Here I am going to write about my husband Sonam Tashi and his life before our marriage. Our life together is altogether another long story. I wanted to write this like an autobiography, but I will never be able to do justice to my husband and his life with my standard of English and my amateur writing skills. I am writing this so that when our daughter grows up and have her own kids; she will have so many stories to pass on to them about us.
Sonam Tashi is from Themnangbi, Mongar. His father was from Ngatsang, Mongar. His mother passed away when he was very little and his father passed away soon after we decided to live together. His mother died of blood cancer and his little brother was still breastfeeding her. I can totally relate to what was going through them after the demise of his mother because we lost our mother when we were little too and my little sister was just born. Anyway, his mother, Tashi Tshomo, was well known for her super-fast skills at doing works and everyone would wait for her to start the harvest because everyone believed that she brought good luck to the village. I always listen to my husband telling how she would weave a set of Gho for her brothers on the night before their departure to schools. She really was a super woman. And every time I listen to this story, I literally have to fight back my tears because I can feel so much pain in his eyes. She suffered so much pain because of this treacherous disease. She could not recover even after she was refered to big hospitals in Kolkata. But every good person dies at young age because it is said that good people are needed in heaven by god <br>.
So, since his village was little far from the nearest school and there wasn’t any boarding or residential facility that time, he and his brothers (Darjay and Sheru, both younger to him) had to build a small hut near the school, known as Gorbaktang, to be able to study. The hut was built on the property of Meme Kabula. The man was kind indeed to have done such a favour. Sonam Tashi is still thankful for his kindness and last time when he met him, he didn’t have anything to offer him so he took off his Gho and presented him. Later I heard Meme Kabula fondly likes to talk about his act of kindness again and again.
Well, education wise, it was very difficult for them because they had to cook their meals using wet firewood and all of them were too young to take care of themselves. His grandmother, who he fondly calls Ama, had asked his paternal aunt to take care of them. Oh wait, they at first stayed with his aunt but later moved out because they felt it was better that way. So, I was saying it was very difficult for them to cook that sometimes they would eat half cooked rice so that they get to school on time. I am sure Sheru will have his own version of story and I am not sure if Darjay will remember anything. Once in a while, they would go to FCB and buy the cheapest rice and change their regular meal from Kharang to white rice. It was a luxury that they couldn’t afford every day. When they had enough ration, he would cook the lunch as well with breakfast but unfortunately hungry dogs would steal their precious lunch sometimes because it was easy for the dogs to break into their little home. He skipped lunch till he got admitted in Mongar high school in 2000.
Sometimes he would go home at Themnangbi to get ration after school and come back the morning to reach their little hut to be able to cook and serve to his brothers. And imagine with wet woods. I am starting to dislike Shing Yenglu. During the weekend, he would again go home to get ration but he would play and swim in Gangola River on the way and exhaust all his energy. When he reaches home, he would be very angry when there was no food in the kitchen. He recalls his stupidity because everyone at home to be at work. His meme likes to call him Uthuma because he would extend his arms and drag down the corn plants on his way out.
One day there was a football tournament and his captain wanted him to play no matter what. He insisted that he didn’t want to because he didn’t have shorts to wear for the match and obviously he didn’t tell that to his captain. So, he had to buy a shorts and that was the first half pant cum underwear he ever wore and that became his favorites. I can see the warm smile when he recalls. So after he did his exams in eighth grade, he worked as a part time labour for road construction. I don’t remember the place. He kept on thinking how much they suffered while studying and decided to not continue his studies and rather run away with the Truck Driver as his helper after the road work was done. He and his team mates had to work under a scorching sun that it gave them intense sun burns which he fully recovered after two years. During meal time (thank god, meal was served), he would be the first to eat and he ate so fast that he could join the line again for his second share. He still finishes eating his meal so fast and when I asked him once about it, he told me this story.
His results were declared when he was still working at the road construction. He topped his batch from his school and it was such a proud moment for him that it gave him inspiration and motivation to study again. So that’s when and how he landed up in Mongar High School. School was fun then because the food provided was enough to fill him up and regular lunch was served. Before you start judging him, I must mention that his family were and is a well off at Themnangbi. It was at school that he and his brothers suffered because there was no transportation to transport the ration and whatever little they brought with them didn’t last much. And no one needs to be told that money was a scarce during that time and I am sure it is still at some villages.
I will continue the story next time.