Kathmandu, April 4: The measure of success, as the old adage goes, is not money or fame but rather the ability to inspire those that come after you. The real success stories are those of passion; of those people who pursue their dreams despite such seemingly insurmountable odds that they instigate others to pursue passions of their own. For the sixth edition of the Story Teller Series, held in the Capital on March 30, three
Nepali trailblazers spoke to an enthused and overwhelmingly young audience about their own journeys to success. Though their personal journeys were different, the obstacles they faced numerous; the common thread of their successes (and of success stories throughout the world) was their willingness to keep pursuing their dreams despite the many challenges. These are their stories: by Alisha Sijapati
IT for everyone
In 1992, Allen Bailochan Tuladhar returned to Nepal from the United States with an aim to inculcate the countryâ€™s IT sector and with it alter the division between the haves and the have-nots in the society. Also known as the modern day Bhanubhakta for his contribution to the IT sector in the county, Tuladhar introduced the Typeshalaâ€”a software for users to type in Nepaliâ€”which was named â€˜Asiddhiâ€™ after his friend Alok Siddhi. He, along with his team, also introduced a computerised system at The Rising Nepalâ€”the first of its kind. Tuladhar, who began his professional career 24 years ago, has had his ups and downs, but believes that the credit of his success goes to the five principles he has followed in lifeâ€”focus, innovation, collaboration, hard work and perseverance.
â€œI have been called the Nepali Bill Gates but I have nothing in common with him,â€ he says. He met the Microsoft tycoon during a business meeting in Mumbai where Gates popped the question, â€œWhat can I do to help Nepal?â€ To that question Tuladhar replied, â€œThere is a language barrier. We need to find a way around it to help people.â€ And since then Microsoft Nepal has been helping over 100 schools by providing computers and bridging the gap between language, and education.
Tuladhar, as the then general secretary of the Computer Association of Nepal, held the first CAN Infotech, at the Blue Star Hotel. The annual technology fete, which is now one the most popular expos in the country, was, as Tuladhar himself admits a disaster in its first year. That, however, did not deter him to continue. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Microsoft Nepal country director hit the lowest point of his life in 2007, when he lost his most ambitious project to the political turmoil in the country. At the time he had been submerged in debt and to bear his losses, he had to auction his assets. This was also when he lost his elder daughter at a tender age. It was during those dark days that Tuladhar promised to himself, â€œEverything in my life I do next, I will do it for you, my daughter. I will dedicate my life to the youth.â€
It is a promise he has stayed true to. The Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal now has many ventures under its wingâ€”Katha ko Byatha, Unlimited Venturesâ€™ Day and Week, Microsoft Biz Park, Unlimited Pre-accelerator and impact fund, MIC Nepal mentor and Edu Next Nepal.
Yet his biggest contribution to the youth of the country, though he might not admit it, is that he has inspired them to continue to chase their dreams.
Silver screen revolution
Nakim Uddin, who has revolutionised how cinema is consumed in Nepal, did not enjoy going to the movies. Uddinâ€™s wife, an ardent movie-goer, always dragged him to Gopi Krishna Hall and Guna Cinema, which were, at the time, the best cinema halls in the Capital. But the movie-going experience in these halls, as Uddin recalls, were never impressive. It was then that he, along with friends Rajesh Siddhi and Bhaskar Dhungana, decided to invest in the cinemas. They took over Jai Nepal Hall, and completely remodeled it: changing the movie-watching experience in the country forever.
Yet even after all these years, Uddin describes himself as an ordinary man. The son of a small pote shop owner at the Pote Bazaar in Indra Chowk, which his father still owns, Uddin returned from Taiwan after completing his education, with, admittedly, no ambition. One particular day, his father told him to take charge and continue their family business. While he worked at the store, he met a foreigner who was looking to export potes to Harrods Department Store in London. He managed to crack a great deal and escalate his fatherâ€™s business.
That, however, wasnâ€™t enough. Not someone who could be tied down to one place, he quit his fatherâ€™s business and started a silver jewellery business of his own, travelling all over the world. Travelling for two years like a â€œnomadâ€, Uddin came back to Nepal and fell in loveâ€”with his movie-loving wife and the idea of changing how movies were consumed in the country. The trio, after the repurposed Jai Nepal boomed, took a revolutionary step: They began digitalising theatres in Nepal. The company, TeamQuest, partnered with UFO Digitals, based in India, and within a few years, opened Nepalâ€™s first multiplex at Civil Mall.
Despite many challenges, Uddin today can proudly claim to have changed the cinematic landscape of Nepal. But more importantly, he continues to help people dream; both through the movies in his theatres, and the fascinating tale of these modern cineplexes came to be.
The mo:mo king
In 1970, when Shyam Lal Kakshapati opened CafÃ© De Park, all he wanted to do was put something new on the table. Hamburgers, hot dogs and espresso coffee, that is now easily accessible to the people of Kathmandu, was a rare commodity back then. And this idea, to make fast food easily available to people, was all that took to establish a link to what would become the biggest chain of restaurants in the countryâ€”The Bakery CafÃ©,.
A big foodie, it was during the 80s that Kakshapati noticed the lack of good quality bakery items. Taking advantage of the open market, he began baking breads and cookies, and started Nanglo Bakeries Private Limited. The following year he bought the first supermarket in Nepal called the Nanglo Bazaar in Putalisadak. However, despite doing brisk business, he had to shut down the bazaar due to rent issues after eight years.
Jumping from one sector to another, Kakshapati in 1990 started the Bakery CafÃ©, targeting the youth. He says, â€œThe chicken mo:mo was an instant hit. In those days, mo:mos were only available in buff, pork or mutton meat. When I told people that I was introducing chicken mo:mos many thought I was crazy. Today, the highest selling food in my outlet is the chicken mo:mo.â€
He then hired the deaf and the hard of hearing people at his outlet in Baneshwor. Back then, many people were skeptical over his decision, â€œThey asked me why them? But I had worked with them and I was impressed by their perseverance, efficiency and
honesty. I feel it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Now, we have more than 65 of them working with us.â€
In 1982, his initiation to build a resort in Nagarkot, which was already under construction, was left incomplete as it had to be vacated to the Nepal Army as they wanted their UN peacekeeping force there. But his vision to step into the hospitality sector was still intact. Rafting was one of his favourite hobbies and he always dreamt of having his own rafting company one day. Combining all his interests, he opened the Riverside Spring Resort.
â€œToday I am 65 and I am still learning, I am learning about the society, culture and everything new and I love it.â€ Over a career that spans 45 years, Kakshapati has managed to establish the Nanglo brand in every household. And his love for food and his willingness to bring new cuisines to the Nepali palette has forever changed Nepalâ€™s food industry and even the culture itself.