December 6, 2014

Of Tandins and Sonams

Today I was WeChatting with my younger sister regarding her return from India during her upcoming vacation, and we got talking about her arrival date and whether her husband Sonam would pick her up or not.

Time and again I was referring to Sonam ‘this’ and Sonam ‘that’ so at some point she asked “your Sonam?” when I was referring to her Sonam. My wife’s name is Sonam Wangmo, and my sister’s husband’s is Sonam Dorji.

As I reflect back to that conversation I realized that there are many Sonams in our family. Almost all of three daughter-in-laws and five son-in-laws are Sonams; Sonam Wangchuk, Sonam Yuden, Sonam Norbu, Sonam Wangmo, Sonam Dorji (five to be exact).

[Sonam Wangchuk, Sonam Yuden, Sonam Norbu, Sonam Wangmo, Sonam Dorji]

And to top it all, my five sisters decided to name their first-borns as Tandins. So I have four nieces and a nephew as Tandins; Tandin Pem, Tandin Om, Tandin Dem and Tandin Selden, and my younger sister’s son Ringsel Tandin Dorji.

[Tandin Pem, Tandin Om, Tandin Dem, Tandin Selden, Ringsel Tandin Dorji]

Meanwhile my two elder brothers broke tradition and named their first-borns differently, while I have yet to have an heir to my name.

Still I joke that we all married Sonams, and gave birth to Tandins. When my Sonam Wangmo bears my child, it will be a Tandin (that’s a sure).