Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Author’s Say - Mahesh Paudyal

The story of this novelette is completely fictional, though it draws facts from the
Majhis’ real life. I have made a small attempt to lift the Majhi community’s plight—both economically forced and socially inherited—into the discourse of the mainstream children’s literature, so that children and young adults from both Majhi and non-Majhi communities see how negative culturing, though apparently trivial and at times pleasing, can lead to fatal tragedies. The real readers I have in mind are young adults, who have preferably crossed the water mark of the middle school, and are in a position to convince themselves that certain belief in our society needs a critiquing, because it has many provisions for unproductive culturing of children’s mind. I will be happy if Little Lovers is received as a social novelette against child marriage. Though the narrative itself doesn’t critique the practice overtly anywhere, the events unfold in such a way that the finale becomes evidently tragic. The fuel of the tragedy comes from Tilke and Lakhum, two Majhi men, who decide that their daughter and son respectively, when they come of age, shall marry one another. The children, Malashree and Bikawa, somehow come to know this, and in their fanciful pastime, try to enact adults’ matrimony. For this they undertake a number of life-risking games, which ultimately bring misfortune to them. I thank friends Rama Adhikari and Nitya Pandey for critically editing the language and giving suggestions for improvement at several points. I thank Chandrasekhar Paudyal, who made beautiful illustrations for the story. My friend and writer Kartikeya Ghimire deserves thanks for taking the pain to launch the book in its present form. I thank Innovative Nepal—Surendar G.C. of Dang in particular—for taking the responsibility to promote and distribute this book. I thank Bikram Sapkota, who took me to his home in Nuwakot for the first time, wherefrom I could imagine Sera, the setting for my novel. I am also indebted to Akash Subedi in the US, who agreed to be the first reader of my manuscript, representing my target audience. Suggestions to improve shall help me to perk up. (courtsy: 'Little Lovers' novelette page c n d)

Jaleshwori Shrestha is a renowned storywriter and novelist

About the Author Jaleshwori Shrestha is a renowned storywriter and novelist. Mihineti Gauri and
Sunpari are her novels for children, Shantako Ichchha is a collection of long stories and Pariko Ghar and Tisako Janmadin are her collections of stories for children, from which, this collection derives most of its stories. For adults, she has published two story-collections Lavaka Baaph and Maun Bidroha, and a novel titled Niyati Chakra. She is also a social worker prodigally donating to trusts that award the best of writers in different fields and genres. Some of the awards she has established are ‘Goma Memorial Award’ through Women Literature’s Foundation, ‘Devkumari Thapa Children’s Literature Banita Award,’ ‘Gunjan Talent Award,’ ‘Bandipur Children’s Literature Award,’ ‘Govinda Bahadur Malla Gothale Young Adults’ Literature Manuscript Award’ etc. With royalties for her writings, she has also established ‘Jaleshwori Children’s Talent Award’ at the initiative of her daughter Nibha Shrestha. About this Book Pinki and the Butterflies collects fifteen of the best stories by its author. Each of the stories has at least a child as its protagonist, and the plot unfolds to assert a serious concern about the child’s rights, social cognition, the talent he or she promises and the treatment needed in the adults’ company. A wonderful sense of optimism pervades her stories, and she sees in children dreams that can change the world into a better places. She airs outright disagreement with discriminatory and traditional ways of thinking. For her, genders are equal, handicap is not a crime but an opportunity to unfold other talents, vice is bad, pampering punishes and hard work and dedication always pay. Most of the stories moralize, and the messages are pertinent to both children and adult. The Editor’s Say Pinki and the Butterflies enters the mainstream Nepalese Children’s Literature with a overt announcement: the world needs to read us and our children! In fact, the choice to publish this work into English is an anticipation of global audience. Considered this way, the collection holds the responsibility to present to the world the best of works the author has accomplished in her long writing career, especially for children. I consider most of the stories in this collection thrilling, though some have the inherent flaw of being too overtly moralistic and didactic. I am hopeful that the success of this collection shall inspire the author to look for alternative models of presentation. The author’s attempt to localize the stories in certain, real-life setting is a quality that pervades over all these stories. The stories take readers to locations that can, in reality, unfold before eyes, and the plot becomes easily conceivable. She has been extremely careful in crafting her language, marked by easy vocabulary and wonderful imageries. The best part of her writing, perhaps, is her characterization. All characters appear life-like, and easily identifiable. These stories should be, in my opinion, read for the messages they air. The author has in her mind a world free of violence, caprice and discrimination. In children, she envisions great seers, patriots, social workers and winners. All we need to do is prepare rooms and environment for such exponents to develop. Mahesh Paudyal, Central Department of English, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur