Leave Me Alone-4

Previously on Leave Me Alone

Ajay and Sasha go to Sasha’s home to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. Ajay sees portrait of a woman on red sari who looks like Sasha. Ajay is attacked by a woman on red sari and he flees. He goes to a police station and tells what had happened. Sasha wakes up on a cold street and returns back to her house, where police officers tell her to go with them. She is reluctant at first first but agrees later. At the police station, she faints.

Let’s look what happens to her and what truth Ajay discovers in this chapter.

The men at the police station acted quickly. Within minutes, Sasha was taken into the hospital, which she had exited some hours as a nurse. Ajay was devastated. He did not understand what was going on. Sitting on a chair outside the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital, Ajay began contemplating his relationship with Sasha. He realized that he did not know much about her. He had never asked her about her family and had wrongly believed that they were alive. Before Sasha had arrived at the police station, Dr. Shrestha had told him about her troubled childhood. He had also told that Sasha’s mother had died long ago. ‘Who was the woman who attacked me then? Was she Sasha’s mother? Or was she Sasha herself?’ Dr. Shrestha said she was Sasha but Ajay could not believe him. So, Dr. Shrestha gave his address and said, “Come to my house tomorrow at 8 o’clock in the morning. You will meet someone who will confirm my story.”

That night Ajay spent on the cold chair outside the ICU sometimes dozing, sometimes staring at the wall in front of him and sometimes looking at his unconscious girlfriend through the glass. When the darkness dissolved into the eastern lights, he talked with Rosa, whose shift had just ended. She told, “I had never thought I would see Sasha in such serious condition. I can’t still believe she is in coma. She was so lively last night.”

“Did you know about her problems?” Ajay interrogated as they walked out of the hospital.

“Everyone here knows that she had a split personality,” Rosa answered. “After long private sessions, Dr. Shrestha treated her. She got her nursing license after the treatment. Now that the disorder seems to have resurfaced, everyone is going to blame him. He is devastated.”

“I know,” Ajay said. “He is not happy with what has happened. He believes he made some mistake. The doctor thinks that if he had been a little more careful, Sasha would not have suffered the trauma.”

“It’s obvious he would think that way. He is her guardian,” Rosa remarked. They had already reached the bus stop on the street. Rosa bade farewell and went away. Ajay wondered, ‘Did she say Dr. Shrestha is Sasha’s guardian? He didn’t tell me that before. Why?’

He immediately resolved, ‘I need to ask the doctor.’

Ajay unfolded a small piece of paper in which the doctor had written his address. It was not far from where he was. Though he felt hungry- he had not eaten anything since lunch the previous day- Ajay decided to walk.

He reached Dr. Shrestha’s place in about fifteen minutes. He was not stopped at the gate. The doctor must have told the gatekeeper he was coming. He himself was waiting for Ajay in the garden. Beside him was a dark wrinkled woman. She smiled slightly at him. When Ajay sat on a chair opposite them, the doctor offered him tea and some slices of fruitcake. Ajay happily savoured them.

As they ate, Dr. Shrestha said, “Ajay, this is Parmila. She worked as a maid at Sasha’s from the time Sasha was born. Parmila knows their story better than I do.”

There was a silence for a while. Ajay asked, “Do you still work there?”

“No,” Parmila replied in a hoarse voice. “I stopped working there three years ago, after Sasha joined nursing.”

“Is it true that Sasha’s parents passed away while she was about six years old?”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“But I saw her mother last night,” Ajay exclaimed in disbelief.

“You can’t have seen Reshma,” Parmila said.

“The woman you saw was Sasha, not her mother,” Dr. Shrestha. “Tell him all you know, Parmila.”

Parmila nodded and began, “She was a beautiful child. She laughed a lot, played a lot. She wanted everything to be perfect even at a small age. She never liked playing with broken toys. After she played she used to keep them in their exact places. She was so sensitive that she used to cry whenever someone spoke to her loudly. She had lot of friends even at a small age.

“Sasha’s father had inherited a lot of land, from which he began a business of his own. Her mother, Reshma, worked at a bank on a good salary,” Parmila sighed and continued, “But some days after Sasha’s sixth birthday, fortune began to disfavour them. Her father’s business collapsed. He had taken up a loan from the bank where Reshma worked. The house had been mortgaged. The bank sold it when they could not pay the debt. The family who bought the house through bidding were relatives of the bank manager.

“Some months later, I heard a rumour that the manager of the same bank obtained that house from his relatives. Sasha’s father started blaming his wife for their misfortune. He said that she could have stopped the sale by talking to the management. But he never considered he had invested wrongly. He solely blamed upon Reshma for his failure. They moved into a small house. They had to pay rents and could not afford keeping me on the work. I had to leave.

“Some weeks later, Sasha’s mother came to my house. She looked as if she had slept for days. She was not as bright as she used to be. She sat beside me and said, “My husband has changed. He does not support me. He is not happy that I am still working at the bank that auctioned our house. I submitted resignation letter twice but they don’t approve it. He does not believe anything I say. We have been quarrelling a lot lately. It is affecting Sasha. He wants to send Sasha to a hostel. She is too young to be sent to a hostel. I want your help, Parmila.”

““Okay, I understand your problem. I’ll take care of the child,” I said, “You don’t need to pay me as long as you are in financial problem.”

“Sasha’s mother thanked me. She looked a little brighter by the time she left my place. I looked after Sasha in the mornings and evenings, while working at other places for money.

“Sasha was really affected by the fights her parents had. She was gloomy. She did not talk to anyone. Her grades had fallen. I did my best to keep her happy. I talked and laughed with her. I helped her in whatever I could. Whenever her parents fought, I took her to my house in her sleep. But I feared, even at that time, that I had not been able to stop the psychological change the child was going through.

