Monday, September 17, 2012

Thank You Dinesh.............!!!


Thank you Dinesh, for making me a friend and keeping me in the most sacred and revered place: your heart.
Remember how we spent our times together! The days have gone, the months have elapsed, the years have passed; but there are permanently embedded memories here in my mind.
Ha ! I still cherish those after-school evenings in Itahari. We used to enter a narrow passageway from the main building on the southern side across the highway to reach a strikingly simple and homelike teashop to enjoy our evening tea. We sipped tea and talked about art, literature, music and what not on end. Once I very badly nagged you because you couldn't say who Hariprasad Chaurasiya was. I knew I acted a bit too much as I considered myself to be 'know all' but you took it very naturally, as if I haven't said a thing: a gesture of true friendship. In your heart you've nothing but goodness.
And those roasted corn-cobs from that nearly African looking woman by the roadside. She used to roast larger corn-cobs for us and wait eagerly; we were her regular customers. Holding hot corn-cobs in our hands we hanged around the Municipality Office area and chatted endlessly. It is with you, friend, I learned that another relation exists between the buyers and sellers: the relation of humanity. I still have a few fixed shops for buying my necessities. I may pay them a little extra or they may charge me a little extra; but I don't mind. I buy things on purpose; not because I have money. And when you buy things on purpose you don't complain about being nasty, expensive or cheap.
Our evenings transformed to tea parties every day, alternately at mine and at yours, after our forced bachelorship ended. We had our apartments a hundred meters apart. We could add our dear ones to our friendship circle. We were families with so many common characteristics and interests and we enjoyed virtually everything. We laid mattresses on the ground, talked and laughed. We saw the clouds together and dreamed better careers together. We clicked photographs from your Yachika- MF2. I forced you to buy this camera and didn't buy myself on pretext of buying an SLR one in the near future. Look, sixteen years have slipped through, and the age of digital camera has come and still I don't possess an SLR. Never mind, I have a friend like you.
We started the blissful journey of literature. You showered me with your immense knowledge of language and grammar. It was during this tenure we ventured on so many things together, from knocking the doors of shopkeepers to correct their signboards to the training of commercial painters on how to write correct words and phrases in signboards. You've an exceptional quality for accuracy of language. It is around this time, my friend, I learned what it means to write things correctly; and what it means to love our country, language and literature.
Years ago I brought one of my writings to you. You read, smiled, patted me on my shoulder, shook hands and said, 'You can write stories. Please continue. This is the way one writes stories.' That was one of the steps, dear friend, of the ladder to reach where I am now. Thanks a tonne.
Dinesh, I am not exaggerating, you are an editor with excellent skills. You've been doing it for a long time. I am indebted to you. You edited my three books, spent days and nights doing so and didn't charge a penny. Only a true friend can do that.
I owe you a lot. But still I beg something more as a friend, (friends are always beggars you know !!!). Will you give me a nice hug every time we meet? Ha...........
***

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thank You Chetan...........

Chetan, you've written the excellent book. Look, I am very skeptical about fictions. Many a times, fiction of emerging writers I choose to read doesn't allow me to flip more than few initial pages and I simply throw it off. But the case of 'Five Point Someone' became unique. When my daughter finished reading the book she brought from her school library, I gave cursory look at it and thought it to be the over the counter so called best seller. But I suddenly remembered what someone had told me - the hit movie Three Idiots is adaptation of the book. I had appreciated film. I decided to read first page. The first page lead to the second, second to the third and ultimately in one sitting the last one.

Chetan, I know I had dreams about IIT. Back then when I was higher secondary student in St Joseph's college Darjeeling, I along with friends, most of the time talked about IIT. We had seen IIT books much thicker than our textbooks. And to admit frankly there were very few in Darjeeling who actually dared to go for IIT and got admitted. Whoever did they hand ranks far below to choose the subject of their interest. But still, we dreamt. Above all who's stopped somebody from dreaming?

