Friday, 30 October 2015

No, only time does not heal

When you are grieving following the death of someone you hold dear, people usually say, “Oh, time heals everything so you’ll also be healed.” But I strongly believe that time by itself cannot do anything to heal the intense pain brought about by loss. It is not only me who thinks time is not enough to cure such a deep, but unfortunately invisible wound inside. A Holocaust survivor, Catheryne Morgan, who lost her parents in Auschwitz, the infamous concentration camp when she was merely 14, also expresses the same view in Allison Gilbert’s book ‘Always too soon: Voices of support for those who have lost both parents.’ She says, “Everything I am comes from living without my parents. Time does not heal. My pain is still strong, and it stings still. I live with it day in and day out; it will forever be a part of me.”

Catheryne’s case may sound extreme considering the circumstances under which her parents passed away, yet somehow I can relate to her. After losing both of my parents within a short time span of 15 months, I also realised that time alone was never going to heal me. So I explored different techniques to cope with my shock and pain when I unexpectedly lost my mother in April, 2013. I used the same means one more time, when my father passed away in a very similar situation like my mother’s in August, 2014. Neither of them could survive a stroke.

I was all alone in Australia struggling with my loss, while my four siblings were in Nepal. The first thing that I wanted to do was to get connected with the people who have experienced the same feelings. So, I started exploring and reading articles and books about people who had lost their parents. Whilst reading about their experiences, I was able to relate my pain to theirs, which gave me some sort of consolation. Although I got some mental peace, all my painful feelings were broiling inside and looking for a way to escape; I felt an urgent need to express them somehow. If you have people around you with whom you feel comfortable sharing your feelings, talking to them is a great way to get things off your mind. On the other hand, if you are an introvert and do not want to share your ‘personal’ stuff with others, it is better to maintain a journal where you can write anything that comes to mind; it worked very well for me.

Psychologists also agree that expression, whether oral or written, is essential in the grieving process. In Sue Monk Kidd’s novel ‘The secret life of bees’, it is written that the Jewish people in Jerusalem have a very peculiar way of expressing their grief. They have a ‘wailing wall’ where they go to mourn; they write their prayers on scraps of paper and tuck them into the wall. By expressing our grief in a way which we find comfortable, we take a step closer towards liberation.

Then comes the time factor. It is true that a grieving soul must take their time to recover. As clinical psychologist Sue Morris indicates in her book ‘Overcoming grief,’ ‘grieving’ is entirely a ‘personal’ matter, so different people need different time frames to heal, ranging from a few weeks to a few years. At the same time, it should also be noted that it is not just the passage of time that helps ease grief’s hold; more importantly, it is what you do during that time that makes a difference. So, it is unrealistic to think that you simply sit back and get over the deaths of your parents or your dear ones in a matter of certain time. The time you take in fact allows you to use different coping strategies so that you can get back to your normal life.

In my experience, ‘healing’ is just an ‘adjustment’ where I have to learn to live without my parents’ physical presence in my life. I like the analogy of ‘right hand vs left hand’ used by Sue Morris. According to her, losing our parents (or loved ones) is like losing our right hand which we had used in writing throughout our life. Now onwards we have to learn to write from scratch using our left hand, so obviously it takes time for this hand to achieve a similar level of mastery. Yet, we never forget that we lost our right hand. Likewise, even if I have started living without my parents, as Catheryne Morgan says above, I feel my unprecedented loss day in and day out. When I need to share something about myself, the first people that come to mind are my parents. They cross my mind over a hundred times a day. What else is there to say? I feel them in every breath I take. They will be a huge part of my life for as long as I live.

(Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Sunday, October 18, 2015 
                                                 in the title 'Heal thyself)
[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, 28 October 2015

गुलरको फूल : मेरो आँखामा

जब माधव प्याकुरेलको 'गुलरको फूल' उपन्यास मेरो हातमा पर्यो, कहिल्यै नसुनिएको फूलको नामले मलाई आकर्षित गर्यो। कस्तो फूल हो यो गूलर - मेरो मनमा उत्सुकता जाग्यो। मैंले फरफरी पन्ना पल्टाउँदा देखें - यो एउटा तथ्यमा आधारित सामाजिक उपन्यास रहेछ। आफूलाई काल्पनिक कुराभन्दा जीवनमा भोगिने सत्य घटना नै बढी मन पर्ने हुनाले यो पुस्तक पढौं भन्ने भावना जाग्यो। अब मैंले पत्ता लगाउनु थियो - शीर्षकको अर्थ। साहित्यकार मोहनराज शर्माको पुस्तक परिचयको शीर्षक, 'अप्राप्य अर्थात् गुलरको फूल,' ले मेरो यो कौतुहल पनि मेटिदियो। आवरण पृष्ठ हेरेर मैंले अनुमान गरें - यो उपन्यास एउटी नारीको कथा हो - जो कुनै अप्राप्य वस्तुको प्रतिक्षामा आफ्नो सम्पूर्ण जीवन उत्सर्ग गर्न तयार छे।

त्यसैले मैंले पढ्न सुरु गरें - गुलरको फूल। मैंले कतै पढेकी थिएँ - यदि कुनै कृति पढ्दा सुरुका पाँच पृष्ठले पाठकको मन तान्न सकेनन् भनें ठसठसी कन्दै त्यो कृति अगाडि पढ्नुको कुनै औचित्य हुँदैन। यसो गर्नु खालि समयको बर्बादी मात्र हो। तर 'गुलरको फूल' पढ्नका लागि मैंले पाँचौं पृष्ठसम्म पनि पुग्नु परेन। पृष्ठ संख्या १ लेनै मलाई मोहनी लगायो र यसलाई अन्तिम पृष्ठसम्म नपुर्याई मैंले छोड्नै सकिन। सबभन्दा पहिले भेट भएका पात्रहरु रुदल साहनी, रामाज्ञा, भुलुवा र गेगरीले मलाई डोहोर्याउँदै डोहोर्याउँदै अरु थुप्रै पात्रहरुसंग भेट गराए पनि मेरो मानसपटलमा जीवन्त भएर रुदलको परिवार नै रहिरह्यो। परिवारका यी चार सदस्यमा थपिई घरकी पाँचौं र कान्छी सदस्य कलावती अर्थात कलौतिया।

'गुलरको फूल' लाई धेरै तहबाट पढ्न सकिन्छ। यो एउटा विपन्न वर्गको जीवन संघर्षको कथा हो, खासगरि तराई समाजमा व्याप्त दहेज प्रथाले निम्त्याउने समस्याहरुको कथा हो, गौना प्रथाले गर्दा नारी जातिले भोग्नुपर्ने पीडाको कथा हो। अझ यो उपन्यासले विक्रम संवत २०१६ देखि २०६३ सम्मको कालखण्डलाई समेटेकाले यतिबेला घटेका अनेक राजनीतिक उतार चढाव र तिनले सामान्य मानिसको जीवनमा पार्ने असरलाई पनि वेवास्ता गर्न सकिंदैन। मैंले भने यो उपन्यासमा प्रत्यक्ष रुपमा नदेखिएको तर सम्पूर्ण कथानकमा उनिएको मानव जीवन अथवा भनौं मानव सभ्यताको भ्रमको जालोलाई अलि उधिन्न खोजें।  

