Muna Madan: a Synopsis
by Eena Shrestha
21 December 2017, Thursday
Over a month, we sang through Muna Madan at school. The Nepali version as well as the version translated into English by Pallav sir. This section contains a synopsis of the story. We will visit our emotional responses, our literary responses and our learning over the weeks as the plan is to reread the book again.
Muna Madan is a Nepali story that is about a newly wedded couple who were poor. They couldn’t afford milk for Madan’s mother, pretty bangles for Muna’s wrists and Madan left for Lhasa to earn the money. Muna pleaded him not to go, “What will we do with gold?” she asked him, “I don’t need pretty bangles. We can grow, harvest and eat food right here, we have shelter. All we need is right here, but if you leave not everything will be here anymore.”
“Muna, I want to see pretty bangles on your wrists, I want finish my mother’s dream to build a shelter for travellers, a drinking tap for others to drink water from,” Madan says with determination, “Don’t put a barrier of tears on my way, don’t cry, I promise I’ll be back in 20 days.”
Madan leaves, he travels to Lhasa, but he doesn’t return in 20 days, he forgets about his 20 days on the road. He stays in Lhasa for months not thinking about home and his promises to Muna.
Back home, Muna and Madan’s mother await, to see him again, to hug him and to talk to him. Time passes and they are still waiting for his arrival, Madan then awakes and remembers Muna, his mother, his promise, and home.
He starts heading home with some friends that he made in Lhasa that are from where his city. On the way back he gets sick with cholera so his friends abandon him there in the forest.
A Tibetan sees Madan and carries Madan back to his home. The Tibetan cures Madan, Madan is sad and wants to head home. Seeing the Tibetan’s children play and laugh together makes him very happy so he was very, very sad to leave. He offers the Tibetan half the gold he has, but the Tibetan declines and asks him “What will I do with gold? My children can’t wear it for warmth. We can’t plant it and eat it.”
“What can I give you in return for curing me?” Madan asks.
“It was just chance, you can’t give me anything.” the Tibetan says, “You can only promise me that you will tell your friends and family about me.”
“I will tell everyone about you and how you saved my life!” Madan shouts and waves goodbye to them as he leaves the Tibetan’s house.
Back home Madan’s mother is on the edge of death and news of Madan’s death has reached home, but little did they know that Madan was alright and coming home. Muna has already left the surface of earth and gone above the clouds.
Madan journeys back home eventually with two bags of gold and finds that his mother is dying in her bed and Muna isn’t there. Madan places the two bags of gold at the end of his mother's bed and says, “I’ve brought the gold where do you want to build shelter and a water tap for homeless point where and we will build it there.”
His mother points in a direction just before she passes away. At her funeral Madan asks his sister where Muna had gone. His sister said “Muna was upon this earth, at her parents’ home. She blinked with the stars, laughed with the flowers, cried with the dew, and spoke with the blackbird.”
“Sister tell me that she is only at her parents’ home and not dead.” Madan says meaningfully.
“She is in the city above the clouds in the city that is filled with light, she is picking flowers of happiness up there.” His sister tells him.
“Muna, my love I will come see you!” Madan calls to the clouds.
“Brother of mine don’t worry we will all go there someday.” His sister assures him.
“Fulfill our mother’s dream for me and her.” He asks her.
Madan’s sister finds Madan’s body in his bed.