For years, Nepal was ravaged by a civil war. On one side were the King and the democratically elected government, on the other side were brutal Maoist revolutionaries who terrorised the countryside. After years of war, one night most members of the Nepalese Royal Family were assassinated.
The official story? The Crown Prince shot all of them and then himself because he could not marry the woman he loved. The story most Nepalese believe? The King was assassinated because he was secretly working with the Maoists to destroy the democratically elected government.
Kathmandu Days: The Blight and the Flight is a great novel for anyone interested in real life political conspiracies! The story of the civil war is paralleled by chapters focusing on the disruption and corruption it brought to Nepalese society. That story is personified in Nawin and his family and friends. He leaves his family responsibilities of looking after his stepmother and disabled half-brother, to find a job in Kathmandu. Nawin and the colourful people he meets illustrate traditional Nepalese culture along with the intrusion of outside elements. The two stories are dramatic, spanning decades.
Chandra K Bhatt lives in Kathmandu after migrating there from a remote district a long time ago. Life mostly had been a flux here as it was disrupted too often by revolts or political assassinations. Reading had been a recourse to him, after he discovered its delight very early in his life, to escape the agitation and turmoil around.
Fortuitously it led to writing too.
He visits his native place often to see if things have changed. But often returns disappointed.
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