75 Years After the Atomic Bombings

Atomic bombings on August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima and three days later in Nagasaki are among the cruelest acts humans did. In 2014, when I wrote a blog on the bombings, I had written:

Humans proved that day [the days of bombings] that they could do anything against anyone to gain power.

I had also written:

As for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they have been recovered as major cities but no crops, no grass has grown yet and it’s unknown until when.

I did not know that a red canna flower (Canna sp.) had bloomed in the rubble some months later giving hope to the survivors. Gingko trees that survived have another story to tell. Look for the links below to know their stories.

Stories of the red canna trees that survived the Hiroshima bombing:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/stories-52459140/the-trees-that-survived-the-bombing-of-hiroshima

http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/kids/KPSH_E/hiroshima_e/sadako_e/subcontents_e/12yomigaeru_1_e.html

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13175243

Stories of the Gingko trees:

https://www.inverse.com/article/47833-hiroshima-gingko-trees-atomic-bomb

These are amazing stories of survival, rebirth and restoration. Some humans had stooped very low, destroying humans, cities and the nature, with their pride. Some humans had lost hope. Nature challenged their pride. She told them, “Your pride, your wars cannot destroy me.” And gave hope to the victims, “Not everything is destroyed.”

What is Justice?

From my recent article on Medium…

What is justice? Is it based on objective evidence or subjective judgement? I had not thought much about these questions until I watched Death Note, the 2006–2007 animated series.

Death Note is about Yagami Light who finds a notebook (aka Death Note), dropped by a Shinigami (God of Death), in his school. Using the notebook, he can kill anyone whose name and face he knows. Seeing the rotten world around him, he decides to use the notebook to get rid of criminals.

Ryuk, the Shinigami who dropped the Death Note in the human world, asks if it is the right thing to do. Light replies that people will on the surface say, “It’s not the right thing to do”, but deep down they want all criminals to be executed.

Murderers get away with little to no punishment using money and political influence, several cases have become stuck on the court, smugglers are caught only when the “setting” with police does not work, honest people are scared of the crooks because they control everything from the economy to government, and the media, criminals wave at cameras without any fear. Living in such circumstances, would I have done what Light does? If I say no, I am not being honest. …

भगवान् रामको जन्मभूमि नेपालमा नै छ ?

भानुभक्तको जन्मदिन । उनका रामायणका हरफहरू प्रशस्तै देखिरहेको थिएँ । साँझ ट्वीटरमा राम नाम जप्नेहरूको कमी थिएन । त्यसैको निरन्तरता हो कि जस्तो लाग्यो । एकछिन पछि हेर्छु त राम जन्मभूमि अयोध्या भारतमा होइन नेपालको वीरगन्ज नजिकै ठोरीमा पो छ भनिरहेका छन् । के भएछ भनेर बुझ्दै जाँदा प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीले दिउँसोको कार्यक्रममा त्यसो भन्नुभएको रहेछ । के अयोध्या नेपालमै थियो ? यो प्रश्न उठाएको एउटा लेख (‘भगवान् राम नेपालमै जन्मेका आठ प्रमाण’, २०७५ कात्तिक ३०, सौर्य अनलाइन) घुम्दैफिर्दै आइपुग्यो । लोकमणि पौडेलले लेख्नु भएको त्यो लेखमा आठवटा ‘प्रमाण’ प्रस्तुत गरिएको रहेछ । यी ‘प्रमाण’हरूको विश्लेषण गर्ने प्रयास गर्छु ।

१. ५ सय किलोमिटर टाढाको अयोध्याबाट रथमा चढेर जनकपुर आइपुग्न सम्भव थिएन ।

यो तर्क साह्रै फितलो छ । विश्वामित्रले गर्न लागेको यज्ञ मारीच र ताटका राक्षसराक्षसीले पटकपटक भङ्ग गरेकाले यज्ञको रक्षा गर्न र राक्षसराक्षसीको वध गर्न रामलक्षमणलाई अयोध्याबाट कौशिकी किनारको आश्रममा लागेका थिए । यो कथाले वाल्मीकि रामायणको केही भूगोल बुझ्न मद्दत गर्छ । बाल काण्डको सर्ग २३ देखि ३० सम्म सरयू नदी र गङ्गाको संगमस्थलमा रहेको अङ्ग प्रदेश पुगेको, गङ्गा तरेर ताटकाको वनमा गएर उसको वध गरेको, वन पार गरेर विश्वामित्रको सिद्धाश्रममा मारीच र सुबाहु राक्षसबाट यज्ञ रक्षा गरेपछि बल्ल मिथिलातिर लागेको प्रसङ्ग छ । त्यस्तै सर्ग ३१-६५ मा शोणा नदीको किनारमा बसेर विशाला नगर हुँदै मिथिला पुगेको उल्लेख छ । उता रामजानकी विवाह निश्चित भएपछि दशरथलाई सन्देश पुर्‍याउने दूतहरू तीव्र गतिमा घोडा चढेर तीन दिनमा आइपुगेको बताउँछन् (वाल्मिकी रामायण १.६८.१) । त्यस्तै दशरथ नाना थरीका रथ लिएर चार दिनको बाटोबाट मिथिला पुग्छन् (वाल्मिकी रामायण १.६९.७)।

२. लक्ष्मणले सीतालाई वाल्मीकि आश्रममा छोडेर त्यही दिन फर्किए । भारतको अयोध्याबाट नेपालमा रहेको वाल्मिकी आश्रम २५० किलोमिटरको दूरीमा भएकाले एकै दिनमा फर्किन सम्भव छैन ।

