Butter Tea at Sunrise by Britta Das

By Britta Das

Usually visible as a paranormal paradise on the finish of the realm, Bhutan is inaccessible to so much guests. Set opposed to the dramatic surroundings of the Himalaya, this pretty memoir finds hardships and happiness in a land nearly untouched by means of the West. whilst Britta, a tender physiotherapist, is going to paintings in a distant village clinic, her reliable intentions are positioned to the try amid monsoons, fleas and surprising stipulations. yet as she visits houses within the mountains and learns the mysteries of tantric Buddhism, the rustic casts its enduring spell. Gaining insights into the traditions of this mystical country, she makes buddies and falls in love. Bhutan will switch her existence eternally.

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Still baring its teeth, the dog retreats. We continue climbing. Suddenly Jamtsho’s sister rushes ahead and hollers something up the mountain. A voice answers. She hollers again. Now the other girls shout something as well, and then instantaneously they vanish in the trees ahead. Only Jamtsho and I lag behind. After half an eternity, we climb over a small wooden gate and reach Jamtsho’s house. Adorned with a few banana trees and a dusty yard with some clucking chickens, the wooden and stone-set building fits perfectly into the surroundings.

Dust and cobwebs cover the windowsill, and ashes and soot have given everything a powdering of black. Satisfied with the flickering flame at the end of a piece of wood in the embers, Jamtsho reaches for a black tin and produces some tea leaves. ‘Tea coming,’ she announces, and I detect a polite request to return to my assigned seat. Finally, I hear dishes rattling and Jamtsho reappears in the door. Without a word, she serves me and vanishes once more. I look at the bowl of tiny roasted rice kernels beside my cup.

Out of nowhere Kesang, Jamtsho’s older sister, and a stooped little grandmother join us. All three listen attentively to my quavering voice. Mercifully no one laughs, and encouraged by eager nods, I venture into the second line. Finally finished, I sit in embarrassed silence. Grinning, Kesang and the old lady retreat. Jamtsho claps her hands in what I presume to be applause, and I ask if she would now sing something for me. Jamtsho nods and starts humming. With her hands, she draws curvy lines in the air.

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