The Week’s Cilla Khatry had an exclusive view of the 10th episode of Nepali: A TV Blog, a television series about the broader scopes of Nepali identity, and how our diverse identities connect us as Nepalis.
A preview: Dharan is a major city of the southeastern region of Nepal. What started as a small trading settlement has now become a city that is a major tourist destination.
The Kumbhakarna Himal, the Makalu-Barun National Park, and the viewpoints of Mount Kanchanjunga are some of the many sites in Dharan that attract visitors.
Also known as the fashion capital of the country and home to Deep Shrestha, the acclaimed Nepali singer, and Kali Prasad Rijal, famed lyricist, some other lesser known facts about Dharan have been highlighted in the 10th episode of the TV blog that comprises short stories which are centered in and around the city.
One of the interesting stories is about Bypass, a band that was founded in 1995 but disappeared from the music scene after a brief stint.
Bypass was an international band in which half of the members were non-Nepalis. The band comprised Jay Malla (Bruno), Sirjan, Suman, Axl, Yoshi, and Peter.
Though the band members are no longer together, they still compose songs individually.
Sirjan Nepali, one of the band members, now runs a recording studio in Dharan and also gives guitar lessons to those who are interested in playing the instrument.
“I haven’t stopped making music even though I’m no longer a part of a band,” says Nepali, adding that he had launched his first album in 1996 and it was a mixture of Pop, Rock and Jazz.
As Nepali sings a song he composed himself, the emotions behind it are palpable and his voice takes you to a different world. His brother, Prashant Nepali, is also on the verge of launching his debut album soon.
Besides this story, the episode also tells the story of Suhani Rajdhami, a 20-year-old transgender who got married to Rubin Rai, 21, after just four months of courtship. Rajdhami had won the third gender beauty pageant in 2008, and is now a program coordinator at Blue Diamond Society in Dharan.
Another interesting story is of an artist who makes sculptures from roots of plants and trees. Rojan Rai moved to Biratnagar in 2045 BS (1988) and then ten years later shifted to Itahari.
He tried to make crafts out of bamboo but stumbled upon roots and now makes everything from idols of gods and goddesses to modern art pieces from roots.
“My work may have flaws but I love everything I make,” says Rai who gives free lessons to anyone who wants to learn. To make an elaborate dragon or a peacock, it takes him anywhere between two to five days but he can make to a dozen of small ones on a daily basis.
Besides these attention-grabbing stories, the other stories, like that of the free library run by Purna Bahadur Gurung in the memory of his son Bimal Gurung, a journalist who died in a road accident, and of the men who have joke sessions, are also worth watching.
The episode will at no point bore you and will leave you with a million thoughts whizzing in your head. The idea of life beyond the capital seems fascinating and enticing after having watched the nearly thirty-minute video.
Nepali – A TV Blog airs on Avenues TV every Saturday at 8:30 am and on Sundays at 9:30 pm. The series, hosted by Yubakar and directed by Tsering Choden, will also be available on YouTube <youtube.com/user/nepalitvblog>