घनचक्कर: भुल्भुलैया र भविस्यवाणी

“घनचक्कर” उपन्यास विशाल मिलन केन्द्र, चण्डोलले आयोजना गरेको एउटा प्रतियोगितामा पुरस्कारका रूपमा पाएको थिएँ । पन्ध्र वर्षको उमेर, उपन्यास पढ्ने तीव्र हुटहुटी ! नयाँ किताब समाएपछि बिहानदेखि साँझसम्म नबिसाई पढिसकेको थिएँ । सकिँदासम्म उपन्यासको ‘म’ पात्र सँगसँगै आफू पनि पागल त भइनँ जस्तो लागेको थियो । उपन्यासका राजनीतिक विषय केही बुझे पनि गहिराईमा चाहिँ पुग्न सकेको थिइनँ ।

त्यस यता एसएलसी, बाह्र र ब्याचलर पास गरिसकेपछि “घनचक्कर” पढेको थिएँ । प्रत्येक चोटि नयाँ अनुभव भएको थियो । नयाँ रहस्य खुलेका थिए । देशका घनचक्करहरू अलि बढी बुझ्दै गएर होला ।
मास्टर्स पढ्न कीर्तिपुर भर्ना भएदेखि नै “घनचक्कर” फेरि पढ्ने अनि समीक्षा लेख्ने इच्छा थियो । दरबारमार्ग, शहीदगेट, कालीमाटी, बल्खु हुँदै कीर्तिपुर पुग्दा कयौंपटक उपन्यासका दृश्यहरू आँखामा नाच्थे । बाटामा पुलिसहरू देख्दा घनचक्करको ‘म’ पात्र जस्तै कति पटक झस्केको छु । विश्वविद्यालय र देशको राजनीतिका भुलभुलैयामा रुमल्लिएको अनुभव गरेको छु । त्यसैले होला पढ्ने इच्छा भए पनि यो उपन्यास पढ्न भने डर लाग्थ्यो ।

यसपालि “घनचक्कर”पढ्दा केही भविष्यवाणीलाई ध्यान दिएँ । टावरहरूको पतन र उत्थानको प्रसङ्ग पहिले पनि याद गरेको हो । सत्तामा रहनेले टावरको निर्माणलाई अतिशय महत्त्व दिएको भएर त होला पहाडका टाकुरा र तराईका फाँटमा भ्यू टावर बनाउने ट्रेन्ड चलेको, नयाँ बनेको धरहरालाई ऐतिहासिक भीमसेन स्तम्भ नै पुनःनिर्माण गरेझैं प्रचार भएको ।
टावरहरू जबजब निरङ्कुशताका प्रतीक बनेका छन् तबतब कोही नायक जन्मिएको छ ती टावर ढाल्न । तथापि ती नायक कतै गुमनाम भएका छन् या त प्याजका डल्लामा परिणत भएका छ्न् । यिनमा मानवीय संवेदना नै छैन । आशा गरेका नेताहरूले निराश बनाएका छन् । निरङ्कुशतन्त्रको विरोध गर्नेहरू आफैं निरङ्कुश बनेका छन्, गुच्चा खेलेझैं राजनीति गरेका छन्, शक्ति संघर्षको घनचक्करमा नराम्ररी फसेका छन्, जनतालाई भ्रमको जालोमा फसाएका छन् । यस्तो संघर्षको बीचमा हर कोही धेरथोर पागल भएको छैन र ?

यस बाहेक आफ्नो जीवीकाका लागि गर्नुपर्ने दु:ख, काम र आरामका विरोधाभासमा परेर पनि मानिस घनचक्करमा परेको छ । प्रजातन्त्र र स्वतन्त्रताका आन्दोलन, आन्दोलनका उद्देश्य विपरितका गतिविधि, निरङ्कुशता अनि फेरि प्रजातन्त्रका लागि हुने संघर्ष एउटा यस्तो चक्कर हो जसबाट उम्कन प्रत्येक नागरिक प्रत्येक पल सचेत हुन जरुरी छ । घनचक्करसँग जुध्नु नै यसबाट उम्कने मुख्य उपाय हो भनेर आशावादी विचारमा उपन्यास सकिएको छ ।

यद्यपि देशमा शक्ति संघर्षका घनचक्कर चलिरहेकै छ । सञ्जीव उप्रेती सर उपन्यासको म पात्रझैं आशावादी भएर लोकतन्त्र र निरन्तर पक्षमा उभिनुभएको छ । मलाई नेपाली राजनीति बुझ्न सहयोग गरेको “घनचक्कर” आज पनि उत्तिकै सान्दर्भिक छ । कहिलेकाहीँ लाग्छ, यसमा भएका भविस्यवाणी असत्य भइदिए ! तर शक्ति संघर्ष मानवीय गुण नै हो । त्यसै यो घनचक्कर कहाँ अन्त्य हुन्छ र ?

