10 ways to view Phewa Lake

 
 
1. A flower blossoming
Imitating the raging Phewa
Slumbering like a failed ballerina
Suffering from zero ballon
 
2. Madness follows its edges
I do not ask for it
Rather, it inhere between
Two unturned stones.
 
3. An eagle soar
Low
Hungry for love
Instead, chases fishes
 
4. Fishermen laugh
Mocking the gasping fishes
Flexing their existence
Tremors
 
5. Its edges perfect
Like a despondent sound
Hungry for the next journey
Shockwaves.
 
6. A distant call
Love failing between the past
And future
A question mark.
 
7. A diamond ring
In the sky
Waiting for perfection
Lost in despair
 
8. A sad note
Letters printed everywhere
The last unknown song
Her eyes.
 
9. A desperate call
Madness lies somewhere else
True picture
Never lies
 
10. A sober man
Curses the beer
Strolling away
Light-hearted.
 
 
@ Arun Budhathoki

Drunk at Baneshwor

Between new and old Baneshwor
A thin line exists
That pushes me to the other side of the painting:
Splashing its contours, destroying what’s left;
Words screaming out from the Millennium zenith
I couldn’t even curse in French or language that I’d create on own
Suddenly smokes emerge
From the chambers of heart and soul
And boom—
Clouds of smoke,
Lights out
And my mind is on fire,
 
Can you sense what’s being done?
 
Speech sinking
Heart sinking
What shall I do this time to stay afloat?
Stitch images that no longer wish to remain stitched?
 
Da dum da dum da dum
That’s the sound of a heart breaking
Not into pieces
But into innumerable bubbles
And a child inside me pokes all of them
 
 
Go straight, turn left, turn right
Go up
Sit on a chair
Order 30ml whiskey with ice
And wait for dreams to come to you
But it never comes
A life inside lives
A mind inside minds
What can be undone?
 
A hush a silence
Four hands carrying a bloody revolving machine
Shaking like earthquake is inside you
 
 
 
Eyes sinking
Heart sinking
And the glass mock you too
 
Da dum da dum
What’s that sound?
 
Arun Budhathoki

Drunk at Basantapur

Three cups fail to balance
Sanity and drunkenness,
Spewing words of aggression and hatred
Cursing the Nepali Judas,
Did he shake hands with the Devil?
 
Three more glasses
The world comes in crashing
Three more glasses
The world comes in crashing
 
And the drinking never stops
Three more glasses
Three more sips
And the mouth stretches like the gulf
Between sanity and insanity
Between faithfulness and betrayal
 
And why wouldn’t these two drink to their madness?
Their faces blurred from the glowing mirror
Their memories almost erased
 
And the drinks keep coming
While I stare at the dead mannequins
Their rotting flesh
 
And I curse at them
As I march towards the future that I make on own
 
And hips wobble
 
Almost collapsing
 
Like the house of cards that we built
And ran away to not see it being torn down
 
In dreams
I throw away the bottles that I will never drink
I puke like I’ll never puke
I’d smell of alcohol like I’d never again
 
In dreams
I curse the rotting mannequins
And perform a mancraft on them
Stabbing their bleak future
 
Laughing hysterically
As they fall from the sky
Egg-like,
Poached; raw,
Suits you well, bastards.
 
Arun Budhathoki

Ode to Antibiotics

You come to me
Like a slow death
Clapping your majestic hands—
Dum, dum…DUM DUM (the sound getting heavier)
Piercing through my slumbering mind and ears
How dreadful it is to drag your lost legs towards the horizon of madness?
 
Dum Dum DUM
What infertile trajectory can it perceive?
What insanity will it expose?
 
Throttling the mind’s twisted thoughts
It squeezes my body
Like you’d do to an innocent animal
 
But the question here is not about
Silence
Or Madness
 
Or indefinite quietness
 
Hum hum hum OOOOOOOOOOM
Foolish man! That’s all I hear—
And the sheep in the fox’s skin yells at me—
I AM STILL YOUR CHILDHOOD FRIEND—
I LOOKED AT HIM AND SHOUTED BACK ‘F*** OFF WANKER’-
Excuse my insolence, but you’d understand that poets are no real heroes
But you’d understand that poets are no real heroes or shiny stars
Who would sweep your feet away, to the shore of pleasure and pleasure and pleasure
SILENCE
 
The Mad Man Speaketh
Why would you write such nonsense?
This madness needs to stop. Do you intent to scream in a similar manner?
Who cares?
 
And I run run run
After the hellish immortality and mortality of pleasure and pain and pleasure and pain
My fingers rotting
Like the freaking clouds
 
Isn’t this supposed to be Spring?
 
And I poke poke poke
Making it spill its bloody blood
 
Ah! Here comes the foolish man
From above and side-by-side
What mockery do you spew at me?
Just because I run away
 
From your foolishness
 
Now try to unwrap what’s not yours
And let it go
 
Sometimes things can go easy
If you compete with yourself
 
I have no intention to send my unborn children’s pictures
To the foolish man
 
Let him rot away
 
 
So I run run run run
And dance to the tunes of DUM DUM DUM
(the sound getting heavier)
 
 
Ah this craziness
When I get silent
 
I’m thinking to attack
 
Not people, but words.
 
Instead
I’m wounded
 
By this bloody antibiotics.
 
 
 Arun Budhathoki
 

Why Digital Space matters

Human civilization till the advent of cyber technology had revolved around the idea of space in varied contexts. Space matters whether it’s physical, cultural, emotional, intellectual, digital…the list goes on. What I argue here is that since we live in the age of internet explosion, digital space is becoming an important issue. Moreover, digital space should be a right that anyone can exercise. That’s exactly what I’ve started to do now.

