When I first heard about the Bhutanese-Nepali book project and The Story of a Pumpkin, I was thrilled to be asked to help with the blog. Little did I know that one month later, I would be teaching a beginnning English class to Bhutanese adults at the International Institute in Manchester. So, it made perfect sense to have Terry, from the New Hampshire Humanities Council, come talk about the book and upcoming festival. With Dr. Puspa Man Joshi translating, Terry showed the students pages from the book, recited the story, and asked about ideas for the August 17th celebration of the book. Puspa also answered our questions about the tradition of the golden garland. He said that the storyteller receives a flower garland, and the listener a golden garland. As one person commented, “Because listening is golden.”
Though none of us received a golden garland that day, what I walked away with was equally as valuable. There was much music and laughter, joking, and recalling of tales. One student told a different version of The Story of a Pumpkin. I didn’t understand the Nepali words and the students didn’t understand all the English, but thanks to our translator, we could communicate. I thought, “This is what it’s all about.” Because no matter what the language, what connects people is laughter, and sharing, and tradition, and stories, and yes—listening. It’s golden. I was happy to be a part of it, and I hope the book serves as a way to connect many more people in the coming months and years.