INTERVIEW

Books are pathways to understanding life

Kathmandu

Apr 13, 2019-

Bhupeen, the poet known primarily for his powerful performances, is a university lecturer by profession. But in the decades since he started writing poetry, he has published three collections—Kshatigrasta Prithvi ra Mool Sadak, Hajar Barshako Nidra, and Suplako Hawaijahaj. Having also dabbled in non-fiction in recent years, his first novel Maidaaro will soon hit the shelves. For his writing, Bhupeen has won the Uttam Shanti Puraskar and the International Nepali Literature Society Award among others.

The Post’s Asmita Manandhar spoke to him about his favourite reads and the inspiration behind his writing. Excerpts:

How did you first come to love books?

I grew up in a lahure family. My father and brothers were in the military so there wasn’t much of a reading environment at home. When I was in the seventh or eighth grade, I found Bhupi Sherchan’s poetry collection Ghumne Mech Maathi Andho Maanche among my father’s belongings. After reading the collection, I realised that poetry can be powerful. It was then that I was drawn towards books.

Then, I began sending poems to the children’s programme on Radio Nepal. When my poems were recited, my mother used to shed tears. This encouraged me to read and write more as I realised the power of the written word. The local library near my home was my second home. I read everything from Dinesh Adhikari and Shyamal to Russian writers. Later, when I met Sarubhakta, he encouraged me to read books on philosophy and sociology.

What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was a memoir, Chhuteka Anuhar, by Ramesh Saayan. He has beautifully detailed even the smallest events from his childhood to his youth. I really enjoyed the whole read, but I always believe that a book should also have philosophical reflections, in addition to its descriptions. This was missing in Sayaan’s book.

What is your current read?

I’m currently reading Old Path, White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh, which is a classic recounting of the life and teachings of Gautam Buddha. It is really feeding my desire to learn different philosophies, and it has been illuminating so far.

What books are currently on your wish list?

There are two books that I’ve never managed to complete, even after trying multiple times—One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I would really like to finish these books in the future.

What books would you recommend as must-reads?

There are many books that have been my favourites over the years and have shaped my thought process as a

reader and a writer. Among books from international writers, I’d like to pick Mother by Maxim Gorky, The Song of Youth by Yang Mo, The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck, Sidhhartha by Herman Hesse, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell, Howl and other poems by Allen Ginsberg, and the poetry collections of Pablo Neruda and Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena.

From Nepali writers, I would recommend Pagal Basti by Sarubhakta, Ular by Nayan Raj Pandey, Pretkalpa by Narayan Dhakal, Dhobighat Express by Roshan Sherchan and Samjhanaka Kuinetaharu and Afnai Aakha ko Layama by Khagendra Sangraula.

Why is it important to read and write?

It is important to comprehend the current time and society that we live in. Books are pathways to understanding life. There are many who have lived their lives without really thinking about these things, but as a writer, I have a thirst to understand the juxtaposition of past and current social and philosophical ideas, which I can only acquire through reading and writing.

What book have influenced you the most and why?

Herman Hesse’s Sidhhartha and George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm have shaken my thought process. I was forced to ponder long after reading these books due to their philosophical themes.

How do you draw inspiration for writing?

I mostly draw inspiration from my travels. When we are moving, our senses are experiencing constant changes in sights and sounds, and that is when I am able to develop my writing.

Published: 13-04-2019 10:09

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