Thinley Namgay

When His Majesty The King addressed the 8th session of the Third Parliament yesterday, Karma Dechen, 27, was watching the live proceeding on the TV at Café Himalaya and Bakery in Thimphu.

Suddenly, Karma Dechen held herself straight. She could not contain the tears as she heard His Majesty The King talking to her, straight from the parliament hall.

His Majesty The King’s speech yesterday was a true address to the nation in that it was extraordinarily centered around the throes that the country is currently experiencing and the lives of the citizens who are struggling to make ends meet.

“Karma Dechen, rest assured that we will do our best to bring about the transformation that our country urgently needs. Your circumstances trouble us just as much, and we are determined to succeed in resolving them,” said His Majesty The King.

That was when Karma Dechen knew her King was speaking to her, days after she had the rare opportunity to meet and speak with His Majesty.

“The moment I met His Majesty The King in October, I felt blessed. I don’t have words to express how happy I was then and am still. I am hugely motivated,” Karma Dechen said. “Meeting and interacting with His Majesty The King was the most precious moment of my life.” 

Karma Dechen, a mother of a four-year-old son, works at the Café Himalaya and Bakery opposite Le Meridien hotel in Thimphu.  She has been working at this café for almost seven years now.

Trying to hide her tears, pretending to look out the windows mid-distance, Karma was playing host to her two visiting friends who had come to café after hearing His Majesty’s address.

“I was of course thrilled when His Majesty The King called out my name and I knew it was me. I will never forget the golden words of His Majesty The King. I will continue to work hard and will never give up in life,” Karma said.

Karma Dechen is from Pemagatshel. After Class X she dropped out and began working in a hotel. Nu 6,000 salary wasn’t enough. So she changed jobs. At Café Himalaya and Bakery, Karma Dechen gets Nu 12,500 per month. She pays Nu 7,750 house rent. Her 25-year-old husband is unemployed.

Karma Dechen has recently got a notification from her landlord saying that her rent will be increased from this month. “I have not paid the rent yet. In a place like Thimphu, it is difficult to get by.”

Karma Dechen is glad that the country will create space for workers and professionals to upgrade their skills regularly. “I do not want my children to suffer like me.”