Monthly Archives: August 2017

Bhasa and Lipi

It starts with-

“timi newari bujhchau?”


“timi lai majjale newari bolna auwcha?”

“Ahn: aucha.”

“Ani newari ma lekhna ni?”

“bolna aucha tara newari akshyar bujhna garo huncha.”

I have spent all my life telling people I do not know how to read the nepal lipi. I never gave much thought about why I did not know it; all I knew was I did not recognize that beautiful black strokes of line drawn together to mean something. That was the first language I heard and understood. That was the first language I spoke.

But that was not the first letter I was taught. Ka, Kha, Ga, A, B, Cs were what I scribbled in my copy when I was a kid.

I never needed to learn the Nepal lipi. I barely saw those beautiful letters. Even if I saw them, I only had to see them and not understand because right below them would be a translation.

It is not that I did not try wanting to learn about my language more but I guess people around me were either ignorant or did not themselves know the writings.

“timro boli ma “tta ta ra ma ma” audaina rahecha.”

I would be proud then and smile. How much insecure was I that I had to be proud and relieved that I did not acquire the accent of my ancestors. No offense but also I remember few of my friends testing me with the tongue twisters.

My late grandfather was always disappointed with me because I did not speak proper newari. I would have Nepali and English fused in my conversations. My uncle would always point out to others how funny I sounded; more like how non-newar I sounded and how they could hear my discomfort more than the words I was speaking. I never was concerned over the fact that as my Nepali and English got better, my mother tongue started getting rusty.

I believed my brain did its thinking thing in English (not even in Nepali). I even corrupted my brain to think that it was thinking in English. I let the air of modernizations get into my head I guess.

I guess its never too late. I am trying to learn the beautiful art of Nepal lipi now. It is difficult but it is the most beautiful thing. I feel more close to my heredity through these black letters. I struggle reading them, I become that five-year-old kid trying to read a word. The whole process feels like decoding an encrypt. It is real exciting learning how to read the language that I have been speaking all my life. The monograms are more complicated but they are no less than a striking piece of art.

I never much liked structures but the letters have amazing constructions made out of ink strokes from special 35 degree inclined flat nib. Though learning the lipi requires lot of patience and practice which I kind of struggle having but I now have the passion and desire of recognising the beautiful lipi by my heart.