Tootle and Pathao, as ride-sharing apps, have gained huge popularity over a short period of time. While a few people have even begun their journey as full-time riders for these applications, I recently experimented life as a Tootle as well as Pathao’s rider. Based on this interesting experience, I have prepared this short paper analyzing multiple aspects and the differences in both of the applications.
This paper looks into the financial, technological, psychological, usability, marketing, and a few other aspects on the rider’s end of two major ride-sharing apps of Nepal – Pathao and Tootle.
The research and the data presented in this paper is completely limited to the author’s experience of riding Pathao for 12 hours completing 12 rides, and riding Tootle for 10.5 hours completing 19 rides. Thus, having the sample size of one, all the figures that are based on the number of rides, hours spent, and revenues earned might not depict or match with the actual average figures. The opinions of the passengers were obtained from the conversation between the rider and passengers.
Paper aims at unraveling multiple aspects of these two applications in order to provide potential riders with a better understanding of both of the applications. Further, it aims at providing suggestions to both the companies to march forward with their goals and objectives. This paper is only published for unofficial use and is free of any copyrights for reuse. However, any use of the document is suggested to be only made with prior consent of the author.
Please have your comments or suggestions shared on the comments section below. Thank you!
It just felt to me that many of us are worried and confused about what Keratoconus really is and talk about the treatment of Keratoconus in Nepal. As a solution, I just thought to share some FAQs and answer them with the best knowledge that I have so far. I will try to answer in short so that it doesn’t get really boring to the readers. I’ll try to add the questions and their answers regarding Keratoconus in Nepal over time.
Let’s begin with the general questions and then dive into the specifics:
What is Keratoconus? What causes it?
Basically, it is an eye disorder in which the cornea starts to thin and starts to bulge into a cone-like-shape. The cause behind Keratoconus is not much known. A few types of research suggest it to be a hereditary disorder, and some say it might be caused if you rub your eyes a lot much. You might have fruitful reading about my experience with Keratoconus in this previously written blog post.
I see multiple images overlapped and glare of lights in my eyes, is that Keratoconus?
There might be other reasons for this kind of vision but yes you also see multiple images overlapped and glare of lights in my eyes when you have Keratoconus. This is what you pretty much see:
What does “progression” mean in Keratoconus?
Progression simply means whether or not your cornea is thinning over time. A Keratoconus in progression means your cornea is thinning over time. To find out if your Keratoconus is under progression, you need to take the cornea topography test (known as Pentacam in Nepal) over two separate time intervals. If the thickness of your cornea is decreasing over time then your keratoconus is said to be in progression.
Can I do LASIK (Laser Eye Surgery) to cure Keratoconus?
Unfortunately, LASIK cannot cure Keratoconus.
Depending on the thickness of your cornea and the rate of progression of Keratoconus, a specialist may suggest you the remedy accordingly.
Can I wear glasses to correct my vision?
No, for most of the Keratoconic patients glasses don’t work well. As the problem is with the bulge in the cornea, glasses can make things look a little better but not perfectly fine.
Then what’s the cure for Keratoconus?
There is no specific cure for Keratoconus that brings back your vision to normal. Rather, depending on the thickness of your cornea and the rate of progression of Keratoconus, a specialist may suggest the remedies accordingly. They might include following remedies:
Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Lens or Hard Lens: When Keratoconus is at basic stage, you might be recommended with RGP or Hard Contact Lenses. These lenses help in slowing or stopping the progression of Keratoconus and try to fix the bulging of the cornea. However, as someone who had previously tried these lenses, I have found it to be a big-time headache in using them. Also, as I have heard from other people in Nepal who have used these, they have not been a comfortable solution.
Scleral Lens: Scleral Lenses or mini-Scleral Lenses is different kind of contact lens whose edges sit in the sclera (white section) of the eye. This makes these lenses extremely comfortable compared to the RGP or Hard Lenses. They also help to slow down the progression of Keratoconus and improve the vision. However, they are extremely expensive and cost a minimum of around Rs.70,000-80,000 for a pair. These lenses are something I have been using for a while and have proven to be a boon to me.
