Traditional Healers in Nepal

In the article, “The Social Symbolism of Healing in Nepal” we learned that Nepalese in rural parts believe in the traditional methods of healing in order to cure certain diseases. As far as I know, it is still prevalent at this period of time in many parts of Nepal. When I read this chapter, I reminisced about the time when I too went to visit one of the traditional healers with my grandmother.

It was around a year back when I was in Kathmandu. I was having a hard time with the pain in my stomach. I had to go for a regular check up and colonoscopy every three months. Nevertheless, the treatment in the finest hospitals even could not find out the reason for my stomach ache. As none of the prescribed medicines helped help me get away from the pain, my grandmother decided to take me to a traditional healer near the town for a check up. I was not in favor to see her because I never believed in such beliefs. However, I had to go anyway to please my grandmother.

In Nepal, people who have faith in those healers believe that the healers are granted with a special power by God. They say that certain Gods incarnate in these people and therefore, they respect and worship those people. It is also believed that Gods assemble in those healers only in special days of the week such as Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Therefore, one Saturday, I went to visit a healer near our town. The room where she lived was dark and the aroma of incense and the posters of Gods over the wall made me feel curious to see how the actual healer looked like. There inside the room was a small throne where a woman with a red dress was sitting. I was very excited as it was my first experience in a place like that.

As advised by my grandmother, I handed her with three grains of rice. Then, she enchanted some chants and asked me my name. The most mysterious thing was that the woman described what kind of pain I was going through by observing the grains of rice in her hand. She told me that someone had curse me with a bad spell and therefore, she provided me an amulet and advised me to wear it for about ten years. Even though I didn’t believe whatever she had said, I did not say a word in front of her because of her scary eyes. However, no matter what she did, my stomach ache did not heal even after counseling her.

Therefore, it was an amazing experience to get to meet the traditional healer, but I feel sorry that my grandmother had to squander a lot of money in order to help me get rid of my pain. Talking about the amulet, I never wore it because I never believed in it.

Thus, there are many people who are still practicing traditional healing in Nepal. It is surprising that these types of healings help some people get rid of their diseases.

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Is Lying acceptable?

Even though all of us have been taught not to lie from our childhood, why do we consider it’s ok to lie? It’s obvious that there is nobody in the world who doesn’t lie or who hasn’t lied in his entire life. Judith Viorst in her essay, “The truth about Lying” has mentioned different kinds of lies that fall under different categories. This essay tells that people tell a lie when they are in dreadful situation or when they don’t want to hurt others by telling the truth. Those people who think that they don’t lie will encounter with different examples in this essay which will make them accept the truth that all people lie and that they also fall in one of the categories. While starting to read the essay in our class, we were told to reminisce about any of the scenes when we had lied. At that time, nothing came in my mind, I was thinking that I don’t lie anymore as I used to in my childhood, but when I started to read the essay, I found that almost all of the examples Viorst made had been used by me.

Viorst says that lies are necessary in order to be congenial. For example, it is always rude to tell a person who is dressing up for a party that she looks absurd in her party dress. Even though she looks odd in her new dress, we will eventually say that she looks gorgeous so that she doesn’t feel uncomfortable in her party. Similarly, we never tell the dying person that he is going to die soon when he asks what the doctor had said regarding his health. In both of these examples, it is clear that the answers to both of these questions were true, but instead of being rude, the person lied to tell them the truth. It is obvious that if the person had given them the right answer, the one who had asked the question might have been demoralized. Therefore, it is true that lies are accepted by our society and it is ok to lie if it doesn’t harm others.

Anthropology of Food

Food is considered as one of the topics in anthropology as it is an important matter that reflects civilization and society. As eating falls under an important category under human practices, it is a good idea to learn about food under anthropology in order to study about the food and eating habits of different culture and society. As food is related with social and cultural values, it reflects human behaviors and the culture they belong to. Moreover, if we try to know about other culture, the first thing that comes in our mind is the traditional food. Therefore, it is an identity of one’s culture.