“The family’s fortune changed all of a sudden. Reshma got a promotion and her husband discovered a link to get hold of his business again. A few months passed in peace until one evening Sasha’s mother said they were shifting. “Where,” I asked.

““Back to the house we left some months ago,” she said. I could not believe my ears. I asked her again and she replied the same. That was the evening, I saw little Sasha happy in a long time.

“No one asked Reshma how she got the house back. Her husband did not look happy, though. I heard murmurs among the women that Reshma had got the house back because of her illicit relationship with the bank manager. Her husband might have thought the same but did not say anything. He also stopped fighting with his wife and was giving time to Sasha whenever he could.

“Reshma, on the other hand, was not giving time to her daughter at all. She had changed. She usually came home late at night, drunk. So much that she could not stand upright. The bank manager would bring her up to the door sometimes. I knew her husband was angry. He was like a dormant volcano, ready to explode anytime. I feared the destruction it would bring.

“One evening, he burst up. Reshma was drunk as usual. He could bear it no more. He shouted out, “What’s wrong with you, Reshma? Why do you come home drunk every night?”

““There is no use telling you. You’re not going to believe me,” she replied angrily.

““Why don’t you tell me what exactly has happened to you?”

““You know everything,” Reshma replied in a low voice this time. “Why do you want to hear it from me?”

““What? I don’t know anything. How would I?”

“I could not hear what Reshma said but her husband was terribly enraged. He slapped her hard and yelled, “I didn’t know you could fall that low. Didn’t you even think of me and Sasha?”

““I had no choice,” Reshma said, crying. Her husband did not even look her. From the corner I was standing, I saw Sasha looking at her father. I was scared. She had seen her parents’ fight.

“The next morning, I witnessed the most tragic incident of life. Sasha’s mother was found dead in her room. Her face had become blue. A small bottle of poison lay beside her. The police discovered a note inside her diary in which she had written that the manager of the bank where she worked had molested her several times. The note also said that he had offered the house in return. Reshma had to accept everything he did because he had threatened to harm her family.

“The police caught the bank manager but his lawyer saved him from imprisonment. They even proved that Reshma was mad and that her note was not trustworthy. A few weeks later, the bank manger suddenly disappeared and has not been seen again. God punished him for this deed.”

There was a long silence at the table. “What happened to Sasha’s father?” Ajay asked slowly.

“Oh,” Parmila said, “He fell down the stairs and died. In his will he had wanted Dr. Shrestha to become Sasha’s guardian. I kept working at their house. Dr. Shrestha provided me wages until I decided to leave work due to my age two years ago.”

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Leave Me Alone-2

Previously on Leave Me Alone:

In the first chapter, Sasha takes Ajay her home. Ajay, who had never gone in before, is mesmerized by the decorations. However, the portrait of a woman on red sari who looks similar to Sasha (Sasha says it’s her mother) grabs his attention. Later, he sees a woman on a red sari. Before he can who she is, he is attacked. Ajay flees away from Sasha’s home.

Continue reading Chapter 2 here. . .

Ajay was gasping. The chilly wind that hit his nose and lungs did not help him. His legs, too were giving in and his feet were burning on the cold pitch. He did not stop, however. After a few minutes of run, he had realized that he was not being chased anymore but his mind had warned him that it could be a trap. Even under fear and darkness, his sense of direction had helped him reach the police station. As soon as he had stepped in, he had collapsed.

Ajay opened his eyes upon a hard wooden bench. He saw two men in front of him. One of them was a bespectacled man of about sixty. He had white beard and his demeanour spoke of experience. The other was clean-shaven man of about thirty. He looked the more curious of the two. “Bring him something to drink,” the younger man ordered. In less than a minute, Ajay was offered a cup of tea.

“Hello, Ajay,” the bespectacled man spoke, “How do you feel now?”

Maybe because of the tea, Ajay’s body had felt a little better. But the very thought of what had happened at Sasha’s place chilled his spines. “Sasha is in danger,” he said to the old man. “You don’t look like a policeman. Who are you? How do you know my name?”

The old man smiled. “I am Madan Shrestha. I am a doctor and I live nearby. I had been called here by Inspector Pradhan,” he pointed at the younger man, “who also happens to be my son-in-law. We had personal matters to discuss. That was when you stumbled into the station.”

“And I asked him to helped you,” Inspector Pradhan said sternly. “We took your identity from your driving license. You look well off. How did you come up here without your shoes? Who is Sasha? You were muttering that she is in danger even while you were unconscious.”

“She’s my girlfriend,” Ajay said and gave the Inspector her address. He took the case in his hands immediately. Leaving a junior officer Krishna and Dr. Shrestha with Ajay, he set off with some cadets. Krishna, who had been intently listening to everything earlier, spoke asked, “Let’s know what had happened to you and your girlfriend, shall we?”

Ajay said, “We met at a conference about a month ago. We discovered many similarities between us and we soon got fond of each other. We exchanged numbers. Text messages soon converted into phone calls. The more we talked, the better we started knowing each other. A week later we went on our first date.”

Ajay told them that he had planned a special treat to celebrate Sasha’s birthday. A cake and dinner was ordered at 9 o’clock that evening. He had reached Sasha’s workplace ten minutes before her duty would end. He made a call, which Sasha had received on the eleventh time. She had soon come down, smiling. He had gone to her and had dragged to the car. He had opened the door and pushed her. He had been a little harsh and Sasha had been face down upon the seat. Ajay had never wanted such a thing to happen. She had looked a little furious. He had run to his seat and played her favourite music before he had driven them to Sasha’s house.

