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Now and 16 years back

My mother learned to read Dzongkha when she had to stay home taking rest after the surgery. She can now read prayers but she would be more fluent if she had better eye sight. For a week she went to Jungshina community lhakhang to pray. There, the lama presiding the community prayer has given a prayer book each to everyone present. This evening when I got home, my mother wanted to read that prayer book. I sat beside her and helped her with words she had difficulty pronouncing.

And then, right after dinner, she chanted the “Dechen Moelam.” When prayed in the long melodious tune, it can tear your heart apart and send you right next to your lama and make you feel that you really do not need anything at all in this world. I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and sat by her side again while she was doing that moelam. Then, I told her, “Ama nga cha po, Aema ho chi tangma nyampu” (meaning: Let us pray together the Aema ho moenlam before we sleep), and we did.

As our voices blended and felt a reverberating faith carry us up towards a higher realm, I prayed that my mother be never inflicted with pain; that she never suffer. And as I closed my eyes in prayer, I cried. I cried thinking of us many, many years back, walking down the footpath in Dolu, going to Phaisingma where my two sisters lived. I could so vividly remember how I walked in front of my mother, praying so loudly, our voices resounding and echoing in the valley. For a split of a second, I wished my mother was that young.

I realize that we have come so many years far and now we live in a city we never imagined in our lives then. I now stay in a rented apartment where I pay more than I save. And now, instead of waking up to the smell of my mother cooking on the mud oven in the soot stained cookers, I find myself waking up hearing my mother asking my nephew to study. I marvel at how different times have come to be. I honestly feel, I would gladly trade to be in my peaceful village, if only life wasn’t so hard.  I cry that there is not a single person living in my village now. I marvel at how we tread on life, not knowing what we would be or where we would be in that many years again.

Author’s note: As I sit here typing words down, I see faces of my sisters flashing in my mind. I see them as two young teenage girls asking me to sing a song for them. I see them as two teenage girls weaving kira for me. And I see them as two young women working so hard in the field. And now, I wonder for what extra merit I earned in my previous life I’m sitting here on the cushion while two of them must be snoring on the hard crust of bed. If only tears were the answers, I would have long been happy. If only tears fulfilled wishes, I would have long brought fairness and justice to the world. Even when I know my tears aren’t enough, they choke me. I wish I could just take out this lump in my throat but just like it will stick there as long as I am unhappy, I know I have no power to even wipe out the misery of myself. 


Kinga Choden said…
Dear Kuenza,

I hear that there are no more young people, but only the old in the villages. I am glad your mother's with you still; a better reason to hold on tight so that a similar reason will sting your eyes in the future.

Nice. :)
This is a beautiful entry.

You write very interesting things about your mother everytime.
I am happy to see your mother in the picture, do give her my best!

Come on Bumo, as you say, if you look at things you haven't done, you feel you have done nothing. But if you look at things you do, you feel you do what you can. I know you do what you can.

I wish you say your prayers more regularly and also with Ama. It is indeed a moment of bonding.
Kuenza said…
Thanks three of you. She is all I have. She is my 'precious.'

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