After returning from Pokhara city last week, west of Kathmandu, I had this terrible feeling of having too many Facebook friends. It never bothered me—I have been using the social site for a couple of years—and suddenly I had developed this phobia where I feel exposed to so-called Facebook friends with whom I had almost no interaction. They had become a regular online spectator, constantly scrutinizing my posts and photos, and even one school friend inquiring if I had a girlfriend or not. Social media, thus, has created a world of affirmation and confirmation where you must reveal everything. If you don’t, then, there’s some problem with you. Something grave has happened to you. Therefore, I decided I had to exercise my right to digital space—I started deleting my Facebook friends.

It was a few years ago when I had almost 5, 000 social friends on Facebook. No one knows why 5, 000 is the limit for friends on Facebook. Even 500 social friends trouble me. That’s the size of a village or a town. Just imagine if you had 500 friends in reality—would you be able to cope with them? Unfortunately, digital space is a foreign idea to South Asians at least. It is not in our culture to give ‘space’ to our family, friends and even neighbors. We openly proclaim that it is our civil right to exercise the power to not give ‘space’ to other people. This is evident in stories of women and even men complaining about ‘intrusion’ by others. What fascinates me is that cultural intrusion is not only acceptable but constantly imposed in South Asian culture. Now that physical intrusion has translated into digital intrusion. Let’s not forget it’s the same people, from the status quo culture, who do not believe in giving space to others are now stalking on you digitally. I also had to change my privacy settings because I have come to know that strangers, friends, colleagues and unknown people search me on social sites and Google. This is not a paranoia because I have enough evidence to prove that people intrude my digital space with their arrière-pensée online attitude.

First, let me give you an example of my experience with a previous employer. My colleague, who was a junior, had the audacity to search everything about me ‘online’ and then repeatedly annoy me with bizarre questions. I had to intervene by saying that he had no right to intrude my digital space. Second, my so-called friends have regularly bugged me about my relationship status. Just because I don’t post couple photos don’t mean my sexual orientation is obscure. I wonder how difficult is for Nepali women compared to me. Do we need to expose our real relationships in the digital space to receive the confirmation that we are sexually approved by others? This is baffling in the sense that we live in a society that is full of secret and unknown closets. Why don’t people reveal their closets on online media too? They won’t. People will hate me. So, the part where one tries to conceal their real relationships is judged to be ‘different’. I feel bad for LGBT, minority, Muslim, and other communities who face unusual and aggressive intrusion compared to me. Who regulates digital space? Third, digital space is occupied by so-called online police. They are everywhere. Yes, scrutinizing our posts, shares, likes and even inactivity. This attitude is now ingrained, sadly, in people who were friends in the past. You haven’t met them for long nor interact with each other so the digital connection becomes limited to ‘what you post, that’s what I see.’ My mere existence is confirmed by digital presence. Therefore, I am saying goodbye to a lot of Facebook friends. I just need digital space and it doesn’t mean I will never talk to them when I meet them in the physical world.

I am done being exposed digitally and intruded for no reason. Digital space is not a matter of choice but it’s a right that should be enshrined in the laws of a nation. Studies have confirmed that we can only have 150 friends but even that number is high especially for thinkers and writers who are treated as ‘different’ from others. Digital space is important for women and minority groups who face intrusion on a regular basis. Digital space is important for sanity. If we want to change the culture of intrusion, we must step up to regulate digital space. The question is who will do that. I suddenly feel Orwell’s spirit possessing me.

 

And Icarus falls again

Facing the door
He runs towards the window
Staring at the polluted sky
His heart choking
A big bang
Remains scattered on the floor
The Icarus falls again
Not from the sun’s heat
But from its own heartbeats.
I couldn’t sleep till 5 a.m.
But then I was roaming the dark, silent streets of Thamel—
Icarus falls again—
Staring at the dark souls—
Running towards the broken edges of this city
And Icarus falls again
Between midnight and 5 a.m.
The time when the sun begins to poke this soul
Foolishly
I can feel the winds growling outside my heart
I close the door.
They throw tantrums. I plug my ears with earphones.
I shut my ears and become a lotus-eater.
I shut my eyes, and the world drops dead.
Boom. And the Icarus falls again.
From dream.
From sleep.
From chaos.
From the deep pangs of darkness and drunkenness.
From the tremors of loneliness.
And the Icarus falls again—
Waiting for Spring and Summer
To forget its fall.
I can’t wait until 5 a.m. today
I shut my ears, and the world drops dead.
— Arun Budhathoki.

Salary Man

I am waiting for a week
For that email
With in-body instructions
That I have been hired

Hopes stay still
Telluric smell
Fingers underground
Undertaker missing

Everyone asks me
If I got hired
What’s this clishmaclaver?

Few weeks back
A palm reader saw my hands
And told bad days are to remain
For five months more
(bullshit)

I wonder at the end of the day
I’d just become a milquetoast

If I don’t get those two jobs
Will I become a jocular of this valley?

Who knows?
Fugacious madness!

City of dust

This is the city of dust
When it rains
When it doesn’t rain
When the road is pitched
When the road isn’t pitched
 
I’ve become a raconteur
This city’s madness tires to winkle me
Out of the old man’s sanity,
What is left to discuss the anomalies?
 
This city has a foul tactile
A feeling you can’t get anywhere else
 
This city soon will parlay my inability
To distinguish between dust and fresh air.
 
 
— Arun Budhathoki.

The Other Door

I couldn’t open it—an imaginary door,
It was the door; open space ab ovo,
These hands tied, ribbon-clad;
A mind can only go far
Where the winter slumbers,
The door and I are same—
Simpatico, scattered stars
The other door
I couldn’t open it—an imaginary door,
A key lost somewhere
A doorknob broken,
Eternal knock.
I couldn’t walk any further.

