Nepali Times Asian Paints

Seasons of flight – Manjushree Thapa
Penguin Books India

Seasons of Flight is the 'zigzag' tale of a young Nepali woman, Prema, whose life follows a butterfly-like trajectory in every sense of the word. Flitting from her village in eastern Nepal to Los Angeles, she juggles jobs and men to little satisfaction, before she finally begins to connect with the world around her. Manjushree Thapa's latest novel will speak to those who have sought a destiny apart from what the Nepali milieu offers them.

Buddha's Orphans – Samrat Upadhyay
Rupa & Co.

Spanning almost the entirety of post-Rana Nepal, Buddha's Orphans follows the lifelines of four generations in Kathmandu, and in particular the story of Raja and Nilu. A reminder that there was a Kathmandu before 1990, and how it has changed over the decades against the backdrop of the Panchayat era and then the confusion of the violent, democratic 1990s.

Mayur Times – Narayan Wagle

The civil war has clearly marked Nagarik editor Narayan Wagle. First it was Palpasa Café, now it's Mayur Times, which dives headlong into the war with this fictional narration of how journalists are caught in the crossfire, by the editor of a small-town newspaper. Like its predecessor, Mayur Times was a raging bestseller, and 10,000 copies were snapped up in the first fortnight of its release.

Karnali Blues – Buddhisagar Chapain
Fine Print

Another bestseller from a columnist, Karnali Blues is, as its title implies, a tale of struggle in the most remote and neglected corners of the country, told with linguistic vim and local flavour. The narrator goes to his dying father's bedside, and broods on the travails of his lower middle class family.

Chapamar Yuwati ko Diary (Diary of a rebel girl) – Tara Rai
Ratna Books

All the writing about the insurgency would be rather incomplete without this straight-up account from the horse's mouth: Chapamar Yuwati ko Diary tells of former child soldier Tara Rai's time with the Maoists, and her subsequent imprisonment by the Nepal Army. Stands out from the crowd of true-life insurgency accounts for its non-ideological candour.

Registan Diary - Devendra Bhattarai
Ratna Books

A mix of journalism and literature, Registan Diary chronicles the despair of Nepali men and women who have migrated to the Gulf. Based on Bhattarai's year in Qatar, the book consists of 50 real-life stories of Nepali migrants living and working in various countries of the Gulf. There is no need to embellish here; the lives of Nepali migrants who have been duped and exploited plumb depths deeper than any fiction could.

Urgen ko Ghoda (Urgen's Horse) –
Yug Pathak
Shangrila Books

Another fictionalised account of the civil war, this time from the perspective of the Tamang community, one of the poorest in Nepal. Mhendo fights against the state, and does so by drawing strength from the mythical Tamang hero Urgen and his horse, seeking to prove that 'history is the horse of the victors'.

Jeevan Kaanda ki Phool (Life, thorn or flower) – Jhamak Ghimire
Online Nepali Sahitya Manch

In this autobiography, Jhamak Ghimire chronicles her struggle for freedom and self-expression while battling cerebral palsy in an intolerant social environment. Born with a congenital illness that left her unable to use her limbs or speak, Ghimire gives voice to her thoughts by writing with her foot, and this book gives readers access to the memories in which her proclivities for independent thought, rebellion and ingenuity are clearly manifest.

Champaran Blues – Roshan Sherchan
Orchid Books

In Sherchan's own words, the essays in Champaran Blues constitute "fragments of reflective autobiography to look at the world through the keyhole of anecdotes and descriptions." Sherchan uses such seemingly trivial events as buying a plastic frog for his daughter to the experience of bringing his grandmother from the city to the village to explore a range of themes relevant to contemporary Nepal.


Kalakarmi – Hari Maharjan Project
Music Nepal

Hari Maharjan (guitars), Rizu Tuladhar (bass), Daniel Rasaily (drums) and Nawaraj Gurung (tabla) make a unabashedly serious yet thrilling jazz-fusion debut to create a sound that transcends the genres they draw on. With Never gonna drink and drive again and Soul in you, virtuoso guitarist Hari Maharjan has hit on simply phenomenal world-class tunes. Watch this space.

Aina Jhyal - Nepathya

Hari Maharjan's former band has continued on its merry way, powered by the vision of charismatic founder-singer Amrit Gurung. As concerned with the state of the country as with the health of its cultural forms, Gurung has loaded the new Nepathya album with folk riches from across Nepal, and this time the rock sounds are tempered also by the fatalistic themes of its sources.

Aath Athara – 1974 AD
Santana Records

1974 AD, it might seem, have been around since at least that. But their eighth studio album, while relying on their signature sound of mellow acoustics and thumping bass, is embellished with folk rhythms from Nepal to Africa. "The album is the most technically advanced of all our albums," says guitarist Manoj KC, which should suit their all-grownup fans just fine.

Yatra – Deep Shrestha

He's known to be 'choosy' but Deep Shrestha's new album Yatra (journey) was recorded double quick, as the singer admitted himself, "This journey was a quick one for me!" But this is no rush job from the durable prince of the adhunik (modern) genre of Nepali music. Songwriter Ratna Shumsher Thapa says of Yatra: "Deep Shrestha's voice lifts up the whole album."

Utsarga – Kutumba
SAC Music

Did you know there are about 150 folk instruments in Nepal? Well, seven-man folk ensemble Kutumba certainly do, and it's their mission to bring these varied sounds to you. Kirant, Maithili and Gurung influences are among some of the experimental delights to be discovered on their latest album, Utsarga.

Covers of the year

2010, Blow by Blow
Film & Theatre
Persons of the Year

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)