त्यो जालोलाई केलाउनका लागि रुदलको परिवार एक प्रतिनिधि पात्रका रुपमा उभिएको छ। रुदल आफू र आफ्नो परिवारको सुखका लागि नेपाल र भारत सीमामा पर्ने भारतीय गाउँ भैंसालोटनबाट नेपालको तराई भागमा पर्ने गोठटोल गाउँमा बसाईं सर्छ। तर ऊ भैंसालोटनको सम्पूर्ण जायज्यथा त्याग्न सक्तैन। त्यसैले उसको जेठो छोरो रामाज्ञा घरबारको हेरचाह गर्न उतै छुट्छ। तर के रुदल जुन सुखको खोजीमा परदेशिएको थियो, त्यो सुख पाउँछ त? अँहँ, कहिल्यै पाउंदैन। आफू बसेको ठाउँमा भन्दा अर्को ठाउँमा सुख देख्नु मानव जातिको भ्रम मात्र हो। त्यहि भ्रमका पछि लागेर मानिस पहाडबाट मधेश झर्छन्, गाउँबाट शहर पस्छन्, देशबाट विदेशतिर भासिन्छन्। तर अफशोच! सबै ठाउँका आफ्नै चुनौती हुन्छन् र मानिसको सुख-सपना एउटा मृगतृष्णामा सीमित हुन्छ। रुदल परिवारको कथा यसको ज्वलन्त उदाहरण हो।मानिसले पालेको अर्को भ्रम - मुखैमा आएको एउटा जटिल काम फत्ते गरेपछि बाँकी जीवन सहज हुन्छ भन्ने हो। तर नेलसन मन्डेलाले "एउटा पहाड चढीसकेपछि चढ्नुपर्ने अझ ठूलो अर्को पहाड देखिन्छ," भने जस्तै हुन्छ वास्तविक जीवनमा। रुदललाई आफ्ना पितापुर्खाले गरिआएको माछा मार्ने कामले कहिल्यै सुख दिन सकेन। घरको गरिबी कहिल्यै हटाउन सकेन। उसले सोच्यो - नेपाल गएर नयाँ ठाउँमा काम गरौंला, आफ्नो आर्थिक स्थितिमा सुधार आउला, परिवारका सबैले केही सुखभोग गर्न सकौंला। तर अँहँ, उनीहरुका जीवनमा त्यो सुखको क्षण कहिल्यै आएन। गेगरीले गरिबीमै आफ्नो ज्यान तोडी। रुदलको परिवारले फेरि अर्को समस्याको सामना गर्नुपर्यो - कलौतियाको विवाह। रुदलले सोच्यो - बढेकी छोरी बिहे गरेर घर पठाइदिन पाए ढुक्क हुन्छ। सोहि मुताबिक जेठो छोरो भएको नाताले रामाज्ञाले केटो खोज्ने र बहिनीको विवाह गरिदिने जिम्मा लियो। केटो पनि भेटियो, के कति दाइजो लिने/दिने सब छिनाफाना भयो अनि कलौतियाको विवाह हुने निश्चित मितिसमेत तोकियो। यो विवाहको टुङ्गोले रुदलले सोचेजस्तो "ढुक्क" किन ल्याउँथ्यो र? विवाहको दिन बेहुलाले पहिले नै दाइजोमा कबोलेको बाहेकको साइकल मागेर बिठ्याँईं गरिहाल्यो। जति सम्झाउँदा पनि ऊ मान्दैमानेन। साइकल नलिई त म विवाह नै गर्दिन भनेर अड्डी लियो। आखिरमा बेहुली पक्षकाले हार माने र  तीन महिनापछि साइकलको व्यबस्था गरिदिने शर्तमा बेहुलो विवाह गर्न राजी भयो। कसो कसो बिहे त भयो तर बेहुली १३ वर्ष मात्र भएकीले त्यतिबेलै बेहुलाको घरमा नलाने भए। कलौतिया १६ वर्ष भएपछि गौना गर्ने र बेहुलाको घरमा पठाउने सल्लाह भयो।     

अब चढ्नुपर्ने पहाड थियो - कलौतियाको गौना। गौनाअगाडि बेहुलालाई कबुलेको साइकल पनि त दिनु पर्यो नि! नभए टेढीएर ऊ परपरै हुने! बैनीको विवाह भएको दुई वर्षपछि बल्ल बल्ल रामाज्ञाले कसो कसो ऋणपान गरेर साइकल किन्ने पैसा जुटायो। साइकल पाएर बेहुलो खुशी भयो र ससुरालीसँग नजिकिन थाल्यो। यसरी "छोरीको घर बसेकोमा रुदल खुशी छन्। बिहेको कर्जा बाँकी नै भए पनि दहेजको टन्टा हटेको छ।  कर्जा भन्या कमाएर तिरौंला भन्छन्," (पेज नम्बर २०४)। यता कलौतिया धैर्यपूर्वक गौना हुने दिन पर्खिएर बस्ताबस्तै सत्र वर्षकी भई। त्यहि वर्ष गौना गर्ने कुरा चल्दा चल्दै उसकी सासूको मृत्यु हुन्छ।अनि सासूको वर्ष दिनको काम नसकी कसरी गौना हुनु ?
यहि बिचमा रुदलको परिवारमा अर्को झमेला थपिन्छ - नागरिकताको। रामाज्ञाले ज्वाईंलाई नेपालमा जनमत संग्रहको भोटर लिस्टमा आफ्ना बाबु र भाइको नाम चढेकाले उनीहरुले त्यहाँको नागरिकता पाउन सक्ने र त्यसपछि कलौतियाले पनि नेपालको नागरिकता पाउने कुरा सुनाएको रहेछ। यस्ता कुरा सुनेपछि केटा पक्षका मानिसहरु अहिले नै बेहुलीलाई घरमा ल्याउँदा आफ्नु छोराले नेपालको नागरिकता नपाउन सक्छ, त्यसैले बुहारीले नागरिकता पाएपछि मात्र गौना गर्ने भन्ने सुरमा भएजस्ता देखिए। उनीहरुलाई फकाउँदा फकाउँदा बल्ल बल्ल विवाह भएको पाँच वर्षमा गौना गर्ने मिति तोक्नका लागि राजी भए। नभन्दै केटाका बाबु - छोरा रुदलका घरमा आए । उनीहरु गौना गरेर बेहुली लान पनि राजी भए। तर यस्तो सुअवसरमा फेरि अर्को संकट थपियो - केहि महिना अघिदेखि कलौतियाको निधारमा देखिएको दुवीको सेतो दाग। सब कुरा मिलिसकेको थियो। दुर्भाग्यवश् बाउ छोरा दुवैले कलौतियाको निधारको त्यो सेतो दाग देखे। त्यहाँबाट फर्कनेबित्तिकै उनीहरुले बहाना बनाएर खबर पठाइदिए - केटीले नागरिकता पाएपछि मात्र गौना गर्ने। यस्ता प्रतिकूल परिस्थितिका बारेमा उपन्यासमा भनिएको छ - "रुदल एकथोक चिताउँथे। भाग्यले अर्कै थोक गरिदिन्थ्यो। अघिपछि भैरहन्थ्यो दु:ख। सधैं लखेटिरहन्थ्यो, झम्टिरहन्थ्यो र दपेटीरहन्थ्यो," (पेज नम्बर १८८ )।