नेपालको चितवनमा मात्रै वाल्मीकि आश्रम रहेको मान्ने हो भने यो ठीकै होला । लवकुशले पिङ खेलेका भनेका लहरा, रामको घोडा बाँधेको खम्बा, पुराना इनार नभएका होइनन् । तर भारतको उत्तर प्रदेश राज्यको बिठोरमा पनि वाल्मिकी आश्रम रहेछ । त्यही आश्रममा सीता र लवकुश बसेको र रामायण पनि त्यहीँ नै लेखिएको मान्यता रहेछ । वाल्मीकिको आश्रम हालको नेपालमा थियो कि भारतमा ? ऋषिमुनिहरू तप गर्दै धेरै ठाउँ पुग्थे । वाल्मीकिको आश्रम एउटा मात्रै हुनुपर्छ भन्ने छैन । एक ठाउँमा मात्रै हुनुपर्छ भन्ने पनि छैन । जसरी अचेल स्कूलका चेन हुन्छन्, गुरुकुल र आश्रमका पनि चेन हुन सक्छन् । हाल बिठोरमा रहेको आश्रममा लक्ष्मण सीतालाईले छाडेपछि हालको चितवनमा आएका पनि हुन सक्छन् । पछि उता गएका पनि हुनसक्छ ।  

यी दुवै आश्रममा सीता र लवकुशको कुनै सम्बन्ध नहुन पनि सक्छ । वाल्मीकि ऋषि हुनु अघि डकैती गर्दै दिन बिताउँथे । नारदले वाल्मीकिलाई राम नाम जप्न सिकाउँदा वाल्मीकिलाई रामका बारेमा थाहा नभए जस्तो लाग्छ । त्यस्तै नारदले वाल्मीकि ऋषि भइसकेपछि रामायण सुनाउँदा वाल्मीकि भन्दा राम धेरै नै प्राचीन जस्ता लाग्छन् । सीतालाई वाल्मीकि आश्रममा छाडिएको प्रसङ्ग उत्तरकाण्डमा छ जसलाई वाल्मीकिले रचेको नभई पछि थपिएको मान्नेहरूको सङ्ख्या पनि धेरै छ । वाल्मीकि रामायण डट नेटले उत्तरकाण्ड आफ्नो साइटमा राखेकै छैन ।       

३. सन् २००० मा प्रकाशित कमलेश्वरको उपन्यास ‘कितने पाकिस्तान’ मा अयोध्या रामको जन्मभूमि नभएको पुष्टि गरिएको छ ।

यो त मेरी म्यागडालिन जिजस क्राइष्टकी पत्नी थिइन् भनेर ड्यान ब्राउनले डा भिन्ची कोड उपन्यासमा भनेजस्तो भयो । अमिश त्रिपाठीले उपन्यासमा लेखेकाले रावण, हनुमान, गणेश म्युटेन्ट हुन् भन्ने पुष्टि भइसक्यो भन्न पनि नमिल्ला ! हुन त प्राचीन ग्रन्थको आधारमा रामको इतिहास केलाउन खोजिँदै छ र केही ऐतिहासिकता भेटिएको पनि छ तर ग्रन्थ र उपन्यासका “तथ्य” र “कल्पना” छुट्याउन पनि त कम गाह्रो छैन ।

४. भारतमा नक्कली लुम्बिनी बनाए जस्तै बाबरी मस्जिदमाथि हिन्दूहरूले हमला गरून् भनेर त्यो ठाउँलाई अयोध्या भनिएको हुनसक्छ ।

बुद्धकालिन सम्पदाहरू नेपाल र भारत मात्रै होइन अफगानिस्तानसम्म पनि भेटिएका छन् । नेपालको लुम्बिनीमा भेटिएको अशोक स्तम्भले त्यहीँ बुद्ध जन्मेका हुन् भन्ने सिद्ध गरिसकेको छ । लुम्बिनी विश्व सम्पदा सूचिमा रहेको पनि बीसौं वर्ष भइसक्यो । भारतले नक्कली लुम्बिनी बनाउन कसरी सक्ला ?

हाल अयोध्या भनिएको ठाउँ धेरै लामो इतिहासबाट गुज्रिएको छ । मुस्लिमहरूले यो क्षेत्रमा आक्रमण मात्र गरेनन्, शासन पनि गरे र कति ठाउँ तहसनहस पनि पारे । तेह्रौं शताब्दीमा सिमरौनगढ पतन भयो । त्यसै ताका कान्तिपुर र भादगाउँमा पनि लुट मच्चाए । बाबरी मस्जिद भएको ठाउँमा राम मन्दिर थियो भनेर हिन्दूहरूले मस्जिद गिराउनु उचित भने थिएन । तेह्रौँ शताब्दीका मुसलमान र बीसौँ शताब्दीका हिन्दू उस्तै हुन् ? होइनन् भने बाबरी मस्जिद ऐतिहासिक धरोहर थियो । साम्प्रदायिक दङ्गा नहुने गरी व्यवस्थापन गर्न सकिन्थ्यो । जति राम मन्दिर त्यति राम्रो भन्ने कुरा पनि सुनियो । त्यसो हो भने जति बुद्धका धाम त्यति राम्रो किन नभन्ने ?

५. नेपालको चितवन जिल्लामा रहेको माडी प्राचीन समयदेखि नै अयोध्यापुरीका नामले पनि जानिन्थ्यो । त्यसैले वास्तविक रामजन्म भूमि अयोध्या हुनुपर्छ । केही समय पहिलेसम्म त्यहाँस्थित एउटा गाविसको नाउँ अयोध्यापुरी रहेको थियो । अहिले टाँडी नगरपालिका भएपछि वडा ७ र ८ मा परेको छ । सो ठाउँबाट जनकपुर करिब १ सय ८० किमी पूर्वमा पर्छ भने वाल्मीकि आश्रम झण्डै ७० किमी पश्चिममा पर्छ । त्यहाँबाट रथमा चढेर एकै दिनमा वाल्मीकि आश्रम पुगेर फर्कन सकिन्छ ।

माडी (चितवन) कि ठोरी (पर्सा) ? प्रधानमन्त्री भन्नुहुन्छ ठोरी । पौडेल भन्नुहुन्छ, “प्रधानमन्त्रीज्यूले मेरो लेख पढेर राम जन्मभूमि नेपालमा पर्छ भन्नुभयो ।” फेरि पौडेलको लेखमा माडी छ । अध्ययन नै नभएको कुरामा दाबी कसरी हुन्छ ? प्रधानमन्त्रीज्यू, कुनै कुरा दाबी गर्दा फ्याक्ट चेक गरौँ न है अनि यो लेख/किताबको आधारमा भनेको पनि भन्दिउँ न है । अस्ति मात्रै भारतीय मिडियालाई फ्याक्ट देखाएनन् भनेर गाली गरियो । हेर्नुस् त, भोलिपल्टै माफी माग्नुपर्यो । लाज भयो ।  

