Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Lapsi hunting and making lapsi achar
by Utkrishta Mulmi


Scientific name: Choerospondias axillaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Anacardiaceae
Order: Sapindales


Lapsi tree that has shed its leaves for the winter. A member of the parrot flock that was probably planning to enjoy the sour fruit.

Lapsi or the hog plum is an oval fruit about the size of a thumb. Found in Asia it has a soft white sour flesh and greenish yellow skin. The fruit is used in Nepal to make achar pickles, candy, spice vegetables and other types of food. The fruit is nutritious and priced near the mandarin orange or tangerines on the market.


Teena on the lapsi hunt, Vidheha finds her find. Bishes below goes Ooooo. I find me some lapsi toooooo.

The deciduous tree grows up to 20 meters tall and can earn more than 2500 rupees a year in as is fruit alone. Every season, we want to make lapsi achar sweet as well as the salty version. We hadn’t made the achar this year and Sabita didi who is in charge of the kitchen had been saying it was time to head to the forest for the past couple of weeks.

Our first encounter gathering lapsi was in a Bungamati jungle while hiking. Vidheha, Bishesh and Amulya found lapsis in the bushes as we explored. So we split up into two groups with Vidheha, Amulya and Bishesh in one and Anita, Shila and Tina in the other.

The next hike was a focused one. We wanted to get lapsis and targeted the Chanlakhel hills where we knew there were many lapsi trees in the forests from hikes of the past few years. We started picking lapsis on the path and forest floor from the start.

Eena Shrestha photofies Shila Shrestha
who found lapsis in the bush while
hiking in the Bungamati bushes.
We found ourselves in a section of the forest with tons of lapsis. We got what we found and moved on to a village where there were even more lapsis. The villagers let us find the lapsis and take them as long as they were on the ground.

When we got back to school we found that we had picked 7 kilograms of lapsi. Not a bad collection and enough to make achar that would last us a couple of months. We were happy!


Now I get to the actual making of the achar part. A day later, we set up two tables. Last time around we had waited a couple of days and had to throw away some of the hard found lapsi so this time around we did not want to waste even a single plum.

Eena and I started researching the different spices that we would need. We were going to make spicy salty lapsi achar and sweet lapsi achar.
 
 The ingredients for the sweet lapsi achar included sugar, fenugreek, fennel, cumin and thyme. The younger kids would love this.

To make the spicy salty achar we needed garlic, green chillies, salt, powdered red pepper, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, cumin, thyme and fennel. This is for the older people like me (though I cannot eat all that spicy!).

Vidheha takes the plum photo and hey that is like 8 kilos.
We prepared the material. The hog plum had been boiled. The spices and sugar and salt and everything else put in bowls. Basins were ready. Of course someone had to do something interesting. This started with Amulya smelling all the spices and that included taking a big sniff of the red pepper. The sneezing started and went on for many minutes until he himself was the color of the red chilly powder!

We started to peel the lapsis. This was a lot of fun. We had carefully washed our  hands. Everyone got involved including the little ones. The lapsi achar that we make ourselves is a lot tastier than the achar that we just watch others make.

After peeling half of the lapsis we took them to the kitchen to make the sweet achar. Sabita did had turned on the big gas stove and she had a pot on and oil hot and cooking. The young ones were put far far away until the lapsi was put in.

Sabita didi showed us how to put the spices and mixed all the spices. Anita is older and more skilled so she got to work with the spices and knives more. All of us got to peel the garlic because that was safe. I am glad we did not need onions because then we would all be crying!



We took turns to stir the achar until it was well cooked with oils, sugar, and spices all mixed together well.

Next we started working on the spicy achar. This time around, we didn’t have to peel the lapsis because peels have a lot of vitamin and they help make the spicy achar even better, sourer and spicier. We added the peels that we had removed for the sweet achar.

Soon the oil was hot and we had to go away just to make sure we did not burn ourselves. Then Sabita didi put in the spices and we had a lot of fun sneezing even though we were far away. After washing hands again, the older kids like me, Anita, Eena, Shila and Teena got to stir the achar as it cooked.

Once the cooking was over, it was time to let things cool down and put them in the jar and have a taste. Having the taste is very popular around here. Everyone was crowding around and happy and told to stand in line.

