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Readers' Circle
Sunday, December 26, 2004
 
Updates on Books in Every Home

The following are the recent activities of Books in Every Home in Nepal:

Early Education Program

In collaboration with District Education Office, Books in Every Home is operating two early childhood education centers in Mahendrakot VDC and Niglihawa VDC of Kapilvastu District. Currently, 50 (25 in each center) small children and toddlers are provided with educational services.

Parents of these toddlers also take part in educational activities with their children in the centers, building a familial learning community in a school environment. This sets the stage for parental involvement in schools. In rural Nepal parents have no idea about what goes on in schools, so Books in Every Home is running programs like these to take mystery out of schools.
In early child education centers, Books in Every Home is crating a new cultural process: culture of reading. Teachers, parents and children participate in reading activities together, making learning process fun and meaningful.

Traning for Paretns and Education Practitioners

Books in Every Home in Kapilvastu, trained teachers and head teachers, community educational stakeholders and members of school management committee from 20 high schools in areas of reading, connecting reading to life and the immediate community. Chapters from Books written on Human Rights and Civic participation were also included in reading activities. Strategies on developing higher order thinking and application of reading in the classroom and community were some of the highlights of the program.

Education for Skill Development

Currently, volunteers of Books in Every Home are providing tailoring training to 25 women in Niglihawa VDC. While getting training in tailoring, these members of Readers’ Circle engage in reading and discussion where they focus on starting small businesses, marketing and utilizing their newly acquired skills. When they complete the training, these trainees will be able to sew their own clothes and clothes of their families and would be able to set up small businesses.

Everyday, Books in Every Home is making a difference in people’s lives one person, one family and one community at a time. We are in need of financial support from people like you who are thinking of making a difference in somebody’s life. Please visit www.booksineveryhome.org for more information.

Our activities will be updated regularly, so please come back again.
Thanks for reading,
Homraj





 
Readers' Circle
Thursday, January 22, 2004
 
As a responsible human being, you must fight for at least three things in your life: for your voice, access and choice--HRA

Everyday you must reinvent, reconstruct and reengineer the meaning of your life. Don't just accept what others have told you what life is and what it ought to be.

If you are traveling in a public transportation, don't bury your head, look around you and appreciate the diversity and thank your creators for their love and commitment to making you a lucky person.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
More of my poems--Hom Raj Acharya

MUTATION

Once there was a nanny goat
and the people of my village heard
she gave birth to a monkey,
so there was a line
longer and more pregnant than the horizon
and just as curious,
and everyone was there to worship
whatever they’d see at the end of the line.


Too many limbs are called mutations
and Durga, you’ve got eight of them.
Vishnu has four arms
and so do you, Laxmi and Saraswati,
but that’s okay because really you’re the same keti
although you do it with different men,
like that woman down the street--
she opened her sari not just to her husband whose footwater she
drinks

(good Hindu wife)
her husband who ground her face into the dirt like chutney
(a good man, everyone says)
because there wasn’t enough salt in the dinner
(that’s always what they say before they hit,
not enough salt)—
she took a lover, a plowman, and met him in the jungle,
the Ram Rajya, kingdom of bliss--
I think her name was Laxmi too, but now they call her a whore.
The next time there was a calf with two heads and six legs
and there was a line longer and deeper than an anthill,
and just as baffling,
it wound all through the streets,
past the farting oxen and roosters eating the tubercular spit
of the untouchable seamstress who sits cross-legged on her mat
by the sheds of buffalo mothers crying for their calves
past the old woman whose fifty years are bent with firewood
and the squat brick house of the priest
who knows who you become
and why you were all of them.

Brahma has four heads and Kumar has six
and Ravana who was only a king and not even a god had 10 heads
which is a real headache
so let’s not think about it,
let’s just get in line, okay?

Because this is your place.
This is where you live.
It’s what you
do and how you
see because
it’s about
mutation,
and it’s all
about
you.

(Published in an anthology of poetry and art 'ISIS RISING :THE GODDESS IN THE NEW AEON', 2000, USA).

SADHU WATCHING A FRISBEE

A frisbee is a cyclone and a cyclone is a Frisbee,
going here and there, eating the air,
talking in words that are not English
and are not Nepali, Hindi, Sanskrit.
An anlyisis of the Indo-European linguistic roots
would get you nowhere.


Sometimes its in the sky, sometimes on the ground,
and its an orgy, at least to the grass.
People can fuck grass and on grass.
Grass can fuck people too.
Its really about symbiosis.
Grass can be explicit in its sexuality, not people,
they hide, they lie, they change, they are mute or loquacious,
they have mouths, they have all that you need.
You don't have all that grass needs.
Then who is the master? You, me it?
It cannot be, it has no gender.


