Sunday, November 6, 2011

A wish when I looked up!

    It was green all around. I could hear the whistling sounds of leaves as wind blew by. How should I describe that moment? Was it sadness or happiness? A peculiar feeling, that I wanted to feel again and again. Thanks to the spring for beautifying the nature.
    I don't remember exactly. Might be I  was in class VI and I bet, I wasn't aged more than that. I was in the green maize field. What could I say? It was just beautiful and melancholic. I saw the maize plants dancing happily and I was lost in it's beauty. The maize plants were around two feet tall. All looked miraculously healthy, standing upright. I was weeding unwanted plants for them. I wanted them to be more healthier with good sunlight,  space and nutrition. 
   My mom was alongside me doing the same work. She would tell me short stories. She would talk interesting talks and she would inspire me in any field. I always liked working alongside her. I do  miss now, the time spent so wondrously. I want the time back. I ask  myself, yet futile as of now. 
   As the time passed by, we were still working and I must say, it was a nice day with minimal sunshine and cool air around. I heard a sound and as I looked up, it was an aeroplane. I wondered, what kind of people would be flying high up in the sky. What would be the feeling? It was like a mystery to me.  I made a wish that time and within seconds aeroplane disappeared. I was excited and shouted, ''mom, I made a wish''. She looked enthused and replied instantly, 'tell me what is that wish kota'. Then, I told her, ''One day, I will fly from the sky above just like them, just trust me mom''. She looked so happy at that moment and she encouraged me that I can do it with ease. 
    Three years ago, when I returned home from Bangladesh during the holiday. My mom told me, ''kota, do you remember your wish as a child'. I was speechless and tears blurred my eyes. I saw my mom smiling and she congratulated me. It was the happiest moment for both of us and I told her how I felt travelling via air.

money or life?

       It is annoying when someone pulls from back and shows sympathetic faces and unfolding palms in the streets. For me, it is embarrassing when someone touches the legs for want of alms. Moreover,  it is disheartening to see some people rolling over the rough, hot roads with their limbs amputed or deformed. Many people walking by in their own world. Do they really care? I don't think so. This is complicated world. I asked myself and it doesn't really matter. It is a feeling hard to describe.
      I am reminded of my past days. I am not sure, but perhaps around 2001 when I was quite young. I had three friends with me and I was the youngest of them. We had  two days journey from our village.To my memories, the days seemed happy with the hopes of earning money yet dominated by the estrange feeling away from home. It was irksome yet adventurous to reach a place  completely new  for us. I had a little headache as my responsibilities were far less being young.
   It was a hard fought journey through the scorching sun, with loads on our back.  I remember, how  exhausted I was and how happy to reach the destination. It was evening by then. I saw tired faces of other labourers. My transient happiness subsided.
   The sun smiled happily, the sky, a beautiful blue. It was a wonderful morning to wake up. Other people went to work. Four of us were new and the supervisor gave us instructions. The work was carrying stones as much as possible. The daily fare was based on the stones. The more the stones, and the more money. They were building a school.
  It seemed interesting. Yet, it really was hell to carry baskets of stones on the back early in the morning till evening. It was a competition by then. Everyone wanted to earn more. There was a problem. Life was at risk.    I remember, when I had to wake up in the cold morning, when I had to cough almost all the time and when I became weak. I was almost caught by tuberculosis.  It was just a week gone by. My whole body was in pain and my determination weakened.
   I also remember the beautiful nights, where we had lots of local alcohol with friends. It made us good , relieved our sufferings temporarily. And I knew why farmers drink. It didn't last long. We returned  home after a week long struggle. It was hard earned money for me. It was exciting and an unforgettable experience in my life. So I ask myself, money or life? It seems obscure. Without money, no life and without life, money is nothing. Hence, we need both of them and the quest of happiness goes on.....



     It was a rainy morning and not a good start for the day.  All my friends were busy preparing to leave home. I saw some happy and some worried.  We were just done with our grade VIII  mid term examinations and everybody would love to go for summer vacations. But, it was a tough situation. All the roads were blocked with landslides due to heavy rain for many days.. There weren't any vehicle movement. The students from my village, decided to leave. It takes a day by walk to reach home. Meanwhile, we started our journey and luckily it rained less that day.
    As we walked by, we had to cross so many landslides areas going the long way. It was taking more than what we thought to be. I in particular became exhausted and hungry. What would I eat? Gradually, we came across small shops but then unfortunately, I was penniless that time. I had no option, just to continue walking desperately.
   When I saw friends walking hard, it inspired me. I was determined to fight hunger. It was horrible, filled with  anxiety. Landslides may come any time from anywhere. Within seconds, we could be buried or washed away.
It was hard to walk, and hunger pangs forgotten when we had to walk through the mud and when we were sunk beneath our abdomen. By God's grace, we were lucky enough to be alive. For, I thought it was really a horrid moment of my life.
   Fortunately, we reached  a place closer to home. I knew the shopkeeper and had to ask for biscuits and that too for credit. I knew it would be shameful for me yet it was nothing. I needed it and I endured the embarrassment.  Then, I reached home happily and I didn't share my parents about it for I loved them and for I knew, my sufferings were way less than their's.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I never can be a good seller...

