Distance from Delhi: 1,177 km
Time difference: 15 minutes ahead of India
So we know that our neighbours have great momos. We’ve heard in snatches about a happening music scene. We know there was an earthquake where an embarrassing number of Indian journalists showed up to take pictures. We know their capital is a heritage area, and that their men climb the Everest with ease. But how much do we know about the Nepali millennials really? Or our buddies out in Colombo? In Dhaka? What are they creating?
In this Padosi Post series, we take stock of our neighbours’ capital cities and the most interesting stuff that our millennial counterparts are up to.
Let’s look at Nepal, where nothing has been easy after the devastating events of 2015, and yet where the efforts to recover are best seen in the number of fundraising events that have taken form of art forums, music festivals, discussions and cultural initiatives. Below is our list of favourite subcultures that won’t show up in your feed.
Music: Rap, Metal & All That Jazz
Nepal was once the main adda of trance music festivals in the subcontinent; it wasn’t uncommon to find a club pumping electro right across the road from the royal family’s house. Kathmandu’s Thamel area is usually alive in the evenings with live jam sessions in a slew of cafes – from reggae to blues to jazz to heavy metal to what is known as Nephop today.
Mephisto, the Bombay keyboardist of Demonic Resurrection fame, played in Kathmandu in September 2015 as part of Metal for Nepal, a fundraiser concert organised by Nepali metal band called Underside to benefit the victims of the earthquake. “Fans turned out in huge numbers for the event supporting local as well as international acts with equal love and intensity.
“A peculiar thing I noticed was that after sundown the capital broke into a spontaneous celebration with young party hoppers spilling onto the streets, as music from various establishments filled the air. Nightlife in Kathmandu was definitely unique and an experience in itself.”
Art: From Therapy to Triennale
Art helped Nepal heal after the earthquake in a number of ways, from using art as therapy at Nepal Children’s Art Museum to an explosion of fantastic street art with messages of hope in Kathmandu.
Here are all the other initiatives that responded to disaster in artistic ways; nearly every creative act here has a level of responsibility attached to it. Here’s another cool initiative that aims to help Nepal’s dog poster painters, and at the other end of the spectrum is the Kathmandu Trienalle, a contemporary art festival dedicated to the city keeping social issues in mind.
Photography enthusiasts amongst you can look out for Photo Kathmandu.
Literature: Mixing Medias
In a world where good magazines are as few as there are good readers, a country as small as Nepal still manages to rise to the occasion with impressive literature, despite its limited resources.
Himal has emerged as one of the strongest literary platforms for journalistic voices in the Indian subcontinent. For something more poetic and fictional, there’s La.Lit, a Nepal-based literary publication that publishes good prose. Truly millennial though is M&S, a video mag with style.
Cult: Otaku Next
Beyond literature, closer to the world of cult lifestyles, is Nepal’s Manga fascination. Manga has a growing millennial following, and now even an okatu, a magazine dedicated to the anime community. They already held a manga competition, next up is a host of cosplay events. Stay updated here!