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!

Friday, April 12, 2019

About Boudha

About Boudha
1 April 2019, Monday
by Anita Bhattarai

We are going to Boudha for a visit. This is our spring break and we try to go somewhere every day! It is really nice to be out and about.

Every time we go somewhere, we take our musical instruments with us so we can just sit and play. We also take our art copies with us because it is always wonderful draw what we see. We also take our note copies and cameras to talk to different people we meeting and take pictures and videos of what we see and who we meet!

Boudha is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Kathmandu Valley. It is a Buddhist stupa and is said to be the biggest in Asia. Boudha is said to be founded by the Lichhavi King Siva Dev by some while others say that it was made while King Manadeva was reigning. 

Tibetan sources say that the mound was excavated in the late 15th or early 16th century and the bones of King Aṃshuvarma were discovered there.

I am proud that this stupa is in Kathmandu and I am happy we are going there again! When I get inside the gate the stupa is amazing and it is very big. The stupa is white with the head of the stupa is golden. There are prayer flags of many colors all around the stupa. The flags are red, blue, green, white and yellow.

There were so many pigeons all around the stupa, too. They are on the prayer flags and on the ground. People are feeding the pigeons.

Along with Swayambhu, Boudha is the most popular religious sites from Buddhists in the Kathmandu area. Tibetan Buddhists who settled here in the 1950s give it spirit and meaning. 

It is said that at a time when trade with India did not exist because of Malaria, Boudha served as the place where people could go to buy warm wear, rent mules and hire porters before heading off to Tibet.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables

Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables
2 April 2019, Tuesday
by Anita Bhattarai
Those who have been with us for a long time know that we plant sooooooooo many plants! We have planted many types of flowers, fruit and vegetables. We plant the seeds or saplings, take care of all the plants by watering them and adding fertilizers, weeding them and putting them in sunlight if needed or protecting them from too much water.

Our flowers are in our small garden patch and all our vegetables are at the back kitchen garden patch. The fruit that we plant are taken care of until they are good sized saplings and they are taken to the village to plant. We have done avocado, lemon, mulberry and camphor trees.
The flowers are great to look at and to study: ovules, stigma, pollen…. We take care of the vegetables until they are ripe and ready and then we eat them. We eat the leaves as in spinach, vines as in pumpkin, fruit as in eggplant and squash, and roots as in radish.
Before I was even here, the spiny babbler kids had planted a lot of avocado seeds and had given 52 avocado trees to be planted in a village in Dhading. The most recent vegetables we planted was spinach. We took care of them, saw them germinate, we weeded and gave them water, we picked away the plants that had grown too thick, we transplanted the saplings to make sure distances were good and we put fertilizer. 
When they fully grew, we ate what we had taken care of for months and when we ate our lunch and dinner using what we had planted and taken care of, we had a very satisfying feeling. Right now our kitchen garden patch is pretty empty as the spinach that we were eating is finished. There is still lettuce that we eat and also Zoya who is six months old eats. 
There is celery, shallot, aloe, onion but we wanted more so we decided to plant more vegetables. We went to Lagankhel and bought lots of different vegetable saplings. We bought chilies, eggplants and tomatoes. Sabita didi helped us dig up the land and made holes at appropriate distance. We planted the saplings in the holes and covered the roots gently with soil.
Everybody helped with the planting and everyone got to plant several plants. Then we watered the plants. We will take great care of the saplings till they are fully grown by giving them plenty of water, making sure they are healthy. We are finding ladybugs and we are putting them in the flowers that have aphids on them.
I am happy really we are getting to eat what we grew by ourselves. Pallav sir says that our work contributes thousands of rupees to our school. He said that we grew more than Rs. 4000 worth of spinach alone in the last three months. Yay!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Typing Eastern Music Notations

Typing Eastern Music Notations

by Shila Shrestha

I am now able to type up music notations in Nepali. Pallav Sir said we have to learn to type these notations so we can correct our notes and share them with our friends. Pallav Sir downloaded Hari Lekhani and Ome Bhatkhande fonts and installed them on the laptops.

“We have a lot of songs and it is very important to be able to document them, if you can type the notations, it will be very very good,” said Pallav sir. “In the world, there are not many people that can type the Eastern music notation and that is why you should learn notation typing,” he said.

Eastern music typing is very hard to do and it is not at all easy like English typing. The last time I took a English typing test, I completed 37 words in a minute at 97% accuracy. I am now 10 years old.

