Friday, December 28, 2012

What are you going to do?

Saraswati Subedi mysteriously dead in her home in Anamnagar! Sita raped and robbed off her hard earned money by a security personnel at the TIA! But these are just few recent incidences, there have been worst cases in the past.

WOREC reports 443 cases of rapes annually in Nepal ( i.e. roughly 3 girls in every 2 days) but this is a low number given that many girls do not report rape cases due to shame and humiliation. There is up to ten years of imprisonment given the severity of a rape case by the Nepalese law but most often this is not acted upon and rapists are running free secured by a meager fine amount.

The most hilarious part of our Muluki Ain 2020 BS is that if a prostitute is raped a fine of NRs 500 is enough. For marital rape only 3 months imprisonment. It is as though a prostitute and a wife are less affected by the same heinous act. However one exemplary part about our law is the Defense of Chastity where a rape victim has the right to defend her chastity against the assailant, in course of which she may even kill the assailant within one hour and wont be liable for his death.

It is about time we understand what kind of laws protect females of this national and whether these existing laws provide justice to the heinous crime called RAPE. Perhaps the laws need revisiting or perhaps the laws need to be acted upon severely. Either way, first we need to know what laws exist, so that we can stand up and speak about it!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Non-Conformists

Sex is natural to all of us. It is in our being. However, in our culture discussing about it is a stigma. In the very words of Osho who approaches Sex as a science, ‘It is our life source. And the more we try to repress sex the more power it will have over us’. Not that I am propagating sex or Osho, however, one might argue as to why something so fundamental cannot be discussed out in open? 

The ‘social animals’ that humans are, we have our  habits, desires, beliefs as well as sexual attitudes and behaviours shaped by the very society into which we are born. This explains the reason as to why approach to sex in South Asia is different than in the Middle East and the West. While the West is more open about sex, the Middle East frowns and the Asian countries are tight-lipped about it. It exists but almost like a ghost. In our society whether you are a man or a woman, talking openly about sex brings disgrace. However, since our social and cultural norms endorse Men as the privileged gender in the normative sense, they do have the opportunity to get exposed to information and exchange opinions about sex. Women can undoubtedly do so as well but they would certainly be ostracized if they didn’t choose their audience wisely. 

Seema Pandey, 24, from Nepal blames the patriarchal structure for forbidding women to enjoy sex by categorizing those who show interest towards it as ‘bad or promiscuous’. Many times it is the notion of virginity before marriage that controls the expression of sexuality in women. The cultural and religious upbringing can stifle sexual explorations and even load people with feelings of shame and being impure. And many times this is how a young Nepali girl feels.  

Nouran Hassan from Egypt adds , “It is okay for men to have sex before marriage and they get away with it -- there is no hymen that breaks when they lose their virginity nor do they get pregnant should they end up having unprotected sex.”  Also, it is assumed that the women's appetite for sex is low because of which women remain silent about their sexual needs. They mostly submit to the desires of men instead of satisfying their own. Many do not even know what orgasm is and fewer know that they can even have multiple orgasms or are capable of female ejaculation. 

However, though this might stay true in wider sense, we have seen that things are changing especially in urban Nepal. The sexual revolution that had started in the west seems to be seeping slowly. Today in a married relationship, sex is discussed beyond procreation to something that is beautiful, something that gives both physical and emotional intimacy. We also see that the younger generation is being more open about their sexuality. There is even the realization among girls that having sex before marriage is not an act of eternal damnation. 

22–year-old student Sita (name changed) says, “I lost my virginity when I was 17. It was my first and so was my boy friends’, we struggled but we enjoyed the sex.” Like Sita there are many young couples in Kathmandu and major cities of Nepal who admit to having intimate relationship. Another 26-year- old girl adds, “Why should I have to wait? If guys can do it when they are unmarried why can’t I? Besides, I don’t think men care much these days if you are a virgin or not. It is my right to enjoy sex with the person I love - before or after marriage”. 

Much of the changes we see today have to be credited to education and exposure. Education can play a vital role in providing guidance and confidence to women as well as men regarding sexual behaviour and attitude.  Especially for women, sex education is very important, particularly because they have the risk of getting pregnant. Bipana (name changed), 24, says that she has many friends who are young and are sexually active. But when it comes to taking precaution, many of them know very little. She claims to have witnessed couple of her friends going through abortion and the entire psychological trauma. For this reason too, it is necessary for young people to have knowledge on safe sex before engaging  in sexual activities. Unprotected and unsafe sexual behaviour is neither good for an adult or a young person. 

