Monday, March 23, 2020

Learning about Teeth

Learning about Teeth
and removing Vidheha's teeth

Sydney Dental and Dr. Shakti Sharma were very welcoming. Dr. Sharma is a wonderful dentist who takes care of Vidheha’s teeth very well. Vidheha too is a wonderful patient. After Dr. Sharma took out her central incisors she asked, “Did it hurt?”

Vidheha put on a brave face and said, “No.” She has had three teeth extracted by Dr. Sharma and never shed a single tear. Today she is to have fluoride gel to strengthen her old baby teeth and to protect her new permanent teeth.


Kindly, Sydney Dental and Dr. Sharma offered to take classes for all of us at Spiny Babbler! She had previously invited me, Anita di, Vidheha, Bhagwati ma’am and Pallav sir to their gathering a few weeks ago.

She is a very good teacher as well as dentist. She and her team welcomed us and did several demonstrations. This class was also backed up by Terry ma’am’s Skype class on mammals a week ago and how we have two sets of teeth!

1) How to brush baby teeth (20 of them!) and how to brush permanent teeth (32 of them!) and how to floss. She had a special demonstration set of teeth to show us on which there were good teeth, decayed teeth as well as root structure we could see inside of and the blood vessels as well!

2) The structure of the teeth: enamel and dentin which make up the crown area; dental pulp, cementum and the blood vessels and nerves which make up the tooth root area. She had a real tooth to show us and we looked at each other’s teeth as well as Anita didi’s teeth

3) She also taught us about baby teeth that have central incisors, lateral incisors, canines, and 2 sets of molars. She then taught us about permanent teeth that have central incisors, lateral incisors, canines, 2 sets of premolars, and 3 sets of molars.

Snigdha and Shuvam were very interactive and gave great answers to her questions and we had a few laughs as well.

The it was time for Vidheha’s demo. She got on the reclining dentist’s chair, Dr. Sharma showed us the suction pipe, she said Vidheha would have fluoride put in for 3 minutes and she could not eat or drink for 1 hour! She put cotton and a yellow container in her mouth and showed us the gel as well as the paint.

It looked scary but Vidheha said it did not hurt. The process was fascinating and we saw many things. Then it was time to talk and then look at the X-ray machine and the image on the computer of the x-ray. After that we reviewed what we had learned. We had remembered quite a bit!

It was time for group photos then and it was time to say thank you and goodbye. Thank you so much for the wonderful morning Sydney Dental and Dr. Shakti Sharma.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The pea

The pea
Pisum sativum

Today, 23 February 2020. We are studying the pea which is a legume and eaten as a vegetable. It is a climber.

ORIGINS: The pea is believed to have originated in the Middle East, Mediterranean, and the Egyptian Nile area.

NUTRITION: The pea gives us a lot of Vitamin C along with fibre, Vitamin A and potassium among other good nutrition.

METHODOLOGY: We were paired with a friend and received a pod to etudie (as the French put it). Shila, Krit, Aarambha, Snigdha, Vidheha, Bishes, Shuvan, Mridvika, Aadhijay and Siddhant were involved in the study. After studying the pod, we opened it and observed what was inside. We measured and described the content. Then we proceeded to document the smell and taste of the plant. 

POD: First we had to study to outside of the pod. 
- The color of the pod was green, getting darker at the back. 
- The shape was long and narrow. 
- The length was 12.1 cm and the width 2 cm.

PEAS: After studying the pod, we opened it. Inside we saw spherical seeds that were light green. There were ten peas in my pod. Two on the top and bottom was very small with the other eight being big. The smallest peas were 3 mm and 4 mm in diameter. The largest pea was almost 9 mm in diameter. On one side the peas were a little white, especially with little connecting points where they were attached to the pod. The peas were not perfectly spherical. We saw that the seed broke up into two equal parts connected together by a skin. Therefore, the pea is a dicotyledonous seed. 

SMELL: The peas smelled of green leaves but the smell was light.

TASTE: The small peas were a little sweet and bitter. The largest peas were sweet. Some did not have much taste.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Making cookies: baked, fried

Making cookies: baked, fried
By Shila Shrestha 

Every day, we are trying to do many different things. We went outdoors, made rice, did exercises, running, hip hop dance, experiment, artwork based on artists, played flute, madal, tambourine, piano and many other things. We have to learn so many different things.  

It was the day during Christmas so, sir told us we were going to bake some cookies. We went to Bhatbhateni to buy items for making cookies. But some kids were at school because had to stay back at school. They had classes.

At bhatbhateni we got ingredients for each person. Santa gave us 1 packet of cook. We bought sugar, cucumber, butter and other things. We shared the ingredients that we bought with one another.

