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Reflections on Life: Finding Meaning Amidst Despair

Uniglobe College | Uniglobe Secondary School

Reflections on Life: Finding Meaning Amidst Despair

“I am depressed.”

This is a line that we hear a lot, a little too much nowadays, I’m afraid. But this makes me wonder too.

Are you depressed?

Of course, that isn’t to discredit the feelings that, the person in question is feeling but still, it’s an interesting question that I think about, especially since having been diagnosed with clinical depression at one point in my life, I have a very intimate ex-relationship with this wondrous madness of a disease called depression.

But as I got out of this relationship, I started wondering to myself, if these people who called themselves depressed, really were depressed, or really, they were just sulking about their not-so-depressing lives.

Then I wonder about the words of our parents.

“I’ve given you a house to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, all the things that you need to feel happy, so why are you depressed?”

And that does make sense if you think about it. All of us have a pretty decent life, if we think about it.

Even as you walk in or out of the college, you’re able to see that there are tens of people standing right outside the giant buildings, with plastic bags in their hands or in front of them, begging us for money, for their survival.

Ironic, how a college that only some of the higher end of the Nepalese population can attend so brazenly has so many beggars and kids who wear patched or dirty clothes with holes in them begging in bright open.

Yet, it fills me with an even deeper sense of despair as I walk past these kids, these humans who look only as though shells of their beings, the lights from their eyes having disappeared long ago, only living to receive the free food distributed every Tuesday by visitors wearing expensive and fancy clothing in front of the Ganesh Mandir. 

I think about how my life would’ve been if I was born in a situation like this if I was born to someone who couldn’t even afford to send me to the poorest of schools, if I was strung wide out into the streets of Kathmandu to be a drunkard or a beggar who hurls around giant bags of trash on my shoulders, looking at the kids wearing suits, with fancy phones worth tens of thousands, or in some cases, lakhs, and still complaining about how their lives were so depressing.

Yet as I walk by the ‘Gallis’ of my city, I witness many sights.

Sights of kids wearing dirty old clothes playing with broken pieces of wood and ‘Chungi’, pretending as though they were playing badminton, kids playing cricket with worn down pieces of bat-shaped plastics, with a cheap 10-rupee ball.

I witness sights of tens of porters strung around a single worn down phone with cracks all over the screen, with a game of ludo going on the phone, sometimes 5-rupees and 10-rupees being offered in bets over this game.

I also witness families of trash collectors and recyclers, the ones who we look down on with contempt and disdain, hand over the books that they bought from the children who finished their final exams and give them to their children, perhaps hoping that they would at least try to learn from the books that they got.

Yet something common that I see amongst all of these people is one thing.


All these children that play with wooden boards and ‘Chungi’, children playing cricket with worn down plastic bats, old porters huddled up around an old phone playing ludo, and the man handing down the worn and torn book to his kid, all seem to be bursting with more laughter and happiness than I have ever seen in the big buildings and complexes of my city.

These people who are deemed the bottom feeders of our society seem to be the ones with the most happiness, while we, the ones who seem to be higher up in the food chain seem to be the ones who are the unhappiest, we resign ourselves as being the most unfortunate in our lives, when in the end, these people who evidently, without a doubt do not have as many luxuries as we do, seem to be the happiest.

If this man who does not know whether his stomach will have food by the end of a hard day of work, filled with sweat and blood even, can simply become happy with a cup of cheap milk tea and a game of ludo, then what right do I have to be unhappy?

Of course, that doesn’t mean that mine or anyone else’s problems aren’t worth anything at all, nono.

Perhaps we simply need to realize that the things we fixate our lives and our thoughts over, don’t need to be so complicated, that living life isn’t like solving a parametric derivative or integration by parts (which I perhaps will never understand how to do), that really, we don’t need to be unhappy.

Along the lines of something that a certain hero (not an actual hero, but they call themselves hero all the time, so why not call them that too) told me, “The world is what you mirror yourself as you see the world the way you see yourself if you see life as being boring, then it will be boring if you see life as being sad, then it will be sad!”

And perhaps that is indeed true. If you see life as a depressing hell, then that is what life will be, a depressing hell.

So, instead of going to these fancy cafes and restaurants, where most people, me, really aren’t enjoying their lives, perhaps visit these small tea shops, walk in these galleries that have children who will have never experienced the luxury you have experienced, and watch these men who are strung at the bottom of society laugh over a cheap, diluted cup of tea and perhaps you will truly wonder.

“Am I depressed?”

