| May 19, 2019


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Abhay Kumar fondly recalls the year it took him to learn Nepali. "Once you learn a language, you can't unlearn it," he says. Thus despite the fact, the Indian poet diplomat is ending his residency soon he can see his relationship with Nepal lasting forever. But it is more than just sentiments, Kumar leaves a lasting legacy of his relationship with our country in the form of his literary works as well. In a final till-we-meet-again, Kumar reflects on his inspirations and his work.

How do you look back at your literary journey in Nepal?

I believe these three years here have been very important for my literary development. Nepal has proven to be a big source of inspiration for my writings. I had opportunities to visit various places in the country during my residency and they were such amazing experiences. I have written about all the places I have traveled to and what's even better is that those poems have been published in many prestigious international literary journals. A paper in Ireland printed one of my pieces on Dashain. Another of my work on exceptional Nepali personalities like Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Bhanubhakta, and Arniko was featured in a publication in Vermont. It was my pleasure to help introduce Nepal, its people, and culture to the world at large.

The appreciation I received in Nepal was particularly special. They believed my literary work captured the spirit of Nepal. I also had the chance to collaborate with many Nepali artists. The Prithivi and SAARC song, in particular, come to mind. Having a hand in composing it and then to realize it in joint effort with Nepali artists like Shreya Sotang was very fulfilling. I'm grateful for these experiences and memories.

What is it about Nepal that inspired you the most?

The uniqueness of Nepali culture, language and architecture just creates this environment and energy that you can't help but feel inspired. Also having learnt Nepali, I have become really fond of the structure of the language. It is just so sweet. It can be manipulated to form all sorts of literary possibilities. Dohori is another example. It is simply divine. I have yet to come across something like this. Even when you hear the chatter standing along the steps of Changu Narayan or Basantapur, you feel this immense sense of enjoyment. And this is just the capital, the whole country at large is full of inspirations.

Do you spot similarities between your job and your passion?

The similarities are very evident when it comes to the expression of language. Both poetry and diplomacy is about sensitivity thus one needs to know how to use their words with great expertise. As they say, the best diplomacy is where they don't realize it is diplomacy. Good poetry too isn't exactly direct. There is generous use of metaphors. Both are about subtlety and when done right both have the power to connect individuals. Poetry could very well compliment the efforts you make through statecraft. Thus the similarities are aplenty and the impact they both have individually is huge too.