Curiosity. Everything around us were subjected to intense scrutiny. The need to touch, feel and know about it. An apple tree that grew slanted nestled its upper mass on the roof of our house. Summer had set in. Blossoms were replaced by budding fruits. Climbing on to the roof, Sangay Deki (neighbours daughter) and I savoured the apples. Later that evening both of us got sick… loose motion and giddiness. Curiosity indeed killed the cat.
I grew up in Thimphu, the place I grew to love. Most unforgettable memories are tied up with this small town which grew with each passing year. I was born in Thimphu. I had my operation done at the JDWNR Hospital in Thimphu, I had my schooling till the 12th standard in Thimphu and I had walked the same road to school for almost nine years in Thimphu.
Memories seep in and a kaleidoscope of colours fills my senses.
Kanglung, where I had my degree course took me out of Thimphu. An altogether different world of freedom and indulgence. Life tuned into another beat, friendship became the foremost thing and protected you twenty-four hours a day. Thoughts were vocalised, dreams turned into reality…or maybe reality turned into dreams in this dream world I lived in.
Home was not a distant memory, I missed home terribly, it beckoned and first year of college ended with excitement or returning home.
Disappointment. On reaching Thimphu disappointment gripped me. The same road that I had walked for years looked crowded. Friends became once in a week affair… yes something out of the family affair. Reality struck, I had grown in another place. Thimphu had grown too, without me.
Alienation. I remember that the only thing I talked about was returning back to college. Am I a hypocrite? All those calls I had made saying how much I missed home. Was it just a façade to hide the happiness I found in Kanglung. Was it guilt? Like children sneaking out and devouring chocolate?
I look at it now and I realise that I had wanted the goodness of both worlds. Family and friends. I also realise that I can’t and this is how it is. My younger sister, Tshering Norbu Uden grew up without me, like Thimphu did. Returning back after graduiating from college, I came home with expectation to see Chey chey (we call her by this name at home) a baby whom I could love and spoil. I reached home and found her all grown up, nearly my size. What could I say, frustrated expectation and realisation too. Its not that I can’t love her or spoil her now that see is grown up, but I feel I have missed my part in her childhood. I sound too possessive but that’s how I am. I hate the word ‘compromise’ but I stumble across it every day of my life.