Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dear Seday

I’m covering a book here – a gorgeous book by dear Bhutanese friend, Ugyen Gyeltshen. Dear Seday. The title of this book says it all - it’s a novella written in the epistolary style. To my surprise, the entire book is one letter. This letter, yes, this book astoundingly chronicles the author’s remotest memoirs, his delicious childhood days.   

Should you wish to read this book, I drop a few more lines here. Its narration though. Nadola, 32, is the protagonist in the story. He works as a road supervisor at Thrumshingla Pass. It’s “pouring rain” one day and the road gets blocked.

On that day, at that moment, he sees Seday, his high school sweetheart, inside a car stranded on the roadblock. By the way, he hasn’t met her for the past 15 years. It makes him jump in the rain. And instantaneously, he starts writing a letter to her.

He tells his readers that this letter “should have been written fifteen years ago.” It hits you with a fresh curiosity. Why he didn’t write it before? What has happened in their love? How they separated? Does he still yearn for her love? Many questions roll on your head, and this would urge you to turn pages of this book one by one until you know what happens to the last word on the last page.   

And his letter to Seday is this gorgeous book, Dear Seday!

As Nadola writes the letter, the book moves slowly, sumptuously, across the terrain of different places and time – his life’s journey that he has travelled in the last 15 years. And everything in the past unfurls. It takes you back to 15 years of time in a lovely place of the Khaling countryside in eastern Bhutan where Nadola is born and raised. Through his story, the book depicts the typical Bhutanese life in the rural farms and the difficulties of rural parents to send their children to school.

You would be brilliantly amazed at the way Ugyen Gyeltshen could remember and write down all his childhood and school memories. This is, indeed, a strange talent. He brings flashbacking everything; moreover, he has woven all that together beautifully, humorously. His first encounter with television. Nicknaming teachers. Night hunting. Digging in girls’ garbage. Befriending school cook for foods. His crush on Seday.   

Let me tell you one more thing. His words are full of bluntness, straight and punctuated with honesty in this raw and beautiful book. You’d feel like you’re listening to one of your best buddies. So much of his book reminds me of what was my childhood. It seemed to me that I was reliving my childhood life once again. And the story he narrates becomes a part of mine too.

This book is more than a love letter to Seday. It’s also about the change of time - from adolescent to man, from remote to urban, from being naïve to facing the reality, from being young and shy to growing old and truth-telling.

Final words. I almost can’t tell you more about this book than ‘read it’. I will tell you why. Because Nadola, the main character of the book, is so humble and dear to us that you would simply accompany him to the end.

About author: Ugyen Gyeltshen is an engineer by profession. Today, he is happily married. His second book is almost complete, and will be launched very soon. He is on Facebook: more about Dear Seday:


  1. Hi Ritu,

    Although I haven't commented on your earlier posts, I've always enjoyed reading your posts. I can really see the zest and passion in your writings. Keep up.


  2. I read the book last winter vacation. It was a good read. It's praiseworthy how Ugyen could remember all those minute details of his childhood days. :)

  3. Hi Riku! You have covered and introduced this book beautifully, making me want to buy and read it :) Is it based on real story?

    Btw, you have written very well too! I'm sure the rest of people here look forward for your published book too.. Jia you ah!!! Keep going!!! You can do it!!! :)

    1. Once I asked the author, "Is there any autobiographical element in your book?" He answered, "There can I wrote this book from my life's experiences." So you have to figure it out from this line.

  4. I thank you all for your wonderful words. 'Dear Seday' is worth reading. It's a raw and beautiful novella.

  5. Hi: I enjoyed your review of the book. I will try to read it at the earliest.

  6. Where can buy this lovely book? I want to read it immediately.

    1. You can buy this book from DSB in Thimphu. Thank you!

  7. Rikku Sir,
    You have a very interesting review of the book.
    As always, I have this Book in my Reading list. Since I can't buy the book right away, I wish to borrow from you one day.
    Have a nice day!

  8. Dear Rikku,
    I share the same view with Khampa. Read most of your posts but for some reason did not leave comments yet. Nice coverage of the book. The author shares the same profession as me and thus makes all the more reason to read this book :)Cheers and keep up your good work.

  9. Riku sir,
    I too share same view with Mr. Khampa and Mr. Karma, I usually read random posts in your blog but could'nt precisely leave a comment in written form. Any ways, you reviewed Dear Seday Beautifully...
    Congratulations for your work!! An interesting and nice blog!
    I wish I can buy or borrow that book...

    Good luck with your blog!

    Greetings Rupa Grg.

  10. Dear Riku,

    I just love how you have covered the story just so briefly and precisely. As much as ugen's love letter about seday entice me so much has been instilled by you at the same time. I am sure I will look for copy of this wonderful write up, that I have been ugen's passionate reader all time. Cheers!!!