Nepali Kalasahitya Dot Com Pratishthan

Essay:


Yubaraj Nayaghare

Shackles Hands and the Padlock

Behold the befallen banyan and peepal trees!
Lo, everything has been devastated. Once out of order, fixing becomes an uphill task. Everywhere things lie helter-skelter, cutting a bizarre show. Patching seems impossible; leaving it is unwise as well. Our homes and front yards look pathetic. House, after all, is the safety of entire life, and with life are its present and future.
I look at our deurali and chautrari, beset by landslide. With eyes run out of tears, I stand gazing at the house and the porch abandoned years ago.
For constructing, one needs labor; for destroying, no labor, no energy is required. Look how strange our own porches and water springs look! Our own front yard appears strange, and the trail we treaded along appears quite new.
Behold, land has slid over the chautari!
Anything that is ours is in fact ours. It appears loving, and close to the heart. We feel like pouring out our entire self on every sod of soil, and empty the heart on every piece of stone. Cultivate love on every single leaf. Amid such a rainbow of dreams, long ago, we ran our eyes around, even as we talked about our backyard garden. In such clime of satisfaction, we had given speed to the youth of life! 
After a long time, fog of peace has spread over the ground, and we have returned to our own front yard. We have returned to the ridges and terraces of our own field to see the shrubs and bushes our foot-soles had touched a long time back. Pity! In absence of human touch, even the field happened to be sick, raising nothing but sores and wounds, yielding nothing but ailment of every sort.
When we left home, we were forced to move, forgetting ourselves. Rendered senseless by the repeated bang of guns and SLR, even science had been forced to flee the front yard. The serial reports of ambush, bombs and rifles had driven us away in panic, stepping over the juvenile buds of jai and champa of our own garden.
When we left home at midnight, the cows and calves in the shed looked at us with tearful eyes. The goats and kids in the pen gawked at us with stupefied looks, when we left the front yard at dawn. When we left the fringe of the yard, the pigeons jutted their heads out of the coop and observed. We smothered our hearts and left the yard. We left the attic, making our hearts all but bruised. Sewn in weapons never seen in the past, we were leaving our homes and village. We were leaving our homesteads, sliced by pain and sorrow never known in the past.
Look, the front yard is covered by weeds!
Huge wounds smeared with blood were seen all over Nepal, caused by the pain of leaving home. The country was filled with society all drowned in a panicked consciousness emanating from the sourness of leaving one's own home-yard. 
We could not help ourselves from feeling that Nepal, after all, is a deurali that narrates the duet tales of swords and wounds
Let those people, who step on the clumps of fresh blood and narrate stories of blood, take leave from our verandas! We returned to our own homesteads, carrying with us the traces of this vestigial hope!
Behold our fields — all cracked in drought!
We never compromised with our diligence. We didn’t mind the rain and the clouds, nor did we stop resisting storms and thunderbolts. We left no stone unturned to worship the earth. For us, summer and autumn were the same; autumn and summer fared alike. We exhibited no lapse in our labor, skill and constancy of life. The country imposed tax on our labor without any hesitation, and in return, gave us serial reports of hot bullets.
We had a present devoid of reaction, and a future with no answer.
In the terraces of our fields, we could hear of the youthful empire of every hue. Amid the laughter of greenery and verdant harvest, our sorrows used to recede. In the face of the rich, lush cultivation, the ripples of our tears used to hide. We used to feel the value of our life glorious, honored and distinguished. The joy of being at home was heightened, as spring seemed to have come and roosted on its very chest.
Upon returning home, we are finding it hard to believe how forlorn and lifeless the front yard too was, in absence of human beings! It seems motionless, dull with all colors faded and dry with all sap driven out. There are cobwebs of hatred, criticism, hypocrisy and ill will to be seen everywhere. They appear like long hands of crime, denigration and dictatorship.
Oh, how many cracks our homes have incurred! Who smeared so much of blood on our house beams? Who buried these corpses in our front yard? Who made our backyard garden their graveyard? I am unable to stand face to face with my country and ask these questions.    
Behold; the fencing walls have crumbled.
We had erected a very strong and reliable fence. We had raised a robust wall, investing all our art, concentration and zeal to the extent we were capable of. It seemed that storm and wind of any intensity could bring no harm to it. No attack could vanquish it at any cost. We had built our home, girdled by an extremely strong defense wall. We don’t know if there was any sort of adulteration while mixing the ingredients. The wall-joints have come off, and the walls crumbled. We are making a speculation that the chemical present in the spurious materials used in the construction has led to the fall of our walls. Those leprous hands that brought in such harmful adulterants appear strong and influential in our village at present.
In all circumstances, fire continued to flutter in our hearths mornings and evenings. The old and seasoned rules and regulations raised disciplined and honor in a strong way around the fireplace. In fact, a home is a home! We sought for balm if there was any wound and support if anyone lacked strength. But now, look how badly the roof of the house leaks today, which was once adorned with such rare specialties! The outer layer of the soil has peeled off; the frames of the doors are out of place, and the drainage is all but rotten.
