Friday, 26 December 2014

Thank you

We are towards the end of 2014. I feel writing the last post of this year to express my gratitude to each and every one of you who showed interest in my blog.

I created this blog in July this year. You encouraged me to keep going by responding positively. People from different parts of the world visit this space, which excites me massively. I value all the visits, readings, likes, shares and comments in relation to my posts.

I am happy that you like my menu. I hope you will keep visiting and responding to "Benu's Menu" in 2015 too. I promise I will serve you with new and more delicious dishes in coming years. 

I simply take this opportunity to thank all the visitors and readers of my blog. Thank you very much. Without your support it would be hard for me to maintain this.

I wish you a happy and prosperous new year 2015. I will see you next year. Until then bye.

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Thoughts don't control actions

The generic statement, 'Our thoughts control our actions,' is seen to be recurrently used. On the surface level it seems true too. For instance, if someone is thinking, 'I don't want to speak to these people.' S/he avoids those people or pretends not to see them. However this may not be the case in all circumstances.

If we go a bit deeper and question, "Do really our thoughts control our actions?" The answer will certainly be, "Not necessarily." 
I remember Cristina Comencini's novel 'When the night' to confirm how our actions do not match with our thoughts. The main characters of the novel, Marina and Manfred have very wild thoughts towards each other but when they come face to face their actions do not follow their thoughts. For example, there comes a situation where Manfred carries Marina's two-year-old son and walks ahead of her, then gradually disappears from her sight. Marina gets frustrated and thinks like, "How dare that bastard take my son away from me! When I get him I'll kill that asshole!" But when she eventually meets Manfred she acts being very polite, confident and friendly and says, "Thank you for carrying my child. This really helps me."

Similarly, in his book 'The confidence gap: From fear to freedom' Dr Russ Harris gives an example of Joe Simpson (writer of the book 'Touching the void') who was freezing cold and in terrible agony because his right leg was broken and the knee completely
shattered. His climbing partner had left him for dead at the bottom of a huge crevasse. In such a desperate situation Joe, who did not have food, water or fuel for a fire, also thought that he was definitely going to die on a deserted mountain. However, in contrast to his thought Joe did not wait there for his death. In action he mustered all his courage and crawled out of the crevasse dragging his mangled leg behind him and made his way back to base camp. If he had listened to his mind which was telling him all his efforts were futile Joe would not have survived. Instead he focused on his action to get out of his ordeal and he did it.

Our mind can trick us easily. It is said that at least sixty thousand thoughts pop up in our mind in a single day, and most of them are negative. So we must be aware of the fact that particularly the negative thoughts cannot hold us back from reaching our goal. We should not trust those thoughts which try to limit us but like Joe Simpson, we should immediately act upon the thing that we want to achieve.  

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Impossibly possible

A little girl needs her Daddy 
to love her with gentlemanly charm.
To hold her tightly when she is afraid;
and keep her safe from harm.

From pigtails and bubblegum,
to lipstick and high heels;
Help her mend a broken heart,
teach her that true love is real.

These stanzas are from the poem 'On this father' composed by Kacee Harrington. Generally, the word 'father' is related to love, care, support and hope. Every child's hero is his/her father. However, are all people fortunate enough to have a role model kind of father? Not necessarily. Xue Xinran tells us an unbelievable story of such an unlucky girl in her book 'The good women of China: Hidden voices', who is destined not to live but to die because of her cunning father. Xinran's book is a collection of 15 true stories of Chinese women, which the writer dug out by gaining their trust by her radio program, 'Words on the night breeze'. All the stories are extraordinary. However I am mostly touched by the story, 'The girl who kept a fly as a pet'. The story exposes an immoral father with demonic nature. It is hard to believe that such people also exist in this world.

As soon as the girl named Hongxue turned 11 and got her first period, her father started to abuse her sexually. At the same time, he did not forget to threaten his daughter not to tell the mother anything about this. The bewildered girl felt "sick" all over.  

Once the man began his dirty game he never stopped. Whenever the mother was not around he would corner  and assault 
Hongxue. The poor girl says, "I became more and more afraid of this activity." As if this was not enough, the circumstance compelled Hongxue and her younger brother to live only with their father. Since then the father started to rape the helpless girl.

She tried to protest at her best but in vain. The man had stopped pretending it was "father's love." He warned Hongxue saying that if she told anyone she would have to face a public criticism and she was already a "broken shoe." After a couple of years of such torture the mother somehow got to know about the father's filthiness. At this point Hongxue was hopeful thinking that eventually she would be protected by her mother. To her great surprise came the lady's response, "For the security of the whole family, you must put up with it. Otherwise, what will we all do?"

The writer: Xue Xinran

Due to her painful lifestyle Hongxue fell ill every now and then. She found the hospital was much safer than the terrible home. With this realization she started to hurt herself so that she could stay longer at the hospital. She was not afraid of dying. In fact for her death was dearer than life. At the age of 17 Hongxue died of her self-inflicted disease 'septicemia'. In reality it was an unspoken suicide, which nobody, even doctors, knew about. 