A Frisbee doesn't either.
This is crazy.
Therefore you are odd and odd is you
and odds are against you.
What about You with Are, a deformed V.
This V has gender.
If you'd like to identify with V, go ahead.
But Frisbee is your master and you are its master,
it is nothing.
Then it must be a Buddha.
Buddha was a Frisbee, too.
At least his head was.

Published in Strategic Confusion, spring 2000,v1 issue 2.(in USA)




ON THE BRIDGE

On the spiteful horizon
the castle of my patience rises
into a wall of laughing bones.

The tiny chunks of shrouded iron
that comprise your brain
speed at me, surpassing the vehemence
of a slingshot.

My esteem for your kindness
forms the cluster of the five oceans
in my veins, where you may sail
and explore.

If not ocean,
you can use my body as the railroad
on which the train of your contentment
scissors the air of your fore. An innocent bazaar
can't rebel but welcomes it, unbounded.

The infected dough of your charity
enters my kitchen, invisible as a virus
killing blood roots,
abrading eyes,
whispering of coma.

My hands pressed together, meekly and humbly,
greet your generosity,
while your poisonous steps
sprinkled with the scent of love
lick the four corners of my eyes.

Before rummaging through the dark niches
of a thatch-roofed cottage
in the solitude of the wilderness,
you projected a houri who tranquilized all of us
while we were sleeping guarded by the stars.

Unknowingly, I grew up worshiping you.
Nobody taught me to do so,
because your concern to help me
has already softened my backbone
like a leaf of boiled spinach.

I know, and I am aware too, of all this nonsense.
By my tiny hut cannot blow enough
to scare you. It offers you
a great shelter, and a warm bed.
But I am trapped outside
on a bridge of leaves.
(Published in Palimpset, Spring 1999, USA).


A GIRL IS SUPPOSED TO CRY
DURING HER MARRIAGE
The lines are incomplete
in her palms.
Her fingernails are too soft,
like the beak of a tow-day-old bird.
One could squeez well
and get the milk
from beneath the fingernails,
or from her lips,
which had latched onto her mother's
teenage-rosy nipples
every now and then, until just,
three years ago.

Today it is her turn
to step into the world,
where she must remember
what she did
with her mother's breasts.
They say
her husband is on the way
to claim his bride.
On the trail his feet
are kicking pebbles
that spin and clatter
like her questions.


"What will I do with a husband?"

"You have to fulfill his demands."

"I can bring him discarded cloth
from the tailor's shop
so we can make dolls together."

Her smile shines
like her new glass bangles.
No one had ever answered her question
so thoroughly.
No one had ever included her
in the hushed talk of grown-ups.
She wished she could get married everyday.


"What does a real husband look like?
Let me go she him.
I want to she my husband."

"You silly girl.
You cannot see your husband
before you worship him.
When he arrives,
you'll worship him with us."


Her face is wavering in the hand mirror.
The gap between her front teeth
is a holy doorway
to admid the air of maturity.


"Will my mother go with me to his house?"

"No. You've to go by yourself."

"But I always sleep with my mother.
Who'll I sleep with?"

With your husband."
Now, she is crying.


Seven-year-old milky tears
are leaving theirhome forever
as the bridegroom's arrival
is heard outside.
Perfect timing.
A girl is supposed to cry
during her marriage. (Published in Walkabout, Issue XVI, 1999,U.S.A.).


FROM A CUBICLE OF THE NEW COLONIES


(Translated from Nepali by the author)

Among the colorless pinnacles,
amorphous and devotion-devoid,
a glistening eye
recalling its mother
sees the flight of troll-laughter.


Musty gullies
run through her forehead,
the charred remains
of a river dead a century past,
all lying immobile.


In a direction untellable
one strand of a thread of a red kerchief
frolics in the sensual warmth of her breath.
unexpectedly, from the tip of the thread
comes an announcement:


now he is covetous of going home
but the passage has vanished
and he is searching for colonies of books
to guide his way out
Where is my book?
The book that promised me the passage?

A jingling voice
declaring itself the security guard of the colonies,
exposing white teeth,
erects an index finger:

What kind of asinine behavior is this
to search among machines
for stale books,
and on top of it all,
some book with a map
of the way home?
Oh, my Goddess!
I have become weary of machines.
Even the ones that once listened
pretend now not to understand.
What has become of them, and where have they vanished,
those who accept my speech?
From the machines
enthroned on the wooden artifacts
whirls a baby voice, as if chained in a cyclone:

A place that is void of language
has no tolerance for your warbles.



