Dilman Dila

On Writing

Portraits of Writers: IWP 2017

Just a few days ago, I returned home after three months in a writing residency in University of Iowa, USA, where I enjoyed the company of writers from thirty three different countries. Quiet an experience! I love taking photos, especially portraits, for I enjoy immortalizing the expression on faces of people. Often, I do this when they are not aware that I’m snapping, because I have a telephoto lense, and sometimes the expression I freeze is priceless. Enjoy these. I’ll be posting more photos themed on portraits from my travels, so be sure to subscribe to this blog by email ...
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I Was Arrested for Abandoning a Baby

I did not want to talk about it, but this lady at OleeBranch went public about it, and so I have to continue the conversation, to tell you what her actions did to me. I don’t think she meant harm. I think she is a nice person, but there is an Acholi saying that goes ‘Yom cwin oneko latina’ – forgive my inability to write in Luo – which means ‘being too kind hearted killed my child’. She says she kindly offered to baby-sit for a stranger in a taxi, even as this strange mother showed no gratitude at all, ...
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9 People of Colour Scifi and Fantasy Books I Enjoyed in 2015

2015 was such a busy year for me. I started it with producing a TV series, which got me deep in debts, but which finally paid off :-)), and I ended it by producing a feature film, a scifi that I wrote and started making on a whim. Maybe this year you’ll get to see it. In between those two projects, I worked on the Disney film, Queen of Katwe, directing ‘the making of’ documentary, I traveled twice to South Africa, twice to France, twice to Kenya, and once to Nigeria, attending five festivals (thanks to the success of my ...
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Hats Galore at Ake Festival 2015

I love hats, though I hardly ever wear one, and at the recent Ake Book and Arts Festival, it seems like everyone had a hat on, so my camera got busier than usual. Here are some of my favorite portraits. The hat seller of Ake. The man probably responsible for the flood of hats. Novuyo, a Zimbabwean writer. Adeola, of Keeping it Real With Adeola, Sahara TV You May Also Like: Hats and Feathers: The Fashionable Men of Karamoja Potraits from Kampala’s Literary Scenes This Moment Searching for the taste of South Africa How to Enjoy A Holiday in Nigeria ...
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Praise for A Killing in the Sun

Home About Me Bio Awards Reviews and Praise Books Short Stories Films Contact Blog – No Grannies in Africa Blog Home Travel Filmmaking Writing Photography Life Digital Art About Nepal About Uganda Praise for A Killing in the Sun Search: Search: One year ago during the Storymoja Festival, I launched my book, A Killing in the Sun, a collection of short speculative stories, featuring African science fiction, fantasy and horror. The reception of the book has been, surprisingly, warm, at times awed, and at times an outright ‘oh wow! Unbelievable!’ I did not expect this. I thought it would be ...
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Is Science Fiction Really Alien to Africa?

African writers are traumatized. They forever have to defend their work. If it’s not someone questioning why they are not tackling the problems of their societies, it’s someone wondering why they only write about misery and gloom in the continent. When they discover that African writers are churning out stuff like speculative fiction, they say ‘copycat’. Or something worse. The something worse happened to me. Shortly after my book came out, a Ugandan living in the UK asked; ‘Are you really Ugandan?’ I said yes, and she said, ‘But your names….’ And I said Is your name Margaret (anonymised) more ...
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Crime and Writers in South Africa

For the first time in my life, I met a female cab driver. Women had driven me before, in their personal cars, and in an organization that I worked for once who insisted on hiring women for drivers, but I’d never met a female taxi driver before. She said her name was Nazira, and it’s a family business, her husband and their son are both taxi drivers. They mostly have corporate clients, which is how she came to be taking me to OR Tambo Airport that sunny Sunday morning in Joburg. Like many in conversations I had in Joburg, crime ...
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Can Science Fiction Inspire Technological Independence in Africa?