Targets of Bullying and Social Anxiety

Blogger's World!

After being bullied for so long, targets can develop social anxiety. They withdraw from people because they fear future attacks. The target’s spirit has been beaten down and broken and the person has been abused to the point of losing faith in humanity. Also, they’re reprogrammed to believe the bullies’ lies that they aren’t worthy of love and friendship. They are under the presumption that it’s much safer not to engage in any social interaction.

But what the target doesn’t realize is that in closing himself off from the rest of the world, he unknowingly limits himself in all aspects of life.

Humans were created to socialize and to have relationships. When targets create this invisible fortress around them, it doesn’t ensure their safety but only brings about more bullying. Bullies get their power from our fear. They are like ferocious animals who can smell fear from a mile away…

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Movie Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) is a 2013 animated movie produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Takahata Isao. Based on one of the oldest and most popular folktale, “The Tale of the Bamboo-Cutter”, the movie shows the story of a nymph who descends from the Moon to the Earth.

In his early career, Takahata was inspired by French and other European animators and the tales they told. As his career progressed, he was more engrossed in the stories of his own country. That thought gave birth to the classic “Grave of the Fireflies”, one of the saddest tales ever told in cinema. His interest in telling stories rooted to Japan reaches its height in The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

The movie is painting in motion. Beautiful water-colour hand drawn paintings made me feel like I was watching old Japanese paintings in succession. The animation looks rough (a deliberate choice), the line art gets chaotic at some points (the best use of “abstraction” as said by some of the best animators in the industry) and does what it has to do (bring the characters and story to life).

The main characters are multi-dimensional. The woodcutter seems cold at times when he uses divine powers to name Kaguya a princess and makes her stay as a noble. However, he thinks it is the best thing to happen for a child who was divine herself. Kaguya’s mother is kindlier, although she also desires to make her a princess. Kaguya herself is a fun-loving girl who dreams of escaping back to her village when she is brought to the mansion in the town. Her sense of freedom is depicted well in the scenes in which she unleashes a cat, frees a sparrow from the cage, and dances when she sees sakura in the Spring.

The movie gave me a feeling so intense it is impossible to explain in words. Takahata’s mastery of story-telling, his artistic sense and vision has produced a movie that will soon be regarded as one of the classics.

Nepal’s Unity Day(?)

Blogger's World!

The worst thing about politicizing everything is that everyone is divided. We can’t even agree what unity means.

Today is Paush 27 according to Nepali calendar. On this day, 299 years ago, Prithvi Narayan Shah was born in a small kingdom of Gorkha.

Despite its small size, Gorkha had a huge reputation. King Ram Shah (six generations before Prithvi Narayan) was known for being just. People used to say, “If you go Kashi, you’ll find Gods. If you go Gorkha, you’ll find justice.”

Gorkha is also famous for Gorakhnath, the legendary cow-protecting Yogi. It is said Gorakhnath himself had blessed Prithvi Narayan in his dreams.

Another legend says Prithvi was the incarnation of Bhairav, the ferocious incarnation of Lord Shiva. Bhairav is also known as protector in the ethnic Newa community of Kathmandu.

Gorkha always had eyes on Nepal Mandal (present day Kathmandu Valley) because of its fertile soil and…

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Are the 12 Principles of Animation Random?

Notes of a Noob Animator

In Chapter 3 of the universally acclaimed book, The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, the authors describe how the 12 Principles of Animations came into existence. They write:

The animators continued to search for better methods of relating drawings to each other and found a few ways that seemed to produce a predictable result. They could not expect success every time, but these special techniques of drawing a character in motion did offer some security. As each of these processes acquired a name, it was analyzed and perfected and talked about, and when new artists joined the staff they were taught these practices as if they were the rules of the trade.

Thomas and Johnston in The Illusion of Life

The Principles thus developed were:

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow in and Slow…

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What can a human gain? Reflections from Vishwamitra’s tale

Humans have no limit to their desires. Fulfill one, another is ready to knock your door. Sometimes, the desires inspire humans to do great things but most of the times, the crowds of desires take you to a deep dark ditch, from which it is impossible to come out.

