Portraits of Friends, Neighbours and Assistants


We had a number of research assistants: Lionel Caplan worked with Biswobandhu Thapa and Khagendra Malla, and I with Hari Prasad Koirala and Yadav Pandey. We also had two household helpers, whom we nicknamed ‘Big Pandit’ (Thulo Pandit) and ‘Little Pandit’ (Sanu Pandit) who fetched water, foraged for food and cooked it, although we also cooked for ourselves sometimes.

Our landlord (whom we called 'mama' - mother's brother) and landlady (whom we called 'maiju' - mother's brother's wife) were an elderly couple who lived downstairs; their children had grown up and left home. Our next door neighbour, with whom we became friendly, was a widow whom we nicknamed ‘Sahibni’, and the head of education for the district and his family, who were Newars from Kathmandu, also became our good friends and visited often. The children of another Newar family, a little boy called Nav Raj and his sister, often dropped in and ate with us. Another frequent visitor was a Pandit from Bhurti village, called Punye Prasad; he was considered one of the most learned people in the area, and liked to sit and engage in philosophical discussions on our verandah.