Tuesday, December 15

Lomba - A story from my Grandmother's diary

On the dusk of colorful Lomba,two of my friends decided to have Lomba dinner together. They loaded buckwheat dumplings to the brim of their stomach. Riding on a Chetak Bajaj scooter, upon reaching babesa expressway, much to the joy driven by festive mood, they fail to recall the presence of bump.The one sitting at back threw the inside dumpling out, like cricket ball off the pitch.
Jokes apart,there is always this curiosity in being a child raised in Haap and Parop’s family. Just like what my Angay did when she was young and agile; we use to put together all requisite bits and pieces ranging from plant species to finest costumes before the twilight sets in.The Lue torma (human figure made from flour cake representing our good being) clothed in its luxury outfit is surrounded by nine important grains. With handpicked attire such as brocade and silk etc,the lighted butter lamp and chibchey(ritual cake prayer) signifies a humble gesture of all our goodwill wishes for the fruitful new coming year.
When the night crawls in, it is time for Lue's departure.Lues from every household are believed to be setting their expedition together.We reach Lue to a certain space so they can catch up their voyage with other Lues. The tayoeee ahug hu sound flag off Lue’s long travel followed by lighting of firecrackers into the virgin sky.
While Haaps are known for making artistic Hoentoes,Parops do make mengey, also known as bjomja (Rice pizza). People in my village normally use dried leaves of turnip,yak butter, fresh cheese, steamed cabbage ,walnut and many more. My grandmother and other elderly people say that we must eat to our best. Our weights would be assessed on this eve by spirits.
The first eve day is usually set off by many. Often people initiate their day by washing clothes while others take pleasure in river rock stone bath that provides exotic therapy and soak away stresses of life. The following days would begin by archery tournaments, celebrations and a family get together with large celebration feasts .And truly, 29th day of the 10th Bhutanese month is a new year for all Parops and Haaps.
May this Lomba brings Seasons greetings, peace,prosperity and long lasting Happiness.
Happy Lomba Greetings!
Photo Courtesy:Ben Henritig,The Happiest Place

Sunday, December 13

With Layaps in My Village

Image source:aworldawaytravels.com

Tshering is in his mid 30s.This is perhaps his first visit to my village.His Apa use to do often barter system and known for his trade smartness and polite greetings to his owners(often termed jindas for sheltering 2-3 days)during his business.
Along with him a boy called Phuntsho,age-15,with cute fair complexion,eyes swollen and greyish hair, wearing little north-face jacket,he studies in 5th Standard.Phuntsho young by age,shoulders a bigger family responsibility like a bold businessman.His Apa couldnot make this time, due to some tight schedule at home.While Tshering had a wife and two children back in Laya,he supports a family of four including himself.Phuntsho has been Tshering's neighbour and they had come to my village in Paro located on the banks of river Pachu,a distance of 3-4 kilometres from the main town through a farm road or by crossing a temporary winter wooden log bridge from a black topped road.They had started the journey all the way from Laya.
Tshering had 6 sacks of sangzey(a herbal dried incense combining balu-sulu leaves and other essential ingredients from high mountains,on burning that gives mind calming perfume and for liberation of sentient beings that are within its reach ).While Phuntsho Carries 4-Sacks on his strong back.They are here in Paro,to do a barter else called exchange with parop's reknowned red dried Chillies.
My Apa filled their cups with creamy butter tea followed by red rice and a dish of dry red chillies ,a raddish steamed with local lean porks.Tshering and Phuntsho had a good smile and optimistic enough to sure get another serve of tea as they walk to another house.My mother took two sack of Sangzey, one each from Tshering and one from Phuntsho.
Tshering says,business is good here.In Thimphu they are many competitors.And moreover Dried Chillies seemed to be often expensive from Nu.300-400 a kilo.Its much better in the village and ," I won't mind walking from house to house".His friends narrated him once, while on business in Thimphu tells stories of losing money and sleeping stuffs.Crime is more in the town.Its more important to be careful.Thats why we are here from generations.Back in Laya,Tshering says Chilli is one of the most important ingredient in the mountains.Once they also tried with dried chillies that comes from south,but he says it gets rote soon with fungus and unwanted greeny stufss that finally spoils the taste and color.Thats the reason they are here in the village.Phuntsho is sound in academic although he finds difficulty with English.He is much better and brighter in science and maths perhaps.But he realized the worth of education and promises to be a tougher guy and never drop the school."Often Our elderly Layap boys drop the school from certain grade,stating,with the license from the government ,they find a net profit in picking up cordyceps on the mountains.Its infact a kidu from our Majesty for the Layaps,since its difficult to grow most of the crops and sustain family income upthere owing to harsh weather and climatic conditions".Phuntsho had indeed old head on a young shoulder.
Phuntsho doesnt state, of becoming a doctor or engineer like ordinary kids.What he will do is to score a good grade and obtain handsome marks in his annaully academic record."This would be my answer for now".
With a smile and much contentment,these two strong boys now walk to another household being optimistic enough for a good response and a delicious meal from another house owner. Once they finish the sacks,they would go back to Punakha and collect all the rations and needs for their next summer,while staying for 2-3 winter months spending days in making income from thier horses while carrying and trasnporting goods and also loads for tsachu-goers(hot spring goers) along the chhubu and gasa in the past.
Its indeed inhaling the happiness,making it simple and practical.The Layaps like Tshering and Phuntsho had made it like others.Through interactions,politeness and courtesy,dedications and sweat of hardwork,they had impressed most of the people in the locality while keeping good name of their presence.Its a recollection of past through present,a small existence of past Barter System in this fast modern trade.
Its 3:30 pm,Sunday.I m now travelling back to Thimphu.I told you earlier,i feel much better as i once returned back from my village.Its my Village that taught me many simple yet remarkable values and lessons of happiness.I wish to go back often to work,to help my parents and to watch the season change,the fields,the trees,the river.I m refreshed and with new ideas ready to work again.