In September of 2014, during Storymoja Festival in Nairobi, I launched my first collection of speculative short stories, A Killing in the Sun, which features sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres. A few weeks later, I got an invite to present a paper in Paris, at a workshop title Manufacture/Domestication of the Living in Science Fiction, at Le Cube, Center for Digital Creation. The organizers had chanced upon the book, and were impressed with the stories that tackled manufactured living beings. Below is a version of the talk I gave, last Friday.   In Paris, reading the sci-fi story, Lights on Water Many African communities ...
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The History of Humankind in Johannesburg

The perk of being a hardworking writer, especially if you put out a good piece of work like A Killing in the Sun, is that you get to go on these fully sponsored trips. Last month, I traveled to South Africa, to attend Time of the Writer festival, in Durban, and also to be part of the Literary Crossroads at the Geothe Institute in Jo’burg. I was with the amazing Napo Masheane, in a discussion moderated by the vibrant Niq Mhlongo. I’m not a good public speaker, I often squirm in front of an audience, but the reading I had ...
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The Darkness Behind My Book

During the launch of my first collection of short stories, A Killing in the Sun, one very irritating question kept coming up. What inspired you? It’s the brother of that question every writer hates. Where did you get that idea? Alongside it came its sisters, how did you get into sci-fi? Why do you write sci-fi and fantasy? I always pause before answering these questions, because it’s like asking me how I learned how to breathe. Well, maybe not, but I don’t like that question because I think I’m never inspired. I always work very hard to drag stories out of ...
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Why I Started a Literary Magazine

Many say it’s madness to start a literary magazine. Such a venture, especially one that focuses on African literature, can’t make money because, they say, there is no market to sustain literature on the continent. When I mooted the idea of Lawino to a friend, her advice was, ‘Don’t start it. All work and no pay makes Ojok a poor boy.’ It was discouraging, hearing that I would have to put a lot of energy into the magazine, and maybe never get paid for it. Still, I had this burning urge, for I wanted a journal to promote new writing ...
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Potraits from Kampala’s Literary Scenes

She runs the Ranchers Seafood and Steakhouse, where many literary events take place.  This was during a Commonwealth Writers event. Melissa Kiguwa, a feminist and poet, with Helen Nyana, a writer and publisher. Helen Nyana, writer, publisher, photographer David Kaiza, Writer and Editor A participant during the Commonwealth Writers Conversation, Kampala, 14 June 2014. She was not asleep. A participant during the Commonwealth Writers Conversation, Kampala, 14 June 2014 Patricia, writer. A participant during the Commonwealth Writers Conversation, Kampala, 14 June 2014 A participant during the Commonwealth Writers Conversation, Kampala, 14 June 2014 Jackee Batanda, writer. Rosey Sembatya, writer and board ...
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The Liebster Blog Awards

Sometime towards the end of last year, Matt Ewens nominated my blog for the Liebster Blog Awards. Yay! It humbled me, for this guy, Matt, who I hardly know, but who I met in a google plus writing group, thought my blog is worth a read. You can see list of nominees here. http://mattrobertewens.wordpress.com/ There are rules for accepting the Liebster Blog Award. You can read them below. I have to accept the award by answering questions he has asked, and in turn nominate eleven blogs that I think are worth a read. Well, I’ll start by answering questions that ...
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This Has Been a Good Year

At the beginning of the year, nothing was going right in my life, both career and personal. I was really broke, for one thing. As the year ends, still not many things are going right for me. One of my biggest dreams came tumbling down, started to collapse with the beginning of the year, and by November it had crashed to the ground. It came like a shooting star, like a lone star among the millions, and went out before it had lived to fulfill it’s purpose in my life. It reminded me of Gene Hackman, who once was one ...
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Street entertainment from my childhood

I never knew how much we remember from childhood until I wrote this story, The Puppets of Maramudhu. One reviewer, when talking about it, said “Dilman’s story is unique, not that it is alien or experimental. It is neither of these. In fact, it is the kind of stories we love to tell, orally, but which we rarely ever write, unfortunately, perhaps because of our quest to remain realists.” I always wonder why we endeavor to remain realists, yet our socialization process conditions us to believe in the supernatural, to point at spirits and unknowable forces when explaining strange phenomenon. As ...
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Three Stories on Amazon