Cornea Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL): It is a procedure that stops the progression of Keratoconus. This procedure involves putting drops of Riboflavin (Vitamin B) in the cornea and exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) rays which resultantly reinforces the cornea and halts the progression of Keratoconus. Usually, you are required to have the minimum de-epithelialized corneal thickness of 400 μm in order to conduct CXL. At Tilganga, the regular cost (waiting in the queue) of CXL is Rs.25,000 and for expedited process costs Rs.37,000 per eye.
Cornea Transplant: This is the last resort for Keratoconus which is usually done when your corneal thickness is really low or when your cornea gets so thin that it tears ( known as Corneal Abrasion). Cornea Transplant, as the name suggests, is the procedure where you get your cornea replaced with another one. The risk with this is that corneal tissues might get rejected even after several years of cornea transplant.
Who should I visit/consult if I have Keratoconus?
You should visit a cornea specialist in the first place to know about the status of your Keratoconus. Once you are done with that depending on the suggestions made by the specialist, you should then visit a contact lens specialist who can suggest to you on what kind of visual aid (glasses/contact lens) you should get.
Which is the best place to check my eyes in Nepal?
I recommend you to visit Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology on this matter. I have heard of several other eye hospitals but I do not have much imformation on them. At Tilganga, it might be a hassle waiting for the doctors in the queue, it is the best place. You should at first itself tell the optometrist that you have Keratoconus so that they can recommend you to visit the specific doctor. You can visit during the extended-hours (during afternoon) to avoid the huge crowd in the the morning.
What are the other risks associated to Keratoconus?
Rapid progression of Keratoconus can result in tearing of the cornea. You might have to then go for a cornea transplant. Also, I have heard that since Keratoconic patients have extremely poor vision, the retina of the eyes have higher chances of tearing. Thus, it is suggested that we also visit the retina specialist to see if our retina is fine. I have however never found or heard of any Keratoconic patient who has have a tear in their retina.
Who are some of the recommended specialists to consult on Keratoconus?
There might be many but let write the name of some of the doctors whom I know.
Dr.Reena Gurung: Cornea Specialist at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. She also has a clinic at Jawalakhel.
Dr.Purshottam Dhungana: Consultant at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. He has a clinic at Narayangopal Chowk named Visual Line. He is the one who imports Scleral Lens in Nepal.
Dr.Ashik Pradhan: Contact Lens Specialist at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. ( Extremely good person! But heard he has left Tilganga recently).
Dr.Rachana Singh: Cornea Specialist at Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology. (I haven’t met her in person but have heard her name from someone else)
That’s all for now. Do post me questions that you have in case you have any. I’ll add it to the list and try to answer them.
Disclaimer: The answers are completely based on my knowledge as a Keratoconic patient. My understanding might be wrong in some cases.
Disruptions that are rare in Nepali market are no new to the rest of the world. Almost everything that is said to be new in Nepal, already exists in some other parts of the world. Further, we have failed to incorporate the disruptions for Nepali market that a few enthusiasts have tried to introduce in the country. Thus, for now, innovations are just limited in thesis papers, science exhibitions, and classroom projects of the colleges. When you ask me about what exactly I mean by disruption, the recent example that can best explain this is “Tootle”. As catchy and easy as the term “Google”, Tootle has forcefully disrupted the Nepali market by introducing a ride-sharing app for motorbikes. To add, Tootle flourished in such a way that it even added its international competitor Pathao within a short span of its operation. Unfortunately, the government has failed to incorporate such disruptive form of business idea while a large chunk of the city dwellers is wholeheartedly welcoming it.
