Book Talk

Thoughts on Mayur Times

Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger took everyone by surprise – for its unique narration of a story that any novelist would not have thought a bestseller idea. His second book – Between the Assassinations – was not the page-turner compared to the first.

Narayan Wagle, our own novelist, received similar response with his Mayur Times. After bestselling Palpasa Café (and the winning of the Madan Puraskar – Nepal’s top literary prize), the editor of a national daily came up with a new novel. And, not surprisingly, people thronged to buy it and comment ‘not good’.

Palpasa Café gave a new writer and a new style, something that became predictable for Mayur Times. Also, the popularity and beauty of the first novel forced the people to expect ‘something extraordinary and great from the novelist’.

And, with the ‘growing pressure’ to publish a new novel, the novelist probably did not give enough time for the second novel – and the publisher did also probably failed to provide valuable peer review before publication.

For me, Mayur Times is a good novel. This is probably also because it tells the story of journalists and journalism. (As a colleague of mine always puts: if we are told to read a very good book on rise of insurance company, how much interested we will be?)

I loved reading Mayur Times – and I still believe it’s better than many other contemporary Nepali novels. I don’t exactly remember details of Palpasa Café, but I too believe the earlier book was a masterpiece while Mayur Times is not extraordinary!

So, what the novelist missed in the novel? I am not qualified to go into the literary values and concepts; but as an avid reader of fictions, here is what I think:

The novel tells a ‘happy story’ of some ‘sad tales’ – the mismatch of emotions. While the story supposedly is built on the problems journalists are facing – and people due to conflict and impunity in the country – it presents an ideal world where the pain, agony and suffering do make ‘guest appearance’ but fail to stimulate readers’ emotions. Within a few sentences of painful tale, we are presented with playful dialogues.

In an attempt to make the novel true to his style of playful conversations, the novelist spent more energy on those playful words than dwelling more on crucial situations and emotional dialogues.

While writing, sometimes the author wants to ensure that everything is put into a book and Narayan Wagle tried to put in everything he had experienced during his journalism career into the 200-something page novel. The journalists could understand those ‘newsroom tales’ but for non-journalists, it’s not possible to get fully into all those. If the novel was something like 500 pages, all those sub-stories could have made sense, but when you are about to cut in size, you also need to put something out of the box.

The novelist is at his best in playing the words, creating playful scenes and has creatively weaved the story of his profession and that’s good enough to recommend any book for a read!

[Disclaimer: Narayan Wagle, the novelist, is the editor of Nagarik, the sister publication of Republica, where I work. I share a healthy relationship with the novelist.]

Featured, Remembrances

Inspiring citizen heroes

Yesterday, my publication celebrated the first anniversary of Republica and Nagarik national dailies with the Republica Nagarik Summit. The summit, experiences of (and interaction with) five selected citizen heroes (‘those who have worked for others selflessly’), was a new concept that many participants liked (and thanked us for).

For a few of us (the hobbyist bloggers employed in the news portals of the publication), it was the moment of first-hand experience of live blogging (‘the first live-blogging by a mainstream news portal’) and video webcast. I will write later on live blogging experience.

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Republica Photo

The citizen heroes of selfless service at the Republica Nagarik Summit. Photo by Republica.

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The first of five citizen heroes who shared their experiences and feelings was Khairun Nisha, a Muslim female social worker who has worked hard in the conservative communities to spread knowledge about family planning (among others) and fought for social justice to women.

She was straight, loud and frank telling about herself. She had annulled child marriages, fought against social injustice, told women of her community about contraceptives and fought through challenges. She is brave! Continue reading

Leisurely Activities, Travelogues, Uzz Update

A Day at Ghalegaon

I spent almost 20 hours at Ghalegoan, Lamjung – a popular tourism destination for community based rural tourism and left wondering why exactly the village is so popular during the return trip on a jeep through rocky risky road (that took almost three hours to reach Besisahar – the district headquarters).

Ghalegaon, Lamjung

To say, the village is nestled on the lap of mountains including Lamjung, Annapurna II, Macchapuchhre and Manasalu, the village is at 2,070m (well, Nagarkot which is at one-hour easy drive from my home is at 2,175m), but the scenery I was offered was, well, not breathtaking.

For me, it looked almost foolish to travel/trek/ride that far for the views of the mountains that are offered better at many other easy destinations.

The homestay facility is something to look for. The food/night at a Ghale home was worth experiencing but I like it, I am not fond of homestay. However, my first experience of homestay at Goljung, Rasuwa felt much better (even the mountains).

The traditional-ness of the village is somewhat intact (despite the fact that the traditional Gurung house photo on the brochure is the only one of such type in the entire village).

And, the thing I was expecting but did not get was the briefing. Despite being a member of 30-member team to visit the village, the local tourism committee did not brief us on anything. We were left with hours with nothing to do other than roam around the village.

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Welcome offered at Ghalegaon.

Continue reading

Uzz Update

New Year 2067 Hope

Hope is a big thing. It’s the thing that keeps us happy and alive.

With every occasion, we feel happy – for we hope that the occasion will bring us goodness. New Year is one such occasion that brings more hopes that any other occasion.

The first day of a New Year is a beginning, and with the beginning, there is a year – 365 days – to bring us goodness and joy (at least we all can hope so).

So what to hope for 2067? This new Bikram Sambat year has a lot of stake for Nepal, especially politically (unless out politicians decided to turn into the biggest villains of the history).

Regardless of the issue of term extension of the Constituent Assembly, the 2067 will give us a new constitution. The promulgation of new constitution also marks the conclusion of the peace process; the beginning of an era with unprecedented social equality and more-or-less a new look for the country.

The political success will have an effect on all other fields, be it social, economic or sports.

Let’s hope big in 2067, then!

Happy New Year 2067.

Politics Talks, Remembrances

The April Uprising

From April 5 to 24, we mark one of the greatest displays of people’s power. The Jana Andolan II or the April Uprising of 2006 was a landmark people’s movement that ended monarchy and Maoists’ People’s War establishing a more reformed democracy.

But more than that, it was a splendid example of what people of Nepal are capable of. Nobody counted, but estimated 500,000 people took on streets at the peak of the uprising – a huge number of those who are not otherwise interested in political activities.

I salute all those people for there bravery!

Photo from

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Mass is amazing. You never know what motivates them.

During April Uprising, they were motivated and it was their wishes with which political parties had not other options but to go along. People directed the course of movement and led it.

For me, it was two things that motivated them. First, it was a fight for democracy. Second, the success of the Uprising also meant the end of Maoist violence that killed 13,000 Nepalis.

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Who did not participate in the Uprising. I remember all women of Kaushaltar rallying – wow! that was truly an amazing thing to behold. It was the enthusiasm of people who participated in the movement that made it a success.

Police and Army had not other options. They could not have shot at thousands of people.

Photo from

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Off course, majority of the people have gone into the shadows now.

Political leaders are on the top and all those in shadows believe, no matter what media says, the leaders will transform the country into a peaceful democratic nation.

We await the future.

But if people had directed the course of history in April in 2006, they can do it in any month of any year! And when people arise, all power will have to surrender!