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
Curse at the metaphysical bodies, and bloody stars
That look at me and throw a party for the universe

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
For tears in the heart have dried up
Like the power-cuts in Kathmandu

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
Have you seen the moon laugh at your heartbreak?
I wonder how long can the heart endure

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
And let the heart do tango
Entangled with cold, dark butterflies

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
Strum my pain with invisible fingers
For the soul speaks a foreign language that no can understand

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
And drown in the saddest songs of Mariachi
I broke the ukulele’s wretched strings

If I spoke Spanish, I’d write the saddest lines tonight
For the tongue no longer can speak language of love
I guess I dumped my heart deep into Phewa Lake.

Ode to Bandipur

Four of us climbed the stairs to heaven
And pondered on the snake-like river
And pinched the cheeks of the hills
I stooped to touch the wind’s hand
Yeah, I caught it –

I caught the wind’s hands
And the heart went berserk
Beleaguering the ancient footpaths
When the fire went wild
I tried to catch the black
But only to get entangled with my own delusions

The solicitous fingers poked my heart indiscreetly
Someone had screamed –
‘You shall live alone in your senectitude’
And perhaps that prophecy haunted me whole night

Between sips of vodka and laughter
And madness that followed
Baleful hopes chased me like a hungry predator
And the words of my wise mother shook me

The sky stabbed me with enchanting murmuration
And I went into a deep, unknown slumber, with a plentiful of stars
Ultima, explosion.

What happens between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The head swings to and fro like a madman’s drunk legs

Liquor stores—closed,
Pensive eyes long to wassail till 4 a.m.
I guess I’ve become old—
Even drinking is boring these days

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
People shut themselves inside their temporary huts
There’s no jollification on the fingertips of the street person
Cold chews the subject’s homeless heart

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The streets of New Baneshwor confront me bluntly
I punch it with villainous stare
It runs away and steals tzedakah from the city
Now no one worries for others

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Men dig, dig, dig
And bright lights give them company
This heart smiles thinking about the nation’s progress

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
These eccentric fingers visit the machine twice
While mind goes away wandering, lost somewhere in the concrete woods
Moon licks the hand,
Silver-fingered.

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
New Baneshwor appears veridical
But only for a moment—
Winter chases me away
To the hut
That puts me to sleep.

Between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Life becomes an adventure.

Thoughts

I thought I could write
And then the rusty fingers
Opened their vehement eyes
And laughed terribly

I thought I could love
And then the frozen heart
Spread their Christmas legs to genuflect
Against the darkening day

I thought I could achieve sanity
And then the madness of within
Stirred a lake full of quagmire
Shaking the Tannenbaum-like mind

I thought I could write
And today I read the stories and characters that I had made
Inside my head: a cuckoo sang
And winds rocked the logic’s pendulum
The whole day a fire burnt –
Without the wick, magic.

Pokhara, brute

Brute, Brute
Under the lopsided, asymmetrical Phewa Lake
I strolled on the cracked images
Stitching etching memories onto the two-sided portrait
Burying one, selling the other two
Brute brute
Pokhara
Hammering the heart
Tossing the pieces into the universe: that’s how the stars were formed,
Whenever a star twinkles
This heart aches in pain,
Whenever a star explodes
This heart stops beating
And the brute Lake continues to stare at me
Like a drunk fool, stammering, stuttering
Puking meaningless free verses

After the pause

“”””Is it Tuesday that compels me to write more?””””

 

Screen 2:

Is it Tuesday that compels me to write more?

 

Saturdays are nuisances

Dictating what comes after the comma or semicolon

 

What drudgery the broken walls commit

Smothered lines crossing the hazy faultlines

 

And a bit of shake on the Himalayas

The rocks rumble underneath the ring of fire

 

A knock on the forehead: who is it?

 

<!doctype html>

<html>

Follow the end of the coding the universe

Or this existence

 

What will follow the nuanced heart’s hyperlinks?

Endless blank pages of the universe

Or the eternal error

Or hating what is to come?

 

Happiness is not guaranteed.

</html>.

समय

समय कस्तो चीज हो?
डाक्टर अचम्म भन्दा अचम्म हो
उसले भनिन – ‘समय अघि हिड्नु’
मैले भने – ‘म समय पछि हिडिरहेको छु
किनभने म समयलाई बुझ्न प्रयास गरिरहेछु’
समय के हो?
आज पैसा छ भन्दैमा सेल्फ-सर्बिस ठाउँमा
स्टाफलाई खान ल्याऊ भन्ने
समयले भोलि त्यो स्टाफलाई धनि बनाउला
अनि उनीहरुलाई गरिब
समय के हो?
पैसाको पछि भाग्नु या समस्यादेखि
समय नमिले जेगरेनी नहुने
समय मिले जेपनि हुने
हाम्रो देशको समय आउदै होला
म मेरो देश र आफ्नैको लागि
समय पछि हिडदै छु
किनकि समयको चाल बुजेर
जिन्दगी जिउनु सहि हो रे
तर समय के हो?
समय हाम्रो जीवनको एक अन्तरल होला
जहाँ हामी सपना बुनछौ
र हाम्रो छायाहरुसंग बार्तालाप गर्दछौ
एउटा चरा उड्यो
अनि मैले मेरो ८ पात्रहरुलाई धिक्कार
भन्दै आफुले दिमागमा बनाको कुर्सिमा
फनफनी घुमे
सदैको लागी
सायद समय येही हो|

Ossington, Toronto

you’re between my thighs
poking
hidden
unfurled
tonight
Toronto will look
similar to Kathmandu
colors scents perfumes
different struggles
same people
same dreams
same hopes
same breath
twin souls
poking this soul
indefinitely
while someone
whispers from a pond
scores of houses cramped up
people camouflaged in Halloween costumes
walking around
Ossington
Queens
a map
inside
a tired pocket
a subway
entering
the darkening heart
drunk from the sake
of Korea Town
while Kensington Market
appears in my mind
like you do
a fragment of dreams
memories
I’ve to let go
like I let you go
leave the Christie St.
will you meet me at an unknown
station
tomorrow
this heart?

