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 Uncle
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Posted on 11-29-15 10:35 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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Uncle

म अमेरिका भर्खर आएको थिए। एक बर्ष पनि भएको थिएन। एकदिन mummy daddy सँग म र भाई भएर एक जना नेपालीको घरमा dinner को लागि गयौं। Daddy ले drive गर्नु भयो। गाडी एउटा राम्रो घर अगाडि रोक्नु भयो। हामीले घंटी बजायौ। एकजना मध्यम बर्षीय ४०-५० को महिलाले ढोका खोल्नुभयो। Daddy ले नमस्कार गर्नुभयो। यो कुरा ध्यान दिनु पर्ने कुरा छ। उहाँले नमस्कार गर्दा, महिलाको पहिलो नाममा जी थपेर सम्बोधन गर्नुभयो। Mummy ले चाही नमस्कार गर्दा “दीदी” भनेर सम्बोधन गर्नुभयो। सायद Mummy लाई तिनी महिला आफु भन्दा उमेरमा ठुलो लाग्यो होला र mummy ले कुनै हीच कीटाहट बिना नै त्यों उमेरको भिन्नता देखाउनु भयो। मलाई कुनै अचम्म लागेन। मलाई लाग्छ त्यहाँ कसैले पनि अचम्म मानेन। मैले पनि त्यों उमेरको भिन्नतालाई देखाई हाले। मैले पनि ‘नमस्ते aunty’ भनेर सम्बोधन गरे। भाईले पनि महिले झै ‘नमस्ते aunty’ भन्यो। हामी घर भित्र गयौ। मलाई घर ठुलो लाग्यो। सोफामा तिनि महिलाको श्रीमान बस्नु भएको थियो। Daddy ले नमस्कार गर्दा उहांको थरमा ‘जी’ थपेर सम्बोधन गर्नुभयो। Mummy र हामीले फेरी उमेरको भिन्नता देखाउन केहि ढिलो गरेनौं। Mummy ले नमस्कार ‘दाई’ भन्नुभयो र हामीले नमस्कार “uncle” भन्यौ। हामी सोफमा बस्यौ। Daddy र तिनि मध्यम पुरुसले एक छिन कुरा गर्नुभयो। Mummy सायद तिनि अधबैसें महिला संग कुरा गर्दै हुनु हुन्थ्यो होला। एकछिन पछि तिनि अधबैसें पुरुसले मलाई र भाईलाई के पढ़ने बिचार छ? काम गर्छौ गर्दैनौ भनेर सोधे? हामीले त्यसको उत्तर दियौ। त्यसपछि चुप लागेर सोफमा बसिरहौ। प्रश्न गर्दा मात्र उत्तर दियौ। नत्र भने केहि बोलेनौ, मौन बस्यौ। तिनिले हाम्रो बारेमा प्रश्न गर्दा, हाम्रो बारेमा बुझ्न खोज्दा पनि हामीले तिनिलाई तिनको बारेमा केहि प्रश्न नै गरेनौं। म र भाई मतलबी अरु कसैको बारेमा वास्ता नगर्ने मानिसहरु जस्तो भएर बसिरहौ। एकछिन पछि तिनिले पनि प्रश्न गर्न छाडे। सायद तिनिले हामीले वास्ता नगरेको देखेर प्रश्न गर्न छाडे होलान्।
एकछिनमा माथिको तलाबाट हाम्रै उमेरकी एक युवती तल आईन। ऊनि छोरी रहिछिन। हामीले ‘hi’ भन्यौ की नमस्कार गर्यौ थाहा भएन। तर ऊनि अही जन्मेकी भएर नेपाली त्यति राम्रो बोल्दैन थिन। त्यसैले हाम्रो तिनिसंग तेती कुरा भएन। ऊनि एकछिन पछि फेरी माथि आफ्नै कोठामा गईन। हामीले खाना खायौ र घर फर्कीयौ। रमाइलो भयो।
तर अहिले म क्षणलाई संझदा धेरै प्रश्नहरु खेल्छन। तिनि र म मा कुनै रगतको नाता त थिएन। त्यै पनि किन मैले उनको र मेरो उमेर दर्शाउने गरि “uncle” ले सम्बोधन गरे। किन daddy ले जस्तै उनको थरले सम्बोधन गरिन? किन मैले उनिमा समानता नदेखेर हामीमा भएको भिन्नता मात्र देखे?
