“Parops don’t usually celebrate a lot of holidays, well, at least my family doesn’t. However, Lomba is an exception. Lomba is the new year for Haaps and Parops, and it is usually celebrated much earlier than all the other new years. We celebrate it at the end of the 10th month of the Bhutanese calendar. On the first night of Lomba, Nyeri gu (the 29th), we have a tradition of making a miniature person(lueh) out of dough. We dress him or her up, add a couple of food items and “chase it away”. My favourite part of Lomba is taking the lueh outside and then screaming at the top of our lungs to scare it away. The lueh is supposed to take away all of our sufferings and illnesses to a faraway land.

Growing up, my grandmother used to tell us that the lus would come and weigh everyone at night. If we didn’t eat dinner, then they would be able to carry us away with them. Thinking back, it was probably a trick to scare kids into eating their dinners, but to this day, my siblings and I always overeat on Lomba. However, I remember a particular Lomba night when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I had gone to my neighbor’s birthday party but in all the excitement, I couldn’t eat dinner. When I got back home from the party, I lied and told my grandmother that I had already eaten. That night, I had a dream that the lus carried me with them to their land. I woke up and told my sister about the dream. She listened carefully and then asked in a spooky voice, “What if you were really taken by them, and you just think that it’s a dream?”

When I was in high school, I was really into fantasy and adventure books and I thought it would be fun to read a Bhutanese book in that genre. There were none at the time so I decided to write one! I thought back to that Lomba night from a decade ago and that’s how Lomba the book came about.

Lomba Tashi Delek! I hope everyone had a feast on Lomba Nyeri Gu and didn’t get carried away.”

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