Being Bhutanese is one thing. Being a Sharchop another. Schooled and raised in Thimphu I could boast of being able to speak Dzongkha without the attachment of the vernacular accent. However, that’s limited to my speaking to friends only. Make me read Dzongkha and every soul could make a directional guess of my hometown.
Still, the glitch would not amend my whims of my being simply Bhutanese and anything else. Being settled in Thimphu for a score and a decade now and not having stepped to one’s hometown for the past 12 years would do this to you. But time would hammer its blow to remind us of our transcendental roots. It happened to me this Sunday.
An hour towards noon and the uncle is at my bed urging me to wake up. I squint through my sleepy eyes and can see that this man means business. He’s in a hurry and he has only time to be blunt. He reminds me that the clock is ticking and I am not getting any younger. I need a wife too and he has thought of a perfect match for me, his younger brother’s daughters. One is still studying so he suggests that I go for the elder sister. He tells me he has been working out on this for months now and he sees only flourishing prosperity in this sacred communion. Before I could reply anything he wants me to think and hence gives me 3 days. My answer in alacrity, he assures me, would only make me repent in leisure. I haven’t half recovered from the daze and he has zoomed out of the door.
Wow, this is the 21st century and I cannot get to pick my own wife? What’s worse, the daughter in question is my first cousin. Of course, by the standards of the average eastern Bhutanese, this bond is considered legal; or, to be precise, preferable. But I grew up here in Thimphu where such bonds are considered a taboo. Balancing yourself between having to fulfill social obligation and be at arm’s length from social stigma would indeed be a challenging feat.
Anyway I better get thinking before he comes calling again. My time is almost up but I haven’t an answer yet!