Adventures of a Nepali Frog

Kanak Mani Dixit, an illustrious writer, human rights defender, and the founding editor of the magazine Himal Southasian, has captivated Nepali reading sphere with amazing children’s stories. The winner of the Sajha Bal Sahitya Award in 1997, Dixit authored a book in Nepali, Dhumdhamko Ghumgham, and its English version Adventures of a Nepali Frog is equally entertaining.

The book brings a fresh take on Nepalese literature and is sure to be cherished by the travel and book-loving diaspora all over the world.

An enigmatic frog with an eclectic dream travels around the entire country. Kanak Mani Dixit tells us the tale of Bhaktaprasad Bhyaguto, a Rana tigrina froglet from Ichangu who embarks on a journey, no amphibian has ever dared. He decides to travel Nepal, all on his own. He is someone who has just reached his tadpole teens and recently lost his amphibian tail. Still young and immature, his heart is however brave and chivalrous, for he dreams of an adventure that would take him around Nepal.

Bhaktaprasad reaches Chitwan where he is amused by the flora and fauna of the national park. He meets birds, monkeys, alligators, and tigers and learns about ecology through conversations. Chitwan’s Wild Sanctuary is where he comes to terms with the harsh reality of life where his new acquaintance Bufo melanostictus, the toad is devoured by the alligator. He enjoys the monsoon downpour; the scorching heat and the climatic diversity Nepal has to offer in so many different ways. A valley frog that hasn’t left his little puddle sees gigantic fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls and lakes in different parts of Nepal.

From Phewa to Kaligandaki, he gives us a vivid account of the waterways in Nepal. Bhaktaprasad befriends the posh and bougie frogs of Pokhara who make him question the relevance of traditions and sticking to one’s roots. He hops onto porters’ back, mule’s back, yak’s back, and aided by these amiable creatures travels from one place to another.

He admires the majestic mountain ranges that seem so far away from the valley up close. From witnessing the fish-tail of Machhapuchhre Mountain to hiking all the way to Ghandrung – a Gurung village, he does it all.His eyes show us the greenery of the Terai, the tough terrains of the mountain, and the desert-like climate of the high altitudes. From evergreen forests to Tundra vegetation, from the Terai bull to Marmots of Changtang, the froglet witnesses the diverse flora and fauna of Nepal that make an amazing haven of natural wonders. He reaches Mustang, becomes a pilgrim frog in Muktinath and also survives the weather of Lo Manthang. When the journey culminates, he is no longer the naïve frog from Kathmandu who just wanted to travel. He returns home in the pocket of a pilot, eminent, recognised and applauded. He becomes a connoisseur of Nepalese geography, a travel enthusiast and a legendary frog.

The book is a light and happy read. It has vivid accounts of Bhaktaprasad’s travel through the diverse terrains of Nepal. If you are someone who has always dreamt of packing your bags and leaving for a trip, Bhaktaprasad’s story is almost like a sermon urging you to do it. The book is a simple story but has a sophisticated understanding of Nepal’s deep diversity, culture, and geography. You get to know about places that you have only heard of, from the eyes of a tiny frog. The book is full of local names that are sure to expand your Nepalese vocabulary.

The dialects used to introduce a lot of things bring warmth to Nepalese diverse cultures. You are introduced to animals that you may have never heard of. Adventures of a Nepali frog is an amazing read for people from all walks of life.

Children can enjoy it as a bedtime story and adults too can rejoice in the simple tale of sipping tea on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The book is merely 110 pages long, so you can easily finish it in a single reading. It is a glorious tale of adventure and courage, of passion and friendshipand a first-hand description of travel. The idiosyncrasies of the various creatures mixed with subtle human interactions build up a phantasmagorical journey that broadens the horizons of your imagination.

Bhaktaprasad leaving his shelter for a dream that seems too unachievable is something many young people yearn for. But like the froglet, you are given an optimistic message that you can achieve any goal one step at a time through perseverance, determination, and an unnerving passion. It is a story of travel, fun, friendship, and of a magical journey, but most importantly it is a story of selfdiscovery. The frog discovers Nepal, he discovers the world outside him but simultaneously discovers himself. When he interacts with the monks in Dolpo, he understands spirituality, peace, and salvation. He learns humility and selfcontrol.

Adventures of a Nepali frog are a humorous, light-hearted read that gave me immense joy. For anyone wishing to tingle their travel bugs and read about the amazing landscapes and beauty of Nepal, I highly recommend reading the book. After all, it is a small step for Bhaktey, but a giant leap for the frogkind.