Bagmati River Cleanup Campaign

Bagmati River Cleaning Campaign
Chain of Volunteers Cleaning Bagmati River

Just as I was named Goodwill Ambassador for cleaning Bagmati recently, I became fearful of my voluntary job. What if I fail to achieve some concrete results in the cleaning project of Mother Bagmati River? This is the lifeline of humans, cattle and vegetation in and around the precious and picturesque Kathmandu. Our home is so beautiful yet it has been plagued by irresponsible human behavior of throwing trash, garbage and plastic poison in the holy river. As an achiever, I value success I wish and hope for success in every endeavor I embark upon. I hope it ends with some tangible value for my community and myself. And, I am talking about my hometown, Kathmandu.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning CampaignEarlier on when I was appointment Goodwill Ambassador to Natural Disaster Fund, post the massive earthquake that my country faced. I remember the immense suffering of the people in Sindhupal and adjacent effected areas. How can I forget the young mother who was blankly staring at the horizon, her mind far away, trying to solve problems that had engulfed so many people, people with destroyed homes and perished hopes of finding their loved ones. The physical tremors of the massive quake may have subsided but what there are still challenging days where family members are lost, where homes, hopes and will are crushed. How to repair homes, rebuild lives and relive the dreams they had lost? While I took my appointment seriously and held many high level meetings, I must admit the results were disappointing. So little was done, so little achieved, so little hopes revived. During Sajha Sawal, it became starkly clear we had failed the earthquake victims. We all share that burden of non-delivery at the most critical time of our recent tragedy. No I’m not alone in this failure – the rulers, bureaucrats, the government in succession have failed. I feel ashamed for this non-delivery. Do ALL others who were accountable and responsible, feel as ashamed? I sincerely do question.

WhatsApp Image 2017-06-24 at 3.43.49 PMIn 2010, post my marriage, Kathmandu became my home and cleaning Bagmati was one of my personal ambition and for that I had formed a core group. In the process of research we met and discovered about Vaidya who tirelessly worked everyday to clean the river. My professional life then took me back to Mumbai. After seven years, the challenge and opportunity is again in front of me. I am really excited to fulfill my dream to create a clean Bagmati for all the valley residents and the habitat.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning CampaignWhatsApp Image 2017-06-24 at 3.37.10 PMIn the process of working for cleaning for Bagmati I had the opportunity to have two most important meetings. One was with the government body and the other one was with a group of dedicated volunteers. It seems to me, that both the government and the volunteers are quiet earnest about this issue. During the government body meeting, it was made clear that they have thought through a permanent solution, which would indeed take a few years, provided we dedicatedly work towards it. The solution would also require large amounts of funding. The core issues they wish to tackle included:

  • The building two dams so that the flow of water is consistent throughout the year and the flushing of the garbage happens.
  • Separation of the sewage system from the river.
  • Plotting plants near the river to purify the water.
  • The encroachment of the river and the land around it, this has to be tackled well.
  • Beautification of the river site in which many companies have already committed.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning CampaignWhatsApp Image 2017-06-24 at 3.37.10 PM

What I learnt in the meeting with the dedicated volunteers was that they have taken this cleaning campaign as a symbol to bring about good values in life. That’s why, without any financial support or any selfish gain they volunteer in the clean Bagmati campaign. Every Saturday, on their holiday, they are up from 7am to 9am, for two hours they go and pick other peoples garbage. No self-interest, no money involved, they in fact even put money from their pocket. They do service without any selfish interest and they are dedicated to it until Bagmati is not clean completely.

Manisha Koirala during the Bagmati River Cleaning Campaign
With the volunteers of Bagmati River Cleaning Campaign

Looking at them, and being fully fully aware of my responsibilities and also about my serious limitations about being able to deliver, I do carry hopes that together we will succeed. A goodwill Ambassador has very limited, restrictive power and few resources at disposal. But I know that I can raise my voice, advise for right actions, bring people on board, and show faith and commitment, which of course I shall do. Every day, I will hope and work for better tomorrow with cleaner Bagmati and fresh air. We are all entitled to this dream. This must be delivered. We must not fail again.