Though things are changing in Nepal, we should understand that in each society the sexual norms are rooted in the complex network of its laws, traditions and norms. Similarly, a change in sexual behaviour can also affect these very cultural and social norms that we might have benefited from. Consequently, no sexual revolution will do much good if it does not take heed of the historic and cultural intricacies. 

On the other hand, if there are disparities imposed by these exact norms then certainly, as the pattern suggest, there will be resistance and change sought. Females from urban Nepal are coming out of their conventional shell. Many though shy to admit are involved in sexual acts before marriage and no matter how much we try to smother this reality it will prevail. They admit openly to loving and enjoying sex as much as men. The key now is to act less like a hypocrite and more like a human. By acknowledging this change and by educating them about sex, we keep our younger generation safe and less susceptible.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Normality of Subtle Discrimination

I have to admit I don’t like walking in the streets of Kathmandu at all. No I am not being snobbish; I have my reasons to feel precarious about the streets even in the daylight. As an adolescent I recall crying to my mother for all the eve-teasing I’ve had to endure. My self-esteem was broken and it took me a while to renew my confidence. I blamed my oddly tall Nepali height only to later learn that I was wrong. Yesterday, I thought I would go for a walk. I was rather positive given that this year I was not splashed with even one water balloon in Holi nor were any of my friends. And after months of stay in London and years of avoiding the streets of Kathmandu as a media person in Nepal, I thought things would have changed. To my dismay it is yet the same.

Even today while walking, a random person will dash close to compare his height and flaunt a reckless sexual remark. Such understated yet powerful discrimination that can have adverse impact on those affected is deep rooted in our society. It comes from the very way we are raised and educated and how we as a society fail to respond to these discriminatory incidents. Forgive me if I project that all men are like this. I’d be a stark fool if I say so. There are plenty of good men whose support cannot be understated. I have seen men respecting women as equals and fighting for their rights when needed and most importantly competing with them as contemporaries. We need men like this especially in our patriarchal society and I wish there were more of them. 

One might argue that things have changed and I agree. Overt and blatant discrimination is much reduced. Besides, such direct prejudices worry me far less than some more subtle, subconscious ones. Convert discrimination that are invisible on the surface is very prevalent. No matter how much we try to avoid, it propels in our work space, home, lifestyle and our culture. What disturbs me even more is the very fact that we women ourselves tend to promote this. For example, we sub-consciously equate “distinguished” with “men”. I realized myself that when I had to list prominent media personalities in Nepal, I ended up with a male list. Given that there are many talented female media professionals how did this happen? The same thing happened with many of my other female friends who are doctors, engineers and bankers. How can we get mad at men for not treating us as their counterparts when we ourselves don’t! Women in general should first stop judging other women as not equals and we ourselves should also not devalue our own potential and self-image.

I have learned, after being offensively groped in a street festival, physically molested on my way to school and verbally abused in front of my friends in a rafting trip that women in general especially in a society such as ours need to be smart and intense. This is not an exceptional story my friends and I would feel offended should you sympathize. If at all, let’s acknowledge and educate ourselves. Understand that it is our sisters and daughters who suffer and importantly through the behaviour of our own father and brother. These maliciously motivated occurrences are endless. A mid-aged man will sickeningly stare at your chest making you feel uneasy, a group of teenagers will throw an undignified statement, an onlooker will whistle or sing a cheesy song and a seemingly innocent man will try to fumble you as you pass by. And what do we do? The very fact that we in general have accepted such behaviour as mundane and natural makes me believe that we have internalized the culture of patriarchalism. Such ignorance reiterates the patriarchal system that creates and expects certain codes of behaviour that denies feminine identity—denies, the very fact, that such an identity might even exist. 

