‘Don’t take pictures facing the Chinese side,’ a Nepali policeman stationed at the border village of Rasuwagadhi insists. ‘They don’t allow that. We’ll get into trouble.’

Amid such displays of nervous tension, the Chinese are in the process of restoring the ancient trade route to Kerung, Tibet, once a southern extension of the old Silk Road. Traditionally used by yak caravans bartering salt for rice, the route will now be upgraded to an 18-kilometre stretch of highway connecting Syabrubesi to Rasuwagadhi. On completion, it will connect Kathmandu to Kerung, further facilitating border trade between Nepal and China.

The locals, however, have a different take on the development.

Although the majority of the villagers here are of Tamang and Ghale ethnicity, they are heavily influenced by Tibetan culture and speak the language. Whatever promises the highway offers in terms of easing travel and trade, the proximity of Tibet means that doubts persist regarding Chinese intentions, among other things.

‘It has made things easier,’ says Nima Ghale of Timure. ‘The journey to Syabrubesi used to take five to six hours, but doesn’t take more than two now, even by foot.’ Transporting goods is also more convenient. But there are concerns about long-term consequences. ‘All the land is being bought up by people from Trishuli and further south. Soon, the whole village will be owned by them, and we’ll have to resort to collecting firewood and fodder for money,’ she says. ‘The poor will just get poorer.’

Caught between elation and apprehension, the residents of the area look to an uncertain future.

This landscape series attempts to highlight all aspects of ‘development’ as both a blessing and–as is often the case–a destructive force.

This story was produced during a Masterclass with Mads Nissen organized by photo.circle. It has been published in a book ‘The Constant Change – 12 photo stories from Nepal’.

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Fashion Horoscope

2001 was the year that I first learnt how all our lives are ruled by the universe and the planets beyond. Growing up with two elder sisters who were obsessive about astrology, I was obviously nowhere near the idea of refraining from it. Thus, began my quest as an influenced little sister. Eventually, I started doing my own research and tried to find ways of connecting the zodiac with my greatest passion, i.e FASHION. As a fashion blogger, I have personally made an illustration wardrobe chart especially for all my readers. So, here is what the stars, constellations, planets and the universe say about you and your style.


‘THE THREE AIR SIGNS’

AQUARIUS (Jan 21 ‘“Feb 18)

Symbol-  The Water Bearer

Ruling planet- The Uranus

Catch phrase- ‘I know’

Colour- Violet, Turquoise, Blue

Positive traits-Independent, Open minded, Eccentric, Friendly

Fahionistas-Lauren Conrad, Mischa Barton, Emma Roberts

Aquarians have a unique sense of style. They are the ones to rock the new trends in the market. If they like it, they will wear it and as long as they stay true to themselves, they don’t mind breaking the rules of fashion. They love bright colours. As their sign symbolizes water, they like flowy dresses and quirky accessories. They have an independent and forward way of dressing up.

GEMINI (May 21-Jun 20)

Symbol-  The Twins

Colour- Rainbow

Ruling planet- The mercury

Catch phrase- ‘I think’

Positive traits- Witty, Charming, and Adventurous

Fahionistas- Sonam Kapoor, Marykate amp; Ashley Olsen, Zoë Saldana

Gemini symbolizes two pieces of wood bound together. Like wise, they have dual personalities when it comes to clothing too. Anything goes for them. They like youthful, eclectic and funky styles. They like playing with different kinds of odd colours and designs. Their style is unpredictable and never boring. They are either trendsetters or fashion victims as they aren’t afraid to take fashion to the extreme.

LIBRA (Sep 23 ‘“Oct 23)

Symbol-  The Scale

Ruling planet- The Venus

Catch phrase- ‘I balance’

Colour- Pink, Light Blue, Ivory

Positive traits-Lovable, Generous, Friendly

Fahionistas- Hilary Duff, Camilla Belle, Kim kardarshian.

Librans see all things positive in this world. They are the ones who’ve got it all sorted out and are living a balanced life. They are fashion conscious and think twice before heading out in public. Their style is feminine, romantic and soft. They don’t like flashy or gaudy style. Libra’s style is a balance between glamourous and casual wear. They shop with a fair attitude, without breaking their bank account.