But to type Eastern music notation, first we have to change the font. Then we have to set the tabs but that is too hard to do so Pallav Sir helped me set things up.

At first, I just watched how to type the Eastern music notations as Utu dada and Anita didi who are older than me were working on the laptops. Then I got more time to learn and I am a lot better at this. Pallav Sir says, of everyone at the school, I am the best in typing Eastern music notations.

I have already typed and corrected 15 songs and music pieces. There are like fifty-four songs I have to type. I like to type the notations even though it is sometimes too hard.

I have made a folder of these notes and we print the notations we need when we need them. Because of this folder, it is not easy for everyone to get the notations of the songs that they want to play. My hard work has made things easy for everyone.

I am happy that I am able to give the notations to Dhana Sir who teaches us music, Pallav Sir, my friends and those who come to Spiny Babbler Evolution for their holidays. I think my work has helped everyone.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Movie Review: The Sound of Music

by Swosti Shakya

I watched “The Sound of Music” this Friday. Seven children learn to like Maria, a young woman who is sent to be their governess by a nunnery.

I did not like the part where the seven children put a frog in Maria pocket! This movie is mostly about the seven children, their father and Maria. The seven children trouble their governesses by putting frogs in their pocket, spiders in their bed, and once even a snake so they all run away.

Maria used to study at a nunnery (church). She was always distracted. She was always late, sang all the time, and went out of the church most of the time. The other nuns had to search for her everywhere! They even made a song about Maria called “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”

An older nun (Mother) called Maria and told her to become a governess for the seven children of the Captain. This is how her adventure begins.

Maria faces many difficulties and hardships and finally achieves a gift for her hard work. Maria teaches the seven children to sing. They are so talented. They like to sing but their father does not like them to sing as he is very very strict.

With Maria, they go outside and Maria teaches them many songs. They learn very fast. I also like to sing and I have also learned how to sing “Doe a deer.” I also know how to play “Do re mi fa so la ti do” on the violin.

I too want to sing liked Maria. I want to watch this move again and again because it is a very beautiful, wonderful, emotional and amazing.

Liesl, the eldest sister is 16 years old and has a friend Rolfe who was 17 years old. They are in love. They sing lots of songs. I did not like the Captain at first because he always behaved very seriously but I started to like the Captain later. Maria and the Captain (the seven children’s father) are married at the end.

You should also see this amazing movie.

Movie Review: The Grinch

The Grinch
by Swosti Shakya

Directed by: Scott Mosier, Yarrow Cheney; Produced by: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy; Based on: How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss; Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury, Runtime: 86 minutes

I watched a movie on Thursday. The movie’s name was “The Grinch.” Grinch is a green person. His dog’s name is Max. This movie was so interesting.

The Grinch did not like Christmas and a little girl changed his mind. I want to watch this movie again and again. My favorite part of the movie is when the Grinch gifts a toy to Max, his dog. I didn’t like the part when the Grinch makes his evil plan to stealing Christmas gifts from every house.

He is so kind to his dog Max. The really funny part of this of the movie is when Grinch is stealing the gifts of a sleep-walking man who asks the Grinch for milk and says “thank you mummy” to Grinch.

I like the character of the little girl because she did not want a gift for herself, she wanted it for her mother! The little girl was so kind to her mother. I did not like character of the Grinch at first because he was very selfish. Later I began to like the Grinch because he started to behave kindly.

Max is so cute. He worked like a servant for Grinch. He is so good and kind to the Grinch. The heart of the Grinch very small because he was selfish but when he became kind his heart started to grow bigger.

I really liked the last part when the Grinch celebrates his first Christmas night party at the little girl’s house. I think you, too, should watch this movie.

Music at the Krishna Temple

 by Shila Shrestha

Today we went to play flute again. This time we went to the Krishna Mandir and the areas nearby. Kashi, Anita didi, Swosti, Utu dada, Vidheha, Krit, Sabita didi, Vidheha's grandmother and I were there. Anita didi, Vidheha and I played the flute, Utu dada played the madal and Swosthi played the violin.

Swosthi plays the really nice. It was so sunny and hot. We started with the national anthem. We played other songs like the Mangal Dhoon. We had already practiced these songs in morning. Many people took videos and photos of us. Small kids and old people also listened to us.

We went to another location and people listened and said that our music was beautiful. We played different fun songs. Tourist came by and watched us and too videos and photos. After wrapping up, we went and bought vegetable saplings because we try and grow our own vegetables. We had a great day.