Today was my dad’s birthday. He would have been 59 had he not left us for his home up above in the heavenly skies eight years back. My dad was born Youngden Norbu Dorjee in a remote village called Kewzing, South Sikkim, the eldest of eight children. He once told me that there had been another Youngden in his school so he chopped off his first name to “Young” and thats how he became – Young Norbu Dorjee, forever young at heart!
He finished his primary education in Kewzing’s government school where the teachers used to teach them their ABC’s like this: “A bhan” which means ”say A” in Nepali. So the entire primary students used to chant – “A bhan!”. This was followed by “B bhan” and the students on auto pilot chanted “B bhan!” You get the idea.
My late grandfather had been the mandal of the village. This translates to being the headman/ head honcho/ Big Boss of the village, give or take. My dad used to tell us stories about their old wooden house being burnt to the ground once during election time when the then chief minister didn’t take very kindly to their support of the opposition – you know, like those old pot-broilers of politically challenged Bollywood movies. Thankfully no one got hurt and the entire family shifted to a different location and constructed a new house in which my cousins and I spent many years of our childhood together. When I went back to attend a family gathering some years back, I was amazed to see the old house, which somehow seemed so big to me back then, was actually a modest two storied wooden building somehow remembered to be larger than life by all those childhood memories.