Benokraitis (1997) notes that subtle sex discrimination is what to many people are `normal', `natural', or `acceptable' behaviours and responses. For example we know women are eve-teased by men and this is something normal in our society. However, just because you are a man does not mean you have the right to tease a woman and just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you should tolerate it either. This subject of gender discrimination has been discussed on various lengths by many different experts and scholars. It is covered so much that we feel like it is overrated. But the fact is ‘gender discrimination’ subsists. We just need to open our eyes and see our surroundings in a different light. May be if we retake a second glance and question ourselves ‘perhaps I overlooked it in my first pass?’ possibly then we would see. Accordingly, the first thing to do as individuals either male or female would be to acknowledge that there is a problem and then only can we take the next step to solve it altogether. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It took music to find Native love in London

(This article was published on the Living Magazine. You can also find this article on

Photo Credit: Karuna Gurung

It was definitely a much colder night than usual in London, I thought and regretted having said yes to Chanda. My fingers were feeling numb for I was holding the phone trying to Google direction to the Japanese restaurant called Akasiro. This was where the secret Nepali gig was happening and since it was my very first native gathering in London, I was looking forward to it. However, I also had another dinner plan later in the night with college friends; so I was a bit frantic. It had been more than an hour already and we were still going round in circles in Piccadilly Circus. I felt hopeless, knowing that I would have to make my friends wait for dinner and also disappoint Chanda for having to leave early. After a good amount of walking and disagreeing, we did eventually find the place.

The entrance had a note with a rough handwriting indicating that it was a private party. The place was rather small so we directly headed to the basement. At a corner, a few musical instruments and speakers were being set up while at the other end, young Nepali were murmuring bashfully in Nepali and British English. I thought to myself that I would leave soon but the night had something else in store.

Slowly the artists began to arrive and the crowd grew in number. People began to sit on the floor to accommodate newer arrivals without any word being whispered to them. Thirty minutes in and we were all behaving like a big family, bonded by the very fact that we were Nepali, gathered for a good laugh and a good traditional music.

The gig commenced with Nattu aka Nottie star telling her story through jokes and songs. A talented young girl with a smoothing vocal whom I believe is also better suited for a stand up comedian. You can find her in YouTube, she is hilarious. There were many other talented performers from London that night like JPT rockerz, Sonam Lama, Karuna feat Yellow Ink, and Bhunatic & Mastamind. They all sang various songs. And while Nabin Gurung was crooning Narayan Gopal’s Kehi Mitho baat gara we all seemed to have drifted to a small village in Nepal.

Although earlier I sensed a haughtiness of some kind in the crowd, I understand now that it possibly came from the very fact that most of these Nepali are descendents of the brave Gurkhas who have long been serving the British Army. Recognised for their bravery, ferocity and strength of character, I felt a sense of pride being in their presence. We all felt some kind of affinity for one another based on our common ancestry. The sense of connection among us was very intense and the best part of it was that it all came so easily. The fact that we were Nepali in a foreign land sharing similar culture and language is what connected us. After all, how much of what we really are is based on roots and that can take quite a struggle to change.

Being in Nepal we have a propensity to overlook many good and important things our heritage carries. We tend to take for granted our culture, tradition and customs and are easily attracted by western lifestyle and philosophy. Perhaps, Nepal is not the best country in the world and yes it might have its share of problems. However, it should not take us away from our land to remind us about its significance or an outsider’s fascination towards our country to acknowledge its uniqueness.

My greatest lesson out of this small gathering was, no matter how dysfunctional or messy we might think our country is, it is where our identity is attached to and that can never change. This feeling was reflected among the faces of the non-resident Nepali that night. We talked nostalgically and romantically about our proud legacy which we hardly did when back in Nepal.

I recall that night and remember the unique faces, faces that I had never seen before and yet retain the pleasant feeling of solidarity. I know for a fact that at that moment in space we all felt special being Nepali and the love and pride for our root was as high as the peak of Mount Everest, and it took a small Nepali gig in London to remind us that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pre-Wedding frets and fun

This article was published in the first issue of the magazine 'Wedding Bells'

Marriages are said to be made in heaven and so we ceremoniously vow to spend lives together asking for God’s blessing with elaborated wedding rituals. We want our family and friends to come together to support and to celebrate. Many times it can also be a way for a family to display social and financial status.  However, this celebration of love and partnership can sometimes be just about signing marriage license or a document, but usually we, especially women, like to aggrandize.

There’s something about women and marriages. Everywhere in every part of the world women go crazy before marriage. Imagine - a woman is so wrapped up about this particular day that even as a kid, she role plays as a beautiful young bride. It is a special day for women for which she dreams and plans since childhood. So though in principle it is an important day for both the couples, it indisputably has to be extraordinarily imperative for the bride. 