In every culture, there are foods that symbolize tradition which has been followed from the past. For example, in Newar community of Nepal, egg, fish, and liquor are usually offered to people to bless them with luck especially in their birthdays and their new journey in any fields. Indeed, every culture has practiced certain food ways that tells how the food is eaten and also gives ideas on discipline while having food in one’s culture. For instance, in traditional Nepalese family, the head of the family is served with the food at first. It’s there tradition to eat their food by their hand. Furthermore, it is regarded as a bad habit to talk while having food together.

In addition, food is a metaphor of celebration. In every society, people often celebrate their happiness by treating their loved ones with food. It was not only prevalent in the past, but also is common in today’s society. For instance, whenever there is any new occasion or celebration, people often organize party in order to treat their friends and relatives. Also, to celebrate important events in one’s life such as marriage ceremony and graduation ceremony, people throw party to their realtives and friend, and ofcourse there is no party without food.

Furthermore, possessing food may differ according to the climate and regional basis. For example, in hot regions, people often have light food where as in dry and cold places people generally eat heavy food. It also depends on the type of food that is available in the places due to the differences in climate and topography. On the other hand, some foods also symbolize religious views. For example, Hindus often slaughter animals in the name of god in their main festivals. Meat is the main part of their feasts in the festival; whereas, Buddhists on the other hand do not sacrifice animals in their religious festivals.

Food not only falls under the traditional and religious categories, but also falls under globalization. Due to globalization of food, fast food has become a trend all over the world. Similarly, because of globalization, food of one country is introduced in other countries as well. For example, Chinese food is available in every parts of the world. It is the fact that due to the affect of the globalization, the food products of one country are available in the other. Thus, food is also one of the important parts of world economy.

Willy and his Extra-Marital Affair

In Arthur Miller’s play, “The Death of a Salesman”, Willy Loman was engaged in extra marital affair with another woman despite having a supporting wife. As he used to feel lonely outside his home in his workplace, he was in search for a company so that he can get relief from his stress. Even though he didn’t have heavy salary, he was squandering his money in such diversion. If we look this situation in the perspective of his wife, she did not know what he had been doing beside her back. If she had found him involving in something so wicked, she would have not forgiven him or she might have given divorced to him. On the other hand, if we look this situation on the perspective of Willy, he didn’t commit any crime. He was just fulfilling his desire of sex. What if he was not in relationship with that woman? May be his life in the work place would be bland with only work and no recreation.

Similarly, Willy was a man with infinite desires and hopes. He wished if he had been rich as his brother, and also wished to be paid much more than he deserves. Due to his never ending desires, he was suffering with mental torture with turned to be an illness. Without the intake of any psychoactive substances, he used to hallucinate. In his hallucination too, he used to meet his brother and talk about his economic problems. Similarly, if he hadn’t mention about his extra marital affair during hallucination, his son Biff would not have known about it. Therefore, as long as his wife was unknown about his relationship with another woman, nothing had changed; for example, neither his dreams of thinking about his family changed, nor his relation with his wife changed. However, he was once devastated when he saw his wife was mending her old torn stockings. It really made him mad as he reminisced about gifting stockings to his girlfriend. In this situation we can see an effect of his extra marital affair in his marital life.

According to me, we can blame neither Willy nor his wife for his extra marital affair.Additionally, he was not in long term relation with his girlfriend and it was not mentioned that he was not satisfied with his marital life. Similarly, he was not in love with his girlfriend; she was only there to entertain him while he was alone. If he had desires of sex and if he had not been involved in affair, he might have committed crime, something like rape. In addition, he would never be free from his mental stress in his work place as well. Furthermore, he might have thought that his short term relationship would not hamper his marital life, but through his conversation with the woman while hallucinating we can see that he had a feeling of guilt hidden inside.