Obviously, the sweet achar was everyone’s favorite. From the very next day we started having achar for lunch. We finished the sweet low spiced achar first. Even the youngest wanted the sweet achar that was somewhat spicy and hot after this bottle was done. We got to take some home to share with our family.

Now we are almost finished with the spices and I haven’t even finished this blog yet! Either we ate the achar too fast or I am writing too slow! I think it is the latter J.

Hope you had fun reading this. If we can make it very soon, we will run off to the forests again to pick lapsi. We are going camping soon and maybe there will be many lapsis to find.






 


 


Thursday, November 30, 2017




My Boxing Experience
by Eena Shrestha
25 November 2017

Boxing is an amazing sport. We learn it at school for self-protection. I started as someone who doesn’t know anything about boxing. On my first day of lessons, we stretched and I had to just raise and lower my heels.

Then I started learning the positions and punches for training and sparring. I only learned the straight punches or jabs and foot work that day, but it was a little confusing. The next couple of days were less confusing but still confusing enough.

As I learned many more punches and combinations such as jabs, uppercuts, hooks, slips, dodging, it was all very complicated, I thought.

Three times a week, we have boxing lessons. They are intense. We stretch with the warm up to avoid injury. We start with the hands then move down to our feet. In the middle of the stretches we run and jump.

As we jump we stretch our body, and when we stop running, we do a few more stretches and rest. There are about 30 different sets of exercises that we do while warming up.

After a rest, we normally do shadow boxing. I didn’t know how to do shadow boxing because I didn’t even know how to do foot-ups, so… Pradeep sir taught me how to do hooks, upper cuts, how to hit down and up, dodging,  and slips.

Balance is also really important in baxing because if you don’t have balance you’ll just fall and lose, and does anybody in the world want to lose? No… I don’t think so. But by doing some gymnastics basics, we try to get much more balance and control over our body.

Punches and foot work have to be done together, otherwise you would either move forward for nothing or stay there and punch. There are 4 types of punches that I’ve learnt, they are: jabs to the face, jabs to the belly, hooks and upper cuts.

With the hook we try and hit the side of faces and with upper cuts we try to hit the chin or the upper midsection. There’s also two defensive moves that I’ve learnt. They are: dodge and slip. I learned these moves step by step and after learning them, I learned a few different combinations.

I also focused on foot movement combinations like how to do a foot up. I still didn’t know how to, do shadowboxing and I stayed on the same spot while practicing. Then while punching I moved forward but still came back to the same spot. With footworkI learned to keep my knees strait. Unless I’m going down to dodge, then the front knee should be bent.

I’ve been doing shadow boxing for about two and a half months, and I’ve sparred wearing boxing gloves three times. Even if I’ve done boxing with gloves on, I didn’t feel ready to spar but I had to try and so I did and….

Anita didi hit me on my chest, which hurt… quite badly so… I ended up crying. Amulya, a 4 year old was learning to punch and Tina had to practice her defense with him and he made her cry. Pallav sir teased us a little and we both ended up happy….

Overall boxing is about getting mentally and physically strong, so if a random stranger came and punched you, you would be able to protect yourself instead of crying and getting hurt.



The Gods Must be Crazy
Part One Movie Review
by Eena Shrestha
21 November 2017, Tuesday

Directed by Jamie Uys; Produced by Jamie Uys; Nǃxau as bushman, Marius Weyers as Mr. Steyn, Sandra Prinsloo as Ms. Thompson, Michael Thys as M'Pudi (the person with 7 wives), Louw Verwey as Sam Boga(bad guy leader); Runtime 1 hour 49 minutes; South Africa; 1980

The Gods Must be Crazy is a good movie. I liked the movie because it shows how people survive in the wild without a lot of food or water.

The tribal people in the Kalahari Desert live a happy life. One of them finds technology for the first time, in the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle falling to Earth from an airplane unbroken. He takes it back to his people, and they use it for many tasks, like making music, cooking, smoothening out snake skin and more. The villagers started fighting over the strange distant object, so Xi decides to take the bottle back to the gods, where he thinks it came from, to restore the peace that was in his tribe.