In this way, poor Hongxue never got a chance to experience the fatherly love, support and protection expressed by Kacee Harrington above.

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Only a matter of choice

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice,"a self-help author and a motivational speaker Wayne Dyer says. His saying has perfectly been proved by Nujood Ali from Yemen. I recently read her inspirational story in the book, 'I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced'. The story is told by Nujood herself.

Nujood was forced to get married at the tender age of 10 with a man triple her age. Despite her protest, from Day One she became a victim of sexual abuse and later physical abuse too. The little girl screamed for help every night but nobody in her husband's house came forward to rescue her. Eventually, the barbaric husband was fed up of Nujood's tantrums and agreed to take her to her parents' place only in a condition that she must have been back in a few days.

Nujood had a slight hope that her parents would help to save her from the nightmare but she did not get any support there. In an ultra-patriarchy country like Yemen it was impossible for women to have their say. Nujood's description of her mother makes this clear, "My mother never said a thing. She seemed sad, but resigned. After all, she had wed through an arranged marriage, like most Yemeni women, so she was in a good position to know that in our country it's the men who give the orders, and women who follow them. For her to defend me was a waste of time." Her father declared, "It is out of the question for you to leave your husband!" 

Nujood with Hillary Clinton and Shada
Then came a turning point when Nujood realized that there was nobody whom she could turn to. If she wanted to be free, she had to take a bold step. She chose to stand up for herself over wasting the time being a dominated wife of an abusive husband. Following her father's second wife's suggestion Nujood decided to run away from her parent's home to the courthouse looking for justice.

She fearlessly and tirelessly fought for her rights. Eventually she was granted a divorce in spite of many intricacies of male-favoring Yemeni law. Her dream to go back to school again was fulfilled. Not only this, now she aspired to be a lawyer like Shada who had handled her case. Nujood's courageous story captured the world's attention. She became a role model for other little girls in her country. She was even designated as a woman of the year by the U.S. women's magazine, 'Glamour' in 2008. Hillary Clinton commented on Nujood, "One of the greatest woman I have ever seen...She set an example with her courage."  

This all was possible when Nujood made a choice that she was not going back to the hell with her cruel husband anymore, and she was determined to get divorced and live her life once more. As soon as she activated this choice she never had to look back. Nujood's moving story has made me agree, "Yeah, it's true, no one else but we only are the architects of our destiny."

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Monday, 20 October 2014

धराने चटपटे

यो घटना म यस्तै ५-६ कक्षामा  पढ्दाको हो।  हामी धनकुटाबाट जाडोको लामो बिदा मनाउन धरान झर्ने गर्थौं। धरानमा सान्दिदी र मलाई भने सधैं ठुलोबुवाको घरमा बस्न मज्जा लाग्थ्यो जहाँ सुनिता दिदी, सविता, विनायक र संजिताको साथ् पाइन्थ्यो - रमाइलो गर्नका लागी। घरको मस्ती त छँदै थियो, त्यसमाथि निस्फिक्री भएर टोलीमा धरान बजार घुम्नु, सिनिमा हल् चहारी चहारी सिनिमा हेर्नु र होटलमा पसेर समोसा, लाल मोहन र रसबरी खानुले छुट्टी मनाउनुको अर्थ अझ बढी खुल्थ्यो।

त्यो दिन यस्तै मस्ती मजाकको एक दिन थियो। सान्दिदी, म, सविता र विनायक लाई कुनै भिन्न कुरा गर्न मन लाग्यो। त्यतिबेला संजिता हाम्रो साथमा थिई कि थिईन मलाई सम्झना छैन तर सुनिता दिदीले भने हाम्रो ग्रुपमा सामेल हुन प्रष्ट रूपमा इन्कार गर्नु भएको थियो।

यदाकदा बाटातिर निस्किएर चटपटे खाने गरेको भए पनि त्यो दिन हामीलाई घरमै चटपटेवाला बोलाएर सानसंगले चटपटे खान मन लाग्यो। हाम्रो त्यही निर्णय मुताबिक सविताले छतबाट "ए भाइ यहाँ आऊ त," भनेर बाटामा हिंडिरहेको चटपटेवालालाई बोलाई। हामी सबै आ-आफ्ना पैसा च्यापेर तलतिर कुद्यौं।

आँगनको बीचमा चटपटेवालाले आफ्नु स्टल थाप्यो। ऊ पनि "आज भने राम्रो आम्दानी हुने भयो," भनेर भित्रभित्रै मख्ख परिरहेको हुँदो हो। हामी चारजना उसको  वरिपरी झुम्मियौं। उसले पहिलो अर्डर लिएर चटपटे बनाउने सुरसार मात्र के गरेको थियो "ए भाइ पख् पख् ," भनेको सुनियो। यसो पछाडी हेर्दा ठुलोबुवा बाटाबाट घरतिर आउंदै गर्नुभएको देखियो।

