Sunday, November 11, 2012

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Your Majesty

From the day I started feeling the world, I saw a photo of a man in my altar where my father and I would sit down for long hours to chant. I wondered who the man in the photo was. Every morning and evening, when I come inside the temple I would see that photo kept near the huge statue of Guru Rinpoche. I did not ask who he was for I knew my father would not keep any fool’s photo in the altar. I knew he would be a great personality to my father.   

Days passed. Seasons changed. I walked out to the village to see the person resembling the photo. There was no one. In the forests during my cow-herding days, I would wait to see if anyone resembling the photo would come to me from behind the bush, tree, rock so on and surprise me. But nothing happened.

Later, when I was eleven years old I was enrolled in class PP, as the first ever batch in the newly established school. There, to my surprise I saw the same photo hung on the wall. I was overjoyed. I concluded that it was my teacher’s photo. But my teacher, Tandin Wangyal had beard and mustache whereas the photo did not. I lived with a doubt.

It was in class I when I began scribbling. I had mastered alphabets and I was introduced to writing. My teacher asked us to write “King” and when we found it difficult what it meant, he pointed to the photo on the wall. My curiosity raised and I asked him who was in the photo. He explained to the class in detail and I stood marvel at the greatness of the photo.

Since then I heard about His Majesty several times. In fact our description of his Majesty in the school expanded from King to He is our King to He works in Tashichhodzong. But only God knew where on earth Tashichhodzong was. I became curious day by day to meet the King and see Him one day.

In one of the meetings held in Samdrup Dzongkhar, all the people under the Dzongkhag were summoned. His Majesty the King was to address the gathering. I saw my father preparing to leave for the meeting and I begged for hours to take me along with him so that I can also see my King. He scolded me saying he had no money to make payments for two heads for food, traveling and lodging. He abruptly rejected my request. I slept the whole night sad without even having dinner.

The dawn came and my father asked me to wear the shoe. This indicated that he was taking me along with him. But my mother did not want me to accompany him. “What use could you be at the meeting rather than a financial burden to the family”, my mother had said.

We reached Samdrup Jongkhar. We were seated under a huge tent that accommodated thousands of people. I waited for His Majesty. But unluckily I could only hear His voice and not see His face for He spoke from behind the curtain. And that too He spoke in Dzongkha, an alien language to me then. My mother was right. I was useless.

But I was happy at what I heard. I imagined the photo speaking and that was more than seeing Him.

Since then I developed a special bond with His Majesty. Even today, I haven’t been the lucky subject to meet Him but I have heard His encouraging words, advises and philosophies. His Majesty has occupied a special place in my heart. He has given me hope in despair and dream in struggle. As my role model, His Majesty has influenced my outlook, my way of living, and my life in all. And as Henry Brooks said He is going to affect my eternity too.  

His simplicity is what I love the most. He never rules His subject like a King but a simple human being. I was marveled when His Majesty devolved His powers to the people. Which King on earth would do this? Bhutan is blessed indeed to have such a King.

So on this joyous occasion of Your Majesty’s happy birthday, I, your humble subject would like to offer you my heartfelt gratitude and prayers for your long and healthy life. May you live long, My King, and inspire many hearts. Wish you many happy returns of the day, Your Majesty. 

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