Thamel

Boring-mail, Boring-mail
With the lights gone out in the slumbering sky
The travel from Shantinagar to Ratnapark is 1 hour
Blame the bloody traffic!
That makes Kathmandu a dull beatific dungeon
That everyone wants to escape from—
I heard people even ship their photos to the northern wilderness
Hoping someone would invite them for a cup of cold ambrosia
Somewhere in the unknown future
(only bones will be transported)
And then in front of the Full Circle
The dimwit lionizes us sarcastically—
We curse him and show the middle finger dreamingly
And rush to a cramped place
Drinking freaking expensive liquor and dancing in a cubicle
Where men spread everywhere like a virus
While women in few numbers linger here and there
Like a chained butterfly,
As we walk around Jamal and Durbarmarg
Our variegated visions try to measure the future of the nation
And flee from those who long to osculate us for money
And flee from the flickering apparition of the nation
Where it promises to not do anything
But just shake its decaying hips against the bleak noises of
Boring-mail, boring-mail.

Note: ignore the mediocre details (not revealed)

१०० रुपियाको नुडल्स

अफिस सकेर बाहिर खाना जादा

भोको पेट लिएर यता-उता जादा

वालेटको न्यास्रो अनुहार हेर्दा

हरेक दिन ‘तिम्रो लागि’ सुनेको अवस्था

र हरेक दिन सस्तो ठाउँ खोजेको अवस्था

 

कठै, सस्ठो ठाउँमा मिठो नहुने रे!

कठै, महँगो ठाउँमा महँगो र मिठो हुने रे!

 

अस्तित सस्तो ठाउँमा महँगो र नमिठो खानुपर्यो

र महँगो ठाउँमा सस्तो र मिठो (खै के एक्स्ट्रा तिर्नु पर्ने रे)

 

फेरि सस्तो ठाउँमा मिठो र सस्तो खान पायो

 

१०० रुपियाको जिन्दगी

१०० रुपियाको खाजा

जुन देशमा एउटा मानिसलाई १०० रुपिया कमाउन गारो छ

म हरेक दिन १०० रुपियाको आँखा र पेट लिएर

पुल काटेर

 

आफ्नो अस्तित्वलाई भुल्दै

१०० रुपिया खै कोको लाई अर्पण गर्छु

 

येस्तै रहेछ जिन्दगी, कठै|

Dashain: Dus hai

I heard people scream: Dashain ayo,
I only heard Dus hai
Dus hai…Dus fingers
Dus lives

Ten monsters in the head deliquesce
Ten mouths blab Dus hai Dus hai
Like the unknown screams between my toes
Wearing an underwear made from the understory

Whatever I say is invective
Now scream Dus hai Dus hai
Like two glasses done, three glasses left to finish
Chuck chuck chuck chuck
Whose name is that? Dus hai

My words deleterious
Ears filter every single word except Dus hai
So now I can only understand Dus hai

If you want to communicate with me
Say—Dus hai

You’ll get Dus as a guerdon
As I stroll on Macdam

Counting Dus lives Dus stones
Drinking Dus bottles of euphoria

I can only hear Dus hai Dus hai
Far from the silent crowd

Umbrella

When it rains
I’ll think of you
Creating a shadow of you
I still wonder as why you’ve vamoosed
Two things in a row
Is this the sign of too many things going away?
The nature of existence is often eristic—
We live to die, or we die to live?
The clouds of Jamal never bothered me—
That bloody nuisance of torturing the soul,
The thief will consider dying as death becomes a lodestone to it—
I asked my soul if it was still raining,
And I heard scratches on the mind’s blank thoughts
A testudinal voice
Failing to recover from the sketchy errors,
If an ancient poet grieved over the Paradise Lost
I’d for the empyreal umbrella,
Its shadow no lingers around me
Its figure turning amphiboly,
The problem is not with the rain
Or the absence of the umbrella,
Its image haunts the mind constantly—
Like a man strolling drunk towards nothingness.

Look, there’s rain spluttering.

Waiting for the Coffin Box

CHARACTERS

SHANTI: Twenty, and a gold-digger. Beautiful.
PRAKASH: Thirty, six feet tall. Ugly.

SETTING

The country’s only international airport, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), witnesses thousands of nationals and internationals leave and arrive every day. It is Monsoon and the clouds appear morose…rain hits the windows between the intervals of thundering and lightening. It’s ten a.m.

[At rise: SHANTI stands in front of the departure gate. Her kinky dress easily attracts onlookers and taxi drivers. She’s wearing a one-piece, red shoes, by the side of the road, and carrying a small black handbag. She is young, fit and sexy to make anyone crazy. She wears pink lipstick, crochet, heavy makeup, purple eyeliner, and an expensive looking watch. She checks her departure time and then sits on a chair, inside the maudlin waiting room, checking her smartphone. Shanti is busy checking in. PRAKASH enters the room, dressed in an expensive-looking suit, spots Shanti. Prakash sits next to Shanti, crossing his right leg away from her.]

PRAKASH: I love rain, do you?