Personally I am not a big fan of wedding but I do amuse myself as a silent spectator over all the wedding actions and emotions. From preparation, stresses to the attention to minute details, then there are also the let downs and the eventual recovery. The entire gamut matches the very relationship that the couples promise to get into.

Here are few wedding kicks and slack that always absorb me.

Few Thrills and Sweats

“If I am the bride, I will go to any length to squeeze that extra budget to look particularly special that day” says Sangita, 27.

No matter the wedding traditions or customs or what country it is taking place, each ceremony the bride will kill to look her best. To manage this, the bride has a lot of things to decide upon, right from wedding dress and shoes to accessories, handbag and cosmetics, which can consume a good deal of time and energy. Further, to get the princess look and feel, it is quite natural for the bride to pamper herself from skin care treatments to appointments with hair stylists. Even to go for an extensive spa treatment is not unusual especially when she has so many things to jitter her nerves.

There are also some brides to be who hit the gym extra hard to shed the unwanted few kilos. “I have my heart set on this beautiful Lehenga for which I am willing to run every morning”, Kalyani, 28. Some crazy shedding before the wedding seems to be the routine not only for the brides but also for the grooms. “I have to admit I am a lazy guy but my fiancĂ©e has warned me to conquer this belly fat before the wedding and so I hit the gym” says Rahul, 29. Whether for your loved ones or for yourself, you willingly walk that extra mile to look attractive on the wedding day. And why should grooms be any less, they have also started to pay a lot of attention to their looks and clothes.

Cold feet syndrome

It is likely that before the big day arrives, both men and women alike tend to wonder whether they have made the right decision. Especially for women, they can be so preoccupied with all the details of the wedding that sometimes the tensions that surround them make them nervous. However, most of the time the fear is of losing their identity as a single girl and embracing a new life as a wife and the responsibility that comes with it. “I could get no sleep before my wedding because I knew once I tied the knot I would no longer be the sexy young girl that I always recognised with. I really wanted to run away.” says Gayatri.

It is mostly the same with many men but mainly it is the idea of living and being intimate with only one single woman for the rest of their lives and losing their independence, is what make them apprehensive. Sometimes it is also the fear of taking responsibility financially for supporting the wife and possible children that make them go cold feet. However if the fear is significant then perhaps the couple need to closely inspect their relationship.

The Last night of Freedom

Because wedding signifies the end of the single-hood era and beginning of the new committed married life people want to celebrate this transition. This occasion becomes a night where people try to relive the life of an independent single person with their close friends.

Saroj, 32, says “My friends took me out binge drinking and we got wasted reminiscing the old days”. Usually bachelor and bachelorette parties signify notoriety with drinking and sexuality as a chief activity but these days it’s more of a casual affair. Men might end up playing sports or camping whilst women go to spa or a gourmet dinner.

As time has evolved wedding ceremonies have also changed. No matter how a wedding is conducted or what work has gone into it, couples should not get wrapped in the planning process. They need to remember that no matter what ultimately they will get married and planning this lifetime together is what they need to focus more on.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Television Journey

When people ask me, how I ended up working for television, I tell them because I have always wanted to. I do not know what motivates people to join television today, for many fame could be one reason, for me in all honesty it was an extreme fascination to understand how television worked. My very first memory of television is watching Bengali tele-serials on a small black  and white television set. I did not understand a word but enjoyed the changing scenes, music and dancing texts on the screen.

I was just ten when I promised myself to work for TV one day. This ardent passion towards the electronic box is perhaps one reason why I did not limit myself to appearing just on screen rather got in the whole process of production, direction and editing. I started small 10 years back as a TV presenter working for Image Channel and later saw myself lead as an executive head. The journey has not been easy; I had to endure hardships to get to where I reached in Nepali media.

Being 17, a recent high school graduate with good results I was in constant pressure to study engineering. I headed completely opposite way of what was expected by stepping in for an interview for a Radio Jockey position in Image FM. When asked if I was willing to give an upcoming new television channel a try, there has been no looking back.

