With an encouraging look on his face, he urged me to try little harder. His expression was like “It is coming, try little harder.”
Clank !! Clank!!! Clank!!!
The lid of the kettle came off before I could land a drop of tea on Rigsum Gonpa Lama’s Cup.
It was during annual Tshechu in Trashiyangtse I was appointed as a Zhudrep (A person involved in offering tea, fruits, sweets, etc to rows of people starting from a lama/ high ranking official). All eyes were fixed on me while I was offering tea to the Lama. With the clanking noise, now, even the ears in the room were fixed at me as well.
I was numbed for a second and then involuntarily, I picked up the lid, mounted on the kettle and placed my fingers on the lid. Then I continued serving tea to the Lama. I was supposed to place my finger on the lid before I pour tea to prevent the lid from falling off. But with just a single practice with an empty kettle, one can hardly anticipate such mistake while one is focused on precariously carrying a hot kettle on your palm and walk towards the lama while at the same time perfectly aligning step by step with your partner.
Now let me provide a short history on Zhugdrel Phunsum Tshogpa.
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal journeyed towards Bhutan and when he arrived at Thang-dzong Nang, in 1637, the Bhutanese people, hailing from all walks of life, and also from neighboring countries (today India and Nepal) greeted him with a grand reception. During this event, inconceivable amount of material riches were piled up before him in offering, and taking this as an auspicious event, Zhabdrung Rinpoche significantly renamed the place as Pungthangkha meaning "the Mouth of the Plains to Heaps [of Riches]." Then he had everyone present there to sit in rows and recite the lineage-supplication to his successive re-incarnations, which was indeed the beginning of the present-day "Zhugdrel Phunsum Tshogpa" (rows of auspicious sitting) ceremony. Since then, as all forms of noble activities were ventured with the preceding of this ceremony, it served the purpose of accomplishing all endeavors free of obstacles (Jamtsho, T, 2009).
Zhugdrel Phunsum Tshogpa is offered at the beginning of any significant public function in Bhutan.