Tag Archives: himalayas

Pema … always smiling

Pema, always smiling and ever graceful while she gives me a patient lesson in how her name is pronounced.

Pema runs a fruit and vegetable store in Tibetan Colony, Bir, Himachal Pradesh, near the Dhauladhar mountain range at the foothills of the Himalayas. Bir is home to paragliding as well as a thriving Tibetan community and local handicrafts. Always pleasant, the warmth of Pema’s smile adds a touch of brightness to every interaction – it’s not just a sale and I’m grateful for it. In addition to fruit and veggies, she makes and sells handmade noodles in her shop. 

When I asked her if she ever took vacations, this mother of four laughed out loud. She said that as a member of the working class, it was hard to do but she tries to take a week off once a year, just to rest and to be with her family.

© 2021 Marlon de Souza

Of course, I get tired but I must work

He drives a shared taxi in Sikkim, north east India. Seven days a week. As long as the work is there, he shows up.

As the driver of a shared taxi between Yuksom and Jorethang in Sikkim, he also doubles up as a postman, goods carrier, courier, and occasionally, local tour guide.

Family – his children, and his wife are what’s most important. They are the motivation behind the hard work that he engages in. The work is tough but it has to be done. That’s life, he says with a smile. 

© 2021 Marlon de Souza.