रुदल आफ्नु जीवनकालभरि आफ्नी छोरीको गौनारुपी पहाडको टुप्पोमा पुग्न सकेनन्। रह्यो कुरो नागरिकताको। पछिल्लो समयमा उनले आफ्नालागि भन्दा बढी कलौतियाका लागि यो चाहेका थिए। नागरिकता भए तै छोरीको घर बसिहाल्छ कि भन्ने झिनु आशा उनको थियो, जुन पूरा हुन सकेन। आफूले सोचेको र चाहेजस्तो नहुने त मानव सभ्यताकै नियति हो तैपनि मानिस चाहन छोड्दैन, योजना बनाउन छोड्दैन। शायद यी भौतिक जीवन जिउने आधार होलान्। 

पुस्तक पढिसकेपछि मलाई लाग्यो - गुलरको फूल मोहनराज शर्माले भनेजस्तो अप्राप्य नभएर दुर्लभ हुन सक्छ, उन्यूँको फूलजस्तै। किनभने यहाँ नागरिकता र गौना दुवै प्राप्य देखिएका छन् , तर सहज रुपमा होइन। रुदल मृत्युशैयामा भएका बेला उनको, भुलुवाको र कलौतियाको नागरिकता हात लाग्छ। आफ्नु नागरिकता पिलिक्क हेरेर मात्र उनी सदाका लागि आँखा चिम्लन्छन्। त्यसैगरी उही दिन आफ्ना चालीसौं बसन्त पार गरिसकेकी कलौतियाका अगाडि एउटा आधिसरो दाह्री फुलेको अधवैंसे मानिस देखा पर्छ। ऊ आफूले बिर्सिसकेको लोग्नेको अनुहार सम्झन पुग्छे। ऊ खुशी हुन्छे। अनि आफैंलाई प्रश्न गर्छे - "को हो त्यो मान्छे ? ऊ किन आएको हो यहाँ ?" पक्कै पनि त्यो मान्छेले कलौतियाका लागि विवाह भएको २७ वर्षपछि गौनाको मीठो सम्झना ल्याएको हुनुपर्छ। 

यो पुस्तक पढ्दा मलाई खट्किएको कुरा यसको फितलो सम्पादन पक्ष हो। यहाँ देखिएका भाषिक त्रुटिको त कुरै नगरौं; बारम्बार दोहोरिने विषयवस्तुले मिठो खाना खाइरहेका बेला दाँतमा कोड्याङ्ग कोड्याङ्ग लाग्ने ढुंगाको अनुभूति गराउँछन्। उदाहरणका लागि:
"कलावती दिनदिनै हुर्कदैं छे। दुइटई भैयाले खुबै माया गर्छन् …" (पेज नम्बर ३४)
"कलौतिया पनि शुल्क पक्षको चन्द्रमाझैं दिनदिनै बढ्दै छे। दुवै भैया खुब माया गर्छन् ..." (पेज नम्बर ४०) 
"उनीहरुको एउटा छोरो छ मुकेश…" (पेज नम्बर ७५)
"पण्डितजीको एउटा छोरो छ मुकेश…" (पेज नम्बर ८०)
"भुलुवा र मुकेश चाहिं एकछिन पनि छुट्टिदैनन्…" (पेज नम्बर ९३)
"हुनपनि भुलुवा र मुकेश एकछिन छुट्टिदैनन्…" (पेज नम्बर ९८)

मेरो विचारमा यदि 'गुलरको फूल' को सम्पादन पक्ष बलियो हुन्थ्यो भने यो पुस्तक मदन पुरस्कारको दावेदार हुन सक्थ्यो।                          

Monday, 28 September 2015

Hole in place of soul

While I was travelling to and from the eastern part of Nepal recently, the English singer Lily Allen’s song “F * *k you very very much…” was echoing loudly inside my head the whole time. Even though the song is one about George W. Bush, it is equally relevant to reflect the actions of the corrupt politicians in Nepal at present.

Let me start from the beginning. I needed to go to Dhankuta from Kathmandu for an urgent personal reason. Until I bought a night bus ticket for Sunday, the 30th of August, the situation sounded normal but when the departure date approached, many problems started creeping up. The bus company was not sure about whether or not the bus would be leaving Kathmandu on the day it was supposed to because of the intense Madeshi andolan. Things turned out just as I had feared they would; on Sunday morning, I received the news that the bus could not go to Dhankuta that evening. Now I had no choice but to go via aeroplane, spending thousands of rupees more in the process. “F * *k you very very much. ‘Cause we hate what you do and we hate your whole crew. So please don’t stay in touch…”

Well, luckily I got a plane ticket to Biratnagar for Tuesday morning, the 1st of September. As soon as my older sister and I exited the airport in Biratnagar, a bunch of rickshaw pullers encircled us and informed us that there were no bus or taxi services from Biratnagar to Dharan. We could either hire a motorbike or rickshaw to go up to Itahari, then only God knew how we would manage to reach Dhankuta. We decided to hire a rickshaw so that we did not have to split up. The rickshaw puller charged us Rs. 1,000 for the trip whereas a bus would have normally charged less than Rs. 100. “F * *k you very very much. ‘Cause your words don’t translate and it’s getting quite late. So please don’t stay in touch…”

It took us two and a half hours to reach Itahari, usually the journey would have taken half an hour at most. Itahari was also banda because of Limbuwans. No vehicles were available to go to Dharan from there. We could do nothing but spend the night in Itahari. Miraculously, there was no banda the next day so early in the morning we could take a bus which would go directly to Dhankuta.