Vishwamitra’s tales are all over Hindu scriptures. He appears not only in Ved and Puran (Shruti and Smriti) but also in Ramayan and Mahabharat (Kavya and Itihas). Born Vishwarath in the royalty of Kanyakubja, was initially mentored by Dattatreya, the avatar of Lord Shiva. As a king, he desires to become the Universal Monarch, the ruler of all the World. But a battle with Vashistha changes everything.

Vishwarath, happy and proud of his victories, one day appears at Vashistha’s ashram. The king and his soldiers are hungry and tired. However, the sage easily provides adequate food for the huge army. Vishwarath wants to know how. Vashistha shows him Nandini, the divine cow who can provide any wish.

Vishwarath wants the cow for himself despite Vashistha’s warning that Nandini has free will and will only go with Vishwarath if she wants to go. Enraged, he wants to capture the cow but with her powers, she created an army to destroy the king’s army.

Despite his loss, the king wishes to teach divine beings a lesson. He gains Daivi astras (divine weapons) through yagya and goes to attack Vashistha. The son of Brahma absorbs everything with a Brahmadanda (a stick).

Enraged, Vishwarath gives his kingdom to his sons and starts a tap. One day, while meditating, he discovers Gayatri Mantra, the beej (seed) mantra of creation. Vishwarath becomes Vishwamitra.

His discovery shakes Swarga. Indra sends Menaka, an apsara to disrupt his penance. Although, Vishwamitra falls for her beauty, when he realizes he had been tricked, he leaves her. Menaka goes back leaving their daughter Shakuntala to the ashram of another Rishi, Kanva.

Vishwamitra continues his Yogic practices, gains siddhi and reaches the level of Brahma when he creates a universe for Trishanku. Trishanku had been cursed by Vashistha’s son Shakra for wanting to go to heaven with his human body. Vishwamitra did what was forbidden but also gained the title of Maharishi from Brahma for the feat he accomplished.

But the desire of revenge against Vashistha does not die. He gets involved in a act that kills Shakra. Vashistha, while sad that his son died, is glad that Vishwamitra’s act has actually helped improve his clan morally. Vishwamitra, who had desired to kill Vashistha, comes to know that the Brahma Putra had actually guided him in his spiritual journey. He realizes that his journey was not to be the king of the world, but its friend, Vishwa Mitra.

The tale of Vishwamitra shows that humans can push their limits to any extent. They can even equal the Brahma. But the biggest achievement is to act on the benefit of the world. With great power, indeed comes great responsibilities.

(I was inspired to write this article after finishing Vineeth Aggarwal’s Vishwamitra.)

लेखक गनेस पौडेलको फेसबुक पोस्टले नेपाली साहित्य प्रकाशनका बारेमा उजागर गरेका प्रश्नहरू

हिजो साँझ कुमार नगरकोटी को नयाँ किताब आउनेबारे थाहा पाएँ । ७७७ पेजको, हार्डकभर ज्याकेट, झोला, बुकमार्क सहित मूल्य रू. २०२१ अरे । अनौठो चैं किताब एकपटक मात्रै छापिने रे । त्यसैले प्रि-अर्डर गर्नुपर्ने । जति कपि माग हुन्छ, त्यति नै छापिने रे । मार्केटिङ स्किम राम्रै होला किनकी चर्चा त निकै नै छ (सकारात्मक पनि नकारात्मक पनि) । फेसबुकमा यस सम्बन्धी सूचना देख्नेबित्तिकै “ओहो ! मूल्य धेरै भएन र? किन्नै नसकिने पो रैछ !” हीनभाव मनमा आयो । धेरैले यस्तै कुरा लेखेको पनि भेटेँ । केहीले आफैँ किन्ने, कसैले ग्रुपमा किनौँ भनेको पनि भेटेँ ।

बिहानसम्ममा मूल्यको विषयमा थुप्रै वादविवाद भइसकेछन् । अलि कम मूल्य भएको भए किन्थें भन्नेहरू देखिए । स्किम चित्त नबुझेर जोक बन्नु/गुनासो हुनु स्वाभाविक नै हो । यसैबीच यस्ता गुनासाका बारेमा अर्का लेखक गनेस पौडेलको को एउटा पोस्ट देखापर्यो फेसबुकमा । उनको ७ बुँदे पोस्टले नेपाली साहित्यमा रहेका केही समस्या उजागर गरेको छ ।

यो फोटोको ठाउँमा लिंक नै इम्बेड गरेको थिएँ । लेख्दा लेख्दै ढिलो भो, अकाउन्ट डिएकटिभेट गर्नुभएछ* ! धन्न स्क्रीनसट थियो !!