"ए केटा केटी हो, हेर, हेर त्यसका हात कस्ता छन्? त्यसका भाँडा कस्ता छन् ?" उहाँले हाम्रा छेउमा उभिएर ओजपूर्ण स्वरमा सोध्नुभयो। ठुलोबुवासंग सवाल जवाफ गर्ने आँट कसको पो थियो र ! हामीले खाली पराजयी भावमा एक अर्कासंग आँखा जुधायौं र चुपचाप त्यहीं उभियौं। "ए भाइ, जा," ठुलोबुवाले अधिकारपूर्वक निर्देशन दिनुभयो। त्यो चटपटेवालाले "अब यी भुराहरुको केहि दम चल्नेवाला छैन," भन्ने कुरा बुझेर थपक्क आफ्ना माल टाउकामा राख्यो र हामीतिर हेर्दै नहेरी  टुंई  टुंई  हिंड्यो।

आफ्नु काम सकेर ठुलोबुवा त घरतिर लागिहाल्नु भयो। हामी भने "बेक्कारमा ठुलोबुवा कुसमयमा आएर हाम्रो मज्जा मात्र किरकिरा गरिदिनुभयो," भन्ने कुरा गर्दै धेरै बेर बाहिरै बसेर गनगनाई रह्यौं।

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Why big fuss?

The other day one of my nieces told me that ‘plagiarism’ is rampant these days even in newspaper articles; let’s not count the school, college or university assignments. She also shared an incident with me that how a girl published an article in a renowned English daily by lifting the content from two different sources. As soon as this was identified, the poor writer got blacklisted by the newspaper. How pathetic!

As we know that we, the ordinary people, find all sorts of information that we need in this world, they do not appear in our mind just from nowhere. We see something, read something or hear something which triggers us, “Ah…ha…,” and helps us generate ideas to create something completely new. Not only this, some people’s ideas, thoughts or opinions attract us so much that we want to include them in our write ups using one way or the other. This is not a crime. People are doing that in a way which is acceptable. Remember there is nothing new under the sun but how you present the topic is important.

However, if you imitate others’ work and proudly use it under your name it is a serious crime. What you have to do is to simply acknowledge the person whose words you are citing. If you are careful to take this little action you become an ‘intellectual,’ who is aware of what other people are doing and how you are utilising their work. In contrast, if you just copy and paste others’ materials without bothering to mention them, then you are a ‘plagiarist’ who clearly deserves to be punished like the girl mentioned above.

You may argue, for example, ‘Oh, well, I like to use the complete article of so and so, what can I do except for lifting the text and write my name as a writer?’ Never think of doing that blunder again! There is a better solution. In that case, you can paraphrase the text and explain why the given content is important to you or what are the aspects that you agree/disagree with the original writer and why. See, this way you can become a scholar.

Believe me, you do not need to accept my words blindly, do your own experiment and find out the truth yourself. Collect some articles written by the famous writers. Then read them closely how they develop and justify their arguments skilfully playing around other people’s ideas, but with acknowledgements. Of course this is not ‘plagiarism’ but informed research.

So, there is a very thin line between a ‘plagiarist’ and an ‘intellectual.’ It is just a matter of your choice what you want to be. Without creating any fuss you can use other people’s work. For that, you merely need to follow some conscious procedures. I do not think it is a big deal. What do you think? By the way, how do you proceed next time if you are tempted to use other writers’ work? Well, this is entirely up to you because you are the ‘writer’ and you choose your content.

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Higher Purpose

I always remember an interview with Dalai Lama, a renowned spiritual leader, where the interviewer asked him whether he does not have sexual desire at all. Dalai Lama answered this question honestly. He said that being a human he of course sometimes has sexual desire, but he does not give any importance to such desires. At such vulnerable moments he thinks about the welfare of the universe, such as how to eradicate the world poverty or how to maintain the world peace. Against these higher purposes of life the petty personal sex desire melts away within no time.

In another instance, Radhanath Swami explains that how his parents decided not to get divorced for the sake of their children. He recounts an incident when he was eight years old. He was observing his mother applying mascara on her eye-lashes one morning. Then his mother turned to him and said, "Everyone loves me and your father but unfortunately we don't love each other." The little boy was devastated when he heard this. He did not say anything but rushed outside and disappeared for the whole day. For his satisfaction, in the same evening his parents put aside all their personal problems and disputes and got united to serve their purpose to look after their children together.

We can see in our surroundings that families are getting split, children are getting abused or old people are getting abandoned. If we think deeply, we find out that mainly these happenings are the consequences of people's selfishness. They think about themselves or their comfort only. They are
not ready to make any adjustments in their lifestyle to accommodate others' needs as well. Their world is basically surrounded by I, My and Me.

