A young private employee in Thimphu was disappointed when she found the new rental apartment she was to move into on December 25 locked.
The owner had apologetically messaged, informing her of the inauspiciousness of the day for such an affair.
The meeting of nine evils (nganpa guzom) it happened to be, a day traditionally believed to bear no fruit of merit for deeds good and of deeds evil, a multiplier though.
In the east, farmer Cheki of Radhi, Trashigang did not enter the granary store the whole day. To touch the drey, (a large cane receptacle to measure grains, more like a bamboo dumpling steamer, except hallow) on nganpa guzom was believed to draw hands to it more frequently throughout the year, an indication of a draining granary.
Most of more than a dozen cars in one of the popular vehicle showrooms in Phuentsholing, the country’s commercial hub down south, remained stocked on the day. Clients that booked them deemed it unpropitious to pay huge sums of money on the day, or introduce into their lives something valuable like a car.
However, it was a good break for caretakers and students in some of the monasteries and temples across the country. While some did their laundry, a few visited their relatives and some joined friends to tour the nearest town. As a tradition, pilgrims normally refrained from visiting monasteries and temples to offer prayers and respects to local deities on the day. Meritorious deeds echo hollow. Likewise, for a few opportunists like Tenzin, a portly presence on the verge of hugging obesity, a brisk walk along the rubber track at Lungtenzampa was considered good for him and engaging in a rich menu bad. The day favoured him in choosing the latter.
The meeting of nine evils, however, is suited for festivities. Families usually stay home and feast, or go on picnics. Men gather for traditional games of archery and khuru (dart game).
Falling on the seventh day of the 11th month of the lunar calendar, nganpa guzom denounces incestuous relationships. Sino-Tibetan myth has it that unbeknown to the sibling separated for many years from one another in childhood, when they did meet at one point of time, they committed incest. The defilement of the elements and the different realms that followed after such an objectionable conduct unleashed evil, nine that meet on the day to render futile any good deeds, no matter how significant and lend multiplier effect to the minutest of bad.
However, the following day, known as zangpo chu zom (congregation of the 10-good) comes as a naturaliser. Although rarely observed for reasons that it is does not tell as rich and resonant a story, offers people the opportunity to do good on the day and watch them grow in several folds.
The day, it is believed, bodes well for taking up new ventures, visiting monasteries and engaging in meritorious deeds, all of which the day of nganpa guzom hollows.