Greetings from India ring bells at Bhutan’s royal wedding

Jetsun Pema

Sanawar (Himachal Pradesh): Even before the royal wedding bells began to ring in Bhutan Thursday morning, greetings from India could be heard.

For a teacher of the alma mater of Bhutan king’s bride, talking to and wishing her before the royal wedding ceremony began in Bhutan was a proud moment.

“This morning, I spoke to Jetsun Pema and her mother briefly on phone, well before the wedding ceremony was to begin. I conveyed my good wishes,” said Neelam Tahlan, who was Jetsun’s house mistress when she was in the residential Lawrence School in the Kasauli hills here.

The wedding celebrations of Bhutan’s 31-year-old king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck began in uniquely Buddhist traditions at an impressive 17th century fortress in Punakha.

“I am glad that she is going to be the queen of Bhutan,” said an elated Neelam, who is heading to Thimpu to attend the wedding celebrations.

Besides Neelam, the school also got the wedding invitation from Jetsun’s family. “I am among a few lucky ones who got the invite. I am really excited. I have specially procured marble artefacts from Rajasthan and Italian decoration pieces from Delhi for the queen,” she added.

Jetsun, 10 years younger to the king, did her higher secondary schooling from Lawrence 2006-08. Her younger sister, Serchen Doma, is still studying here.

Serchen, a Class 12 student, left for Bhutan Sep 27 to participate in the fortnight-long wedding celebrations.

Neelam and her son Rohit, classmate of Jetsun, will attend the lunch hosted by the Bhutanese prime minister in the honour of the newly-wed royal couple Saturday.

“Jetsun was with us for two years from 2006 onwards. She was just like a commoner. We only knew that she was from Bhutan,” another teacher Deepak Bahuguna said.

Well-versed in Hindi and English, Jetsun, as Bahuguna recalled, was good in sports, including athletics and basketball.

“Basketball was her favourite game. Her impressive height of 5’10” benefits her in the game. In studies, she was very well focused, clear in her perceptions and quite sharp in cooperative skills,” he said, adding that “her cheerful face always catches one’s attention”.

Jetsun completed her Class 12 from Lawrence School in March 2008.

Lawrence headmaster Parveen Vashishta said the school has sent greetings to the royal couple. The Royal Bhutan government has announced a three-day public holiday to enable people to celebrate the wedding.


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