6 MIN READ
In the final part of this series on his life and times, writer Tim Gurung reflects on a life well-lived and reveals the secret to his success.
This is the final part of a series by Tim Gurung about his life as a Gurkha soldier-turned-businessman-turned-writer. Previous entries in the series can be found here.
After almost six decades in this world, I can take a sigh, look back, and proudly say that it wasn't bad at all. Starting from humble beginnings, I have done pretty well in my life and I can walk with my head held high.
I came from a poor Gurung village and went to the village school only because I was the family's first son. It was an era when everybody worked in the fields and one had to complete their share of chores before and after school hours. One thing my village and the surrounding ones had in common was an over hundred-year-long tradition — almost every village household was connected with the Gurkhas, and becoming one was always our first and most cherished dream. I was no different and despite being good at school, I became a Gurkha at the tender age of seventeen.
Despite doing pretty well in the army, I was not too fond of the military and left it when I was still young. After the military, I worked in China and learned a new trade in a pretty adverse and challenging situation. Despite being the new kid on the block and the first Nepali/Gurkha in China, I did pretty well and climbed up the corporate ladder fast. Before long, I left my well-paid job and started my own business.
My business prospered, and I got to visit many countries and meet various people from around the world. The business gave me financial security, paid for my children's future, and showed me the world. But when I was at the top of my game, I decided to quit the business and become a full-time writer at 50 with almost zero experience in this field. I knew no one from the media and I had to learn everything from scratch. Yet, within six years, I had written a dozen books and become a published author with readers from all over the world.
In a nutshell, I had come a long way from my humble beginning and achieved a great deal in life. What I had was a vision, wisdom, hard work, passion, opportunity, and courage, and I have applied them in the right way and at the right time. Not bad at all for a village boy, you might say, and I couldn't agree more. After all, I was a lahure, became a businessman, and now an international writer. What an achievement.
However, if I say those are not my most significant achievements, would you believe me? I don't think so. But it’s true. My most important achievement is none of them but having an incredible woman, my dearest wife, in my life, and I will explain why.
We were pretty young when we started this journey together. We had our two children within two years of our marriage. We don’t know how we survived, for that was a time when we couldn’t differentiate between day and night. We just followed our instinct and did our best. That was at least what I had presumed until then. It didn't dawn on me for a long time that it was her, my dearest wife, who made everything click and go so easy in our life. But from that moment on, I have been watching her with sheer gratitude and awe all the time, and I couldn't believe how lucky I had been.
When we moved to Hong Kong in 1995, my salary was still paltry, and she worked as an assistant teacher to earn enough for our family. She shopped, cooked, cleaned, took our two children to and from the school, helped with their studies, and worked full time. On the contrary, I did one job and didn't help her much at home. As our financial situation improved, she proved more prudent and skillful in handling money and managed our household like a professional. After taking care of the home, our two children, and me, she also started planning for our future, and we bought our first home within four years of our arrival in Hong Kong. And then, she started investing in property here in Hong Kong, China, the UK, Germany, and Nepal, and the only way from there on was upward. Her portfolio grew with time, and she started dealing in stocks since then.
Since she took care of our family matters, I was allowed all the time of the world to do my work in the office, and that was the only thing I did during all those years. And because of her exceptional economic mind, excellent skills of managing our household, and business acumen of trading at the right time, our family prospered and never had to worry about financial problems as most other immigrant families.
Despite all of her other involvements, she always put the health and wellbeing of our family above everything else and insisted on eating a healthy home-cooked meal every day. As a result, we ate at home 99 percent of the time, and she prepared everything independently.
In a nutshell, she is a strong, confident, and responsible woman who worked tirelessly for the family's wellbeing. She is also kind, considerate, and intelligent and never talks bad or harms other souls, dedicating all of her waking hours to the welfare of her family. Positive vibes effuse from like a wellspring of happiness, inspiring others to remain hopeful. I’ve never seen her complaining about anything in life. I used to call her the brightest star of our house, and her never-exhausting strength, joy, and the way she carries her life never cease to amaze me. It was me, the moody and fickle one, who was the weakest link in the pact and needed her strong hand to pull me over many more times than I can remember.
Most importantly, she has been behind me through both thick and thin and has supported me wholeheartedly throughout our journey together. Whenever I made a new decision, she was always there for me, and she never asked or doubted me. Whether business or personal, she always stood beside me and gave me the strength to face the world. All in all, she is the one behind all my success. No, she wasn't behind but at the forefront of all my accomplishments, and had she not been in my life, I would have not even made it to everyday life, let alone all these successes. Words fail me to express my gratitude to her. I am taking all the credit simply because I am a man, but it's all because of her, whatever I am today. No matter what I say or do, it will never be enough to pay her back. I am indebted to her not only to this life but a thousand lives we might have afterward. She is the rock of my life, and everything that happens in my life, it's because of her.
Here is a secret I would like to reveal — all the best female characters in my books are based on her, and I am the proudest and luckiest person in the world to have her at my side. And she is the best thing that ever happened to me, thus, the best achievement of my life by millions of miles. Simply because without her, I am nothing, and I am so pleased to have this last part of the series dedicated to her – the love of my life, you are everything to me, thank you so much for being you! With you at my side, I am the luckiest person in this world!
This is being the last part of the series, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, The Record team, and my readers. I have enjoyed writing it, and I hope you have liked reading it. We will certainly meet again. Thank you so much, and have a wonderful day.
Tim I Gurung TIM I GURUNG is a novelist, an ex-Gurkha, author of Ayo Gorkhali, an acclaimed book about the Gurkhas. He lives in Hong Kong.
7 min read
Amid a proliferation of cheap, fast fashion clothing, young Nepalis are turning to conscious clothing and shopping for second-hand apparel.
11 min read
An 11-year-old reads six recently published children’s books and reviews them on her own terms.
9 min read
Writer Amish Mulmi provides a running analogy for his writing in this week’s Writing Journeys, while also handing out sound advice on how to write well.
13 min read
This week, writer and activist Sarita Pariyar offers poignant insight into her own writing journey and the invisible women who inspired her to write.
7 min read
This week on Writing Journeys, writer and editor Tenzin Dickie discusses writerly doubt and frustration, and drawing strength from good writing.
34 min read
Chitwan National Park has earned international praise for its conservation successes, but it has also evicted indigeneous communities and upended many local livelihoods.
21 min read
Binod Bikram KC’s poems offer a sobering perspective on the times we live in
13 min read
This week on Writing Journeys, US-based journalist and writer Sanjay Upadhya recounts his time working at The Rising Nepal under the Panchayat and the lessons he’s learned along the way.