95 years old Angay Eushom; an exception with her name as well as age tags along with her daughter-in-law. After a couple of minutes of hard stroll, she manages to settle herself against the wall of an old village temple as her support. Her every move has to be escorted by her daughter in-law who is also in her 70s.
For a change, I escorted the old granny. I could feel her hand tremble in mine. As I laid her down & stationed myself near her, she threw a faint query;
'Are you Aup Sonam's daughter?'
"Angay, I am from Thimphu. I arrived at your village yesterday evening. I am accompanying my Program Officer(whom she & almost all villagers refer to as Dasho)", I remarked.
"Town girls like you usually don't come near dirty angay. I can feel that you are beautiful though I can't see clearly.
"Umm...Angay, everyone who encounters you would be magnetized by your charm & generosity. Who won't love to be around you? To this, she stretched the wrinkles around her mouth into a deeper furrow of contented smile.
So are you going to be around here for some time?"
"We came here to inspect & record the status of the Mango & Avocado seedlings that we have had supplied to this village a couple of months ago". We would leave as soon as our work is done".
"Before, we didn't have vegetables to supplement our diet. We were very backward people with no income. But with Dasho's arrival & benevolence, we were blessed with varieties of vegetable seeds. Our land now puts forth all kinds of fruits(kiwi, mandarin, mango, passion fruit, banana, guava), vegetables & high value crops like cardamom", Angay Eushom blurted out with a note of spontaneity despite her entire face being webbed in arrays of wrinkle.
It was only towards evening that we were having lunch. I gobbled down the food as fast as I could. This was triggered by my inner zest to allot myself some time inside the comfort zone of Angay Eushom. I slipped swiftly through the door of our host & staggered towards the granny's house.
I sat beside her on her bamboo verandah, almost gasping.
"Angay, I am leaving in a while. So I came to bid you goodbye".
"So soon? Don't you like our village?"
"I do angay. More than anything, I like sitting near you & listening to you. But I am bound by time".
"So you are leaving to Thimphu straight away?"
"We have some more places to visit; Ketokha & Baikunza. After that, we will head to Thimphu. Angay, can I snap a photo with you if you don't mind?"
She giggled softly before she declared, " My girl, you want to take a picture with this ugly granny? Won't anyone criticize about this?"
"Angay, I know for sure that you were beautiful once, when your youth & age favored . But that wouldn't be in par with inner beauty that you possess even at this age. I am going to post your photo on internet; a platform where many can see it. Accordingly, I am going to urge everyone to pray for your good health".
" How would that be possible?", She uttered with an accent of curiosity woven with her voice.
"You won't understand much but it is possible. And I am going to do this for you angay".
I could read a language of happiness expressed over her face at that instant.
A thought rang my mind at that very instant. My conscious mind demanded that it wouldn't be fair if I fail to ask the secret behind Angay Eushom's long life. I had my curiosity conveyed close to her auditory canal, to which she unleashed some simple facts;
"It is all due to the merit from the triple gem; an active life augmented with healthy diet. I am what I am now mainly on account of the food I take. My son & daughter in-law feed me well, & caters to all my needs. My son has made it mandatory for me to gulp down a pack of wine every night for a sound sleep. It is also due to many good people like you, whose prayers & wishes contribute to my well being. But I know I won't sustain for long from now". Saying this, she started pulling aside her prayer beads.
"Do you have a friend?", she interrupted our silence.
"I have many angay".
"I mean a soul mate", she muttered instantaneously.
"Eeh...I do have angay".
"Good! my girl. Never fight with him. Be a good wife, a daughter & a person".
I nodded my head in absolute agreement.
I didn't like time dragging me out of the comfort zone provided by Angay Eushom. I protested against time for ticking so fast. But then, life has to go on. You don't always have the time to stick to what you love doing. Sometimes, you have to decide against it.
I slipped my hand into my pocket & placed a few notes in her hand, "Keep this with you angay. I don't have much. Buy what you would like to have with it. Don't give to anyone".
She placed her hand on her forehead & murmured, "Thank you bumoo. You have my blessings. Go safely".
I noticed a pool of tear blurring her vision. I fled from her sight before she burst into tears trickling down her face.
The saddest thing about her is that it will be an end to her generation after her only son (75 years old). The son & his wife had no children of their own. Neither did they attempt to adopt one. The couple as old as their mother looks after her & the trio lives in absolute harmony.
If you happen to visit Damji village(Bongo geog) under Chhukha, don't forget to pay a brisk visit to Angay Eushom's house. She is a lady blessed with long life.It feels so close, comforted & blessed just to be near her. Her entire existence has a halo of warmth & generosity radiating outwards. Get yourself blessed by the blessed one.
|Angey Eushom(middle) with her only son & daughter-in-law.|