Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Thought for the Journey

Recently I was in Dagana, the place I never wanted to visit. It was because of some unforgettable experiences that I encountered last year.

Image from Google
In July, last year, I made my first journey to the place. Our bus broke on the way, somewhere near Drujeygang. We insisted the driver to arrange the transportation and reach us to our destined places before we were late. However, the bus driver, who was engrossed in conversation with a red-mouthed lady seated next to his berth in the front, seemed least bothered. Thanks to the almighty, after a much waiting, sometime in the evening, a Truck finally passed our broken faith. Some of us got a lift on our ardent request but only to travel for a kilometer. There, the road was blocked by the falling stones and the mud and as a result, we had to hold the night on the way amid the forest and falling stones with heavy down-pour. I had not had a proper lunch and there was no dinner for us. We could neither return nor proceed, from the spot considered safe, as stones were falling from all the directions.

That was the time, I promised that I will never visit Dagana again. But the law of nature is such that you get what you don’t want. True to this I had to inevitably make my second journey this May to the place. On my return to Thimphu, I was given a ticket for the coaster but when I boarded, it was an old bus (just like an octogenarian man with incessant creaking coughs) which made some kind of a distorting sound when its engine started. The concerned officials around saw this but they failed to stop it from journeying. The problem of our bus began soon after travelling for less than an hour. The engine threw out a sharp sound ‘crrrrr…’ and the driver knowing something is wrong pressed the break. The water in the pipe, inside the engine, was boiling unbelievably. We waited for hours to cool down the engine. And exchanging and filling in water repeatedly throughout the way, we made journeyed home slowly.

Despite its loud pulling noise, the bus rolled at man’s walking pace. Empty vessel sounds most! Bored by the rate at which the bus pulled, I sat aloof wishing I had power to do something to the transportation system in the country, especially to Dagana. All the passengers were bored and talks began in small groups while some chose to snore aloud.

To my front, a man in his early 30s was standing as he had no seat. To his next was a moderately built lady probably younger than him. Bold enough, the lady broke the silence by asking where the man was coming from. Hesitantly, he answered, “from home.”  After a long conversation, the man was comforted as he learned that the lady was his brother’s friend. The actually shy man now started sharing his purpose of his visit to home from his workplace in Phuntsholing. He blatantly told the lady that he had gone home to attend his brother’s funeral rites. Shocked, the lady raised her eyebrows high up in the sky and as people do, she asked what caused his death, “Lahaw ki bayo?” The man calmly said, “Kanchi problem.”

He told her that his brother hanged to death after his wife and his Kanchi, step-wife, altercated over their right to be the head of home. The wife claimed her seniority to homely prestige with the proof of her three children. The Kanchi claimed that she was more loved by their husband that whatever he has must be inherited by her. This problem, according to the man, went on for some time before their husband finally suicide to the end the misery. 

At this instant, the lady remarked with a strong statement, “Man must be stronger to do something than deciding to take his own life.”“Himath” and “Tagoth,” were the two strong words I caught from her sentence. “Man must have Himath.” “He should be stronger than women.”

I was appalled to hear such words from a woman, probably a woman of strength. I questioned myself, if women were ever stronger than men. I did not hear them talking any more. I did not realize that I was traveling in the bus. The tortoise-like pace of the bus no longer disturbed me. I was deep into thinking of how people fail to realize the preciousness of their life. I wished if the deceased had only visualized his importance of being alive and think a little of finding solutions. I wished if his hearts were a little stronger to blast off the boiling bubbles. I wished if he had known a man with greater troubles than his and who still endures to live by solving it. I wished if he had known the fact that every problem has a solution. I wished if he had only known that by suiciding, one has to do the same for five hundred times in the generations to be born. I wished if he had felt the enormous duty he had towards the King, country and its people. Simply put, I wished if he had known what he could do by living which he cannot by dying.  

I started at 7am and reached home at 11pm, almost 6 hours late. But I felt the journey was too short to think. 

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