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Looking back

I think 20 years is a long time. Yes, 20 years back, there were more happy times than unhappy times. Our parents must have worried for all of us; maybe sometime the worry was too much to carry. But us, children did not know much. Or I think my elder siblings did know more about life and the hardship of a farmer. But me? I was not totally pampered but I saw less hardship than all of them.

One winter when my brother was helping my father in the woods, the axe accidentally fell on his foot, leaving him in bed for many weeks. Despite the pain he was going through, we would have happy times. I remember being by his side all the time. We would always write something. And what I still remember to the last is the katsom that we composed. It is in Sharchop, a dialect spoken by the people from the east. I don’t know how much input I gave. Maybe I was only a mere spectator.

My friend Lhadon (who is now in the village and a mother of 3 children) and I would sing it at the tshechus. For a few weeks, I kept thinking of the katsom. And that made me think I should write it on my blog. Maybe I already wrote before. I’m forgetful. But I go on and write here anyway.

Ka ra ku ru aney
Kha lu lo rang nyong la
Ga dong dang ney goth pa
Nga ma bi dang ga dang

Cha la lek pu chho ney
Chharo mang pu oona
Ja thur ja mey dak ney
Nya gai tha gai shek la

Taka mangpha dak pa
Tha dang damtshi tshat pe
Dari lek pu a khan
Na shi sem ka thai na

Pa pa ma ma dak ney
Pha ma kawa chat pa
Ba ling min ga to tai
Ma ma dak ney yek pa

Tsa ka ling ga de la
Tsha lu za le lam la
Za ti tab khan meme
Wak tsa da bu ana

Zha wa zhi wa da bu
Za ney yip ney ma chhoi
Wa wur mak chhen pha la
Ya lu thur rang mang pha

Ra ba shi sha da bu
La lung gai ney ma dey
Sha rang chhang lu gang ka
Sa ra sey rey tshat pe

Ha rang chhat ney mar ba
Apa ama ka drin

Loosely translated, it goes thus:
Busy working here and there
Not many utter good words for me
Walking up and down for work
My limbs ache

If you have nice things
Many surround you
When you have tea to drink
People come from here and there

You could say it is ok
But you need faithfulness and integrity
What good people have done you this year
You must keep in mind

Calling papa and mama to food and drink
You gave your parents so much hardship
Food prepared from white rice
You called it mama

When you go to a place called Tsakaling
You want to eat oranges
A man who snubs tobacco
Acts like a child

Like a handicap
Don’t you always eat and sleep
When mighty roaring war comes
Things won’t be so easy

Like goats and sheep
Don’t try to go away crossing many mountains
When your hair hasn’t turned grey
You gotta be more active and fruitful

You stand surprised that all has turned good
But it is only because your parents made it all for you

Note: Some stanzas are little out of context but such prose are composed at the whim of a mind, unlike serious writings where you have to think and re-think of themes, sentences and paragraphs.
I think Bhutan could actually organize katsom competition where participants should come forward and compose extempore. 


Hi Kuenza, your katsom rekindled in my heart that lost memory of childhood days and also reminded me of being a sharchokpa meme. Thanks for sharing the wonderful poem. :)
Kuenza said…
Hey Lingchen, didn't know that you blog too. I'm browsing through it just now.

Thanks for the comment.
Just playing around with the internet:-) I don't have anything interesting to post though. Thanks for visiting it anyway.
Phuntsho said…
We normally write: Tsa, Tsha, dZa, Wa,

then: Zha, Za, 'a (though this letter is not possible to romanize, it is technically called "Ah-thung" shorter Ah (the last alphabet)in Choeked, hence the diacritic (') is used internationally to represent it.) Ya....

anyway, i liked your creative Katsom...

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