[Shanti is busy engrossed in checking someone’s photo, little cares what the other person is saying, forcing Prakash to look around and glare at few teenage girls walking towards Gate 4.]

PRAKASH: Everyone wants to go abroad these days. Are you going too?

SHANTI: What you staring at? Leave me alone, uncle.

[Continues to like Facebook photos and crosses her left leg away from him. Prakash doesn’t feel berated but seems interested.]

PRAKASH: Do you have time for coffee?

[Prakash knows she won’t refuse. Shanti immediately turns off her phone and puts it inside her handbag.]

SHANTI: Coffee? Why not lunch? You think I’m cheap, huh.

[Prakash laughs.]

PRAKASH: I think you’re rich, fashionable and beautiful. Dinner?

SHANTI: Yeah, freaking rich. If I was rich what the hell would I be doing at this hour, huh? Dinner sounds good.

PRAKASH: Great.

[They get distracted.]

PRAKASH: The restaurants suck in this airport. I wonder where would be the best place to take you out for dinner. Oh wait, why is that lass walking upside, down?

[Shanti scratches her head and ignores.]

PRAKASH: I am one of the richest men in Nepal. You have no idea who you are talking with. But I’m sad today because my wife is returning.

SHANTI: I am really sorry about that. You should be happy she’s back.

PRAKASH: I don’t know how to explain. I even had decided to build the new 10 storeys hotel for her.

SHANTI: Wow! Isn’t that romantic? I wish someone would do that for me.

PRAKASH: Is money important or love? How would you measure happiness?

SHANTI: I hate money. Love is what I need.

PRAKASH: Exactly, right.

SHANTI: Yes.

[Silence as Prakash stares at the television. Shanti moans; stretch her arms.]

PRAKASH: I hate televisions. They tell you to do crazy stuff.

SHANTI: Like what?

PRAKASH: It wants me to divorce my wife and marry you.

[Shanti’s eyes widen, starts walking away, stops at a coffee shop. She orders for two Americano. Prakash reaches the spot.]

SHANTI: Stop following me. Go away.

PRAKASH: I love coffee. Why don’t I buy one for you? Let’s talk calmly.

SHANTI: Okay, give me one reason.

PRAKASH: Well the television told me to divorce my wife and marry you.

SHANTI: Don’t you understand Nepali!?!

PRAKASH: I speak French, German, Hebrew, Malayalam, Chinese, and Japanese.

SHANTI: Impressive! You must be a big shot. Let’s sit for coffee then.

[The waiter brings two Americanos to the table.]

SHANTI: I already ordered for both of us. Look how charming I am.

PRAKASH: I think that waiter wants to kill me. I better call my security.

SHANTI: Don’t be silly. You were saying about marrying me. Will you love me endlessly?

PRAKASH: Love is an incurable disease. Do you know how much money I got?

SHANTI: How can you attribute such nonsense to the meaning of love? I have been loved multiple times.

PRAKASH: I have no idea where my wife is. Do you know where she’s coming from?

SHANTI: I have no idea.

[Silence. Both of them enjoy their coffee while getting distracted again.]

PRAKASH: What do you do for a living? Fashion designer, perhaps?

SHANTI: Yes, you are right. How did you guess it? I am one of the renowned international designers in Nepal right now. Look how beautiful I am.

PRAKASH: Why are you here? Are you waiting for someone?

SHANTI: I was, apparently, but looks like he might not be coming any soon.

PRAKASH: Husband? Boyfriend?

SHANTI: Just someone. Nothing serious. You have no idea how your wife is coming?

PRAKASH: I don’t give a damn. She left me, you know.

SHANTI: She must be a mad woman to leave your wealth…I mean you.

PRAKASH: That’s all right. I have met you know. Isn’t life wonderful? My wife deserted me and now I am meeting you. This is just awesome.

SHANTI: I like your suit. What plans you have for marriage? Won’t your wife kill me?

PRAKASH: No…she is returning for good. I’ll protect you.
SHANTI: How sweet of you! I wish I had met you a long time back. Propose me, won’t you?

PRAKASH: That’s what worries me. What if you leave me behind for someone else?

SHANTI: I won’t. So where do you live? I want to come to your house.

PRAKASH: My house is so beautiful. I am darn sure you will enjoy your every moment.

SHANTI: What about your wife?

PRAKASH: I have no idea. The last time I heard she told me she had come in a box.

SHANTI: What do you mean? Is your wife a doll? Mannequin? Don’t joke.

PRAKASH: [laughs hysterically]] No, she left me and was sleeping with this Arab guy in the middle east. And she returned in a box.

SHANTI: What box?

PRAKASH: Coffin Box. 2015.

SHANTI: You fool.

[Nepal police and the staff of Patan Hospital arrive at the café. Crowds gather around.]

Stranger 1: What happened?
Stranger 2: Oh, the girl is arrested for hoodwinking migrant men, and the guy is suffering from schizophrenia.

END OF PLAY

Flipkart’s recent advertisement promotes racial stereotyping

Let’s be honest with each other—humans are racist in one or the other way. Racism is widespread, evident in the advertisements worldwide. blogger-image-432406418.jpg

The collective hatred of a race or group is visible in innumerable visual advertisements. They are often released by several companies across the world.

This kind of advertisements is wrong because it promotes racial stereotyping. It tries to convince customers that it is okay to feel superior. And companies engage in such act. Such racist ads also reflect a community’s attitude against others.

Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce store, posted a video advertisement ‘Kids Are Back’. The ad had three children posing as a Saabji (master) and the other two as security guards. One of the guards was wearing a Gurkha cap (topi) and bearing a Khukuri (a symbol of honor and valor of the Nepali). He got called out as ‘bahadur’ by the Saajbi. The term bahadur means brave but it gave a derogatory term in the ad.

