“Namma” meaning bride is the first-hand account of Kate Karko, a designer from London and her husband Tsedup, a Tibetan nomad. The couple met, fell in love and married in India where Kate was travelling and Tsedup was living in exile. After an absence of nine years, four of which were spent in London waiting for the right documents to come through, Tsedup was finally able to return to his family on the roof of the world.
With very limited grasp of the Amdo dialect, Kate throws herself into life with her new family. She keeps an open mind to all new experiences and approaches her time with the nomads with enduring positivity-not many erstwhile city dwellers would have been able to cope with the complete lack of personal space and the constant smell of burning yak dung. Kate’s position within the family group gave her remarkable access to nomadic life in the 21st century and full-colour photographs help bring her descriptions of her numerous in-laws to life. The reader is left with the impression of a beautiful country and a proud people whose cultural heritage is under threat of extinction. Indeed, the reality of nomadic life does not quite match up with Kate’s early romantic imaginings:
The nomads were a tough and diligent people but now the men had been rendered impotent. Because of the fences there was no reason to herd the animals and it was more difficult for bandits to attack an enclosed encampment. Their role in the family had been all but erased. The new laws had tragically accomplished their goal of nomad domestication.
Given the author’s emotional involvement with the family and the many difficulties she must have encountered during her six-month stay with the Amdo tribe, her pervasive objectivity is something of a disappointment. The reader learns very little, for example, about the real impact of her stay on her relationship with her husband or of the more day-to-day frustrations. Despite such minor flaws, Namma remains an absorbing insight into a deeply spiritual yet fun-loving people, written by a woman whose son has become a bridge between two worlds. -Simon Priestly -This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Fascinating read… a glimmering insight into the nomadic lifestyle inherent to the country’