I went ahead and got myself admitted in social work instead engineering, because for one I wanted to give back to the society directly and two I thought it would allow spare time for work in TV. But boy was I wrong! Imagine working for television full time and then studying a subject that focused on practical field experience 'Social Work' that too in one of the finest and strict colleges, St. Xavier's. It required  work placement in reputed organizations such as Maiti Nepal, Family Planning Association of Nepal, Prison cells, rehabilitation centers etc. and on top of that a perfect attendance.

I had to juggle many things but mainly three i) my studies ii) work in TV and iii) work in a non-profit. I really do not know how I completed the three years because it all went so quickly. I used to get up early in the morning around 5 AM get ready to work, reach office around 6:30 AM for editing and then to school around 9 AM. Rush back from school around 2:30 PM finishing group work for a live show on TV and then settle in for editing till 9 PM. While other days of the week, I would work in Maiti Nepal then rush to office around 4:30 for a live show. In the weekends I used to shoot other TV programs and edit them while simultaneously working for my radio program.  I used to host and produce four TV shows and one FM show at that time. When I look back I wonder how I managed to study at all.
I remember, on the second year of college my grades went really down. Being the perfectionist that I am, I was very disappointed and so were my parents. I swore right then that it was just one year that I had to work really hard and that the next year I would graduate. Ultimately, in the last year of my school I surprised myself, my teachers and my classmates by getting a distinction. I also surprised my work colleagues because that year apparently according to a survey done by a private organization my program 'Got the Guts' was listed among the top fifteen famous TV shows in Nepal.

When I look back, I feel nothing but pride and I know it was all worth it. I did not study engineering like my parents wanted to but they couldn’t be prouder of me today. I have earned name, recognition and experience.

My fascination for television continues and I look for opportunities to communicate issues that concern me and matters that could motivate society towards change, towards development. And my fascination is now not just limited to this one medium but equally to other fascinating mass media, especially new media and mobile phones. Around 9.2 million (NTA, 2010) people in Nepal have access to mobile phones and its importance has increased with mobile internet. I truly believe that new technologies especially in a developing country like Nepal if utilized inventively can indeed bring about transformation and development.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bringing the spotlight back on the beautiful creature called the "Owl"

I love owls, they are such beautiful creatures. Growing up in Jhapa, I remember seeing a beautiful white owl for over five years. It used to love to sit on our very old Siris tree and scare us with its big staring eyes and ominous hooting sound. Then we cut that tree down and I never saw the owl again. Although not particularly fond of it, I did moan its loss for few days. Its picture is still vivid in my memory; I recall it today as an exceptionally beautiful creature, very 'wise' in appearance.

Owls are not talked much about, obviously they are not fancied as much as Rhinos or Tigers. But the thing is, owls are facing similar danger of extinction (at least few larger species are). In Nepal owls face extra threats because of cultural belief. A neck ring made of owl bones is thought to chase evil spirits away, giving incentive to kill owls. The smaller owls are considered helpful as they prey on mice and harmful insects and thus are less likely to be killed. However, the large owls are considered to be harbingers of death, which may help explain why the four endangered owl species are the larger birds. Owls are also facing danger because of habitat loss. I used to spot owls even in Kathmandu, but it’s a very rare sight now.

Photo credit: Back to Earth - Art works

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

MiddlesexMiddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings after reading this book.

This story is not just about Cal Stephenides, a hermaphrodite - a man who grew up as a girl before discovering his identity - but this book is so much more. Cal also known as Calliope when he was a girl, is the protagonist who narrates the story of how he came into being what he is today by recounting stories of his grandparents and his parents. He traces through generations of his family to explain his condition which happened through in-breeding of his ancestors that led to a genetic mutation producing an abnormal gene and 'him – the hermaphrodite'.

What was very uncomfortable for me to read in this book was the relationship between Desdemona and Lefty, siblings who fall in love and marry each other. The incestuous relationship described in this book was difficult for me to accept. Another unpleasant read in this book was the sexual tension described -what calliope felt for the obscure object was depicted nicely but the fact that they were still kids was hard to process - these 13 - 14 year old children erotic descriptions was a bit pedophilic.

All in all, the story is really beautifully written and it is difficult to put this book down. I love how through this book we can trace the history of not just a family but the world itself – from Turkish wars to Michigan race riots and how a family survives so many difficulties coming from Greece to a foreign land America and trying to fit in.

The book exposes you to a lot of issues that might be a bit sour to taste like incest, third-gender, slavery, revenge etc.