१. बुँदा नम्बर १ मा पौडेल लेख्छन्

“एउटा कथित पूर्णकालीन लेखकले औसत ३ वर्षमा यौटा किताब लेख्छ ।”

कुनै पनि सिर्जनामा सर्जकको कति मिहिनेत र खर्च परेको हुन्छ भन्ने लेखाजोखा गर्न असम्भव नै हुन्छ । पूर्णकालिन लेखकका लागि त लेख्नु सौख मात्र होइन, माम खाने दाम पाउने काम हो । परिश्रमको उचित पारिश्रमिक पाउनु श्रमिक अधिकार पनि हो । तर लेखकहरूले उचित लेखकस्व पाएका छैनन् भनेर उनी स्वीकार्छन् :

“सम्झौता पत्रमा बढीमा २० प्रतिशत रोयल्टी दिने प्रचलन छ । तर त्यो प्रतिशत देखाउने कागज मात्रै हो । बेस्ट सेलरै भनिएका किताबवापत पनि नेपाली लेखकले औसतमा २ लाख बुझ्छन् ।”

केही दिनअघि साहित्य सम्बन्धि छलफल हुने एउटा फेसबुक ग्रुपमा लेखकले कति रोयल्टी पाउँछन् भन्ने प्रश्न उठेको थियो । त्यतिबेला सालाखाला यति पाउँछन् भन्ने पनि कोही भेटिएनन् । जे होस्, आज जवाफ भेटियो ।
तर पौडेलले सातौं बुदामा रोयल्टी सम्बन्धि कुरा आफ्नो अनुभव हैन भनेका छन् । प्रकाशकहरूले खुल्लमखुल्ला यी कुरा नभन्ने भएकाले उनी आफैंले नभोगी वा आफ्नो नजिकका अरू लेखकले नभनी थाहा पाउन असम्भव छ ।
प्रश्न उब्जिन्छन्:
क) आफ्ना किताब कति बिक्री भए र कति आम्दानी गर्दैछ, त्यसबाट आफूले कति पाउँदैछु भन्ने कुरा थाहा पाउनु लेखकको अधिकार हैन र ? एकएक हिसाब हुनुपर्ने हैन ? ‘विश्वास’को आधारमा बजार कसरी चल्छ ?
ख) अनेकौं कुराहरूको गर्न सक्ने लेखकहरूले सम्झौता अनुसार रोयल्टी नदिने फटाहा प्रकाशकको भण्डाफोर गर्नुपर्ने हैन ? कानूनी उपचारमा ल्याउनुपर्ने होइन ?
ग) पूर्णकालिन लेखकले पनि उचित लेखस्व पाउँदैनन् भने तिनै कथित पूर्णकालिन लेखक र प्रकाशक रोयल्टीबाट बाँच्न सकिन्छ किन भनिरहन्छन् ?
घ) नयाँ साहित्यकारलाई भ्रममा फस्न नदिन स्थापित लेखक र प्रकाशकले सहयोग गरेका छन् त ?


२. दोस्रो बुँदामा रिसाउँदै भन्छन् :

दुई लाखले के यौटा पूर्णकालीन लेखकको ३ बर्ष कट्छ ? कथित सेलिब्रिटी बनाइएको लेखकले दालभात खानु पर्दैन ? रोग लागेपछि राज्य वा चन्दादाता गुहार्नु के लेखकको नियति हो ?

लेखकलाई काम बापत माम खान पुग्ने दाम दिने (र बाँच्न सजिलो बनाउने) जिम्मा प्रकाशकको हो, पाठकको होइन । किनकी उनकै अनुसार पाठकले एउटा किताबमा २००० नै खर्चिए पनि “कथित पूर्णकालिन लेखक”ले बढीमा पाउने ४०० रूपैयाँ हो । ५००० प्रति विक्दा लेखकको हातमा २० लाख हात पर्ने रहेछ । तर यहाँ प्रश्न उठ्छन्:
क) ५००० प्रति बिक्छन् ?
ख) ५००० मात्र होइन, ५०००० प्रती बिकून्, हार्दिक शुभकामना तर एकाध साहित्यकारको ब्राण्ड भ्यालु बढ्दैमा साहित्यको ब्राण्ड भ्यालु बढेको हुन्छ र ? अरू साहित्यकारले पनि सजिलोसँग बाँच्न पाउँछन् ?
ग) प्रकाशकले साहित्यको कन्टेन्ट भन्दा एकाध जनराका साहित्यकारलाई मात्रै पो प्रश्रय दिन्छन् कि ?
घ) नयाँ साहित्यकारलाई प्रकाशकले यसैगरी चर्चामा ल्याउन सक्छन् ? कतै स्थापितलाई मात्रै त महत्त्व दिँदैनन् ?


