Friday, January 17, 2020

Making momo

Making momo
by Shila Shrestha

Today is Friday, 17 January 2020. It has been raining for a couple of days and nights. Its winter. So its wet and cold.

But today was a great Friday as we decided to make momos. Momos are hot and tasty. All of us sit together and work together so its fun.

As usual, the day started with music. We finished the music class. Then we played games. Then I helped to Subigya to color her artwork. We are getting ready for an art exhibition.

We were now ready to make momos. Because it was raining, we could not work outside and there was little space. We decided that we older and more experienced kids would do the work.

We asked other kids to watch Angry Birds because we were sure they would much rather eat the hot momo than sit in the cold kitchen and make hundreds of them.

After lunch we were ready, the meat was ready with minced chicken, finely cut cabbages, and soya nuggets. First we had to wash our hand because our hand could be dirty.

Then Subigya, Arya, Mirdvika, Vidheha and I sat around the dining table on our chairs. Sabita didi rolled the momo dough. I put the chicken on dough and other my friends shaped the momo.

I know how to make the momo, people say I can make them quite well. So Pallav sir asked Durga didi to put the chicken mix on the round rolled out base and said you also make momo.

Durga didi put the mix while Subigya, Vidheha, Mirdvika, Arya and I made the momo. Water had already been set to boil and the different layers of the pans oiled.

Sabita didi set the momos we had placed on the pans to cook. Arya had to go because it was very cold day his mother came to get him early. Pallav sir said you can have some momos in the car. Arya had made very nice momos and he got many on a plate to share with his mum.

We worked for about two hours, all of us and finished momo making. It was time to eat! Mirdvika ate many momos. She likes the momo. She wanted more momo. We all ate lots of momo.

However, Natasha and Raya don’t eat chicken. They are vegetarian. Pallav sir said since you don’t eat chicken, you can have egg momo. Sabita didi scrambled some eggs. I put the egg on dough and the two American sisters made momo.

After Sabita didi set the momos to steam, they ate the egg momo. I think they liked the egg momo! It looked good.

Today we made very good momo. We liked the tomato ketchup and the spicy momo sauce. Momo is always good and I like to make momo as it is so fun to do.

Sunday we will made the peanut butter said Pallav sir. Cooking is fun. I like to make things. Today was cold rainy day but it was an interesting day.

A Musical Morning

A Musical Morning

This fine morning, we worked on the flute. We were in three groups:

             The very young 3-5 year olds worked with oral singing, block play and peep peeping on their recorders.

             The older young worked to fine tune their lessons 1-6 and happy birthday song meaning that they would finish their flute foundation work!

             Then the experts including Shila and Vidheha worked to revise their 23 music        numbers and sound tuning.

             Natasha loved exploring her own sounds on the keyboard!

Spiny Babbler Evolution rang out with beautiful sounds all morning. Then we had cookies and hot chocolate and played and played.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Dr. Seuss Awaaaay!

Dr. Seuss Awaaaay!

We read “Horton Hatches an Egg” and “Green Eggs and Ham” over two days. Well actually over three days. Everyday is a good Dr. Seuss day, of course. In the evening, when we had got through half-way of the Horton book, half the kids had to leave so of course we wanted to read the book again the next day.

Vidheha reports: “In the evening, we always try and read books. Horton Hatches an Egg is a very interesting book. Lazy maize is very silly. Horton is very nice. There are three hunters and the elephants animal friends. Horton sits on an egg on a tree and all his friends come and they tease him. The elephant was 100 percent faithful to the egg through autumn, winter, and the rains. In the end, Horton has a flying elephant baby. This is an amazing story by Dr. Seuss.”

Shila reports: “Green Eggs and Ham, I do not like the idea. I do not think I would like to eat that. Sam bothers and bothers and bothers the main character to eat and try green eggs and ham. He keeps running away but Sam keeps chasing him. Fox, box, house, mouse, rain, train, goat all sorts of things turn of in the book and the book is very funny. We read the book in the afternoon. I like to read a lot. My favorite books are the Noddy series by Enid Blyton and all of Dr. Seuss books.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

An Artistic Day

An Artistic Day 

Art was ever so exciting. Today we worked with artwork. We drew from different books. Some from story books and some from artists. From Sam to Bullerby to O’Keeffe. Then in the afternoon we went to visit Babar Mahal Revisited.

