This is 2005:
The things I like. I like the way the whole world smells after a heavy rain and I like the way the sun reflects off of a rain puddle. That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you finally meet someone after a long time and that other feeling, the one you can only say in French, which makes you feel as if this moment has happened before. I adore the way puppies play with themselves and the way their mothers gently grab them by the scruff of their necks. The Catcher in the Rye. The feeling of completion that you get after you’ve just finished a good book. The soft strumming of a guitar played by one who knows what he’s doing. The smell of pinecones. The taste of strong coffee and chocolate, not the very sweet kind. The feeling of soft skin against the tips of your fingers, that make you feel like you’re touching velvet. Short hair on girls, long hair on guys. A nickname given and spoken lovingly. The way people’s eyes light up when they talk about someone they love. Spiders. To Kill a Mockingbird. Rainfall. Days when you can just sit beneath the covers and drink something hot. Lost in Translation. The things I don’t. The smell of sweat and frying fish. I don’t like it when people are self-centered and think only of themselves. I more than dislike people who try to fake their way through life, I hate them. The way music has been turned into something that you just dance to, instead of being an expression of yourself. I don’t like the way people go through life thinking only of money and pleasures. Books about war. Change. Unrequited love. Fat women in skimpy clothes. Skinny women in skimpy clothes. Babies who cry all the time. Children whose only purpose in life is to destroy everything in their sight. The numbness in your fingers after they have been in the cold too long. Big crowds. Tobacco and the people who chew them, only to spit them out disgustingly. Mucus. People who think they’re better than you at everything, even life. People who stab you in the back. Open-mouthed gum chewing. Frayed friendships.
This is 2008:
The things i like. Chris Marker. Sociology. A sunny day with powdery snow on the ground. Nostalgia. Long hair. Hands with long fingers and fine nails. People who are free with themselves. Free will. The Velvet Underground. Music music music. Cinematography. Wishes. Camus’s The Stranger. Calvin and Hobbes. Edward Gorey and Albrecht Durer. People whose style comes from the Salvation Army. Bob Dylan. Poetry and the people who read them. Intelligent people with original thoughts. Movies and music videos. Marijuana. Derrida, Appadurai, Pavlov, Fredric Jameson. Arundhati Roy. Satyajit Ray. Gus Van Sant. Love. The things i don’t. Complacent ignorance. The Bush Administration. Imperialism, capitalism and globalization. The United Nations. Jingoism. Wilco. People who have enough but pretend like they don’t. De ja vu. People with a bloated sense of self. Shellfish including but not limited to oysters and clams. Prawn and shrimp too. Period novels. People who laugh at you to hurt you. Bullies. Hurting others, mostly unintentionally. When you realise you don’t love someone. When you realise that time has passed. When you realise that things have changed. People who refuse to accept that their poetry is shitty. Overdone innuendos. Hypocritical preaching. Religious fundamentalists. Religion. Robinson Crusoe. People who don’t think. Love.
This is 2010:
I am a liar. My name is Pranaya SJB Rana. I am from Kathmandu, Nepal, though am currently in my second year at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. I study literature, creative writing, film and philosophy. I am a graduate of St Xavier’s School (Godavari and Jawalakhel) and Rato Bangala School. Before coming to the US, I worked as a reporter for the Nepali Times and a feature writer for WAVE Magazine. A search on their respective websites should yield an ample amount of my work. I am currently editor for VENT, a web-based magazine. I like to read. Albert Camus, Haruki Murakami and Kurt Vonnegut are among my favorite writers. I like to watch films, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker and Satyajit Ray are among my favorite filmmakers. I like to stand behind my words, much in the tradition of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Arundhati Roy.
This is 2013:
My name is still Pranaya SJB Rana but I am not the same Pranaya. These days, I am back in Kathmandu, Nepal and have finished with my college degree. It has been around eight months since I started work at The Kathmandu Post, as a desk editor. It is not something I particularly like doing. Slowly but surely, I am travelling down a path that I do not want to go down but seem to have no agency to stop. In Kathmandu, the air is stifling. I have placed my morals and ethics on the line , all in service to the rupee, for without it, how to survive? I still read all that I used to read. These days, what I cannot do without is the podcast Radiolab (link), which never ceases to amaze me and interest me. Last year, in January, I had an accident, a life-threatening one and since then, I have found myself intrigued by the most banal of things. When contemplated, everything is interesting. After all, a life unexamined is not one worth living, right? I also recently read Zadie Smith and she is as fascinating a writer as any I have come across. I am attempting to bring out a book of short stories. Agents, publishers? Anyone interested, please shoot me a line. Now good night, and good luck.
This is June 2013:
I am now Op-Ed editor at The Kathmandu Post and though I am still going down a path I did not think I would take, I am finding it pleasant and entertaining. Opinions are interesting and politics is fascinating but sometimes, too complex to make sense of. I miss creativity and I miss telling stories. I need to make a comeback. Anyone want to be my muse? Find me, Calliope.
This is July 2015:
So it has finally happened. Actually, a lot has happened. I am currently unemployed and free of shackles and most importantly, I have a book coming out. I have put a lot of myself into this book and it should familiar to anyone who knows me or really, anyone who’s followed my blog. Over the years, I have come to realise that I give away too much in what I write. I am not an exhibitionist, or at least I don’t think so, but somehow I do it unconsciously, as if possessed. So this book, which comes in October, will no doubt say a lot about me.
Really, I am afraid. Publishing this book will be like standing naked in front of the world and asking them to judge you. And god knows, I’ve done my sharing of judging, often too critically. And I am certain there are many pitchforks with my name on it sharpened and ready to go. I’m not so sure I have as thick of a skin as I think I do when it comes to criticism. I know my writing is far from perfect, but the world can be so unkind and I have never had the self-confidence to rebuff all the haters.
Still, it will be out there. It will be called City of Dreams, it will be about cities and dreams and mirrors and time and memory and strangeness. It will be me. Keep an eye out for it. And pray for me.
This is 2016:
Love always feels alien. It’s unfamiliar at first, confusing, demanding, taking as much as it gives. It takes a while for it to feel comfortable. Like a pair of new shoes, you have to break it in. Then, it feels like you never knew anything else, you never knew anyone else. This is where you begin and this is where you will end. She becomes home and hearth, safety and warmth. People like me are cold and cynical, looking at the world through frosted glasses, through a sheen of ice that leaches everything of colour. And being in love, it turns even people like me into romantics, dreamy, head-in-the-clouds. Things don’t seem so harsh anymore and straight edges seem rounder. The world feels softer. I feel full, or maybe complete is the better word. This is what Aristophanes meant in The Symposium. This is what Neruda writes of. This feeling that you were once empty and now you are not. You were alone once and now you are not. We are all empty, hoping something warm will make its home inside of us.
I have found my Calliope. Or rather, she has found me.
[Less importantly, I am in Brussels for an Erasmus Masters programme. I will be moving to Vienna in March and then to Copenhagen and Madrid.]
Find me on FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pranaya.rana
Email me at pranaya (dot) rana (at) gmail (dot) com