It’s like any other ordinary days for me. The New Year’s Day was spent working in the office and returning home and doing all household chores. I didn’t plan anything special for the day. No celebration, picnicking and dinner to honour the day - except the rejuvenated festive mood deep inside me.
In the evening, at home, I read a new book, a memoir/travelogue, called The Geography of Bliss. It’s the New Year gift from one of dear friends. Oh, what a good feeling to begin this New Year reading this gorgeous book! You never know how much I love the book. Charming and illuminating, this book also talks about Bhutan and the practice of happiness here.
It’s around 9 pm when there’s a gentle knock on the door. I pushed aside this book and ran out to open the door. A group of young boys were standing right in front of the door, all dressed in gho, mufflers and hand gloves to keep away the cold.
One of them was carrying a sack, rice in it. Another boy was holding a big plastic bag, gift boxes inside it.
“Acho, we are here to play lolay. Can we?” the tallest boy amongst the group asked permission from me.
I didn’t know what to say. I went blank for a while, literally.
The truth is that I didn’t know the necessary lolay ritual though I heard about it. Even the school textbooks didn’t teach me about it. I went close to them and asked, “What do I have to do when you play lolay here?”
They explained me, “Acho, after singing lolay, you can give us anything you have like money, rice and maize grains, foods, gifts.”
“Ok then, boys, go ahead,” I permitted them to sing lolay as I went inside to prepare gifts and money for my lolay guests.
They started singing, so rhythmically, so beautifully. As I handed over gifts and money to them, they blessed me and my family all lucks, happiness and prosperity.
And they wrapped up their song, turned and strode away. All wonderful smile and gratefulness on their faces. And they wished me, “Acho, Happy New Year!”
I burst into tears. Because I felt so grateful. So happy. So blessed. These young boys may not know this – how much their prayers and wishes meant to me. As every new day of 2013 unfolds, I want to think and relish that I’m blessed.
(On the eve of Nyilo, the winter solstice, the kids go around reciting a verse to commemorate the beginning of an auspicious new year. Believed to have originated in Wang (present-day Thimphu), Lolay is a festive celebration that ushers in a good and prosperous new year. Lolay (written loleg) literally means ‘good year’. Source: http://www.bhutanobserver.bt).