Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It always hurts more to have and lose than to not have in the first place

Prologue: This is a true story narrated by my niece, Banira. It occurred at a remote village in Sarpang just a year before the anti-national protests in southern Bhutan. 

Maya was just 12 year-old when she was married off to a man of her father’s age. Her aging parents, poor, arranged her marriage, for this groom supported them financially. They had nothing to repay him, so they gave him their daughter’s hand.

Maya was a shy girl and so courteous that she spoke in a voice barely higher than a whisper. Unaware of anything like man and marriage, she agreed upon what her parents had decided for her.

A couple of years later, Maya’s first child was miscarriage. She wailed like a child when the village elders wrapped the dead child in a piece of cotton cloth and took just a mile away. They hung it on a tree branch as their custom would have it that a miscarriage cannot be buried or burnt or given a proper funeral.

Her second child survived; a daughter identical to her. That evening her husband killed rooster for dinner as a humble celebration. And to protect this lovely child from evil or premature death, she and her husband gave her an ugly name, Kali.

When Maya was 20, she met with another misfortune. This time agonizingly horrific: her husband died from untreated malaria. The in-laws booted out her from the house as they called her a witch and accused her for causing untimely death of her husband. They ostracized her. Also, they deprived her of her own daughter.

She was left without any place to go. In a typical Hindu custom, a daughter cannot return to her parents and live with them after the marriage. It would be a disgrace to her parents.

She had a distant relative in the next village where she sought refuge. Her relative was helpful and protective, but she lived in an absolute loneliness.

Two autumns passed. One evening when she went out to fetch water from the spring, she met a handsome man. It was her love at first sight. Tshering was his name, and he was in late 20s. Dressed in black leather jacket and jeans pant, he wore side-pungs. She found him so charming that she started thinking of him every second. She dreamed to be with him, in the warmth of his embrace, longing to hear his sweet voice.

Secretly during night hours, she always went to meet him. They hid under a bush, under starry nights and shared infinite love notes and kisses. Each night she spent with him, she fell in love with him more intensely and more she needed him. She discovered Tshering was so caring, loving, dear to her who made her life complete.

One night, under the bush, Tshering asked her for the greatest treasure that Maya could ever give him. Obviously sex. She felt that this was the first time any man had asked her for that. As he entered her, she felt Tshering was the first man she ever made love. She never felt this before, though she had spent eight years with her late husband. 

What is love? What is romance? What is a kiss? What is a love bite? What is lovemaking? She never knew these until she met another man in her life.

Now she got everything that she wanted in her life: love, companion, affection and protection. She didn’t want to lose all this. So she decided to marry Tshering.

However, this happiness of her was short lived. One night, Tshering told her that he has to talk to his parents about their marriage and he went back to his village in eastern Bhutan. That night she cried as she missed him terribly and felt lonely. She didn’t feel this pain even on the day her husband or first child died or even when she separated from her parents.

She waited and waited for his come back to marry her. But Tshering never return. Several months conceded. She started panicking, once again feeling lonely, depressed and alienated.

After ten months, she heard from a neighbor that Tshering was a married man. Heartbroken, she fell on the ground and never rise. She died, betrothed and unheard.

Epilogue: But who knows her story? The person who gave the news about Tshering’s foul game to Maya is my niece who narrated this story to me.