“uncle” भनेर सम्बोधन गर्दा त क्षणिक रुपमा मलाई सजिलो त भयो। किनभने कुनै पनि नाताको एउटा मर्यादा हुन्छ र “uncle” नाताको पनि एउटा मर्यादा छ। त्यों मर्यादा मलाई थाहा थियो। यसरी के मैले आफ्नो सजिलोको लागि ऊनि प्रति उमेरको भेदबाद गरे त?
भन्छन् हामीले जति कुरा universe बाट लिन सक्छौं, हामी त्यति ख़ुशी हुन्छौ। तर यसरी मैले नाताले सम्बोधन गर्ने वित्तिकै, हाम्रो सम्बन्ध मर्यादिक सम्बन्ध मात्र रहो। जसले गर्दा हामी बिच दुई तर्फी बिचार आधान प्रधान हून वाधा पुर्यायो। ऊनि मात्र प्रश्न राख्थे। म ति प्रश्नहरुको जवाफ मात्र दिन्थे। मैले आफ्नो कुनै प्रश्न राखिन। सायद मैले पनि प्रश्न राखेको भए उनको बारेमा दिल चस्पी देखाएको भए, केहि कुरा सिक्ने मौका पाउथे होला। ऊनि अमेरिका आएको ३० बर्ष भइसकेको थियो र ऊनि US government का कर्मचारी थिए। सायद उनिले आफ्नो अनुभवहरु बाड्थे होलान यदि मैले प्रश्न गरेको भए। तर दुर्भाग्य मेरो, मैले उनको उमेर मात्र देखे, र हामीलाई एक नबनाएर विभाजित गरे। मैले एउटा गहिरो सम्बन्ध गास्ने मौका चुकाए। यसरी गहिरो सम्बन्ध गास्ने मौका त मैले धेरै गुमाएको छु। यो त एउटा उदाहरण हो तिनि मध्ये। गहिरो सम्बन्ध गास्न विचारको आधन प्रधान हुनु यति जरुरी छ। हामी जति स्वतन्त्रले सम्बाद गर्न पाउछौ, त्यति हाम्रो सम्बन्ध बलियो हुदै जान्छ। किनभने हामीले एक अर्कालाई बुझ्ने मौका पाउछौ। जसले गर्दा एक अर्का प्रति विस्वाश बढ्दै जान्छ। जति विस्वाश भयो त्यति गाड़ा हुन्छ सम्बन्ध। त्यसैले त हामी आफ्ना मनका कुराहरु आफ्ना साथीहरुसंग भन्न सक्छौं। साथी, मित्रताको भावना त उमेर अनुसार गास्नु पर्छ भन्ने त छैन। त्यै पनि हामी किन पहिलो भेटमै एक अपरिचित व्यक्तिसँग मर्यादिक नाता गास्न हतार गर्छौ। के हामी एक छिन पनि अविश्वासले भरिएको क्षणलाई पार गर्न सक्दैनौ, कि हामीलाई भेट्ने वित्तिकै मर्यादिक नाता लगाएर नातालाई विस्वाश गरि हाल्नुपर्छ। के हामीसँग यो अपरिचित व्यक्तिलाई सही अर्थमा चिन्न एक छिन समय छैन्? यदि हामीलाई चिन्न समय छैन भने किन नाता लगाउन चाहि हतार गरि हाल्नु पर्ने। के हामीमा एक अर्कालाई समान रुपमा हेर्ने क्षमता पनि छैन्।
भनिन्छ जति भिन्नता भयो त्यति अविश्वास बढ्छ। हामी त्यो अविश्वासलाई किन बढाइरहेका छौ। अहिले मेरो अमेरिकन साथी छन्। ऊनि र म मा २५-३० वर्षको फरक छ। त्यही पनि हामी एक अर्कासंग साथीको व्यवहार गर्छौ। म उनिसंग आफ्नो मनमा लागेको कुरा खुलेर भन्न सक्छु। हामी राजनीतिक, एतिहासिक, सामजिक मुद्दाहरु देखि लिएर व्यक्तिगत मामलाहरुको कुरा गर्छौ। सायद मैले मेरा अरु आफ्नै उमेरका साथीहरुसंग भन्दा बढि आफ्ना विचारहरु व्यक्त गरेको छु। म उनलाई उनको पहिलो नामले सम्बोधन गर्छु र मैले मेरा अरु साथीहरु संग गर्ने जस्तै व्यवहार गर्छु। म कहिले काही सोच्छु, यदि यि साथी नेपाली भएका भए, के हामी मित्र हुन्थ्यो? यसैले मलाई लाग्छ हामीले व्यक्तिको उमेरलाई भन्दा व्यक्तिलाई पहिला राख्नुपर्छ र समान व्यवहार गर्नुपर्छ। त्यसैले हामीले सम्बन्ध व्यक्तिको उमेरसंग होइन, व्यक्तिसँग राख्नुपर्छ। अनि मात्र हामीले सम्बन्धको गहिराईको महसुस गर्न सक्छहौ।

