पुस्तक समीक्षा: चीरहरण

गुरु व्यास जयन्तीको दिन गुरु व्यासको सबैभन्दा चर्चित कृति महाभारतमा आधारित चीरहरण पढेर सकियो । नीलम कार्की निहारिकाको यो नेपाली उपन्यास पढ्न सकिन्छ कि सकिँदैन भन्ने द्विविधा थियो सुरुमा । मैले आजसम्म पढेका मध्ये सबैभन्दा ठूलो हो यो पुस्तक । त्यहीपनि कथानकमा जुन ‘फ्लो’ छ, त्यसले ५२२ पृष्ठ पढ्न धेरै समय लागेन ।
चीरहरण महाभारतभन्दा पृथक छ र छैन पनि । पृथक यस अर्थमा छ कि यसले महाभारतका नारीपात्रहरूका सुख, दुःख, पीडा र समस्याहरू देखाइएको छ । पृथक यस अर्थमा छैन कि यसले महाभारतको कथा (मैले जानेसम्म) परिवर्तन गरेको छैन । महाभारतमा रहेका जादुमयी कुराहरू, उदाहरणका लागि गुरु व्यासको जन्म, लाई जस्ताको तस्तै प्रस्तुत गरिएको छ ।

उपन्यासको सुरुवात जादुमयी छ । कुनै जलाशयमा सुभद्राबाहेकका सबै पात्रहरू आएका छन् । पालैपालो आफ्ना कथाहरू राख्छन् । पहिलो पुस्ताको पात्र सत्यवतिबाट महाभारतको कथा सुरु हुन्छ । दोस्रो पुस्ताको प्रतिनिधित्व अम्बिका र अम्बालिकाले गरेका छन् । तेस्रो पुस्ता कुन्ती र गान्धारी अनि चौथो पुस्ताका नारीका रूपमा द्रौपदी, चित्राङ्गदा, उलूपी र भानुमती वक्ताका रूपमा आउँछन् ।

पहिलो देखि चौथो पुस्ता (अझ पाँचौं) सम्म आइपुग्दा नारीले भोग्ने समस्या उस्तै छन् । सत्यवतीको वर्णन पढ्दा पीडा, आश्चर्य र साहनुभूतिका भावना जाग्छन् । त्यस्तै की दिदी अम्बाको पीडामा आँसु बग्छन् । अम्बिका र अम्बालिकाले पतिको मृत्यु पछि व्याससँग गर्ने नियोगका बारेमा जानकार हुँदाहुँदै पनि मलाई चकित पारिदियो । गान्धारीको हठात् गरेको आँखामा पट्टी बाँध्ने प्रणले पारेको असरको बारेमा सायदै कसैले याद गरेका होलान् । अनि कुन्ती र माद्रीले भोग्नुपरेका दु:ख र पतिको मृत्युमा सती जानुपर्ने विषयमा भएका वादविवाद र मत-मतान्तर दु:खद छन् ।

उपन्यासको आधाभन्दा बढी भाग द्रौपदीको कथाले लिएको छ । शिर्षक नै चीरहरण भएको र महाभारतको पनि क्लाइमेक्स द्रौपदीसँग जोडिएकाले होला । द्रौपदीको इतिहासमा पीडा, क्रोध र विद्रोह छ ।

उपन्यास समग्रमा विद्रोही किसिमको छ । पात्रहरूमा बारम्बार विद्रोहको आकांक्षा आउँछन् तर फेरि धर्म र कर्मको नाममा दबिन्छन् । सबै पात्रहरूले कुनै न कुनै समयमा सम्झौता गर्छन् । चीरहरणले धर्म र बाध्यता को नाममा महिलाप्रति हुने विभेद र अत्याचारका विरुद्धमा धावा बोलेको छ ।

उपन्यास राम्रो हुँदाहुँदै पनि बारम्बार दोहोरिने वाक्य, वाक्यांश र संवादले अलि झिंझो लाग्छ । उपन्यासमा थुप्रै गल्ती पनि भेटियो । ५२२ पृष्ठ सम्पादन गर्नु सजिलो कुरा होइन तर गल्ती नभएको भए अझ राम्रो हुनेथियो भन्ने मेरो विचार हो ।

पुस्तकको नाम: चीरहरण

लेखक: नीलम कार्की निहारिका

पृष्ठ सङ्ख्या: ५२२

What might happen to my body after my death?

I was really amused reading the question (If God doesn’t exist, what will happen after you die?) because I was thinking, “How would God’s existence or absence influence what happens after you die?”

Anyway, the first thing that would happen after my death is my consciousness would come to an end forever.