    People say, money is not everything, but for me , I would say money is just more than 'not everything'. Money is power, fame, health , luxury, happiness and so on. Like a thirsty man drinking salty sea water, we tend to yearn for more and more. Dissatisfied, with what we have called the principal amount, we look for profits.
    Back to some beautiful, sunny days in the year 2000, I had adventurous journey from my village to another district, with the same intention of making profits. Back then, I was immature, desirous and envious. I saw, some other person doing the same business before and benefited. I asked a friend of mine whether he would join me. Promptly, he accepted my proposal.
   Our business was just small and mean. Our commodity was jaggery, which we commonly call as 'TSA TSE BURAM' in our local language.We bought it from another village down the foothills, about 3 hours walk from our village. The next day, we headed to the place where we could sell them, that is Pemagatshel. It was a pleasant day. Dressed in Gho,   with basket full items on our back, we started our journey. It was a pleasant day and the day to be remembered.
   As I walked by, I found myself drenched in sweat. We reached the main road where occasional vehicles would travel. It did travel on that day, but who would care picking us? It was just walk and walk. I wished if people bought it on the way so that it would ease our load. It rarely did happen.  With hopes of getting money, we forgot the pains all over legs and the tiredness.
   The sun didn't stay long. It was evening by then. We were closer to one village, just 2 kilometers away from it. It was a tensed moment. Where would we go and sleep? We couldn't proceed further because we had no one whom we knew and we wouldn't even ask for a night stay in other's house. We were totally young, yet we knew how to feel shy. There were deep forests around. We decided to stay in the forests and resorted under a big tree about 15 meters below the road. We had match boxes, and lit a fire. It became completely dark by then. We had to collect fire-woods around and fortunately we found ample in the vicinity. I pretended to be gallant and he seemed to be doing so, even though, fear was eating away inside of me. I remember, it was a sleepless and dreadful  night, yet thanks to the fire for the comfort and stability rendered to us. I must say, fire loved me either, which burnt a little portion of my dress. I wised if the night wasn't too long.
    The next day started so early from the forests, we were on foot again. We reached another place where few people bought our good. Personally, it was so shameful with baskets on the back and asking people if they wanted to buy. I would ask my friend to do that, he was little better than I was. It took us a day to reach the main town and no one seemed interested in buying those sweets. Alas!, so embarrassing it was! Though, I must address the dignity of labour myself.
     Gradually, it became night by then. Where to sleep again? Tension rose in my head. As we walked by, we saw a tent where labourers used to stay and we planned to halt another night there. We were not alone. There  were some other farmers who wanted to  sleep there. I forgot from where they were. But I must say, it was just another terrible night. In the midst of the night, one man started chattering  teeth with vigorous movement of the body and started salivating.   My head was all under my gho, I feared to see. I sweated all over.   I heard other people talking that he would get well as he does like that occasionally.  Oh God! it sucked the whole night. But, basically, I now understand that he was suffering from epilepsy.
    Every daylight was a bliss at least. Even though, tiredness and embarrassment marred the beauty of the day, yet it was great compared to two fearful nights. We traveled from village to village on the third day. Some people bought them and it was a great feeling when the load became less and less. We journeyed via unknown villages and from the short cut way, we reached back to our home. Since then, I never wanted to travel again for such purposes. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