We all know the chaos that Kathmandu has in terms of transport. Public buses are super unwelcoming. Private cars are still a luxury. And so, the only form of private vehicle that accommodates almost all income groups is motorbike. But the failure of the state to maintain the roads and the traffic is what keeps half of our mood-off in a day-to-day basis! We all know how it feels to face the traffic, inhale piles of polluted air and spend an hour to reach a destination that’s just six or eight kilometers away. Amid this frustration, Sixit Bhatta, founder of Tootle must have realized the potential of a ride-sharing app that could not only ease the problem of being compelled to squeeze through a microbus, smell someone’s armpit, or be bullied by the bus-helper to move back, turn left, and turn right, but also generate some income to the allarey thita-thitis and the unemployed or underemployed chunk of population.
Tootle as an idea was nothing new. Ridesharing apps existed all around the world even before Tootle was conceptualized, and probably hundreds of other people in Nepal already had this idea. However, the reason Tootle (followed by Pathao) get the credit, is their courage to implement and market the idea while there was no policy that governed this concept. Unfortunately, we still do not have one!
The gover-ment (yes, गोबर-मेन्ट)
Let’s talk about our gover-ment full of people with गोबर in their mind with a question: Tell me one government institution or corporation that made/makes money and is out of controversy. Begin with Nepal Airlines, Gorkhapatra Sansthan, Biratnagar Jute Mill, Nepal Ausadhi Ltd., or any other institutions except the banks and the insurance companies (who somehow make profit). I know, a die heart fan of our Oli ba or his party might have more than one example to beat me, but the whole point of asking is that whether or not we have been able to live a life that is normal. Normal in the sense you live a life where doing a regular 9-to-5 full-time job lets you live a life just enough to fulfill our basic necessities (food and water, shelter, clothing, sanitation, education, health for a family). I believe you get me, and agree with my answer which obviously is a big “NO”.
Let’s talk about the other initiatives that were taken by the state;
About ten years back, when I first got my drivers license for the motorbike it took me approximately a month to get the license (the card). The Department of Transport came with a better way to take the driving test and upgraded its procedure later. Thus, about 3 years back when I applied for an upgrade to get a permit for the car, it took me about 8 months, including a wait of six months, to appear on the “trial” and get the driving license card. Now, that my license has expired the government’s best of the best technology for printing “smart license” takes more than a year for a driver to get it. Further, smart license has existed for more then two years, but the traffic police has no tools to extract the data electronically. My team from the office did provide an extensive proposal to work on several traffic-related issues including this matter, but the traffic police department loved our proposal for only one reason: to showcase it as their future plan to the people above them in the command-chain.
I remember the traffic lights being a rare thing. They existed in few of the places including Singhadurbar and Thapathali. As the number of traffic lights grew, the number of these getting dysfunctional too rose. Now, that the government probably thinks the traffic lights are inefficient compared to the traffic police, none of the lights work on the roads of Kathmandu.
Masks weren’t a thing until ten years back in Kathmandu. The need for mask rose along with the expansion of roads and the growth in the number of vehicles. The state thinks expanding roads is more than enough then to maintain it. Sometimes I wonder about how the dozer-wala contractors are so quick in digging the holes on the road while none of the other contractors get their job done in time?!
Instance 132344 and many more:
Let’s not talk about Melamchi, it’s way too cheesy as an example. How about the syndicate that “doesn’t” exist (on the paper), or about metered taxis that (do not) travel in meters?!
The government is trying its best to accommodate start-ups like Tootle by forming a body of experts who recommend the government to ask the ride-sharing app companies and its riders to register a “black” number plate. This will allow a window of opportunity to form the black number plated motorbike association who will then deny to carry passengers and announce their demand to let the government allow them to charge as much fare as they want. After all its Nepal and good initiatives like Tootle are supposed to be too short in success.
Anyways, we already know what’s next. We all have a plan about how the country can develop within a few years. The experts with the blueprint for development can be found in all the chiya-pasals of the country. It’s just about implementation.