Another thing that would happen is that my name, my personality would all die with me. As soon as I die, I would become a “body” or a “corpse” (laas, shav in Nepali).

Then I would be cremated. My body would turn to ashes in hours. People would think I have rested in the sky. If I had decided to donate my organs after my death, my organs would be saving someone. If my body goes for donation to a medical institute, my “body” (body is what they would call) would be studied.

If I met death horribly, for example, sunk down into a lake or swamp, my body parts will decay therein or become fossilized. If I drown into a river, my body might be swept downstream, discovered horribly swollen, or may never be found, dismembered and fed off by fishes and even water itself. Still some of my body parts would be fossilized.

If my death occurs by being crushed over by a building or a rock or a mountain of a vehicle, my body parts might scattered here and there. It would never be donated but could be cremated, if lucky or would be fossilized.

It got too gory even for my own taste. Maybe you believe that God will take you or your soul will get to heaven (or may go to hell or remain in purgatory.) I can’t be as sure about that. I have never seen God do that yet except in some movies.

Originally posted as an answer on Quora.

I could not find a formula!

I was lazily scrolling down the questions and answers on Quora. When I had first known about that site, it was full of mind-boggling, interesting and informative questions and answers. These days, nice questions are rare and answers are more sarcastic than informative.

So, as I was scrolling down, I received a notification. Someone had requested answer to a question, “What is the formula for excellent essay writing?”

This is a popular question. A lot of people have already answered the question and yet people ask it over and over again. I looked at some of the answers and said to myself, “Why do so many people asking for a formula for writing an essay or an article or a story? And why, despite several answers, they are not satisfied?”


My brain began imagining fictional characters and scenes since I was seven. My first story (which has not yet been written on paper) was Shivam: The Sailor, inspired by stickers of ships with the name Shivam (probably the name of the company that produced them) under them. I imagined my stories in my native language Nepali but dialogues in English. And I used to tell them to my imaginary friends. The trend continued for more than five years with many superhero characters: Rakerilisis (Raker = Robotic, Ilisis = Hero; a name I had imagined myself) aka Ram, Vikram, Mike, Richard, Roger and many others.

In school, we were often given “handwriting” homeworks and teachers used to tell something like: “Copy two paragraphs from page number 34 stories”. At the age of twelve, I completely rejected the idea of copying down from the books. I brought the story of Rakerilisis (changing the name to Star Man, the hero) and Mike (the anti-hero) onto my handwriting homework. I was not sure how my teacher would react, but she praised it. I was encouraged.

I wrote more as years passed. I don’t remember most of them, some of the stories were lost before they came to paper and some after being penned. After I read an essay collection from Nagendra Raj Sharma, I started confidently writing essays and that inspired me to blog.

In all these years of writing my heart out, I never looked for a formula. Sharma’s essays had taught me that there is no real formula in writing. The basic structures of essay writing that we were taught in school need not be followed strictly. In a way, I rejected the concept of using formula on free writing.


Whenever I hear the word “formula”, I think of Mathematics and I also remember my father and some of my teachers saying, “Formula eases problem solving in Maths in many cases. With the help of formula, we don’t need to repeat the long process of derivation to solve similar problems.” This applied while I studied calculus in high school.

In free writing however, there is no short-cut. You have to go through the same basic process again and again even if you are a recognized writer. You always write for your target audience, you always need some knowledge in what you are writing for credibility, you must always convey a meaningful message you always wait for the response of the readers.

Writers have their own thought-processes and their own styles. Their processes amd styles may not work for others. They can’t even guarantee their process will work for themselves everytime. That’s why I haven’t found a hard and fast rule that applies to everyone. This must be the reason people are not satisfied with the “formula” others give.

The only thing that can help writers succeed is PRACTICE and PATIENCE. Practice makes them better than they were earlier. Patience helps them continue even when they are low. Writing again and again may be the only thing that promotes excellent writing.

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Note: First published on Blogger’s World.

भेडा

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नेपालको चुनावी सन्दर्भमा “भेडा” शब्द एकदम प्रचलित छ । कुनै बेला सर्वमान्य नेता गणेशमान सिंहले “काठमाडौंंका जनता भेडा हुन्” भन्नुभएको थियो भन्ने सुन्दा सानामा रमाइलो लाग्थ्यो । प्रजातान्त्रिक शक्तिलाई नपत्याएको झोंक थियो सायद उहाँको ।

वैशाख ३१ गते पहिलो चरणको स्थानीय चुनाव सकियो । “भेडा” शब्द फेरि चर्चामा आयो । पहिलेजस्तो नेताको भाषणमा होइन, जनताको सामाजिक सञ्जालको भित्तामा ।

भेडा को हुन् ?