  1. Floor
  2. Honey
  3. Coca power
  4. Milk
  5. Grinded sugar
  6. Baking soda
  7. Butter
  8. Baking powder
  9. Vanilla
  10. dark chocolate liquid 

Then we were ready to make cookies. We put floor, butter, little bit of coca power, and granted sugar and other things. Some cookies were baked and some were fried cookies. It was very yummy. The baked cookies were very hard to chew but the fried ones were not that hard to chew. The fried cookies were soft. We made cookies and we ate the cookies. We like making cookies. We had lots of fun. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Visit to Swayambhunath

Visit to Swayambhunath
by Shila Shrestha 

Every year, we make it a point to visit all the seven world heritage sites of Kathmandu. Selected by UNESCO, these are special places to be in. We also watch the 3D and video combination “Seven Wonders of Kathmandu,” written and directed by Pallav sir for Spiny Babbler and UNESCO as a musical.

We have already been to Bhaktapur and Pashupati a bunch of time. Swayambhu is one place that we have not often visited due to the location being far. 

On the 9th of February, all of the students from our school went to Swayambhunath including myself. As the road to Swayambhu is long we had to have our lunch before heading out.

Whenever we go outdoors we always have to bring along our respective song books. We sing songs that really pump up our spirits and make the ride even more enjoyable. There are about 55 songs inside our songbook . 

After singing out lungs out throughout the ride, we finally reached our destination. Our van dropped us, but Bisesh, Vidheha, Bhagwati ma’am and Pallav sir had to attend the party. Pallav sir bought one packet of kapsey cookies for all of us. We had already tasted the cookies before, during our first visit here. Sabita didi also bought some packets of kapsey cookies for us, to munch on, on our way back to the school.

We saw a big pond that was next to a beautifully sculpted stupa that really caught my eye. We saw a lot of prayer wheels, that were already spinning around. Watching the prayer wheels spin was a very satisfying feeling so we decided to spin the prayer wheels too.

Even if the stairs were very long it definitely didn’t tire our legs. After a long hike up the stairs, we reached the temple that was situated on the top of the hill. We stopped for a group photo, as moments like this are to be captured. After a small photo session up the hill, we looked at the beautiful view that could be visible right outside the temple.

As we descended the long stairs, we noticed a crowd of people gathered around a well-like structure where the people threw coins into it. People have a belief set that when a person  throws in the coin inside the pot, wishes come true.There were so many coins inside the pot and water. Again we went up and up the long stairs. We were tired but also were very excited to reach our destination place, Swayambhunath.  

Savina ma'am and I took pictures by capturing the beautiness of that place with the children. Sabita didi took care of little children. We took a photo with Swayambhunath. We visited and rang the bell. Few people went to the top of swayambhunath to hang up prayer flags.

We got to see a lot of new things.There were  lots of bracelets, necklaces and other beautiful pieces of accessories that were on sale. We got to see a painting that really looked different and unique called the Thangka painting.    

After walking through the street vendors, we came upon a temple that was golden in color. As  I was filming the golden temple, I saw two monkeys feasting on Guavas and Bananas. In front of the temple there was a small hole where people put rice, chiura, color, flowers and tika.

I also got to film some cute moments of the monkeys, after feasting on a ton of fruits they decided to open up a packet of cookies and drank water together. I had figured out the paths due to my numerous visits to this beautiful place. All of us started climbing trees and playing around so it  tired us and made us hungry.

I still remember, long time ago we sat down at the same place and we had some delicious puri tarkari. As we were eating, we saw a monkey entered the shop, that really scared us and led us to finishing our food super quick.

After having puri tarkari we continued the Kora, as we approached Ringroad Savina ma’am took some pictures of us standing in front of the three avatars of gods and goddesses .

As soon as we arrived the main road, Savina ma’am called Pallav sir and in a fraction of minute we saw the van. All of us safely crossed the road and got to our van. After such an enjoyable and a fun energetic trip half of the kids slept while some still had the energy to sing as we were on our way back to school.

Outdoors are always fun. From Spiny Babbler all of the kids love to go outdoors and learn so many different things.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Exploring the North Side of Pashupati

Exploring the North Side of Pashupati
Commentary by Shila Shrestha with a blurb on Gaurighat by Vidheha

We are Going!

On 5 February 2020 Pallav Sir planned to take us on a visit to Pashupatinath. We have already been there many times. It would be nice. Last time when we went there, it was a little sad. Relatives were crying and because their loved ones were dead. It’s not good. So Pallav Sir said we were going to the other side of Pashupati and we would be exploring places and sites that we had read about this month in the Swasthani stories.

Getting Ready

We had to leave early, so I cooked the rice for everybody and I washed the lentil dal for Bhagwati ma’am to cook. Soon after the kids came, we ate lunch and we were ready to go. Unfortunately, the van had a flat tire so we were delayed. We went inside the van. Zoya was also going.

Songs in the Van

In the van, I was asked for the songbook and the music. Oops, I forgot so I ran along to get the pen drive and 6 copies of Song Book 1. Anil dada joined the pen drive into the sound system of the van and now we could sing songs along the way. We sang a lot of songs. 500 miles, Country Roads, Kkk Kathmandu, Buffalo Soldier, and many more.

