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)