Practice of Untouchability in Nepal

By now, every one of you has been familiar about the term “untouchables”. The autobiography, Growing Up Untouchable in India by Vasant Moon has provided us with the image of the condition of Mahar’s in the village called Nagpur. As I was reading the book, I reminisced about the situation of the lower caste people in Nepal who were known as the dalits. Till I read the first chapter of the book, I didn’t know that dalit was the term chosen by the group themselves. Even though I was familiar with the word from my childhood, I never knew its meaning.

In our school, we had to study about the different ethnic groups in our country and dalits were also one of them. When I first encountered with the word, I was in grade 4. I remember, we were told that the dalits were the untouchables. As I was naïve to know about the prejudice that existed in my society, I imaged that the dalits were like aliens as everyone pictured them not be touched. Later, as I became more familiar about the term, I watched some episodes of Nepali television serial which was telecasted in order to aware the people’s superstitious beliefs towards the dalits. In that serial it was clearly shown how the dalits were deprived of their rights. I still remember the scenes of that episode. In rural areas of Nepal, the dalits were considered to be the untouchables. It was said that those who would touch them were regarded as filthy, so they were discarded from the society and were not allowed to fetch water from the taps of the community. In addition, the dalit students were not allowed to sit on benches in the school. They were discriminated for being the low caste and therefore were forced to sit on the floor. Similarly, if they had meal in the restaurants, they had to wash their dishes by themselves.

Furthermore, when I was growing older, I came to know about the situation of the dalits in my country more. There was news which talked about the young dalit girls who had been kidnapped and raped. It was said that the police didn’t make any inquires to find the lost girls as they belong to the lower caste groups. Similarly, even after the repetition of such crimes, the government didn’t show any necessity to amend the laws and provide the deserved rights for the dalits. However, after the long struggle of the movement of dalits in search of human rights, they have been successful to get the equal rights as the other groups. In today’s context, the government has amended laws to eradicate untouchability from Nepal. However, there exist many villages in Nepal where the practice is still prevailed till today.

How to look Happy?

It amazed me when one of my friends in AUW asked, “Why are you always sad?” When I first heard her question, I couldn’t answer at instant because I did not know what kind of answer she was expecting. Some days later, another friend of mine told me that I look “like a robot”. When I first heard that, I could not stop myself from giggling. I asked her about the reason for saying that. She said that I never seem happy. She said that I look like as if I am not happy at all. At first I didn’t think about both of the compliments, but one day I really wished to know by myself if I was really unhappy. I looked myself on the mirror and tried to find out if the feeling of sadness is obvious on my face.

I had never thought about the meaning of happiness in my entire life. Till the day my friends commented on my expression, I had never thought that people can read my face. I did not know what kind of happiness I was searching for. Some days ago, in the library, I found a book called The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. I was curious to find out the happiness that my friends were trying to search on my face. I thought, after reading the book I might be able to learn something regarding happiness so that I would always be the epitome of happiest person in front of others.

When I first read the book, it didn’t hold my interest. For me, it seemed to be written for old people who are sick of their lives. Anyhow, the interview of Dalai Lama by the writer was somehow interesting. The book mostly talked about the meaning of happiness in Buddhism. At the end, I came across with some important skills to adapt with for a happy life. For example, I learned that happiness is achieved when there is no suffering, but as it is impossible to escape from suffering, we can’t be happy each day. Similarly, we can identify whether we are happier than other people or not by comparing ourselves with those who have been suffering through poverty. If we compare ourselves with them, we could identify who is happier. Furthermore, it is always helpful to train our mind to think positive and adapt the human nature around us.

After reading the book I really didn’t get what I was looking for, but it really helped me to enhance my knowledge regarding happiness. However, when I got to read the article about the 20 ways for happiness distributed in our Reading and Writing class, I found the thing that I had been searching for, the thing without which I looked like a person with no happiness. The thing that was missing in my face was ‘Smile’. Yeah! Now I’m damn sure that those friends will never ask me whether I’m happy or not.Thanks to Miss. Fatema for providing us that article, it really helped me.