Sasha had smilingly asked him to come over at hers. Ajay had thought that she was angry with him because of what had happened earlier. He had not struck a conversation because of the very reason. He had been surprised and had denied the offer as he had often done. But she had pressed him hard. He would not have given in if he had not planned the treat himself. So he agreed. If he had agreed to go to her house earlier, she would not have been as excited at that moment.

Sasha had walked off the car and opened the gate. She had also shown him the garage, where he had parked the car. While he was walking towards the main door, he saw Sasha standing still on the porch. She looked like she was thinking something. When Ajay had called her, she had come out of her trance, or whatever it was, and had said that she had been waiting for her. Soon she had taken him through the main door, which opened into the living hall.

He had been mesmerized by the grandeur of the room. Its floor was covered by fine red carpet all over. In the middle of the room were three couches arranged in the shape of ‘U’. The bigger middle one faced the door that they had just entered from; one couch on its left faced the kitchen and the other in the right faced the bathroom. A low table lay in front of the bigger couch.

Two stairs went up from the living hall, one just from a little left from outside the kitchen and the other symmetrically left from outside the bathroom. They met on the other floor to form a balcony. Under the balcony, within the living room, there were several paintings. Due to low intensity of light on that part, however, Ajay could not properly see them from far.

While he had still been wandering about the hall, Sasha had entered the kitchen. He had heard the sounds of the gas stove being lighted up some minutes ago. The God of Mischief had led him into the kitchen. Sasha had turned her back towards the door and had been watching the milk-pan. Ajay had walked up slowly looking at his own face in the mirrors on the kitchen wall. He had also noticed a small mirror over the sink. As noiseless as a cat, he had reached Sasha and all of a sudden, grabbed her from behind. At the same time, the milk had boiled up and fallen over the stove, ceasing the fire. Ajay had been scared. He had made a mistake again. However, instead of punishing him, Sasha had pulled him forward to kiss him. The stench of the LPG had hit her nose at the very moment and she had pushed him away and had taken care of the situation immediately.

Though Sasha had not said anything, Ajay felt that his mischief had been enough to make her angry. He had quickly left the kitchen and had rushed into the living room again. He had explored the part under the balcony that time and had seen a portrait-like photograph. It was a life-size photograph of a woman on red sari and a matching blouse. Her shoes and bag too were red. She had put on a small bindi on her forehead and sindoor above it up to her hair. Her hair had been tied in a bun and curls were left out just above her ears. The photo stunned Ajay because the woman looked so much like Sasha but the photo did not look like it had been recently produced.

Therefore, while Sasha had entered with two mugs of coffee in her hands, he had asked if she had taken a photo of that sort. She had said that it was not hers. An idea struck into his mind that the woman on the photograph could be her mother instead, and she had confirmed it.

“After that, there was no question in my mind,” Ajay had continued. “I had strolled a little, sipped the coffee, I sat on the long couch. She had soon come and rested on my lap. I could see her beautiful eyes. They were full of love. I could not keep my own eyes off them. All of a sudden, her facial muscles twitched. The eyes that were filled by love had become furious. They looked as if she was about to pounce upon me.

“My reflexes tried to keep me away from her. As I jumped up, a little coffee fell upon her uniform. She lamented for a while and shot upstairs. Meanwhile, I emptied the coffee mug and put it on the table. I also noticed that Sasha had taken her mug upstairs for I could not find them in the room and I clearly remember that she had not gone into the kitchen either. I do not remember how long I sat alone in that living hall waiting for her. I was attracted to her mother’s photo and had taking a closer look at it again when I heard the sound of breaking glass from the direction of the kitchen.

“I hadn’t noticed if Sasha had come downstairs or not. I had no idea if she had been into the kitchen. I guessed she might have and dashed into the kitchen. Fragments of glass were scattered on the floor. The big mirror on the opposite of the sink had been the victim. I was careful not to step on them. (I had kept my shoes on the shelf outside the living hall.) Then I saw a woman advancing at me from the right corner of the room. I don’t understand if the photo had enthralled my mind already, for the woman who was sprinting towards me looked exactly like the one it.

“”Get out of the house,” she shouted at me. I refused to budge. She came forward at me and furiously swung her left arm at me. What I had not earlier realised was that she had carried a knife. By the time I could notice that, it had already landed upon my face.

“I howled, cursed and ran away with my hand pressing the wound on my face. Whoever this woman was, I was sure had gone crazy and was after me. I don’t know if she was Sasha’s mother whom I had not seen earlier; nor can I say what she has done to Sasha. At the time I fled, I just wanted to escape the wrath of that woman on the red sari. A little later, I mind just told me as I ran hard, ‘Go to the nearest police station, Sasha needs help.’ That’s what led me here and I collapsed before I could speak out anything to you.”

 

 

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4 Exemplary Stories of Friendship from the Mahabharata

In most countries, Friendship Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August. There is variation in dates, however. Learn more on Wikipedia. Today, on the occasion of Friendship Day, I have brought to you exemplary stories of friendship from the epic Mahabharata.

1. Krishna and Arjun

Well, they were cousins. Arjun’s mother Kunti was Krishna’s aunt. But they were not just tied by the bloodline. They were intimate friends. One could understand the other through his gestures. Krishna and Arjun, according to the Mahabharata are the incarnations of Narayana (God) and Nara (Human), who together can destroy evil.

The most remarkable point in the story of their friendship is Krishna’s recitation of the Bhagavad Geeta (The Song of the God) to Arjun. Though a fierce warrior he was, Arjun was filled with compassion seeing his relatives. He did not want the victory obtained by killing millions of people. Arjun wanted to leave the battlefield. Krishna motivated Arjun by saying that it would have been a possible if the war had not started. At the battlefield, one has to fight. Else, he would be called a coward. “Do you want to be called a coward by the future generations?” Krishna asked Arjun. He also told that Arjun could establish righteousness in the Dwapar Yug.