वर्तमान सन्दर्भमा भेडा भन्नाले कांग्रेस, एमाले, माओवादी लगायतका लामो समयसम्म शासन गरेका दलहरूलाई भोट हाल्ने जनता हुन् रे । नयाँ दलहरूलाई भोट हाल्ने (खासगरी काठमाडौंको सन्दर्भमा) चाहिँ भेडा होइनन् रे । मलाई यस्तै भनेका थिए एकजनाले फेसबुकमा । यसरी बुझ्दा मतदानमा सहभागी अधिकांश जनता (म सहित) भेडा हुन् ।

अर्को परिभाषा पनि भेटिन्छ यदाकदा । “राम्रा”लाई भन्दा “हाम्रा”लाई भोट हाल्ने पनि भेडा हुन् । यसमा मेरो विचार के छ भने नि “हाम्रा राम्रा” हरूलाई भोट दिनु सर्वोत्तम हो । तर “राम्रा” जति “हाम्रा” हुन् भन्ने ग्यारेन्टी नभएसम्म जनताले आफ्ना नजिकका (“हाम्रा”) लाई नै भोट हाल्छन् । एउटा उखान छ त, “टाढाको देउता भन्दा नजिकको भूत वेश” ।

पुरानाका विरुद्ध नयाँ

यहाँ नयाँको पनि अपव्याख्या भएको देख्दा छ्क्क पर्छु म त । भर्खर खुलेका दलहरू अनि युवाहरू नयाँ हुन् रे । नयाँ हुन त सोच पनि नयाँ हुनु पर्‍यो नि । तालिवानहरू युवा शक्तिका रूपमा अफगानिस्तानमा देखा परे । तर तिनले पुरातनवादी शरिया कानुनमा जोड दिए ।

नेपालमा भएका “नयाँ” दलहरूमा पनि नयाँपन छैन । बाबुराम भट्टराईको नयाँ शक्ति पार्टीलाई नयाँ ठान्ने युवाहरू छन् यहाँ । भट्टराईको अध्यक्ष बन्ने सपनाको उपज थियो यो पार्टी । भयङ्कर ठूलो सभा गरेर पार्टी घोषणा गरे हाम्रा डाक्टरले ।  हजारौंले वर्ष दिन नपुग्दै पार्टी छाडे । बौद्धिकताको कदर भएन भन्दै थिए ।

दुई महिना अघि बीबीसी नेपालका पूर्वप्रमुख रवीन्द्र मिश्रले घोषणा गरेको तर दर्ता नभएको “साझा पार्टी” सामाजिक सञ्जालमा भाइरल बन्यो । युवाहरूलाई तान्यो पनि । कामनपाको मेयरमा पूर्वसचिवलाई उठायो । झट्ट हेर्दा उनी योग्री देखिए तर ब्यूरोक्रेटहरूलाई जनताले पत्याउने बेला भयो त । हुन त सबैलाई एउटै कित्तामा हाल्नु ठीक नहोला देश बिग्रनुमा कर्मचारीहरूको असक्षमताको ठूलो हात छ भन्ने अधिकांश ठान्छन् । अनि साझा पार्टीको घोषणा अर्को एउटा पार्टी विवेकशीलको विरुद्धजस्तो पनि देखियो ।

विवेकशील-मैले अलि भिन्न होला भन्ने ठानेको दल । भिन्नता देखाएको पनि थियो । टायर बालेर गर्ने आन्दोलनलाई प्लेकार्ड बोकेर, हल्लाखल्लाको विरोध छाडेर मौन विरोध सिकाउने दल । म कति इम्प्रेस्ड भएको थिएँ । स्वास्थ क्षेत्रमा सुधार हुनुपर्ने माग राखेर डाक्टर गोविन्द केसीले अनसन बस्दा साथ दिने पहिलो दल पनि यही थियो । तर त्यही अनसन ताका मैले स्वास्थ सेवा लिन गएका हजारौंले दु:ख पाएको देखें । काठमाडौंका निम्न/मध्यम वर्गीय र बाहिरबाट उपचारका लागि आएका जनताले दु:ख पाउनु जायज हो त भन्ने प्रश्न गर्दा जायज हो भन्ने पनि भेटिए । विवेकशीलले त्यस बेला एउटा आयामबाट मात्रै हेर्यो भन्ने मेरो ठम्याई हो । तर उनीहरू भर्खर पार्टीका रूपमा आउँदै थिए  अनि आन्दोलनको केन्द्रमा पनि थिएनन् । विवेकशील बारे मैले सोचेको पनि थिइन त्यो बेला ।

