I neither had an extra lagay nor socks. Both the sides of my lagay were dirty and the socks were stinking for I had wore that almost for a week. I knew I had to rush home to wash it, if at all I was to impress the interviewers and fetch good marks.
Throughout the day, I tried to finish my reporting (for the newspaper I was interning with) early and leave for home to prepare for my interview, scheduled the very next day at 9am. However, I could not. Rather I was sent back to the field by my editor to do the additional reporting and thus delayed.
I arrived home late and tired. Immediately I pulled off my socks and lagay and socked in a bucket with a shallow water. I squeezed and hung on a rope hoping it would dry the early next morning.
That evening, Thimphu was needlessly blessed with a shower. The morning sun rose late. My lagay was half dried and the socks were wet as they went up on ropes the evening. The time kept ticking. I swung the pair of socks in the wind trying to throw off the water. Nothing happened! I wished I had a heater so that I could keep near it to dry.
I ran out to my neighbour's home looking for the heater. A drooling dog chased me back. I buried the pair under my armpit and the coldness reached my heart. As I cooked, I kept them around my neck. When I sat down, I spread them on the mattress and sat on it for minutes, only to see my half-pant wet.
Seeing the socks still wet, I went to look for some wood to make fire. Before I realized, I had walked almost half a kilometre. Finding no wood, I returned home. It was 8am then, time for me to walk down to the main road form where I could catch a taxi.
The time did not wait for my socks to dry and I knew the interviewers will not pity me. Even if I explain in thousand flowery words, of how a Shingrongpa (man from Shingkhar Lauri) like me suffers in Thimphu, I knew it would just be like pouring water on a stone. I perceived to be always wise in being on time irrespective of how difficult my situation was.
I pulled up the socks slowly, cold and wet. Walked down stiffly. I waited for the Taxi but not a single did come. Finally a bus took me that stopped at every station wasting ample of minutes. By the time I reached the interviewing room, there were many waiting near the door and it was exactly my turn. Without even a time to breathe, I walked in feverishly and sat in front of the interviewers silently hiding my wet socks behind the kabney.
The interviewers fired me several rapid bullets from social news to politics and Bhutan history to world history. But I had no time to think of all these given my conditions. My life knew only about how I managed to survive in the capital city with not even a proper home to rest.
To my sudden notice, the firing began. They asked me if I had read the morning newspaper.
I answered, “I did not have a breakfast.”
“Who is your King?” they asked me.
“My stomach,” I promptly replied. “Without him the land by my name will not exist.”
“Are you a deaf?” they inquired. “No, the world is deaf because it cannot hear my call.”
“How many times do you read books in a day?” another interviewer questioned me.
“Three times—breakfast, lunch and dinner; but I don't get all, all the times.”
“You have got all the answers wrong, We will fail you.” The interviewers were infuriated.
“Yes fail me—not from this interview but from my life,” I replied in utter fearlessness. “I've already lost all interests to live, my liberator.”
When you do not even have a meal to fill your belly, who will think of politics? When your story is broken, how could the world history be unbroken? When your news is sad, how could the social news be happy for the world is but made up of individuals like me?
What I had learnt, they did not ask; and what they asked, I couldn't answer. There was no sun in the room but when I finally came out, my socks had dried up. I walked home comfortably.