A Little Walk, and a Carpenter

The tire had a nail so it had to be given to the garage for a while. The van stopped. We got out of the van. Pallav Sir said we would much rather walk along the Bagmati River than sit in the van doing nothing. Pallav Sir said we could climb trees. I think he was joking because we didn’t climb any trees after all. We visited a carpenter and looked at modern tools and how they helped him turn his hobby into a profession and the van came and we got on and reached the first of the temples to visit today: Gaurighat.

Vidheha Ranjan talks about Gaurighat:

Going to Gaurighat was fun. There were broken houses, there were also broken windows, there were people fighting nearby the temple. People were cleaning the river because the river was also dirty, though much better than the old days. There were lots of statues of gods near the river. There were lots of monkeys. One was eating a banana. In the old old days the Parbati, the wife of Lord Shiva stayed there when Lord Shiva went to the forests to play with the deer. When the gods stayed there the water was blue, the jungles were beautiful and the grass grew wild. The cliffs were also tall and wonderful. Now too the water is flowing but it is brown and stinks a lot. It is filled with plastic and garbage. The cliffs are tall and there is grass. But it’s not wonderful and beautiful and I wish someone would just clean the place and make the grass and water beautiful. I and my friends love going outdoors, to Gaurighat and other beautiful hikes and camps.

Moving on:

Bhagawati ma’am bought some tika and flowers. Niva didi took a class. She said we have to write about these temples. We sat on the floor got out our notebooks and pencils. We started to write about temples and what we saw there. When we were writing, people were discussing about money. We took some notes and photos. There was one big orange Hanuman and Narayan (Bishnu) sculptures.

We went to the riverside. Bhagwati ma’am bought some diya lamps. She bought five of them. Other people were also lighting diyas. We went to the riverside and the areas that had statues. She did puja there. All of us did namaste and we put on red tika. Again we took some photos with the gods. I took a photo of Bhagwati ma’am’s family also.


Then we climbed up to the bridge and there was a steep hill with white walls and stone stairs. This was where Lord Shiva came as a hunter and Parbati followed him. We walked a short but steep distance up and there were many people doing puja.  This temple was called Kirateshwor mahadev. It was a nice temple. There were trees and a Shiva linga inside a beautiful courtyard. After asking for blessings, we came back down the hill and the Mrigasthali where Lord Shiva played and where there are black bucks, barking deer and spotted deer was on our right. There were blind people playing music. And since today was Ekadashi, a phase of the moon, there were a lot of worshippers everywhere. Usually when we come to these places it is a lot quieter.

Kailash Temple Area

We saw the Kailash temple are which is old. It was now broken. There were bars as the place was being repaired and we didn’t go inside. When I saw that, I was sad because we couldn’t visit that temple. The earthquake had damaged the many temples in the area and it is so sad when we hear these things.


We were very happy to see Bisesh and Bhagawati ma’am’s sisters and father. We put on tika for blessings. We have visited this temple many times. This temple is called Guheswori. It was very nice. Zoya wanted to come with me but she had to go with her mom. We went down and we saw a big beautiful tree. We climbed to its feet and sat down and we brought out our flutes.

Playing Our Flutes

This is the same place we played our flutes when we came here with Niki and Phoebe. We played many songs, we played: Resham Firiri, Aye kancha, Bhanjo khet ma, Changba hoi Changba, Om jaya Jagadish hare and Kalilo tamalai. When we were playing, old women came and took photos of us. One lady and one boy knew the lyrics to Aye kancha and they sang the song. Two old women wanted to take a picture with me. When they saw me, they remembered their granddaughter. Their granddaughter also played the flute and now she is in America. They wanted to give me 100 hundred rupees but I said I don't need the money. She requested that I take it many times so I took the money to share with my friends. Then we ate oranges. They was so sweet, they were nice oranges. 

Puri Tarkari

We walked to the van. We went to a local hotel and ate puri tarkari. Puri was soft but tarkari was so hot and spicy. Vidheha couldn’t eat spicy so she ate the sabudana instead.

With Bishesh’s Family

We reached Bishesh’s house and dropped him off but we all got out of the van as well. We went to Bishesh’s home and played with the bicycle. I and Bishesh know how to bicycle. Zoya ate lito as she is just 14 months old. Bhagwati ma’am mum gave us banana. Then we left and most of us were asleep in the van. Zoya slept on my lap. When she was sleeping she was so warm. I want to carry Zoya.

Some Thoughts While Coming Back

There were so many temples but most were dirty. This Gauri Ghat is a nice place and there were lots of peoples but it was really dirty and smelly. There were trees and hills and it was a very beautiful forest. The lighted diyas can also be dangerous, once child touched a buring diya while we were there. It’s so dangerous for big and small people, I thought. When we sat and played the flute there were broken glasses. I have been to these temples so many times, today was the fifth time I think, I don’t remember.

Back Home

And we reached the school. It was a nice trip because Zoya was also there and so it was a great day. I loved visiting temples and I also like to climb. I love to go camping. I want to go camping.