Author RinzinRinzin’s novel ‘DepaBondeypa’sRelatives’ is an engrossing tale about a poverty-stricken man called Bondeypaand his relationship with his relatives and neighbourhoods in his two stature of life, as a poor man earlier and as arich Bondeypa later. Novelaccountsof Bhutanat a time when it was untouched by modernity.
The story is the based on a local legend from Lhuntse about Bondeypa, whose ancestors were said to have been a Depa (chieftain/ruler) of locality of Nyongdela. It was narrated that the misfortune of Bondeypa was attributed to loss of mermaid Gyalmo’s blessing, after she abscondedTsadilaTsho.Story is entirely Bondeypa’s experiences in his village and journey to Bumthang upon royal decree.
As story begins, Bondeypa woke up early morning with much duties and worries from inside the solitary ancient castle of Nyongdela. His duties start from cooking and looking after his two children to having enough means to meet basic needs for a family. As usual, Bondeypa goes for hard labour peonage in neighbouring house and bring whatever he gets after tedious work to home. At village, very humble Bondeypa was humiliated, mortified andmocked by all the neighbours. To his dismay, Bondeypa received a royal decree commanding him to report to the King at Bumthang. Bondeypa sets into long journey of meeting many people, passing many places and crossing across Rodungla passuntil he reached palace. In the King’s grace, humble Bondeypa shared all his harsh realities of life. Kindhearted and generous king gave him enough wealth to sustain his entire life with decent living.
After ten days journey, Bondeypa was back to his village and made his way towards Nyongdela riding a fully decked pony with his children. To the reader’s surprise, when Bondeypa was encircled with the heap of horses’ load, villager came towards him claiming uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins and friends. Bondeypa openly prostrated his King’s gifts for creating many relatives, which led the fair-weather relatives and friends to leave in embarrassment. Thus, it gave birth to the metaphor ‘Depa Bondeypa’s relatives’ – referring to fair-weather relatives that still today exist in their locality.
The book takes reader through a legend, a myth, which traces the ancient trade route and reflects the rural Bhutanese life, traditions and customs. It holds on the theme of fickle relationship human tends to developed depending on circumstances of other.