By Dinesh Wagle on August 31st, 2005 in Wagle Street Journal
Debut novel Palpasa Cafe has created history in Nepali book industry by selling out 5 thousands copies in a month.
As a critic recently noted, Narayan’s Wagle’s novel Palpasa Cafe is filled with many coincidences. The meeting between Drishya and Palpasa (two main characters) in Goa, India is a coincidence. They again meet in Kathmandu in a coincidence. And they encounter in a bus while returning from their respective tours of Nepali villages (another coincidence). Now, here are some other milestones, from the real world, that might also be taken as coincidences.
This debut novel of journalist Wagle recently created history in Nepali book industry by selling out 5 thousand copies within the first month of publication. And today Madan Puraskar Guthi (Madan Prize Trust) declared that Wagle, 37, has won this year’s Madan Purasker, Nepali literary world’s most prestigious prize, for Palpasa CafÃ©. (The same trust has also said that Phanindra Raj Khetala, 84, has been awarded with this year’s Jagadamba-Shree prize for his contribution in Nepali language and literature.) Both titles command Rs. 2 lakhs each. And here is yet another coincidence: The trust had decided to increase the prize amount by one hundred percent since this year on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the Madan Puraskar.
“I am elated,” said Wagle, 37, editor of Kantipur, Nepal’s largest circulating daily paper. “A journalist’s new style and approach has been awarded with a prestigious prize.” Wagle’s Cafe depicts the life and time of war-trodden Nepali society with is trademark writing style that has already been popular as Coffee Guff, his weekly apolitical column in Kosilee, Kantipur’s weekly supplement. “I have experienced that if a writer gets satisfaction from his creation, readers will get satisfaction too.”
1.Narayan Wagle: A Novelist Is Born With Palpasa Cafe
2. Wagle Guff: Coffee, Cafe and Palpasa
3. Palpasa Cafe Hits Bookstores
33 Responses to “Narayan Wagle Wins Madan Puraskar”
September 1st, 2005 at 12:02 am
I am very happy to hear that Narayan Wagle’s Palpasa Cafe won the Madan Puraskar .
September 1st, 2005 at 7:39 am
Congratulations to Wagle ji. This is nothing against him.
But I am dismayed Madan Guthi was in such a haste to give away madan Prize to Palpasa Cafe. Have they read the book yet? Palpasa Cafe is a mediocre novel with a media success due exclusively to kantipur company limited. I have seen praises for it, but you’ll realise it’s due to the fact that these praisers haven’t read any other book. The literary merit is only about 2/10. Madan Prize, I thought would be given to those with high literary value; not those with onlu popular success. [icd]
The sheer fact that Madan Prize grabbed this book only after a few days of release (thanks God, it was not before the release!!) explains that the Chakari trend has been reversed. Now the Madan Guthi has fallen low enough to seek favors from Kantipur Publications. This is nothing other than a Chakari seeking game. Shame on you Madan Guthi
But I still believe Palpasa Cafe is a good read. A mediocre, good-for-ordinary brains stuff like us. But it won’t come up to the standard that it should get Madan prize.
Well, I may be wrong. Madan Prize’s standard may have plummetted in that case. [icd]
Nothing against Wagle and Kantipur company ltd. Please understand.
September 1st, 2005 at 10:56 am
Congratulations to Mr. Wagle!
Though there are lots of coincidences, the message of the novel is loud and clear. Left wing and right wing extremists have together given an incredible amount of pain and despair to common people. I salute Mr. Wagle for his attempt to give justice to the everyday story of contemporary Nepal, which otherwise, would have just become statistics.
September 1st, 2005 at 1:06 pm
First of all would like to convey lots of congratulations to Narayan.
Pondering on what neutralman has just said, I just wondered who were the people in selection committee? Does Palpasa Cafe also offers such a remarkable literature value to Nepalese literature for which Madan Puraskar is offered (at least thats what used to mean to me by the name of that award)? Would be nice if the editors of this page could do some extra work in getting opinion from some established renowned independent literaturist (if there are any) on the novel. At least field of literature should be set a side from the Cartelism being developed in every sector in Nepal. Or ?
