Birthright to paper-making

Back in the village, when other kids of Tenzin Yeshey’s age played in the dusty small flat farm land, when his mates of his village enjoyed all the freedom of hanging around, he followed the stern rigor set by his father.

A little more than a decade later, it’s his pay-back time for the sacrifices. The family skills of Desho (Bhutanese Hand-made paper) passed down by his father now supplements him earnestly for his meager farm earning. Such earning helps keep the home fire burning.

For Tenzin Yeshey, 29, becoming a Desho-maker was not in his wish-list or his wildest dreams. Like any other children, he wanted to go to School and become a civil servant. A secure job with a good salary was the focus of life with a great set of family. But fate had a different plan for him in the form of his father.

As a child he resisted when he was deprived of going to school to learn. When he was involved completely in his father’s small paper making enterprise, he cursed him with all his hatred. His father however, trained him till his son could master the art of paper making.

In the perception of his father, it is beyond his earning capacity to send his son to school. But securing one’s child future is every parent’s concern, so was it for Tenzin Yeshey’s father. In the quest to ensure his son doesn’t go hungry when he flies away bearing his own wings from the nest, he passed down the skill of paper-making, his next best option.

In the backdrop of the dwindling tradition and custom of our Country to the influence of the modern world, here is a combined effort of a father-son in maintaining the art from dissolving into the myriad technological advancement.

The skills didn’t come free for Tenzin Yeshey’s father either. His father acquired the paper making expertise from a man named Meme Brelha back in the village in Trashiyangtse. He was too old to teach him that his father had to literally carry his teacher on his back to and fro his home to receive the proficiency. Nonetheless, his father shed sweat and did everything required to get the talent so that it helps his family.

Almost little more than a decade down the lane, this very skill helps Tenzin Yeshey make income which is used to repay the loan he has taken to build his home. Not only that, the cash generated is spent for his children’s education, and the final left over are used to buy basic household provisions such as salt, cooking oil,  clothes etc. In a year, he sells the Desho papers worth Nu 10, 000/- to 15, 000/- minus the basic expenditures.

Incepted in 2003, he is gradually reaching the break-even point of his business. He attributes his children’s education; his one storey house and fire in his oven burning all to his enterprise.

But his enterprise is no exception to challenges and shortcomings.

Operated with all traditional machineries and technologies, it urgently seeks upgrade.

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