“Why do you want to go to the US?”
“To be honest, I don’t want to go, I love my life here, but that train of thought makes me selfish, my mom and dad have been waiting for me, for god knows how long, they left when I was 16, I am 23 now, they are old and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life regretting for not being able to grant their only wish to spend as much possible time, with me- I am after all their youngest daughter.”


“Do you know you are a household name here, people know you, you are famous, what will you do there?”
“I don’t think I am famous neither am I a household name. I am a normal girl who got the opportunity to work for the country’s biggest television and radio station. It was not a cake walk, I started from scratch here and I know I will have to start afresh in the US but I have faith in myself and my abilities.”


“Miss. Dhakal (with a smile - he said) Nepal will miss you, congratulations!”


“Thank you, my mom and dad will bless you immensely” I said with a big smile.


As I walked out of the American Embassy I sensed my lips were not stretched from one corner to the other, there was no smile plastered on my face. I was not even sure if I wanted to come here. I knew it would be difficult to give up what I had in Nepal, I was going to miss being Manavi Dhakal and walking the streets of Kathmandu, carefree, smiling back , dodging judgmental stares and yet happy. I would miss being myself.

I am a normal girl. I was never a part of the Nepali glitz and glamor, I was never famous for being the most prettiest or the most glamorous, that aspect I don’t miss either. I was always known for speaking my mind, actually I still am. I was on television not because I wanted to be famous. I loved what I did, I loved that I could reach out to so many Nepalis living in and out of Nepal, that aspect made me go to work every day. I will be lying if I say I don’t miss being recognized while walking on the streets or young girls telling me how I inspire them.

I was expected to study communications here as well, do something in the field that I chose back home but I always do what is unexpected of me, so here I am studying nursing. Nursing might not be the most glamorous job and I am not aiming to be Florence nightingale or Mother Teresa. I don’t have the courage to be them, but what I do have is the ability to mould myself into whatever form I choose to be. I am always grateful that I was given the chance to be a part of the thriving Nepali media, I was known for what I did and not how I looked, I have nothing to regret.

Aspiring young girls who have ever looked up to me, if you are reading this let me let you in on a secret. Life is not always about looking good and dressing up. Life is not about brands or how many likes you get on Facebook. If I have five people who genuinely like me for me, that will be enough for me. Life is what you make of it, its about the small differences you make on someone else ‘s life with just one random act of kindness. It’s about making a mark on people’s lives and life is about doing something for yourself.  Always remember – education is one blank cheque; anyone, anywhere will be ready to cash it, so focus on learning while you live your dreams.

I was blessed that I had family here, loving parents and extra protective sisters. I was given everything on a silver platter. I was home, I was with my mom and dad after years. Yes, I did miss Nepal, I do still miss it. I miss my sisters there, I miss chhoela and chuira, local momos, poleko makai. May be I was different and never belonged because I always knew what and where my roots were, I always had my feet on the ground.
Life hasn’t changed much, I am still Manavi Dhakal, the proud Manavi Dhakal.