We have returned home.
Sankranti and masanta — the first and the last days of the months — used to show their frenzy on the front yard. Poverty used to glitter in a show. In all circumstances, we were on the move, dragging along a compromise called life. We did make attempts to walk across a potent deluge, and at times, reached quite afar through an oblige route. Yet, we learned a lot and gave life its new speed. We never cherished the insidious dream of deluging the house away, digging out a pond in its place and swimming in the pond water. The house got support from life, and life got support from the house.
Look at the outgrowth of moss on the dhiki!
I admit that not every part of our field yielded good crops. Whatever we harvested was not all fit for storing. In other words, the yield was not sufficient enough to send a portion of it to the store. It would hardly suffice of us to pay back the portion bartered from the neighbors, and use the remaining for daily consumption. We had grinding stone and dhiki to grind, crush and slice. The dhiki had a lot of importance, due to its connectivity with the society, culture and life. Once we left home, all of such things turned strange. How dull the dhiki looks with an outgrowth of moss on it! These eyes had never seen such a layer of moss on the dhiki, even during the direst days of famine!
The lining of the wall has all peeled off. Our intimacy and sentiment that fell with the lining stir the heart with bouts of sour emotions from deep within. We have been thrown in a need to make a fresh start of the construction again. We have to make a restart of our lives from a point. A huge battle has to be undertaken to lift life fallen aground to the position of a line. Our history has crumbled, at least for once, underneath the rubble of the house. We are not defeated, but are definitely crushed by intolerable pain. All we have in our eyes is the clouds of nightmare; everything else has transpired. As for our minds, they are benumbed, and rendered almost senseless.
Devil weed has flourished over our fields. We face a compulsion to walk through danger once again. We have to move on, wearing a turban of indomitability upon our heads. After all, we have returned to our own home. We have to renovate it, improve it, and patch it, for it is the only identity of our life, and this consciousness is intact inside our hearts since time immemorial. We always registered our participation in the state's game that requires us to till our fields, cultivate them and close our eyes when the harvest is ripe. There are decrees: let this get further accomplishment. We are doomed to hear this decree both before and after leaving home.
Look at the floodwater in the front yard!
After all, we are people living arm to arm with nature. Had not we been lucky enough to do so, we would perhaps be unable to move even through a single step. It's true that the rain pouring at odd time in the night finds it easy to drift away right from the front yard. If we do not divert the floodwater, it will weaken the base of our house. We would stay busy in digging out canals and outlets, and save a stretch of land to plant chrysanthemums in our front yard. And making life stay there alert like the eyes of a juvenile student facing an examination, we lived on. In fact, life has its smiles there!
After we left home, the summer deluge happened to sweep over the garden, where the chrysanthemums bloomed.
There were trees; there were spring and fall, there were seasons. They whistled life on their own accords. Imaginations descended on the ground and whispered and crossed the ropeways of dreams to reach up to us and fill our eyes with confidence. In the rooms and porches of our houses, we shared news about the country's wellbeing. We never inquired much about those who came to take shelter here. We didn’t push the shelter-seekers out into the bush. We gifted umbrellas to the heads that couldn’t withstand scorching heat, before seeing them off. We didn’t abandon our culture of feeding our guests with whatever was at our disposal, good or bad. We had the values of the family with us, and the house had our righteousness with it. We never gathered around the frail consciousness of sweeping the litter from the front yard and throwing it indoors. This was where our victory lay.
We have, finally, returned home.
We have come home, having watched our faces at the junctions of many roads. On our way back, we have walked past many thorny groves and graveyards. We came walking across steeply slopes and ways filled with sharp spines. We have come, crossing stony routes, gorges and flooded rivers. We have come, making our ways through narrow crevices, tunnels and dark gullies, jumping across deadly slopes and breathtaking ravines. We have come, carrying with us deep bruises and gashes of deep wounds. We have arrived at this home yard, getting our skins peeled off and beset by salt and acid added to it. We have come, walking atop thorny paths.
I am trying to identify the face that put a padlock on our door. 

deurali : a wayside stone worshipped by on-foot travelers
chautrari : a wayside mound, usually underneath a tree for travelers to sit and rest for a while
dhiki: traditional rice beater, usually made from a tree bole

Translation: Mahesh Paudyal






Publisher :
Nepali KalaSahitya Dot Com Pratisthan

Distinct Advisor :
SP Koirala

Advisors :
Umesh Shrestha
Mohan Bdr. Kayastha
Radheshyam Lekali
Yograj Gautam
Dr. Hari Prasad (Manasagni)
Dr. Badri Pokhrel
Yogendra Kumar Karki
Rajendra Shalabh
Kapil Dev Thapa
Samir Jung Shah
Advisor Editor :
Rajeshwor Karki

Chief Editor :
Momila Joshi

Transcreator :
Mahesh Paudyal 'Prarambha'
Kumar Nagarkoti
Suresh Hachekali
Keshab Sigdel


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Shailendra Adhikari
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