Sleep…zzz

My brother said ‘if you can’t sleep, try and do something, like watch a film, read a book, listen to music etc..  as I have been terrified of waking up in the night I could NEVER really enjoy any of this. Heart pounding, head buzzing with worry and whole of next day..being a zombie. I have struggled with insomnia for ten years , may be more..and I know how bad it is! My worst nightmare was to lie awake, without my sleeping pills , which I had gotten so used to..(doctors in my family prescribed low dose of Ativan after doing a lot of effort in convincing because its highly addictive ) as a result I got hugely dependent on tabs to help me sleep…

I guess years of unskillful lifestyle bombarded with stress, erratic shooting hours in nights or staying up late in parties..could be the trigger. Health deteriorates if we don’t get 8 to 9 hrs of sleep daily, specially our immune system goes for a toss. Sleep is a very important aspect of healing as in this time our cells are getting regenerated and recharges too.

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lavender soap, bath oil and bath salts

My tried and tested methods are.

1) No caffeine in the evening.

2) Slow down the pace of activity as the night falls.

3) Take hot bath (l m a big fan of lavender oil,soaps,bath salts).

4) Soft music..relax.

5) meditate, do breath watch n meditate. I FIND THIS SPECIALLY EFFECTIVE FOR SLEEP.

6) NO TV and No comp (this one is my struggle as I get free in evening and would like to check my mails or catch up on news etc..hence I m mindful that I won’t switch on comp or tv after n if I do its only for 30 mins and thats all).

7) Read a book.

8) Fix a time to go to bed n wake up, this really works as body loves discipline. BUT  my freedom from it actually happened after a long stint in oneness university as the result of my intense prayers!! The day I could sleep without tab peacefully for 8 hrs, I celebrated with my teachers in oneness university!!

Interestingly I stumbled upon articles on plants that promotes sleep..wow, who could think of that?

Aloe vera is an excellent indoor plant. 

Lavender plant..You may have used lavender essential oil, but have you ever tried growing your own lavender plant? 

Jasmine plant.. Just smelling this plant may help to reduce anxiety and stress.

English ivy.. is classy and easy to grow and this affordable plant may help you to significantly improve the quality of sleep.  

Snake plant..are easy to keep alive and are great for interior decorating. Snake plants are believed to improve air quality by filtering the air and thus improving the overall atmosphere of a home.  

The purer the air the better sleep at night and more productivity during the day!  

I read anything under the sky about insomnia, talk about it passionately as I KNOW  the struggle. So I will suggest few good articles on insomnia and how to get rid of it.

AND  at the cost of sounding cliché i will say..”YOU CAN DO IT..IF I CAN SO CAN YOU”” 

Good reads..

To Redefine Life, Simply Change Your Values

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I simply love Cynthia Occelli’s words: “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”

Inside that tiny seed lies the potential of  becoming a huge, sturdy, fruit –filled , flower laden, leaf-canopied  tree, which can provide a home to numerous birds and give shade to many travelers. But can the uninitiated see that?

Life is all about re-invention, re-alignment, re-defining oneself. It is in this challenge that growth lies. Those who miss this point, misunderstand the purpose of this beautiful journey called life.

Each decade of our lives gives us a chance to pause, reflect, refill our souls, drop dead chains that bind us and to joyously soar into the skies towards our ecstasy.

Having travelled through the hurly burly of my life, with all its myriad experiences: the good, the sad and the unforgettable, I feel as if I am now able to view everything in a sharper focus. All seems rain-drop washed, lime-fresh, wind-cleaned and crystal-clear. With this new-found maturity everything non-essential, non-interesting, non-valuable seems to be whittling away from my being, leaving me to focus on that shining Core inside that defines my essence and IS me!

At this beautiful juncture of my life in my fourth decade, I have hit upon my personal formula  for growth and happiness: To redefine life, simply change your values.

How have I done that?

I have consciously evolved from being shallow to deep, from being outward-looking to being inward-seeking and from being a limited human to becoming an unlimited, spiritual being. No longer for me the dead chains of my past’s value system. Today, I rejoice in the simple, the mundane, the ordinary…

Earlier, my life was all about “working hard and partying hard.” I loved rebelling against established norms, simply because I loved rebelling. Perhaps  the title of “rebel without a cause” suited me perfectly back then.

I was brash and outspoken and said whatever came to my mind, without thinking of any consequences. Today, I cringe when I re-read some of my earlier interviews. I wonder, ‘Who was I, back then?’