Once again Cheers for Narayan
ghanshyam khadka,Myagdi Says:
September 1st, 2005 at 1:06 pm
Respected Narayan wagle dai, congratulation u .
I am very happy to hear that palpasa cafe won the Madan Puraskar.
September 1st, 2005 at 3:29 pm
well it’s been long that one ‘lord’ who loved to talk literature has disappeared . i wud like to see wat he has to say over this ! missing him ! and wagle’
s icd are getting denser spoiling the contents of some good appearing contents !
finally, lord r u alive to have any say over this !
September 1st, 2005 at 3:30 pm
sorry comments instead of contents
shyamkarna, dhmbarahi Says:
September 1st, 2005 at 3:48 pm
palpasa cafe was published in 2062 and how could it get madan prize of 2061? wagle had an interaction programme on shrawan 1st this year. his paper kantipur recently too wrote that it was sold within one month of the publication and the publisher and distributor also said same recently. [icd]
Bhuwan Sharma Says:
September 1st, 2005 at 4:52 pm
I would like to join SGhimire in congratulating Narayan Wagle for bagging this year’s Madam Puraskar. At the same time, I would also like to voice my dissent against Neutralman. He says that the book has gone on to become successful because of “Kantipur Company Limited.” Com’on man, you cannot just make a flat statement and castigate an organization. For oneâ??having worked for a number of media houses, hence having the advantage of comparison and contrastâ??I know for sure that Kantipur tries it’s best to live up to it’s reputation of being a fair and a credible organization. Hence, there is no question of it going all out to promote a man at the cost of it’s reputation. In addition, Mr. Neutralman should also take into consideration the history of the man. Mr. Wagle is a man who has time and again proved his mettle. Hece, for me at least, it was nothing new to learn that he has added yet another feather to his cap by trying his luck and proving his capability in another genre.
September 1st, 2005 at 5:33 pm
I don’t have any headache for Wagle ji got the Madan prize. The issue is whether it was a right book for that prize. In my opinion it’s not. It’s only a pop novel. I hope u have read this before u comment on this. The other thing I disagree with you is that Kantipur was of course, in an all out mission to create media frenzy. U can’t deny it. I don’t think any book will need to be advertised like a third class hindi movie on the ad board hosted by Kantipur. I can’t answer why Kantipur does that. I don’t know if Kantipur wants to promote one person keeping its reputation at stake. But there’s nothing wrong doing that. kantipur is a private institute, and it can do that. My say is towards Madan Guthi. There is a hidden motive in giving away Madan Prize to Palpasa Cafe.
Well, Bhuwan ji, please read Palpasa Cafe and come back to put a comment. may be u will agree with me then.
Ram Acharya Says:
September 1st, 2005 at 9:10 pm
First of all my heartfelt congratulations to Narayan WagleyJee! You did a great job and it is just the beginning. Being a journalist you could produce a marvelous piece of treasure for Nepali literature. Nevertheless, it has invoked some doubts and skepticism in some Nepali minds like that of Neutralman. Perhaps, his curiosity why Madan Guthi could choose such a mediocre novel for the one of the superb prizes of the country. It is a considerable thinking. Suppose, it is ‘mediocre novel’ which perhaps does not deserve the prize. Then question arise: Is there any better recent novel for this prize? Perhaps not. The doubt is our skepticism that only hinders our growth. We cannot do better but we never stay behind to argue and doubt. Nevertheless, we are pleased to admit neutralman’s argument because we live in at least ‘mediocre democratic stage’. Were we in communist system neutralman wouldn’t have any rights to express his argument. By this time despite his anonymity he would have been tracked down through the IP address of his computer, and perhaps he would have become hanged! I neednâ??t to mention what if we still had had Oligarchic Rana regime? In any case, whether Madan Guthi did an unfair or a fair job. At least it has recognized a rising talent in Nepali literature. Although literally, Palpasa CafÃ© could be brushed further as suggested by one of its reviewers Ajit Baral, it has not missed to exhibit a sharp wit in the contemporary context. This is unique property of the novel and although language is blurred but the message is clear. But one has to agree that brushing is a matter of time. The great German poet Goethe wrote to his friend: â??If had had more time the letter would have been shorter.â??
