…my memories of Ana Tshomo are very vague and lukewarm. The first time I met her was sometimes in early 1980s when I was still in my boyhood chasing sparrows and catching tadpoles. She used to come to my house with my late aunty during weekends and spend the time with my family.
As I learnt much later, Ana Tshomo was from Pema Gatshel. She was my late aunty, Deki’s best friend. While my aunty succumbed to head injuries in an accident, Ana Tshomo continued to visit my family even after she finished her Junior High School in Damphu and High School in Sarpang. Then she went on to study at Sherubtse College and got herself a fine job. Since she came from far away , very far during those times when communication and transports were limited to wireless , bus and letters, she made home with my family. My parents were able to help her complete her university degree and it was all that mattered to her. After she got her job, she set her own sail and like Odysseus; she went on to explore her life. And also like Odysseus, she had no contact with my family. Interestingly, Odysseus returns home after twenty years in Homer’s epic “ Odyssey” but we never crossed our paths with Ana Tshomo even when Bhutan is such a small place to be for over two and half decades. It is such a long time in an age like ours when we are all wired everywhere with net and mobile phone. Off and on, my mother talked of her and even when she was not within our sight, Ana Tshomo’s name became a part of “family idiom” for gratitude not matched. She sounded hurt, angry and cold. Like any other people, my mother expected at least a missed call as we always say. It had become our way of life to be screamed at with her name sometimes when we forget to call our mother on long tour or when we are out of station.
But we were in for surprise yesterday. Apa had to do overtime in his office, so we were late home. When we reached home, we realized that Ana Tshomo had made her appearances. She was gleaming with smile when we first met our eyes. I didn’t recognize her. I was looking at Apa’s reaction. He only said, “ Did you lose your way?”
She was silent. She just hung her head and didn’t have word. I guess Apa had read her face so he didn’t ask her anything that time. He just went to his room, changed himself into pyjama and sat for dinner as we all waited. As always, menu on the dinner was “rebelliously unappetizing” but we had someone home to behave for. I went to the fridge, got myself some green chilly and salt to cheat my tongue. As I sat down to eat, Ana Tshomo’s long hands had already reached my chilly and salt. I looked at her and she was smiling. There could not be better way of meeting someone again than sharing something. It no longer matters what took her long time to come. She has come, even if it is for a brief moment, and I guess thats the greatest consolation for my parents. For now, she plans to stay here for few days. then maybe she will vanish again.