‘THE THREE FIRE SIGNS’

ARIES (Mar 21- Apr 20)

Symbol- The Ram

Ruling planet- Mars

Catch phrase-‘ I Am’

Colour- Red and Black

Positive Traits- Quick, Confident, Energetic

Fahionistas- Leighton Meester, Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson, Suri Cruise

Aries is a strong sign with a mind of its own. Like their nature, their fashion sense is fierce and one that oozes confidence. They definitely don’t mind being the centre of attraction. Their symbol, Ram rules the head so they like wearing hats, headbands and other accessories that draw attention to the head. They like super bold colours and aren’t much into neutrals. They also like to dress masculine and like the sporty look.

SAGGITARIUS (Nov 23-  dec 21)

Symbol-  The Archer

Ruling planet- The Jupiter

Catch phrase- ‘I See’

Colour- Purple, Royal Blue, Indigo

Positive traits- Optimistic, Honest, Easy-Going

Fashionista- Taylor Swift, Miley cyrus, Vanessa Hudgen, Chanel Iman, Scarlet Johansson.

  • Sagittarians are optimistic, full of energy and versatility. This sign loves to go wherever the wind or the arch takes them, so they like wearing comfortable and versatile clothing. They are very adventurous even when it comes to fashion. They have a bohemian way of dressing up. So they experiment with different kinds of style. They just dress sponteneously and don’t put too much thought into it.

LEO (Jul 23 ‘“Aug 23)

Symbol-  The Lion

Ruling planet- The Sun

Catch phrase- ‘I will’

Colour- Gold

Positive traits-Courageous, Powerful,Spontaneous

Fashionista- Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Taylor Momsen

Leo uses fashion to express themselves and communicate their frame of mind. They like luxurious, rare,exclusive designer pieces. They are often rebels. However, it’s rather hard to pin down their particular style, (I mean look at Madonna or J.Lo) but they do have a flare for gold and animal prints. Their personality is always powerful and dominating. So no matter what they wear their strong attitude and style always comes across as their USP.

‘THE THREE EARTH SIGNS’

TAURUS (Apr 21 ‘“May 20)

Symbol- The Bull

Ruling planet Venus

Catch phrase- ‘I have’

Colour- Pink, Pastel Blue, Light green

Positive traits- Reliable, Resourceful, Hard working

Fahionistas- Jessica Alba, Megan Fox, Christina Hendricks, Diane Agron

  • Taureans are very warm, gentle and charming by nature. So they like to wear classic and well tailored clothes. They love high quality and expensive clothes. The Bull rules over the throat and neck, so they love highlighting this area with scarves and necklaces. They are not a fan of ostentatious or knock off clothing.

VIRGO (Aug 24- Sep 22)

Symbol- The Virgin

Colour- Cream, Dark brown, Navy Blue

Ruling planet-Mercury

Catch phrase- ‘I Analyze’

Positive traits- observant, Perfectionist, Thoughtful

Fahionistas- Rachel Billson, Blake Lively, Nicole Richie

Virgos have a wonderful eye for detail. So, they like neat and polished looks even when they are wearing the most casual outfits. They don’t like gaudy or over the top looks. They have the ability to look stylish just by sticking to the basics. They mostly invest in timeless pieces. Usually one piece in their wardrobe is always one of a kind whether it’s shoes, bags or purses.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22- Jan 20)

Symbol- The Goat

Ruling planet- The Saturn

Catch phrase- ‘I use’

Colour- Black, Dark Gray, Brown

Positive traits- Mature, Practical, Ambitious

Fashionistas-Nina Dobrev, Kate Middleton, Sienna Miller, Kate Bosworth

Capricorns are independent, strong willed handworkers. They generally stick with a solid and basic colour pallette. They like classic designs and aren’t much into trying outrageous trends. They don’t normally buy frilly, printed outfits. They prefer sleek, simple, clean silhouettes and adore understated glamour. They manage to look great even in the most simple designs.

‘THE THREE WATER SIGNS’

CANCER (Jun 21- Jul 22)

Symbol- The crab.

Ruling planet- The Moon

Catch phrase- ‘I feel’

Colour- Silver, Pearl White, Pastels

Positive traits- Compassionate, Sentimental, Patient.

Fashionistas- Selena Gomez, Cheryl Cole, Diane Kruger
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  • Cancerians run the entire gamut of human emotion. They are very mood driven and this is reflected in their sense of style, which is constantly changing. Crabs are very sentimental, so they look for clothes that have a story to tell ‘ie. vintage wear. This sign loves to wear clothes that are a juxtaposition of both traditional and feminine detail.