It’s been an exciting year for me, as a writer. I got shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and then longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa. I’ve heard two books out in print, and two short stories to appear in anthologies, one is already out, the other coming in December. Busy, busy year, and I expect next year will be even busier. Which unfortunately might mean less blogging :(( So here are the books. They went up on amazon at nearly the same time, the first being in September and two this month. The Terminal Move. A novelette, ...
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Ghost tales on the road to Nairobi

When the year begun, I was broke. I had spent much of last year finishing The Felistas Fable, and had not earned much during that time. I felt low, for it is not possible to quickly make a profit from selling a film. Sometimes you have to wait a whole year. I felt depressed in frustration. Then, out of the gloom, I got shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. I had a reason to smile. I had waited for this kind of news for twenty years, since I became obsessed with writing at the age of fifteen. The frustration ...
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Scenes of Labor Day

Retired. Relaxing. Is he enjoying the labor of his youth? A grandfather passes the time in Nakapinyi, Mukono district. It’s the day when we remember workers of the world. I do not know what made me look through my scrap folder, but I found this poem, which I wrote in October of 2009, shortly before I went to Nepal. I cannot remember why I wrote it, what the ‘inspiration’ was, but it is clearly about a vegetable seller struggling to make ends meet, and failing to impress his wife. I dedicate it to all working men out there who are ...
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An African thief finds a wife

    This story is fictional, inspired by this photo of the love of my life. In spite of the thermal underwear, the cold dug into his bones and froze him in a bleak mood. The sun tried to smile from beyond the mountains, but her frigid rays could not cheer him up. He longed for Africa, where the sun shone all year with the sweet warmth of a lover.   He decided to go back home immediately after searching the last temple. The whole trip had turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. A friend ...
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Creatures from the Other World

It’s a sunny Sunday. I’ve just had a very productive weekend. Started and finished a short film. It’s a story that has been running in my head for nearly two years now. Maybe more. I’m glad I got it out. Maybe now I will have some sleep and peace, for the characters wanted their story told. They kept bothering me, yelling at me, screaming at me, distracting me whenever I was thinking about something else. A little girl and her paralyzed older brother. A question every writer confronts at some point or the other is “Where did you get that ...
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This is not funny! It’s a horror!

It seems a life time ago, yet it was only 2006. I was nearing my thirtieth birthday, and I had failed to make it as a novelist. I had to rethink my future, my ambitions, either give up on the dream or breath new life into it. I chose the latter. I set my sights on making films. This is a story I’ve told many times before, and I don’t want to repeat it here, but December 2006 is the time I directed my first film. A one minute movie that I wanted to be a horror. An old fashioned ...
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Starving Artists and Rejection Slips at Christmas

It’s the worst part of being an ‘artist’. For this reason they came up with the term, starving artist, to make the whole thing seem romantic. To make the artist think he has a right to starve, since he is the ‘creative’ type, the one who lives on dreams, who is too lazy to get a proper job and earn a decent salary. I must have got a thousand rejection slips by now, most of them computer generated, but every time I get one, I get that feeling deep down in my stomach that I’m wasting time. That I should ...
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What Will I Do Before I Die?

A bucket list? That list of things I must do before I die? — I do not remember at any point in my life making such a list, but sometime during my teenage years, an insane desire to write novels gripped me, and this flared into a ridiculous quest to make a living out of telling stories. So I guess the cliché items on my bucket list would be things like “get published,” “win an Oscar,”get really famous like Werner Herzog.” But the nightmare of trying to get a decent break makes those ambitions rather childish. To live a quiet ...
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I Suffer to Entertain You

Recently, I got a job directing the NTV Series, “The Hostel.” So far, it is the most demanding job I’ve ever met, so unlike anything I’ve ever done. Honestly, for a moment or two, I keep wondering just what it is I’ve gotten myself into. It is the first project where I will not be totally in control of the whole process—someone else decides what the story is, who the actors are, and who makes up the crew—and yet I’m the kind who prefers total freedom to do as I please while crafting a story. Moreover, this is a production ...
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Strange Stories of Adultery