Of course, we wish more competitive, more creative novels in the coming years. The pity is that our education system has become so hindered and doubtful as Nepalese saying â??Gharko na Ghatkoâ??. Because of lack of sufficient public schools, we need private schools, but perhaps we wouldnâ??t have needed all schools in English medium unless we have good English speaking teachers. There we have a â??big problem of communicationâ?? between the kids and the teachers. The (poorly paid) teachers (who naturally come from public rural schools) cannot speak good English and kids come from still illiterate families Ã it is beautiful combination. Isnâ??t it? As a consequence, now kids and later young people can neither write creatively (in beautiful language) in English nor in Nepali. The kids from boarding schools have no good Nepali either. On the other hand, the public schools are in Nepali medium but without any teachers, where there is â??no communicationâ?? between the pupils and teachers at all. I even wonder about the language of forthcoming novels in Nepali Language! Let me mention one more praise worthy side of Wagley Jee, despite his background in science, he could compete the literature sector. But it is at the same time very sad part of the education system of humanitarian subjects in our higher-level institutions. It is bitter truth that the quality of humanitarian subject at TU is extremely worthless compared to engineering, medical and agricultural colleges. Do you know why these colleges are still doing good, but the humanitarian faculties are doing bad? The answer is: most of the teachers in these colleges are foreign product. It is a shame on TU humanitarian professors to be the product and producer at the same palce. To run the country we need more humanitarian scientists than the engineers or doctors who have very little say in the national politics or in bureaucracy. Just two top students (scoring >60% and others scoring
September 1st, 2005 at 11:13 pm
Noone, I am always around you. Just remember me. I used to be a teacher and I am still happy to give lessons to people interested in literature ( but remember criticism is not as easy as reading a cheap novel). And, regarding this experimental novel by Wagle, I agree with CK Lal that Wagle is a very tall man. He sees many things that people normally miss. And, being tall has its own disadvantage (Perhaps u know it).
Mr. Noone criticism is not as easy as chewing a gum. I advice you to read more before you blabber senselessly here.
â??But I still believe Palpasa Cafe is a good read. A mediocre, good-for-ordinary brains stuff like us.â??
Yes Neutralman, you are right. Mediocre people like you cannot comprehend Palpasa CafÃ©. So you have to read more books on literature.
Neutralman, you seem to have very little knowledge about markets. Advertisement and publicity are part of modern life. VS Naipaul nearly went mad when the publishers in England refused to publish his works. Reason was that Naipaul was still an unknown quantity. Rest tomorrow, not it is 11 pm ok. Wait for me.
Ram Achary Says:
September 2nd, 2005 at 4:51 am
My attempt is not yet over…
Just two top students (scoring more than 60 percent and others scoring less than 45 percent or failed) in the whole class (if not in the whole faculty) are not sufficient to lead any sector of the country, neither economics nor commerce nor literature. To compete with â??Palpasa CafÃ©â?? once again we have to look at the mirror of our education quality and instantly stop striking and start studying (not only reading). Then start dissecting what is right and what is wrong with your sharp wit. Once again, congratulation toWagley Jee. I am personally very proud of you. Let me say to you, had I had better quality than yours I wonâ??t have given you any â??sheerâ?? chance to bag such a prestigious prize called Madan Pursakar. I wish you more success in future.
