Thursday, 17 May 2012

I Do Not Count

I do not count
I am poverty
torn apart
cursed and cried
dignity rented at night
my children sold up
my kidneys moneyed
of myself never mine
much pitied
tears unreturned
I do not count

I am peace
unwished and unwilling
nights terrorized
sleeps beheaded
innocence fired at
my chest mutilated
my heart raped
soul exiled
much shot at
wounds unaccounted
buried alive
I do not count

I am humanity
turned aside
chained, defiled
spit upon and humiliated
my voice gagged
and trampled upon
much exonerated
shame denuded
I do not count
No, I do not count

(18 August 2004)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Rules for Writing

Creative Writing: The Rules that Hold & Bind

I am a little-known writer; a tiny speck of invisible dust in the void of the cosmos. Mostly, I scribble pieces of poetry and prose. My first published work was a volume of poetry which is no longer available for purchase. My books of prose include Out of Kathmandu, a volume of stories and Ripheart Mountains, a full-length work of fiction, or a novel. My new volume of short stories, Daughter of a Watermill has also been published recently. It is my second volume of stories to be published. (For details about these books, please visit )

Although I read voraciously and write when the urge seizes me, I have found that no set of rules applies for all individuals and all works of writing equally the same. From my own experience, here are the rules that I have found to work for me and my writings. Perhaps some of these will also work for you, and yours?

1. Each piece of writing is unique and it demands a unique way of dealing from beginning to finish, if it is to be given the full justice it so much deserves. So, the first rule: develop and define your own rule for the writing, for the story, at hand. The rule has to be the one which best suits your purpose.

2. Writing demands a lot of concentration, a lot of time, a lot of creativity, a lot of research, a good story, a good vision and a lot of courage for it to mature and to take it to the finis line. So, the second rule: get a lot of these in you, or develop them.

3. Each piece of writing is, as already said, unique. Hence, there is no saying that you should do this, you should not do that, and so on. The most important thing to take in mind is that if there is a good story then there is a good reason that only one unique way will be able to tell the integral story in full force. So, the third rule: find out whether telling the story is best accomplished in first person or third person. Again, sometimes, very rarely, you will need to answer whether the narrator in your story is going to be a human or a non-human character. Let it be such that your story will do all the choosing.

4. Stories are dynamic, and so are the characters in it. They change with time and mature. Hence the fourth rule: be flexible with your story as well as the characters in them. This implies that your rules have to be flexible too.

5. (This point should have been put at the top, but it isn't, and there is a very good reason.) When you are once into writing, it is advisable to find your motivation to do so early in the process. What motivates you to write? What are the inspirations? The essential point here is to find the answer to the question "Why?". Why do you write in the first place? The answer to this fundamental question is the factor that drives you on, that motivates you to write, that provides the necessary inspiration, or the "REASON" behind it all. While some people write simply for the sake of writing, it is imperative that you find your own answer. As for me, personally, I write because if I don't I feel like someone trying desperately to get out of a dangerous drug abuse. It kills me if I don't write. And writing keeps me sane. The reality of the situation is such that if I do not find an outlet to express myself, I simply go insane. Hence, the fifth rule: find your answer to the question "WHY?".


6. As individuals, we tend to follow our own paths in our own speeds. There are limitations of what we can achieve and what we cannot. I have found that it applies to writings as well. Even the themes we choose, the characters we develop, the storyline we adopt and the personal priniciples we follow as to what to include and what not in our writings, are all different. As for example, I do not particularly write about eroticism: my morality does not allow it to certain limits. I also do not particularly concentrate my efforts on sex unless it is technically acceptable or can be an inherent part of my story without making it an erotic one: I take it that my characters should choose what to talk about and what not. But again, choosing one theme, or one particular storyline can prove extremely difficult when the story progresses. I can choose to create a fictional universe completely different than that we live in but I should also be capable of giving life to it including its creatures and creations. I might sit with a pen and a notebook for hours on end but I should be able to bring the characters to life. A world of fanciful ideas with mythical beings and superhuman characters might be interesting to read but equally difficult to write down. And it reminds me that I should be aware of my personal limits as to what I can achieve to bring a story successfully to its conclusion. So, the sixth rule: know your limits. Perhaps it is better to put this in another way: Is your idea able to transform itself into a readable story? Does it have meaning? Does it have purpose?