६. “उता वाल्मीकि आश्रम अहिले पनि नेपालमै पर्छ । यो सबैले मानिआएको विषय हो । चितवन राष्ट्रिय निकुञ्ज तथा पर्सा वन्यजन्तु आरक्षको दक्षिणी सिमानामा अवस्थित यस आश्रममा नेपालकै भूमि भएर पुग्न सहज छैन । अहिले पनि त्रिवेणीबाट नारायणी पार गरेर इन्डियाको टंकी बजार पुगी इन्डियाकै वाल्मीकि बाघ संरक्षण क्षेत्र हुँदै सुननदी र पतनदी तरेर पुग्नुपर्ने अवस्था छ । यसमा नेपाल सरकारको खासै ध्यान पुगेको छैन ।“

भारतमा पनि वाल्मीकि आश्रम रहेछ भन्ने त माथि लेखिसकियो । नेपालमा रहेको आश्रम सुगम हुनुपर्छ र संरक्षण गर्नैपर्छ ।

७. “रामायणको अन्तिमतिर वाल्मीकि, सीता र लव कुशलाई लिएर पैदल यात्रा गरी रामलाई भेट्न गएको वर्णन छ । वाल्मीकिले सीताको पवित्रताका बारेमा रामलाई अवगत गराएर सीता तथा लव कुश तीनै जनालाई रामको जिम्मा लगाउने योजना थियो । उनीहरूको भेट भएको ठाउँ अहिलेको देवघाट हो । त्यो वेला रामले सीतालाई स्वीकार गर्दा जनतामा गलत सन्देश जाने सोचेकाले सहजतासँग वाल्मीकिको आग्रह शिरोपर गर्न सकेनन् । यसबाट दुःखी भएकी सीताले धरती मातालाई पुकारिन् । धरती फाटिन् र सीता धरतीमा समाहित भइन् । त्यो ठाउँको दर्शन गर्न अहिले पनि देवघाटमा तीर्थालुहरूको भिड लाग्छ ।“

उत्तरकाण्डको यो पारिवारिक भेटघाट चितवनको देवघाटमा नै भएको ऐतिहासिक प्रमाण छ र ? उत्तरकाण्ड किन सन्देहपूर्ण छ भनेर त माथि आइसक्यो । फेरि नदोहोर्याऊँ । तर रामायणलाई इतिहास मान्ने हो भने धर्ती मातालाई पुकारेको अनि धर्ती फाटेको कुरा चाहिँ पत्यारिलो लाग्दैन । 

८. “अहिलेको अयोध्यापुरीदेखि पश्चिम नारायणी नदी पार गरेपछि रामग्राम आउँछ । अयोध्यापुरीदेखि उत्तरतिर रामपुर छ । अयोध्यापुरीदेखि पूर्व सुनसरी जिल्लाको जंगलमा रामले धुनी जगाई आगो तापेको ठाउँ अद्यापि रामधुनीका नामले प्रसिद्ध छ । उता देवघाटसँग जोडिएको रामनगर पनि बिर्सनु हुँदैन । पाल्पामा पनि रामपुर छ । रामपुरसँगै काली नदीको किनारमा रामघाट छ जहाँबाट राम अन्तध्र्यान भएका थिए । रामायणमा रामले आफ्नो राज्य विस्तार गरेको प्रसङ्ग उल्लिखित छ । वरिपरिका रामनाम युक्त ठाउँहरू रामले विजय प्राप्त गरेका ठाउँहरू हुन सक्छन् ।”

राम जन्मभूमि भनिसकेपछि त्यसको वरिपरी रामको नाम भएका ठाउँ हुनु स्वाभाविक नै होला । तर यो पनि अनुमानमै सीमित छ । अरू नै कुनै राम पनि त हुन सक्छन् नि ! रामायणका रामभन्दा अघिका परशुराम पनि राम नामले नै चिनिन्थे । वाल्मिकी रामायणमा परशुरामलाई पटकपटक भार्गव राम र जामदग्न्य राम भनिएको छ दुई रामका बीचमा कन्फ्युजन नहोस् भनेर । विष्णुका दुई अवतारको नाम राम छ भने अरू कति राम होलान् ?

थप कुरा

माथि वाल्मीकि रामायणका आधारमा मात्रै विश्लेषण गरेँ । अरू रामायणबाट कुरा आए भने मेरा तर्क पनि काटिएलान्, सीमित अध्ययन भएकाले वाल्मीकि रामायणले नै पनि काट्न सक्छ । ठूलो कुरा होइन । रामायण मात्रै ३०० वटा सम्म रहेका छन् । नारद, वाल्मिकी, कालिदास, तुलसीदास, काम्बन, भानुभक्त त मैले थाहा पाएका केही रचयिता हुन् । रामायणका पात्रहरूका अनेक कथा छन् । विभिन्न क्षेत्र र भाषाका लोककथाहरूमा राम कहिले सामान्य मानिस, कहिले राजा त कहिले भगवान् बनेका छन् । पाली भाषाको ‘दशरथ जातक’मा राम र सीता दाजुबहिनी हुन्छन् । कुनैमा रावणवध रामले नभएर लक्ष्मणले गर्छन् । काम्बन रामायणमा सीता रावणकी छोरी हुन्छिन् । पहाड, सागर र पुष्पक विमान बोलेको जस्ता दन्त्यकथा रामायणमा अटाएका छन् भने विश्वामित्रको तपस्या, शिवधनु, परशुराम, जस्ता पौराणिक कथा पनि आएका छन् । यस्ता कठिनाई बावजुद रामायणको ऐतिहासिकता खोज्ने प्रयास भइरहेका छन् जुन निकै गाह्रो काम हो ।