We had a lot of fun. At Ramalaya we saw different Himalayan art and photographic material as well as clothing and decorative items. We also saw owl pillows and Tibetan rugs as well as different icons of goodwill carved in stone including lotuses and mandalas. There were hand made paper frames and cards also.

The metal work was beautiful. We love visiting the Golden Temple and Uku Bahal where the historical cultural metal work is grand. At Babar Mahal Revisited there was a metal gallery, there were metal craft on sale include bells, evening lamps, bronze lions, copper pots, brass goddesses.

Javana was a place to see designer jewelry. They also repair expensive beautiful items there. Subigya watched with great interest the pretty earrings, necklaces, and other wonderful items. Shila, in particular, like the silver bracelet on show.

We enjoyed sitting in the courtyard and had many a giggle and laugh over the sky that was blue, the buildings that were white with green windows and we loved looking at the different frescos on the walls. 

As we walked, we saw many other things including thangkas and paubhas. We remembered the time we would walk to Patan Dhoka as the great gate into Patan was being painted by young Newar artists with paubha and thangka motifs.

We saw more beautiful jewelry and clothes, we saw lotus in a big pot, we stood under a bust of an old ruler, we do not know who it was though, next time we will check. The wall painting of a fish and a lion and rudrakshya was wonderful. We stood under a glazed window and took pictures!

After seeing all this, we saw that the art gallery was being renovated for the next exhibition. We promised ourselves that we would be at the exhibition when it was open and walked back marveling at the wonderful place including Laavanya Ayurveda where we have been several times.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Prawns and Shrimps

A Study of Crustaceans
Science experiment

We watched two documentaries on shrimps and prawns today. One was from the National Geographic and how these animals clean the waters and the other was from How It’s Done that explained how they are farmed.

At Spiny Babbler we study the arthropods on a regular basis. Prawns and shrimps are arthropods. We learned that there are over 2,000 different shrimp species. Their size varies from very small to as big as an arm. They are good at swimming.

Like all arthropods, these crustaceans have exoskeleton. Their bodies are divided into head, thorax, and abdomen. Shrimps have three pairs of legs and gills are plate-like.

A sample species is the Indian prawn and scientists call it the Fenneropenaeus indicus. Both prawns and shrimps belong to the order Decapoda. Shrimp belongs to suborder Pleocyemata prawn while prawn belongs to suborder Dendrobranchiata.

Shrimp species can make a snapping sound that is louder than any other marine noise by hitting their large and small pincers together. They do this to communicate or to stun their prey.

Shrimps are omnivorous. They consume microscopic plants and animal matter by filtering the water around them or sifting through the ocean floor. Certain types of shrimp also catch and eat small fish.

Both prawns and shrimps are considered gourmet food around the world. They are low in calories and high in protein. They contain a cancer-fighting mineral called selenium.

Off to the Market

Off to the Market
Finance & Economy

Vegetables, fruit, fish… we visited one of the largest markets of Kathmandu in Lagankhel. We walked there from Spiny Babbler. Little 3 year olds and older 13 year olds, all of us went there. We had just reached the market when Pallav sir joined us: he had gone to buy shrimps for our afternoon’s science experiment!

First we looked at the fruit stalls: dragon fruit, kiwi, plums, oranges, grapes, avocado, banana, apple, bayar (pay), and more. The colors were so beautiful and we loved looking at the fruit.

Then we reached the dried fish stall: all kinds of fishes were smoked and dried from the villages of Nepal. Some of the fishes were from the mountain streams. They were very small to large.

Next to the dried fish stall was the mushroom stall: we saw umbrella mushrooms, the button mushrooms and the very expensive shitake mushrooms.

Then there was a very strong smell: the smell of fish! Pallav sir told us about the Pangasius fish that have been dissected at Spiny Babbler, he showed us live catfish, he pointed out the rohu and the masheer, we looked at the bighead which, he said, grows to be very big! He picked up a piranha fish and told us that it can attack human beings. A sample in the Godavari fishery brought over from Begnas lake in Nepal is 84 kilos, he said.

