I had long heard Abstract Chintan: Pyaj (literal translation: Abstract Discourse: Onion) is one of the finest books ever written in Nepali. Shankar Lamichhane at his best, but somehow I had distanced myself from it for long time. That was possibly because I see life as beautiful and don’t want to get into reading something on absurdity and emptiness of life.
Last time when I went to the book exhibition, I could not help but ask one of the attendants to find me the book. It took more than 15 minutes, and costed Rs. 73 (there was a discount I don’t remember) but as soon as I read the first essay on it, I felt ‘wow, how could have I missed it’.
I have collected and translated some of the best lines I found in the essays so that you could feel what it’s like. I highly recommend reading the book that was first published in 1967 and had won the Madan Prize in Literature!
Shankar Lamichhane on Truth
- Truth is knowledge you have
- Truth is developing and evolving all the time
- Truth, although same every time is different
Shankar Lamichhane on Writing / Writer / Thinking
- What if I have not been writing? Feelings wouldn’t have died; expression wouldn’t have sharpened. I wouldn’t have analyzed many of my deeds and others’ deeds to me. Small and irrelevant looking incidents of life wouldn’t have appeared priceless.
- Writer can’t be writer twenty-four hours; and they have many avtars.
- Writer is more human than writer.
- Literature cannot be reality in a same way as literature cannot be idealistic.
- I think differently – in morning and evening; when I have money in my pocket and when I don’t have money; when I am well fed and when I am hungry.
Shankar Lamichhane on Journalism
- Death, accidents, and unbelievable pain have got its priority. Why people like to read other’s pain, accident and death?
- They are not important because they are still in life. If somehow, they die all of sudden or jump in Rani Pokhari or ran over by vehicle, you will run towards press without eating food on your hand.
- The pages of newspaper carrying news of their death will be printed, decay, disappear and die!
- Do you know how much dirt your newspaper throw everyday?
- You don’t know why you write editorial; you even don’t know why you don’t write editorial.
- We all try to cover ourselves all the time. We try of cover the news of our death by news of other’s death.
Shankar Lamichhane on Birth / Death
- The death is born when life is born. The moment I was born was also the first moment or first step of death.
Shankar Lamichhane on Life
- My life is an abstract life. I am avoiding it everyday and it’s avoiding me everyday.
- Smiling is also an art. If we don’t know how to smile with people, it could give us pain equivalent to tears.
Shankar Lamichhane on God / Religion / Human
- The Buddha founded the religion without Gods, and turn into a God himself.
- Today’s every man is a God. The God who have self-created its world – by fraud, by cunningness, by murder, by law, by irresponsibility, by superstition, by devotion, by reverence and by foolishness.
- Today’s Gods are controlled by human – like birth control. If needed, they appear, if not needed, they disappear! They come as many as needed.
- Today’s human has become God himself. He has all the characteristics required for a God except one that human has lost and that one characteristic is the human characteristic.
- Human is very odd living being. I have not understood anything so far.
- I try to cover the blood of goat on my finger with the vermillion powder while I worship God.
Shankar Lamichhane on Popularity
- I am helpless because I achieved popularity more than what I actually am.
And finally (one of my favorites),
- If I have not found a path, it means the horizon is open for me!