And Chetan what we didn't do? We bunked classes for the sake of IIT. We were a group of trio carrying bagful of books we ever read, visited library and asked for the books we never read, and treaded along the beautiful walkways surrounding nearby zoological park discussing about when to start serious study. We talked about the toughness of the course, talked about the type of questions asked, talked about exam centers and more interestingly talked about which course to choose. Believe me Chetan, I hated metallurgy then. It's because son of mathematics teacher was selected in IIT and had taken metallurgy. Rumors said his rank was far below than what he expected. Rumors also said that the metallurgy department was dumping site. I hope you got my point, man.

Just like your Kumaon hostel, we had Xavier hostel in Darjeeling. One of my Bengali friends with surname Ghosh occupied a hostel room on the third floor. We trio often visited him. He had all four walls of his room pasted with the nude pictures of Madonna. (We didn't have Sunny Leon then). And book racks full with the books of IIT. When we were together with him he used to laugh merrily and tell that Madonna is his dream girl just as IIT is his dream study. He lived in his own world. Unfortunately his room was raided one day and he was driven out from the hostel. Remember Disco?

I lived my youth again with my dreams through your book. Every moment I felt as if I am in the IIT, I am doing the projects, mugging up materials, doing assignments. I liked paranthas as your characters liked and our tri team visited Bene's Cafe in bazar for delicious parathas. I didn't know that a book can be so thrilling and full of life.

Although F in IIT, I could make myself a good teacher(People say). F in IIT entrance led to bachelors' degree in science. Thus earning a decent B.Sc. gave me the job of teacher. The life taught many things - to cope with hardships, deal with difficult people, live through insurgency, take the risks and ultimately to write stories.

Yes, I write stories in my native language. Your book 'Five Point Someone' has given me immense energy and enthusiasm to write, write and write.

Thank You Chetan for writing excellent book.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Thank You Bhusan Dai !!!

I was being bored by sultriness of the ordinary summer evening last year. Suddenly my cellphone beeped. It was Bhusan Dai other side. A happy and eccentric voice echoed in my ear - "Bhai, I am ecstatic today because of you. Thanks a million. My son read online the poem of mine that you rendered to Hindi and called me minute before. Thanks again."

"Its matter of pride for me Dai, to translate your poems. All I want is your blessing, that's all." I replied with all the gratefulness in my heart. Bhusan Dai's enthusiasm was obvious in his tone. Then I remembered the difficulty I encountered while rendering his poems into Hindi. Local imagery, cultural characteristics and unique poetic structures put me in limbo while I worked on it. Then an idea sparkled in my mind. I took the help of foot-notes. They helped me in two ways: I could keep poetic music and rhythm somewhat intact and at the same time explain things better in foot-notes. Thus the poem 'Shanti ra Kavita' was made 'Shanti aur kavita' and was published in e-zine Hindi Sahityasarita.

Bhusan Dai was ever encouraging factor. He spoke with unbelievable zeal and support for the writers or would be writers he believed who can excel in art and literature. He had clear vision of what literature art and literature should appear and what aspirants should look for in modern times. He always condemned mediocrity in all walks of life, be it lifestyle, stage delivery or poetry recital.

His comments on my story recital in Bani Prakashan, Biratnagar of which he was chairman have been eye-opener for me. In chairman's speech to conclude the program he said, "Kumud bhai, your stories are nice. But what I feel is they are too nice to feel. I think, if a story doesn't shake your heart it shouldn't be worth reading. Intellectual element is good, but if you forget to put emotions in your words readers will reject your stories. So take care."

One of the member of Bani Prakasan tried to interject by asking the rationale of conducting the story recital program of unpublished author. Bhusan dai immediately defended me by counter questions on authenticity of his literary value. My heart filled with gratitude. Later, in teashop conversation he said - 'Look Kumud, I have expectations from you. You are young and can view the world as well as life in multitude of ways. Every experience can be turned into story. I want to see you as good story writer.' I have saved his words in my heart.