Then there was the challenge of returning to Kathmandu after 12 days in the midst of the ongoing ethnic unrest and frequent bandas; taking a bus was not an option. The option of coming by aeroplane via Biratnagar was also closed because of curfews between Itahari and Biratnagar airport. I needed to fly via Bhadrapur paying an airfare of Rs.7, 910; I only paid Rs. 4, 365 to get to Biratnagar from Kathmandu. Generally, the total bus fare from Kathmandu to Dhankuta and back again would have been less than Rs. 3,000, and I had to blow another Rs. 10,000 to get there and back this time around.  “F * *k you very very much. Do you get, do you get a little kick out of being small-minded…”

A lady I met in Damak had a different story. Her grandson needed to travel to Kathmandu in order take an examination. He had heard that the army would be escorting buses to Kathmandu - don’t mind the fact that it would take three days to get to Kathmandu from Damak in this manner. Calculating his time he got a ticket. Alas! At the very last moment, he was informed that the bus would not be going to Kathmandu, so he had no choice but to pay Rs. 8,000 for a plane ticket. The grandmother sadly remarked, “Oh…I don’t understand what’s happening to this country!” 
These are only a few examples of how the general public is suffering because of the short-sightedness
of the so-called politicians. I have heard countless people cursing them. Most of the rickshaw pullers from Biratnagar airport to Itahari were Madeshis who were willing to sweat in order to earn their bread; they were not demanding a separate state. The Limbus were sad because of their interrupted chores. All that these people wanted was peace, security and the assurance that their government was concerned about their rights. I saw the protesters were innocent people, some were even minors. One of the civilians remarked, “The 601 netas are safe and happy in Kathmandu. Only us, the commoners, are suffering for nothing! They should be in the front line on this battlefield, not the innocent ones!”

Countless people are dying every single day. What for? To further divide the nation? Or to fulfil the vested interests of political leaders? Is killing each other the single best option to solve problems? Why can’t we sit together, have friendly dialogues and find solutions? What is stopping us? Has the humanity inside us died completely? If not, how can someone drag an injured security personnel out of an ambulance and smash him to death? It feels like we are going back to barbarism instead of moving forward towards a civilized society. What is the reason behind this? The answer is simple: dirty politics and political games. “F * *k you very very much. Do you, do you really enjoy living a life that’s so hateful? ‘Cause there’s a hole where your soul should be! You’re losing control a bit, and it’s really distasteful…”     
                             (Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Sunday, September 27, 2015                                                                         in the title When trouble strikes)

[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, 20 September 2015

विज्ञ आफ्नु क्षेत्रमा

“ए जन्तरी, दूधमा जोडन् हाल् त!”
“ए पख् पख्, थोरै हाल्नु पर्छ है।”

सासूआमाले दोस्रो निर्देशन दिनु अगाडी नै मैले ख्वाल्ल जोडन् हालिसकेकी थिएँ। उहाँका कुरा सुनेर मेरा मनमा आयो, “ह्या! धेरै र थोरैले के फरक पर्छ र? जोडन् भनेको जोडन् हो । दहि जमे भैहाल्यो नि ! फेरी थोरै हाल्दा जमेन भनें नि ?” आमा भने मलाई विश्वास नगरेका आँखाले हेर्दै मुस्कुराईरहनु भएको थियो ।

भोलिपल्ट बिहान मैंले खुसुक्क आफूले जमाएको दहि हेरें, ढक्क जमेको थियो । “आमा पनि त्यसै मलाई पत्याउनु हुन्न । दहि जमेछ त !”, मैंले सोचें । “हिजो नै जमाएको दहि कस्तो अमिलो हौ, आमा !”खाना खाँदा मैंले आश्चर्य प्रकट गरें ।  आमाले शान्त मुद्रामा भन्नुभयो, “जोडन् धेर पर्यो । त्यसैले अमिलो भएको हो क्या ।
 “होला,” मैंले आफ्नु मनैले जवाफ दिएँ । त्यो दिन बेलुका आमाले आफैं जोडन् हाल्नुभयो । “अरे वाह ! आज त दहि कस्तो मिठो भएछ, होगी आमा !” बिहान मैंले भनें । आमा खालि हाँस्नुभयो मात्र । तर मनमनै भन्दैहुनुहुन्थ्यो होला, “देखिस् त ! जोडन्को मात्राले कसरि दहिको स्वादमा फरक पर्छ ?” म भनें भित्रभित्रै आफ्नी सासूको यो ज्ञानको प्रसंशा नगरी रहन सकिंन ।

अर्को दिन, काठमाडौंबाट रामरमाइलो गर्न झापा घर गएका आफ्ना नातिनातिना, जन्तरे छोराको छोरो र साइँलो छोराकी छोरीलाई आमाले बारीका हरिया मकै खुवाउनुभयो । मकै खाईसकेपछि नातिनीले सोधी, “हजुरामा, यो  घोगो कहाँ फ्याँक्नु ?” आमा खित्का छोडेर हाँस्नुभयो र भन्नुभयो, “के भएकी नानी तँ ? काठ्मान्डु गएर नेपाली बोल्न पनि बिर्सीस् ? त्यो मकैको घोगो हो कि खोयो ?” मैंले त्यतिबेला सम्झिएँ, अघिल्लो दिन मैंले “मलाई पनि मकैको मुठो बनाउन आउँछ,” भन्दा आमाले तुरुन्त भन्नुभएको थियो, “के खालका केटाकेटि हौ तिमीहरु केहि पनि पो जान्दैनौ त। यसलाई मुठो होइन, झुत्तो भन्नुपर्छ। त्यो नाति मकैको रुख भन्दैथियो, मकैको रुख होइन, बोट हुन्छ । तिमीहरु ऊ... त्यसलाई घोचो भन्छौ, तर त्यो थाङ्ग्ररो हो...।” नातिनी भने हजुरआमाका कुरा सुनेर केहि लजाई ।

यति मात्र होइन हाम्री सासूआमालाई गाई कसरि कराउँदा उसलाई भोक लागेको हुन्छ, कसरि कराउँदा तिर्खा, अनि कसरि कराउँदा उसले गोरु खोजेको हुन्छ, सबै थाहा छ । उहाँ बाख्रा, पाठाका कुरा बुझ्नुहुन्छ । उनीहरुसँग गफ गर्नुहुन्छ । बस्तुभाउ बिरामी भएको तुरुन्त थाहा पाउनुहुन्छ । कुन् जातको धान धेरै फल्छ, अनि कुन् जातको थोरै तुरुन्त भन्न सक्नुहुन्छ । “आमा, हेर्नु न ! यो के भएको ?” म आफ्ना गोडाका पाकेका औंलाका काप च्यातेर देखाउँछु । बाबै नि ! औंला कुहेर फ्यात्तै झर्ने हुन् कि क्याहो भनेर म डराउँछु। यस्तो हुन्जेल किन नदेखिकी हुँला भनेर म आफैंसित रिसाउँछु। आमा शान्त मुद्रामा भन्नुहुन्छ, “ए, पानी लागेछ। राति  पाउडर लगाएर सुत्नू , बिहानसम्ममा ओभानु हुन्छ। हामी खेतीपातीको काम गर्ने मान्छेका लागि यस्तो हुनु मामुली कुरा हो।” औंलाका काप कापमा पाउडर दल्दै म शंका गर्छु, “यस्तो फितिक्क भैरछ । कता भोलि ठिक हुन्छ?” पत्यार नलागि नलागि बिहान यसो औंला च्यातेर हेर्छु। आमाले भन्नु भएको ठिक रहेछ, घाऊ त पूरै सुकेछ !

