Guess who I bumped into at one of boudha’s famous mo:mo bistro/diner/luncheonette? Sushma Joshi. Yes, the writer Sushma Joshi, the columnist Sushma Joshi. It was one of the evenings when I was returning home after my every day prostrations. I finished a little early and thought of getting some mo:mos for mom who was at home all alone after our housekeeper left for tatopani. As I was thinking on how many plates I should order and entered the bistro, she was sitting all so casually, just like any other local person. Oblivious of how much of a maestro she is or was it her humble nature, she sat there waiting for a plate of moreish appetizing mo:mo with its picante sauce. As I pondered on how lucky I felt and on how to approach the writer, I ordered for two plates and sat on the bench just next to her. While the air was pungent with the delicacy, on a whim, I turned towards her and asked, “Are you Sushma Joshi?”
She said, “Yes.” “Hi, I’m Tenzing.” I felt like giving a pat on my back just for introducing myself to her. But what she said or reacted made me stop my imaginary hands to even touch my shoulders. “Have we met?” Wrong way of starting a conversation with somebody who doesn’t know you. Lesson learnt. But what should I’ve said. If I had just barged in on her invading her privacy, she would’ve felt even more weird. “Hi I’m Tenzing.” “So?” Imagining that in my miniature head, I consoled myself thinking that was the best anybody could do especially with a famous person. Well, next time I should try with a simple hi.
Just when I felt awkward with the way I tripped on her, I made a spontaneous move. “No we haven’t met. I’ve heard of you a lot. I used to work with so-and-so magazine. One of my reporters had done an interview of yours for the first issue. I was the editor then.” She was nodding, agreeing with the familiarity and remembering my facts and then when I said the last sentence, she widened her eyes like, “aahhh” or “oohhh”. I then realised ‘again’ the weight and the prestige an editor carries and holds. I felt proud of myself having to introduce myself as an editor or well, used-to-be editor. Anyways, once an editor forever an editor. Then our conversation became more of a two way which I was quite hopeful and thankful. I asked her about her books and her works and she advised me to go into broadcasting to bring a Tibetan face into the media like out there for the people to see. I guess it was more about reminding the people that even the Tibetans have it in them.
Although we had a momentary talk, I enjoyed the ebb and flow of the conversation with her. (I’m still confused on how should I address her. Should I say Sushma ‘ji’ or should I just say Sushma? I chose on the former one sticking with the conventional way of addressing somebody elder to you and with more respect. But if she’d say, “no no, you can call me Sushma,” I’d be more than happy to do so. But for now, like they say, when in Rome do what the Romans do.)After 2 days of my forgetfulness, I added her in Facebook, like she asked me to, with a message reminding her of who I am. On the third day, she responded with a message asking me to keep her updated about my journalism progress and also suggested me on bringing up the Tibetan issue, of which I was pleasantly surprised and happy. Of course I replied and of course I will keep her updated. Why wouldn’t I?