Bishnu Khadka

“I had just returned home in the evening after hoeing the corn field all day. ‘Parents have given you away!’ screamed my younger brother. Apparently, a family from Khorsane gaun (village) in Chirang district in Bhutan had visited my house earlier to ask my hand for marriage. An astrologer had come along with them. The astrologer checked our horoscope compatibility, and he immediately slated the wedding date for two weeks later. That’s how jodis (matches) were made back then. I was just 14 years old. Two of my slightly older friends were wedded a few months ago. I had a suspicion that I could be next in line. But I did not think it would be that soon. I was shocked. The thought of leaving my family scared me. My legs were trembling. There was no talk of my wedding prior to this. It was so sudden. No one discussed it with me. But then, in those times, no girls were asked about such things. Even my parents did not say a word that evening. My younger siblings shared what had happened. My parents only spoke to me about it after a few days. They told me it was time for me to get married. I couldn’t say no. Had I ever met the groom before? Never. I had not heard of him or his family. Our first meeting was on the wedding day. That day, we did not speak a single word, perhaps due to shyness. He was the son of a Mandal (head of the village), so the wedding procession was quite extravagant. The customary practice of putting wedding rings was new at that time. Most other rituals back then, though, were similar to the ones we perform even today. My husband’s family wanted to take me to their house permanently after 16 days of our wedding. However, my father was adamant to send me only after a year — I am not sure why my father did that. Perhaps he thought I was too young to be able to handle all household chores in the house of a mahaajan (wealthy). So I moved to my husband’s house only after a year. We went through a lot of hardship but we’ve been together for 50 years now.”

Bishnu Khadka, 65 is originally from Chirang, Bhutan and based in West Springfield, Massachusetts at the time when this story was compiled. 

Story and Photo compilation by Biraj Adhikari for BNS.

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Born as a Bhutanese-Nepali refugee in south east Nepal, Mr. Adhikari is a vibrant young American who rejoices in learning, teaching, and working with new technologies while serving the community through various non-profits and community empowerment projects. He currently resides in Springfield, MA.

After graduating from high school at the age of 15, Mr. Adhikari continued actively volunteering at local community organizations such as the Bhutanese Society of Western MA (BSWM), United Games and Sports Association (UGASA), and Hindu Sanatan Sewa Samaj (HSSS). In August 2017, he was appointed as the Program Coordinator for BSWM.

While volunteering as the program coordinator, Mr. Adhikari streamlined the organization with the introduction of various new technologies to aid in project management and regular organizational operations. He oversaw the planning and execution of three successful annual cultural events. These events were attended and lauded by local senators, representatives, and mayors thus helping bridge the gap between the community and local government. Mr. Adhikari also coordinated children and adult health awareness workshops, drug and alcohol awareness workshops amongst various professional skill training. He also rejuvenated the organizational website and accelerated the presence of BSWM in social media platforms.

The efforts of Mr. Adhikari and his BSWM teammates, to empower the community, reached a commendable height as the organization was awarded the Community Hero Award 2019 by the Asian American Commission of Massachusetts.

He continues today as the program coordinator while also serving as the project coordinator for the organization led oral history project – The Untold Stories of Bhutanese Americans in Western MA.

In his day job, Mr. Adhikari is a full-stack software developer. He works on cloud based educational software utilizing micro-services architecture. He works with a wide stack of technologies which include multiple programming languages like Python, JavaScript, and frameworks like Flask, Django and React.

Mr. Adhikari holds his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Western New England University in Springfield, MA.

He loves exploring ethnic cuisines from around the world. He is a big soccer enthusiast and supports the Football Club of Barcelona. To keep his mind and body active, Mr. Adhikari is fond of playing tennis, hiking, and indoor rock climbing. Mr. Adhikari joins Bhutan News Service with the goal of serving the greater Bhutanese Diaspora and helping preserve the identity and history of his community.