Last week, I wrote about “The Secret Life of Adulterers,” as I reminisced about the first major film I made, What Happened in Room 13. Some suggest it’s the finest short film ever made in Uganda, a masterpiece, but it’s mostly because of the Oscar-deserving performance of the actors. Richard Tuwangye on stage, with Fun Factory They are famous comedians in Kampala. Richard Tuwangye, Ann Kansime, Veronica Namanda, Gerald Rutaro and Bugingo Hannington, famous names from the famous Fun Factory. At the time of making Room 13, I was inexperienced. They, however, did a great job of making the script ...
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The Secret Life of Adulterers

A man sneaks into a seedy hotel room. Moments later, his best friend’s wife joins him. Just as they start to make love, an accident kills her. And now he has to hide the body in order to keep his adulterous affair a secret. That’s the premise of what some say is my masterpiece, What Happened in Room 13, which I made in 2007 under the Maisha Film Lab. It’s an 18-minute thriller with no dialog. Watch it here! Free! Someone once asked me a question that writers find so ridiculous: “Where did you get that idea?” I equate it ...
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Happy-sad to be back home

Finally, I’m back home. I don’t know if I’m happy or sad. Maybe both. I returned at a period when the economy is in crisis. Inflation is soaring and the value of the shilling is on free fall. I can’t believe how expensive life is here, how much I pay for transport, for basic commodities, and it makes me wonder how people survive. It makes me scratch my head how I’m going to survive these tough times, seeing that I have to start from scratch. Before going to Nepal, I gave away everything I owned. I carried my valuables in ...
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My Friend is a Prostitute

This is a goodbye Nepal post. It’s been almost twenty hectic months. Now, three documentaries later, I’m finally going home. Today, I have a screening of one of the three docs, a feature length – my first feature length piece of work – Untouchable Love. Read about it here http://untouchablelovenepal.blogspot.com/ and follow the cause on facebook http://www.facebook.com/Untouchable.Love.Nepal This documentary is the reason I came to Nepal. Late in 2008, I had rashly quit a day job to try and make a living in film making. Within two months, I discovered I had committed suicide. And then the girl I was ...
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Anybody Reading?

The business of writing is a strange one. Not just because it requires a lot of patience and picking up your ambitions after a rejection of some sort shatters it. But just because you never know what impression you are making on people – you never know who is reading your stories. Ten years ago, I wrote four short stories for the Sunday Vision. Nothing big. But some people thought they were humorous. Anyway, the Sunday Vision editors at that time, Joachim Buwembo and Simon Kaheru, and a lady whose name I forget, they were besides themselves with excitement when ...
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Is Ejaculate a Taboo Word?

Funny thing I noticed while reading Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – a book I wish I had read while I was much younger. It’s such fun, with such a sense of humor that I wonder why I have never been encouraged to read it until now? I only picked it off the shelves the other day because of the animated film. I found a friend watching it, the last bit of it anyway, and was so intrigued that I thought the book would be as good. Normally, I know movies are not half as good as the books ...
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One of Those Gloomy Days

I thought they were gone, but today I woke up feeling real down. After a week of making a ton of grant applications, I can’t help feeling down. The problem with applying for grants is that it makes you feel like a beggar, and for people who have low self-confidence (blame it on the upbringing!) once that kind of feeling sets in your moods start to go down. This confidence thing, it’s really not anything I can do anything about it. It’s like some people will laugh at the slightest tickle, others will cry at the slightest pain, others will ...
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Cakes at 3am

I woke up with a burning urge to write a story about a man pursuing a girl who bakes cakes – he is working at his desk when he catches the scent of cakes in the air, and he follows it to the next office where he finds this girl delivering birthday cake to a client, and without even knowing her names, or anything about her, he asks her to marry him. Apparently, this guy had spent a long time in a culture where — oh crap! I’m not writing all that BS here 🙂 Anyway, I had to fight ...
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Laughter Sells More Than Horror