घरको बसाई सकी हामी काठमाडौ फर्किने बेलामा आमा भन्नुहुन्छ, “यो एक बोरा चामल लैजाओ । तर वहाँ पुग्ने बित्तिकै यसलाई बट्टामा खन्याएर टम्म बिर्को लगाएर राख्नू नि ! बोरामै राखौला फेरि ! त्यसो गर्दा किरा पर्छन् !” मलाई लाग्छ, त्यस्तरी बोरामा बाँधेर राखेपछि के किरा पर्लान् र? पन्ध्र बिस दिनपछि म बोरा फुकाउँछु । ओहो, चामलमा त घुन कुद्दैछन्, म आमाका कुरा झल्झली सम्झन्छु र तिनको वेवास्ता गरेकोमा थक्क थक्क मान्छु।

यी त केहि उदाहरण मात्र भए, केहि दिन उहाँका सामिप्यमा रहेर अनुभूति गर्न पाएका कुरा । मैंले नजानेका अझ कति कुरा उहाँभित्र होलान् तर हाम्रातिर यसरि दैनिक जीवनमा प्रयोग हुने यस्तो अमूल्य ज्ञानको कुनै पहिचान छैन । हामी किताबी ज्ञानका पछि मात्र कुदेका छौं। अष्ट्रेलिया, अमेरिका, क्यानाडाजस्ता पश्चिमा मुलुकतिर ’होम लिटरेसी प्राक्टिसेज’ अन्तर्गत विद्यार्थीका घर परिवारमा दैनिक रुपमा के कस्ता कुरा गरिन्छन् , के कस्तो भाषा बोलिन्छ भन्ने विषयलाई बडो महत्व दिइन्छ ।  वहुभाषी र वहु संस्कृति भएका विद्यार्थीका माध्यमबाट यस्ता विषय कक्षाकोठामा ल्याइन्छ र तिनका आधारमा अध्यापन गरिन्छ । विभिन्न अनुसन्धानले देखाएअनुसार यस्तो अध्यापन विधी बढी प्रभावशाली र सफल पनि भएको छ । ’होम लिटरेसी प्राक्टिसेज’ को धारणा ’सिकाइ एक सामाजिक प्रक्रिया हो,’ भन्ने सिद्दान्तमा आधारित छ । हाम्रो जस्तो वहुभाषिक र वहुसांस्कृतिक देशमा पनि त प्रत्येक परिवारमा लुकेर बसेका यस्ता कति अमूल्य ज्ञानका श्रोत होलान् ! तर खोई तिनको अस्तित्व ? हाम्रो मुलुकमा घरको र स्कूलको ज्ञानलाई जोडेर पढाउने शिक्षण विधी भित्रिसकेको छैन । यहाँ शिक्षाको परम्परागत सिद्दान्त नै प्रचलनमा छ जसले ’घोकन्ते सिकाइ’ लाई बढावा दिन्छ ।
हाम्री सासू कृषि अथवा पशु विज्ञानको औपचारिक शिक्षा लिन स्कूल कलेज जानुभएको छैन। भन्छन्, मान्छेले कि पढेर जान्दछन् कि परेर । उहाँको ज्ञानको भण्डार आफ्नै जीवन भोगाईका अनुभवले विकसित भएको हो। आफूले थाहा पाएदेखि नै खेतबारी र बस्तुभाउसँग पौंठेजोरी खेल्दै आउनुभएकी सासूले जीवनका सात दशकभन्दा बढी उमेर पार गरिसक्नु भएकोछ । कसले उहाँ अशिक्षित हुनुहुन्छ भन्न सक्छ ? तत्कालिन परिप्रेक्षमा उहाँको ज्ञानले वैधानिकता नपाए पनि आफ्नु कामको क्षेत्रका बारेमा उहाँलाई सबै थाह छ । उहाँको क्षेत्रमा छिरेपछि म आफूलाई अनविज्ञ पाउँछु। त्यसैले त मैंले ठिक्क मात्रा मिलाएर जोडन् हाल्न जानिन, मुठा र झुत्ता बिचको भेद थाहा पाइँन, गोड़ाका औंलामा पानी लाग्नु सामान्य हो भन्ने बुझिन, न त बोरामै चामल राख्दा किरा पर्छन् भन्ने ज्ञान नै हासिल गर्न सकें। म आफ्नी सासूलाई विज्ञ भन्छु, विशेषज्ञ भन्छु । अनि त अचेलभरि म घर गएका बेला उहाँसङ्ग सकेसम्म धेरै कुरा सिक्न लालायित रहन्छु। म सोच्ने गर्छु, “उहाँले जानेका सबै कुरा संरक्षण गर्ने कुनै दिगो तरिका भैदिए हामी पछिका पुस्ताका लागि कति उपयोगी हुन्थ्यो होला ! शहरीकरणको चपेटामा फँस्दै गएका हामी र हाम्रा छोराछोरीलाई आफ्नै घरपरिवारबाट के कति कुरा सिक्न सकिन्छ, थाह नहुनु, कस्तो विडम्बना?”
(अन्नपूर्ण पोष्टमा मिति २०७// मा 'मेरी सासूमाको विज्ञता' शिर्षकमा प्रकाशित)                             

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Second life

My husband and I were making a way to our seats in a dimly lit theatre hall where primary school children were about to perform a drama. The big auditorium was full of excited people murmuring, laughing, talking and finding their seats. There were two people, a young man and a middle-aged lady, sitting next to us and talking in a very musical tongue. My husband could not resist his intense curiosity so he asked, “Excuse me, if you don’t mind, can you tell me what language you two are using? I find it really beautiful.” The lady laughed sweetly and replied, “Oh, yeah! It is the Mauritian Creole language. Do you like it?” 

In the conversation that followed, we found out that she was the grandmother of our son’s friend, Calvin, and the young man beside her was his father. She said that she left her country, Mauritius, for Australia 26 years ago, searching for a better life. The amazing reality that she revealed to us was that even though she had been living in Australia for 26 years now, she missed Mauritius terribly, and when it rained in Australia she always smelled Mauritian soil and wished she could have been there physically.