This story, if considered from the point of religion, tells us that God is a friend of righteous humans. It is through the guidance of God that we can bring an end to the evil. The main moral in this story is, however that a true friend should never let a friend depressed. Neither does he should let him be ashamed.

Krishna and Sudama. Source: http://appmithistories.blogspot.nl

2. Krishna and Sudama

A long time after Krishna set himself as the king of Dwarka, a poor man came to his door asking for alms. He wanted to meet Krishna but when he saw the grandeur of the fort-city, he repressed his desire. The poor man was about to go away, when Krishna recognized him. He was Krishna’s childhood friend, Sudama.

Once, when they were young, Sudama had stolen Makkhan and had eaten it alone without sharing with his friends. Sudama was tall and his friends made him steal the pots kept on the higher places. He had done so because when they used to steal together in that manner, he often used to get the least share. Unfortunately, since that day, his family became poorer and poorer. By the time Sudama had reached Dwarka, he had nothing but thin clothes and not a morsel of food.

Seeing his friend and knowing his story, Krishna embraces Sudama and serves him well. Within a few days, Sudama looks better. Krishna then helps Sudama build a house within Dwarka so that he can meet his amigo frequently. Such a generous friend Krishna was! (I heard this story from my grandmother some days ago.)

3. Karna and Duryodhan

Karna, though a Kshyatria by birth (Surya and Kunti were his parents), was called Sut-putra (child of a Shudra) because he was raised by a charioteer and his wife. When this warrior wished to compete in a ceremony with Arjun, the Pandavas humiliated him. Duryodhan, who has been portrayed as evil for most part, stands up to his brothers. He can not make Karna compete but later on, as a mark of friendship, grants Karna the kingship of Anga Province within his empire. Though one may say Duryodhan wanted to exploit Karna to fulfil his evil design against the Pandavas,  Karna always took the friendship truly. He supported Duryodhan in whatever he did and went on to the extent of saving his only friend’s life several times. The Mahabharata says that the only mistake of Karna was to support the Chir haran of Draupadi. When Kunti later told to change sides, Karna said that because Duryodhan had only one true friend, Karna could never leave him.

4. Krishna and Radha

These are the subjects of numerous songs often describing romantic relationship between them. But there was more than the romantic feeling between them. While Krishna was a smart boy, Radha was wise. She believed in following the traditions as they were. Whenever Krishna made mistakes she was the one to correct him. For example, when Krishna killed a bull, Radha was enraged. She told him to bathe in the major rivers of the world to eliminate his sins. Krishna is believed to have brought water from Yamuna, Ganga, Sindhu, and Saraswati into two ponds now known as Radha Kunda and Shyam Kunda. In that sense, though Radha and  Krishna’s friendship is not much told in stories, they had deep regards for each other.

I’m done with stories of amity from the Mahabharata. Happy Friendship Day to all!

Hold My Hand

Boy:

An enormous mountain stands before my eyes

But it can not hold me back

Neither can I be bound by the ties

My life has made to yours.

I’ve crossed thousands of rivers;

I’ve passed through mountains;

I’ve climbed over them

To behold the beauty on the other side.

I’ve done them all alone.

Always, I’ve been on myself.

Don’t you be sad

That you have to stay back;

I’ll return

Before fate turns bad.

Girl:

I can’t let you go alone!

Your steps have been hindered

By this mountain once.

A lone traveller you were then;

You lost your bearings,

And when you finally came

To a clearing,

You were half-alive.

My father and I brought you here

And you got back half your life.

Through ceremonious ties, 

We’ve been bound.

Don’t say you want to leave me alone;

Don’t climb that mountain without me;

Don’t cross rivers on yourself.

For we’ve sworn:

“Through all places and times

We shall never be apart.”

Boy:

You’re true, dear.

And you’ve made it clear

That I can’t forever travel alone.

I need a partner

With whom I can climb the mountains;

With whom I can cross the streams;

With whom I can share my pains,

Dreams.

Hold my hand,

Come with me.

I can confidently face anything

When you’re beside me.

(P.S.: The concept for this poem came through a dream and my upcoming novel “Quest”.)

Monthly Feature: Maleficent- Really?

I talk about the art, music and movies that I have adored in the Monthly Feature. For the month of June, I present my views on a movie quite differently than I have done before.

What’s true love? Disney Animations and Pictures seem to change the notion that true love is always a romantic orientation. That’s what we saw in Brave, Frozen and Maleficent.

Maleficent: Meaning
The Dictionary.com defines maleficent as “doing evil or harm”. The dark fairy from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959) is named and meant so. She is the villain who curses the beautiful princess Aurora to an infinite sleep only to be broken by “a true love’s kiss”.

Maleficent Revived

The same Maleficent was revived in the 2014 Disney live action movie of the same name. I had watched both the versions in the same year, unintentionally and I had felt that 1959 movie was more about the villainous Maleficent than the heroine Aurora. Yet, the movie seemed incomplete. I had not been able to understand why the fairy had to be angry at all.

Linda Wolverton, the script writer of the 2014 movie seemed to have noticed the same. So she added a back story where Maleficent’s wings are cut stolen by Stefan to gain powers for himself. The story adds details to why the fairy was angry with King Stefan.

The Villain

The king had stolen her wings- her pride and her fun. She even rescued a raven and named him Diaval. “You will become my wings,” she says something like that. She, however goes to the name-giving ceremony of the king’s daughter and curses that the girl would fall asleep on her sixteenth birthday after being pricked by the spindle of a spinning wheel. The curse could be broken only by a true love’s kiss. (She gives the condition of the breaking of the curse believing that true love does not exist.)