असार १३, २०७७ मा भोगीराज चाम्लिङको ‘रामायणको लंका : श्रीलंका कि भारतमा ?’ शीर्षकको अन्वेषणमा आधारित एउटा लेख कान्तिपुरको कोसेलीमा छापिएको छ । लेखमा भाषिक अध्ययनका आधारमा लंकाको अर्थ टापू हुने, साथै भारतको मध्यप्रदेश स्थित क्षेत्रका आदिवासीका इतिहासका आधारमा उक्त क्षेत्रमा रामायणवर्णित लंका थियो भन्ने तर्कहरू सन्दर्भ सहित प्रस्तुत गरिएको छ । त्यसभन्दा अघि २०७६ असोज २५ मा नयाँ पत्रिकाले ‘लंकाकोण’ शीर्षकमा सौरभको लेख प्रकाशन गरेको छ । यसमा पनि सन्दर्भहरू दिँदै विभिन्न भाषामा लंकाको अर्थ दक्षिण र टापू भनिएको छ र रामायणको लंका मध्यप्रदेशमा पर्छ भन्ने कुरालाई पनि जोड दिइएको छ ।

वैज्ञानिक अध्ययन हुँदै जाँदा पुराना मान्यता फेरिएर नयाँ मान्यता स्थापित हुनु नौलो होइन । राम जन्मभूमिका विषयमा पनि उचित वैज्ञानिक अध्ययन भएर नयाँ कुरा आउनसक्छ तर अकस्मात नयाँ मान्यता आए भने तिनलाई आत्मसात् गर्न गाह्रो पनि हुन सक्छ । कोपर्निकस, ग्यालिलियो, डार्विनजस्ता वैज्ञानिकका प्रमाणित तथ्यलाई समेत जनमानसले सहजै ग्रहण गर्न सकेन ।

रामलाई कथाको पात्र मान्ने हो भने उनी जहाँ जन्मिएका भए पनि के फरक पर्छ र ? ऐतिहासिक पात्र हुन् भने पनि जुन बेला उनी जन्मिए, त्यो बेलाको भूगोल अहिलेको जस्तो छँदै थिएन । उनी न नेपाली थिए न भारतीय । उनलाई मान्नेले उनका कर्मका आधारमा भगवान् मानेका छन् । उनका गल्ती देखाएर उनलाई भगवान् नमान्ने पनि छन् । भगवान् मान्ने हो भने त उनी सर्वव्यापी छन् । न आदि छ न अन्त्य । न जन्म न मरण । बुद्धका हकमा पनि लगभग यस्तै कुरा लागू हुन्छन् । अनि यस्ता विषयमा झगडा किन गर्नुपर्यो ?

तर म बबुरोले मात्रै होला यस्तो सोच्ने ! राम जन्मभूमिका नाममा उठेको विवाद साम्प्रदायिक द्वन्द्वमा परिणत भयो । त्यही द्वन्द्वबाट उठेर भारतीय जनता पार्टी राजनीति गरिरहेका छन् । भारतीय सर्वोच्च अदालतले बाबरी मस्जिद भत्काएको ठाउँमा राम मन्दिर बनाउन पाउने निर्णयलाई भारतीय प्रधानमन्त्री मोदीले राम्रै क्यास गरे । जुन रामको नाममा मोदी राजनीति गर्दैछन् तिनै रामको जन्मभूमिलाई फिक्का तर्कको आधारमा नेपालको भनेर दाबी नै गरिदिन्छन् ओली । कताकता डर लागिरहेको छ । भगवानका नाममा झगडा नगरौं भन्दा पनि कहिले बुद्ध त कहिले रामको विषयमा विवाद भइरहँदा रिचर्ड डकिन्सको ‘द गड डिल्युजन’मा पढेका (ठ्याक्कै यस्तै नभए पनि) शब्दहरू याद आइरहेको छ –“नरम भन्दा नरम धर्म (सम्प्रदाय) लाई मान्नेहरू पनि जुनसुकै बेला कट्टर हुन सक्छन् । त्यसैले सबै साम्प्रादाय हटाउनुपर्छ ।“

वर्षा

काला बादलका पर्दाले

मनमा उमङ्गको लहर उठ्छ ।

जब नीलो आकाश र रापिलो घाम ढपक्क ढाकिदिन्छन्

रिमझिम झरीले जमिनलाई जसै सुवासित गर्छ

मनले सर्वात्र खुशीको बिज छर्छ ।

हिलो मैलो नभनी

दु:ख गरी दिनरात

सपना बुन्दछ अन्नपातको सुखको ।

कला घना बादलहरू

जब झमझम अविरल बर्सन्छन्

काँप्दछ मन !

खुशीमा ग्रहण लाग्ने पो हो कि ?

भेल बन्छन् कि खेतबारी ?

बाढीले बगाउँछ कि सारा सपनाहरू ?

पहिरो आई खस्छ कि मेरा आशा माथि ?

तुहिने हुन् कि इच्छाहरू ?

हे ईश्वर !

बचाइदेऊ मेरा सपना !

नपार निराश मलाई,

पूरा गरिदेऊ मेरा एक मुठी रहर !

फुर्सद छैन कि ईशलाई ?

मौन बसेको छ !

निद्रामा पो छ कि ?

मेरा प्रार्थना उसका कानमा नपुगे जस्तो छ !

काला घना बादलहरू

भेल बनी आउँछन् !

गड्गडाउँदै पस्छन् घरखेतमा

तुहाइदिन्छन् सपना र रहरहरू !

गर्जंदै खसेर माथिबाट

निमिट्यान्न पार्न खोज्छन् आशा र इच्छाहरू !

सास बाँकी छ

आश बाँकी छ

शोक र भोक छ ।

शक्ति अझै बाँकी छ

पीडाले बलवान बनाइदिएको छ ।

भविष्य निर्माणमा अघि बढ्छु !

वर्षा यामका

काला घना बादलहरू

मेरो जीवनका निर्णायक हुने छैनन्

कुनै ईश्वरको मौनताले

मेरो भाग्य उल्टिनेछैन

मेरो भाग्यको मालिक म आफैँ हुनेछु

मेरो सुकर्मको फल म आफैँले पाएको हुनेछु ।

(२०७७/०३/३०)

Isolation

I have included some strips of the manga Koe no Katachi by Yoshitoki Ooima in this blog. Please read the strips from right to left.