३. तेस्रो बुँदामा पौडेल लेख्छन् :

मलाई लाग्छ, कुमार नगरकोटीको यो किताब एउटा सिर्जनात्मक मात्रै होइन आर्थिक प्रयोग पनि हो । यस्तो प्रयोगका लागि एउटा उत्कृष्ट किताब चाहिन्छ जुन कल्प–ग्रन्थ छ ।

नगरकोटीको फ्यान फलोइङ देखेर चकित भएको छु । रचना राम्रो पनि होला । तर,
क) लेखक, प्रकाशक र लेखकका मित्रगणले राम्रो छ भन्दैमा उत्कृष्ट हुने ग्यारेन्टी हुन्छ र ?
ख) फ्यानहरूले मात्रै पढ्ने भए पछि उचित समालोचना कसरी होला ? उचित समालोचना बिना लेखकको सिर्जनात्मक ग्रोथ कसरी होला ?
ग) लेखक र प्रकाशकले “खतरा प्रयोग गरेको छु” भन्नु भन्दा पाठकले प्रयोग बुझ्नु र त्यसलाई मन पराउनु राम्रो होला नि, हैन र ?


४. चौथो बुँदामा भन्छन्, “सबै किताब सबैका लागि हुँदैनन्”  र पाँचौँ बुँदामा थप्छन्, “यो एउटा दर्शन हो ” ।

सबै किताब सबैका लागि हुँदैन । मान्छु । जस्तो कि यो किताब मेरो लागि होइन । न बजेटका हिसाबले न कन्टेन्टका हिसाबले । यो किताब धेरै साहित्यझैँ मेरो आधारभूत आवश्यकता पनि होइन । तर यो दर्शन हो भने सर्वसुलभ हुनुपर्छ । जहाँ, जहिले, जसले पनि दर्शन बुझ्न सक्छ । दर्शनले कुनै विभेद गर्न सक्दैन । विभेद गर्ने दर्शन त दर्शन नै रहँदैन ।

त्यसै गरी  पढ्न चाहनेले पढ्न पाउनुपर्छ भन्ने मान्यताले नै पुस्तकको महत्त्व बढेको हो । सबै किताब सबैको लागि नभए पनि सबैको बनाउने प्रयास गर्नुपर्छ भन्ने मेरो मान्यता हो ।

किन्नेले किनिहाल्छ भन्ने सोच पनि एकदम खतरनाक हो । यसले वर्गीय विभेदलाई बढावा दिन्छ । अस्वस्थ प्रतिस्पर्धालाई प्रोत्साहन गर्छ । गुणस्तरमा समेत असर पार्न सक्छ । फेरि बजारले निर्धारण गरेको मूल्य मात्रै किताबको मूल्य होइन । जीवनलाई निर्देश गर्ने किताबको बजार मूल्य नभए पनि त्यो अमूल्य हुन्छ । जति धेरै पाठकको दिलदिमागमा बस्न सक्यो, किताबको मूल्य बढ्दै जान्छ, हैन र ?


५. छैठौं बुँदामा ग्रुपमा किन्दा हुन्छ भनेपछि त असमञ्जसमा पो परेँ । ग्रुप बनाउन सजिलो नहोला । बन्यो भने पनि साना गोजी भएका पाठकको गोजी जोड्दा पाठकको समस्या त हल होला तर के लेखकको गोजी भरिएला ? १० जनाले २००० रूपैयाँ दरको १ प्रति किताब किन्नु र १० जनाले ३०० रूपैयाँ दरको १० प्रति किताब किन्नुमा कुनमा बढी आर्थिक फाइदा लेखकलाई होला ? लेखकलाई लेखेर खान पुग्दैन भनेर सुरु भएको बहस आखिरमा त्यहीँ पो पुग्यो त ।


“कन्टेन्ट इज् द किङ” साहित्य र चलचित्रमा अक्सर भनिन्छ । कन्टेन्ट राम्रो भएन भने ब्राण्ड र कमाइ मात्रैले केही हुँदैन । उदाहरण हो केही महिनाअघि रिलिज भएको डिज्नीको चलचित्र “मुलान” । साहित्यमा पनि स्थापित लेखक (ब्राण्ड) को पछाडी दौडनु एउटा उपभोक्ता (पाठक) का लागि रिस्क हुनसक्छ । किताब पनि एउटा उपभोग्य वस्तु भएकाले अरू सामान किन्दाझैं किन किन्ने, ‘मलाई काम लाग्छ कि लाग्दैन ? मूल्य बढी पो भयो कि ?’ भन्ने प्रश्नहरू गर्ने अधिकार उपभोक्तालाई हुन्छ । नगरकोटीको ब्राण्ड पछि फाल हान्नेले ब्राण्ड भ्यालु बुझेका होलान् तर यो अन्धाधुन्ध उपभोगको भीडबाट अलग रहन चाहेँ ।