Wait! What was the little girl’s mistake? I don’t understand why Maleficent curses the little girl. Maybe she had psychological problems. (We do not know!) She has magical powers and all. She could have defeated Stefan then and there. Yet she chooses to curse the daughter. Maybe they wanted to show her association with the Princess who slept, which we see later. Maybe she did not like that particular child, we do not understand why. Thereby, Maleficent makes herself a villain.

But the land Stefan ruled must have suffered a lot. All the spinning wheels are thrown, dumped or burnt. Imagine the amount of clothes they could have produced in sixteen years. Forget Aurora and through the curse, Maleficent handicaps their economy.

Villain- Is She Yet?
To prevent the curse, the king sends his daughter with three pixies without even testing their competence. (What kind of father is he?) The dark fairy learns from Diaval that the little girl is not being taken care of. For her interest of bringing the curse true, she takes care of the child. But she also loves the child as her own as time passes.

Maleficent, when she understands that she loves the child, tries to break the curse. But she herself had told that it was unbreakable. Aurora, the Princess sleeps. The fairy brings up a Prince and tells him to kiss the girl. But it goes in vain. How could an attraction of some moments be true love? She knows she made a mistake. She asks for forgiveness and kissing her goddaughter’s forehead. Turns out Maleficent’s motherly love was true even if she had a selfish interest in the beginning.

So, is she yet a villain? Maybe Disney Pictures still say she is. Maybe Wolverton still believes in the villainous Maleficent. But the truth is that at the end of the movie, she does not remain a villain anymore. She has been transformed by the love she developed for Aurora. And she even regrets from having cursed her as a child.

That was the best thing about the movie for me. The transformation was the only reason I was able to forgive her act of cursing a child. Her name might suggest that she is still malicious. But she is not one dimensional word whose meaning cannot be changed. Maleficent is a fairy, cheated by a human. If her anger is justified, why not the change she undergoes? Wolverton still calling Maleficent a villain after a change of heart does not give her any justice.

गौतम बुद्ध: जन्म, कर्म र हाम्रो धर्म

सिद्धार्थ गौतमको जन्मका सम्बन्धमा
करिब २६४० वर्ष अघि बैशाख पूर्णिमाको रातमा यस धर्तिमा अवतरण लिएका थिए सिद्धार्थ गौतमले रानी मायादेवीको कोखबाट- लुम्बिनीमा । विभिन्न कालखण्डमा त्यो पवित्र भूमि विभिन्न देशभित्र पर्‍यो । वर्तमानमा त्यो क्षेत्र नेपालको सिमानाभित्र पर्दछ । लुम्बिनी संरक्षणको दायित्व अहिले नेपालीको काधमा छ । तर त्यसको अर्थ बुद्ध ‘नेपाली’ थिए भन्ने होइन । बुद्धलाई कुनै एउटा देशको नागरिक बनाउन इतिहास र नैतिकता दुवैले दिँदैनन्[१] ।

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यो विज्ञान प्रविधिको युग हो । यस युगमा हरेक विषयमा तथ्य केलाइन्छ । बुद्धकालिन कला, संस्कृति, लेखोटका आधारमा लुम्बिनी नै सिद्धर्थ गौतमको जन्मथलो थियो भन्ने प्रमाणित भइसकेको छ । उनको यात्राको बाटो पनि पहिल्याइ सकेका छन् इतिहासकारहरूले । उनको जन्ममितिमा भने एकमत छैन । खोज गर्नै पर्ने विषय जन्ममिति हो, जन्मस्थल होइन ।

बुद्धको जन्मथलोको विकासको “गुरु योजना” २८ वर्षअघि बनेको रहेछ । आजको मितिसम्म योजनाले पूर्णता पाएको छैन । केही संरचना बनेका छन् तर ती पर्याप्त छैनन् । बौद्धहरूको चार धाममध्ये प्रमुख लुम्बिनीको विकासमा किन ढिलाइ ? २९ वर्षको उमेरमा त सिद्धार्थले राजपाट त्यागि सकेका थिए, सम्यक ज्ञानको खोजी गर्न । हामी बुद्ध भूमिका संरक्षकहरू किन आफ्ना व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थ त्याग्न सक्दैनौँ ? उनले बाटो देखाइ दिएकै थिए त ।

सिद्धार्थ र बुद्धका कर्मका सम्बन्धमा

सिद्धार्थको बाल्यकाल सुखसयलमा बितेको थियो । राजा (गणनायक?) सुद्धोधनले वातानुकुलित तीनवटा महल बनाइदिएका थिए भनिन्छ । यद्यपि भौतिक सुखले उनलाई छुन सकेन । मैले सानो छँदा एउटा कथा पढेको थिएँ, जुन यस्तो छ-

हरेक वर्ष रोपाइँ सुरु गर्नाका खातिर हलो चलाउन किसानका खेतमा जान्थे । उनलेे छ वर्षका सिद्धार्थलाई साथ लगेका थिए । रोपाइँको तामझाम छोडेर सिद्धार्थ चाहिँ एक्लै बसिरहेका थिए । वरपर कुदिरहेका कमिला हेरेर रमाइरहेका बेला एउटा छेपारोले तिनलाई खान थाल्यो । फेरि हेर्दाहेर्दै एउटा सर्पले त्यो छेपारोलाई निल्यो । एकैछिनमा, त्यो सर्प पनि बाजको आहारा बन्यो । प्रकृतिको समिपमा त्यस्तो अनौठो चक्र देखेपछि उनी गम्भीर हुन थाले । प्रकृतिमा यस्तो नियम किन छ भनेर सोच्न थाले । मनमा आउने दार्शनिक सोच हटाउनकै लागि ती तीन महल बनाइएका थिए । तर सिद्धर्थ प्रकृतिमा फर्किन चाहन्थे । २९ वर्षको उमेरमा उनी फेरि प्रकृतिमा फर्किए । उनले रोगी, वृद्ध र मृत देखे [२]। उनलाई त्यही दिन थाहा भयो पहिलो आर्य सत्य- दु:ख छ । त्यो दु:ख निवारण गर्न सकिन्छ कि सकिँदैन भन्ने विषयको ज्ञान प्राप्त गर्नु नै उनको लक्ष्य थियो जसका लागि उनले व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थको त्याग गरे । लक्ष्यमा सफल भएका कारण बुद्धका नामले चिनिए ।