When I watched Koe no Katachi aka A Silent Voice/The Shape of Voice, watched several video essays on it on YouTube, and later read the manga, I could relate the most to Shouya Ishida’s character. I was not a bully but I used to be nasty at times. However, the similarity lies in the ways he isolates himself. That took me back to my own school days.

I grew up pretty fast during my childhood, psychologically as well as physically. The problems of my home changed me from a carefree, outgoing boy into a worrying introvert. I spent my childhood trying to maintain good grades under the expectations of my parents and teachers. I hit puberty faster than most of my classmates, and that made me feel distant from the rest. Until I was 12, I had a few best friends, but none of them stayed long. I believed that I could have only one best friend, but that best friend was never permanent. After 6th Grade, I could not even tell who my best friend was. I had imaginary friends since I was 8. I spent most of my adolescence with them.

Koe no Katachi took me to those days and made me think: Why didn’t I have no friends then? My house was in the end of a small goreto beside a stream now turned into sewer. I never brought anyone home. I never went to anyone’s. I was scared I might get lost if I went anywhere other than my home and school. At the age of 3 or 4, I had actually lost at Ason. Had the Lamini Aama, who lives in our neighbourhood not found me, I don’t know what would happen to the proud Ankit/Sandeept that is today. But these were all secondary. The primary reason was my pride.

As long as I remember, I have always been proud. I was proud of my good-looks. I was proud of my high-pitched voice. I was proud of my memory. I was proud of my hard-work. I was proud of my timeliness. I was proud of my ability to speak well in public.

The first blow to my pride came in the form of the crooked tooth that somehow changed my good-looks. The second blow was the change in my voice-pitch. The pride of my memory ‘poofed’ when I realized that my brain could not remember everything and that the memories were ever changing. My pride of timeliness, hard-work and my ability to speak up facts from memory got kicked away once again in March when I did my worst presentation ever. But I still did not let go of my pride.

With pride, I had cultivated ego, and I enclosed myself within its walls. This wall has stayed ever since I realized I was different from my classmates, and that I could not easily mix with them. I had several problems. I could not stand them shouting out obscenities, I could not stand them fighting for petty things, I could not stand them taking my note-books, I could not stand them talking about ‘Street Fighter’, I could not stand them joining social media, I could not stand their aggression. In short, I could not stand the adolescents being adolescents. My “matured outlook” was actually my ego. I grew it in such a way that I did not frankly talk to anyone. I pushed them and have always tried pushing other friends and people away from me. I shoved some of them so hard that I have never had life-long friends.

In Koe no Katachi, the anime, Shouya Ishida shuts his ears, and crosses out everyone. That’s who I was, and still am. While my classmates had fun in the class, enjoying the never-returning times of their lives, I ignored their voices, canceled them out and concentrated on books. I used to be in the classroom, but I used to be aloof from whatever they did. Whatever they did, I thought, was nonsense. What I did, always right.

Looking back, I was never sad that I did not have much good memories with my childhood friends. I had my biggest lesson on large-group friendship when I was in my Bachelor’s. That was the time I enjoyed with my friends the most. But back in my head, I still had a doubt like Ishida has at the midway in his character arc, “Is this what friends are like? Am I allowed to be in their friendship, and to be happy?”

By now, I have again been hit by a realization. Even the largest groups of friends dissemble at some point of time. People who used to spill out all secrets, get along with awkward smiles when they meet after a long time. The dimensions of friendship changes with time and it’s natural. Nobody remains the same. I am, however jealous of some of my friends who can keep more than one best-friend in their life and respect each one of them. I am jealous that they can maintain the same dynamics that they created in their childhood. They are the polar opposites of someone like me, one who believes that there can only be one best-friend, and loses even that best-friend eventually.

Koe no Katachi, the anime, shook the walls of my ego; the manga cracked it further. As I dug deeper into my psyche, I realized that I could have been more accepting. I could have enjoyed a bit of “the trifles” of my friends. I could have a bigger heart and accepted many best-friends in my life. I could have been proud of the fact that I valued friendship over my own pride-generated ego. I apologize to you all, my friends, that I could never see anything beyond my ego. That I never tried to understand you; that I did not try to accept you, not even once.

Will I be able to break the walls of ego? I don’t know. Even after the blow it got, it still stands. I have come to a realization that only I can break it. The wall, however, is many-layered and has made my personality. Breaking that wall means that I will have to change my personality to some extent. But am I ready for that alteration? Am I ready to face my demons? Am I ready to move out of my comfort zone? I don’t know. But I am inspired by Ishida when he says in the manga: “There is some things you just can’t change. …I think it’s the time you spend trying to change. …That’s more important.”

I want, my friends, not to push you away; I want to understand you, your perspectives; I want to be more accepting of you; I want to be no more jealous of you; and I want infinite joy whenever I interact with you.

Lockdown or locked up ?

My thoughts exactly!

linguaphile

Surveillance is of high importance at this time of emergency but shouldn’t people be allowed to buy essential commodities ? Or State authorities presume that it’s better to starve to death than to die from pandemic.

COVID - 19 ,the pandemic that enforced government to declare a week long on March 23 ( it’s been extended for one more week). As death toll was soaring high in the countries with robust health system , it was a no brainer for country like Nepal to undergo lockdown.

Police arrests impatient pedestrians using multifunctional rescue and arrest canes on the 5th day of lockdown.

Realizing the consequences of dread virus ,people have been co – operative . Yet , when the lockdown was announced many people asked a question: Can everyone lock themselves in home ? As country went lockdown even shops of essential commodities were closed , contrary to the…

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Memories

I have lost hundreds of photos and documents due to hard drive crashes and memory card failures. Crashes are inevitable. Electronic devices can fail anytime without any symptom. I backup some of my important data online but I don’t backup everything. Over years, hard drives turn into parts of my own memories, and they even represent my personality. I feel I lose myself every time a crash occurs. Sudden crashes have hurt me at least five times now, the recent one occurring on February 14, and I have not been able to recover everything yet.