 
Posted on 11-29-15 12:37 PM     [Snapshot: 120]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I have felt that too. Our culture teaches us to be respectful to the elders, which is a good thing. But at the same time it also makes us grow into submissive beings where logical arguments with elders is considered as symbol of ill mannerism, which seriously hinders our growth.

Ani arko kura in western culture they don't call uncle to just about anyone that our parents would relate to as their peers. Don't know where we adopted it grom in nepali culture.. Jo pani uncle.. Do we really call kaka to just about anyone?? Or is it hindi influence?? Instead of _____ ji. It definitely makes the communication a lot more easier that way.
 
Posted on 11-29-15 6:24 PM     [Snapshot: 336]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Exactly. You have made very good points. I think even our parents want us to be independent, not submissive. That's why our parents spend their life savings in our education. I dont know that why we are scared to change things once we know it is not good for us.
When we make things personal, we may feel more connected. However, it could also be emotionally overwhelming at times. The disagreements will be hard to handle.
I believe respect has to be mutual between two people. Then only people can feel equal and express freely. It could be awkward to adress people by their first name in the first meeting, so it is ok to be little polite and add 'ji' at the end of the name, just like people use salutation in the western culture, like Mr., Mrs. As you have already addressed that we can only reach our potential, when we start to think freely.
 
Posted on 11-29-15 7:11 PM     [Snapshot: 398]     Reply [Subscribe]
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If you had questions , you could ask it . Not to limit to a uncle or a friend. I think it's more subjective to the person , rather than how you address someone. Also, age makes a difference. Calling someone / relative uncle or aunty is a cultural thing.
you could have asked," Uncle, where do you work?" or " what field is good to study"


 
Posted on 11-29-15 9:31 PM     [Snapshot: 521]     Reply [Subscribe]
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You made a good point that age already makes a difference, and when you throw in maryadik relation in that, I think it is a receipe for discomfort. And the beleif that you should follow your elders suggestions/orders makes it even worse. And I think for the very reason, I tend to avoid older people. I feel like I already have enough rules to follow, and I dont want to add more rules when I am talking to a stranger. And, we cannot put a blind eye on a possibility that some people might be taking advantage of this belief system. I agree that it is subjective to a person. It is only my view.
 
Posted on 11-30-15 1:33 PM     [Snapshot: 715]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I think the problem is with you. You seem to be a very strange person for not have shown any interest in that "uncle" by asking him questions. It is not the word "uncle" that stopped you from getting into a conversation with the "uncle". It is your attitude.
Besides you said, he had a kid of your age and you still were not able to fully communicate with her. So uncle or no uncle, the problem is you.
I can imagine you being in the room, hands on your lap and not uttering a single word unless questioned. You will pass as a "kasto gyani" choro/chori in Nepal, but in western country, you will pass an a weirdo.