If one gets more open and thinks about his/her higher purpose instead of limiting themselves within personal affairs all the time they could contribute tremendously to themselves, to their families, to their communities and ultimately to the entire universe. When we all think this way and act accordingly the world will definitely be a better place.    
{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I don't tell lies

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of those books I read which left deep impression on me and forced me to think the social structure. "I don't tell lies," the protagonist of the novel Christopher,15, keeps saying and sticks to his vow until the end of the book. Though he is diagnosed as an abnormal kid, he is more than normal as he is brilliant in study and his memory is incomparable.

Christopher believes that like him his father also always tells the truth. The story begins when Christopher sees his neighbour's dog, Wellington is dead one night. When he goes near to Wellington he finds out that the dog in fact was murdered by someone because he sees a garden fork sticking out of it. Since he would love that dog very much Christopher is determined to find out the criminal. For him killing a human being and killing an animal is the same crime.

In the course of his investigation he comes to learn that his mother is still alive, whom his father convinced him to be dead two years ago. Not only this, Christopher also finds out that the murderer of Wellington is no one but his father.

The father tries his best to make Christopher understand his circumstances under which he needed to tell lies but in vain. He pleads, "I want you to know that you can trust me...Maybe I don't tell the truth all the time...I try Christopher, I do, but...Life is difficult, you know. It's bloody hard telling the truth all the time. Sometimes it's impossible..."

As soon as Christopher knows the truths about his father he loses all the trust on him and decides not to live with him. Instead, he plans to go to London to be with his mother. He has his pet rat, Toby whom Christopher does not want to take all the way up to London. So he goes to his neighbour, Mrs. Alexander's house to request her to look after Toby.

Christopher does not know how to hide his father's crime. He keeps telling the truth. For instance, he plainly says to Mrs. Alexander, "I thought my mother was dead, but she was still alive. And Father lied to me. And also he said he killed Wellington. I'm going to live with my mother because Father killed Wellington and he lied and I'm frightened of being in the house with him. Will you look after Toby for me?"

Christopher's father represents the normal-minded people who do not tell the truth all the time. If they keep telling the truth in every situation life will be hard for them. Ironically, don't we teach our children not to lie? Don't we all want to tell the truth? From this angle, who is abnormal - Christopher or the rest of the people?

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

I got my answer

I have my reasons to be a vegetarian. I believe that the bodily pain felt by human beings is not any different from the pain of voiceless animals. When we kill them to serve our purpose to get meat they suffer; terribly suffer. It is true that every living being whether it is a plant or an animal feels pain. Because of this sometimes I used to ponder, "It feels good that I don't eat meat. At least I can spare those poor things. But there is a life in plants too! Am I not being cruel by eating them? Then what should I eat for my survival?" I would not get any logical answer and I got disappointed.

Luckily my question has been answered recently by a yogi. According to him even though plants do indeed feel pain, it is proved scientifically that a plant's pain is very little that it is almost not registered after a cut unlike in animals who feel tremendous amount of pain.

It is another reality that I should eat something to survive. Again, it is a biological fact that no living being exists without nutrients. So as human beings we also have to eat something that has vitality or life force within it. We can not eat non-living entities, such as rocks or soil.

It is justified to eat something with a life force to be alive but at the same time we can choose to eat those living beings which have the least amount of pain and plants are the best choice for this. This explanation makes me feel better to think that well, I am not doing injustice to the plant kingdom.

{The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Friday, 26 September 2014

What motivates a rapist?

These days sadly  'rape' has been a burning social crime not only in Nepal but in all over the world. Every day there are several news stories related to sexual assault on media. The rape victims range from little girls of 4-5 years to old women even in their 90s. So, basically every female is in the danger zone. No place is safe for them. You never know who will be the victim next.

Usually it is understood that a rapist is motivated by the attraction of a female body to commit the crime. This may be the reason sometimes the victimized girls are blamed for wearing short or sexually appealing clothing to invite the perpetrators. However, considering the victims of all ages it is hard to believe that the sexual attraction is a single motive for the rapists. If it were true sexual attraction then most probably it would lead to mutual understanding instead of one-sided force.

A news story appeared last week in the Nepali newspapers said that a blind girl was raped by the hostel in-charge simply because she refused to study the 'subjects' that the person had suggested. This indicates that the man's motivation was clearly something else, not the sexual attraction.

A recent study on the sexual assault of older women in community and care settings conducted by a group of researchers from La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia shows that sexual assault is a crime more about power and violence rather than about physical attraction. The hostel in-charge and blind girl case above justifies this point.

The idea given by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Nath Modi to control the crime of rape sounds more convincing than anything else. He said something like 'rape' is not related to females at all, so you do not need to worry about your daughters, let them go where they want to go. In contrast, you must always watch your sons, you must know where they go and what they do. Then only the number of rapists starts to decline. I hope Modi's terminology of 'sons' may include men of all ages, not only young boys otherwise the old farts will get away.      

