Diaspora is a feeling of home when one is not home. Nostalgia, a constructed discourse, is related to temporal orientation. With his debut anthology of seventy seven poems “The Colours of Spring”, poet Kuma Raj Subedi (now in Australia) longs for home desperately. His abrupt shifts and bewilderment from love musings to the expressions of his pungent complaints to himself reflect the inconstancy of people around the world.
The expression of diasporic nostalgia is reflected in his work that he uses to communicate his experiences of migration and cultural adaptation. His response to negotiate and challenge nostalgia is related to his socio-political and cultural narratives, which he carried with him. He employs temporal dimension to compose his poems in search of diasporic identity, and tries to reconnect with his homeland culture. His reality of the present has been shattered and he is not happy with his surroundings.
As in the lines of “Nature’s Shade,” ‘those were the days, I long forever, the shield is nature's lap, I never wanted to wake up ever,’ he never wants to wake up ever. He is fond of home and vivid picture of the mountain and its panoramic beauty compels him to remember his sweet home time and again. His nostalgia is always there with him. “Childhood Memoir,” is his another poem that best describes his connection with his home town. The time he spent there were his best memories ever for him.
He expresses his agonies for the bygone days that he can only bring in his mental frame. We know remembering doesn’t happen while we are together; our memories strike us the most when we are alone. His home country in the nature’s lap provides a solid armour for him that he lacks in the land where he is toiling.
He finds himself susceptible and his existence futile in the foreign land as expressed in the poem “Retrospection.” His vulnerability has no limitation. This clearly marks how hard it is to establish him/herself in the country that is not their own. They shatter their dreams every day. The poet is forced to live under “Unseen Reality” for his prospective future. He realizes he has identity crisis and labels it as ‘a sum of sorrows, unnumbered and vast’ in the poem “Identity.” The loss of status is unbearable for him and such dilemma is common for most of the global citizens.
Globalisation has shrunken the world and people can trot everywhere in just no time. It is possible for everyone to move freely than ever. Lack of opportunities in one's home country is really a painful situation for people of any nationality. They are forced to pursue their aspirations, and dreams facing the vulnerability in the nation that is not theirs.
The golden destiny is really difficult to fathom fully which is best described in the poem “Assassination of Dreams.” He finds everything pitiable. The people move to and fro like the colony of ants, yet unsure about the result of their work. His dreams have been torn apart by the false aspirations. His ideas collapse on the lap of cruelty with a whirlwind of intolerance in the poem “Odorous whirlwind.”
Despite nostalgia, his writing ranges from day to day life activities to the supreme sphere.
The book deals creatively with transformation of the self from the material world into the super-human world. In the poem “Shooting Stars” the poet seems like a religious guru preaching his people for spiritual elevation. His nights are sleepless due to hatred and bigotry of people. He wants to restore the rest of the world forgetting the human errors with the powerful hymns and prayers for the gods.
Likewise, in the poem “The Colours of Spring,” he commits the sublime blunder forgetting his worldly woes like Hindu sage Bishwamitra of “Sakuntala,” the great Nepali epic by Laxmi Prasad Devkota. Unlike Devkota’s Bishwamitra, the poet here in the poem connects himself with the constructive force. The lady, with whom he is in unison, is the source of inspiration for him. He craves the beautiful scripture in her presence. His sublime innocence is the strongest message being delivered in the poem.
His poems have the touch of romantic flavor too. They are filled with hope, promise, and offer a glimpse into his own life’s journey. He speaks from his heart and soul in the poems that allow us to experience the same emotions that he feels.
His work reminds that it is possible to move forward with courage and optimism. The three lined poem “Spring Flower” is filled with the affection to his beloved. It says there is no meaning of nectar if the beloved is not around.
His ability to evoke emotion in the readers is praiseworthy. The use of vivid images and style of language leave readers feeling engaged, inspired and moved. But repetition of the same words in some poems is somehow inappropriate. I hope the poet will consider this in his next anthology. Anyway, it’s a worthy book to read. I suggest everyone to give it a glance for a different aroma. The book publishes by Sahitya Post costs Nrs. 350.
(Dhamala is the principal of Zone Academy, Bouddha, Kathmandu.)