दु:खका कारण र निवारणको माध्यम पत्ता लागेपछि उनका मनमा विचार आयो- ‘मैले पत्ता लगाएका कुराहरू अरूलाई सुनाऊँ या नसुनाऊँ । कसैले सुन्ला मेरा कुरा ?’ आम मानिसमा हुने प्रश्न उनमा पनि आएका थिए तर उनले कोशिश गरे । बोधगयामा उनलाई तपस्यामा साथ दिएका दुईजना अनि कुशिनगरमा भेटिएका तीनजनालाई उनले आफ्नो खोजका बारेमा बताए । उनको बोली मधुर हुँदो हो, सरल अनि लोकको भाषामा प्रवचन दिँदा हुन् । त्यसैले त उनको दर्शनबाट प्रभावित हुनेको सङ्ख्या बढ्दै गयो । संसारभर छरिएका बौद्धमार्गीहरूका आस्थाका केन्द्र हुन् गौतम बुद्ध ।

जन्मबाट होइन, कर्मबाट महान् भइन्छ । सिद्धार्थको जन्म राजकुलमा भए पनि संसारले उनलाई ज्ञानको अद्भुत खानीका रूपमा चिन्दछ । जन्मका आधारमा त उनी क्षत्रिय हुनुपर्ने, युद्ध गर्नु पर्ने तर उनले साधक भएर शान्तिको सन्देश दिए[३] । कर्मले महान् भएका बुद्धलाई म मनैदेखि नमस्कार गर्दछु ।

हाम्रो धर्म
मेरो विचारमा उचित कर्म नै धर्म हो । सिद्धार्थ गौतमको धर्म थियो चार आर्य सत्यको ज्ञान हासिल गर्नु, बुद्धको धर्म थियो जनजनलाई आफूले पाएको ज्ञान बाँढ्नु । बुद्धले त्यो ज्ञान नबाँढेका भए के हामी उनको चर्चा गर्थ्यौँ होला ? तर हाम्रो धर्म चर्चा गर्नु मात्रै होइन । हाम्रो धर्म त बुद्धका मार्ग र धरोहरको संरक्षण गर्नु हो । बुद्धका संदेशलाई आत्मसात गरेर नै हामीले उनको सम्मान गर्न सक्छौँ ।

[१. महान व्यक्तिहरू कर्मले चिनिन्छन् । जन्म त सबैले लिएका हुन्छन् तर केही मानिस मात्रै सत्कर्मका कारण प्रख्यात हुन्छन् । यस्ता महान व्यक्तिहरूले सधैँ सम्मान पाउँछन्, उनीहरू जुनसुकै देशमा जन्मेका किन नहुन ।
केही वर्षयता नेपालमा बुद्धलाई नेपाली बनाउने क्रेज देखिएको छ । बुद्धको नाम र तस्विर राखेर फोटोशप गरिएका नागरिकता पनि देखिए सामाजिक संजालमा । मन चिसो हुन्छ । हामीले बुद्धको संदेश लिएर शान्ति बाँढ्नु पर्ने हो तर बुद्धलाई नै खिचातानीमा पार्छौँ । नेपाल र भारतका लागि राजनीतिक विषय हुन्- बुद्ध र उनको जन्मस्थल । बुद्धका  शान्ति संदेश रुँदै छन् पुस्तकालयका कुनै कुनामा ।
२. बुद्धचरीत्रमा भवनबाट निस्किएका  सिद्धार्थले तीन दिन तीन मानिसलाई क्रमशः देखे भनिएको छ- वृद्ध, रोगी र शव । कतै सिद्धार्थले एउटै मानिस त देखेका थिएनन् ? पहिलो दिन सायद उनले एउटा बूढो मानिस देखेका थिए । उनले पहिले कहिल्यै वृद्ध नदेखेकाले उनले चासो लिए होला । भोलिपल्ट सायद ज्ञान भयो कि ती वृद्ध रोगी पनि रहेछन् । तेस्रो दिन सायद ती बूढाको मृत्यु भैसकेको थियो । मानिस किन दु:खी छ र मरेर गएपछि अरूलाई पनि दु:खी किन बनाउँछ भन्ने साधारण प्रश्नले सिद्धार्थलाई बुद्ध बन्न प्रेरित गर्‍यो ।
३. बुद्धले मानव शान्ति र विश्व शान्तिको सन्देश दिए । उनले चार आर्य सत्य प्रतिपादन गरे: १) दु:ख छ ; २) दु:खका कारण छन् ; ३) दु:ख निवारण संभव छ ; ४) दु:ख निवारणका लागि अष्टाङ्गिक मार्ग छन् : सम्यक दृष्टि, सम्यक सङ्कल्प, सम्यक वचन, सम्यक कर्म, सम्यक आजीविका, सम्यक व्यायाम, सम्यक स्मृति, सम्यक समाधि ।]

You are my Life!

LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT LOVE. YOUR LOVE IS THE SPIRIT THAT BURNS THE LAMP OF MY LIFE.

Dear Family,

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What would I do without you? You make me the person I am. You three are the best people around me whom I can trust forever.