यसपाली चुनावमा काठमाडौं महानगरको मेयर पदमा २१ बर्षिय रन्जु न्यौपाने “दर्शना” लाई उम्मेदवार घोषणा गर्यो । उनको पहिलो अन्तर्वार्ता हेरिसकेपछि मलाई लाग्यो, “अरू कोही योग्य थिएनन् यो दलमा ?” अनि त्यसमाथि विवेकशीलको नारा, “काठमाडौंलाई फेरि सुन्दरमाडौं बनाउछौं” । काठमाडौं कहिल्यै पनि सुन्दरमाडौं थिएन । काठमाडौं काठमाडौं नै हो र काठमाडौं नै रहनुपर्छ । फेन्सीफुल शब्दको जालमा पार्न त पुरानाले नै जानेकै थिए त । नयाँ कसरी फरक भए ? सपना देखाउन त पुरानाले पनि देखाएकै थिए । गफकै राजनीति गर्ने भए नयाँ-पुरानामा नाम बाहेक अरू के फरक भयो त ?

नयाँ र पुरानामा खासै फरक रहेनछ भन्ने मलाई त्यो दिन थाहा भयो जुन दिन मैले मेयर उम्मेदवारले नसुहाउदो भाषण गरेको भिडियो हेरें । कति कृत्रिम र भद्दा थियो त्यो भाषण । विवेकशीलको मौन राजनीति तोडियो । गालीको राजनीति सुरु भयो । पुराना र नयाँ बिचको खाडल पुरियो । चुनाव अघिको मौन अवधिमा पनि हल्ला गर्न जब विवेकशील चुकेन, म हतास भएँ । नयाँ पनि पुराना जस्तै नै रैछन् । शक्तिमा नपुग्दै नियमको अपव्याख्या गर्न सक्ने दल शक्तिमा पुग्यो भने के होला ? मैले यही सोचेँ ।

पुराना दलमा सबै खराब नै छन् त ?

​एमाले, कांग्रेस, माओवादीमा फटाहा मात्रै छन् भन्ने ठान्छन् टीनएजर्स । नयाँ पार्टीका भविस्य यिनै मा अडिएको छ । हो, माथि पुगेका मिडियामा सधैं देखिने केही नेता खराब छन् जसले इमान्दार मान्छेलाई छायाँमा पारेका छन् । युवाहरूले छायाँमा परेका त्यस्ता मान्छेलाई नदेख्नु नै नेपाली राजनीतिको मूल समस्या हो । तर स्थानीय तह जनताले “हाम्रा राम्रा” मान्छे चिनेका हुन्छन् । अपवाद छाडेर जनताले धेरैजसो सक्षम मान्छे नै छान्छ्न् स्थानीय तहमा । त राम्रा मान्छे चुन्ने जनता भेडा कसरी भए ? केही खराब नेतालाई देखाएर जनता नै भेडा हुन् भन्नू कतिको जायज कुरा हो ?

नयाँहरूले बुझ्नु पर्ने

मेयर, उपमेयर र केही वडा पदमा एकदुई जना उठाउँदैमा विकल्प भइँदैन । यदि नयाँ दलहरूले बनेको “नयाँ” शब्द व्याख्या एकछिन मान्ने हो भने दुईजना नयाँ आएर केही हुँदैन, १६० जना पुराना आएपछि (काठमाडौंको सन्दर्भमा) । अनि जनतालाई भेडा भन्दा त्यसो भन्न हुन्न नभन्ने गणेशमानका पाला देखिका र भर्खर टुसाएका नेताहरुमा त म पटक्कै फरक देख्दिन ।

Oof Holi!

I don’t remember playing Holi because I never really played. This is the time when Spring arrives and I often used to get sick. Two years ago, my maternal grandmother passed away on the day of Holi. I used to be attracted by “Pichkari” (water gun) and I still do but I don’t participate.

The popular myth on Holi says:
This festival is celebrated after the death of Holika, the sister of Danava King Hiranya Kasyap (aka Hiranyakasipu). She wanted to kill her nephew Prahlad, who was a devotee of Vishnu. The Danavas refused to worship him. Holika had been granted a boon by Brahma that she would be untouched by fire. She carried Prahlad on her lap and sat on a pyre. Nothing happened to Prahlad because of his devotion.

In Nepal, this festival is celebrated in two days. (Actually seven days in Kathmandu Valley. Everyone seems to ignore this fact. Fagu Poornima (yesterday) in the Mountains and today in the Terai. No one knows why. Maybe because of different cultures that got the same/similar name.