The story ends with a melancholy note and it sort of reminded me of my own childhood, my parents – their struggle and the beautiful memories of the places and relationships I have left behind.

I recommend this to everyone and those from old school to keep your mind open!!

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Take: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

I always heard about this great classic but never got around reading it until recently.

As a kid I remember my father reading a lot of books. He would proudly say 'I know the English I know today because I read books". He always encouraged us to read books and no wonder, all of us - five sisters - are very fond of books. I thank my father for inspiring me to have love towards great writers and great books.  I grew admiring his huge bookshelf stacked will all the classics like Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Bronte, Shakespeare, Twain and so on. I really looked forward to reading them and attempted quite a few as well when in school.

There was something about reading the same book read by my father. It was a special feeling . I would admire the lines he'd underlined and try to put myself in his shoe and think about what he must have thought when he read that particular part. I would notice the dates he'd scribbled in the front and the place he'd purchased the book and try to figure out his age when he read it.

One time while I was trying to find books with lot of pictures, I stumbled upon a copy of Catch 22. What attracted me was the big 22 number in the front. While I flipped over though I did not find any pictures inside I found a comment written by my father about the book which struck me. I never got around reading it as a kid because I did not understand anything. It however, held a special place in my heart because I knew it had made an impression on my father.

After nearly 15 years, when I saw a copy of Catch 22 on a book shop near Tafalgar Square in London, my childhood memory flushed fresh and I finally bought a copy. Since I was busy studying for my MA, I never got around reading it. After finishing my Masters and returning back to Nepal I finally found it among a pile of clothes and that's when I picked it up to read it after nearly 1 and a half years of purchasing it. 

Catch 22 - my observation:

Catch-22 (Catch-22, #1)Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I nearly felt like quitting the book after 150 pages but I am very glad I finished it. It requires an effort to read this book especially in the beginning and I will confess that I had problems with the writing in places. What I liked about this book is the 'Tragic Humor". I say tragic humor because there are a lot of funny moments in this book with hilarious character descriptions and dialogues that make you laugh but these moments do not last long for tragedy sneaks up on you. The very fact that the whole comedic incidences happen in a corrupt bureaucratic system and the helpless inability of the characters who behave the way they do out of frustrations make you sympathize them and suddenly you are not laughing anymore. The characters look ridiculous and crazy in the context of war and the fact that the shady bureaucracy makes things worst for them make you even question the very basis of war.

Heller is very descriptive about his characters and characters there are a lot, which can be a bit boring and hard to keep track at times but it is what makes the story so good. Each character is different and unique. Further, the story seems to be laid chaotically like the author bluntly hints about his character’s demise very early even before the character is introduced in the story. And while you begin to read about that particular character and his story, you feel sorry for him. You nervously and dreadfully read not knowing when that moment of his death will come making you drawn more to the particular character.

The book revolves around the theme ‘catch 22’ which is a situation that you cannot get out of and most of the time this situation is based on illogical reasons. This book is satirical towards war and reveals the corrupt military system through the characters.

Yossarian, a bombardier from US Army squadron during WWII, stands up after the missions are raised again and again even after he has flown 70 combat missions to self-centered bureaucrat like Colonel Catchcart. All Yossarian wants is to save himself and fears that he will die like the rest of his friends if he flies one more time. Though in reality he has done his duty he is still forced to do extra work because the people above him want to make an impression and advance in career. This is where you really sympathize with this character when he is trying his best to stand up against the corrupt system and gets caught in 'Catch 22' unable to get out.

All in all, this book is an anti-war novel and it's about bureaucracy, war, life and death. Though I found the character Milo who ran a black market and manipulated everyone to support his M&M enterprise interesting, I despised him later especially in the part where Snowden is about to die and Yossarian is trying to save him. When Yossarian tries to give Snowden morphine he cannot find it because Milo has smuggled it. Instead of morphine he finds in the first aid kit a note signed by Milo that says 'what’s good for M&M enterprise is good for the country'- This scene is very sordid and heartrending. I respected the character Orr for his farsightedness and how he manages to give Yossarian hope at the end. On the whole the book has left me bittersweet.

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Perhaps reading the same copy of Catch 22 that my father read would have been more special but nevertheless I know now why this book made an impression on him. It has made and impression on me as well. It is a master piece and I recommend we all read it!