Bhusan Dai was chief guest at the launch program of book of short stories by Tejendra Sharma of London. I had translated twelve of his Hindi stories into Nepali and named the book 'Passport ka Rangharu.' Bhsuan Dai after giving best wishes to Mr. Sharma and to me said, 'For every five stories you translate, write one yourself Kumud. I would like to see your collection of short stories soon.' It was Bhusan Dai's wish which I could fulfill. Last winter when I handed him my debut collection of short stories 'Tyo Pahenlo Phool' he had wide smile on his face.

I admit Bhusan Dai was my was one of my mentor. He had considerable capacity to mend apprentice writers. Everyone, whoever knew him have benefited in one way or the other. We have lost him.

Bhusan Dai, I thank you for everything you did for me. Thank you for everything you did for us. You were icon of poets, artists, musicians and writers of all sorts. You'll forever rule our hearts. You'll always remain at the top. Thank You.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The 'Yellowness' of the yellow.

(The grammar, punctuation and sometimes spellings too..... sorry !!!)
My mother said yellow mustards were in full bloom when I was born. Be it coincidence or my destiny yellow has been with my every cry and every smile.
As an enthusiastic little boy, I used to run around in village searching for the tubers of yellow dahlia to plant them in my garden. The impatient wait for the flowers to grow and bloom left me with an immense sense of joy and satisfaction. As dahlia, marigolds were my favorite too. My sister chooses beautiful tufts of marigold to make a garland, especially for me during Tihar. I can never weave words to make the garland as beautiful as sister's.
My father brought a sapling of the kind of yellow flower from Darjeeling and planted in the garden in front of our porch. When the plant grew to its natural maturity, its bud bloomed to full flower within five minutes, that too in the evening. We all sat on the porch to watch the buds bloom. Very intimate I felt when each bud took its time to break open its green sepals revealing delicate yellow petals inside. Bumble bees with large yellow spots came humming for the fresh nectar. Deep inside I was jealous.
Year's later father brought stepmother, again from Darjeeling, and planted her in our home. My mother sat on a straw mattress in the porch and watched the blooming yellow flowers in the garden and wept silently. I found the reflections of the yellow flower in the waters of her eyes. I laid my head in her lap and felt her body quivering with agony and pain. I couldn't share my mother's grief; instead, my resentment with father grew to new heights.
When I went do Darjeeling to continue my high school studies, father bought me a yellow cardigan. A timid boy with yellow cardigan explored the unknowns of life and Darjeeling hills. My inquisitiveness went to the wilderness of Botanical gardens searching for the yellow orchids. Unknown bonds of love between the orchids and me became stronger ever since. The cardigan stayed with me for almost five years, which I changed into 'home-made foot warmer' when its ankles were torn. The warmth of its yellowness was unparalleled in colds of Darjeeling.
Years later I was gifted a large collared yellow shirt. Well into my teens, I adored the shirt and with parted brows, watched my reflection in the mirror. I found myself no lesser than 'Amitabh Bachchan', an icon in Bollywood filmdom.
The ebb of this 'high spirit' though subsided as I grew to maturity. But 'yellowness' of the yellow never left me.
I don't know what Vincent Van Gogh had in mind while painting wheat field with yellow in 'Wheat Field and Cypresses'. Neither do I know Laxman Shrestha's turbulence within while painting yellow enriched gems in his paintings. The vibrancy and coherence of yellow in these paintings have caused these paintings to have eternal aesthetic value. My mother possesses same poise and perseverance at the age of eighty now.
Some argue that 'yellow' is a sign of cowardice, death, and degeneration. They cite the example of setting sun. Maybe ! But if the sun doesn't set how can it rise next day with full hope and life. Isn't it a part of the continuum called 'time' or 'eternity'?
My joy flew to new boundaries when my friend Manu suggested Laxman's painting for the cover of my debut collection of short stories "Tyo Pahenlo Phool." I have dedicated the book to my mother.
When I visited her in Ilam last month I said, "Mom this is the book I wrote."
"What you wrote in it?" She said.
"Little of your life, little of mine, lots of your tears and those yellow flowers!" I said.
"Oh.. Kale...!" she said with eyes full of tears where I saw my own life being reflected.
Thus yellow has become an inevitable part of me. It composes several components of a conglomerate of emotions which I prefer to call 'My life.'
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