 
Posted on 11-30-15 3:06 PM     [Snapshot: 774]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@hurray: "gyani" in Nepal, "weirdo" in the US

lol......I'm one of those.

 
Posted on 11-30-15 8:03 PM     [Snapshot: 865]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@Hurray thank you for your comments. Actually I am trying to analyze why did I have that problem if the problem was in me through this article. We, human being, are logical and we also have feelings at the same time. I feel like we are trying to defy both logic and feelings by addressing a complete stranger by saying "Uncle" in the first meeting. My real uncles (dad and mom's brothers or someone I consider as my uncle emotionally) had earned and nurtured the relationships over the years. That's why "Uncle" was not just a word for me, it meant something, something special. And specially at the young age when you are trying to figure out how the world works, and when your parents ask you to address a complete stranger by "uncle", it confuses you. All of sudden you wonder how is he my uncle? what does uncle really mean? I am a married man, and I would like to have kids in the future. I would want my kids to be able to converse freely with everyone without any confusion.

This happened over the weekend. I was visiting my parents, and my mom had her colleague over in the house. Mom's colleague had a son. He was about 9-10 years old. His mom asked the kid to say 'Namaskar uncle' to me. The kid didn't pay attention. She got angry and yelled at him couple of times. He finally said 'namasskar uncle', but everyone in the room could see that he didn't want to say it. He just said it so that his mom would get off of his back. I brought this same discussion with his mom and suggested why can't she let him feel equal to everyone and just let him call me by my name. Her answer was that it is our culture, and she likes to make relationship personal. The thing that amazed me is she didn't even ask her son or me whether we want to make this relationship personal. When they were leaving, I said "Bye Harshal" and stretched my hand. He shook my hand, and my brother showed me how quickly Harshal's mood changed when he was shaking my hand. His face started to glow, and he was attentive. That is what I would like to see in my kids and every kid if I can.

This is why I wrote this article hoping to find some answers. That's why I really encourage you to comment your thoughts, experiences, solutions or stories that you may have. By the way my mom's colleague was Indian, so obviously this is not only our kids who go through this. We spend so much money on our kids education, but why can't we make a little effort to understand psychological and emotional state of our beloved child. In a long run they are more important in success and quality of life of our kid. If we don't help our kids, then who is going to help them understand these things. And the world is just getting more competitive by day. We don't want our kids to fall behind in the race, do we?
 
Posted on 12-01-15 5:49 AM     [Snapshot: 967]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I think the interaction/communication problem exists as you have realized, but you are focusing on the wrong point. It's not about what terms we use to address our parents' peers. It's about the behavior that our (Nepali) culture dictates. If you speak up to older people, you are rude. If you nod agreement to whatever they are saying, you have good manners. In Nepal, I called my friends' parents uncles/aunts and stayed quiet around them and I was always praised for having good manners :) Now, in the US, I call my friends' parents by their first names. But I still find it uncomfortable engaging in conversations with them and if they ask me something, I end up giving the shortest answer possible. So, I don't think it has anything to do with what you call them. It's the culture that we grow up in.
 
Posted on 12-01-15 7:24 PM     [Snapshot: 1080]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@MlnNpl Thank you for your comment. At least you have also realized that the generation gap in our culture is increasing and the communication between different generation is in decline. That's the whole point of this article to recognize this problem and find a solution together to provide a better platform for our younger generation to express their ideas freely. The landscape of economy has changed. It is the age of intellectual properties. Today ideas sell. If we want our kids to grow to be a global leader, an entrepreneur or pioneer, then it becomes essential to recognize a problem, analyze it and then only you can come up with solutions. Hence, communication and sharing of ideas, information become critical.

