Stashed away in my shelf was a pretty old manuscript. Pretty old means at least a century old. I don’t remember how I acquired it. But I have been the only master of it for more than half of my age.
I don’t know the name of the script it’s written in. However, I am dead sure though written in one of the Newari scripts it’s in Sanskrit language. Meanwhile, Ranjana is the only name I could call back. Probably because it’s still in practice to some extent, if I am not mistaken. By the way, do you mind telling me other Newari scripts?
I cannot read it wholly. Because of the characters. But due to resemblance of some alphabets of it with the Devanagari, I can decipher some words and clauses.
Om Namah Shivaya!
Now you may have gotten that this (manuscript) has religious text. Yes, alike many other these like manuscripts it’s religious scripture. Any historical grandness? May be yes. Who knows? Only the experts can speak about this matter.
Once I thought of keeping this book, which can be folded two ways and contains two different transcripts at different sides, with myself forever. Some greed was obvious that time– to be known as the master of antiques. So, I scribbled my name and address in both the fronts of this handwritten religious book.
(Oh, I remember when I wrote it. After SLC exams, in the long vacation. May be I have mentioned it in my diary. But I cannot read the script now. I practiced writing in some weird self-invented script—hybrid of the Devnagari and a nonexant script (was it Magar script?) alphabets of which had been published in a write up in the Saturday special of Gorkhapatra.)
Now, I am really sorry to realise that I spoiled it. Not only by scribbling though. 20 per cent of it is damaged by improper storage, and silver fish and fungi are to blame.
Last year this time I thought of handing it over to the National Archive. I talked to a senior official at the Department of Archaeology too. But still it’s with me in miserable condition. For no special reason. I procrastinated.
I would have sold it to foreign collectors. But I won’t. Why to sell the cultural heritage? (I am not sure whether these words imply the real meaning I intend to say.)
Soon I will consult Mr. Jha, the only acquaintance I have got in that place, regarding the process of handing over. Will the Rashtriya Abhilekhalaya (National Archive) accept this manuscript? I will be more than happy to give it them to for…………
(The scanned image is six or seven years old.)