Aum Dechen Choden, 29, who lives in a small wooden house just below my one roomed apartment, is a beautiful woman. I often flirtingly call her Aum Jarim. Is not that I call every women I meet as Aum Jarim, every nanny I talk to as Angay Jarim and every spinster who tickles my fancy as Boom Jarim. But a lot of consideration goes in naming them. It wasn’t to impress them though but to uphold the beauty of women.
|Aum Jarim (Dechen Choden) at work.|
Boom Jarim(Ugyen Lhamo, 27) is a spinster who lives in a hamlet just 20 minutes walk from my place with whom the villagers lovingly tease me and cajole me to marry her...they usually hyperlink the story of the Bhutanese blockbuster Seday in which a school teacher falls in love with a village girl. And Angay Jarim( Chorten zam, 68) is a grandmother who lives in another hamlet which is 40 minutes walk. These three ladies share qualities that I adore the most in a woman. They are shy, disciplined, considered, strong and awesomely beautiful. And interestingly, they don’t drink too unlike other ladies here. This makes my heart to adore them even more.
Aum Dechen Choden is such a woman whom I admire the most among my Jarims. Now don’t adulterate the former line. I just adore her for the way she has been carrying herself before and after her husband’s death. I have found her being shy on occasions when village elders share some dirty talks with her. And I have seen her not at all enjoying it, like some do, and leaving the scene without saying a word. She talks less and she doesn’t have an eye on me or any other man.
|The night their father left them.|
( That night Karma was constantly asking about her father to her bereaved mother)
She has two wonderful daughters and a handsome son. Her son Tshering Gyeltshen is in class Three, the elder daughter Sonam Deki is in class One and their younger sister Karma Yangchen is in class PP.
Her husband Sonam Tshering, the poor soul, was tall and muscular man. I was told by my house-owner’s wife Aum Tshedrup Wangmo that he had spent most of his marriage life in Thimphu enjoying the city life there than with his wife and children at home here. She added that he used to pay a short visit but it has been more than three years since his last departure. Apart from sending a few thousand Ngultrums a year he couldn’t do anything else. He was also unavailable at the time when she gave birth to their third child. What else can be so heartbreaking for a wife than to realize that her husband is far away unknown and bother less of her giving birth to their own baby? He was a man who nobody wanted as a husband. He didn’t even have a regular job. Whatever amount he earned to live his otherwise poise life in the most expensive city was by setting up stalls and selling plastic goodies on festivals especially tsechus held across the country. He was basically a small merchant who was homeless as well as heartless.
I first saw Sonam Tshering on February of this year. He was here after three long years. He was standing in front of a small bamboo hut where his wife and children use to live. I wondered how they had spent their nights for so many years in that small hut. Because the walls were so thin that chilly wind easily got in. Her children didn’t have warmer clothes to wear. They didn’t have enough blankets to cover themselves and so they all had to warm themselves sitting around a fire before they retire to their beds. My visit to her place had been always filled with sad memories.
But things started to change drastically after the father’s “holy” return to his house. Few days after his arrival he and his father in- law started to build their present house. The house is much warmer and spacious compared to their old bamboo hut. The kitchen utensils and blankets also increased in number. New cotton/woolen clothes for kids and a warm coat for his beautiful wife. Imported Rice cooker, water boiler and curry cooker which were considered luxury before soon occupied the shelves in their new house. A gas cylinder and a stove were also bought by her husband. The life of Aum Jarim and her three children soon became more comfortable. Aum Jarim happily once said that the gasoline stove has helped her make tea faster for occasional visitors like me.
|The Father helped build this wooden house. (Backdrop: The old bamboo hut)|
Gradually the cheap and bad reputation of the father soon begins to fade away. Frequent Kow kow (local word for gossip) among elderly women regarding him proved that he has won the hearts and respect of the community.
But the goodness was too good to last long. On his last journey as a shopkeeper in the recent Yunphula Tsechu he was taken to Trashigang hospital by his friends where he took his last breath.
What I learnt from this story is that Sonam Tshering’s soul knew he was going to die soon. So he came back to his house, to his wife, to his children just to provide them with all necessary things before he depart for his heavenly HOME.