Thursday, 25 September 2014

One Size Fits All

Setting aside conference papers, we were chilling in our hotel room in Cape Town, South Africa. Our supervisor Marie was engrossed on a book while my friend Olive began rummaging her suitcase. After a couple of minutes, Olive whispered in a best possible low voice, "Benu!" I looked at her curiously. She was chuckling. Smiling back at her, I lifted my eyebrows which meant, "What?" She brandished something. I went to her bed and took the 'thing' in my hands and examined to see what it was. Oh, it was an underwear! A funny-looking disposable underwear!

Until that point I had only heard of the disposable underwear that people particularly prefer them while travelling for a couple of reasons. For instance, they want to reduce the amount of clothing they need to pack and carry and they can get rid of dirty laundry too, because the 'disposable' itself suggests that they are used once and thrown away. Easy. Now Olive was showing me this magic underwear.

We started tossing it around. Believe me, it was so strange-looking and we could not resist ourselves from making fun of it. We would  throw and stretch it between us. What amused us the most was that it was highly stretchable! Playing with it we began to burst into laughter. "What happened?" Marie asked. Ouch! Absorbed in our own amusement we completely forgot that Marie was reading and we did not want to disturb her.

Now there was no escape. Marie caught us. Hesitatingly Olive showed her the centre of our attraction. Excitedly I said, "Look Marie, it does not have any size. You can stretch it as much as you like." Then Olive added, "Who wears this underwear on this earth?" At the same time, she was stretching it so that Marie could also have a good look.

Marie looked at us, smiled and made her brilliant comment, "Oh, any woman in the world, regardless of her shape and size can slip into this underwear, girls." 

She was absolutely right because the undies could be fit for the mythological Gorgon sisters to the modern day skinny models. Her comment made us laugh even harder but this time Marie also joined us. Oh God! We laughed and laughed, I even do not know, for how long.

 {The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Unforgettable writer

A person reads a countless number of books during his/her life-time but there are only a few which can leave a permanent mark in us. 'Teacher Man' is such a remarkable book for me. The book is a memoir written by an Irish-American teacher and a writer Frank McCourt.

Most of all, I am fascinated by his compelling style of writing. The flow of writing is just amazing coupled with self-deprecating humour. He sounds brutally honest too. Each and every page is full of interesting accounts. He has described a teacher's life and classroom activities extraordinarily. He points out that a writer can write about anything; there should not necessarily be special events around to weave in writing. He compares "what goes inside our mind all time" with writing. McCourt says that when we make decisions to deal with our everyday life we are writing them in our mind. Really, he has an unbelievable story-telling talent.

McCourt had worked as a creative writing teacher in different New York high schools for 33 years. His career, however,  had not begun in a grand way. In the beginning his work was under-appreciated. As a result of this he had to move from one teaching job to another. In fact, he was out-of-the-box for 'the system' because he used to follow his peculiar pedagogy. He was more interested in his students' lived experiences, so he would devise lessons around those experiences. He writes that he felt guilty for not sticking to the curriculum. After going unrecognized for 15 long years he eventually got his voice in teaching. No matter at which school he taught McCourt's experiences with teenagers are always unforgettable and heart-touching. Overall, 'Teacher Man' is an excellent example to showcase how the ordinary events can be presented in an extraordinary way. McCourt's creative writing teacher's personality has been reflected in the entire book.

In addition, he also gives a tremendous hope to late boomers. It seems like there is no age bar for the writing career since McCourt  himself started writing after his retirement from the teaching job at the age of 60. He wrote his first book 'Angela's ashes' at the age of 66. After the publication of this book his life changed forever for the best. For instance, he won the National Book Critics Circle Awards and the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 and 1997 respectively for the same book. His popularity led him to meet President Bush, Lady Diana and other well-known personalities. All in all, be became an international celebrity after 60 and enjoyed his fame until he died in 2009 when he was 78 years old.  

 {The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


I was flipping through my old journal which I had written during my son Bishu's primary school days. My eyes stopped in an entry where I had expressed my disappointment on an answer given by an owner of the McDonald's while he was being interviewed by a bunch of students for their school magazine. The question was, "Have you got any advice for the readers of the magazine?" Obviously 'the readers' were the primary school students. The McDonald's owner's answer was, "Always have fun at school, don't take everything so seriously but when you turn 15 come and apply for McDonald's." At that time I thought that this man is encouraging the children to focus on work rather than on studies. This had made me furious for many days.

When Bishu hit fourteen I started listening to many job-related stories from him. Excitedly he used to tell me, "Mum, my friend X is turning 15 in July so he's preparing a job application," or "You know, my friend Y has started working at this/that place," or "When I turn 15 next year I'll also start working...." I was not so serious at that time, though.