The Road Not Taken

In the poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, the speaker is in dilemma on choosing a right road to travel. He has two alternatives, but does not know where they would lead. He is in confusion and finally makes up his mind to choose a road which had been walked by some others. He thinks that if he had chosen another way, he would have felt the same. Anyhow, he keeps the other way to travel the next day, but he is uncertain whether he would be back again or not. He says that in the future when he will talk about this dilemma, he would start with a sigh. He himself does not know whether the sigh would be for expressing happiness that changed his life or it would be for dissatisfaction for choosing the wrong way. As he has not traveled the road yet, it is unknown to him that the road will be beneficial for him or not.

According to the poem, there can be many alternatives to choose for a person. It is always hard to make decision on choosing the right path because we don’t know whether the path would be effective or not. Similarly, without choosing a specific path, it is difficult to judge if the path is a perfect choice or not. Therefore, all of us encounter with such dilemma in our lives. It’s us who have to fix it and it is prudent that those who later hit upon success are the lucky ones; whereas, those who would find no gain would have to turn their way back. It does not sound easy; however, it is a reality that it is impossible to choose two different paths at a same time.

When I read the poem, I realized whether the path that I have chosen is right for me or not. I had many alternatives, but had no specific ambition. My parents wanted me to choose a specific field for my further studies; whereas, my friends suggested me for the other. I was in the same dilemma as the speaker in the poem. At last I chose the path that I had never thought about before. I still don’t know if the path I have chosen will encounter me with success that everyone is running after, but I’m sure that I’ll not forfeit. However, I would of course look for something else later if I am able to find the field that I’m interested in. I guess there will come a time, in my future as well when I would tell about my dilemma to the others with a sigh. Like the speaker, I have to find out whether the sigh would be for satisfaction or dissatisfaction because I’m still on the way.

Relationship in Academic Curriculum

Do you think it is necessary to include a relationship curriculum in our academy? Why is it useful to know about relationships in broad? According to the article, “Relationship 101”, students are found to be more liable to learn about the internal relationship than the physical relationship. As physical education has already been included in schools, adolescents are more aware of how conscious they need to be regarding physical relationship. On the other hand, they are naive in handling relationship problems. They do not get advice on how to handle a relationship when it degenerates. Many students are found to have keen interest on learning how to handle their relationship.

Marline Pearson, a sociologist who teaches Couples’ Relationships at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin, is working to start a curriculum regarding relationship for high school students. According to her, not only the undergraduate students are affected by it, but also the high school students are having problems in understanding their relationship status. The youth of today are affected by the conditions of their ruining relationships the most. Due to the degrading relationships in the couples, they are vulnerable to serious problems like depression, frustration, as well as stress and anxiety. The effects of these problems can lead the youth to critical situations such as their interest in different fields may degrade. Similarly, the concentration on studies may decline when a person keeps on thinking about his ruining relationships. The relationship curriculum does not only teach about the issues of straight relationships but also that of homosexual relationships, which is a big problem among many youths who can’t share this situation with others. Furthermore, it is also seen that some of the students learning the course are able to save their ruining relationship.

In my view, it is necessary for every student to gain knowledge regarding relationships and it will be great if the relationship curriculum is acclimatized in school because school students are most susceptible getting mentally tortured by a ruining relationship as they experience it for the first time in the school days. In addition, many people, whether they be adolescents or adults, when they face problems arising in their relationships, they seek advice from their peers, who are not expert, on knowing about handling relationships. Thus, if the relationship curriculum is permitted in academics, many people will be able to manage their relationship status and help themselves.

The Joy Luck Club

The book, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, contains the stories of relationships between the mothers and daughters. Through this book, we can understand the generation gap and society affect the understanding between the mothers and daughters. Each character of the book has his or her own sorrows. The mothers, who had emigrated from China to America, have trouble understanding their daughters, who were born and brought up in America. The mothers of the stories seem very superstitious, yet they have adapted well in American society and have known their daughters very well.

