Author: Narad Pokhrel
Editors: Tara Lal Shrestha /Rup Narayan Pokharel
Publication: Discourse Publication, Kathmandu, Nepal
[email protected] (Narad Pokhrel)
Road of Retrospections
I was, a tender boy, at my mid-teens when my family had to say ‘yes’ for ‘no’ and leave the country Bhutan at High Command’s order. For me leaving my place of birth or the country of birth did not mean anything that time.
I still remember, as a vague scene still rolls before my eyes, that I had laughed on seeing my parents crying. I only missed that time was a group of friends with whom I used to enjoy my childhood. The creek sides, lawns, cowsheds and pasturelands were my childhood lovers. I was a fifth grader at Neoly Primary School, then. I, at times feel funny on recalling why I became so happy and did not cry on hearing Nepali text books taught in the schools in Southern Bhutan were burnt, and later when my school was closed by the High Command. I feel now, how childish I was? After a year or so I am tagged anti-national along with my family members.
I didn’t know what bird was known by that name! I along with my family members arrived at Kankai River bank in Eastern Nepal, where by then, few thousand people from Bhutan had, since recently, camped. I joined the group of new faces and started making new friends. Down the road, many new things started appearing before me. I had not seen any dead persons anywhere before. It was in Kankai River bank I saw for the first time in my life dead bodies cremated.
In one single day I saw more than twenty people either buried under ground or burnt on pyres. They were all from Bhutan. I still remember one of my new friends died due to malnutrition (what people at that time used to say). That made me so sad. Then, I started realizing little bit we were chased by the High Command. I, by then, had started schooling in the refugee camp. It was differently different than the ones back in Bhutan. One day as I reached home from my school I saw my mother crying, by the side on one bamboo made bed was my sick father lying, he was sick quite for a while. The sobbing sound of my mother meant different for me that day. It was the second time I saw my mother crying. But, this time I too joined my mother and did not laughed. As I grew, I started having different feelings on seeing fading charm in the faces of people around me.
The day I saw my mother crying and I joined her, I started making small notes of what I see each day in the surroundings. What I see or hear used to be noted in one
of my school provided notebooks. As time passed by I started hearing, reading in other countries and even in the host country Nepal that people raising arms against the injustice meted onto them. Bombardment, kidnapping and killing started becoming the banner news in the media.
My mind defined it but differently. I chose calling those acts cowardice. Killing or harming somebody or ruining someone’s family or life is a crime. It is an unforgivable sin done on mankind. It was same thing that High Command in Bhutan did upon fellow camp dwellers. My mind hinted me to defame the cruelty through the pen not by the use of guns or explosives. So, day after the other, I started reading between the lines on the faces and lives of the innocent people back in Bhutan. I started seeing all the problems as if printed in the faces of the passerby.
I had never ever imagined in my life that one day I will see my own works being published. I will one day be able to let outside world know about my friends’ dying of malnutrition, like my mother many others crying in vain on seeing their dear ones fallen sick or lying on death beds, through my poetry. It is purely the act of High Command in Bhutan and sufferings of the people in the camp that inspired me to bring this book.
They both are credited. I am a novice in poetry. My poems may or may not qualify when viewed through the lens pointing thro’poetic angle, but I am little bit confident in saying that the scenario and the content applied in the making is original and representative. I have borrowed the feelings of harshness,gentleness, sadness, happiness, successes, failures and selfless services from lot many people, nations, agencies and others directly or indirectly involved in my life.
The dear martyrs, jailbirds, widows and orphans have filled my pen with colorful ink to painting the pathos on the pages. I have shed unseen tears while finding my country of birth being the main source of all the sufferings. I have many times asked my ancestral land Nepal to be the witness for all what she saw. My pen has brought me and the likes to the US and to many other countries on earth. I have met at one point of my journey humanitarian aid carriers, like UNHCR, who have quenched my thirst, fed my hunger and clothed me during chill and heat in my life and have appeared in the poetry.
As time went by, I started to realize that the benefit of sharing the story would out weigh any temporary sadness. As you all go through, the pages of this collection, whatever you do and wherever you are, a trust you will find yourself within it. After all, it is a human journey.
My parents’ cry and kin’s life on the created rough roads has added new vocabularies in this volume. On seeing me almost mad, perhaps, with all I was doing and seeing at times burning, my other-half made me a novice poet. Nahisha and Nancy, apple of my eyes guided me in each line.
Thus, the journey of countless real dead, living dead and leaning to living is what ‘The Pathetic Journey’ is all about. May you read to know, feel and see the long road the characters in the poetry walked through in their journey.
My Pathetic journey is journey within underneath the infinite sky, above the ovoid earth, the journey to find answers to the questions brimmed, that High Command with preplan laden into our heads.
Thanks for joining to walk along with poor, pathetic and pessimistic characters in The Pathetic Journey.
Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
The Pathetic Journey is a path of knowledge for us and for generation to come for building great minds – a key for understanding the fact of life to bring greatness in us and a means to inspire and support socio-cultural movements to protect one’s identity and history.
President, Global Bhutanese Literary Organization
The poetic consciousness spreads across the three distinct geo-political zones – Bhutan, the place of origin, Nepal, the nation where the poet lived as a refugee, and America, his present world – that represents trans-border perception of the first generation Bhutanese in United States.
Bal Ram Adhikari
Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
As the poet has strong ties with fellow refugees from the beginning of pro-democratic Bhutanese movement, his verses give heartrending pictures of the travelers, their turns and twists of the long journey from the foothills of Bhutan to the unfortunate refugee camp in Nepal and then to United States of America.
Surya Thapa/Sam Shrestha
White Himal Television, New York
The poems of this book foreground wide-ranged snapshots of our troubled times as an inventive exuberance of a long journey.
Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
Moved by the series of woes and unaccounted loss of native belongings and deceptive rule of the sire’s acumen over the section of people in the Last ShangriLa, – a young boy visualizes the panorama making a pen cry and wet pages. Tears dry and the pages combine to lucid the untold stories along “The Pathetic Journey”.
Sanchman Khaling Rai
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
The volume narrates the degree of rule served to the puny peasants in the land of Gross National Happiness. Series of served sufferings and unheard wails of the exiled Bhutanese – unwritten tales of the victims of the genuine cause that brewed in the last Shangri-La in the late 80s and early 90s – are pictured poetically.
President, Literature Council – Bhutan