...everytime I visit Sonam Tshomo, I always end up eating meal at her home. That’s because her maid Kanchi Didi is a great cook. I have been her plate-worshipper for over two and half decades now. About a week ago, Kanchi Didi had to go to her village in Gelephu for land survey so we were left at the mercy of Sonam Tshomo who cannot even cut vegetable in good shapes and let alone cooking. All the friends are scared of her cooking. One day three of us went to her house after office. I had this urge to go to kitchen and see what was boiling in the pot. I opened the lid and I had a queasy feeling. So I excused myself to go home before Sonam made us share the dinner. Just as I was coming out whole train of people followed including Karma, her husband. Then at the end of the train was Sonam herself who entered the car screaming and hurling accusation at us. We went to CN and GNHed ourselves. That was a great escape from gastronomical torture.
At last Kanchi Didi came. It was such a welcome relief especially for Karma. Kanchi Didi was brought in as a maid by her parents when Sonam Tshomo was born. That was some thirty five years ago I think. Sonam’s parents were extremely kind and nice and so were Kanchi Didi. So they bought her twenty decimal land in her village in Gelephu so that she could live there later. They also got her married to one (perceived-good but not in reality) driver, who later left her to fend herself. By then she had three children and they were all daughters. Fortunately for Kanchi Didi, Sonam’s parents took great care of her children. Of course Sonam’s parents passed away few years ago. However, all children went to school and settled down with family of their own. The youngest one graduated last year and had been job-hopping for a while now.
Interestingly, there are many facets in life. One such facet is defined by land and Kanchi Didi was no exception. Because her parents were poor, Kanchi Didi did not inherit any property or land. Also the Hindu tradition allow only male children to inherit their parents’ property while daughters, if they were lucky, found good husband and became part of husband’s family. For Kanchi Didi, whatever she had was given by Sonam’s parents and this small plot of land, which at one time was her priceless and proud possession became a knife that now defined her relationship with her daughters. Every child asserted their right for it. After many many disturbed days and nights, Kanchi Didi made her decision. She asked Sonam to take back the land. It was too big a burden for her.
Her decision brought about so much criticism from all corners. In the beginning, I also joined the bandwagon by criticizing her of the decision and also asking her for more curry during mealtime but much later, I thought she removed the cataract off my eyes when she said that if children are good and capable, there is no need for land because they will earn and buy land themselves. If they are not capable, there is no point in giving them the land because they cannot make any use of it except to sell.