Reality behind closed doors  
Barring a handful of exceptions, there are very few people who take in other people’s children with the sole intention of providing a good home and better education for them.

For thirteen years old Pratima Bhujel,* parents and siblings are like faint shadows of a distant past. She was only four years old when she was brought to Kathmandu to work as a domestic help. Every single day for the next nine years, she worked for the same family. During this time, she was never allowed to talk to anybody back home, go to school, eat enough food or take a brief respite from the household chores.

“I was forced to carry huge jars of water from the nearby stone tap. If I failed to wake up at five and get water the first thing in the morning, they would tie me up, push me to the floor and hit me hard,” she says, pointing to the side of her face that used to be covered with cuts and bruises. “I also had to clean the house, wash the clothes and do the dishes for all seven members of the family.”

  Nepali stage Yesterday today and tomorrow  
In his 2008 book ‘Theatre for Transformation’, Ghimire Yubaraj, a famous theatre artist for 15 years now, states that every theatre in the world has its root in culture. “Every ancient theatre started as a form of honoring the Gods,” he says.

According to him, theatre in Nepal is believed to have started around 2400 years ago in a similar manner to worship the Gods, and the earliest recorded performance was the Harisiddhi dance. “Earlier on, dances were theatre performances,” he adds. “In Nepal, even during the 1980’s, musicals with songs and dances inspired by Hindi films were staged as theatre performances.”

  THE FEMALE FACTOR Delivering babies without medical attention  
Women in the village are not aware of the need of medical intervention while delivering babies.

Khanti Sharki of Atichaur Village is nine months pregnant. While regular health checkup is essential during such condition, the 30-year-old mother of already four kids has never even seen a health post. All her children were born at home and Khanti does not think medical facility is necessary for the one growing inside her womb, either.

“No one in our village goes to the health post. Babies are born at home,” said Khanti.

  Good girls bad boys  
It is said that men want a good girl who is bad only for them, and women want a bad boy who is only good for them.

When young, educated and beautiful Nihita Biswas declared her feelings for the convicted murderer Charles Shobhraj, the world was in shock. Many suspected that it was a ploy for publicity.

  A Different Nepal  
The women of remote Bajura District are compelled to give birth while walking up and down the road with heavy loads on their back.

The people of mid- and far-western hill districts like Bajura, Bajhang, Mugu, Humla, and Jumla practice seasonal migration. So the women of these districts give birth to children during the journey.

Twenty-five-year-old Abakati Thapa from Agaupani of Pandusen VDC-7 is nearing her due date. It is past nine months since she became pregnant. Her family has descended to Budakot of Achham to avert the cold of the winter. Her family is preparing to return home and she is worried she may give birth to a child on the way. She has neither got medical checkup nor any immunization.

  The Need for Wisdom  
  BY Jharana Bajacharya Rashid  
The development of wisdom is on three fronts.

The first is the learning aspect: That is picking up and assimilating ideas. Conceptual wisdom or theory can be obtained from a book or a talk.

  Father A daughter's best friend  
A daughter is her father’s princess regardless of how old she is.

Life doesn’t come with an instruction book; that’s why you have fathers!

Nivida Lamichhane, 23, proprietor of Writeweavers, shares the story surrounding her birth: Her maternal grandmother told her that her beloved Baba didn’t turn up to see her until seven hours after her birth.

  FICTION The One: A love story  
They say fact can be stranger than fiction. Not in my case. I believe my real life story is pretty mundane. But the editor I write for didn´t buy it when I pitched it to her. Hence the label ´fiction´ attached to this piece.

She thought I was kidding. But I know that she knew I was serious when I confessed my love for her.

I first saw her on my way to school. She was with a friend. Both of them were in ash-colored skirts, white shirts and deep-blue sweaters, the knots of their stripped navy-and-light-blue ties barely visible in their truncated V´s. Her friend, it would always be the same friend, was fair, really fair, Snow White-ish fair. I remember her so clearly for the contrast she offered walking by her friend.

  BOOK CHAT Our best writings are about ourselves  
Rajan Prasad Pokharel, Associate Professor of English at Tribhuvan University, has six published books – two essay collections and four fictional works – to his credit. His first essay collection was published in 1993, and others followed soon after. His much-admired fiction works, “Rebels of the Mountains, “Beyond the Life Lines,” “Between Roars and Rigors,” and “The Sufferer’s Message,” were published from the United States between 2011 and 2014.

Currently, Pokharel has been traveling back and forth between Nepal and Canada, and, in the process, compiling and collecting ideas for his upcoming books. The Week’s Roshani Dhamala met up with Pokharel to talk about his writing and interests.

  REVIEW Breaking through a cocoon of solitude  
The entire landscape stands in testimony to the place’s mythical flirtations and spiritual ardor.

I have never been to Mustang. My wife has. So when she saw Michael Beck’s ‘Mustang: The Culture and Landscape of Lo’ on my table, her eyes brightened up.

Reinvigorating her memories of the “breathtaking landscapes” she trudged through during a recent trip she had taken to the mostly arid and isolated land, she turned the pages of the pictorial book with an animated anticipation. She exclaimed, “I’ve been there,” whenever her eyes fell on a picture of some place she had visited, and lamented, “Oh we missed that,” as she came across others she hadn’t.

  • Witness to history unfolding

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