The Gurkha Samaj in India immediately reacted against the untoward racist advertisement. They filed a case at a police station in Delhi. Flipkart received several complaints and negative feedbacks about the advert. And the company issued an apologetic statement that it had no intention to hurt the community.

But why do companies and people act racists in the first place? It is amusing because they later expect to receive forgiveness.

The Gurkha community and Nepalis have faced racism in few Hindi movies too in the past. The baffling part is there are Indian Nepalis living in India who have to face such ridiculous racist ad. At the same time, they hear the racist term ‘bahadur’ by their own fellow people. Even Amir Khan played in a Coca-Cola advertisement years ago as a Nepali guide who acted dumb. Thus, portraying Nepalis as pretentious and having a low IQ.

The Flipkart advertisement tries to argue that Gurkhas are Bahadurs – watchmen or security guards. We know that Gurkhas are Nepalis so it means all Nepalis are Gurkhas and security guards. This vagarious ad gives the idea that the job of guarding houses belongs to Gurkhas. There’s a clear sign of job assigning via the video. But it’s not just Gurkhas and Nepalis that are victims to racial stereotyping.

Most races and social groups have encountered racism. The sad part is that certain media groups are in the control and ownership of the other class. Would an Indian company make an advertisement video depicting Indians as petty thieves? Who remembers the infamous Ashton Kutcher Popchips advert? He played as Raj, a Bollywood producer, looking for love. The Indian community in the U.S. was swift to react to it as being racist. They commented that referring Indian Americans and immigrants as Raj wasn’t acceptable. The brown makeup of the American actor didn’t favor well with many.

Racial stereotyping through advertisements has lasted for years. The western media have aired ads depicting racial hatred against blacks, Hispanics, and browns. Unfortunately, several big companies published such ads.

I have no memory of advertisements depicting Indians as superior in Nepali ads. But, I have seen people hating Indians particularly. Also, there is evidence of racism in Nepali media and cinema against certain groups and India.

It seems multinational companies in India like Flipkart do not care about other communities. They lack the humility to acknowledge them as humans. Racial stereotyping has a domino effect since Indians become victims of racism abroad. In return, they do the same back home. We know about incidents where North East Indians have been victims to racist slurs. They hear names such as ‘Chinese’, ‘Chinky’, and ‘dogs and cow eater’. When racism hits television channels, what it does is it tells people that it is okay to be a racist and it is normal.

The abnormality is that particular racist adverts become aired again and again. Those ads shape people to hate and mistreat those who look different from them.

It is still unfortunate that a democratic country like India suffers from ads like Fair & Lovely. Any person with an average IQ knows that a whitening cream will not change the color of their skin.The advertisement has constructed a visual narrative that being fair-skinned means to be beautiful. So black skin means to be less of a human and inferior.

blogger-image--1690629627.jpg

Nepalis, Indians, and South Asians have faced constant racism at home and abroad. It doesn’t matter which social group you belong to because you will face racism once in a lifetime somehow. There’s a difference between becoming victim to an individual racism and a collective one. The media and advertising world of India need revamp for its people and neighbors. The constant bombardment of ads about whitening cream to make the skin fairer is harmful. Also, picking on Gurkhas who actually protect the Indian borders needs to stop. We already live in 2016 and it is the time that we move beyond petty racial stereotyping and hatred. The malice advertisements that divides communities and nations in fact promote counter racism. Or there’s none in the advertisement and media sector to offer sagacious ideas? Racism is often a social construct, and other times it is due to an individual’s nature and behavior. But does it mean we continue to promote stereotyping through different forms? No.

For now, Flipkart has removed the topi and Khukuri from one of the children in the advertisement. They also have modified the voice. The original video too is not available on their YouTube channel. Their press statement sounded as if they were sorry but not in real. It is one thing to be diplomatic and apologizing for real. The present and the future generation doesn’t need a sorry after committing a blunder. If adults act in such a manner, I wonder what ethical message we are imparting to our children. That we live in a racist world, and it’s okay to be racist.

And the Children Danced

 

As I marched outside

Hoping to buy a bottle of coffee (damn they are expensive)

And a can beer (damn they are expensive)

My cheerful niece welcomed me, shouting—It’s a Mama,

And I held her like my own daughter (how precious children are)

And came my mother, taking her upstairs,

I walked outside in the darkness

Pretending I was strong enough to live alone (I might not be sober yet)

Following the dusty trails of Shantinagar,

Scores of children swarmed me

And I saw the Lakhe Dance

Lakhe! The protector of the children

My heart cheered for them and soul jumped like a small kid

And then my heart stooped imagining their future

Yonder the children danced merrily

And I was somewhere looking for a tonic to forget myself

Or forget what’s in the present and what’s to come in the future

And the children danced mightily

Roaring like the first sons and daughters of humanity

And the children danced gaily

Cheering for the Lakhe who fell in love with a girl from Majipa,

Till date the demon in the form of human lives in the city

Dancing for his beloved and protecting the children from other demons,

And the children danced along the Ranjitkars

And I returned home thinking of their future

 

I too will transform into a human next day

Inheriting the Lakhe dance.

 

 

 

 

Sunny Love  

Summer is gone

The grasses are shedding their natural color

The eagles visit me no more

Yet when I sit back on my Autumnal couch

I think of you—my angel, my love—

It pains to the core when you misunderstand me—

Do you know what it takes to try and love, and love and try?

 

I have stopped buying books

As I fear knowledge now

I have understood that knowledge drives you mad

So does pride and stubbornness!

