Friday, November 19, 2010

Nostalgic Essays

The Review is published in The Rising Nepal dated on 2010 November 19.

- CP Aryal

Everyone, in fact, have their own traces in their life. Roshan Sherchan, also a conservationist by his profession, could not be an exception. Though he could not be an exception of having some traces in life, he is exception in tethering his experiences in fine silhouette with mesmerizing magic of words.

Sherchan's Champaran Blues, a collection of several essays is a recent publication of Orchid Books. These nostalgic narratives are afflictions and delightful undergoing of various periods in life of the author. The collection totalizes writer's memoirs of his days of several sufferings. Author, in a vivacious tone describes his abroad days and the terrific turmoil when he was employed in Nepal.
Sherchan as a poet could not leave his instinct reveal in the essays. In almost all of the crafts in the collection essayist's poetic passions are exposed. The essay Hazar Muza, Eutai Aakash(Thousand Folds, One Sky) is superbly knotted in poetic approach. When author's grandmother's home, in a village is dropped out by flood, he goes to carry her for city life. The essay shows what could be a pang to leave a place where one's heart is linked with!
Maowadi Chhayamuni Jindagika Dobharu (Traces of Life under the Maoist Shadow) is enough in itself provoking emotions to readers. It is the memoir when author was an officer. Conflict ridden period was so much horrifying for the job holders in distant areas that Sherchan evaporated his terrors in this way: "The shadow of the war is more dreadful than its body."
Through the essay of his time in ACAP, author is defending himself that working in ACAP was not for the then royal family, rather as conservationists they were working for the nation.
The essay produced out of Sherchan's visit to South Africa, presents historical facts of the country. He, very minutely compares the predicament of South Africa and Nepal.  Roshan says ethnicity in Nepal and racism in South Africa is of same token.
Sherchan, in Bhyagutasangai Ufridai Aayaka Khusiharu(Happiness that Jumped in with a Frog) links a jumping doll (frog) with solemn philosophies of life.
The essay Budhi Aamai ra Samundra (An Old Woman and Sea) apart from exposing a student life of the author, also compares an old Scottish woman so passionate to make her studies in university and writer's grandmother's endeavor of life where she was living just being a tiny shopkeeper. These two deed-full women's comparison of an un-identical behavior of an identical age looks of good health in its deal.
The essay Champaran Blues from which the title of the book comes from shows some dreadful aspects of poverty in a place named Champaran in India. The essay sings a blues by the ink-evaporation of the writer himself. There is a great contradiction in India. 'India in Delhi' is so overwhelmed in its progress that it barks of its economic growth of eight percent per year and 'the other India lying at Champaran' sings it's blues; a pang of severe poverty! The essayist here describes the poverty scenes in such sparkling way that the readers, while reading the essay feel as if they are walking through the places along with the poverty ridden people of Champaran.
Author's interest in music seems so vibrant that in many of the items in the book there comes the issue of music. The essay While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Berlin, Pokhara and Hard Rock Cafe is a total sum of musical concerns.
Some content is so complex that it seems the multifaceted and highly philosophical essay's tone; like that in- "Abhilekh Awaseshharu : Aalochanatmak Yatharthawaad ka Najik" (Documented Residues : Near to Critical Realism) is only for some philosophers, not for the general readers.
Some essay explores writer's critical evaluation on well applauded books of Nepali literary history i.e. Modi Aain, Sirish ko Fuul and Aama ra Yamduutharu written by BP Koirala, Paarijaat and Khagendra Sangraula respectively.
The essays are not ordered well. If the essays of identical issues would have been placed respectively, the readers would feel easy in enjoying the essays. Moreover there lacks some need of skillful editing. We can hope it would be improved in the next editions.
Essayist is so much gripped to the content that he never goes gushed from the concerns. Thus none of the essays goes derailed of the topic.  Most of the times the essayist's poetic expression try driving out him somewhere from the mainstream but he never let go himself. It's amazing! We have seen some essayist seem so philosophic in their tone and topic but the inside content of the text turns out to be absurd. But, Sherchan seems not of that faculty. His talent is to be applauded. Thus, the book is quite worthy to read.
Book Title:           Champaran Blues
Genre:                  Essay
Author:                Roshan Sherchan
Publisher:            Orchid Books, Kathmandu
Pages:                  128
Price:                    200Rs. / ($12)

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