Singer-turned-recorder: Sanjay Shrestha in his studio
Remember Me? Bhim Tuladhar as a cassette wholeseller in his shop at Ason
I received a call from reporter friend Girish Giri when I was fast asleep in my home at Birtamode a month ago. He asked me if I had singer Sanjay Shrestha's photo. I am one of those people who find saying an outright No a Herculean task. So, I answered in affirmative, albeit asking why he needed the pic. He murmured something and hung up.
I was doing a story on fading Nepali pop stars. Sipping tea in nearby eatery, Dinesh and I mulled over these yesteryear artists. "Ah, Sanjay is the lad who carried a guitar and traveled the country to introduce pop songs," Dinesh remarked. I nodded. Bhim Taladhar was a Nepali version of Michael Jackson, his long hair unmistakably like a rock star's. I recall singing their songs: Maya Meri Maya Hamro Milan Kahile Hunchha. Angalo Angaloma.. Bhim even gifted me his CD.
I returned from Bhim's cassette shop at Ason. A pop star whose thousands of cassettes were once hot cake now was selling his competitors' album. When I emerged out of his shop, I felt as if I was travelling to the past; true to his glorious history. But, even in his vicinity, Bhim is a non-entity. Sanjay on the other hand has opened up a recording studio in Naxal. Somehow, these pop singers have retained their love for music. Both are involved in musical field. But sadly the craze is over. This phenomenon of being a relic of the past was for me an important issue for a feature story.
I told my brother that these were the pop artists of my generation.
Those were, as we fondly recalled, the halcyon days. Theirs and ours.
This way, I often share story ideas with my reporter friends. Dinesh is one of them and other friends like Shailendra and Pawan who often accompany me for tea know what story I'm doing. I discuss the ideas hoping to elicit information that could make a story better.
It had never occurred. But, the pop star story turned out to be a bitter pill to shallow. I came back to Kathmandu from my hometown to find out that a Kantipur reporter had done the story that was similar in theme with my story. To my dismay, I found out that Girish had published the pics to go along with the story for Koseli, a Saturday supplement of Kantipur Daily. The Saturday morning, I discovered that my picture has been used but no credit was given in that largest selling daily.
Some of my colleagues blamed me for sharing story ideas with everyone around. I promised not to reveal what I'm doing for my newsweekly. But, at the same time, I need to talk to photographers regarding the theme and angle of the story. That way, I believe, they get the idea of the story that would help them click in the best possible way. But, the world thinks otherwise. My editor Kishore Nepal shared his wisdom in our weekly meeting today. It was as if he was reminding me. He said: Never tell anyone what you are doing. The news is as valuable as dollar bills. We Nepali journos have the habit of spilling the beans to our fellows and we suffer from the consequences. Your story is already others'.
Meanwhile, I am keeping mum over what story I am doing next. You have to wait till Sunday!
Pics: Deepak Adhikari