La Ama (a mother’s call) by Chador Wangmo is a story about one woman’s harrowing journey from a terrible marriage to the past which was equally ruthless and to an uplifting future.
It’s a story that deals with a lot of difficult themes like betrayal and domestic violence, adultery, LGBT, and the recent popular entertainment culture of drayang.
One fateful night Dechen Zangmo runs away from the ‘mad house,’ the house that she once had set her heart in, only to be met with an accident. What’s she running away from?
From a jealous and an abusive husband who treats her as a piece of furniture.
One is immediately narrated a series of events from the past which led her to the present situation. In that series of past events, it tells us why Dechen Zangmo could never complete high school. The teacher who is revered the most in the society is the reason behind Dechen’s leaving school. The circumstances Dechen faced is still prevalent in many schools in rural Bhutan.
From witnessing her parents separation to taking refuge in her annoying aunt and uncle’s crammed house in Chinese line in Phuentsholing to working in a Drayang for a living until she gets married, Chador Wangmo gives us a vivid and engaging story of one woman’s journey for survival and the triumph over the forces of violence.
It’s a bold book that depicts the tolerance of Bhutanese women to adultery by the significant other for reasons of their own, about how being a gay is a taboo in our society and the large influence of bollyhood in the life of an average Bhutanese girl.
I felt extremely conflicted at times where I had to put down the book, contemplate and start reading again.
All in all, it’s a nice read with just 198 pages which can be finished in one sitting.