Oh no! Felistas is back in my life! I was kind of hoping I would never run into her again, because I don’t like her story, but she crept back – or rather she jumped straight out of the blue and grabbed my neck and is now strangling me with a promise of success. Well, what she has done is kick out this guy who I was growing to love, this guy who is stuck on a wheel chair and runs an illegal FM radio station from his bedroom. Finally, I shot the film! here is a pic of the ...
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Devasted

I’m devastated. After eagerly awaiting for a nomination in the Penguin Prize for Africa Writing, I discover today that I have yet again been overlooked! I was really hoping this would be it for me. So sad and to prove it, this will be the shortest blog I’m ever writing. — You May Also Like: You May Also Like: Real life quoting the movies Another rejection Laughter sells more than horror The internet joke Anybody reading? ...
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Back on my Feet?

I often try to surprise myself…. I google my name and see what comes up, and I was stunned today to find a short story I wrote for The Kathmandu Post online. The editors didn’t get back to me, to tell me whether they liked it or not, and I assumed they did not like it. Well, I wrote this piece, only about 1,000 words long, the shortest story I’ve ever published, in an attempt to get back to my writing feet. True, I did manage a novel last year (which I’m desperately trying to sell) but a publisher, who ...
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The Internet Joke

The internet certainly helped the ‘joke’ to grow into a popular media, the way invention of the printery gave birth to the novel. But almost everyone only recycles the jokes they find in their in boxes, and I always wonder who the first person to send that joke was. So I’m going to try and break that habit. I’m going to start my own joke. Here it goes. Recommended: Dark comedy. 6.5 million YouTube Views. What Happened in Room 13 A terrible looking ghost walks into a bar and says ‘Those drinking beer, line up here, and those drinking whiskey, ...
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Why Do They Laugh?

This is the best part of writing, staring at the blank page and no words coming out, especially if I want to be funny. I think being funny is my niche, whatever niche means. I never try, but an hour can’t pass without someone laughing at something I said, and I always ask myself “What’s the matter with that crazy head? Did I say something funny?”  — Only that I’m beginning to distrust my comic powers. I think they have grown so much that complete strangers giggle when they see me. Maybe I should clarify that it is complete, strange ...
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Life!

Seven Tricks Ugandan Girls Use to Hook Men

A man has a lot of tricks to seduce a woman. Some are outright crude, like using his middle finger to scratch her palm when they greet. Some are outrageous, like whistling at her as she walks down the streets. Others are ludicrous, like telling her lies about his wealth. Because of the gender power play in society, boy-tricks are almost everyday happenings, they are out there in the open. Often, when a woman sees them she knows what’s up, and either slaps him in retort, or kick his balls, or plays along. But the girl-tricks are not always obvious ...
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I Was Arrested for Abandoning a Baby

I did not want to talk about it, but this lady at OleeBranch went public about it, and so I have to continue the conversation, to tell you what her actions did to me. I don’t think she meant harm. I think she is a nice person, but there is an Acholi saying that goes ‘Yom cwin oneko latina’ – forgive my inability to write in Luo – which means ‘being too kind hearted killed my child’. She says she kindly offered to baby-sit for a stranger in a taxi, even as this strange mother showed no gratitude at all, ...
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Seven Reasons Why Women Fear Commitment

Women are more afraid of commitment than men. They’ll end perfectly good relationships for no reason at all. Even when they seem perfectly happy in a relationship, so happy that the man is encouraged to buy a ring, the moment he proposes, things start to go downhill. Some of them become serial heartbreakers. They make men need them, and when he’s firmly in a girl’s grasp, when he starts to dream of having children with her, she gets scared and tells him, ‘You are too clingy.’ Well, no man has ever figured out what women want, but I think I ...
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The Total Agony of Being in Love

