Book review of Ekadeshma, Story Collection

 

Ekadeshma is a collection of short stories. This book comprises 15 different stories, all with differentphilosophies of life of an individual.The book deals with the quiet telling of ordinary people living ordinary lives under ordinary circumstances. Some stories are wrought with pain while some are quite normal. Each chapter stands alone as a self-contained drama. Each story concerns one of the characters who are trying to discover the meaning and depth to their life.

At times provocatively irreverent, though always honest and insightful, Thapa chronicles ordinary absurdities of life while addressing the bigger questions:

Is there a way to balance passion and obligation?
How do we know we’re living the lives we’re meant to live?
How do we know we’re happy?

In these stories we see: an unemployed man getting inspired by a little girl; An insight to today’s world from the perspective of a son looking at his father; A husband who tries to adjust and make sense out of his wife’s domestic violence towards him; Feelings of a young man after he has a one night stand; The point of view of a person after the death of his favorite writer “Gulab”;the ironical life of a writer; An encounter with Chand ji with whom the writer bonds at a local bar; The writer’s make believe of the stance of a person—whose love remained unrequited—and his life after he dies and reaches heaven.

There is also a story about a painter whose life changes as he falls in love with a lady. In Saransh, we get to comprehend the author’s summation of his theories on the world while we also get to see the life of Puja, a girl who gets married into a conservative family, and how her frustration prompts her to undertake a pilgrimage to Sai Baba. Karnali ko tirai tir is the homecoming story of a man who stays in Kathmandu and the people he meets during his journey to his village on the Karnali Bridge.

Prithvi ko Nepal, the story of the great king Prithvi Narayan Shah, depicts him uniting Nepal and making it a single strong country. Trilochannath’ s story is also there and is all about his journey from a rebel to an ascetic while Mere Jiwan is the author’s own reflections on life.

Some of these stories will make you cry out loud, others will press the heart; if you are a middleclass Nepalese citizen you will recognize yourself on every page. All in all, the book is a delightful experience. Although some chapters are tedious and the book has its share of loopholes, you will end up having a good time. In case you have a good knowledge of Nepali, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. If not, you are going to get muddled up at some point.

Book review by Shreya Pokhrel