Nothing is sadder in a Hap’s life than being away from home on Lomba. It falls on the 29th day of the eleventh month in Bhutanese calendar every year. Yangthang is my home and somehow no place could ever replace it. Life in village was never easy but that didn’t matter. Ages from now nothing in Yangthang will belong to me except memories still I will call it my home. Tonight Haa valley will not sleep. Yangthang will be noisy with gangs of lads wandering houses singing with bags that need to be filled with hoentey.
Hoentey is a simple vegetarian momo-like food. The outer skin is made of buckwheat flour and the inside is either turnip or dried spinach (lom) or both fried in butter with world of species. Nothing in the world beats its taste; I can only imagine it this time though. The big local festival is considered the ushering of New Year locally, however we only have hoentey on the menu, and at times I feel it must be the cheapest festival.
Every Hap consider a year older from the night of Lomba. Strangely my baby will be two years old from tomorrow according to Haps, thought she is just 16 days old; she gets 1 year from the time she spent in the womb and another year for having celebrated a lomba. Thus we always had confusion about our age in school.
The thrill of forming groups and wandering the village in the dark making noises and breaking fences on Lomba nights are highlights in the life of a village lad. It has been over 12 years since I have out grown that age group but the memories come back afresh each year. I have never really grown since then.
I am guilty for leaving my village, my home and my mother for this job of mine, which in its nakedness is nothing but greed for money and status. But I console myself knowing that life must go on and knowing that this is what my mother wants of me. Lomba is but all together a different story, I should be home no matter what, I should be helping my mother in making hoentey and challenging my brothers in eating it… where have I come now? How far have I come from myself? When will I get to be where I want to be and do things I want to do and still be satisfied? Why are we running away from who we are in search of ourselves?