Mani Prasad Upreti

“What do I remember about my wedding? Hmm… not sure you will get much of an interesting story out of me. My marriage followed a similar procedure as did the other marriages in Bhutan. I was about 10 years old when I got married and my wife was nine. You look surprised but this is just how it was in Bhutan. Whenever your parents felt you were ready, they would have a lady (or a gentleman) already chosen and permitted to be married to you. I know a few couples who got married at even younger ages than me. I remember I awoke with the sun on the day of my wedding as I was to be prepared as a groom. I was exhausted by how long the wedding was; It took us about a day and a half just to reach the bride’s village. It took the same time in returning back home — altogether, three days. The hills were steep but the horses carrying me protected me very carefully as I sat and enjoyed the scenery along the way. I was like a prince for the day — my relatives, my parents and everyone else around me wouldn’t let me do anything. Although I’m not exactly sure how I felt on the day of my wedding as I was young, I must have been excited to see my bride. My wife had 14 aunts who adorned and guided her through the marriage rituals that day. I remember it was a bit hectic especially considering that I was somewhat anxious as well. What if I did something wrong? It was the first time my bride and I had met. I’m 65 years old now which means it’s been 55 years since our marriage. It’s been quite a long time.”

Mani Prasad Upreti, 65, is originally from Chirang, Bhutan, and based in Reynoldsburg, Ohio at the time when this story was compiled.

Story and Photo compilation by Arati Chapagai for BNS

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Arati Chapagai is a second-year student at Ohio State University majoring in Criminology on a pre-law track. She aspires to be a criminal lawyer in the future but apart from that, she is determined to be an active leader with the Bhutanese Community. Ms.Chapagai has been an active volunteer at the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio (BCCO). She has been involved with projects like the Bhutanese Response Assistance Volunteer Effort (BRAVE) and South Asian American Advocacy Forum (SAAF. Prior to moving to Ohio, Arati lived in Worcester, Massachusetts. As a high school student In Massachusetts, Arati was very involved with extracurriculars such as the food drive club at her school, Soccer, and Track and Field. She was also a participant in the Judicial Youth Corps Program, an intensive spring and summer internship for high school students that teaches about the Massachusetts court system and rules of law.

As a refugee, Arati Chapagai always aspired for a greater change in the community due to the inadequate knowledge of the outside world and the constant confinement of a small limited world. This has been her motivating factor in being an active social agent through organizations such as the Worcester Refugee Assistance Program (WRAP).

Aside from her extracurriculars, Ms.Chapagai also enjoys writing and soccer in her free time. She is an enthusiast for traveling and trying ethnic cuisine from all cultures. Arati joins Bhutan News Service to learn more about our history and culture whilst contributing towards preservation and storytelling.