Nadin’s story unfolds in a non-linear way. By writing an aphoristic note that reads as—“O life, forgive me, for I’ve chosen the path of suicide!” (my translation)—he jumps off the Patebhir, but as fate would have it, he survives. Oscillating between life and death, he then mulls on his existence for the next several months (or a few years). As he keeps contemplating all things in heaven and earth, Amrit, Nadin’s younger brother, tells the tragic story to Smaran. In the succeeding chapters, we are thrust back and forth between multiple narratives. As readers, we get to know about the childhood of the protagonist, how he fell in love with an upper-class girl, and how marrying her made him a social outcast. Yet, all through this, he keeps following where his heart lies—painting. The narrative revolves around the ways in which the child protagonist grows up into a creative artist, thus making the novel a bildungsroman of sorts.
Set in a fictional village of Andheri Gaau, Bhupeen’s debut novel, Maidaro, is a story of an artist who’s been victimised by caste-based discrimination to such an extent that he is forced to choose the sweet embrace of death rather than the harsh realities of life. Told by the mouthpiece, Smaran, the novel deploys the technique of ‘frame narrative’ that is so commonplace in contemporary Nepali fiction. The introductory narrative of Smaran sets space for the more emphasised narrative of Nadin. The major reason for doing so is to inform readers about the aspects of the main story which would have been difficult to explain otherwise; however, being a sceptic I kept questioning myself—couldn’t the story stand on its own without its peripheral narrator? What if Nadin, the protagonist, just told his own story?