It felt weird seeing the bottle fall from a very high place and land unbroken on the Earth’s ground.

Meanwhile we see the very awkward greeting with Mr. Steyn and Ms. Thompson. The car wasn’t able to cross the river so they are forced to stay the night in the wild. In the morning Mr. Steyn tried to get the car out of the river with the help of a tree, but when Ms. Thompson calls for help, he goes to help her. When he came back from helping her he finds that the car is out the river but is hanging on the branch of the tree.

When Xi comes across goats, hungry, he shoots a goat with a tranquilizer arrow, but is caught and imprisoned. M'pudi, who once lived with the tribe and still speaks Xi's language, says that Xi will die if kept in prison, he and Steyn employ Xi as a tracker for the remainder of his sentence in prison.

Meanwhile, the bad guys invade Kate's school and take her and the students as protection for their escape to the bordering country. Mr.Steyn, M'pudi, and Xi soon discover their wild life observation work is on the bad guys' path. They manage to stop them as they are passing by and save Kate and the children. However, Jack Hind takes Kate away, and Mr. Steyn is left there alone even though he saved her and the children. 

Mr. Steyn says his goodbye to Xi and heads to talk to Kate about his problems when with girls, with the moral support of M’pudi, and Kate is alright with the fact.

Xi was given money but as he walked away he dropped all the money and went to find the “evil thing” and throw that off the end of the world. We saw him find the “evil thing” and throw it off a really, really high cliff, that was above the clouds.

I felt really confused when Xi went to the cliff that was above the clouds with pretty much no clothes on. I would rate this movie an 8/10.


The Gods Must be Crazy
Part Two Movie Review
by Eena Shrestha
22 November 2017, Wednesday

Directed by Jamie Uys;Produced by Jerry Weintraub; Nǃxau as Xi, Eiros as Xiri (son), Nadies as Xisa (daughter), Hans Strydom as Dr. Stephen (the man that steps on the skunks), Lena Farugia as Ann Taylor (the lady), Erick Bowen as Mateo, Treasure Tshabalala as Timi; Runtime 1 hour 38 minutes; South Africa; 1989

The Gods Must be Crazy is an incredible movie. I personally liked the movie because it was really funny and enjoyable.

Two elephant poachers crossed the area in which Xi's tribe lives. Curious about the    truck, Xi's son, Xiri, and daughter, Xisa, climb onto the water tank and are then taken on an uncontrolled ride as the poachers continue. Xi follows the truck’s tire print on foot, strong-minded to save his children.

A young attorney, Ann Taylor, reaches at a bush clinic to partake in a speech. Since she has some spare time, she accepts an offer from a young man to take a ride in his two-seat, twin-engined light aircraft. They go to see scientist Dr. Stephen Marshall, who exchanges places with the other pilot so he and Ann can continue on, but the plane crashes because of a storm, stranding them both in the middle of the Kalahari Desert.

A war is starting, that includes a lost Cuban soldier (Mateo) and his Angolan enemy (Timi), who non-stop try to take each other as a prisoner to their bases.

I really liked when Ann meets the two soldiers and found them fighting she makes them hold hands while she holds a gun and shows she isn’t afraid to shoot them.

In the course of the movie, all these people cross paths with Xi and/or his children. The poachers capture Xi, Ann, Stephen, Mateo, and Timi.

Xi succeeds to save them, and one of the poachers, who is truly a nice guy kept under the ordered of his boss, gives Xi the directions to his children. The boss poacher is caught, both soldiers come to somewhat unwilling terms and go their separate ways without any extra violence, Taylor and Marshall return to civilization and Xi and his family are happily united.

I got really happy when Mateo and Timi kind of ended their mini war with trying to take each other to their bases and ended up friends.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


I rode on the elephant with my Baba, Mamu, and Hajurbuwa
The bear got bored and started fighting another bear











At the Zoo
by Vidheha Ranjan
November 26, 2017

Up close and nice. Last time there was a cutie rhino that had a big wound from fighting. 

Macaws were really very noisy
 Everyday I want to go to the Zoo. Amulya dada, Bishesh dada, and I love the Zoo and the Fun Park. We said we wanted to go today, tomorrow and the next day. In the morning, I played the flute with Utu dada and then we played the keyboard. Jamuna maam was teaching us Nepali when Mamu called the three of us and we screamed “Yaay” “Whooo” and we went. Anita didi also went with us.