A few days back, my facebook status read: Dear God, please help me. I want to be funny, but the only jokes I can come up with have either sex or poop in them. I don’t know why I’m fascinated with the two, but I also do not know why they are taboo. It’s something everybody does, and both are vital to human life. Still, they do not seem to be something people want to talk about. Or joke about. So recently, I set out to make a series of funny videos, for distribution via youtube. In this series, I will ...
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The Liebster Blog Awards

Sometime towards the end of last year, Matt Ewens nominated my blog for the Liebster Blog Awards. Yay! It humbled me, for this guy, Matt, who I hardly know, but who I met in a google plus writing group, thought my blog is worth a read. You can see list of nominees here. http://mattrobertewens.wordpress.com/ There are rules for accepting the Liebster Blog Award. You can read them below. I have to accept the award by answering questions he has asked, and in turn nominate eleven blogs that I think are worth a read. Well, I’ll start by answering questions that ...
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When to Kiss is to Sin: Dating in Nepal Pt 3

Normally, I don’t kiss and tell, but this happened so long ago that it doesn’t matter much. Sometime early in 2010, shortly after I arrived in Nepal, a time when I was still single and had not yet met the Filipino bombshell. A time when I was still befuddled with that timeless question: what is the meaning of love. This is probably the last post recounting my personal experiences of dating in Nepal. (Read here part 1 and part 2). The two years I spent there, I was more concerned with their love and marriage customs, for I was making ...
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The Fun of Dating in Nepal pt 2

She got married so I guess it’s okay for me to write about this, though I’ll still not say her real name. I saw a status update on facebook, and I know she is married. Nepali girls wouldn’t write such a status, or else it hurts their honor. A couple on a date in Thamel, Kathmandu. Lama’s Cafe. I first saw her early in 2010, must have been March, for the winter had just ended, and I had just moved from Kathmandu into Dhanghadi, the small town in the far west of Nepal where I was to stay for the ...
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Love Made Me Run Mad

The other day, I was looking through my archived videos of Nepal, trying to decide what to delete to create space in my backup hard drive. I found this interview of Binod, a resident of Saptari district, a man who ran mad after his love affair with an upper caste girl came to an abrupt and violent end. I came upon him by sheer luck. While making Untouchable Love, I was visiting their home to interview his younger brother, Manoj, whose affair with Parbati, an upper caste girl, had led to a war in their village when I learned that ...
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Quick recipes for a love-hunting bachelor

Food will bring love to your heart. They say that the way into a man’s heart is through his stomach, and that the best way to get into a woman’s pants is through her mouth! Ah, so food has great romantic values. It is the essence of every relationship, and if you are looking at a girl whose heart you want to win, food can fast forward your dating past the boring stuff and straight into the bed stuff. Of course, what every man does is to take her out to the fancy restaurants and impress her with fine dining ...
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The Great African Love Bus

  Welcome to He Says, She Says Sundays! A battle of the sexes. Two different opinions on a jointly enjoyed experience! Have fun reading them both!    He says:    The idea of traveling by bus from Kampala to Mombasa seemed romantic. But I did not know it would turn out to be like something from a Robert James Waller novel! When I mention The Bridges of Madison County, it does not mean I met a forty-something year old farmer’s wife who was looking for Prince Charming. I had a princess right by my side when I set off from ...
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An African thief finds a wife

    This story is fictional, inspired by this photo of the love of my life. In spite of the thermal underwear, the cold dug into his bones and froze him in a bleak mood. The sun tried to smile from beyond the mountains, but her frigid rays could not cheer him up. He longed for Africa, where the sun shone all year with the sweet warmth of a lover.   He decided to go back home immediately after searching the last temple. The whole trip had turned out to be a complete waste of time and money. A friend ...
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The Troubled Children of Uganda

Street children begging in Kampala. Broken family values is largely responsible for this. To continue the story of the pregnant girl and the monster teacher (read it here), I agreed to be her father. She wanted to make money out of a man who had impregnated her, and she wanted me to pretend being her father. She was only fourteen years old, and I battled with my conscience over what I was doing. But I was thinking of a documentary film about the troubled children of Uganda today, about parents who fail to handle rebellious teenagers, about the breakdown of ...
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Randy pregnant girl and the Beastly Teacher