नगरकोटीलाई यो स्किमले कति फाइदा गर्ला ? नेपाली साहित्यमा आउँदा दिनमा कस्ता “प्रयोग” होलान् ? नयाँ साहित्यकारलाई कसरी फाइदा होला ? बढी मूल्य राख्दैमा लेखक मोटाउँछन् भन्ने तर्क कति ठीक हो ? आदि इत्यादि प्रश्नको जवाफ छिटै पाइने नै छ !

*पुच्छ्रे टिपोट: सुरुमा “ब्लक खाएँ” लेखेकामा फेसबुकमा पछि त्यसो होइन भन्ने कमेन्ट आएपछि सच्याइएको । “कुतर्क गर्नेलाई ब्लक गर्छु” भन्नुभएको थियो । “बाघ कराउनु, बाख्रा हराउनु” भनेझैं भएछ । क्षमाप्रार्थी क

Was Gregor Samsa a Monster?: An Analysis of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’

In the third act of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the three paying guests living with the Samsas, ask Grete (the sister) to play the violin in their room. While the three boarders are disinterested shortly, and the parents and the sister struggle to impress them, Gregor is “seduced” by the music, and with a desire to protect his sister, moves towards her. At this moment, Kafka throws a question:

“Was he a beast if music could move him so?” (Kafka, The Metamorphosis, Act III)

In my first reading, I told myself, “No, Gregor Samsa is not a monster. He has been a victim of a misfortune, and he has suffered more than he can bear.”

But then, those who love music (and art in general) can also become monsters. Several artists have committed heinous crimes and so have the fans. So, when I went back to Kafka’s question, I found something in the succeeding sentences I had overlooked on my first reading, which completely altered my view. There were hints that showed me why Gregor was a monster–literally as well as figuratively.

I. Gregor and Grete

In the same paragraph where Gregor asks if he is a beast, he is “determined to reach the sister and tug on her skirt to suggest that she take her violin and come into his room, for no one here was as worthy of her playing as he would be. He would never let her leave his room, at least as long as he lived; for the first time, his horrifying appearance would work to his advantage: He would stand guard at all the doors simultaneously, hissing at the attackers; the sister, however, would not be forcibly detained but would stay with him of her own free will.” Had he not transformed, he would have declared on the Christmas that Grete was going to the Conservatory so that she could learn music. “After this declaration the sister would burst into emotional tears and Gregor would raise himself to her shoulder and kiss her neck, which she kept bare since she started working, wearing no ribbon or collar.”

I have no hesitation saying that Gregor has an incestuous desire towards his sister. I also found this article that supports my idea. It says that the desire for his sister (as well as his mother) was “forbidden as a man but not as a beast“.

But, Gregor had wanted Grete even before the transformation. In the second act, we know that “it was his secret plan that she, who unlike Gregor greatly loved music and played the violin movingly, should be sent to the Conservatory next year despite the considerable expense it was sure to incur, which would just have to be met in some other way.

This “secret plan” sounds sinister. Although he had not declared it, everyone in the Samsa family already know that Gregor wants to send his sister to the Conservatory. So, what is the secret plan? Did he want to take her away from the family so that he could take advantage of her? Did his parents sense his sinister thoughts? I firmly believe that the parents refused the idea of sending Grete to the Conservatory because they thought Gregor was already a vermin in his mind.

And, what was the “some other way” to cover the expenses? Was he going to get a better job? That did not seem to be happening soon. Their father’s pension would never be enough. So then, did he want her sister to get a job? Or did he want to push her into prostitution? Because Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment explicitly mentions people forcing young women of their own family into prostitution and living off it, I don’t think this is a wild supposition!

However, what happens in Act I makes me think that Gregor was not limited to desire and secret plan but he had actually raped her.

Gregor has already turned into a monstrous insect and is unable to get up from his bed. The head clerk knocks on Gregor’s door, and his parents call him out but Grete is crying in another room. Why didn’t she come to his door? “And why was she crying?” She didn’t know that Gregor had turned into a monster. Or did she? Did she cry not because Gregor was going to lose his job because but because she had seen him losing humanity and turning into a monster?

