A Heavenly Gyathuk

Priyanka Rai

Bhutia community in Sikkim

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Rothak

Hey, it's me Priyanka. I am from Sikkim,belonging to the Kirat(Rai) community. I grew up in Mangalbarey,West Sikkim and am presently in class XI. Everyday we are hit by random thoughts & mostly negative thoughts arise in our mind through different phases going on in our daily life. For me, my diary is the best companion. It listens to me & my thoughts, emotions and doesn't deny or judge any of my opinions. And this is how I started writing!

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Priyanka Rai

Once there lived a man named Sonam with his family in Lachung, North of Sikkim. He is very dear to his daughter, Hissay. He earns his livelihood by farming barley and other crops.

It was the first week of February, usually the time of Losar, the main festival of Bhutias as it marks the “Tibetan New Year”. 

Unluckily, this time no barley was produced in his farm due to unfortunate weather and Sonam was left with no money. Although, he managed some from the “Kazi” (Landlord)

“Ava, Ava what did you bring this time?” Hissay runs to her father. 

“Look, what I have bought for you, my little princess” Sonam blushed. “Oh wow! Ava, this is the traditional outfit, Bakhu with honju which I was really dreaming to have and wear in Losar. You’re the best!” she jumps with excitement.

“Yes my brave girl, it’s a present for you from your Ava, just go and get ready to attend the festival.”

“Thank you Ava, just give a few minutes, I’ll be back soon”, saying that she is going to change her outfit.

Mrs. Doma was engaged in her stall, selling Bhutias’ favorite drink Chaang, made of fermented barley.

“Oh! Finally you all are here”. “You look dazzling, my dear”, she welcomes her family.  

Yeah! Amala, only that pangden is absent that you have got in front of your honju”, Hissay Sighs!

“My dear, you too will have it when you become a proud woman and get married!” her mother answered.

  “Happy Losar!'' The delighted crowd greets with happiness.

Mr. Sonam with his old dad now gets engaged in chaang that Mrs Doma served them in Tongba ( bamboo container ) .

Hissay with her mom and granny gets  involved in watching a beautiful fire dance held every evening during the festival.

Crowd looks more delighted and shouts, “This is the greatest banquet ever!”

Few days later………..

“Amala, where is Ava? Today is his birthday, I gotta wish him.”

Mrs. Doma replies, “Good Morning dear, calm down! Your Ava has gone to look out for some plots. He’ll be right back home. Okay! For now, you go to school. After school, you gotta prepare something special right?”

“Yeah...” she murmured silently and left for her school.

Returning from school, she got herself  in the kitchen preparing something. 

Just then her neighbor’s starts murmuring, “Did you all hear that Mr. Sonam is going to be executed today”.

Old geezer asks,”Really?” 

Others say,” Yes, we must be present out there. Let’s go”.

Hearing those rumors, Hissay rushes there in no time. Her heart beats faster and faster. She runs with a tiffin box in her hand and enters the big crowd. There, she sees in the middle her father was about to get executed. On the main view, there was a fat hat man, he had red cheeks and lined eyes. He looks quite bossy. He was the Pipon, the head of the village.

She ran towards him, “Your majesty, what has he done that you declared his execution?”

One of Dzumsa laughs at her and says, “ha, ha, ha ……….. You jerk! Don’t you get that your father is about to die. He went against the Pipon and refused to pay him”.

She further replied, “What? But why does he have to pay him? He had done no crime, nothing. He is not guilty”.

Dzumsa further said, “Don’t try to act clever, you fool! Did you forget about the great banquet that was being organized by us, our great Pipon was responsible for that. And now, he is collecting money from all the villagers, but your dad denied. After all, your family is so poor. He only got that one option.

Hissay cries out and says, “Sorry, that we are poor, but Ava really has got a good heart and he is a great man. Please! Master Pipon, show some kindness, and don’t execute him. Today is his birthday.

Pipon now stood, “So what? Is there something for your dad on his birthday? Huh!”

“Yes sir, I have made a delicious Gyathuk as a birthday present. I bet it is delicious and he’ll be happy”, She blushed a bit.

“Oh! Gyathuk, that’s my favorite, could I have it?” Pipon asks.

Everybody was shocked, “ what’s going on ? Is he having mercy on her ?’

“But this is for Ava, “she replied

Pipon further said, “You said it is delicious! I want to taste it, if it is delicious & really yummy, I promise to free your father.” 

With hope, Hissay smiles, “Yes master, of course you can have it, if it means to leave Ava free, I’ll do anything”.

The crowd starts murmuring.

Pipon opens the tiffin and takes the pieces of it, “woohoo …” he shouts surprisingly and collapses on the ground.

Dzumsa hurries, “What? Pipon fainted, she must have poisoned the dish, and called for the doctor.

But the collapsed sighs, “It’s so delicious … that I could die! The sweetness is unbelievable!

Yeah! This is it!

A heavenly Gyathuk!!”

Everybody gets astonished.  

Finally Pipon orders Dzumsa to leave her father free. Not only that, he also offers a job to make some Gyathuk every week for him.

Mr. Sonam himself was surprised!

One lady comes near him, “Your daughter is somethingI she gave you a new life, don’t get too surprised. That was it! A heavenly Gyathuk!”

Everyone is happy. Now the exclusion was cancelled. All People went to their Khin (House).

[ The above mentioned story is based on the “Bhutia '' also called''Bhotia `` or''Bhote `` tribal community of Sikkim, north-East India. This Himalayan tribal community is believed to have migrated southward from Tibet in the 8th or 9th century C.E. 14% of the population are occupied by them. They speak “Sikkimese” or “Drenjongke '', a Tibetic language. They are the majority inhabitants of Lanchen or Lachung, in the north of Sikkim. Their dressing style, food, language, looks are also seen in Story.]