After a harrowing year of disasters, hardship and deprivation, 2016 can only turn out better. 2015 will go down in our history as the worst year this country has ever seen, but there is no point repeating what went down as the story has been told a thousand times. What needs to be said however is that it need not have been so ‘bad’. Good governance would people huddling for puquotes have ensured timely help to the needy at a time of national calamity. When all attention should have been focused on recovery and aid to the survivors, writing the constitution took precedence and an inadequate document hastily prepared brought the wrath of the marginalized people of the plains. Like the tremor, the slight did not go unnoticed across the border and it was felt right up to the capital. While the unrest in the tarai brought normal life to a standstill, the subsequent shameful act of closing the door on a nation dependant on the supplies from down south had even Indian nationals complaining of unethical behavior on their leaders’ part. Had our own leaders invited the tarai parties for early talks much of the suffering we had to endure could have been averted.

But one has to move on, because as they say ‘Time and tide wait for no man’ (or woman). I have a nagging feeling deep down inside that we have not seen the last of the tarai crisis. With politicians in power trying to hoodwink everyone, it looks like they are merely stalling for time. Although we’re optimistic about 2016 especially because generally even numbered years are more favorable, the country has suffered huge financial losses and there’s no telling how much personal loss the citizens have suffered. There is a lot of ground to recover and it is going to be an uphill task. A large amount of resources will be spent on recovery rather than development which will set the country back many years; there’s a long road to recovery ahead.

Tourism will definitely bounce back as even during the drastic shortages, tourists were seen here, there and everywhere albeit in small numbers. China has lifted the travel ban and flights are subsequently picking up. One wishes our National carrier would get cracking but they are still mired in controversy and bad decisions like the procurement of Chinese aircrafts which are proving to be white elephants, draining its earnings in repairs and exorbitant consultancy fees. If tourists could get flights into Nepal more easily, we’d obviously see more of them. It’s the other international airlines that are making a killing bringing in hordes of tourists every year while NAC is still counting its losses.

With the slow unofficial easing of the unofficial blockade, we may soon see the industrial sector kick starting again but it all depends on how the tarai issue is handled. Belligerent politicians are not the answer to Nepal’s problems but diplomacy has never been their strong point. We need to solve problems if we are to see a bright year ahead. Have we ever been good at solving problems?

 Traffic jams from Kalanki to Kalimati suggest things are returning to normal but it is also partly due the deplorable condition of the highway near Thankot and Bhanjyang. If all vehicles have to slow down to maneuver these run down sections, naturally vehicles behind them will start piling up. Unless timely repairs are made which means the roads department has to keep a constant vigil, we can expect more problems related to roads. 

2016 should see more resorts and hotels joining the tourism industry as even under such adverse conditions, their constructions go on unabated. Even in areas surrounded by broken down houses and tin shacks, one can see resorts coming up steadily. People are optimistic and tourism seems to be the sector where people have the most hope. From Masinay to Dhulikhel people are building resorts despite the fuel shortages and dearth of construction material. Where there’s a will there’s a way for sure. 

There’s great excitement about the favorable legislation in the U.S. that encourages Nepali entrepreneurs to get the garment industry going again. I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic given the fact that this country is plagued by constant strikes called by political parties and since the introduction of democracy, by all kinds of socially aware groups who have their own grievances. Then there is the constant drain of man power that has affected every section of our society. People suddenly deciding to go abroad, drawn by the opportunity to earn bigger bucks in a shorter period of time, has become all too common. So taking the trouble to train people, only to see them leave the country is indeed very discouraging for entrepreneurs. Compounding the problem is the growing number of labor unions that have unwittingly forced businessmen to shut down their factories and look for easier options. Sadly the garment industry is one that was badly affected by union activities. 

Will we see a greener Nepal in the coming days? If one listens to our leaders and national planners, the future looks good. But let us not rush to conclusions. Let’s wait until things get back to normal and see if they are still enthusiastic about alternative energy and riding bicycles to work. One member of the National Planning Commission suggested in his article that Nepalis should opt for electric cars so that we don’t remain dependant on fuel imported from India. Even a twelve-year-old child will reject such an idealistic vision for Nepal. Then the papers reported that henceforth all people wanting to build a house must ensure they get 25% of their energy from solar panels in order to get their plans passed. Once there were helmets for all pillion riders, now solar cells for all. How much did they pay?

What else is in the cards? I read somewhere that they will be building a railway link from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Shouldn’t there be railway lines from east Nepal to west Nepal first? More grievances for the Madhes!

Last but not least, what about women in politics? Well we’ve got a woman President and the men who dominate publications are trying their best to ignore her. Will she be given a chance to change the status of women in Nepal? Can she remove the taboos that deprive Nepali women of basic human rights? So far, the only headline she’s made was a negative one when she entered a temple in the tarai. That speaks volumes for the progress that we’ve made with regard to women or to put it bluntly, the attitude of men towards women. 

But of course, when it comes to woman the one thing that comes to everyone’s mind is fashion. In terms of trends, you can expect 2016 to be all about the celebration of individuality, expressing your own self in terms of your own clothes, makeup and hair. Talking about makeup, we are expecting a lot of bold metallic lip colors. When Lupita Nyongo appeared on the last month’s red carpet with a metallic blue lip color, we sensed that many people had already caught on to this trend. Extremely bold eye-shadows like the bright blues, yellows, and pinks are also making an appearance in the fashion scenario.

As for the hair, this spring we believe that slicked back, tightly braided hair will be the perfect look for any kind of occasion and will definitely make its presence felt on the streets.

Surely with international models such as Gigi Hadid and Adriana Lima, we shall embrace beautiful curves and expect trends for all sizes. Lots of retros, lots of prints, bows, floral satins, embroidery, and embellishments are sure to be paraded on the streets too this year. We definitely will see eccentricity and individuality in even the simplest of designs, one way or another. If the spring/summer 2016 runway shows are any indication of the trends that we could expect this year, you can say you are on top of your game for we just told you all there is to know about the trends of the year.

That’s where it’s at, at the end of 2015! Let’s see what the future has in store for us: Men, Women and Others. HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2016 bring brighter days and steer us away from our  misfortunes!