Who are you?


I am the fiery one,
the sperm and eggs of machines.
If you tamper with me
then yours too,
and you too,
will become of . . .


What is the meaning of this undone sentence?



I must have become half machine already.
All that is left is my voice
and even it is meaningless here.
After all,
the meaning of speech
was confiscated by machines long ago.



Oh, goddess, Prabha, my radiance!
Can it be that even this meaningless speech
isn’t going to be mine anymore?
(From Living Skeleton, 1999. In Nepal).


THE MUDFISH OF KNOWLEDGE

Outside a squat building
a line of young men and women
is shrinking.
Black red brown lime
sharp-edged hairs
are wriggling their glistening tongues
and licking the directionless air.


A traveler sighs and sucks in his breath.
The young men and women
are sipped into his hungry eyes.
Drooling,
many get registered,
abandoned, consumed,
in a micro-second
as eggs of hatred smash
on the crown of his head
and their sulpherous yolk
drips down his head,
declaring victory
from the summit of his nose.


Inside the hall
the professor is inserting his fingers
into his ears.
He spreads his legs
and wiggles his toes in the envelope
of his leather shoes.
As the line shrinks outside
the volume increases inside.
His toes wiggle in proportion to the change.


Sweating,
crazed with the hunger of discontent,
the line-makers take out their pointy pens
and pierce them into the words
of the professor, collecting them,
piece by piece, on vibrant
sheets of paper.


And the professor,
his pleasure increasing,
spreads his legs wider
and makes a rain of sweet
words. Covering their reddened faces
in the rain the line-makers shout:
Each of us has come to measure the professor’s club.


Immediately his club
becomes a mudfish, flapping,
bewildered, in every direction.
Then his eyes collide
with the crowd, and he shouts,
How can I, for all of you?

(FROM LIVING SKELETON, 1999. In Nepal).


Tuesday, January 20, 2004
 
Whose endorsement do you need? Your heart. If it endorses, there is no reason to procrastinate.
--HRA

Friday, January 16, 2004
 
THE KEROSENE STOVE

The kerosene stove has no home.
Monday by the water bucket, Tuesday by the leg of the bed,
sometimes greeted by the hand, sometimes by the foot,
its face kissing the burnt bottoms of skillets,
aluminum saucepans, kettles, pressure cookers.
It is really unfortunate. It had bad karma to be married to this house.
It was a dowry, now it nestles
by rice sacks in the corner, or underneath the bed that squeaks
like the mice in the ceiling
so that neighbors know the whole world about you,
but hey, who cares what they think?
The rice sack is hungry, its belly empty.
Potatoes complain, tomatoes moan,
There are the usual cracks from the bitter gourds.


A black and white TV flickers in the evening.
The Nepalese delegation to the United Nations
voted its approval of the American proposal.
The Crown Prince has felicitated the soccer team
upon its departure for the Asian games.
Her Royal Highness has felicitated
an organization that teaches women to knit.
In the day a radio made in China sings about love.


The cups are steel,
they’d burn the fingers of the unaccustomed,
but anyway tea has to be served and the housewife
is a good finance minister for such a nation,
these steel cups are her credentials.
She’s a good friend of the stove,
it fattened him for his B.A., B.Ed., M.A.,
certificate from the Kwality Computer Institute,
certificate from the Fluorescent Language Institute,
M.Ed., LLB, a lawyer,
a lecturer in socioeconomics and anthropology
from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the campus and
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. a teacher of English
at the Celestial Stars Secondary School.
He teaches, he writes, he attends conferences
but mosquitoes, those mosquitoes don’t give a damn about his bigness.
And as for the river,
the fetid microbial juice of the garment factory,
juice of the distillery, molasses of sewage,
the sugar cane pulp of a million stomachs,
it doesn’t respect him, it just likes his nose.


What about the Gorkhapatra, the Kantipur, the Kathmandu Post?
The eyes first want to eat the ads. Any new schools?
The ads tease you, let you down. Your friend
is the stove, it was there before any of the jobs, its smell
has seeped into the linoleum, the concrete floor
of this room and the last one too.
What is a job anyway? Pushing the sun
down the hill every day, that's what they say.
That’s what they do, the big guys, displace a thousand suns,
a thousand stoves, every day more sugar cane pulp.
But as for us, the rest of us,
bigness never rises above the surface of the paper.

(From Strategic Confusion , Spring 2000,USA.)



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