Our brain captures our sensory perceptions and makes memories. The brain also erases the ones that are less significant. It is so spontaneous that we don’t care how the construction and deconstruction of memories occur. I have come to realize that when we actively interact with the environment, we make sharper memories compared to times when we are passive. Undivided attention helps produces better memories than when my mind is divided. My memory becomes the weakest during the times I have to multi-task. As I am writing this, my mind is trying to run quickly, but it is also interrupted by the talks of my sister and mother, and the loud TV. I am trying to understand what they are talking about but my mind processes only bits and pieces. I am sure when I wake up tomorrow, I won’t be able to remember anything of this evening except that I was typing something on my laptop.

This lack of proper memory construction a frightening situation for me. It was not always this way. I used to do home-works while watching TV in the past. My brain might not be as effective as it was 10-12 years ago; I don’t know. I might not have been able to grasp information from different senses at the same time. I can’t say for sure. Did my brain change the way it worked as I grew into an adult? I can’t say for sure. What I know for sure is that the volume of information my brain has to process is huge, and it has tired. All the things from trivial to complex calculations have affected it for a few years. The fatigue has lingered for a long time as I have not been able to give it a proper rest.

Unrested mind is unstable. It fears more, lacks confidence, and kills enthusiasm. It has so much to do but does not want to do anything. Moments of laughter decrease as worry grips every thought. Such a mind does not make good memories. It takes one deeper into abyss. Images of Riley from the movie “Inside Out” run in my mind as I write these lines. Sometimes, I see myself in her place, trying to keep myself happy against all conditions and making myself sadder as time passes.

The TV is making me listen to Yog Gurus who are focusing on happiness and Pranayam (breathing techniques) that help in the removal of all thoughts. After that, they say, we can enforce happy thoughts. I have not tried them yet, but as I look the paragraph above I become doubtful. Are we composed only of happy thought? We definitely are not. We are made up of several different kinds of emotions—happy, sad, angry, and so on that have roles in defining our personalities. And as the movie “Inside Out” showed, these feelings are ingrained in our memories.

Do memories make us human? Do they drive humanity? As long as I know, we learn a lot of things from the individual experiences of our parents, teachers, friends, and our own. We also have collective memories in the forms of communities, societies, rituals, libraries of books, and archives of different forms of media. Humanity relies on these things so that we don’t have to start from the beginning of the civilization. Humans are in a sort of relay race where the older generation passes the baton of memories to the younger generation can continue from what they have. A new generation always more privileged. Look at the progress in technology, for example.

Progress in technology means that we are relying more and more on it to keep our memories. Will a time come when the machines understand the meanings of our memories? That they will empathise with us? We are already astonished by the answers given by Siri and Sofia, aren’t we? Will they be more human than we ever are? “Blade Runner 2049”, the sequel to the classic “Blade Runner” movie triggered the question within me. Both the movies focus on memories implanted in factory-made humans; the sequel on the memories of automated programs as well. I don’t have the answers to the questions but the possibility of the machines becoming more intelligent or more human could be possible. For now, I am happy with the machines helping me put a part of me into them. It’s a risk as they may crash any time and I might lose those bits of my memories again. It’s okay because, “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”[1]


[1] Quote from Rutger Hauer’s character Roy in Blade Runner (1982)

पुस्तक समीक्षा: झोला

‘झोला’ कथासंग्रहमा प्रसिद्ध आख्यानकार कृष्ण धरावासीका बाह्रवटा कथा राखिएका छन् । यीमध्ये केही पछिसम्म सम्झन सकिने खालका छन् । सबै कथाहरूको छोटो चर्चा गर्दछु ।

पहिलो कथा ‘झोला’ सर्वप्रिय कथा हो । सतीप्रथाको विकराल दृश्य प्रस्तुत भएको यो कथा ‘श्रुति संवेग’मा प्रस्तुत भएको थियो । त्यसपछि नै एउटा अनलाइनमा भेटेको थिएँ अनि बाबाले पढेर सुनाउनुभएको थियो । यस कथामा आधारित चलचित्र पनि बनिसकेको छ जसलाई धेरै प्रशंसा गरिएको थियो । यो कथासंग्रह को सबैभन्दा उत्कृष्ट कथा पनि ‘झोला’ नै हो ।

‘ठेकुवाकी आमा’ पनि मन परेको अर्को कथा हो । ठेकुवाकी आमाले ठेकुवा (छोरा) लिएर राजेन्द्र साहुसँग पोइल गएपछि कथा सुरु भएको छ । उसको विगत बुझेपछि उसले लिएको कदम ठीकै लाग्छ । तर पछि उसले गरेको गल्तीले ल्याएको वियोगान्तले रुवायो ।

‘ती दिन कहिले आउलान ?’ लेखनको दृष्टिकोणले अनौठो छ । यस्तो किसिमको कथा पहिले पढेको थिइनँ । पात्रहरूको नाम नदिई संवाद मात्रै दिइएकोछ । कसले बोलेको भन्ने बुझ्न चाहिँ बुलेट पोइन्ट हेर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । कुनै आन्दोलन या द्वन्द्वकालको अवस्था छ भन्ने बुझिन्छ यो कथाका संवादमा तर पात्रहरूसँग कनेक्सन नभएकाले खासै मन परेन ।

चौथो कथा ‘उनीहरूले कहिले गीत गाए?’ म पात्रले सानैमा गरेको सोही प्रश्न र उमेर ढल्किएपछि पाएको प्रश्नमा केन्द्रित छ । यसले सामान्य कुरा देखाएर गहिरो भाव बोकेको छ । अर्को कथा ‘साँघु काट्नु’ले क्रान्तिकारीहरूले साँघु (पुल) काटेको कुरालाई एउटा बच्चा ले कसरी बुझ्छ भन्ने कुरा देखाइएको छ ।

‘भो छाड्नुस् ती पुराना कुरा’ले एउटी महिलाका निर्णयहरू प्रस्तुत गरेको छ । यद्यपि पात्रहरूको विकास राम्ररी गरिएको छैन । घटनाहरू कथाकै लागि मात्र भएजस्ता लाग्छन् ।

