Dhanyan's House

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On the way to Walung one passes Dhanyan's house in Tsongjhawa. Dhanyan is probably in his 60s. Most of the time, he lives in Kathmandu, but he still takes care of the house and its surroundings. A great-nephew stays with him for a few months. When we arrive the two are busy sealing the logs that serve as beehives with dung.

There is always much to do here: weeding the vegetable garden, attending to the geraniums in the blue buckets on the balcony, and keeping an eye on the fine-grained irrigation system that waters the cardamom plantations in the forest nearby.

We stay for the night and I am more and more enchanted by this place. So much love and work has gone into making things just a little more beautiful, a bit better than usual. A dried flower here, a bathroom sign there, or a clever wire installed in the kitchen to extend the antenna of the shortwave radio and bring the world's latest news into this narrow valley.

Dhanyan notes how much I like the place. He invites me, jokingly, to come and stay as magpa – the Tibetan way of adopting a husband into a household as substitute for a son. "But there is no unwed daughter in the house", I jest.

Dhanyan daughter is married and lives in New York. He visited her a few years ago and tells me the story of how he almost got lost in the city. But all in all, he concludes, life in America is utterly boring. "What can you do there?", he asks rhetorically. "Sit on the sofa and watch TV?"


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