We bought a bit of kiwi, grapes, bayar (pay), banana, and other fruit for little Zoya for her breakfast. She loves to eat a mix of 5 fruit in the mornings! Then we saw chicken, pork, and goat meat being sold.

Sabina ma’am told us of Maghe Sankranti festival. There was a lot of different types of yam and sweet potato and squash root on sale for the festival, she said. We also saw a whole lot of dairy products including cheese, paneer, milk, ghee, butter being sold. We also saw different types of spinach, broccoli, tomato, pumpkin, squash, chillies, cucumber, egg plant, turnips being sold.

A shopkeeper kindly answered our questions. He asked our children what pumpkins were called in English and Nepali. Subigya was a champion, she answered all his questions very well and correctly!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Valediction Ceremony

The Valediction Ceremony

by Shila Shrestha, 11 years old

We performed at the Shuvatara School thanks to the kind invitation of Rani Kakshapati ma’am who is very kind and loving. We practiced a lot. We had chosen to play “My Heart Will Go On” and “Mangal Dhoon” for the 200 peoples at the Shuvatara School most of whom passed the final exams SEE, their parents and their teachers. Our performance was set at about 1:00 pm and 20 July 2019, Saturday.

On the day of our performance we practiced in the morning, thinking a lot about what Dhana sir, our music teacher, had told us. We had lunch and then we got ready to go to Shuvatara School. We changed our dresses then all three of us made buns of our hair. Bhagwati ma’am said we looked very nice in our new hairstyle.

Baby Zoya also came with us. We carried our things and then we waited for the Shuvatara School bus as Lamatar is far away and our driver is on leave today. Rani ma’am and the teachers of Shuvatara had arranged for us to get there and back so kindly. It was very sunny. Pallav sir and Vidheha walked and walked. They returned and took us to a TV shop and then to the NCell center where it was cool and there was nice water to drink.

The Shuvatara School bus came and there were lots of people already in the bus. We reached the school and Saraswati Music Hall was different today! There were lots of chairs. The hall was very well decorated. The stage was very beautiful! I liked that. We were very lucky to be here and I felt thankful. We sat there waiting. I carried Zoya and Pallav sir took photos and Sabina ma’am also took photos. I wanted to have lots of photos and save this special memory.

The hall had filled. The Mayor was there and the Ward Chairman as well as school principals. There were many instruments and singers in the choir. There were flutes, drums, keyboards and guitars on stage. The children of Shuvatara sang Gayatri Mantra, the school anthem and the national anthem. We sat back to enjoy the wonderful. The Shuvatara School song was beautiful. I liked that song. Now it was our time to play. Rani ma’am gave us the “Special Guest” badge same as the Mayor and the Ward Chairman and I felt so special. The badge was given to only a few people and we were among them. She could have given those badges to a very big and important persons of Shuvatara School, but she gave them to us and we are not big people. I felt very happy because that was greatest gift anyone has given to me.

We walked on stage. There were wires from the music system on the way. We had to be careful. The stage had many lights. Some were white and bright. There were lights that turned yellow, red, blue. There were also dancing lights that were spots and spirals and different shapes. That music hall looked very big and colorful. On the backdrop was huge poster saying Shuvatara School, Valediction Program. The 22nd batch of the school was passing out with the best SEE marks ever.

I turned towards the audience. The roof of the whole hall were glittering paper and shiny material. The chairs were filled. Rani Ma’am in a beautiful sari, the Mayor, the Ward Chairman, Pallav sir and Bhagwati ma’am, the students, their parents, there were many people before us. The microphones were set for us. Setting the microphones took a lot of time though. But I did not feel scared or nervous. I think our performances in many places had prepared us well. I felt very happy and comfortable.

Abha ma’am also helped us, making sure the seating was good and we were comfortable because she was near us. We said our names then we said thank you to Rani ma’am and others who were present. All the people clapped. Anita didi, I and Vidheha were ready to play “My Heart Will Go On.” We played the song and it sounded nice to me. We did not make any mistakes. I think all of us felt good!

Then Vidheha had to play the “Ukali Orali” by Chadani Shah. Dhana sir had said it was a difficult song to play and Vidheha had only had one week to practice it. But she played that song very beautifully. We would play the “Mangal Dhoon” later. We said thank you to everyone and came back to our seats. There was a Newari dance, the movement was so graceful! We had learned Newari dancing “Lika Wala” and others two years ago that was performed also at Patan Durbar Square. I was reminded of our dance.