September 2nd, 2005 at 5:45 am
I am surprised by Ram Acharya’s and Lord’s comments. Ram Acharya ji, so you think you should log in my IP address and try to scare me? Hehhehehe. I pity on that concept. Did I tell anywhere that I support communism, or blah blah? I was simply talking about Madan Guthi inappropriately giving away the prize (this is not the first time they have done that though). And here you are so angry to the extent that you are fantasizing those nasty things. Well, the way you bloggers (Lord ncluded) react to a simple criticism, it is likely that you guys are paid bloggers.
I am not sure another Wagle (who runs this blog) will keep this sentence (since he edited my first comment just like Panchayat run Gorkhapatra used to do long ago). And you have to first understand what I am saying. Ram ji you were telling about if there are other books better than Palpasa cafe for the prize? Hahaahhahaha. So you think there aren’t any? No comment. But if I tell you a name of the book, then you start saying this blog has a hidden intent. So it’s a homework for you to find out if you really want to.
Then this anonimity thing. Ram Acharya ji thinks that I am not introducing myself coz I fear etc etc. Let me tell you the whole idea of blog is to maintain anonimity if one chooses to do. And I don’t know you are Ram Acharya or anybody. Just that you write as that name doesn’t give me enough intro (I don’t want to know though, the way you are dying to know who I am). You could be Golchhe sarki, or Girija Koirala, or madhav Nepal, or even Pushpa Kamal Dahal. May be George Bush. Who knows? Next thing you should do is to give a copy of your citizenship card if you really want to give away ur intro.
What I am saying is that internet newssite or blog sites are really democratic forums. You don’t need to know who the person is, just read the comment and if u have capacity to understand it, enjoy it.
Regarding Lord, his comments are not worth commenting on anyway. he (or she – I don’t have gender bias).
September 2nd, 2005 at 12:20 pm
Like Booker or any other international literary prize, we didn’t hear Madan Puraskar Guthi revealing the shortlist or longlist of the contesting books. Or may be I just didnâ??t know about that. Or may be they have their own secret procedure. I do not doubt over their intention. But I suggest they make their procedure more transparent.
By the way, could you please enlighten this child by naming some of the books that you would have loved to see awarded by the Madan Puraskar? I would lvoe to go through them if I haven’t already and come here to have my thoughts over the books. Could you please point out any other books with more literary marks (The literary merit is only about 2/10, as you have given to Palpasa CafÃ©)? That would be a great help.
Plus, people like me would be grateful to read your critical comments (not just the word ‘mediocre’). Why the novel is not good? Is that just because you didn’t like its content or its advertisement or because it as any serious flaws tackling the issue?
Hoping for your wise reply.
September 2nd, 2005 at 2:00 pm
WHERE QUACK BECOME CRITICS
“Regarding Lord, his comments are not worth commenting on anyway. he (or she â?? I donâ??t have gender bias).”
I had not expected your comment, Mr.Neutralman. I just wanted to give a lesson on literature since you are desperately in need of it. And, one more thing to you, criticism doesn’t mean ‘mediocre or superior or inferior’. If it was so, then ” WOW” would be the best criticism of a work of art.
What is a good literary work? How do you know if a work of literature is good or bad? It is the internal cohesion of a work of art that penetrates, imitates and distorts in order to create. Ok, Neutralman, just come up with one or two good books that you claim to be good literature. I will be happy to enlighten you with some of the yardsticks that fathom the depth of a literary work. Always wait for my reply.
September 2nd, 2005 at 4:29 pm
Lahure and who are others?
There you go. Shyamkarna has enlightened us with this fact, and this proves Madan Prize was a farce to this ‘good for people like Lord, Ram Achary, Lahure’ book. So the clowns of Madan Guthi wre in such a hurry to ‘oil massage’ kantipur company that they didn’t know the prize year was not compatible!! Hahhahaha. Come on guys on payrolls!! Get your brain into action.
