citizens to own up, be responsible and act upon our fellow citizen’s lack of civic sense and responsibility. Partner with local governmental bodies to make sure trash gets separated into bio-degradable.,non bio-degradable, plastics and non plastics. Work with your community and make it easier and thus profitable for trash companies to come in and actually profit from our waste.
Kathmandu, a breathable city.

Kathmandu could easily become a leader in alternative energy vehicles. Primarily solar is a good option or use hybrids wherever possible. The issue of dust can be easily handled by holding builders accountable to the effects they cause. You just have to tell them to their face. Kathmandu citizens need discipline. If someone growls back with a stick, they will stop being brats.
We can easily clean the now toxic Bagmati River, if we just organize ourselves better as neighbors and use the huge advances in waste technology to treat our own waste better. The key word here is for neighborhoods to unite with themselves and with local governments. Lets do our part towards being responsible. Lets stop just demanding our rights, for a change. Open up routes .

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Kathmandu, a green city.

If you have been to New York, they have a beautiful park right in the middle of the city. They call it Central Park. This is true in the most developed and beautiful cities of the world. They have a lot of open green breathable space. In Kathmandu, many of us complain about the lack of it, yet if you look closely you will find there is a lot of space here being misused or un-used. We have our central park right here in the city. Imagine the public space if you joined Tudikhel, Ratnapark, Rani Pokhari and link it to the former Royal Palace. You could have a huge Park that serves as a beautiful open space where Kathmandites can relax, enjoy, meet, run, and take their children. This is possible to do today, and the parks existing but barred from entry are already there. If Garden of Dreams was possible, this is definitely possible. There are also plenty of religious spaces like Pashupatinath, Syambhunath, and many others, which could easily be used as clean space used to rejuvenate our inner self. Just like how we turned the northern Shivapuri hills into a national park, let us turn all the hills around into places to hike and wander in nature’s beauty. We can conserve the water supply to this ever-increasing city. If we take action and we harvest rain water we may not need donor injected projects like Melamchi, which divides us Nepalis, and makes our elites greedier, narrower, and lazier.

Lets open more public land for citizens. If we already pay for this, we deserve to use it, don’t we? As a Nepali, I want to be able to freely access Singha-durbar and walk around. This access reinforces my trust as the government being servant of the citizens, and not the other way around. It’s something I feel as I pass by its huge restrictive outer walls these days.

Kathmandu, a 24 hour city.

Kathmandu is even more beautiful during the night. It is small, and you can reach corners of the city within a half an hour in most places. Did you know that our weather is perfect most days of the year? Why don’t we open, ‘Saajha Bus’ and other public transportation systems to operate in the evenings so that we diffuse traffic, which would be great for tourists and thereby businesses. As we interact more with each other, more ideas, more innovation starts creeping into our culture and we might just have a place people love to come and hang around 24 hours a day. It also becomes a statement of how we slowly can become a friendly, trust-worthy, safe city. These attributes are what most world citizens are attracted to, on any given day, when they feel like visiting a place.
Kathmandu, an energy filled city.

Don’t laugh. If you think we are energy starved, then yes you are right, but we are because of our own choice. We choose to be energy starved. We never realize that we have clear sunshine most days of the year, But instead of harnessing the solar energy, we are on a spree to buy gas-heaters. We complain of load-shedding, yet the alternative, the sun, shines upon us almost 12 hours a day every day. Instead of using efficient light savers, we use energy wasting ones, we steal electricity, we abuse it. So, rightfully we get what we deserve. It is time to change our ways and harness the power of the sun. If the government works with citizens on this one, we can get to the holy grail of becoming energy independent in this generation, not in the next.

Kathmandu, a wanderlust city.

A few weeks ago I walked from Patan to Maharajgunj. It took me less than 2 hours. So I realized Kathmandu valley is not all that big. In-fact with its exciting alleys, and back streets we have a perfect place to walk or bike around. We can sort out the honking horns and traffic violations by just being stricter on violators and educating them harder. We can brand our city as a walking city. A lot of tourists would love to wander amidst our peculiar, rich wonderful culture. Wandering around Kathmandu maybe the best way to explore, if we can just manage to cut out the honking horns and irresponsible driving.
In summary, Kathmandu valley can be changed, and changed back fast. I believe we can bring it to the glory of 500 years ago, when it was one of the most beautiful cities of the world. It is our moral duty to restore Kathmandu’s glory. And this will only happen, if we, Kathmandu’s citizens unite and work hand in hand. Let this be the gift of our generation back to our generous benefactor the environment. Up until now, we haven’t given much back yet, have we? Lets take up this challenge, demand for local governance, and start off!
Let us bring Kathmandu to its rightful place as one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Yes we can! It’s upto you!