 

If you can’t disregard venial words

I wonder if the hidden closets will tickle your bones

Even the clothes inside insinuate the idea

That those things will be okay

That you’ll understand

 

I have carved a door for you—

Will you continue to stay outside in the storm smiling insanely?

 

Time to come home.

 

 

Ode to Chitlang

Walking through the stony, curvy roads from Godam

To the plains of Chitlang

The ghost of Devkota haunted me from Thankot

And welcomed on the stony path of the ancient town of Makwanpur,

The opacus clouds chased me like a wild hound

Smelling fresh, dirty meat imported straight from Kalanki

Woof! Woof! The adulterated heart screamed

And the legs fretted

And the hands fretted

And the wild’s asses farted,

 

The smell overcoming the stale odour of the capital city

When I returned home

I saw bodies falling to the earth like flies like mosquitoes like everything

That falls down bang! Bang!

 

People change

Time changes

The person who loved you

Won’t be the same

What remains is you—Mesmerism—everything else decays,

Walking back

With the help of the namby-pamby legs

And a dangling bus

 

A drunk vehicle strolling left to right

Stultify people

The last base appeared

With her mixed words

 

If tomorrow she leaves

That place will remain but changed

I too might disappear

 

So what matters at the end?

Memories, no one cares about it.

 

 

 

हात मिलाउन्न

महोदय, माफ गर्नुस तर हात मिलाउन्न

किनभने मैले बिर्सिसके कसरी मिलाउने

अगि लगेर पनि के, पछाडी राखे पनि के?

हजुरको हजारौ अनुहारहरु देखिने

तेसैले अब म हात मिलाउन्न

 

महोदय, माफ गर्दिन म तलाई

किनभने मैले बिर्सिसके कसरी सम्मान दिने भनेर

रिसाएको अनुहार, हासेको अनुहार देखाउनु तलाई?

तेरो हजारौ क्रियाकलाप देखेर

अब म हात मिलाउन्न

 

प्रिये समाज, माफ गर्दिन म तलाई

किनभने त १७६८ देखि भेडा जसरी बाचिराको छस

तानासाही राज्यहरु प्च्च तलाई

कैले देश सपारछु भनेको छस?

तेसैले अब म हात मिलाउन्न

 

प्रिये देश, माफ गर्दिन म तलाई

किनभने जैले त अन्धकारमा रमाउनछस

घरि बत्तिबाट भागेर, घरि सुर्यबाट भागेर

खै कता रमाउनछस

तेसैले अब म हात मिलाउन्न तलाई

 

महोदय, अब म हात मिलाउन्न

हजुरको चर्पिखाना गएर हात नधुने बानी

खाना खादा, ल्यापटपमा खै के हेर्ने बानी

अनि देशलाई माया गर्न नजान्ने

अब म हात मिलाउन्न

 

अब म हात मिलाउन्न

अब म आफनै हात आफैलाई मिलाउन्न

किनकि मेरो हात बिलिन भैसक्यो|

Wednesdays

How do you deal with insomnia?
you cut off coffee
you become active the whole day
you cook
wash
eat
write
and go outside for something

and you wait for sleep
to enclose you

you try so hard
you become a saxicoline

you try to understand the patterns of sleeping
and you tell yourself
you’ll go to Shoppers this day
to buy some sleeping pills

before it gets worst

What Does a Man need?

Last night I tried to sleep
at the time of Cinderella’s transformation
I had no shoes to wear or lose
but just a loose bowel
and there was a tremor within
and then an explosion of expired sprouts & noodles

between 12 to 3
I asked myself
what does a man need?
pride
glory
name
legacy
riches
power
a starving scop

I was lying down like a dead log
I was always so

I tried to avoid the neck’s fumarole
it terrified me
like living and life terrifies me

and I kept questioning myself
what does a man need?

I woke up next morning
and drank a cup of black coffee
then I realized that’s what I need

satisfying my desires

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

माइक्रोलाई मान्छेहरु बटुलेर खै कता जान हत्तार

काम गर्नेहरुलाई घर जान हत्तार

मंत्रीहरुलाई प्रधानमन्त्री हुन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पैसा कमाउन सबलाई हत्तार

काम गरेको पैसा नदिन कम्पनीहरुलाई हत्तार

जनताहरुलाई देश छोड्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

युवाहरुलाई रमाइलो गर्न हत्तार

राम्री केटीहरुलाई झन् राम्री हुन हत्तार

विदेशी हरुलाई हिमाल हेर्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

खोलालाई बग्न हत्तार

१७८६ देखि देश उभो नलाग्न हत्तार

१८०० देखि इंडियालाई नेपाल पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

नारायणहिटी दरबार लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

देशको ढुकुटी लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

सबलाई शक्ति र पैसा पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पानीलाई पानी पर्न हत्तार

रक्सी खानेलाई मात्न हत्तार

सपना देख्नेलाई सपनाको हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

अनसन बस्नेलाई जितको हत्तार

चोर काम गर्नेलाई चोरीको हत्तार

मार्नेलाई मार्नुको हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

माइक्रोलाई मान्छेहरु बटुलेर खै कता जान हत्तार

काम गर्नेहरुलाई घर जान हत्तार

मंत्रीहरुलाई प्रधानमन्त्री हुन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पैसा कमाउन सबलाई हत्तार

काम गरेको पैसा नदिन कम्पनीहरुलाई हत्तार

जनताहरुलाई देश छोड्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

युवाहरुलाई रमाइलो गर्न हत्तार

राम्री केटीहरुलाई झन् राम्री हुन हत्तार

विदेशी हरुलाई हिमाल हेर्न हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

खोलालाई बग्न हत्तार

१७८६ देखि देश उभो नलाग्न हत्तार

१८०० देखि इंडियालाई नेपाल पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

नारायणहिटी दरबार लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

देशको ढुकुटी लुट्न कसैलाई हत्तार

सबलाई शक्ति र पैसा पाउन हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

पानीलाई पानी पर्न हत्तार

रक्सी खानेलाई मात्न हत्तार

सपना देख्नेलाई सपनाको हत्तार

हत्तार हत्तारको सहर

 

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

खै, म पनि के को हत्तार गर्दै छु?

