I was in the field supervising a group of enumerators for the Second nation wide GNH Survey, if you remember. I was in Samtse last month and now I am in Samdrup Jkngkhar. I got here yesterday. My team has been here for 19 days already but I had to take leave -- remember, I made a short update from Singapore? It was for that purpose that I had to take leave.
Once I got back home from that visit, I was unsure when to join my team because the New Year was just a few days away and if I didn't stay back to celebrate it with my family, I was going to travel on the New Year. No matter how hard it was, I had to decide on the latter. I travelled on Losar and got to the field to eat dinner with my team. In a way, that was a huge relief. But leaving my family was difficult. One friend said, 'I can't believe you are leaving on Losar. As a mother, it is very important for you to be there on Losar'. I know that, but when I have to make choices like this, I also know that my husband can take up a role much better than me. He can be a super mother in my absence and I love him extra for that.
The parting was hard though. First, it was my daughter I had to say goodbye to. She didn't cry this time. Neither did she beg me too much not to leave. She came right next to the car, talked to me sweetly and said that I should come back soon. She stood by the parking and waved goodbye till we were out of sight and I couldn't help cry. Tears streaming down my cheek, I feared how the duration of two months or more will pass. We will be getting back to Thimphu only when we have completed the eastern dzongkhags and it means having to be away from family for two months or more.
Next was saying goodbye to my husband. We rushed to get my bus ticket -- which we had booked through a friend. We rushed because we worried that if we didn't make there a bit earlier from the departure time, the counter girl might sell it to others. She had kept it for us as agreed. After getting the ticket, we had half an hour more before departing. So, we wandered around the stalls and it gave us time to feel settled and less rushed. But when I got in the bus and said goodbye, I cried again. And shamelessly, I must admit that though I am a mother and no longer a teenager after parting from her boyfriend, I felt the pang so hard. Should I consider it wrong for me to feel love because I am old now? In fact, I felt love rushing in my heart, and I felt like it was the first time I was saying goodbye to him after having fallen helplessly in love.
I listened to Don Williams, wiped my tears and kept looking out the window, so the person sitting next to me won't know I was crying. This time, I felt a bit of dislike for our culture of having to be discreet with our affection. I wanted to kiss him goodbye and I couldn't. All we did was hold hands and look each other in the eye. Anyway, when you feel the heart nudging with love, that is enough as well and I quickly felt content and the tiny dislike for our culture disappeared.
Maybe, in the rush of our everyday work and hustle bustle, we had forgotten to show that we love each other. And it was a reminder that after 14 years, we are still going strong and everyday is a first day of love with him. And yes, there are many days that I feel like it is the first time and my friends from High School were wrong when they said I was reading too many novels and fantasising on true love that does not exist in real life. I have found it and I am lucky.