September 2nd, 2005 at 6:05 pm
September 2nd, 2005 at 8:18 pm
Congratulation for the wagle for his debut novel Palpasa cafe, which has just won the 0.2 milenium award. Hope that he will continue in the same track or may be like in Bhupi serchan, who after getting award had disappeared in the same height.
Thanks. for this coincedence for me to write again .
Ram Achary Says:
September 2nd, 2005 at 8:46 pm
I agree with your proposal of anonymity. OK. However, I insist to read my text once again from the top to the bottom. Unfortunately, the text is broken into two pieces due to the lack of my ignorance of the HTML syntax. What you have digested from my text is wrong. I doubt perhaps you have had the same thing with the Palpasa Cafe’. I don’t mean that Palpasa Cafe is best for all times of ours. It is a hot cake at present. Wisdom can never emerge through mustering or ‘oil-massaging’ or providing a luxury to the doer. Wisdom is its own and it may emerge in you, in me or in any stray kid. It cannot be controlled by our wish however we can at least shape through education. If we were to control, we would also have had control over the doer of the royal massacre in 2001. If you see wisdom in anybody, we need to respect it. That does not mean we respect N. Wagle or muster Kantipur but we salute the wisdom that was ignited in laureate Wagle. Similarly, we should also be smart enough to condemn the criminal will of any body, whether it is stray kid or it be a royal prince.
September 3rd, 2005 at 4:23 am
Hey guys, nothing hard feeling here. I was just expressing my thoughts that Madan Guthi did a hastening decision on the prize. And before then, Palpasa Cafe disappointed me (given that amount of media attention and with that sort of fast selling record) and that’s why I was not satisfied with the Madan Puraskar decision. Anyway, thanks to all for enlightening me in various ways.
September 3rd, 2005 at 7:42 pm
Neutralman, I had no idea that you argue so helplessly. I hope you and Neutralman will spend few years reading literature and literary criticism. It is an arduous job. But I encourage both of you to study more la? Dont only say superior, inferior or mediocre. You have to come up with conrete evidences and examples while making a review of a book, la. Dont only be quacks, be real critics and it is possible only if you love and read literature. See, it is a vast subject. But, dont worry. You can do it if you continuously read for four or five years. Now BYE la?
My benediction is with you,la?
September 3rd, 2005 at 7:49 pm
Again you are lambasting media attention. What does media mean? The book is not a precious stone that he stumble across while walking. It needs advertisement. How did you know about Palpasa Cafe? Had Narayan Wagle whishpered you to read the book? I guess you came to know about it through ‘media’. Do u know know what mean? Check out a dictionary, la?
ma nepali Says:
September 3rd, 2005 at 9:40 pm
September 4th, 2005 at 6:52 am
It really proves now that you are paid to blog here. I don’t know who pays you, but I guess it would be Kantipur Company. I have seen Nepali media all along and most of them are all bull***t. You have to see the outsode world first, before pleading that Kantipur is a healthy media. It’s a yellow journalism all along anyway. Now it’s a homework for you—come after you prepare ur lesson thoroughly, man!
September 4th, 2005 at 9:34 pm
Wow! What a scholarly comment you have made. It is like Mandales branding the dissents as â??Arastriya tatwaâ??. Toeing the line and buttering the boss are their ways of thinking. What do you meant by â?? yellow journalismâ??? Yes, the government is blaming the Post and the Kantipur of â??yellow journalismâ?? after they refused to do a Gorkhapatra. And, I have read some of the write-ups written by â?? MEDIA EXPERTSâ?? in these government mouthpieces. You are also one of media EXPERTS, right?
â??Nowhere in the world FM radios are allowed to air news, in England writers and journalists are sentenced to death on sedition charge, Government should not delay in taking actions against Kantipur publications, Kantipur Publications are run by Arastriya Tatwas.â??
Well, Gorkhapatra will certainly entertain your idea. It will pay for your write-up. And, Where have I written a blog? It needs lots of courage and enthusiasm whic I obviously lack. I just wrote a comment. And, I donâ??t want to defend myself against whatever you blabber.