‘इस्कुस’ कथाले अनौठो यौन मनोविज्ञान समेटेको छ । बिहे गरेको छ महिनापछि श्रीमतीसँग भेट्न हिंडेको ‘म’ पात्रले इस्कुसलाई ‘विशेष’ देखेको कुराले हास्या सिर्जना गरेको छ । ‘विश्वास’ कथाले भने वर्षौंदेखि सँगै रहेका जोडीले पनि कसरी एकअर्कालाई शंका गर्न सक्छन् भन्ने देखाएको छ । यो कथामा शंकाले लंका जलाउँदैन । यो कुरा मनपर्यो ।

जातीय भेदभाव सानै उमेरदेखि कसरी सुरु हुन सक्छ भन्ने कथा हो ‘एउटा सानो केटो’ । ‘म’ पात्रले एउटा ब्राहमण केटोलाई कसैलाई पनि भेदभाव गर्न हुन्न भनेर सिकाएको यो कथा ठीकै लाग्यो ।

‘मह’ कथाले सोझालाई बाठाले कसरी झुक्क्याउन सक्छन् भन्ने देखाएको छ । त्यस्तै माथिल्लो पदका कर्मचारीको मूर्खता र सफाई गर्न पनि तल्लो पदका कर्माचारी पर्खिनै पर्ने “बाध्यता”लाई व्यङ्ग्य गरेको छ ।

‘मास्टरबाबु’ पनि मन परेको कथा हो । यसमा बाहिर एउटा र भित्र अर्को रुप भएको एउटा पात्रको बयान छ । यसको आश्चर्यजनक अन्त्यले मास्टरबाबुप्रतिको हेराइ नै परिवर्तन हुन्छ ।

संग्रहको अन्तिम कथा ‘बसकी केटी’मा बस यात्राका दौरान ‘म’पात्र र उसकी छेउमा बसेकी एउटी केटीको बारेमा छ । ‘म’पात्रका मनमा खेल्ने कुराहरूमा पुरुष मनोविज्ञान देखिन्छ ।

समग्रमा, ३.५/५

View my other reviews on Goodreads

7 Days 7 Books

7 Days 7 Books is a challenge on Facebook that has been running among Nepali book-lovers for a couple of years. The aim was to promote reading culture. This year, it got an extra agenda-“Make books tax free!”

The addition of tax on imported books and those printed in India/overseas should have affected the publishers and distributors, but it looks like they won’t be affected. Instead they would hike the price and make things difficult for parents and students (who are in compulsion to buy textbooks from abroad), and for book-lovers. “The total removal of tax in books would help a lot of students,” a lot of us argued. #Makebookstaxfree got into the internet, and there were campaigns against the taxes at several places, of which Patan was the first. I could not go there because the time clashed with my language classes but I gave my moral support.

The 7 Days 7 Books Challenge says, “Post a book’s cover everyday for 7 days without any review or explanation.” But when I was challenged by my friend Gauri Bomjan, I had a strong urge to at least explain why I chose those books. I thought, ‘Anyone can Google book covers and post them. If I don’t explain, people will not be attracted.’ But later I accepted the challenge as it was to see if I can be wrong. Since the challenge is completed, I now list the 7 books that I posted (all of which are Nepali) along with answers to “Why I chose them?”

Day 1: मोती र गुलाफ (My Translation: Pearls and Roses) by Shivahari Adhikari

I received this book when I was in Class 1 as a prize in a poem recitation contest. This book has 6 folk tales from 6 countries. This book is close to my heart, and since it came back to me after remaining at one of my neighbours for several years, my mother did not allow anyone to take it away.

Day 2: बनारसमा बेचिएकी बहिनी (My Translation: A Sister sold in Benaras)–Nagendra

We did not have book-shelves as there was no space in our house. (We still don’t have much space but we got our first book-shelf last week, thanks to my parents.) So, those days, books were stored in an old carton box. I used to extract books and magazines from it time and again. I found this book in that box when I was in Class 8 while we were shifting to our neighbour’s on rent (we were building a bigger house where our old small house was). Before reading this book, I thought essays were always factual with very little chance of bringing in fiction or personal opinions. This book changed my thought.

I have a deep respect for this book as a Guru for my essays and blogs. It has inspired the way I evaluate situations and people, and I have no shame in saying that Nagendra’s writing style has inspired some of my writings.

Day 3: धुवाँ (Translation: Smoke) by Atma Ram Sharma

My father got this book from his friend (the author). I read this book several times during my vacations during my childhood. I had forgotten it completely until I found it while looking for books to post for the challenge. The story collection has several stories of sorrow. I have never read it as an adult. So, the challenge has reminded me that I should read it again.

Day 4: एउटा कथा भन्नु न हजूरआमा (My Translation: Grandma, Please tell a story) by Ramesh Bikal

Ramesh Bikal is a writer who has written stories for all age groups. This books for children are noteworthy for their mythical and magical elements. My mother gave this book when I was in 15. I fell in love with the stories instantly. But as I haven’t read it for a long time, I have forgotten them. Another book in the to-read-again list.

Day 5: जंगबहादुर (Junga Bahadur) by Shree Krishna Shrestha

I read parts of this book in Sadhana Magazine. I read it last year in free times during my trip to Japan and wrote a review in Nepali. I looked for information on the author but could not find him then. After I posted this photo for the challenge, my teacher Nir Shakya wrote that Late Mr Shree Krishna Shrestha was a chemist and was also the Head of Water Resources Department. I had a mixture of emotions as I got some real info about the author after so many years, but after his demise.

Day 6: घनचक्कर (Ghanachakkar) by Sanjeev Upreti

Ghanachakkar is a crazy ride with one of the craziest narrators of all time. Set during the insurgency period Kathmandu, this novel is a psychological experience. I got this book as a prize in Class 9. I finished the book within five hours the day I got it, leaving me in hallucinations and confusion. I have read it several times since and each time I have found something new.

