Kite flying was a sort of “national sport” during Dashain some years back. The tradition is now almost dying. I don’t even see kites in shops these days
Last week, while answering a question on Quora, I created a story. I posted it on my blog entitled When I died
Please check it out.
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.
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) and
- Baisalu Bartaman (Youthful Present)
When her poems were being published and she was gradually being recognized in Nepali literature, she was also suffering physically. From the age of 12, she suffered from rheumatism which paralyzed her legs completely at the age of 26. This was perhaps the reason behind choosing the pseudonym Parijat. She spent the rest of her life under the care of her sister Sukanya serving Nepali literature as much as she could.
Although Parijat published a lot of poems and stories, she is more popular as a novelist. In fact, she is the best recognized female novelist till date. In the year 2022 B.S. (1965 A.D.) she was awarded the Madan Puraskar, the topmost and the most prestigious in Nepali literature, for her novel Shirish ko Phool (later translated as “The Blue Mimosa”). The novel is based on sexual psychology and the character Sakambari is metaphorically described as the blue mimosa, the flower which withers once an insect comes to take away its nectar. The novel is also said to be a part of the syllabus in the Maryland University of the USA.
She wrote in total ten novels and published four short story collections. Her works are notable for the description of intense human feelings. She seems to have understood human psychology and has been able to pen them down with intense characters. Some of her works are:
- Shirish ko Phool
- Anido Pahadsangai
Short Story Collections:
- Aadim Desh
- Sadak Ra Pratibha
- Salgiko Balatkrit Aashu
- Badhsala Jadaa Aunda
- Dhupi Salla Ra Laliguransko Fedma
- Auta Chitramaya Shuruwat
- Aadhyayan Ra Sangharsha
Despite her physical inabilities, Parijat kept on serving the Nepali literature. Her life and works are inspiration to all.
Name of the Book: Karnali Blues
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
No. of pages: 398
Goodreads Rating: 4.15
Personal Rating: 4.5/5
Last April, while preparing for my exams, I also read Karnali Blues (though the name is English, the book is written in Nepali language) by Buddhisagar. The story is heavily based on the writer’s own experiences but he does not make the storytelling boring by adding long description. Within short and sweet sentences, he has been able to express a lot. The only drawback is that the writer does not explain to readers, the dialogues in Tharu and Khas language. Except that, the content of the book, especially the epilogue touched my heart.
Karnali Blues is a story about the experiences of a middle class family. The narrator remembers his childhood in Kailali and Kalikot as his father lies paralyzed in a hospital at Nepalgunj.
Karnali Blues is a story of growing up. The narrator is notorious as a child. He swims in the Amauri Khola (a distributary of the Karnali river), beats up people, steals things, sets his house on fire and asks for things which his father’s earnings can not sustain. But his father never complains. He provides the narrator everything he asks for. The narrator believes that his father is the best in the world.
But while his father lies on the deathbed, the narrator realizes that his father was the one who has suffered a lot. From leaving his family share in Surkhet to selling his pharmacy to Kalikot (more remote place), the narrator’s father has suffered a lot. And the narrator, too had been one of the causes of suffering. He had never obeyed what his father told. While he could have studied in Surkhet, he goes Kathmandu for higher studies following the whims of his friends. He has no job and is dependent on his parents despite their low income. By the end of the story, the narrator gains maturity in his thoughts.
Karnali Blues is about change. An excavator changes the village in which narrator lived most of his childhood. A bridge at Chisapani changes the fate of a town where his father ran a pharmacy. A change in mind takes the narrator to Kalikot instead of Surkhet. And his death changes the lives of his wife and son forever.
Karnali Blues is a story of life and death. An old Tharu lives on the bank of Amauri Khola because he has no children. A polio-struck child (friend of the narrator) leaves home in search of his brother because his father beats him up. The narrator’s family migrate to different places in search of better living. The narrator witnesses deaths of several people. A girl, who is a friend of narrator’s sister, dies of meningitis because her parents do not allow medication. “They buried her alive,” a villager says. A man named Hasan drowns. A porter from Kalikot, who takes the narrator there is killed by the soldiers calling him a Maoist. An old man dies in a hospital by coughing. And in the end, the narrator’s father dies.
In short, Karnali Blues is an apt description of the lives of poor people living in the rural area.
P.S.: You can read some English translations in the book’s Facebook page.
It’s been a long time since my last post here. Thanks to Rashmi and other friends here, it turned out to be a huge success. (I’m still getting viewers and visitors on that post.)
This time around, I have a question for you. I have been working on a story for about six months now. (Click this link for the detailed story.) It’s been an emotional journey as I have had to make several changes in the PoV, characters and the story as well. It has taken longer time than I had assumed.
So, how long do you take to complete your (writing) work? How often do you make changes?
Would you like to share your experiences?
It’s been quite long since I posted a blog and shared on this forum. I have done an article on Prince Harry’s recent visit to Nepal.