I saw Dal Rai yesterday. He is the illustrator of the Bhutanese folktale published by the New Hampshire Humanities Council, The Story of a Pumpkin. Like many Bhutanese families who moved to Laconia, New Hampshire, Dal’s family is leaving this small lake district city. He’s pictured here with his sons, Adrin and Anmal, his wife Birkha. and his father, Harka. Harka told me he was born in Bhutan in 1943. Dal was 8 when the Bhutanese government forced his family into exile and took possession of their farm. The Story of a Pumpkin, told in Laconia by Hari Tiwari, is a tale that traveled from Bhutan to the refugee camp in Nepal where Dal and Hari lived for some 20 years to New Hampshire and now on to Ohio where many Bhutanese people live and where Dal seeks to make a home. Dal was an ambassador for the bilingual Nepali-English book to many New Hampshire schools. His work is a gift to children. Good luck, Dal!
Madhu Bhandari tells me, “When I bring the greens home from the garden, that is the best thing.”
I am in her home in downtown Concord where she lives with her husband; her children, including her grown son Nilhari and daughter-in-law Devika; and grandchild, Neeja.Devika sits with us and translates for Madhu, who speaks Nepali. Dressed in turquoise trousers and a white shirt, Madhu is “wearing pote,” glass pote beads around her neck that say she is married.
“What kind of greens?” I ask.
“Mustard,” she says. She plants mustard seeds and harvests the leaves three times in a New Hampshire growing season in Sycamore Community Garden.Not in rows, she explains. That makes the seeds dry out. With the mustard greens, she makes gundruk— fermented mustard leaves that she keeps in a baggie all year long for gundruk soup. Read more