The turning point in my thought process came when Bishu began analyzing his job options as soon as he turned 15 in March this year. I just could not believe he was that determined to secure a job for him. "Are you sure, you want to work?" I used to ask him time and again with disbelief. He always had a definite answer, "Yes." During the conversations with him I found out that all of his best buddies were working here and there and earning their own money. Now the penny dropped. I could understand the real meaning of the McDonald's person's response above.

I have read that one of the important needs of adolescent children is to gain independence. They want to act more like adults. From this perspective, earning their own money can be a confidence booster for them. However, in our culture a 15 year old child never goes out searching for a job under normal circumstances; which is why I was quite amused to see Bishu considering getting a job.

After conducting a significant amount of research Bishu decided to work at KFC. Then he proceeded accordingly. After going through the various levels of interviews and training programs he eventually  started working.

When he received his first payslip I asked him, "How do you feel to earn your own money, Bishu?" I saw his eyes light up as he smiled broadly and replied, "A sense of pride. Now I can spend my own for the things I like. It's so....Good."

After seeing him working for a period of time, I was positively surprised when his academic performance at school did not show any sign of decline. That is when I realized that the owner from McDonald's was not in fact trying to corrupt the young minds at all! In Australian culture, it is evident that parents accept that their kids getting a job is a part of growing up - something to be approached with a sense of hope rather than despair. Well, you learn something new everyday!

Monday, 22 September 2014

आहा, त्यो उत्साह!

'दशैं' शब्दले नै मेरो मनमा एक मिठो संगीत बज्न थाल्थ्यो! 'बल्ल घर जान पाइने भइयो, मुवां, बुवालाई भेट्न पाइने भइयो, उहाँहरुको हातबाट टिका र आशिर्वाद थाप्न पाइने भइयो,' भन्ने सोचेर म पुलकीत हुन्थें। त्यसैले अरु बेला घर गैयोस् कि नगैयोस् दशैंमा त जसरी जानुपर्छ भन्ने मान्यता मेरो थियो।

यस्तै एक दशैं म सम्झन्छु। त्यतिबेला हामी कीर्तिपुरमा बस्ने गर्थ्यौं। छोरो विशु ५-६ वर्षको थियो। श्रीमान् को अफिस फूलपातीदेखि मात्र छुट्टी हुने हुनाले हामीले घर, दमक जानका लागी त्यही दिनको टिकट काटेका थियौं। हाम्रा साथमा भतिजी लूना पनि जाने भई। पूर्व जाने बस बिहानको ४ बजे नै छुट्ने र कीर्तिपुरबाट त्यति बिहानै बसपार्क जान ट्याक्सी नपाइएला, बच्चा पनि सानु भएकाले गारो होला भन्ने विचार गरि हामीले अघिल्लो दिन बेलुकै गएर बसपार्क छेउको लजमा बास बस्ने निधो गर्यौं र लज पनि बेलैमा बुक गर्यौं।

हाम्रो योजना मुताविक हामीले बेलुका बेलैमा खाना पकायौं, खायौं। लूना बिजुली बजारबाट दिउँसै कीर्तिपुर आएकी थिई I घरको सब काम टाक्टुक् सकी घाम नअस्ताउँदै चार जनाको हाम्रो टोली हाँस्दै, गफ गर्दै कीर्तिपुरबाट बाटा लाग्यो। लजमा रात बिताउन पाउँदा विशु पनि मख्ख पर्यो।

बसपार्कमा  भएको घारघार र घुरघुर अनि हल्ली र खल्लीले भोलि पल्ट बिहान २ बजे देखिनै हाम्रो निंद्रा खुल्यो। के सुतिरहनु भनि बेलैदेखि उठेर हामी नित्य कर्ममा लाग्यौं। सबभन्दा पहिले लूना बाथरुम गई। एकछिनपछि ऊ भित्रैबाट चिच्याई, "काका, साबुन छैन त! केले हात धुनू ?" हामीले घरबाट हिंड्दा मन्जन-बुरुस चाहिं सम्झेर बोकेछौँ तर साबुन भने बोक्न बिर्सिएछ। त्यति राती नै अब कता साबुन किन्न जानू ? त्यतिन्जेलमा लूना बाहिर आइसकेकी थिई।  त्यसैले काका चाहिंले केहीबेर सोचेर जुक्ति लगाउनु भयो, "लूना, मन्जनले पनि एन्टीसेफ्टिकको काम गर्छ। त्यसैले मंजनले नै धोइदे हात !" एकछिन त लूना अक्मकाई तर 'मरता क्या नकरता' भने झैं गरी बाथरुममा छिरी र मंजनले दली दली हात धोई। पछि हामीले नि उसैलाई पछयायौं।