Now, we have finished reading this book. It really feels great that we have become able to finish another book after Shabanu and The Little Prince. Talking about The Joy Luck Club, it was really fun to read about the relationships between the mothers and their daughters. Being a daughter, I really liked the chapters which talked about the misunderstanding between the mothers and their daughters as they are similar to that of the relationships in real lives. Similarly, through this book we come to understand many historic facts about China as well as the beliefs regarding old Chinese culture.

From the first section of the chapters, we can relate ourselves in the place of the daughters and consider if we are fulfilling our mothers’ dreams or not. Are we able to reach towards their expectations? For me, I had never thought about what my mother’s hope for me was. I had never ever tried to know what she expected from me. For example, Jing-Mei Woo, in the first chapter, “The Joy Luck Club” did not know much about her mother. She never tried to understand her mother and by the time she realized it, it was already too late. Similarly, we learned that the mothers of Jing-Mei and Waverly used to compare them. It can be related with our lives. I reminisce about those days when my mom used to compare me with my cousins. Whenever they got good grades, she used to give me their examples. That time, I always used to wonder why only my mother kept on comparing me with others. There was also a time when my mother used to be proud of me whenever I used to listen to her and do everything she wished me to do.

Besides, relating my childhood with the stories, I also became fascinated by the cultural facts of the Chinese culture mentioned in the book. I never knew about the Red Candle, the Moon Lady, the concubines in China, or the belief regarding seeing things before hand till I read the book. These things have made the book more interesting. However, the name of the characters and the stories regarding mothers’ mothers really confused me. It was complicated to remember whom the chapter was about, mostly while reading the book a night before the quiz.

Learn something from others’ experience

 In the chapter “Magpies” of The Joy Luck Club, An-Mei tells her daughter, Rose, the story of her mother who sacrificed her life for the sake of her daughter. In the story of An-Mei‘s mother, we found how she was coerced to be a concubine of the rich man. Through the story of her mother, we can clearly see how helpless women were tortured in the past in Chinese society. It was the second wife who cheated An-Mei. She knew that An-Mei’s mother was a widow and could be easily tricked, so later she played a trick so that she couldn’t escape from them and so that they could have a baby son from her. In Chinese society, it was a sin to remarry; as a consequence, she was not accepted by her own mother and brother.
I think An-Mei was trying to convey the message to her daughter that she had learned from her mother, i.e., not to share sorrows with others. An-Mei wanted Rose to find a path to get rid of the tension that she’d been going through because of the degrading relationship with her husband. An-Mei wants Rose to be able to make her own decision and find her way on her own without seeking help from the psychiatrist.
Through An-Mei we can see how mothers are very conscious about the lives of their children. They know that due to the generation gap, children do not listen to their morals, but still they never stop themselves from teaching their children about the experience they had learnt and heard in their lives. I think this situation which is to try to convey one’s experience to the juniors so that the juniors can learn something from the elders, is prominent in each society. They also try to make the moral interesting in the form of stories sometimes.
For example, I have a cousin who was dumped by her boyfriend. She did everything for him. Whenever he needed money, she would give her money that she had been saving for months to buy herself shoes. When he had any problem, she was always ready to help him. When he was depressed with his frustrating life, she was the one who made her uncle hire him for a job in his office. Despite every deed she had done, she was betrayed. It might be because he found new girlfriend after getting a job. Therefore, this was the reason that I always heard her saying to stay away from boys every time she unexpectedly encountered me with a boy. I never listened to her until I was betrayed by my ex. If I had listened to her, I might have never felt depressed after he left me. From my experience I think we can learn some important things from experienced people. Therefore, I think if Rose had listened to her mother, she would not have had to go to a psychiatrist and spend money without getting any support or solutions from him.