I used to spend a lot of time and money on shopping. The clothes had to be up-to-the-minute and the bags had to be  designer. Labels mattered.  In fact, in my girlie group, we all bought, displayed and bought some more, just for kicks. Shopping was mindless fun.

Then— Life happened….

With that, came a sharp change in perspective. I suddenly began looking at life from the other end of the telescope and was struck by its vastness and magnificence. Suddenly, all material things seemed to shrink before the majesty of Life itself. I was in awe.  At first, the shift happened in my heart…then in my mind and finally… in my entire being. I felt reborn, revamped and renewed. So how could such a new person carry old values?

Don’t get me wrong. I still love pretty clothes, bags and material comforts. The difference is I am not consumed by them.

I have hit upon the truth that life is Simple. It is we who make it Complex. Therefore, true joy lies in simplifying one’s value system. The new me is a Holistic person and am I enjoying it? You bet!

I now give value to things that make my everyday life better, healthier and  therefore, more fulfilled.

Here is a list of things that interest me now:-
1) The exciting decision to choose between a blender and a juicer. What is the value a good choice will give me? It will give me good quality green juices. And that will boost my health by keeping my body alkaline . i came across vitamix through my sister in law as she has always been a health freak .  vitamix

2) Choosing the right coordinated and comfortable gym clothes.

3) Membership in a good Health Club. I feel blessed that a good Health Club and a Spa has sprung up near my home. Members get private trainers and clean equipment. Besides, I love going to “The Club” for an occasional swim and my morning-evening strolls.  inch by inch

4) I have been super excited about my new bike. I have to thank my neighbor and old pal Shahid for initiating this! But I must admit that I am still a little wary about the traffic in my city. Yet, every time I whizz away, I think about what a great investment it has been!
5) My Yoga/ Pranayam classes with my brilliant teachers Shambhu ji and Abhay ji I love Pranayam and while breathing, never forget to send gratitude to the heavens for the magic of the breath. read more on..

6) Organic foods—I simply love them. I am a huge fan of Whole Foods. I also feel that if organic vegetables are expensive, they are certainly worth it! Farmers market Bandra

(Ah, how I ❤ my organic Farmers’ Market visits on Sundays, as also shopping at other stores like Nature’s Basket in Mumbai and Whole Food store in NYC.

7)A good Nutritionist– I accidentally found out that my ESR level was high, instead of my IGF-1 level. ..meaning I had high inflammation. I began looking desperately for a good Nutritionist and thankfully stumbled upon my very reliable Rachna Chachi.read more..

8) A good doctor/hospital I can rely on. After 30, I strongly recommend periodic check-ups.I love seven hills as its very clean and doesn’t  have the smell of a hospital 😉 seven hills Mumbai

9) Newer researches on Wellness. It’s s whole new world out there. Why not discover it  by being fit and healthy?

10) Good skin/face products. Especially after 40, one must make very informed choices. Nothing should harm  our precious bodies.

And has this switch to a healthier lifestyle made me a complacent, contented being who has finally found what she was looking for? No way! It has only spurred me on towards newer frontiers. It has turned me into an energy –filled, luminous being who is hungry for the latest research, breakthroughs and offers on health and wellness. I want to Be more… to Do more…

Here’s My Wish List:-
1. Attending and organizing Cooking classes on healthier options.

2.Going for Ayurvedic /Health Retreats in order to understand my body… to discover and customize what exactly works for me.

3.Increasing  my circle of friends who are into Wellness.

4.Reading and writing more on Wellness- on the blessings of life and living.

5. Contributing more.

6. Spending more time  with Nature.

7. Focusing on buying skin products that will make me look the best at my age rather than make me look younger than my age. I do want to look the best at my age without cosmetic surgery. I would rather be dignified, slim, fit and healthy than an artificially beautified clone.

8 .Becoming  more organised.

9. Doing only those films that give me joy while I am on the sets.

10. Being more positive, more happy and certainly laughing more!

11. Spend more time in self growth, I can’t stress more on how important Oneness University has been for me since its a topic which needs a lot of space to do justice,I would write more on this soon but for time being read on..Oneness University

Today, I no longer care about carrying the latest designer bag as my arm candy. I even don’t care about travelling in Economy Class. Life is all about finding the joy inside yourself, rather than seeking it outside–in things.

It is funny how a little shift in perspective can bring such a huge shift in values, is it not?

I am finally brimming with Life….

Joy Unlimited,

Manisha Koirala.