The person who never went to school established herself as a teacher of boarding school, writer who has published over eight anthologies of short stories and as a member of Nepal academy. This is Maya Thakuri for you all.
In her writing she makes use of every single experience she had, everything she has observed and every emotion is her own emotion. Though she was young, she collected handful of experiences from her home itself. She belonged to a broken family where father’s love was concealed, all she remembers is her mother always crying and being unhappy. Her life is a story of brokenness and conquests. She says that she didn’t have to think of any artificial story or emotion. Any story she writes, she makes use of her own emotions and her own account throughout her lifetime.
Fatherless and poor, people often called her with names. In their eyes she was mischievous and foul mouthed. But she used to fight back every time someone said me something bad. “I am a factory of offensive words”, she says. Maya Thakuri’s first poems were hate poems to everyone who discouraged her and treated her inferiorly. But the children, grandchildren of people who spat at her now read her stories in their universities. They often claim that “Maya is ours” which no one did when she was growing up.
Maya never went to school. She taught herself how to read and write. She never got a chance to change from her school uniform or do something that would baffle each one of us during our childhood; homework. So how did she learn to read or write? Her Muwa (mother) who had learned to study during an army welfare program handed her a slate to practice alphabets. Since all her friends used to go school, she figured out that learning is important. So once her friends were done with their study, she used to borrow those used books and write between the empty spaces. She used to imitate what they had written. Empty spaces are neglected by everyone but she believes that we need to observe those empty spaces and make full use of them. She built herself through those spaces. We need to occupy spaces that were always meant to exclude us. Satish, a teacher approached her for tutoring but in return she had to do his household chores. Thus, began her schooling. “I took SLC and passed in third division”, she said proudly.
She loves reading other writer’s work. She often forgets what is around her once she starts reading. That is the way to find her inner peace. She is fond of hearing people talk. Every time she hears some intellectuals speaking about different books, she tries to observe and absorb the knowledge she is offered. It suddenly feels like she is in a school. So Mrs. Thakuri goes everywhere she is invited be it a small entrepreneur’s book launch to a wealthy person’s book launch in a grand hotel. She goes everywhere where knowledge is shared. When the scholars analyze the strength and weakness of particular books, she is the one getting benefits. Since past many years of attending such programs, she feels that she is getting free education.
Her life is a miracle to herself. A person who never got quality education taught in a school for 6-7 years. Her life story surprises her. And all these things were only possible because of her inner belief and self esteem “I can do it”. Now she is a member of Nepal Academy and that is only possible because she was capable and she deserved it. We all have something to learn from her story. Don’t we?
Watch her full video here: