Then, the words my father said way back echo in my mind, “Whenever you get your hands on the photo of the person you adore the most, you’ll want to talk to them, will want to share your experiences with them. But what’s the point? The person in the photo won’t talk. Won’t laugh along with you. The only thing it does is make you cry. Which then ends up giving you more pain. Never look at the photo of the person going to leave you soon. There’s nothing more breaking than a photo. Nothing more deadly, Babai…” –Translated from Ba-ama
Truer Words Were Never Spoken. Or have they? Perhaps have, in the *world* of Ba-ama, a book that’s more than just a book. Memories, for some; encounters, experiences for some, and an exhilarating fictional story for some. However the reader wants to take it, they’re sure to eat the stuff up. From the language to the crispness of the parchment, to the letters to the front cover; everything screams uniqueness.
As one may assume from the title, this isn’t just about your good-old real-life-turned-fiction story about your good-old mom and dad just chillaxing by the sun right now but rather is a collection of intriguing experiences that could’ve or was real at some point which can’t be fitted into one single genre. Though it’s fiction, the realness of the book is what appeals to the readers and makes them feel somehow connected to the characters portrayed in the story. The versatility of the book is what it makes such a good read and worth your time.
Cracking down the chapters, there is a total of twelve of them. All of them stacked like a stanza of a poem. Everything from,
Baba ko Maya,
Aama ko Kakh
Daji ko Dukha,
Bouju ko Baat
Sathi ko Samjhana,
Guru ko Saath
Chhora ko Sapana,
Chhori ko Raat.
Doesn’t it sound so intriguing already? Bet. It was one of the first things that drew my attention to the book.: The way all the chapters were stacked.
The author of this awe-inspiring book is Ramlal Joshi, also the author of the collection of stories, Aina, which was the winner of Madan Puraskar-2072 B.S. Joshi’s works vary in different styles of writing in the Nepali field of Literature. The primary setting of the book is the far-western side of Nepal– The Sudurpashchim province. Having lived there a few years myself, the dialects and the language used by the author were quite familiar to me. But even if you know nothing about what the author’s rambling on about his hometown, you still won’t be able to put the book down. Even if you’re bundled up all cozy in the far-eastern side of Nepal or are just a sophisticated city-rat from the capital, you’ll be on the edge of your seat wanting more.
The first chapter focuses on the dark side of Nepali Politics. A scenario is portrayed where the primary protagonist, Ramnath’s father is brutally killed in a fire by the workers for the government.
For the rest of the book, we follow Ramnath in his journey in finding his mother who ran away as she was struggling mentally. The protagonist stumbles upon various characters along the way including Swayanwar Daji, Juna Bouju, The Kumar couple, Ganga and her husband, Devi, Jetha Mama, and so many other characters whose stories we get to know which are sure to leave you in tears.
One of the things that hook the reader portrayed in the book is the bitter reality of our modern Nepali Society; how every youth these days is giving up their Nepali identity, family, and the pride of Nepal just to settle in foreign countries which we refer to as Bidesh.
Lahureni Aamai started complaining regarding her sons not returning too, “They turn a deaf ear to all my pleas for them to return to Nepal, Ba. I don’t know what’s going on with our people these days. Don’t they have even a pinch of love for their own country? It’s like they would die for a place in Bidesh!” –Translated from Ba-ama
All our lives, we have only ever cared about the perspectives of the youth who constantly ask their parents to join them to live in foreign, developed countries and complain when their parents disagree. But have we paid heed to what the parents have to say about not wanting to give their Nepali soil up? Thats exactly what we get to see in the book.
The last two chapters, are about the protagonist’s son and daughter, who left him too, to leave for Bidesh.
Aho! Who would’ve thought life was a journey of leaving things behind until you come to zero as you go on! Tell me, who didn’t get left behind in this journey of mine? Tell me who didn’t leave me?
Well, my time’s up now. Guess I passed this life of mine just like that.
–Translated from Ba-ama
As said up there, the protagonist’s life finally came to an end just like that. He didn’t contibute to the world in any way, but was glad to have been the one to share the stories of his loved ones, strangers and of Ba-ama.
Now its your turn, yes, you dear Reader to unravel the stories of Ba-ama around the country.