तीन, सवा तीन बजेसम्म हामी सबै ठीकठाक पर्यौं।  बस छुट्ने पीरले अगिल्लै दिनदेखि बसपार्क छेउ बास बस्न आएका हामी ठीक परेपछि के लजमै अडिएर बस्न सक्थ्यौं र? आफ्ना झोला झाम्टा बोकेर लाग्यौं टुंगैतिर। त्यति रात्तिनैदेखि बसपार्कमा चहल पहल शुरु भैसकेको थियो। तर हाम्रो बसको भने त्यहाँ अत्तो पत्तो थिएन। हुन् त चार बज्न अझै निकै बेर पनि त बाँकी थियो। हामी यता उति घुम्यौं, चिया सिया खायौं। यति गर्दा बल्ल चार बज्यो। बस नदेखेर विशु अधीर  हुन थाल्यो। उसलाई फकाउँदै  हामी बस आउने बाटातिर हेर्न थाल्यौं।  नभन्दै ४.३० बजेतिर घ्यार घ्यार गर्दै हाम्रो बस आयो। 'बेलैमा बस आयो, अब बेलुकाको भात खान त टुप्लुक्कै घरमा!' भन्ने सम्झी हामी निकै उत्तेजित पनि भयौं।

ओहो! दशैंको बेलाको भीड! बसमा चड़न सबैलाई हतार! ठेलाम ठेल! तिनै मान्छेको भीडमा हामी पनि हेलियौं र आफ्ना सीटमा गएर बस्यौं।  अब बस हिंड्ला छैन, तब बस हिंड्ला छैन। सबै यात्रु अधैर्य भैसके! बस चलमलाउने अत्तो पत्तै पो छैन। "के भाको? किन बस नहिंडेको? ए गुरुजी, चार बजे नै बस छुट्छ भनेर हामीलाई रात्तिनै बोलाउने अनि अहिले चैं बसपार्कमा खर्काउने?… " अनेक थरीका तातेका स्वरहरु सुनिन थाले! तैपनि अहँ बस हिंडेन। बस्ता बस्ता हामी पनि अलि तात्न थाल्यौं! "हिजोदेखि आएर लजमा बसेको नि बेकारै भयो! यतिबेलासम्म त कीर्तिपुरबाटै मजाले आइपुगीन्थ्यो नि!" म जंगीन थालें। लूना र विशु "त्यही त! त्यही त!" भन्दै सही थाप्न थाले। बल्ल बल्ल नौ बजेतिर कछुवाको तालमा हाम्रो बस अगाडी बढ्यो।

अर्को चुनौती कलंकीको भीड छिचोलेर अगाडी बढ्नु थियो। बाटाभरी गाडी पूरा सलाईका बट्टामा सलाईका काँटी मिलाएर राखेजस्ता थिए। अलेली अलेली सरेको बस कलंकी चोकमा आइपुगे पछि त ठप्पै भयो! हामीलाई भने कीर्तिपुरका आफन्तले झलमल्ल घाम लाग्दा समेत हामीहरु यहीं हल्लिरहेको देखेर खिल्ली उडाउलान कि भन्ने त्रासले छोपेको थियो! जे होस्, एघार बजेतिर बल्ल हाम्रो बसले कलंकी छोड्यो।

एउटा अर्को आपतले हामीलाई भारदहमा पर्खिरहेको रहेछ। कुरो के रहेछ भने, हामीभन्दा अगाडी गएको एउटा बसले एक स्थानीय व्यक्तिलाई किचेर मारेको रहेछ। यो घटनाले क्रोधित बनेका स्थानीयबासीहरुले अरु बसलाई घटनास्थलबाट  अगाडी बढ्न दिएका रहेनछन। हाम्रो बसको ड्राइवरचाहिं कत्तिन 'हीरो' पल्टेर सुँइंयँ बस लाने भएको! अनि त के थियो र? त्यो बसलाई त चारैतिरबाट लोकलहरुले घेरी हाले नि! एकैचोटी त्यत्रो भीड एउटा जाबो बसमाथि खनिएको मैले पहिले कहिले पनि देखेकी रहिनछु। ए, लोग्नेमान्छे त लोग्नेमान्छे भैहाले! आईमाईहरु पनि यति माथिमाथि सारी सुर्किंदै दुई हातमै ढुंगा बोकेर गडडड...कुदेर आए। के भएको राम्रोसंग कुरो बुझ्न नपाउंदै हाम्रो बसमा डाङडाङ र  डुंगडुंग ढुंगा बर्सिन थाले! झ्यालका शीशा चड्याम र चुडुम गर्दै फुटेर कोई बाहिर कोई भित्र झर्न थाले! भयभीत यात्रुहरु ज्यान जोगाउन बसको सीट्मुनी पस्न थाले! मेरा श्रीमानले पनि लूना र विशुलाई सीट्मुनी खांद्नुभयो! मँचाहिं परें मोटी! बसको सीट मुनि पस्न नसक्ने! त्यसैले टाउको निहुर्याएर भुँईमा थ्याच्च बसें। श्रीमान पनि सीटमुनि पस्नुभयो। एकछिनपछि डाङडुंग सुनिन छोड्यो र मान्छेहरु बिस्तारै बिस्तारै  सीटमुनिबाट निस्किन थाले। दशा यतिले टर्यो भनेको त किन टर्थ्यो ? बाहिरबाट "बसमा आगो लगाउनुपर्छ,बसमा आगो लगाउनुपर्छ," भन्ने उत्तेजित सामूहिक स्वर सुनिन थाल्यो। "आज चाहिं पक्कै मर्ने भईयो!" हामी सबैका मनमा यही कुरो गुञ्जियो। त्यतिबेलै कसको मनमा देवता पसेछन् कोनि! "प्यासेन्जरलाई बाहिर निकालेर मात्र आगो झोस्नुपर्छ," भनेको सुनियो। एकै छिनमा "ल ल,प्यासेन्जरजति फटाफट बाहिर आउने," कसैले निर्देशन दियो। लामु सास तान्दै बसबाट वर्लेर हामी अरु मान्छेलाई पच्छयाउँदै नजिकैको मन्दिरतिर कुद्यौं।