In general, it is true that all immigrants of the first generation (who migrate as adults with their children) may feel the same way as Calvin’s grandmother; their hearts may always be in their native land with their families and friends that they left behind, and basically, they might not be happy living in a foreign country. Who knows, they may also regret leaving their country for the rest of their lives. The ‘the smell of soil’ after the rains might always make them feel nostalgic and think of their homeland, instead of their host land. Such immigrants, who I met and talked to, told me that the main or only reason for  their migration to Australia was to provide better education for their children, which would obviously lead to a better future for them in return.

But what about the children? Can they really live up to their parents’ high expectations of academic success?  Not necessarily. These children are sandwiched between their home culture and Australian culture. They get confused when they are placed in a completely different academic atmosphere. For example, I observed that children, especially from Asian countries, go to Australia with their experience of ‘highly textbook-based learning’, long hours of homework and strict teachers. An Indian mother told me that when her son was in India, he used to study many subjects, have different textbooks and also have regular homework. Similarly, a Filipino father added that teachers are very strict in the Philippines. In contrast, things were very different in Australia. Here, I found out that exploratory learning is emphasised, where students are expected to do their own research; textbooks are not the sole source of knowledge. And what is more surprising is that there is not a single ‘textbook’ in primary schools (from prep to Year 6), but the teaching-learning process is as, if not more, engaging as it would have been with textbooks. School teachers told me that in place of textbook-based homework, project-based homework is assigned. Projects require students to collect information from different resources, such as books, online sources, newspapers and magazines to complete their assignments. Regarding teachers, Australian teachers are not strict at all. They support student learning at the maximum possible level, but they are not coercive. Any form of corporal punishment is prohibited in schools.

In such an inclusive environment, immigrant students may misperceive the Australian schooling system and see it as easy and relaxed as J. Li’s 2010 research conducted on twelve Chinese immigrant children between the ages of 13 and 19 living in Canada, My home and my school: Examining immigrant adolescent narratives from the critical socio-cultural perspective,” shows. Because of this, they may gradually stop working hard or even listening to their parents. All they want to do is have fun, and do no work. As a result, they may fail to achieve as much as their parents had aspired for them before leaving their home country. There is a good chance that these children may be lost in the jungle of unlimited material exposure and an unfamiliar education system. Their identity neither resembles the people of their home country nor to the people of the host country. They may turn into Willie Chandran, the protagonist in V.S. Naipaul’s novel ‘Half a Life,’ who was taken to London, by his Indian parents, and Willie felt that he neither belonged to Britain nor to India. A Mongolian mother shared her fear with me. She was worried that her daughter would not be able to compete with her friends if they went back to their country. She said, “She may speak English fluently, but when it comes to academics what will she do? I’m scared for her!”

Therefore, before making a life-changing decision to migrate to a foreign country, it is wise to think twice; because the grass is not always greener on the other side as most of the people expect. All the sacrifices that first generation immigrants have to make for the sake of their children’s future may not be worth it in the end. One person’s success abroad can be another person’s disaster.

(Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Sunday, August 30, 2015)

 [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, 8 August 2015

Lifelong habit of a mother

Guest Post

-Zen Kaizen

After a decade-long self exile, I visited my mother last winter and found that she had not changed an iota. I’ve seen her for the past forty years and she is what she is.

A fragile old widow in her eighties, she has been commanding a hoard of kids - ranging from 63 to 30. Yes, even the kids of the kids have kids! She does not bother counting the generations of offspring; the number could be over eight dozens.

The day I reached the home where I had spent the golden times of my childhood, she was busy watering her flower garden adjacent to her newly built cosy cottage. The next moment, I saw her feeding a calf, and then a moment later she was caressing her favourite pet - a pregnant goat.

“Mum, would you mind taking some rest? You are too old and fragile to hop around like this,” I pleaded only to get a terse reply, “What for? You may have enough time to take rest but I am on my last lap and there is not much time left for me! Just do not disturb me, okay?”

Her routine is not only limited to these errands. I saw her observing the potato field; picking some insects from a patch of radish while at the same time asking people to irrigate a sprawling wheat field. In the midst of her busy schedule, she took some time off and said, “You kids are doing well. That’s fine…but what do I do with all my overwhelming emotions? I pour my feelings of love into the plants and animals thinking that I am feeding you. I look at those buds and smile at them thinking that my kids who reside seven seas away are smiling at me. What else can I do?”

All of her children were worrying about her shrinking figure coupled with her body aches, fluctuating sugar and blood pressure levels and her ever decreasing eyesight. We were requesting her to stop, take a breath, slow down and not to worry too much about the farm. But a bunch of PhDs and hoards of master’s degree holders shamefully failed to convince our unstoppable mom.

Mother with a grandson

The imagery that she had attached with the plants and animals was all about us. Unlike the scriptural myth, she was not replacing the gods and goddesses with us. But it was all out of love for her children that she was doing all these things incessantly.

It was just four in the morning; she had already finished her morning prayers and squatted beside the hearth sipping her herbal tea. She told me to wrap myself up with proper clothes as I was only in my pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I had been doing just fine without her instructions for years; yet she was telling me off with a series of dos and don’ts!

Her health conscious grand-kids grumbled during the meal times as the old woman forced them to eat more. They grabbed their bellies and whispered in a hush-hush manner about how they were getting out of shape because of being forced into over-eating by the ‘old ducky’. Their silent grumbles had no effect on mom and she was stacking food on their plates. The serving was not even half on the plates and she was adding more ‘harmless and healthy’ salads and fruits. “Each time these fruits and vegetables are ready, I wish all my kids were around. I want you to finish them all; that’s where my happiness is. However, you guys come with a dried-up appetite and do not want to eat anything. You are disfiguring yourself; that does not make me happy.”

I was pretty sure that I would be able to convince her to work less and take more rest but I was wrong. I had no strength left to argue when I listened to the logic behind her work. Raising a dozen kids, she had made a habit of loving them in one way or the other and how can we tell her not to love us? That was her nature and that cannot be altered.

A small cell phone rings that she carries around in a small pouch. It was one of my brothers asking about her health. I was thanking the ease of the invention that helped connect so many longing hearts. “Your brother’s got a rather husky voice today, I am sure something is wrong with him. Can you ring him and ask what’s wrong with him?” I tried to convince her to not worry about the ‘old boy’, but she insisted that I call. She was right after all, the brother who rang her a while ago had a sore throat and a mild fever. Reflecting to myself, I thought, ‘This is the lifelong habit of a mother.’              

Monday, 27 July 2015

Google Generation

Six years ago, I thought that my 10-year-old son was becoming a video game addict so I hid his Nintendo DS. He came home from school and hunted tirelessly for his most cherished device, but to his dismay, he could not find it. Then, instead of asking me about his console, he turned the computer on and googled: ‘How to find a lost Nintendo DS?’ His move made me laugh, as I thought to myself amused, “Oh my God! Look at this 21st century kid! His ultimate source of information is the Internet!”