The problem may or may not lie in the word "Uncle". However, I believe that our feelings and psychology dictate our behavior. So lets dissect this "Uncle" situation from the psychology and emotional point of view of a child. Hypothetically, I am a 9 year old boy. I am really close to my father's brother. He lives close to us, and he visits us frequently. We hang out a lot. He brings me gifts and we go out to eat and stuff. I call him "Uncle". One day my dad's friend that I have never met before comes over to our house. Dad asks me to say namaskar to uncle. I say namaskar uncle to this stranger. I am excited to have a new uncle because I really like my dad's brother. I expect this stranger uncle to treat me like my dad's brother treats me because he is also uncle. Dad knows that it is not fair for me to expect same treatment from his friend because he knows that he is not his brother. He tells me "gyaani manche thulo manche lai dukha dinu hundaina". I can't figure out why this new uncle is not treating me like my other uncle. I keep my mouth shut but I am angry and confused. It will just continue to make me bitter when I meet a stranger uncle. All these emotions just bottles up inside me until I fully understand "uncle" is just a word that we use to address people who are older than us in age.

If my dad thinks that he needs to explain me why it was not fair of me to expect the same treatment from his friend that I get from his brother, he comes to me to explain the situation. He tells me that there is difference between his brother and his friend even though I call both of them uncle. There are different boundaries. His friend is more like a uncle due to age, but not my uncle in real. I ask him, then why do I call him uncle? He tells me it is a culture and we respect our elders. What I understand from this is that he is uncle but not really, so he is a fake uncle. I don't believe in the system anymore. Next time whenever I meet older people, I just say namaskar uncle and ignore them because they are fake to me. Thanks dad that really helps!

It is not about me anymore. I am at the age now that calling uncle to a strange older man in age is no different than calling him "Ram" for me. I have no expectation from him because I have better understanding of the world and the human nature through my experience now over the years. And, I understand that treating all the people in village as family members in the past might had some advantages when it came to security and help to work in the fields. But I think that it is time for us to understand the time has changed, and with time the economic and social system have changed.
Last edited: 01-Dec-15 07:55 PM

 
Posted on 12-02-15 9:22 AM     [Snapshot: 1172]     Reply [Subscribe]
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@MnlNpl actually I am also on the receiving side of this sometimes :) It hurts to be ignored by these young people. I feel like I have so much to share if they show interest, the knowledge and wisdom that I have gathered over the years through experience or education. It is sad. That's why I wonder if you are overwhelming and distancing these young people in the name of respect. There is a Nepali saying "To gain respect, you have to learn to respect first". Basically, it means "you have to earn the respect". So why cant we use the same philosophy with these young people by showing respect to them instead of just demanding the respect from them.
 
Posted on 03-04-16 8:18 PM     [Snapshot: 1649]     Reply [Subscribe]
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मैले यो पोस्ट केहि महिना लेखेको थिए। सायद तपाई धेरैले बीपी कोइरालाको “दोषी चश्मा” पढ्नु भएको होला। मलाई पनि लाग्छ हाम्रो धेरै समस्याहरु हामी आफैले नै सृजना गर्छौ। भनिन्छ बनको बाघले खायोस् नखायोस् मनको बाघले चाही खाँछ। मलाई अझै समझाना छ। म सानो हुँदा कोही अपरिचित उमेरमा ठुलो ब्यक्ति घरमा आउनु भयो भने। मलाई धेरै अपठारो पर्थ्यो। मलाई अब उहाँलाई नमस्कार गर्ने की दर्शन गर्ने भनेर नीरणय गर्न धेरै गारो हुन्थियो। कति छोटी त म कोठामा गएर लूखथिए। मम्मी आएर लिएर जानुहुन्थ्यो। सायद मैले जे गरेर सम्बोदन गरे पनि उहां अपरिचित ब्यक्तिलाइ फरक पर्दैन थियो होला। तर मेरो दिमागमा त यो समस्याले जरा गडिसकेको थियो। अहिले त्यों क्षणहरु संझदा म सोच्छु सायद मैले तेती बेला नमस्कार र दर्शन को समस्याको समाधान खोज्ने सट्टा social media को बारेमा सोचेको भए :)
 


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