PIECES (Feb 19- Mar 20)

Symbol- The Fish

Ruling planet- The Neptune

Catch phrase- ‘I believe’

Colour- Sea Green, Violet, Indigo

Positive traits- Romantic, Artistic, Helpful

Fahionistas-Olivia Palermo, Rihanna, Ashley Greene, Whiney port, Carrie Underwood

  • Piseceans are real romantics which make them drawn to flowy, feminine and delicate styles.They are like Mermaids, who love to swim in the sea of fashion. They are naturally creative which makes them yearn for artsy pieces for their wardrobe. Pisces rules over the feet, so they love wearing fabulous shoes.

9. SCORPIO (Oct 24-Nov 22)

Symbol- The scorpion

Ruling planet- The Pluto

Catch phrase- ‘I Desire’

Colour- Black, Dark Red, Sea Green

Positive traits-Loyal, Passionate, Intuitive

Fashionistas-Anne Hathaway, Katy Perry, Aishwarya Rai, Demi Moore, Rachel McAdams.

  • Scorpio’s have strong imagination and intuition. So their fashion sense is very innovative. Scorpios are drawn to intense, rich colors, but usually have a closet full of dark-colored clothes. They love fashion forward clothes but choose not to wear OTT revealing ones as they like leaving something for the imagination. Their style is more sophisticated than sporty. However, they don’t like boring looks.

There are numerous reasons why a State becomes the State it is. Important basic infrastructural fundamentals are key contingents for the standards of a functioning system. When the very principles of this procedure are neglected, it is then that one begins to see chinks in the armor. Case and point, Kathmandu, Nepal, a city with an ever-changing government, slack implementation strategies, growing negligence and lack of civic sense amongst citizens.

It is understandably difficult to take responsibility for situations that seem endless and continually ballooning. Yet, if we bring our attention to these very problems individual citizens and communities face alike , we may find the very ground from where to lay the foundations for change. It is high time people start to show awareness and concern toward their surrounding environment and situation. For this reason, we want to bring some of Kathmandu’s worst setbacks into the spotlight.

We are choking up the very life source from which we were given somuch. We pass our rivers everyday without as much as a second glance toward the plummeting amount of waste that is taking their lives. We close our eyes and our nostrils to the overpowering sights and stench , yet have we ever really tried to remove the disheartening smell of indifference? Why is there such a monumental capacity for disregard? We need to clean the holy rivers and revive their spirit.

When there is a limited amount of space, people tend to fail to recall the possibility of there being alternatives. We do not have to overload every vehicle till there is no room to breathe. We have the right to travel at ease. Why do passengers and operators not realize this? The chaos that surrounds public transportation is not doing commuters a favor.  Why not establish a system that allows a 15-minute ride to feel like 15 minutes instead of an eternity in hell.

Nepal has a huge hydropower potential. The perennial nature of Nepali rivers and the steep gradient of the country’s topography,  provide ideal conditions for the development of some of the world’s largest hydroelectric projects.  Current estimates are that Nepal has approximately 40,000 MW of economically feasible hydropower potential, however the present situation is that Nepal has developed only approximately 600 MW of hydropower. Load-shedding is on a daily basis, most of the country is left in the dark for hours at a time, yet the government has plans on building an electric railway system What are the priorities?

Street Children because they have not reached the age of majority, have no representation in the governing process. They have no vote themselves nor by proxy through their parents, from whom they are likely alienated, nor do street children have any economic leverage. Governments, consequently, pay little attention to them. Help speak up for the innocent.  The solution isn’t giving them money and encouraging them to beg.

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Some of the major roads in Kathmandu city, very closely resemble dry riverbeds. Yes, the government has allocated a budget towards repairs. Yes, everyone uses the roads everyday.  Yes, as soon as the road is paved (by miraculous chance) someone digs it up to fix that leaking pipe or sewage tank and then isn’t bothered in the least to FIX IT!!! There is no excuse.

Did I already mention that Nepal has a huge hydropower potential? That means Nepal has the water in other words. It is just unable to get from the mountains to the city on it’s own. It would require paperwork and management and actual effort on the government’s part. Clean water is a necessity of life.

Traffic lights? Speed limits?  Traffic management? A ‘V.I.P’ official on his way to tea? Need we say more?