Swing, last time on a hike we rode on a bamboo swing
We walked to the zoo. We did not have to stand in line. We went in with the cards that had tigers on them. First of all we saw Gharial crocodiles. They had very long mouths called snouts. There were two of them. They were sleeping in the sun. When I tried to take photographs, the camera got stuck so I could not take photos.

So we went to play. We played on the swing and the seesaw. I and Anita didi were partners while Amulya and Bishesh were partners. Up and down, up and down. Next we played on the slides. 

I love seesaws

Bhudiphor means the tummy opener
There were deer with spot, spot, spot, spot, stop, spot, spot, spotted deer. One of them was very big, as tall as I am showing you and the others were small while the babies were smaller, like I am showing you. Mamu said, “Let us go now, we have seen many spotted deer.”

So many spots
We saw monkeys next. They were jumping while the chimpanzee was climbing a bit and shaking a vine. 

We had come to see the monkeys make jokes but the monkeys (a gorilla, not monkeys) we saw was eating fruit and did not do anything funny. There was another monkey with a long tail and it was also climbing.

They nearly chased a man away!
We looked at the tiger after that. One of them was old while the other one was strong. I think when the tiger gets old it will walk with a stick, ok ok, a tiger does not walk with sticks, just kidding. 

I am thinking from my head, see me tap my forehead like Amulya dada. I saw the tiger and thought it was old. The old tiger was walking while the strong tiger was sleeping. It had become tired after walking and its legs hurt so it went inside the cave and went to sleep.

Tiger, tiger burning bright, in the forest of the night

The hippo was eating and eating and going grum grum. Its ear was so small and the hippo was so big. Small and big, small and big, small and small and small and big. Small small small, you are big, you are big. I love you. 



The hippo was eating carrots, cabbages, bananas, I saw three things. It must have been very hungry. I like carrots and bananas and cabbages not so much. In fact, I don’t think I like cabbages.

Rhinos were also eating and were sitting cutely. There was one with a wound last time. I felt so sad, it was a sweetie pie rhino. I did not see it this time. 

I saw the bear. It ate and ate and got tired and started to fight with its friends. It started using its hands and claws and started pawing his friend. There were three of them.

We went to play again, the swans were sunning themselves, the pelicans were also there. The pelicans nearly chased a man because he went close.

Then we went to the peacocks. They did not dance today. Last time we went there, they were not dancing either. They never dance when I am there.

Emus were black and they were smelly. They were walking around. They had long long, this long necks. We also saw a fox-like animal. If an ostrich came here to our home, we could keep it. We saw ostriches. But I think if we keep them they will break many things in the house with their necks. Maybe. So I don’t think I will keep an ostrich. They will destroy many things.

We saw the colors bird. Mamu says it was the macaws. They went caw aaaw oooaw and made a lot of noise. The owl was there. It was sitting in the corner. The owl tries to eat Lily and Benjamin. Benjamin is chased around a lot by the owl when I watch Peter Rabbit. The tortoise baby was there and it peeked at us. Its mother had gone in.

We ate popcorn, biscuit, puff and oranges. We fed the pigeons and chased the crows who wanted to eat the pigeons’ food. In the end, as this is over, please write fee (I don’t know how to say ished so please write it yourself).


Feenished!



We had a most wonderful view of the hippo who talked to us while having his lunch. And there is the rhino and the smelly emu.





Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Alice in Wonderland
November 19, 2017
Film reviewed by Vidheha Ranjan

Directed by Geronimi, Jackson, Luske; actors Beaumont, Wynn, Haydn; runtime 75; produced by Walt Disney; 1951


The movie poster Alice and Vidheha

I liked Alice in Wonderland, the movie. I have watched it maybe six times. It is funny. Alice’s sister is reading all the time under a tree. Alice tries to put a daisy chain around the cat. The cat sees a rabbit and so does Alice. It goes into a hole and she follows him and she falls in. She says goodbye to her cat.