I would never have written this without you, Ankita. If you are not come up with the origami booklet, these words would not have been penned and they would not have come up on my blog today. Thank you, my sister. If you had not brought up the idea, I would have been thunderstruck on the most amazing day ever- the day on which Mother’s Day could be celebrated together with Father’s Birthday. When will such a chance be conjured again? I would have missed it if you had not done it.

Thank you Mamu for tolerating me. I am not easy to handle. You have said it again and again. To bear the thoughts of someone who lives more on dreams and online than reality can be troubling. It’s difficult to take care of me. But you have taken it in your safe hands. That’s why I don’t need to take care of myself while you are around.

Thank you Baba for shaping my personality. My personality is influenced by all three of you in my family but you are the one I feel my characters match to a great extent. I have learnt a great deal through you. Thanks a lot for giving me your attention and making me the way I am.

I know I am not the best but everyday I strive to be better. I might lack the essential skills to face the world. I might have been obstinate at times. I might not have lived up to your expectations. But I’ll ensure that I use the goodness you have fed into me to go on with my life. I will always make sure that I will be with you, in both my joy and sorrow. I promise I will make you proud.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamu!
Happy Birthday, Baba!

Yours forever,
Ankit

(A note on Matatirtha Aunsi aka Mother’s Day on Friday. Aunsi is the new moon in Lunar Calendar used in Nepal. Fortunately, it was also the birthday of my father according to the Solar Calendar.)

I Believe!

“I believe in luck. Call it fortune, coincidence [or serendipity], I believe in incidents that occur all of a sudden and change the course of life.”
As I was thinking of the above statement from an essay by Nagendra, I knew I had to present instances if I had to bring it up an article. I got them in a magazine. The stories of Buddhi Tamang and Kameshwor Chaurasiya made me believe the statement even more.

Would you have ever thought that a man who was doing labour works could get into movies? That’s Buddhi Tamang. He worked in different places as a porter until someone told him to work at a theatre. Gradually he got into acting and was soon doing dramas. After doing a few movies, he worked in the superhit movie Kabaddi Kabaddi. “Hait,”- the one word that made him famous. His acting was praised by all. He now aims to be a director. All the best Mr. Tamang!

When you have a passion for something it’s better to pursue it. But this did not happen to Kameshwor Chaurasiya. He got involved in stage acting but could not get a chance in the theatre- in Nepal and in India as well. One day he declared himself a failure and started selling ‘chatpate’. His passion came up alive once again when he met Anup Baral, the famous director on the road. Though details were not provided, he got a chance somehow and rose to fame after his work in the movie Resham Filili.

Call them fortune, universal conspiracy or Maktub (as Coelho says in ‘The Alchemist’) or ‘lekhaanta'(in Nepali) I believe in instances of sudden change in fortune. This dangerously means loss as well although I have mentioned gain here.

***

I believe in God. As a student of science, I should not just believe in God. I should be able to show evidence on God’s existence. But I am not only a student of science. I live in a society that believes in divine power. My parents tell me to have faith in God. In fact, faith is a way of life.

Nepal is known as the home of Gods. Most people believe that the mighty Himalayas and the plain of the Terai are gift of God to the Humans. Living in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal aka the City of Temples, there is no way I can avoid God. If I say I don’t want to believe in God a hundred times, God somehow makes me believe in the Divine existence.

This week I saw in much details the process by which Goddess was invoked into a stone sculpture. Through Tantra-Mantra-Yantra, when the Goddess was said to have entered the statue, we could feel the change in energy. Everything looked beautiful. You could feel the positive vibes of the Mother entering into you. There were smiles everywhere. A transformation of Goddess also promised a transformation of Human hearts.

That’s one way of having a faith in God but I also believe in the existence of all powerful God within us that we often fail to identify.

***

I believe in Love. The soothing feeling while you are with your family, the comfort you feel with your friends, the awesome inexplicable feelings while you meet your lover- Love comes in various forms.

Love is within us and among us. But we fail to recognize it’s presence most of the times. That’s why the Buddha, Christ, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale are special to us. Had there been no Love, the World would have fallen apart. I believe Love is what we live by (just like Tolstoy penned in ‘What Men Live By?’

***

At last:

I believe Love can change our Luck, Luck can help us discover God, God shows us way to Love and Love makes our lives worth living. I believe that if we can invoke God into a stone, there is no way we cannot discover God within us. It’s just matter of time, patience and well doing.

This World is an Art!

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March marks the beginning of Spring here in Nepal. Plants that shed their leaves during Winter have are already beginning to come up with new leaflets and flowers. As I look up my surrounding, I am inspired by an Art, of which Nature is the artist.

“Life is an art,” some philosophers say. Life is an art because the world we live in is an art itself. Everything here has been thought of by Someone so that we can live here. I realized this one recent day while reading the properties of water. The pH, boiling temperature, freezing temperatures, and specific capacities of water are unique to support life. Water also has lower density while it is in a solid form (ice). Because solid ice floats over liquid water, life can go under the ice capped water bodies. Water is a wonderful artistic creation of Nature.

“All the world is a stage,” Shakespeare once wrote. We are enacting everything that Someone wants us to do. We don’t realize, but everything seems to be written by Someone’s Hands. “Maktub,” the Arabians of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist would say. The guidance is an art an we are following it so that we ourselves can be involved in artistic creation.

“Imagine if our lives were the dreams of Someone, that when They wake up we die and They start living,” I had read in Mistika- the most bizarre book I have read till date. I would say- Imagine we are the characters of a mega novel. The Writer would add fine details to every second of our activities and would move us as They would want. When the Writer feels it’s enough, They would kill us. There would be no option. We ourselves  do that many times. We love our characters as we develop them but there comes a time when the story does not move ahead without their death or we don’t feel free unless they die. Sir Doyle did that to Sherlock Holmes only to reincarnate him sometime later.

