The day before yesterday (Tuesday) was pedestrian day. Thimphu was unlikely silent. I was out in the town to collect my survey papers. With a heavy bag of questionnaires (additional), I left for the town early morning with office goers. Alas the taxi I got was the even-numbered that would not be allowed to get into the central town as the day was for the odd-numbered taxis. I was geared towards Tashichhodzong but the taxi dropped me at the outskirt of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDNRH).
|Image from google|
From there I had to walk. I could not afford to take another taxi. I also had some questions distributed in Chubachu, Motithang, Langjophakha and Changjiji. But my first collection, I decided strategically, was to start from Chubachu followed by Tashichhodzong, Lanjophakha, Motithang, Changjiji and then be back at home (home?), Semtokha, before dusk. I walked past the memorial Chorten and reached traffic. There were no police in the traffic. Unusual! Perhaps they were out on the other roads. From there, I walked to Chubachu expecting to meet a friend whom I had given my papers. But she said that she was out of station and I was asked to come in the evening. So I moved straightaway to Tashichhodzong.
At the Dzong, I waited outside the office for half an hour. Finally, my friend turned up with 10 papers. Immediately, I walked up to Langjophakha, where I was to meet another friend whom I had given 20 papers. I met him outside the office and out of 20 papers, he handed me only seven. Saddened by the lukewarm response, with all other papers lost or torn, I retraced my way back via Tashichhodzong to Motithang. By then it was 12:30pm. Lunch time! I was hungry and tired but I had no time to rest. I had promised to collect all the papers on that day. So I hurried up with an ever increased speed. My legs started giving me pains but I did not bother. My only worry was about my two-years-old shoe. I was worried whether it would be able to run with me throughout the day. While I maintained a steady step forward, I never forgot to give the least pressure on them.
Reaching Motithang, I found my friend still busy filling up the remaining forms and collecting from his friends. While he completed filling in the forms, I visited the children’s park, a few minutes away from his office. There, I saw several children jumping, singing and playing happily. For a moment I wished my life was like theirs. But I too had a share of childhood in my life. I did not grow up to be a man without passing my childhood. The only difference is I had a childhood not like them. I did not play, sing and jump.
They seemed free, jubilant and careless. But soon I realized that they would one day, if luck do not favor them, have to walk like me in the scorching sun pretending to be strong and fatigueless. A moment of rest under the tree in the park fed me thousands of reverberating questions. Should I sit for more, my head, I thought would burst. So going back to my friend’s office, I grabbed the papers (did not even bothered to count) and left for Changjiji. I walked via Changangkha to RICB colony to memorial Chorten (completing one round).
I circumambulated the Chorten three times. Like a fool (who prays only for himself), I prayed for food, water and shelter in life. To add one more prayer, it would have been to ask, as many young man do, for a beautiful (and not faithful?) wife. But I did not do that for I knew that my God would be deceived by those girls who wear beautiful and expensive clothes to design themselves “beautiful”. Rather, I wanted Him to direct me towards my fate-bound one (be it ugly or poor) and this was well understood by Him ere my prayers.
Looking down, Changjiji was not near. Many taxis slowed their speed when they reached near me expecting I would need a “paid” lift. I was well-dressed, like a semi-officer, and they must have thought that I would go in them. But every taxi that tried to push the break near me ran at the risk of only wearing and tearing their breaks. I did not ask for the service.
Walking down with my head covered under Kabney, I urgently needed something to eat. I knew that my happiness lived in Kulagangri restaurant. So I halted a moment at the shop, picked up a loaf of bread and chewed down the Changbangdu fly-over bridge. A cool breeze blew over my face. And I realized that it was 5pm. I was gulping in the fresh air when my phone rang. My friend from Chubabchu said she was back to office. Instantly I turned 180 degree and marched towards Chubachu. Thimphu city had once again become noisy then. Traffic police were present everywhere under the gloomy street lights. All the vehicles, buses, taxis and private vehicles were zooming in and out.
The dark swept the city and people were resigning from the day’s world. My eyes stretched far in search of my friend with the survey papers. It was at this time that my shoe hit the stone and torn apart. Alas! Again a cost! I rushed to my friend, received the papers, thanked her for her time and sped to the cobbler’s palace, hidden under the staircase. He gave my shoe seven stitches when I sat near him feeling sorry. Every time the cobbler pierced the needle into my shoe, I felt the prick. This was because I had a great gratitude and intimacy for my shoe for lasting extraordinarily two years despite wearing every day. And every time I wore, it had given me comfort and pride. But now it was old and sick. The doctor (cobbler), who seemed careless, mended it hastily and threw me back in a few minutes’ time.
I was getting late. I had to collect papers from Changjiji. I took shortcuts wherever possible. I needed wings but later I realized that I was not a bird. I had no other way than to drag forth my legs. My friend who was waiting in the Changjiji Zampa handed over me a bundle of survey papers. I bid goodnight and walked unstoppably to be on time for the dinner at the hostel (at least a dinner). I was tired but also hungry. But by the time I reached the hostel, I was already late for the dinner. No shops near! No money in the pocket! Drinking a cup of cold water I plunged underneath my old blanket wishing the dawn to come earlier than usual.
How difficult is it to keep your promise? Yet you wish, just like me, the morning to come earlier than usual to throw another promise for the day.