In one bitter parlance, the life of man has been defined as rock. This perception seems to be true because life is hard. Yet amidst this perception of difficulty, there exists a counterbalance in an inspiring saying, offering hope and resilience. Those who liken life to a rock also emphasise the indomitable human spirit. They urge everyone to turn challenges into opportunities for a meaningful life.
Therefore, the question in the context of the under-reviewed Nepali novel entitled “Akkar” by Yogendra Timilsina is: Is the story Akkar representative of the contemporary emotions of our lives? The issue is serious because it demands soul-searching rather than measuring the successes of life by the mess of physical achievement.
In fact, the problem is there, as described by this novel, because the characters in it have not been able to feel love, comfort, and consolation, even with lifelong honest labour and successes. Is it a dominant trend in Nepali society?
The novelist Timilsina’s main and other supportive characters appear from humble backgrounds, and through them, stories of life develop.
Finally, all the characters in the novel encounter a grave situation at the vulnerable stage of old age.
Is it not social chaos? Novelist Timilsina mirrors the story prominently through the lives of the hard-working couple Dev Raj and Babita.
Why do they reach a frustrating situation despite so many struggles and progress? This question, in fact, is crucial from the point of view of other minor characters in the novel, like Basanta, Smarika, Bikash, and Aradhana.
Generally, readers of the novel should expect ‘all should be well’ for honest, laborious, and hard-working characters like Dev Raj and Babita.
But “Akkar” does not meet this wish because it finds the growth of an unhealthy trend uncontrollable, and families are passing through new troubles. These new troubles stem from specific causes.
Society's overemphasis on materialism and the youth's indifference towards moral education are fueling a growing disrespect for elders in today's generation. How can honest characters like Dev Raj and Babita churn out happy lives out of their lifetime fruits of hard work? This question is like "Akkar,” or rock, for Dev Raj in the novel.
While talking about social aberrations, Dev Raj’s feelings are worth mentioning. He questions astonishingly, ‘If we live our lives with the nature of animals, there can’t be any value in human beings for us’ (page 79 in the novel). The novelist Timilsina is also bitter about the misuse of social media.
He warns in the novel, ‘The chance of today’s youths becoming depressed is very high because they are prone to watching sexually unhealthy materials on social media like Facebook and YouTube since childhood, and the impact of all these activities is that their marriage life is either breaking or becoming unstable’ (page 100).
The author of the novel “Akkar” is distinctly elaborative, even in praise of the beauty of nature.
In fact, the author is backed up to sharpen his descriptive mood by his travel experiences in all three prominent geographical regions of the country: hills, terai, and valleys.
The story of this novel itself begins with a beautiful description of Dhankuta and its surroundings.
Then, things of beauty figure from the Eastern Terai of Nepal, especially Morang and Jhapa districts, as characters move from one place to another with the aim of making progress in life. The novel finally settles on a description of the sprawling settlements of the Kathmandu Valley because Timilsina’s main character finally lands here to fulfil their dream of happy living.
In fact, Yogendra Timilsina holds a deep interest in contributing to Nepali literature.
The proof is his publications, because it has not been long since this fresh novel, "Akkar," was published. He has had a good publication of the collection of short biographies of the world-famous litterateurs entitled “Renowned Litterateurs of the World," 2078 BS.
The other Nepali novels to remember in this regard are Punarmilan (Reunion), Phul Ra Kanda (Flower and Thorn), and Antyahin Yaatra (Travel Beyond End).
In conclusion, he is also the writer who published a collection of Nepali stories entitled “Baisako Nirwasit Shahar” (Banished City of Young Lover) forty-five years ago, in 2034 BS.
Since then and coming now, the themes and times have both witnessed sea change. Are all these changes all good?
Worries and challenges to look at as a man of creativity for Timilsina are enormous. So, the novel “Akkar” can be
taken as a genuine story from a mature author.