Then there were English songs by the Shuvatara School Band. There were keyboard, guitar and drum players. One didi sang, she was so pretty and her voice so clear. It was time to give away certificates now. The school captain announced, “Anita, Shila and Vidheha will play the Mangal Dhoon.” We went up on stage again. We played very long because there were lots of people that had to be awarded. Rani ma’am called the Pallav sir and he too had to give awards and certificates to those who had completed their SEE. Then we were done.

The hall emptied. Zoya and all of us were hungry. We went to the dining hall. There were donuts of three kinds, three types of cake, three types of sandwiches, spicy potatoes, chicken patties, drinks of five different types. I was very thirsty so I drank coke. The snacks were very yummy. We met Rani ma’am as she was ready to go home. We said bye bye to her. Baby Zoya also waved bye bye to Rani ma’am.

We took some photos again and went to the same bus we had come here on. We talked about our performance. Soon the bus was full of people and it left. Back at school, we put our flutes and files away and we thought of the fun we had at Shuvatara School.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Patan Kumari Gives Me a Blessing

Patan Kumari Gives Me a Blessing
10 April 2019, Wednesday
By Anita Bhattarai

Yesterday I went to Ratnakar Mahabihar with my friends. This is where the current Living Goddess of Patan the Kumari lives. Pallav Sir told us that we would make music at the Vihar, this is where Buddhists study and worship. We would do several things: we would play and have fun, we would take photographs (at least 36, he said, so we could do a exhibition of the place online), some of us would make artwork, and we would make music.

I worked to take good photos of the main temple and interesting details of the sculptures. Shila too took lots of photos. While we were busy taking photos, Vidheha, Utkrishta, Krit, Sugata and Swosti made artwork. And the little kids played games.

Pallav Sir told us what kind of photos we need. We needed photos with good angles that were not blurry. But they had to be creative, he said. As we were taking the pictures Pallav Sir called everybody and said “Now we will meet the living goddess Kumari.” Sabina Miss and Pallav Sir had been talking to the Goddess Kumari’s mother. We were so really excited as we went inside the Living Goddess Kumari’s house.

We took our shoes off outside. We carried our musical instruments. It was a very old style Nepali house. It was like a regular house. As we entered the low door, there was a sofa and a coffee table with clothes and other household items piled on them. I thought my room was a mess, this was messier J. Through another door, there was a room where water was flowing and clothes were being washed and there were water tanks to store water. There were posters, articles about the Kumari that had been published in various papers and magazines.

We went upstairs, the stairs were made of wood, very tall and not wide. They were a very old Nepali style of stairs, a bit scary to go up on. I saw a baby stroller when we came out into a low roofed, low lighted room. There were soft dolls there. We met the Kumari’s mom and Kumari’s baby sister. Her mom gave us water to wash our hands. Then we went into the room where Kumari was sitting on her silver throne. She was so small, she was just 6 years old. She was light bodied and very beautiful. She had been placed as Goddess Kumari of Patan when she was just five. Her name was Nihira Bajracharya.

She was very confident. When we went to get tika on our forehead by the Living Goddess, she placed red abir perfectly on our foreheads. The room had lots of items of worship like tika holders, kalash, diya, incense placement items, bells. The room’s ceiling was covered by a big red cloth. It was also pretty dark. The floor was made of earth, painted red as Nepal traditional floors are. There were sukul straw mats on the floor for us to sit on.

We wanted to talk to her. We wanted to make music for her. But she felt that she wanted to go to her bedroom and play, I think. Maybe she did not feel much like being with a group of strangers. Her mother and her little sister were very nice. Her mother’s name was Mohina Bajracharya and her father was named Niraj. We asked questions to her mother and she gave us time and nice answers. We were allowed to take as many photos as we wanted. I was so thankful.

Then we came down. We played our flutes, madal, violin and tambourine. Many people came and took videos of us. The Kumari also watched us from her windows with her mother. We had so much fun. I want to go there again and meet Kumari again and again. Pallav Sir has said that we can!