Over the past few months, I have been investing some of my time trying to dissect the philosophy of my life. The sole aim of this investment has been to figure out the good and the bad, the fake and the real, and the fair and the unfair, and rejuvenate my views towards life to some extent. The complexity lies in the fact that all of these terms are relative to one another. The answers aren’t easy, and I’ll probably never get answers to all of these but this journey of exploration has led me to some interesting realizations.
Talking about fairness, I liked the view that one of my friend’s husband had presented in his blog a while ago:
“So is the world a fair place? Of course not. Not even that, sometimes we cannot determine whether a situation is fair or not for the people subject to that situation. But more often than not, we can see through the blatant violations of fairness that are taking place. So what can we take away from this? We should not presume that we know the plight of the people facing a bad situation, for one. We hardly have the right to judge them for we do seldom see the complete picture. Also, do not let the little fairness we enjoy in this world fade away. If you would let it, you would come to regret it, much sooner than you could even dream.”
I happened to watch some of the videos about “Romanticism” in one of my favorite youtube channels – School of Life. This pushed me further into my journey to distinguish between the real and the nominal, or say what’s natural and what’s man-made.
So what’s natural? What’s man-made? Well, you may go back to the basics of grade one and say everything that humans did not create is natural. No doubt, this meaning is very true. Trees, soil, sun, mountains, water, air – all of these are natural. And, the ones that humans created, beginning from the tiny staple pins to the large Egyptian pyramids, are artificial/man-made. But let’s dive into the humans and look for what came naturally (real) to us and what came through our learnings and experiences? This question fairly sounds easy but is not. Give it a thought – did we learn to eat or were we taught? Well, hunger is an emotion that comes naturally, but eating is taught. We are taught to cook, and our taste buds crave for stuffs based on what we eat or have eaten. Some of us learn to eat with hands, some with fork and knives, and some with spoon. This example probably made the answer easy- the only natural thing that is within us is “emotion”.
Let’s get back to the video about “Romanticism”, where Alain De Botton, the presenter, talks about how the concept of romanticism has defined love and relationship. He talks about the fact that romanticism is fairly a new concept to this world that originated towards the end of the eightieth century in Europe. So what does romanticism say? Romanticism has defined over almost everything and every context of the human mind. It defines the good, the bad, the humble, and the cruel.
Amongst a few of which I have explored through, the most interesting thing that Alain talks about is how romanticism has defined love and relationship that is in practice in today’s world. It has defined the way one feels when falling in love or the way couples behave with each other in their relationship. All the feelings, including the “butterflies in the stomach” or the “blush blush” moments you had in high-school when the person on the other side of the “one-sided love” complimented you, are all that romanticism has defined for us. We all learned to love people the way we have been taught to, or the way we’ve seen or experienced it at some point of our life.
Moreover, we have been fueled with the romantic ideas of love through movies, their stories, and their songs. Remember the song “Kuch to hua hai” from the movie Kal Ho Na Ho? Well, that “Kuch to hua hai” feeling we get while falling in love is all romanticism which did not exist before the 17th or 18th century. Did you ever think that love, its feelings and its expressions were learned and not natural? I didn’t! Love as an emotion at its base might be real but at its feeling, as well as everything we do for love and in love has just been made up over the past couple of centuries.
So what is natural within us? Our feelings are not natural because feelings are emotions that have been interpreted by our mind, and our mind makes those interpretations based on our learnings and experiences. Thus, probably only our generic emotions are real. I could only think of two generic emotions- happiness and sadness. No matter how neutral we might feel about something, it is tilted to either of the sides – the happy or the sad side. You are either happy or sad at every point of time. It seems to me that even when one calls himself or herself to be “unsure” about how he or she is feeling, it is sadness that the emotion is leaned towards.
In terms of expressions, the only real expressions a person can have is “laughter” and “cry”. That’s because a baby who is born begins his expression with a cry, no one has to teach a person to do that. Also, the same baby is never taught to laugh or smile, he or she just does it on his or her own. We might fake a laugh or cry but when we truly laugh or cry, it is a true expression that we present without any added toppings to it.