मलाई पनि थाहा भएन

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

 

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

खै, म पनि के को हत्तार गर्दै छु?

मलाई पनि थाहा भएन

यो हत्तार हत्तारको सहरमा

चिन्तै चिन्ताको सहर

टेम्पो चलाउनेलाई टेम्पो खालीहुने चिन्ता
नेताहरुलाई कुर्सिको चिन्ता
कर्मचारीलाई घुसखानाको चिन्ता
जनतालाई पैसा कसरी कमाऊ भन्ने चिन्ता
कालोबजारी गर्नेलाई कालो धन को चिन्ता
बिधार्थीलाई विदेशजानेको चिन्ता
प्रेम गर्नेलाई प्रेमको चिन्ता
प्रेम नगर्नेलाई मायाको चिन्ता
यो चिन्तै चिन्ताको सहर

चरालाई आकाशको चिन्ता
आकाशलाई घामको चिन्ता
घामलाई सौर्यमण्डलको चिन्ता
सौर्यमण्डललाई ताराहरुको चिन्ता
अनि शुन्यतालाई कसैको छैन चिन्ता

आज म शुन्यतामा परिणत भएकोछु
यो चिन्तै चिन्ताको सहरमा|

यो हल्लिने देश

यो देशमा कार हल्ले पनि के

कुर्सि र सत्ता हल्ले पनि के

हल्लिने हल्लिनछन्, जनता ताली बजाउदै बसछन्

 

यो देशमा जमिन हल्ले पनि के

घर र मुटु हल्ले पनि के

हल्लिने हल्लिनछन्, नेताहरु ताली बजाउदै बसछन्

 

यो देशमा नैतिकता हल्ले पनि के

फेसबुक र टुविटको इस्टटास हल्ले पनि के

हल्लिने हल्लिनछन्, लाज नलाग्नेले बाल दिदै बसछन्

 

यो देशमा मरे, नमरे पनि के

सास छ भने पनि के

हल्लिने हल्लिनछन्, शक्ति र पैसा हुनेहरु रमाउदै बसछन्

 

यो देशमा नक्कली डाक्टर भए पनि के

सक्कलीले न्यायको नाममा मर्न खोजे पनि के

हल्लिने हल्लिनछन्, अनैतिक कामगर्नेहरु खुसी हुँदै बसछन्

 

यो देशमा सेलेब्रिटि भए पनि के

आफुलाई भएंकर ठाने पनि के

हल्लिने हल्लिनछन्, आफ्नै बबलमा रमाउनदै बसछन्

 

यो हल्लिने देशमा धेरै जना अचम्म पाराले हल्लिदै बसछन्

एक चोटी टाइम मिलाएर आउनु होला, हल्लिनको लागी|

Unsettledment

I am in three places at the same time
two being the exception
two places where my heart belongs
two minds rattling
like the horn of a motorbike
the cursing of drunk men

I am in those three places
yet I am not even there
my heel needs a break
once saith a dragoman
the scars on your hand
will vanish
if not you will hate her for long

e pluribus unum
e pluribus unum
screams the night
this soul is unsettled once again

my sensitive skin
loses its mein

and by the faith in telegnosis

I plan to hook an anchor
in the soul
and let it sink

below the restless
oceans of

endless car alarms.

गफै गफको सहर

गफै गफको सहर
घरमा गफ, अफिसमा गफ
नया परिवर्तनको गफ, आर्थिक बिकासको गफ
गफै गफको सहर

गफै गफको सहर
संविधानको गफ, पार्टीहरुको गफ
संघयिताको गफ, मदेशीहरुको गुफ
पहाडीहरुको गुफ, इंडियाको गुफ (चीनको सास)
गफै गफको सहर

मेलम्चीको गफ, हाइड्रोपावरको गफ
ट्रेनको गफ, सलारीको गफ
प्रोमोशनको गफ, सपनाको गफ (भुकम्पको गफ)
गफै गफको सहर

प्रेमको गफ, बिहेको गफ
बच्चाको गफ, रोगको गफ
भुतको गफ, सासको गफ
गफै गफको सहर

मोबाइलको गफ, लुगाको गफ
बैंकको कार्डको गफ, सम्पतिको गफ
बर्षाको गफ, हिलोको गफ
५ बर्षमा नबनेको बानेश्वोरको बाटोको गफ
गफै गफको सहर

परिश्रम गरेर, दिमाग भएर उभो नलाग्ने सहर
चिनेको मान्छे भए सगरमाथा पुग्ने सहर
माथी पुगेको गफ, तल झरेको गफ
गफै गफको सहर

धनीको गफ, गरिबको गफ
देश छोड्नेको गफ, देशमा बस्नेको गफ
सरकारी जागिरेको गफ, अरु कामगर्नेहरुको गफ
जागिर नहुनेहरूको गफ, सोर्स-फोर्स हुनेको गफ
गफै गफको सहर

भ्रस्टाचार गर्नेको गफ, पैसा न्खानेको गफ
बाठोको गफ, सोजोको गफ
तिम्रो गफ, मेरो गफ,
गफै गफको सहर

गफमा अड्किएको गफैगफ्को जिन्दगी
यो गफै-गफको सहरलाई गफाडी सहर घोषित गर|