Arts and Entertainment

Kathmanduma Ek Din hits shelves

- Timothy Aryal, Kathmandu

Apr 11, 2018-

Talk show host, model, playwright and now novelist Shivani Singh Tharu’s  debut novel Kathamanduma Ek Din was launched amid a function held at Russian Culture Center in Kamalpokhari, Kathmandu, on Tuesday.

Reportedly, Kathmanduma Ek Din is set amid the general political atmosphere that pervaded the Tarai in the years after the mass movement of 2006.

The launch event saw author Tharu engage in a conversation with the Madan Puraskar-winning author Amar Nyaupane before the unveiling of the book, which according to the author was nine years in the making.

The conversation, which saw Nyaupane laud the novel (the novel is notable for, among other things, the “novelist’s impartial treatment of its characters,” the “novice and refreshing use of the metaphors,” and the incorporation of the vernacular), touched upon a myriad subjects ranging from the genesis of the subject matter for the novel, Tharu’s career switch from being a talk show host and model to a novelist, to the writing process.

“If the release of the book was to be compared to giving birth to a child, how would you express the joy of giving birth to this book?” Nyaupane asked at the beginning. To which, Tharu responded, “The writing introduced me to myself... During these years, I was all the more clearer about my potential and limitations as a human. Now that the book has released, I feel so hollow. There’s a certain sense of emptiness inside. And now I am tempted to embark upon another writing project to tackle this emptiness.”

After a couple of exchanges which revolved around, among others things, the instilment of a “sharp political sense” inside of Tharu from very early on, Nyaupane said that the book “teaches the reader about the politics and sociology of the Madhes region,” before asking Tharu about how she came across writing about the underprivileged while she herself came from a relatively privileged family (Tharu is the daughter of Fatte Singh Tharu, who served as a minister repeatedly from the Panchayat era to the post-multiparty democracy era).

“If my father used to smoke, say, [the branded] 555 cigarettes when he was the minister he would switch to Deurali the day after he would resign as a minister. So the reality might be a little different from what people see from the outside... I think, it really doesn’t matter which economic class you are born into as long as you are empathetic enough towards the characters you write about. George Orwell, for instance, didn’t have to become a pig when he wrote Animal Farm.”

During the conversation, Nyaupane also asked, “How difficult was it to write about a male protagonist?” To which Tharu responded that empathy was the key. “I think empathy is paramount in the writing process... whether you write the story about a certain economic class, or gender.”

Published: 11-04-2018 10:19

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