My son’s case was not a one-off; he represents the digital generation. The digital revolution emerged in the 1980s, and gained pace in the 1990s due to the rising popularity of the Internet and the use of hypermedia. Marc Prensky, a literacy expert, calls today’s children “digital natives.” According to him, children of contemporary society are “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. On one hand, it is true that surviving in today’s world is impossible without knowing the digital language. But on the other hand, a big question is, “How much exposure is appropriate at a certain stage?” In my son’s case, I had to ask myself how much exposure to the digital language was appropriate for a primary school student.

My 2012 PhD research was related to the perspectives of the newly arrived English as a Second Language parents compared to those of primary school teachers in Australia. During my research, one question I asked the participating parents was about how they consider the use of digital devices by their children from the point of view of learning. All of them unanimously agreed that they were extremely worried about their children’s excessive exposure to technology. They agreed that a ‘certain level’ of exposure was fine; but it was hard for them to set limits on their kids’ digital activities. They were not sure if the use (or misuse?) of the Internet was fostering or hampering their children’s learning.

The Internet, along with digital devices, has definitely benefited society. At the same time, they have their disadvantages. For example, it seems that children have forgotten to read print materials, to play outdoor games - they have even forgotten how to use their brains. Google seems to be the solution to all problems. ‘Copy and paste’ has given birth to a new generation of plagiarisers. Even though a lot of the information online is useful, much of it seems to be unreliable.

Another problem that is prevalent due to the widespread use of the Internet is children being exposed to the massive collection of pornography. A research study conducted by Michele L. Ybarra and Kimberly J. Mitchell in the US indicates that up to 90% or more youths between 12 and 18 years have access to the Internet. And a vast majority of the children, 87 percent, that look for sexual images online are 14 years or older. Such inappropriate sexual materials can adversely affect children’s emotional and sexual development.

These days it is impossible to imagine a classroom, especially in Western countries to be without computers as a teaching/learning aide. In the case of Nepal, although all classrooms may not be equipped with computers, almost all children that attend schools in urban areas have easy access to them either at school or at home. So, it was interesting to read in the article, ‘Computers ok? Not in Silicon Valley’ that the Waldorf Schools - founded worldwide following the humanistic teaching approach based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner - do not allow the use of technology in classrooms. Students are not only discouraged from using computers at home, but at school as well. Surprisingly, many employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard, along with the chief technology officer of eBay, have sent their children to a Waldorf Primary School in Los Altos, California. The Waldorf parents argue that teaching-learning comes from great teachers with interesting lesson plans, not from computers or video games.

The war between technology advocates and traditionalists rages on - and that is going to be the case for a while yet. Sure, prudent and limited use of modern innovations such as the Internet and computers can lead to a better informed society that is fluent in the digital language. But it is just as easy for people to become hopelessly inebriated due to uncontrolled exposure. Being a part of the digital age can be a blessing or a curse - it is up to you to decide what it is going to be for you and your children.

(Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Sunday, July 26, 2015)
 [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, 24 July 2015

Tug of War

Every other person I meet these days proclaims, "I'm spiritual," or "I'm practicing spirituality." Their claim makes me contemplate on the vast area of spirituality. How can one be a spiritual person just like that? Is it that easy? A psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a theory (1943) named Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He mentioned five levels of human needs, and self actualization, which is closely related to spirituality, falls on the topmost level. According to him people  move towards self actualization only after they  have fulfilled other four levels of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, love/belonging and self-esteem respectively.

So, I do not stop wondering, "Have these people already fulfilled all the needs of lower levels to reach the highest level of spiritualism?" I wish I could also portray myself as a spiritual person but I cannot make this big claim about myself. My curiosity led me to observe those "spiritual" people more closely.

To my great disappointment I did not see them practicing spirituality in reality. I found them massively engaging on fulfilling their safety needs, love/belonging and self-esteem. Well, it is one thing to "hear," "read" or "know" about spiritualism, but in my understanding to be "spiritual" is completely different. A Western Hindu spiritual leader Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya clearly states that spiritualism is not the "accumulation of knowledge" but it is "practice" in life. One can earn a PhD degree on spiritualism but it is not necessary that the person is spiritual.

Even if it is not impossible, but extremely hard to lead a spiritual life living in this physical or materialistic world. There are so many temptations which an ordinary human being cannot ignore. Until the circumstances are favorable it is easy to be spiritual, and as soon as there occur adverse situations it is the high time to test that spirituality. For this, self-observation is the best way to see your progress as a spiritual person. 

[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.]

Thursday, 9 July 2015

सिक्काको अर्को पाटो

"अपार्टमेन्टहरुको चैं हालत नै भयो, होगि? अपार्टमेन्टमा लगानी गर्ने सबै डुबे। अब त काठमाडौंमा कोहि पनि अपार्टमेन्ट किन्दैनन्," एकजना परिचितले २/४ दिन अघि मात्र मतिर हेर्दै आफ्नु प्रखर विश्लेषण शक्तिको प्रदर्शन गरे। आफू पनि अपार्टमेन्टमै बस्ने हुनाले उनको तर्कसँग  म १००% सहमत थिइन तर अपार्टमेन्टको विरोध गर्न विशेषत: सारा संचारमाध्यम नै उल्टिएको बेला ती परिचितले यसो भन्नुमा के आश्चर्य थियो रआखिरमा उनको सम्पूर्ण सूचनाको स्रोत यिनै संचारमाध्यम न थिए।
हिजोआज अपार्टमेन्ट भन्नेबित्तिकै प्राय: सबै मानिसमा नकारात्मक दृष्टिकोण रहेको पाउँछु, म। तर वैशाख १२ गतेका दिन भूकम्पले सबैलाई मच्चाइरहेका बेला एक समय यस्तो आयो, जतिबेला हरेक व्यक्तिले ईश्वरसँग सिर्फ आफ्नु जीवन रक्षाको भीख मागे होलान्। घरबार, धनसम्पत्ति, रुपियाँपैसा जस्ता कुरा जोगाउने होस कहाँ थियो र त्यतिबेला! सबैका मनमा त्यो संकटपूर्ण घडीमा आफ्नु ज्यान मात्र जोगाउन पाए कत्रो न रण जितिने थियो जस्तो लागेको हुँदो हो। होइन भने कुनै टिभी च्यानलमा देखाइएको सिन्धुपाल्चोकको एउटा भिडियो क्लिपमा किन एकजना व्यक्ति, ", आइज! आइज! हेर्, हामी बाँच्यौं! हामी बाँच्यौं!" भनेर रनबन घन्किनेगरि चिच्याउंदा हुन् र?
त्यो दिनको प्रलयकारी भूकम्पले खालि अपार्टमेन्टहरुलाई मात्र त क्षति पुर्याएको थिएन नि! हेर्दा हेर्दै अरु कैयौं बलिया बलिया घर पनि ढलेनन् र त्यतिबेला? किर्तिपुरको पाँगामा एकजना सज्जन व्यक्तिले कुनै कन्जुस्याईं नगरी एक करोड खर्च गरेर भूकम्प प्रतिरोधात्मक घर नै बनाएका थिए। तर त्यो विनाशकारी भूकम्पले यो घरलाईसमेत देखिसहेन र कच्याक कुचुक पारेर भत्काइदियो।  यी सबै भौतिक क्षतिभन्दा बढी त्यो दिन मानव क्षति भएको थियो जुन हाम्रो राष्ट्रका लागि सधैंभरि अपूरणीय हुनेछ। वर्षौंदेखि बस्तै आएको आफ्नु प्यारो घरले किचेर कैयौं मानिसको ज्यान गएको थियो, त्यो दिन। भत्किएका भौतिक संरचना बिस्तारै बिस्तारै पुन: निर्माण हुँदै जालान्। तर त्यो क्रुर एक क्षणमा गुमेका निर्दोष जीवनहरु हामी कसै गरे पाउन सक्तैनौं। अझ ती गुमेका जीवनसंगै फुटेका, भत्किएका र तहसनहस भएका जीवित प्रियजनका मन शायदै पुरानै स्थितिमा पुगेर जोडिएलान्!
हो, यस्तो कहालीलाग्दो मानव क्षतिको कुरा मनमा आउँदा अपार्टमेन्टहरुले लगाएको गुन सम्झिन्छु, म। काठमाडौंमा त्यत्रा त्यत्रा गगनचुम्बी अपार्टमेन्टहरु भैकन पनि तिनले एउटई  मानव क्षति गराएको कम से कम मैंले अहिलेसम्म सुनेकी छुईन। यो आफैंमा महत्वपूर्ण कुरा होइन र? ती अपार्टमेन्टका भित्ता अवश्य चर्किए, फुटे। बाहिरबाट हेर्दा ती भवन डरलाग्दा देखिए तर तिनले आफूमा आश्रित व्यक्तिहरुलाई बचाए। यस्ता कुरा त संचारमाध्यममा आएका देखिंनन्।
कुलेश्वर अपार्टमेन्टस् 