Her feelings towards Gregor is more pronounced in Act III after he scares the three boarders away. Grete says, “I refuse to pronounce my brother’s name in front of this monstrosity, and so I say: We have to try to get rid of it. We’ve done everything humanly possible to care for it and tolerate it; I don’t believe anyone could reproach us.”

On my first reading, she sounded cold-hearted to me, but now, I can hear her anger and pain. She must have been tired of feeding the monster. And if she had seen him turn into the beast, the pain must have been unbearable. But then, a question arises: Why did she feed him?

I think it was because of her parents. As Grete painfully says, her parents were attached to Gregor although he had metamorphosed into a monster. Sending her into Gregor’s room could be a sign for Grete to forgive her brother. I am reminded of several cases where girls are dismissed or told to forget what had happened and forgive the perpetrator. when they say they have been raped by their family member. The parents, to protect their son and to see if she gains at least some sympathy for him him, made their daughter give him food to Gregor. She gave him the food, but there was no love. She always feels uneasy around him. Gregor “concluded that the sight of him was still repulsive to her and was bound to remain repulsive, and that she must have exercised great self-control not to take flight at the sight of even the smallest portion of his body protruding from under the couch.” (Kafka, The Metamorphosis, Act II)

Grete was also sure that Gregor would never feel any remorse for what he had done and would never turn into human.

II. The Father’s fury after seeing Gregor as the monster for the first time

In Act I, after Gregor opens the door, his truth is revealed to the Head Clerk, the mother, and the father. The Head Clerk and the mother are shocked and scared, but the father is neither shocked, nor scared. “The father, furiously shaking his fists as if willing Gregor to go back in his room, looked uncertainly around the living room, covered his eyes in his hands, and sobbed with great heaves of his powerful chest.” (Kafka, The Metamorphosis, Act I)

While the sister is crying in another room, the father is angry and sad seeing the monster instead of his son. Because he is not shocked, I am inclined to believe that the father knew what Gregor had done and wanted to punish him. His anger and grief were also directed towards himself as he had not been able to stop Gregor from turning into a monster.

In Act III, after Grete tells they must “get rid of it”, the father is grieved. “If only he could understand us,” he says, meaning Gregor would never understand their love because he was a monster in his mind and body. (However, while reading for the first time, I felt that Gregor’s family was not even trying to understand him. The Metamorphosis has several layers with several valid interpretations which makes it a great story!)

III. The Apple

At the end of Act II, Gregor’s father sees Gregor out of his room. In fury, he begins an attack. He hurls apples at Gregor, one of which is stuck on Gregor’s body for the rest of his life. This, is a clear reference to the biblical story of the apple stuck on Adam’s throat and a symbol of Gregor’s sin.

Conclusion

In this analysis, I conclude Gregor was a monster. However, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis has many layers. Just as in my first reading, Gregor can be read as a victim of unpleasant situation and his family’s abuse of him. He can also be conceived as a depressed character who has struggled to keep up with the pace of the world and feels so helpless that he believes he is a worthless vermin. In that perspective, Gregor’s family appears as cold-hearted monsters, who never try to understand Gregor. It’s astonishing that the characters of The Metamorphosis can sometimes be white, sometimes black, and sometimes grey!

[Note: The quotes included in the article are from The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, (Trans. Donna Fried), Barnes and Noble Classic, 2003. Bold parts of quotes are for emphasis.]

सरकार ! नक्सा मात्रै निकालेर पुग्छ ?

(गणतान्त्रिक नेपालमा “सरकार” शब्द भद्दा लाग्छ । “सरकार” शब्द प्रयोग गरिरहँदा म आफूलाई भुईंमा बसेर गद्दीमा गमक्क परेर बसेको शासकको निगाह बक्स गरिरहेको कल्पना गर्छु । तर शासन संयन्त्रको लागि यो जत्तिको अर्को संबोधन छैन किनकी “सरकार” को चाकर नगरे सम्म जनताले जीवनका आधारभूत आवश्यकता पूरा गर्न सक्दैनन् । त्यसैले त्यही शब्दले सम्बोधन गर्न बाध्य छु ।)

२०७७ जेठमा नेपालको नयाँ नक्सा पारित भयो । भारतसँग विवाद रहेको कालपानी क्षेत्र लाई समेटेर नक्सा बनाए पनि त्यहाँको वस्तु स्थिति बारे बुझ्न सरकार तयार भएको देखिँदैन । साझा कथाले यूट्युबमा राखेको भिडियो हेरे पछि सरकारप्रति रिस उठेको छ ।