We’re so used to the fact that being “depressed” is so natural now, that, we teenagers who are merely 15, 16, and 17 have mental health problems now that we have made it seem as though life is meant to be depressing, meant to be sad, meant to be well, meaningless.

Yet it is not, is it now?

The probability of someone being born successfully into this world is 1: 400,000,000,000,000. That’s 4 followed by 14 zeroes, or 1:4 trillion putting it to words. Yet even in this infinitesimally small probability, somehow, you’ve ended up being born and being lucky enough to have the life you have, yet you delude yourself with words telling yourself that you are depressed and that you have nothing to live for.

Life isn’t that complicated, dude, chill.

Well, it is if you think about it, but well, to me at least it isn’t. Life is life, and like everything else in this world, it’s always going to have its ups and downs, everything has its ups and downs and we all know that, yet somehow, we have brainwashed ourselves into thinking that life is a meaningless void.

Not good.

In the end, what your life is going to be will depend entirely on you, and you alone. You have the power to decide whether it’s going to be one of depression or one of fulfillment.

Yet that search for self-fulfillment shouldn’t keep us from disregarding other people’s pain and suffering. Just because I have said all this about hope doesn’t mean life doesn’t have any suffering, not at all.

Life is a trash game, a trashy game, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Why? Well, that’s a simple question.

Not everyone is born equal in this life. Some people will always have a happier life than others, with far too little effort for it, while others will have to spend the majority of their lives working their butts off to come close to that level of happiness.

You see, one day, one cold winter day, it was cloudy. It was so cloudy in fact, that even in the dry winter season, I was sure it would rain. And I wished it rained too.

I was sick and tired of the pollution surrounding the city whenever I looked at it, whenever I tried to take a decent photo, and the smog built up ruining it. So, as I walked out the gates after college ended, I hoped it would rain, I hoped it would rain so hard that it would take away all the smog and pollution in the sky.

And perhaps because it was a Monday, there weren’t many beggars around the streets either, only a few drunkards who seemed to be in their worlds, in their massive puffer jackets that seemed to be a symbol amongst these people, (I always do wonder how they all seem to have the same north face jacket), and a few street dogs roaming around.

It was a desolate day, a dark desolate day.

Then I climbed up the bridge to Ratnapark, and I saw them.

She was a woman, a woman in her 30s, at most, she was wearing a torn dhoti, poorly wrapped around her body, torn in places where the cold air could easily enter, and seemingly painted with a layer of dust.

And with her, was someone else.

It was a baby.

She was cradling a baby in her hands, shushing it as she moved her leg up and down, in a desperate attempt to lull the crying child, who was similarly wrapped in torn clothing, yet in a slightly better condition than the mother.

As soon as I walked in front of them, an especially cold gust of air blew, and the dark clouds seemed to be on the verge of breaking down, to release all the grief that they held within themselves, to let it all out on the mortals, regardless of their identity.

I watched as the mother brought her arms together in a desperate attempt to warm herself and her baby, as the cold blew through her veins.

I reached out into my pocket, wanting to give her some spare change, anything that I could offer, even if it was a mere 5-rupee note.

I put my hands into every single pocket I had, every single place I could have placed any semblance of cash, anything, even a coin would work.

 But my pockets were empty.

‘Oh no.’ I said to myself.

The one time I wanted to give someone some money, I didn’t have any.

At that time, I looked at the ground below me as I walked faster than ever, more desperate than I’d ever been, as a feeling of bitterness washed up in my mouth that I had eaten chocolate 10 minutes before that I had bought from that money.

That moment, I reminded myself that.

Life is trash. Life is hell.

 I wrapped my coat around myself a little tighter, yet still felt the airflow down my spine, but that wasn’t what I had in my mind. In my mind, all I remembered were that mother and child, and my empty pockets. And, finally, for the first time in a while.

I didn’t want it to rain.

I didn’t want even a single drop of rain to fall on the ground, not for a long while.

It would be fine if there was smog in the air, if I couldn’t take good photos if I had to watch the foggy sky, it would all be fine.

I just didn’t want it to rain.

And at the same time, I realized something else too.

No matter how much I told myself that I didn’t care about other people, that I couldn’t feel for others, that empathy would never be an emotion that I would feel, in the end, I was a human too.

Perhaps I had the capability of feeling emotion too.

And just like I realized at that moment, perhaps all of us have the capability of feeling emotions and being human too.

Being in a depressive phase does not change one from being a human to being an emotionless machine that does not think of anything other than the basic instincts of survival, that within everyone, perhaps there was indeed a piece of kindness that we all hid away from ourselves.