  Who will protect the little girls of Africa? Shortly after Christmas, I became a father – or rather, I nearly became one. I do not know how to put it exactly. I did not know I was old enough to be a teenage girl’s father. She must be sixteen, or maybe fourteen. I could not really tell. I had never met her before. I spent Christmas holed up in my little office, behind the laptop, sometimes putting finishing touches on my first feature film, The Felistas Fable, other times rewriting my first romance novella, which will hopefully come out ...
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Who Will Tell this Tale?

A few years back, I used to have a certain kind of anger against foreigners who came to Uganda (and by extension other ‘poor’ countries) to make films. “Who gives them the right to tell our stories?” me and other filmmakers/artists would ask ourselves in our silly workshops. “They are only going to misrepresent us.” “They only tell negative stories that stereotype us in pictures of poverty, sickness and war.” The search for love, motivated me to tell Ranjana’s story. She is in the photo below, with greenish sari. Then, I went to Nepal. It’s a story I’ve told over ...
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Of Dreams and Nightmares

This post is an example of why some people should not be allowed to write blogs without supervision…..  Photo pirated from facebook, don’t know who to credit So I’m sitting here, looking at this blank page, and wondering what I can write to make you, my dear Chewy, laugh. Maybe I should put some of the pictures I saw on facebook last week, like the one with the tattoo. But that picture gave me nightmares, so I wonder if you should really see it. I dreamt that I was in China, and this woman with a magic pen was writing on my ...
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Memories of Rain

“I love the sound of rain.” So goes the first line in the lyrics of a song Reiza is writing. “I forgot the sound of rain,” is my response to it. There’s something about rain and romance. Rain and poetry. Rain and love. And as I sit here with the darkness growing around the room – I’m too lazy to turn on the lights! – I hear the rain falling outside. I see the droplets sliding on the window pane like lazy dancers and it stirs memories of rain. Hmmm, that sounds like a cute title for a story. Memories ...
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Piracy, Markets and Love

Something bad happened to me today. Something that made me think about pirates. Not those in the Indian Ocean, and certainly not the kind Johnny Depp has made popular — though they are my favorites! But well, I feel so bad. I want to strangle someone. You know that feeling? You have a lot of money in your pocket but when you walk into a shop, they say you cannot buy anything there because — well, maybe because you are wearing a blue shirt and they only allow people with red shirts into this shop. The kind of situation that ...
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The Aphrodisiac Restaurant

It is hard to forget a date in an aphrodisiac restaurant. Mochitos. Photo courtesy of www.or2k.org I remember the day. 29th May 2011. A beautiful evening in Kathmandu. The threat of a strike lingered in the air, the Maoists promising bloodshed and chaos over the new constitution, their threats keeping people indoors and cars off the street. But Thamel was bustling with life, as usual, for the worst of the threat was over. I do not remember well, but the banda was supposed to (but largely didn’t) happen on the 28th — the day she came into Kathmandu. And so ...
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No Sex in this Honeymoon

I woke up this morning thinking about Ha Long Bay, for no particular reason. I’ve never been there, only seen it in photos, but it is what I dream about whenever I’m having fantasies of my honeymoon. Sometimes, it just pops into my head out of the blue, like this morning. The photos make me dream of a surreal world where I will float on a wooden boat in the calm seas, sail past giant rocks that stick out of the serene waters like ice cream — ha ha ha, you dropped a Freudian slip Dilman, only a man in ...
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What Will I Do Before I Die?

A bucket list? That list of things I must do before I die? — I do not remember at any point in my life making such a list, but sometime during my teenage years, an insane desire to write novels gripped me, and this flared into a ridiculous quest to make a living out of telling stories. So I guess the cliché items on my bucket list would be things like “get published,” “win an Oscar,”get really famous like Werner Herzog.” But the nightmare of trying to get a decent break makes those ambitions rather childish. To live a quiet ...
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