Surprising wedding !
The day before my wedding party I was told that I was engaged to a girl whom I had never met before. I was so surprised. But, I knew that custom was dictated by Tibetan traditions. I decided that to stay in silence was the best choice in those circumstances.
The next morning before dawn I made the journey to my new home with one of my male cousins accompanying me along with some other men who had come to my home as "receivers". After two hours travel by horse we reached my new home. There were about one hundred people crowded around. They all seemed very enthusiastic to see me, and I felt that they all were looking at me as if I was a famous actor who was walking among his fans. I was very nervous, and I am sure that I totally went red in my face because Lobsang, the male cousin, whispered to me that there was nothing to be nervous about.
Before the big, black, yak-hair tent there was a large, white, woolen carpet on which there was written a barley swastika the symbol of eternity. Beside the carpet there was a man who was holding a yellow scarf in his hands and a woman with a bowl of curd in her left hand and a tea spoon in her right hand to welcome me to my new home.
I dismounted my horse and stood on the carpet until the man took off my hat, as I was instructed by my brother-in-law in order to uphold Tibetan wedding customs. But, I had no idea about the woman, who had a bowl of curd, so I walked shyly to the entrance of the tent until someone called me to wait a while before I entered the tent so that the woman could feed me three spoons of the curd. It is also a kind of Tibetan wedding custom but I have no idea what it's real meaning is. The woman was saying something repeatedly, but I did not hear any words. Maybe she was praying for my good luck.
In the tent there were four monks sitting on sheep skin carpets and praying something very loudly. Perhaps they were wishing me a happy and less difficult life as they were asked to do. On the other side of the tent there were some women preparing breakfast for the monks. Near the Tibetan style stove there was already another woolen carpet for me. According to the wedding customs of my part of Tibet, wool is considered a very important symbol. It symbolizes the wish that the groom or the bride will have a good character. Cooked mutton, fried bread and Momos were also served to me. But my palms were sweating and my hands were shaking because of the feeling of discomfort, and I ate nothing until all the guests left.
After about two hours the monks left accompanied by my father-in-law. The crowd disappeared and now there were only my mother-in-law and three women sitting on the other side of the stove. They were chatting about something on their own and sometimes my mother-in-law insisted I eat something. Still I didn't have any idea of who among them was my wife. Later that afternoon two of them also left with my mother-in-law to graze their yaks. Now only one woman and I remained. But, we didn't have any conversation, and we kept on sitting in silence until later that night. The big tent was very quiet and lonely. Later in the evening, my mother-in-law chased back the yaks to tie them down. The woman went to help her to tie the yaks. I still didn't know whether that woman who stayed at home with me was my wife or not.
Just before dark my mother-in-law and the woman finished tying down all the yaks, and then they prepared dinner. After we finished dinner my mother-in-law whispered something into the woman's ear and went out. While she was walking out, she wished me a good night.
The woman was still so quiet and so I sat quietly too. Around ten that night she asked me if I wanted to go to bed. That was the first words she spoke to me that day. About twenty past ten we were in bed but still we
were so silent. For me that day was the first time I saw her. So, I had no idea about the woman who was lying next to me with trembling breath. I mean about her character, her likes and dislikes. I thought she had the same feelings I had. But, we were lying nervously in the same bed like husband and wife. After a long silence, I broke the ice by asking her name. But, we spent the first night of our wedding mostly in silence, only asking a few questions. It was really so quiet. I knew it was very strange that a man didn't know his wife's name until they got married, but I really had no idea about her name. I did not even remember that I had seen her before the wedding.
Tsokyi, my wife, was illiterate but she is a very skilful woman when it comes to nomadic chores. She seemed to know very little about the world except her small nomadic world. She preferred to wear colorful shirts under her Tibetan styled dress, but she wouldn't care about the quality of them. She would often keep a comb and a small mirror with her. But, it was very rare to see her hair combed very tidy. Maybe she had no time to comb her hair. She also liked listening to Tibetan folk songs that had been recorded. So, the small recorder was her favorite thing. Maybe these were very common to all the nomadic girls in my part of Tibet. Tsokyi would try to imitate those singers by singing those folk songs that she loved very much. But, her voice wasn't good
enough to sing those folk songs. Sometimes she would even try to sing and dance although she had no knowledge of dancing. Tsokyi seemed to know almost nothing about Buddhism, but she strictly believed in her parents as the three jewels. She would try wholeheartedly to obey whatever she was told by her parents while ignoring her own views and rights. Whenever I asked her for any opinions on any topics, she would suggest asking her parents or she would say that there was nothing she knows about beyond my thought. But, I am sure that she was trying to show her respect to me. She seemed to really like me and I liked her too. But, now I can see that there wasn't a true love between us.
In the first few months we were fine as a typical husband and wife. My parents-in-law treated me like their own son and our home was full of laughter. I thought we would get a happy and satisfied life. So I used to thank my God for giving such a wonderful life. But later in that winter everything started to go in the opposite direction of my wishes, my hopes and what I'd prayed for. As the winter went on a cold snowstorm of rumors were strongly blown between us, and my father-in-law began to show the real color of his heart. The artificial smile on his face was vanished now. He always looked very serious. He started to treat me as a servant, and he would say that I had to work hard as there wasn't such fortune for me to live in a luxury
home like this. He also would say that I must put all my efforts into doing everything both inside and outside work on behalf of men and women. That was fine as I knew I needed to work as hard as I could. But, the worst thing that made me lose my patience was that he would keep me insight with his binoculars like a prisoner while I was grazing the yaks, and he would blame me for my lack of experience at grazing animals, and he would stop talking with me for long time, sometimes for a week or even more. It hurt me a lot and I really preferred to be beaten hard than to stop talking. When he stopped talking to me, I led my tears into my heart without letting them known. So, I would feel as if my heart was being stabbed with thorns. Sometimes I would beat my innocent yaks by throwing stones at them so that I could decrease my anger, my sufferings, my sorrows and my pressures. I tried to share everything with my wife but she had nothing to do except to shed some tears for me.
Because of that a big hidden gap started to appear between my father-in-law and me. I started to feel that everything from my father-in-law's mouth was sarcastic and on purpose to hurt me. Sometimes he would throw the stones of rude words at me as I used to throw the stones at my innocent yaks. As the gap between us became bigger, I came to see a lot of
misconduct in his behavior; perhaps he did so in mine. The more misbehavior we saw in each other, the more the hatred grew between us. So, we started stabbing the knives of rude words into each other's hearts and there was not any respect and understanding between us now. There wasn't any happy life but a miserable and stressful life. But, I was lucky enough to be born as a boy so I didn't have to be beaten by husbands like the women who are still suffering by being treated as worthless servants in my part of Tibet. Even though Tsokyi was still trying to understand my situation, I really couldn't bear it anymore. That was the reason I started to regret that I had accepted the arranged marriage. That was the reason why I got divorced. But, I still feel very sorry for my wife and my daughter.