Nepali stories from the margins


The much awaited collection of short stories, The Gurkha’s Daughter by Prajwal Parajuly, is finally available in bookstores across town. Released by Penguin Books India, it is the first book by Parajuly who says he stumbled upon writing almost accidentally.

Parajuly, currently enrolled at Oxford University, is in Kathmandu at the moment to promote the book and was at the Educational Book House in Kantipath on Wednesday for a book signing programme. Book lovers and people from all wakes of life filled up the cozy bookstore where they engaged in a lively discussion on the book prior to purchasing copies signed by the author.

“I had no plans of writing an entire book and the thought of beginning with a novel was quite intimidating,” shares a jubilant Parajuly, who chose instead to write a collection of short stories.  

The eight short stories that traverse a wide range of themes, including poverty, greed, relationships, and the values that shape the lives of Nepalis living beyond the border in the hills of Kalingpong, Sikkim and Darjeeling. Parajuly lets his narratives revolve around the lives of young girls in this region and their struggle for survival as they grow up.

For Parajuly, the son of an Indian father and Nepali-speaking mother, who spent most of his time in Sikkim and neighbouring areas and has lived and studied in the West, the Nepali identity is of special significance. His stories allow readers, especially Nepalis living in Nepal, to reflect on a different understanding of this identity. He dedicates the book to the Nepali diaspora scattered across the world, as well as people of Nepali origin and ethnicity who live in parts of India and Bhutan. While most of the stories were written in his hometown of Gangtok, others were written during his stay at Truman State University in the US where he spent time as a writer-in-residence.

The near future looks busy and exciting for Parajuly. His next novel, titled Land Where I feel, has already been completed and is slated to be published the same time next year. Additionally, a film based on stories from The Gurkha’s Daughter is already in the works.

Posted on: 2012-12-20 08:46