Buddhisagar’s novel Karnali Blues starts with a father, who says after seeing his newborn son for the first time, “He has a mole on the sole of his foot, so he will have to walk a lot but he won’t go off anywhere and leave us.”
His mother then asks the baby, “Will you go off and leave us when you’re big?”
A statement from one parent, a question from the other.
In a Thamel restaurant on a sunny winter afternoon, Buddhisagar walks in wearing a brick-orange jumper and black pants, looking as if he just returned from a track meet-and-greet. He apologises for being late. “I walk everywhere,” he offers as an explanation.
He does not look like any of the pictures on the Internet, those that make him out to be larger-than-life celebrated Nepali author. Maybe it is because he is not expecting to be photographed.
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This is the real Buddhisagar, in his most natural state. Perhaps this is how he looks writing in his own company, while sipping tea from a local vendor and building stories out of childhood nostalgia.
Like Brisha Bahadur in Karnali Blues, Buddhisagar was also born in Matera, and brought up in Katasé and Kalikot. Like the main character of his novel, he was not academically gifted. But unlike his fictional counterpart, he was rather shy, Buddhisagar confesses. So the prolific author most likely did not go around looking for mischief or drawing moustaches on pictures he found around the house.
Many call Karnali Blues an autobiographical fiction. “Some parts of the beginning of the novel are real,” the author admits.