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Whatever the reason behind the origin of the festival, I have seen that it has always been a concern for people (women, mostly)and the government. Not long ago, boys used to hit girls with rubber balloons (or later with plastic bags) filled with water (mostly filthy) weeks ago before Holi. Girls felt insecured. On the day of Holi, the situation would get worse. No one would be spared of cold water and colours (even if they did not want to participate).

It might not have been that horrifying for some years (I might have failed to observe!) but some youths still get themselves drunk or drugged (“Jhyap” in Nepali). Some boys also take it as an opportunity for sexual harassment. A British journalist took this issue to Twitter and I came to know it through Lex Limbu’s Facebook post and Neostuff’s page. Sexual harassment must not happen anywhere. No woman should suffer from such kind of behavior. Holi is not an opportunity to grope women and inflict fear into their minds. This is absolutely shameful!

Festivals are for fun not for fear. Any festival that inflicts fear is not a festival at all. Celebrate it if you want but don’t force others. And never take it as opportunity for sexual harassment.

Parijat: A Fragrant Flower of Nepali Literature

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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (Night-flowering Jasmine) is called Parijat (pronounced paa-ri-jaat)  in Nepali. Parijat is small white flower with orange pedicel and sweet fragrance. The plant, however is also known as “sad tree” because the flowers bloom during the night and wither during the day. Bishnu Kumari Waiba (1937-1993) chose to call herself Parijat in Nepali literature and enriched it with a sweet fragrance.

Parijat was born in Darjeeling, India. Her mother, Amrit Moktan died when she was still very young and was raised by her father, Dr. K. N. Waiba and her grandparents. Although Darjeeling lies in India, the people have retained the original culture and literature from Nepal. Growing up with Nepali speaking community, she developed keen interest in Nepali literature from her early childhood.

Parijat’s first poem was published on Dharti magazine in 1959. Her three poetry collections have been published:

  • Akansha (Wishes)
  • Parijat Ka Kavita (Poems of Parijat)

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The Mathematics of Love and Depression

Love: exciting, interesting. Synonymous to happiness. A feeling everyone wants to embrace.

Depression: dull, gloomy. Antonymous to happiness. A feeling everyone wants to aver.
How are they related? I’ll try doing so using three expressions.

1. Love = Depression

Presenting love and lost love as a cause of depression is popular in literature, movies and music. Is love really a cause of depression?
About three months ago, I read ‘Monsoon’ by Subin Bhattarai. In the novel, Subhan falls in love with Monsoon and falls into depression (twice) when she goes away from her. Lost love is a cause of depression in the novel.
I remember reading Chetan Bhagat’s “2 States” about two years ago. The male character, Krish falls into depression when his lover Ananya leaves him. A depressed character, whose girlfriend has left him, also appears in Bhagat’s another novel “Revolution 2020”.
“Ghumti ma na aau hai” is a popular Nepali song from the movie “Kumari”. It is a song sung by a boy who is in love with a girl who had been made Kumari (living goddess) but can not express his feelings because of the society. He asks her not to come to meet him as they might be bound by ties of love and they may have to cry alone when separated.
A lot of people write poems (Ghazals, Muktaks, etc.) mostly saying that love is something that gives tears. They say, “If you can, avoid loving anyone.”

With this we come to our second expression:

2. Love < Depression

When depression takes over someone, love dies slowly. The feeling of “one-sided love” may not die. People may not be able to forget their lovers who left them. But should love be restricted between two people?

Movies and literature have popularized the concept of love between two people, mostly a young man and a young woman. And that’s where the problem arises. Two people think they are the only people who love each other. That’s why when one leaves, the other feels that love has ended.
Whenever love ends, depression overcomes.

Subhan in ‘Monsoon’ has a family and decent friends. When Monsoon leaves, he is depressed. He detaches himself from his family and friends. He does not talk to his parents, and not even to his grandfather with him he is closer. He is not happy with his friends.
In his depression, he kills his love towards his friends and family.

Now, it’s time I discuss the third expression.

3. Love > Depression

Can love overcome depression?
I believe that only love can overcome depression. If you understand that there are a lot of people who love you, depression can be overcome. Sometimes the love of a single person can make a difference. (Euta manchhe ko mayale kati farak pardachha jindagima.)

When Subhan’s grandfather and friends realize that he is depressed the first time, they pull him out of his dark shell. It takes long, but he is able to overcome depression. And this is the only portion I liked about the novel.

“Love all, serve all,” is one thing preached by Eastern philosophers. I believe it is the key to happiness.