Sunday, June 12, 2016

Submitting Gracefully to the Inevitable

Last week I had to drive down to Gaylephu to see my aunt who was hospitalized for complex variety of ailments of which none of the children or siblings were sure about. That is the problem with old age - the most obvious reasons are ruled out and the most bizarre reasons are attributed to why they are unwell.

She was in a bad way. When I looked at her heaving away on the hospital bed, first thing I realized was that she was reduced to half her normal size. I took her fragile right palm into mine and asked her:

Nge nge (Aunty) … open your eyes"

She peered at me through her half open eyes. I asked her:

Nge nge, ngo branteh?" (Do you recognize me?)

She said: "Brantah" (Yes I recognize you)

I asked her; “Aai wen teh?" (Who am I?)

“Wangchuk wen tah" (You are Wangchuk)

Yea right!

All her life she loved me like her own son. She defended me against her own children and every other family member who dared speak ill of me. In her eyes I could do no wrong. For all that love and affection, I stood next to her, holding her hand - but totally helpless to do anything else. After over an hour of hovering around her, I decided there was nothing I could do for her. I decided to head for Mangdechhu where her younger brother, my old man, lives.

My dad asked me if I had come to see aunt. I said yes and he asked how she was. I told him she is half her normal size and she is in a bad way. He said:

“Her time has come - she is 88 years old. No need for drama. This is what life is all about -- every birth has to end in death. There is nothing to be sorry about. You should be happy in the knowledge that every breath she took, she uttered your name. What else do you want? Next in line is me - I am 85 years old and that means that I am just about getting there too."

Suddenly I realized this trip that my old man no longer howled his prayers - he read them silently in his mind. May be his body no longer has the energy - or may be after close to four decades of howling his prayers, realization may have finally dawned on him that prayers can be as effective, even if said in silence. Or, may be, he may have got some indication that Gods in heaven have all gone deaf.

I am so glad my old man is ready for the inevitable. It is so much easier when one is prepared for something that cannot be avoided. Such a nice feeling to know that one is able to yield so completely and gracefully to something that no power can prevent from coming to pass.

On my return journey to Thimphu next day, I again stopped by the hospital in Gaylephu to check on my aunt .... this time she recognized me and said that I was Yeshey Dooji (she always pronounced my name Yeshey Dooji - must be the khengpa way) and that she was happy for the visit - Weth Yeshey Dooji wentah --- weth gnath tahro razey neng gaa pa warey.

1 comment:

  1. Good Read Aue.....My teaching tenure in Zhemgang for 6 years gives me an upper hand in understanding and speaking Khengkha. The idea underpinning this update is, like you mentioned "Inevitable"