Thursday, October 2, 2008

Am I Not the Only One, Then?

It's still Thursday, right? Phew.

Sometimes the Thursday News of the Absurd amuses me. Today, I am fascinated. I apologize for quoting straight from Gopal Sharma's article; there's just so much there to ponder.

From Reuters:

Move over priests - Nepal state names "living goddess"

Nepal's new Maoist-led government has appointed a 6-year-old girl as a "living goddess" in the ancient city of Bhaktapur, for the first time snapping the link between the ancient ritual and the ousted monarchy.

For centuries, the head priest of the Nepali monarchy appointed the "Kumaris" in several towns in the Kathmandu valley. But with the abolition of the monarchy in May, that position has also disappeared.

Instead, officials at the state-run Trust Corporation overseeing cultural affairs appointed Shreeya Bajracharya as the new Kumari of the temple-town of Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, Deepak Bahadur Pandey, a senior official of the agency said.

Shreeya was enthroned on Sunday amid prayers by Buddhist priests and will be worshipped by devout Hindus and Buddhists until reaching puberty...

There are going to be so many great layers to this middle-grade novel (when you all stop screwing around on the internet and write it for me)!

1. She's six and has been declared her a living goddess that others should worship. How does this feel?! Or, more interestingly, how does it feel for her thirteen year-old sister, from whose point of view I want the book? According to the article, Shreeya will be worshipped until she hits puberty. I want her sister already there and for those issues to color her view of the story.

2. I don't want the spiritual aspect of this cheapened. I want the girls to both truly believe in Shreeya's new role. Imagine the pressure! Imagine the conflict in the sister, who must be so proud and get so many benefits from this, but also so envious and so tired of picking up after "The Goddess" (as she bitterly calls her under her breath).

3. It's the first time she wasn't monarchy-appointed. How does this work? Do people trust the government's choice? Is there another, more deserving girl whom people were expecting to be chosen? No! The other girl's NOT more deserving; she's just better at acting like she is. Really, she kicks Shreeya all the time and sticks her tongue out when nobody's looking. Or is it Shreeya's best friend and now Shreeya feels unworthy and guilty?

4. Why did this Trust Corporation pick her? I want shady dealings* to add an action/adventure twist to the book. What do they want from her family? Who is this Deepak Bahadur Pandey?

5. Furthermore, according to the article, Shreeya's predecessor, Sajani Shakya, retired earlier this year under pressure after religious authorities criticized a trip she made to the U.S. to promote a British film about the Kumari system. She's definitely a character in the book. Is she jealous? Mad? Or after nine years was she tired of it? Or was she forced out for some other reason, maybe having to do with #4?

AND it all takes place in the four square mile ancient city of Bhaktapur (see stunning picture above).


* I invented this -- no evidence of shady dealings in the real story.


J. Thorp said...

How, exactly, does one pressure a goddess to retire? : ) I can imagine a girl really embracing this role, rallying the people, and doing great things despite the so-called authorities.

Perhaps we should enthrone a goddess here ...

Amber Lough said...

Hmm... that just might be something I would like to write.

Jacqui said...

Yes! Write it Amber!

Thorp, good point. I vote for me.

Tabitha said...

Ooo, me too, Amber. Lots of good stuff to go in this story!!

Jacqui said...

Co-write it, Tabitha and Amber!

I always love these, but for some reason I REALLY want this book.

J. Thorp said...

Do goddesses vote themselves a throne? I think they just *are* -- and are enthroned as a result ...

Have patience, then. Thou art -- I'll spread the word.

(I'd work to enthrone my better half, but what use has a goddess for me?)

Jacqui said...

Do goddesses need speechwriters? I'd imagine yes.