म भन्दिन - यी अपार्टमेन्टहरु पूर्ण रुपमा दोषमुक्त छन्। यिनमा आफ्नै किसिमका कमी कमजोरी पक्कै छन्। सुन्नमा आएको छ - कतिपय यस्ता भवनहरु सरकारी मापदण्डअनुरुप छैनन्। नक्शा पास गर्दा तेह्र तलाको गर्ने अनि बनाउन चाहिं सत्र तलासम्मको बनाउने खबर नि प्रकाशमा आएका छन्। यस्तो ठगी गर्ने काममा संग्लग्न हुनेहरुलाई त यथोचित् कारवाही गर्नै पर्छ - यसमा दुई मत छैन। प्रष्ट छ - व्यक्तिगत घरभन्दा यस्ता सामूहिक घर बनाउने काम बढी संवेदनशील हुन्छ किनभने एउटा अपार्टमेन्ट बिल्डिंगमा कैयौं परिवार रहेका हुन्छन्। त्यसैले यी भवन निर्माणमा गरिने कुनै किसिमका सम्झौता स्वीकार्य हुने छैनन्। सीमित व्यक्तिले नाफा खाने निहुँमा सयौं मानव जीवनसँग खेलवाड गर्न कहाँ पाइन्छ र?   

यहाँ मेरो बहस खालि के हो भनें सबै अपार्टमेन्टहरुलाई एउटई खाले लेन्स लगाएर आम मानिसकासामू प्रस्तुत् गर्नु उचित होइन। कतिपय अपार्टमेन्टहरु अझै पनि बस्न योग्य छन्। उदाहरणका लागि हामी बसिरहेको कुलेश्वर अपार्टमेन्टस्। काठमाडौंका ८०% घरहरु पूर्ण वा आंशिक रुपमा क्षतिग्रस्त भएको अहिलेको परिप्रेक्षमा मरमतको खाँचो त कुन् घरलाई परेको छैन र? यस्तो मरमतबाट भने हाम्रो अपार्टमेन्ट पनि अछुतो छैन। हाम्रो छिमेकी मेट्रो अपार्टमेन्टस् बाहिरबाट हेर्दा डरलाग्दो देखिन्छ। यहाँ कोठाका भित्ताभित्तै खसेका छन्। यसो आँखा उठाएर मास्तिर हेर्दा कोठाको दृश्य छंगाछुर देखिन्छ। यस्तो क्षतविक्षत देखिए तापनि मेट्रोको बनावट मजबूत छ र यो ढल्दैन भनेर इन्जिनियरहरुले भनिदिएपछि यहाँ बस्ने मानिसको चहलपहल बढ्न थालेको देखिन्छ, अचेलभरि।     
शायद मानिसहरुले सत्तोसराप गर्ने अरु अपार्टमेन्टहरुको बनावट पनि मेट्रोको जस्तै मजबूत होला। त्यसैले त ती यतिका भूकम्प र पराकम्पका धक्का झेलेर ठडिएकै छन्, भलै तिनको बाह्य रुप बिग्रिएको होस्। साँच्चै नै ती ढलेर मानिसलाई किच्ने सम्भावना भएको भए त सम्बन्धित निकाय, व्यक्ति अथवा सरकारले नै यतिन्जेलसम्म तिनको व्यबस्थापनका लागि कुनै न कुनै पहल गर्दा हुन्। कानमा तेल हालेर किन बस्ता हुन् उनीहरु

जुनसुकै वस्तुका असल र खराब पक्ष हुन्छन् भन्ने कुरा सबैलाई थाह छँदैछ। त्यसैले अपार्टमेन्टमा पनि यी दुवै भेटिन्छन्। मलाई चित्त नबुझेको कुरो खालि सबैतिरबाट यसका नकारात्मक पक्षलाई मात्र देखाउनु हो। मैंले अनुभूति गरेको, अपार्टमेन्टहरुको सबभन्दा ठूलो सुन्दरता आफू बिग्रिएरै, भत्किएरै भए पनि आफूलाई विश्वास गरेर त्यहाँ बसेका मानिसहरुलाई एउटी आमाले आफ्ना सन्तान जोगाए जस्तै गरी जोगाउनु हो। देश रोइरहेको र चरम संकटको अवस्थाबाट गुज्रिरहेको वर्तमान समयमा यो मनन गर्न योग्य छैन र? अपार्टमेन्टका सबै खराब कुरा एकापट्टि र एउटई असल कुरा, जीवन रक्षा, अर्कोपट्टि भए पनि यही पाटोले अघिल्लो पाटोलाई जित्तैन त? दु:खको कुरो अपार्टमेन्टहरुले मानव जातिका लागि लगाएको यो गुन प्रकाशमा आउन सकेन।