Micky, as his family and friends fondly knew the late Captain Wangdi Lama, died young in the line of duty. Where others would have opted out, Micky had the courage to chose to do his duty.
I met Micky years back in a daal-bhat evening with family and friends. I recall him strumming his guitar and singing a popular folk song. He impressed me as a talented young man with a radiant smile, full of enthusiasm, out to win the world and looking forward to everything good in life. Unfortunately the happiness and radiance he spread to all those around him was to be short-lived. Micky died in July 2000 when the Twin Otter he was flying crashed into the mountains near Dhangadi.
On the fourth anniversary of Micky's death, a commemorative CD, Samarpan Timima was released before a gathering of family and friends. The album is a collection of nine songs written in dedication to the memory of her son by Micky's mother, Manju Lama. They are moving expressions of the themes of life and living, memory and uncertainty, sorrow and longing, journey and grief. The album consists of music composed by Nhyoo Bajracharya, Raju Lama, Uday Sotang, Suresh Kumar, Shreya Sotang and sung by Sukmit Gurung, Raju Lama, Uday and Manila Sotang, Shreya Sotang, and Nhyoo Bajracharya.
The lead song, Badal pari ko deshma indreniko bheshma, is a moving tribute by a mother to her son, which touched the hearts of all at the launch ceremony at the Radisson Hotel last month.
'In the county beyond the clouds, dressed in rainbow hues,
.shine forever amidst the moon and stars.'
To the slow and gentle beat of Tamang selo, Raju Lama's powerful voice penetrated the hall with the song Bharosa chhaina jiwanko lamenting at the uncertainly of life:
'Life is uncertain; it may be today or tomorrow,
Let us live merrily, we all leave eventually'
Melodious Bhagyale satayo, karmale ruwayo played in the background and sung by Manila Sotang reminds us of the vicissitudes of life:
'Fate has troubled me, destiny has given me tears,
Oh, lord how you have subjected me to this lot,
gave me laughter for a while, tears for life
left me neither to live nor to die'
A mother's painful reflection on the irreconcilable and untimely loss of her son is felt in all the songs:
'Incomplete life and its unfinished story,
life is but an ever-flowing river'
(Apuro jiwan ko adhuro kahani)
'I try to express my sorrow with trembling lips,
i try to write the pain, words are lost'
("Pokhna khojchhu byathaharu")
The musicians rendering of Manju Lama's songs are deeply moving. Micky himself dabbled in verse and had written chilling reflections on life and death with seemingly prophetic lines before his death:
There wasn't much that I could have given
For things I have shared
But have moments hidden,
Like down in the deepest seas.
Where mystery's of it has still to be opened
Even if one may find it
in time to come by.
It will still be hard to tell
what happened when and where?
at a particular time
when the clock stopped ticking there.
Like a rock shall I stand,
and as quietest as the oceans can be.
It will all be here,
But in our memory. "
Micky died as he lived, a wonderful friend and human being, a worthy son, and a dedicated flyer who tried to do everything he did to the best of his abilities.
Prem Subba works for the UN in Suva, Fiji