The Art of the Nature is the magnificent of all. There is everything for us to live. Nature nurtures us with Love. Nature Herself destroys us, but that’s only the transformation of the body made up of the Nature’s five elements- Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Metal. No life sustains without these. Who created them? Who created the Nature? I believe on a Supreme Being, the imperfect Artist of the artists- the first Author of the Universe and of this World. The flawed Writer who aims at crafting a beautiful story every time They set to write one. The One who teaches us to live and learns from us at the same time.

Some women who died for love

I happened to see a photo on Facebook today. It says:

“Romeo died for love, Valentine died for love, Jack of Titanic, Samson from the Bible, Hercules, Achilles, and even Jesus died for love.”

And then it goes on to say that there is not a single woman who died for love. It challenges women to come with at least five names of women who died for love. I had a strange feeling towards this post. First I felt that it was a challenge to women. A few minutes later, I thought, “This post (most certainly made and circulated by men) is an example of stupidity. It was probably made by an arrogant teenager, who does not care the contributions of women in the world history and even in his life or an ignorant adult, who does not know anything.” But if it was intended to be a challenge, I said to myself, that it is indeed a good question. It checks the intelligence of his girl. This article, thus is an information to those who do not know the answers (or pretend not to know) and a help from my side who would like to get answers.

I have limits, though. I can’t tell anything from the Bible or the Iliad, whose characters appear above. I am unable to provide answers related to the history and literature I do not know. I’ll try my best in providing information of the five women I have known from the history of Nepal, and Nepali, English and Sanskrit literatures.

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1. Sati
I guess I had given primary information about her on my previous article. She comes back to show that hers was one of the most painful sacrifices for her love.

Sati, according to the Hindu Puranas was the daughter of Prajapati (King) Daksha and Virani. She was married to Shiva, the Lord of the Lords.
For the reasons that Shiva wandered around Kailash (his abode) on improper clothes taking narcotics, Daksha disliked Shiva. On one Yagya (a sacrificial worship) he did not invite Sati and Shiva but invited all his son-in-laws. When Sati knew of this through Sage Narad, she goes to the Yagya and quarrels with her father. He keeps humiliating Shiva, though. Unable to listen to those words, she sacrifices herself on the burning pyre set up for the Yagya. She burns slowly to death until her body is recovered by Shiva himself after a huge war against the soldiers of Daksha.

This story has been altered by Amish Tripathi  in the last book of The Shiva Trilogy. Sati, the wife of Shiva, fights with Daksha, the King of Meluha because he had been using the love of her life in suppressing the poor people of other neighboring countries. When she comes to know that Daksha has planned to kill Shiva, she fights the Egyptian killers. At the end of extremely violent and gory fight, she dies. Shiva comes later to bring about the destruction of Daksha and his country.

2. Muna
Muna is a famous character from Muna Madan, an epic poem by Laxmi Prasad Devkota. The plot follows Madan going to Bhot (Tibet) while Muna awaits at home in Kantipur (old name for Kathmandu).
Madan gets ill on the way returning back home. He is stranded is about to die when a Bhote (resident of Bhot) finds him and saves his life.
At home, however Madan’s friends tell Muna that he has died. Unable to suffer the pain of loss, though false, she dies before Madan comes home. Muna and Madan reunite in the heaven, after Madan dies a few days later.

3. Rajendra Laxmi
If you talk about love and leave away the love for motherland, you are misinterpreting love. This brave woman survived the custom of Sati (I have discussed it on my earlier article) because of her child to extend the territory of Nepal.
After the death of Pratap Singh Shah, the eldest son of king Prithvi Narayan Shah, she took over the responsibility of unifying the small states into a bigger Nepal. Initially, helped by Bahadur Shah- her brother-in-law, she united the eastern states and some of the western states as well. Fighting the unhelpful courtiers and family members, she continued the campaign. By the time she died, Nepal had its eastern territory up to Sikkim and western up to the Kali Gandaki river.

4. Julia Rana
It’s just been some days I have read about her. Born in the Rana family, she was the love of Martyr Dashrath Chand.
Dashrath Chand was a friend of Dharma Bhakta Mathema (another martyr) and was employed at the home of General Rudra Shumsher. There Julia and Dashrath met and both knew sometime later that they loved each other. Rudra Shumsher had agreed upon their marriage but the wedding was cancelled twice because of the deaths in the families. Later, the then Prime Minister, Juddha Shumsher got against Rudra Shumsher and he was exiled from Kathmandu. Almost a month after the exile, Julia died of TB. It was said in that article that Dashrath Chand did the rituals a husband does at the death of his wife and her death also ignited in him the anti-Rana views.

5. Juliet Capulet
My question to the creator of that challenge is- how can you separate Juliet from Romeo? If you have read this world famous work of Shakespeare, you will know that Juliet dies not once but twice- once in a pretence to bring Romeo back and in real when he dies. The pretence is made by the use of medicine (anaesthetic?) but Romeo gets a wrong message to find her dead. So, how could you dare to say that only Romeo died for love.

That’s all from my side. But as I write, I also ask a question- what is the definition of love in that Facebook post? It surely is not only the romantic love between a man or a woman. Jesus is an example for the love of humanity. If he can be included, why not include the names of Mother Teresa and her followers, Florence Nightingale, Eleanor Roosevelt, Benajir Bhutto and so many women who have spent their lives for the care of humanity? If sacrifice is what you call love, almost all women would be included. Women have sacrificed their parent’s house and comfort, changed their surnames, given up their jobs and interests, have died everyday and yet, have smiled just for you and your family. So if your girl or wife adds her name in that list, don’t get surprised. She has given a lot of things just for your happiness.

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