The more you can love, the more you can feel pain, the more you can get hurt. Yet it is the capability to recover from that pain, to grow as a person, that makes one adapt to all the stuff that life throws at you.

Life is a road full of dirt and filth, but that doesn’t mean you need to cover yourself in filth and turn into a filthy person too. If you feel extra dirty, then take a break, take a shower, wash that dirt off of you, and when you feel as if you’re ready to walk this filthy road again, walk it, this time feeling better than you ever did.

In the end, all we need to realize is that life is what we picture it out to be for us. Whoever reads this is not an adult, hasn’t lived life, and is probably thinking that the 4 assignments that are due the next day are the end of the world, but really, they aren’t.

Try skipping those 4 assignments, maybe submit them a bit later, instead of fearing your teacher, go and talk to them, laugh with them, and make silly jokes with them.

After all, this is their first time living life too, isn’t it?

We are yet to live our lives we haven’t at all “lived” till now, and I wait for the day that I can tell myself that I am “living” my life, that I have achieved something for myself and that life, isn’t that shitty, not just for me, but for everyone.

Including that mother and child, that I saw on the bridge that day.

By: Achyut Khanal (Science, L1)

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Uniglobe College | Uniglobe Secondary School

Memorable Trip To Japan

Travelling is one of the most effective ways to recharge your energy. Visiting new places makes you realize there is more to the world than what you have seen and experienced, and what you will ever be able to see during your lifespan. Traveling is a pleasurable experience, but sometimes it may not be up to one’s expectations. I believe every person should at least once in their life should have a memorable vacation, be it good or bad, and mine was three years ago, in Japan. During the spring of 2019, along with my parents and I traveled to Beppu, Japan for my sister’s graduation ceremony. It was a two-week trip that had excited me for a long time. Traveling overseas had always been my dream and the ride to Nepal’s international airport was an amazing start. We arrived in Fukuoka, Japan, after eleven cramped and uncomfortable hours in the congested seats of Korean Airlines. 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Uniglobe College | Uniglobe Secondary School

Making Each Day Count

An average person lives around 27,375 days. That’s all we get if we’re lucky. “Twenty-seven thousand three hundred and seventy-five.” At first, I thought it didn’t seem like a lot of time, but how many days do we remember anyway? Most days pass unnoticed, unremarkable, and unmarked. A day passes in a blur. So many of mine did. They were lost in wandering in schools, procrastinating, and maintaining schedules. It felt like my life was becoming a series of forgotten days. Everything was saved for later. Living my life spontaneously? Later. Traveling? Later. And studying? Later.  So, I asked myself “Why do I save everything for later?” It was because I had no confidence at all. I was very afraid and always thought of what might go wrong and what people would think about me—and being vulnerable? Being vulnerable is very scary. For most of my life, I have always been a people pleaser so I often think about the different characters I play in everyone’s story. I am a hero in some. A bad guy to others. But I realized that none of it has to do with the person I am. The lens that others view you through is colored by their upbringing beliefs, and individual experiences. Some people see your bright personality as endearing and others see it as annoying. Some might think you’re weak and emotional while others might feel safe being around you. Some people will think you’re rude and selfish and others might respect the way you stand up for yourself and again, none of it truly has anything to do with who you are. In those twenty-seven thousand days that you get if you’re lucky, you have endless dreams to follow, thousands of places to visit, meet tons of people, make a lot of memories, and most importantly chase your passion. So, if you’re not confident about taking action now, what I’d suggest is to pretend. You can pretend to be outgoing, pretend to be a leader, pretend to be disciplined, pretend to be obsessed if that’s what you’ve always wanted. Do not be worried about not knowing who you are because that’s exactly who you are. A person; trying new things, exploring, creating, evolving, and figuring it out. And this is your first time living a life, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Remember, there’s no guide to life; everything you do is a choice, not a rule.  I’ve stopped trying to control the way others view me because I simply can’t. I’m fine with being misunderstood because it is a part of my nature. I let them be wrong about me because they can only understand me as deeply as they understand themselves. I have no authority over how other people view me so I might as well just go on with living my most authentic and joyful life making each. day. count. So, if you’re not happy now then change. shift gears, and take a chance because later is not guaranteed. life is not meant to be lived later so always look for a moment. A moment to create, explore, try, learn, and have fun. Try to collect a moment every day because in finding those moments, days will never blur. In those moments, you’ll surely find yourself.     By: Anushka Subedi (Management, B2)

Uniglobe College | Uniglobe Secondary School

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