I particularly like Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Alice in Wonderland. They block Alice’s path and go peep peep. They are jokers you see. Alice sits on a branch and Tweedledum and Tweedledee tell her jokes.

Then there is a Caterpillar who blows into a pipe and letters come out of him. Alice coughs when she is covered by them.

Artwork of a wonderland by Vidheha.

There are also the March Hare who is serving tea to everyone all the time. While they were drinking tea, the March Hare, the Doremouse and the Mad Hatter sing songs. They say it’s their birthday and give her tea. The Doremouse is sleeping in the tea pot and sings the Twinkle Twinkle song. The mouse runs when he thinks there is a cat and everyone has to hold him and Alice takes some food to his nose and so he quiets down again. They are funny.

Vidheha has her own Wonderland and her rabbit. Or is that the February Hare?
Then there are the Queen, the people, and the cards. The cards come with the Queen. I found the Queen scary. She shouts. I don’t think I can watch the movie on my own. I can only watch on my own when I am big like Baba. I can watch with Baba and Mamu though and I can tell them that I am scared.



Everyone chases Alice in the end and there is a door. It opens its mouth. “Please open,” Alice says, “Help me.” In the end, Alice remembers her path and she gets back home. Everyone should watch the movie. Alice is the best person of all in the movie. If they watch it they too can tell us about what is happening in it.



The mad tea party is one of Vidheha's favorite sections in the movie.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Art Explorations
by Utkrishta Mulmi

   

Eena makes artwork based on the creation of Clemente. 
"Akure" from the New York Museum, 1993. Pastel on paper. 40x28 inches. 

We occasionally test what we have learned in visual art. We have looked at famous artist’s artwork like Clemente, Francis Bacon, da Vinci, and Michelangelo. We have studied and made portraits, landscapes, still life, experimental artwork and even helped set up the Spiny Babbler Art Gallery. 

 


Self-portraits by Vidheha, Amulya, and Teena.

The art test was really interesting for me, not like a test at all. First we had to make a portrait of ourselves. We had seen the self-portraits of Clemente and Francis Bacon, Da Vinci and Michelangelo had also done these. It took 30 minutes for us to make a self-portrait. Pallav sir told us that we could take time and make it good. Da Vinci took 13 years on and off to finish the “Last Supper”, he said.


da Vinci's "Female portrait" redone by Utkrishta Mulmi.
Then we had to rework a picture made by one of the famous artists we had studied. Each group got a book to study and every individual had to choose an artwork that they wanted to rework. I had da Vinci and he had drawn a lady in a forest.  It was called “A female portrait,” life size, 37 cm, now at the National Gallery in Washington.




















  

Ashoka stupa of Lagankhel by Bishes and Vidheha.

Next we were required to do a landscape artwork of the Ashok stupa we had visited, read poetry at, made live art a few weeks ago. Everyone made different renditions of the stupa. Landscapes like hills and mountains that we see when we go on hikes helped me as well as cityscapes when we go on cultural walks.

   

Then we made still life artwork looking upon three sets that were prepared by Palistha ma’am. One team got basketball hoop and different balls and boxing gloves; another got fruit set upon the round table; and the third group got a pile of pencils.

Ashok stupa of lagankhel by Amulya and Utu.
Below, still life study both by Amulya.



    

I, Amulya and Shila drew the boxing gloves and two balls with a basketball hoop; Anita and Bishesh drew the fruit and the rest of them drew pencils. Then came the puzzle, we had to guess which artist did which artwork. That was not really hard because everyone had distinct styles that we had been studying for the past two months. Michelangelo made artwork on ceilings and walls; Clemente and Francis Bacon had similar sort of styles so that needed some thought; while da Vinci were similar to Michelangelo but since Mona Lisa was the image, that was easy.


Self-portrait by Utkrishta Mulmi.
    

Francis Bacon artwork "Study for portrait" to the left redone by Anita.


Vidheha's remake of a Clemente artwork. Anita's self-portrait.

    

Bishesh make a self-portrait and a remake of Bacon's artwork.

    

Eena Shrestha self-portrait, Amulya's da Vinci "Female portrait."

    

Bacon artwork remake by Teena and the Ashok stupa by Shila.

    

da Vinci remake by Shila. Original on the left.