Beyond the Bread: Two Worlds, One Witness

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I recently read Beyond the Bread: Two Worlds, One Witness by Dr. Jit Baral in my Kindle App. Dr. Baral happens to be our dear family friend as well as a professional colleague that we knew each other for a few decades. It was a pleasure to read his recent book from cover to cover and learn more about him in granular detail, especially his childhood, early school years, and his professional life in the US.

The book is divided into several sections and small chapters of events that occurred in different stages of Dr. Baral’s life. While I was reading the early chapters of the book, it brought me into my memory lane and some events Dr. Baral described in the book felt like my own. I am very much familiar with the male-dominated conservative rural Nepal’s culture, customs & tradition, economic hardship, and hilly geographical terrains because I was born and raised in similar environments too. It’s so happened, we went to the same high school for our early educations too.

The Job loss chapter of the book vividly reminded me of my loss of the University’s dream job. Like Dr. Baral, I had no alternative plan and still recall experiencing similar worries, especially supporting our son’s schooling. After trying everything possible to get some sort of employment to pay our bills and support our son’s schooling, after about a year of unemployment I finally resort to a small one-person family-owned business. I ran the business for ten years, working alone every single day (Monday to Monday). Once my both children completed their Master’s degrees, I sold the business and now work from home.

While running store, I read inspirational books, articles and started learning to code as a pass time hobby. As Sarah writes in this Medium article, coding helped to cope and distract my anxieties then. Soon I realized that coding was my hidden passion too which I accidentally discovered during my dark days. Now, the coding pass time hobby, once used as a distraction and pain coping mechanism has become my main daily job for more than a decade.

Because of our similarity in the early education and growing up in rural Nepali environment, Dr. Baral was able to walk me through his detailed description of economic hardship in a feudal male-dominated rural, conservative society. However, I wonder whether most western readers and event current Nepali readers unfamiliar with rural Nepali cultural traditions would do the same.

Indeed, many others who come from a similar rural area may have gone through what Dr. Baral experience. Yet many others are still growing up and spending their entire life in similar environments without any opportunities for additional education, economic and career advancements, like a few of us have gotten.

Dr. Baral should be commended for opening up himself, especially with some embarrassing individual and family events, that occurred in two polar opposite geographical, economical, cultural, and legal community systems. I probably couldn’t do the same.

A Few General Comments

  • Economic, social, and racial injustices are not uncommon even in advanced western countries like the US, Britain, and others. Most young adults from broken families raised by a single parent, especially in low-income neighborhoods of the US, are facing racial, housing, and economic hardship. Not all hardworking, passionate young adults raise by both parent in both developed or developing countries end up being fortunate without some financial help, lock, and timing.
  • The granular details of the events fail to prepare its reader, who is not familiar with US or Nepali societies, with the necessary background information needed to understand and discern whether the events described are general norms or unique to Dr. Baral. IMO two introductory chapters about Nepal’s rural, conservative norms and culture, and a similar chapter for the US might have prepared the users to better do their walkthrough with the events described in the book.
  • I wonder if the same story was conveyed with less generalized descriptions of the events and more emphasis on the educational efforts (e.g. learning approach, academic achievements highlights) would have better helped to inspire readers to dream big, do hard work, develop passions, and determination to succeed at any cost!

Finally, I noticed a few typos here and there. Because not all the chapters read smoothly at the same, a review by a professional language editor might have helped to improve the book’s quality and readability for a more wider audience.