नेपालको नयाँ नक्सा
साझा कथाको साहसी टिमले बनाएको वृत्तचित्रको पहिलो भाग

कालापानी भू-भाग हाम्रो हो भन्ने कुरा भूगोलको आधारमा त गलत छैन तर त्यहाँ राज्यको अनुभूति खै त ? ज्यान हत्केलामा राखेर छाङरू सम्म पुगेको साझा कथाको रिपोर्टिङको पहिलो भागमा नै त्यहाँ मात्र होइन, विवाद नभएको ठाउँमा पनि राज्यको उपस्थिति शून्य देखिन्छ । पारि भारतमा दुई लेनका सडक छन्, बस्तीहरू मा आधारभूत सुविधा छन् , लगातार सुरक्षा गस्ती छ । बाटो निर्माण चलिरहेकै छ । यता पट्टि नेपालमा डरलाग्दा ठाडा भीर छन्, पहिरो छ । सुरक्षाकर्मीको नाम निशान छैन । ठूला मान्छे आएको बेला मात्रै ड्युटी चल्छ । सीमाना जस्तो संवेदनशील क्षेत्रमा समेत कोही सैनिक प्रहरी र प्रशासन नहुनुले हामीलाई देशका साँध सीमाको कुनै मतलब छैन भन्ने देखाउँदैन र ?

सीमालाई गम्भीरताका साथ नलिएको त आफ्नै आँखाले देखेकै हुँ सिन्धुपाल्चोकको तातोपानीमा । मितेरी पुल अगाडि साइन बोर्ड छ जसमा लेखिएको छ ‘यहाँ फोटो / भिडियो खिच्न मनाही छ ।’ सँगै एउटा सानो पोस्ट छ जहाँ हरबखत एक जना सुरक्षाकर्मी हुनैपर्छ तर छैनन् । पारि चिनियाँहरू पहरा दिएर बसिरहेका छन छन् । फोटो खिच्न मनाही भने पनि ‘उताको नखिच्नु यतापट्टीको खिच्दा हुन्छ’ भनेर यता बाट अनुमति पाइयो । सुरक्षाकर्मीहरू चैं गफ चुट्नमा व्यस्त थिए । पारिबाट कोही आयो भने पनि यता थाहा पाउने स्थिति छैन तर पारिका सुरक्षाकर्मी हाम्रा एकएक गतिविधि ध्यान दिएर हेर्छन् ।

त्यो भन्दा पनि अप्ठ्यारो अवस्था साझा कथाले बनाएको वृत्तचित्रमा देखिन्छ । सरकार, हामीले यहाँ नक्सा पास गरायौँ, खुशीयाली मनायौँ । तर आफ्नो स्वामित्वको, त्यसमाथि विवादित क्षेत्रमा सेना किन नपठाएको ? यत्तिका वर्ष उता बाटो बनिरहँदा किन चुप बसेको ? ‘मलाई कसैले रिपोर्टिङ गरेनन्’ भनेर प्रधानमन्त्रीले भनिसक्दा पनि रिपोर्टिङ गर्ने संयन्त्र स्थापना गर्न अझै पनि ढिलासुस्ती किन ? सरकार, अझै कति लाचार बन्ने ? नेपालको जमिनमा बसेका तर नेपालको सरकारले काहिल्यै नहेरेका त्यहाँका नागरिकले अपराध बोध किन गर्नु पर्ने ? बस्नु अपराध आफ्नो जमिनमा विवाद निम्त्याइ सकेपछि समाधानको पहल किन गर्न नसकेको ?

संघीय संसद्को नयाँ ‘लोगो’ जसले नेपालीको भावनामाथि उपहास गरेको छ

देशको कुनाकुनामा राज्यको उपस्थिति भए मात्रै देश बलियो र समृद्ध हुन्छ । नक्सा पास त संघीय संसदबाट भयो तर त्यही संघीय संसद्को लोगोले नयाँ नक्सा र जनभावना प्रति कटाक्ष गरेजस्तो लाग्छ । कालापानी क्षेत्रको समस्या समाधान नभएसम्म नक्सामा मात्रै राखेर गमक्क पर्न छुट छैन सरकार ! नक्सा सुरुवात मात्रे हो । यो पर्याप्त छैन । छिमेकीलाई बलमिच्याइँ गर्न नदिन हाम्रा संयन्त्र अझै लागेका छैनन् । केटाकेटी खेले जस्तो गरेर सीमा विवाद समाप्त हुँदैन । सरकार ! नक्सा मात्रै निकालेर हुन्छ ? झन्नै ६० वर्ष भो राज्यको उपस्थिति त्यहाँ नभएको । अझै कति ढिलाइ गर्ने हो ?

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.”