त्यतिबेला रातीको यस्तै दश बजेको हुँदो हो। हामीलाई आफ्नु पुनर्जन्म भएजस्तो लागिरहेको थियो।त्यसैले सबैको अनुहारमा विजय मुस्कान छरिएको थियो। केटाकेटी मान्छे निन्द्रा लाग्यो होला भनेर मैंले  विशुलाई भनें, "विशु, अब कतिबेर यहाँ पर्खिनु पर्ने हो! तँ एकछिन आइज मेरो काखमा सुत्। " विशुले चारैतिर हेर्यो र सोध्यो, "अनि सिरक खोइ त? सिरक नभई म त सुत्न सक्तिन। " ज्यान जोगाउनै त्यस्तो मुस्किल परिरहेको बेलामा विशुको सिरक-मोहले हामीलाई हाँस उठायो। निकै बेर लगाएर स्थानीयबासी, पुलिस र बस स्टाफले कुराकानी मिलाए। त्यसैले हाम्रो बस फेरी बाटा लाग्ने भयो। "धन्न लामखुट्टेको टोकाई सहेर यो मन्दिरमा रात बिताउनु परेन," भन्दै हामी बसतिर तेर्सियौं।

अबको हाम्रो यात्रा अझ  स्मरणीय थियो। बसका झ्याल एउटई थिएनन् ! बाहिरको सबै चिसो हररर… भित्रै पस्थ्यो। घन्द्रंग घन्द्रंग गर्दै तूफान बस कुध्थ्यो। त्यत्रा ढुङ्गाको वर्षा हुँदा पनि धन्न एकजनालाई बाहेक बसका अरु यात्रुलाई चोट लागेको रहेनछ। तर बिचारी एउटी केटीलाईचाहिं दशा नै लागेको रहेछ,  त्यो दिन! खासमा उसको सीट पछाडी रहेछ।  तर अगाडी बस्ने लोभमा कुनै भला मानुससंग  उसले आफ्नु सीट साटेकी रहिछ। यसरी अगाडीबाट हानेको ढुङ्गाले उसको अनुहारमा सिधै लागेछ ! ड्राइवरहरुले औषधी पसलमा लगेर मलमपट्टि त गरिदिएछन! तर बिचरीका आँखाबाहेक अनुहारमा सबैतिर पट्टि बाँधेर हेरिनसक्नु बनाइदिएछन! खासमा उ को हो चिन्न असम्भव थियो! हाम्री लूनालाई अब घरमा त्यो केटीका आफन्तले उसलाई कसरी चिन्ने होलान् भन्ने ठूलो चिन्ता थियो।

अन्तमा रातको भन्नु कि बिहानको २ बजेतिर हामी दमक चोकमा वर्लियौं। ट्याक्सीमा चढेर सरर… घरतिर लाग्दा त्यो यात्रामा के के वाधा आए भन्ने कुरा हामीले बिर्सिसकेका थियौं। 'बल्ल सहिसलामत घर आइपुगियो' भनेर हामी फुरुक्क फ़ुर्किएका थियौं। दशैंको रमाइलो, बाबु - आमासंगको भेट, टिका, जमरा, आशिर्वाद जस्ता कुराको नशाले हामी पूरा लठ्ठीएका थियौं।

सधैं सम्भव नहुन सक्छ। तर सम्भव भएसम्म, घरमा बाबु-आमा रहेसम्म जस्तासुकै समस्या आइलागे पनि दशैंमा घर जानु जस्तो रमाइलो केही हुँदैन। फेरि सबैलाई सधैं यस्तो सौभाग्य कहाँ प्राप्त हुन्छा र?

(माईसंसार.कम् मा  प्रकाशित, बिहीबार, सेप्टेम्बर २५, २०१४)        

 {The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.]