No sooner than I was employed, I called upon my mother to come to Thimphu and stay with me. After all, like every parent, she has been waiting for her son to be employed. And on my part, I tried to get employed as soon as possible but having to follow a long prescribed path, I took more than 17 years to get it. It was a long wait for her. And I did not want to prolong her waiting. So, I called her up to be with me.
She was excited to know that I was employed and wanted to come soon. As she had never been to the place before, she thought Thimphu was near to her village. When she reached Jomotsangkha, she called me up and told me that she would be reaching Thimphu the very next day. I giggled but took care to remain silent. I told her to come safely and did not tell anything about the next three-day long journey (in the buses and trucks). Telling that to her would have only meant adding worry to her fragile heart! On the way, finding the route too long, she, I was told, even accused the driver for taking the long way instead of short-cuts.
However, she reached safely to my place, fatigued and fulfilled. Ever since then, she has been observing how people in the town lived life. Accompanying her are my brother, his wife and children who have never come to Thimphu before. They are marveled at the sight of people in Thimphu and particularly the number of vehicles plying every second in the high way. I wish to take them around and let them feel the modern touch but I am bound to attend office every day except for the weekends. And weekends are too short for a family’s gossip. However, I try to teach them as many as possible.
The first thing I taught them was cooking. Fearing that they would starve during my absence (when I go to office), the moment they arrived, I taught them this. I trained them to use rice cooker and curry cooker. Should they feel cold, I asked them to plug-in the heater and water boiler. They learned but with lots of fear and hesitations.
Sunday over! And Monday came. It was time for me to go to office. Rehearsing the instructions, and asking them to take care of themselves at home, I left for office. The evening I returned home, all of them sat quiet when I walked in. They were looking at each other and giggling. I asked them what had happened and they pointed to the water boiler. They burned its nose. I too laughed looking at its distorted nose but worried if anything had happened to them. However, nothing had happened to them and I was happy. Things like water boilers could be bought and that did not matter much.
The next day, with additional instructions on handling them, I left for my office again. Soon after my departure, they were called by a neighbor who lived a few kilometers away from my home for lunch. After reaching my office, I called them to find out if they had had breakfast. But they were already in my neighbor’s home preparing lunch. I asked them if they had locked the room. And to my surprise they left it unlocked.
“Who would steal in such a broad day light” they said calmly. They also said that they leave their doors, in the village, unlocked for several days and nothing happens. Remembering theft cases in Changjiji, I told them that the place is never like the village. There are thieves who “do not fear” day-light and can “see” even in the pitch darkness.
“Oh! This is a different world” they said.
People in villages live a care-free life where they do not know much about burglary, murder and theft cases. They lock doors only when they are going away from home for a long period of time. Otherwise, they would just latch it and tie with some ropes. Nothing would happen. Nobody would get in.
They would also drink and walk late in the night, from home to home, singing and dancing, celebrating life to its brim. Nobody would say anything but join the jubilation of joy. Life is life. But if you walk late in the town, like in the villages, people would be beaten, robbed and murdered.
“This is indeed a different world,” I told them sadly.