7. The race against time. When you write something, do you compete with time? Do you race yourself to finish a work in a certain number of days? While it may sound like a brilliant idea, it may not be that much helpful in producing a meaningful story, at least not for most of us. Well, it certainly produces countless numbers of snippets and ideas, no doubt about that, but it will take a rather long time in arranging all those snippets, passages, paragraphs, sentences, words to produce something that can be called a story. I personally find racing against time only gives me tons of pressure which can prove harmful to writings. It does not mean I am not capable of doing so given the necessary drive or backing, but I prefer not to. So, I do not take such challenges against time. Instead, I let the characters grow, mature and develop so that they can tell a better story themselves. Afterall, it is their story, not mine, and they need time to grow, to develop and to mature. If you are adept in such a race then you are really gifted. But for me, it has always been better that I realise my limits of what I can achieve given sufficient amount of time. Time does not wait, sure, but it is not always better to run against it.

More will be added in time, and as permitted by the limited supply of internet connection I am able to lay my hands on.

My Story

My Story as a Writer

Three of my major works are now available from and distributed by Amazon.

For all of my books available from Amazon, please follow this link here.

I have devoted years to create these works, travelled far-flung corners, experienced the extremes, and delved into the lives of countless people. It was never easy. I generally do not write about eroticism, if you look for that in a story, and I try to be as honest as I can to my characters. I cannot say more about these books here in this post as they have their own posts now.

Currently, I am working on two more books although I have more than that in line. Out of these current two, the first one is a novel and the second one is a non-fiction.

I cannot answer about these unfinished works at present as I am going through rather difficult times. It also depends on how my works get received.

What is my personal story then? Strangely, it all fits in the ghazal by Lata Mangeshkar .

"Dhuwa banake fiza mein uda diya mujhko
Me jal raha tha kisi ne bujha diya mujhko ....."

Here is my translation of the initial lines (please note that this translation is unofficial):

"Turned into smoke I was blown to the air; the moods of the sky:
I was aflame; someone put me out (and made me die)...

This short translation is part of my novel Ripheart Mountains. The novel is a fiction but it is based on real stories of real people.

And then, as she sings, one question makes me tormented. "If I am still standing today for loaves of bread, the question is: what have books given me?"

I cannot find an answer to that question, probably because whenever I listen to her sing I feel she is singing my personal story. And thinking about smoke, I remember I had composed a poetic piece titled "Bitterness" years ago.

And BITTERNESS is all that is there in one of my blogs titled "The Bitterness Pill". You can add more in the comments if you feel like adding anything that I have missed out. All of it came out in a blog after a short conversation shared with cups of tea with a friend of mine and it became a concept for a book project. Yes, I have some of the chapters already finished but there is still more than 60% of the work remaining to be done before it gets finalised as a book.  

Even today, as I write and edit and re-write these lines, I find no change in my story to speak of. It has remained, as always, just like my profile picture that is at least 6 years younger than I am now. I don't have a new one, and I cannot change the old.

My personal story has remained stagnant. And yet it is as fresh as the water of a lake amidst the remote mountains of the Himalayas.

My personal journey has not been a sweet one, and the bitterness still lingers. My path has been that of a lost wanderer. There is beauty, and yet it is painfully bitter.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Red Hill

(This is my first poem that I had translated from the original English to Nepali. Otherwise, I originally write in English.)

From beyond the distant Pine Hills
The sun would wake up the spring and the spout
And Bhunti’s mother with a filled water pot
Would slip in the green, slimy quadrangle –

Water would flow one way, the pot would have scattered in chips.
Bhunti would run out with another pot of her size,
Pudke would be peeping from behind the henequen fences;
And while returning, limbs sucked by leeches
Would disappear behind Red Hill –
Red earth, red poinsettia, red Red Hill.
Cheeks reddened by warm water
And peach flowers in white blossoms
Would keep on following for a long, long time.

Rubbing zanthozylum leaves while descending
down to the valley with cowboys,
We would search for crabs along the streams
by the terraced paddy – fields
To hang them down the eaves of the barn
And keep away witches.
Bhunti would go to the woods
To collect brambles in the afternoon,
Blowing sarcococca leaves and hopping her way;
Pudke would be waiting under the arbour.

The childhood of that Red Hill,
Ripe red bay-berry, red, red rhododendron,
And pockets reddened with barberry
Is flown away somewhere by silk-cotton feathers;
Bhunti disappeared somewhere,
And the foot-prints skidding on those slippery
slopes disappeared, too.
Now the ripe golden raspberry bushes
And the millet-cakes of the watermill owner
Might have forgotten the face;
Sleeves after sleeves have torn and tattered,
Hairs have turned grey and white.

(11 November 2003)