And you have seen Nepali media only, I advice you to see other media as well.
And why donâ??t you understand that you should come up with evidences and examples to wage a debate. You branded Wagleâ??s novel as â??mediocreâ?? and you said Kantipur does â?? Yellow journalismâ??. I would like to check out a dictionary, for these words might be new to you. And, why donâ??t you present your evidences and examples if the novel is â??mediocreâ??, my friend? Thatâ??s why I told you earlier that you are still a quack critic.
September 5th, 2005 at 7:15 am
Hhahaah. Lord, that really fired you up! Look, nothing against you. But you shouldn’t be dying to protect the sanctity of Kantipur. Kantipur is popular, but it’s far from neutral. I am not sure how grown up u were when Kantipur was a Nepali Congress mouthpiece when it was in power. May be u were too small to comprehend it. I don’t support this new Panchayat regime, if you are too much worried about whether I am King’s follower. I am indeed, a neutral man. I don’t have any hidden interest in promoting one paper, or one book, like you regular bloggers seem to be doing here. What I advise is to grow up, grow taller and be neutral (as much as you can). But, hey, cool down. It’s just a blog, and there’s nothing so hot here to fight for. Do you agree?
September 5th, 2005 at 12:03 pm
Well, I agree with you Mr. Neutralman. But, we were talking on Palpasa cafe, kikasota? But you made digressions by talking about Kantipur publications, hoina? So it is better to come down to our original topic. And I am happy to know that you are not one of the ’ media experts’. But again you misfired that I am a blogger. I just make comments whenever I have a mind to. So, I hope retract the sentence you wrote here, la? And, being a literature graduate, I just could not keep mum over the absurd criticism some commentators made here. But people should have at least some knowledge on the topic. And, teh process of gaining knowledge never ends. Iam always open to new ideas. I will keep on growing. Thanx to your suggestions la.
September 5th, 2005 at 12:45 pm
Surely that resolves the conflict. Thanx Lord!
September 7th, 2005 at 6:50 am
This is ridiculous. In no country is the country’s top literary award given to a book only a week after it is published.
Politics is one thing, literature is another. I haven’t read the book and don’t know anything about its literary value; however, the way the prize was given makes me very suspicious about its actual merit. I suppose the book is nothing more than political pop-fiction.
October 2nd, 2005 at 7:06 pm
I recently got to read Palpasa Cafe. It was a good read and these days when the youngsters are opting for western literature it is good that Palpasa cafe has intrigued such a discussion among the youth. Congratulations to Narayan Wagle!! A good novel comes once in a while and leaves a lasting impression. Palpasa Cafe is indeed one.
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October 5th, 2005 at 11:53 pm
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November 6th, 2005 at 2:56 pm
I read Palapasa Cafe, and it’s superb. It’s written in simple colloqial Nepali, and has beautiful descriptions, a great storyline and parts of contemporary Nepali culture that i never thought any Nepali book would explore.
Mr. Neutralmanji, all the other Nepali literature that has been awarded have been about the same things – the past. Writers before were so engrossed into becoming sophisticated literary symbols- writing words too difficult to understand, and feelings that an ideal person should feel. Narayan Wagle’s Palpasa Cafe is about NOW, the present. His book is the first Nepali book that most Nepali kids have read at all. Why? Because it’s simple, interesting and doesn’t demand anything from us. Drisya the main character, is like anyone of us and has his drawbacks.
Mr. Neutralman, why do you say the book is mediocre? Because it lacks sophistication? What’s the use of sophisticated language when no one understands it? Also, what’s wrong with advertising and marketing a product, anyway? You say that it was advertised like some cheap Hindi movie but you were fool enough to buy and read it, too?
I feel that Narayan Wagle has done a great job and that Madan Guthi has done a great job, too, by awarding him. And all i know is that a whole generation will be waiting for Wagle’s next book just to read another Nepali book.