Kathmandu is at the top of the list in terms of being earthquake prone. Yet, there are no building regulations and there is no space. Think twice about where and how you are situated in terms of safety, and make an effort to do something about it for you, your family and your neighbors. When it does hit, the fault will be our own.

Getting to know the silent empire of vader

‘Vader’ is one of the pioneers of death-metal who, over the last 28 years, have made a permanent mark on the international metal-scene. Headlining at this years’ Silence Festival II, Vader thrilled fans with a heart stopping performance of loud, head-banging real grungy metal.  Verse was similarly thrilled to secure an interview with the busy Polish band to find out about their experiences in Nepal, the rise of the metal scene and the life of being a truly global band. Many thanks to Mr. Bikrant Shrestha, founder director of Silence Entertainment, without whom this interview would not have been possible.

What was your initial reaction when you were offered to play in a country like Nepal?

Vader: A big surprise because nobody expected to play so high in the world. So we were pretty much excited and it was a dream came true. The fact that Vader could arrive even to Nepal was very spectacular and very exciting.

Silence Festival II, October 15! What were your expectations from the crowd there?

Peter: You know usually, from my experience, I find that if there are few metal shows in a country, then there is no scene and relatively no support. So, it was a big surprise for me that even though it was for the first time for Vader in Nepal and maybe one of the few concerts of metal music in the country, it was so professionally prepared and the crowd was so big. I’m sure that 50% of the crowd was not metal-hats from heart ‘“they came to see a show because there was something going on in the city. But, even if 50% of the audience were real metal-heads, it was very big because the crowd was around four thousand, which is pretty spectacular, really. So, it’s a big deal.

You might have seen some local bands performing during the Silence Festival. How do you think the local bands were?

Vader: You know, we couldn’t see too much because we were performing late and we needed to prepare the guitars and practice a bit before the show. We arrived just two hours before our time. So, we could only see two bands; they were pretty good. But, we never expected the bands from Nepal to be so modern in sound ‘” especially the band in which Bikrant played; the band was really awesome.

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How did you feel about the Silence Festival?

Vader: Spectacular. We were really excited because of the chance to be a part of Silence Festival given to us by Mr. Bikrant. We really hope we can come back again in future. This is the first touch of Vader here and we get a feeling that they like it. So, we will be waiting for the next trip.

Moving on to the past, how was the metal scene in Poland when you started?

Vader: Vader was actually among those bands that started extreme metal, sort of underground in Poland. Unfortunately, not too many bands survived at the time. So, there are only some names coming back now like Crusade, Pandemonium to name couple of bands. There was no media to support these kinds of music. There was metal but the bands that were called metal were closer to bands like AC/DC or Iron Maiden but nothing like extreme metal. Vader was among the ones who started that; not the only one, but one of those who started this sort of music.

How has the journey from ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ to ‘Welcome to the Morbid Reich’ been?

Peter: The journey was very long, but very interesting. The journey has not only taught me as a musician but also as a man, as a human being. I get to know people around the time and I get to know people around the world. We are travelling across the earth. So this is the best teacher. You can feel much respect from the fans around the world as well. What can I say? This is experience and if your experience is almost 30 years playing metal, then it’s a lot. I’m happy I’m still alive.

You guys tour quite a lot. Does that affect your personal lives?

Vader: This is actually the biggest problem while talking about Vader. We are busy guys. But, this is the meaning of metal: to play on stage and to play live. This is pretty much live music. That’s why we all sacrificed with music. Since we signed the deal ‘” the pack with the devil, we’ve been spending two-third of the year touring, practicing and playing far from friends and families and this is the price you have to pay for playing music.

We’ve been touring continuously since 1993 and we have around 100 shows in a year. So, you can see, we are really busy people.

Touring that much in a year, when do you get time to compose or play or just come up with new music?

Vader: Any time. Composition is always in your mind. You just need a time to sit in a studio, to focus in your work and to put it into a tape record.

In what direction do you see the metal scene in Nepal going? Any words of advice for local bands?

Vader: It’s hard to say but it depends on you. If you really want to do something, you will. If somebody comes to you and says he’s going to take you somewhere, then don’t believe in that. Believe in yourself. We were also in same situation in eighties in Poland. We were in deep shit back then. You are in a better situation than we were. You have studios, media and people like Bikrant. You have all the necessary equipment here. The world is all yours. Moreover, you have fans around. The time is going to come when the world is going to cry for you and wants to see you somewhere else in the world. That’s the only way.