Day 7: लिखे (Likhe) by Sharad Poudel

I read some chapters of this book in Nawa Yuwa magazines of the late nineties. As with Junga Bahadur, I bought it immediately when I saw it in a book store. This novel shows real struggles of the so-called “untouchables” in a small village in the Western District of Baglung. The dialect, the life-style and the social problems have been captured so well that Likhe’s struggles in his young age can make one cry.

At the end, I realized that it is possible to attract readers to books by just showing the photos. So, why a long post as this? Because, (1) I can’t find peace until I write this and (2) I hope I can attract more readers through this article.

७ दिन ७ पुस्तक

फेसबुकमा केही वर्षदेखि नै ७ दिन ७ पुस्तक च्यालेन्ज देखेकाे थिएँ । नेपाली पुस्तकप्रेमीहरूले पठन संस्कृतिकाे प्राेत्साहनका लागि ७ दिनसम्म ७ वटा पुस्तक कुनै पनि व्याख्या वा समीक्षाविना पाेस्ट गरिरहेका थिए । समीक्षासहितकाे चुनाैति पनि देखेकाे हुँदा केही नलेखी फाेटाे मात्र राख्दा कसैले ‘ढर्रा पारेकाे’ भन्ने हाे कि भन्ने शंका जाग्थ्याे । गुगलबाट खाेजेर किताबकाे फाेटाे राख्न पनि गाह्राे छैन । व्याख्या वा समीक्षाविना पाेस्ट गरिरहँदा अरूलाई पठनप्रति आकर्षण गर्न सकिन्छ र ? भन्ने प्रश्न पनि मनमा थियाे ।

साथी गौरी बम्जनको च्यालेन्ज स्वीकार गर्नुअघि माथी उठेका प्रश्नहरू बारे सोचेँ । व्याख्या गर्न मन हुँदा पनि नगरेर फोटोहरू हालेँ । ती पुस्तकहरू यहाँ प्रस्तुत गरेको छु । अनि ती पुस्तक किन छानेँ भन्ने कुरा पनि समेटेको छु (च्यालेन्ज दौरान नलेखे पनि) ।

१. मोती र गुलाफ (लोककथा सङ्ग्रह)- शिवहरि अधिकारी

कक्षा १ मा छँदै पुरस्कार स्वरूप पाएको यो किताब धेरै नै प्रिय छ । यसमा भएका ६ वटा कथाले मन छुन्छन् अनि केही नैतिक शिक्षा पनि दिन्छन् । धेरै वर्ष छिमेकमा बसेर फिर्ता आएकोले गर्दा पनि यो किताबप्रती आशक्ति अलि बढी छ ।

२. बनारसमा बेचिएकी बहिनी (निबन्ध सङ्ग्रह)– नगेन्द्र

आठ कक्षामा छँदा किताब र पत्रिका राखेको बक्सामा एकदिन यो पुस्तक भेटेको थिएँ । टङ्कनमा धेरै गल्ती भए पनि यसले सुरुमै आकर्षित गर्‍यो । यी निबन्धहरूले निबन्धप्रतिको दृष्टिकोण नै परिवर्तन गरे । मेरा कतिपय ब्लग पनि यी निबन्धबाट प्रभावित छन् ।

३. धुवाँ (कथा सङ्ग्रह)–आत्माराम शर्मा

बाबाले ल्याउनुभएको यो किताब ५ कक्षादेखिका धेरै बिदाहरूमा पढेको थिएँ । सामान्य मान्छेका असामान्य कथाहरूले रुवाउँथे । नपढेको धेरै भएको हुँदा धेरै कुरा याद छैनन् । फेरि छिट्टै पढ्नुपर्ने पुस्तक हो यो ।

४. एउटा कथा भन्नु न हजूरआमा (बालकथा सङ्ग्रह)- रमेश विकल

रमेश विकलका कथा र उपन्यासहरू विभिन्न उमेर समूह लक्षित छ्न् । बालबालिकाका लेखिएका यस सङ्ग्रहका कथाहरूले कल्पनाको संसारमा पुर्‍याउँछ्न् ।

५. जंगबहादुर (ऐतिहासिक उपन्यास)–श्रीकृष्ण श्रेष्ठ

साधना मासिकमा जङ्गबहादुर उपन्यासका अंश पढ्दा आङ सिरिङ्ग हुन्थ्यो । सानोमा धेरै पटक यी अंश पढेको थिएँ । पूरा उपन्यास पढ्न भने पोहोर साल मात्र जुर्‍यो, त्यो पनि जापान टुरको दौरान । यस उपन्यासको समीक्षा पोहोर साल लेखिसकेको छु ।

६. घनचक्कर (उपन्यास)–सञ्जीव उप्रेती

७. लिखे (उपन्यास)–शरद पौडेल

पागलपनको कथा बोकेको घनचक्कर पहिलो चोटि पढ्दा कायल भएको थिएँ । कक्षा ९ मा एउटा प्रतियोगितामा पुरस्कारको रूपमा पाएको दिन करिब ५ घण्टामा पढिसकेको थिएँ । त्यसपछिका वर्षहरूमा पढ्दा हरेक पल्ट नयाँ कथा र सोच भेटेको छु । पढेका नेपाली उपन्यासमध्ये सबैभन्दा माथिल्लो तहमा घनचक्करलाई राख्ने गरेको छु ।

नवयुवा मासिकमा लिखेका केही अंश पढेको थिएँ । “जङ्गबहादुर”झैँ यो किताब पनि देख्नेबित्तिकै किनेको थिएँ । बाग्लुङको सानो गाउँमा अछुत भनेर ठूला जात भनाउँदाले दिएका दु:ख र लिखेले सानै उमेरमा गर्नुपरेको संघर्षले मुटु कुँड्याउँछ ।

अन्त्यमा, मेरा प्रश्नका जवाफ पाएँ । व्याख्या नै नगरे पनि पुस्तकप्रति आकर्षित गराउन सकिँदो रहेछ । त्यसो भए यति लामो लेख किन ? किनकी यो नलेखी चित्त बुझाउनै सकिनँ । अनि यो लेखमार्फत अझै धेरैलाई आकर्षित गर्न सक्छु कि भन्ने सानो प्रयास (आश) हो ।