winter vacations

      It has been few years without winter vacations, but  it is only for me . The students in Bhutan get the vacation as it used to be.  I remember those moments of immense happiness when a holiday about two months have been granted after a year stay in the school. I am melancholic now. 
      I fear, I may not get any more winter vacations. I envy my friends and juniors when they do get chance. Vacations are lovely, refreshing and challenging. People spend vacations in many ways. Some just pass away the free time uselessly. Fortunate ones read books, watch movies, surf net and explore knowledge. Unfortunate ones have to labour hard in the field and elsewhere.
     'the girls look beautiful' commented my friend. I saw him looking so impatiently as they pass by. The trees around, were dancing and our hairs were waving along with comforting wind. We were sitting by the roadside and nature seemed to be in love with us. I was lost for some time. Then, I realized that I had to commune with him. I asked him about his well being and whereabouts, the usual thing we do when we meet friends after long time.  It didn't take me long to ask him, whether he had girl friend or not. No wonder, we Bhutanese are accustomed to  such talks.  Not surprisingly,  the answer was positive. We didn't talk much of it.
   I asked him about his winter vacations. No sooner did I ask, then he looked excited and smiles spread over his face.  'you must be having lots of funs and experiences to share'  I asked.  I saw him drooping his head. I noticed a peculiar expression over his face, probably a sad expression. Then, he started telling me. This is his short story. ' I had undergone lots of challenges. My parents had hard time affording me to school. Being farmers, it used to be so hard for them to earn money. They have sacrificed their precious life to sweats and hard labour for my sake. They are really grateful to me. It is beyond words to describe how much I owe them'. 
         In the midst, I consoled  him that every farmers undergo the same process. He continued with some solace. 'I didn't want to see my parents suffer. So, I volunteered myself to work under some contractors. I had to earn money. I went to about a day's journey from my village. I got into job. It was so exciting for me because I would be paid in the due course. It was so cold. I began to work with some other fellow men. We had to cut firewoods and pile them until it resulted in an amount that would fill a truck.'  I listened to him with much attention.  It was fortunate for me because, flies didn't go via mouth as I was startled. I wished if all people were born  equally rich and  happy.
   'That is not an end' he continued without a pause.  I saw him became emotional and spontaneous in speech. 'My palms of hands were full of blisters. It was quite painful and aggravated when in contact with chilli during meal times.  Jungle was our home. We slept under a big tree. Thanks to the tree, he comforted us with warmth and  love amidst freezing winter. We worked so hard in the snow. But the most important beauty about it was, getting money. It was happiness for me because I could help my parents'.    
       He concluded with a sigh of relief. I saw his eyes burdened with tears. I was deeply saddened but it was a good lesson for me. I became a fan of him, a person who worked so hard to fulfill his dreams and parents.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Glimpses of the childhood

     A couple of tube lights scintillating through darkness,  a portrait of Guru Rinpochoe and Thangka of Jampelyang, overhanging nearby,  blesses me and my room. I watch my books sleeping peacefully in book rack and  table,  looking beautiful and clean.  I like this environment. I feel elated and waves of tranquility flows deep inside me. I can see it  abnormal because seldom does my room look beautiful and comfy. I can see change. I asked myself to  realize that my mind is free of psychological stress and my body at ease. Lately, examinations have gone by and things have transformed around me.
    I love this free time. It rewinds me back to 19 years when I used to be young. My memories are all clouded yet so special to explore.  The bygones and the present times are all different. 
    I used to be a coward, an introvert  and a timid child. I remember, myself confined back in house when my parents left for work in the field. It was my choice and  interest as a child.  I used to stay locked from inside and  I pretended to be brave but I never was gallant. It was during the time of my stay in  village. The valleys and mountains are it's wealth of beauty.  The green forests,  chirping birds and animals add mystical beauty to my village. It hasn't changed much. I  get the same pleasure of freshness and peace when ever I visit my village. 
     As a child, no significant works can be done. Gradually, as I grew by, I remember, guarding maize fields from monkeys. The fields used to be close to forests and monkeys would party if not guarded. The days would pass by shouting and banging on tin sheets so as to drive away monkeys. It needed much patience in me. I used to watch maize plants gradually becoming ready for harvest. The cycle repeated again and again. It was really nice interacting with mother nature. 
     I remember going to school at the age of five. I used to be interested in going to school. We were a group of   children from the same village travelling about two hours to reach school. My mother, used to wake up early,  finish morning chores and prepare food for me and my brother. Later on, my sister joined us and we used to be three of us going everyday to school. 
     Now, I am a young adult. It takes lots of patience to prepare food and eat,  making me miss lots of regular meals. This really makes me realize the magnitude of efforts my parents  rendered towards me in sending to schools and making  me what I am today. I am greatly indebted to them and I heartily owe them lots of gratitude. 
    Going to School was never easy. The summer months used to be a problem . The heavy rain used to drench clothes. Travelling used to be accompanied by a constant fear of landslides and leeches dominated the pathways full of muds and grasses above and below. The bigger children used to beat, cheat and frighten smaller ones adding misery to the days. 
     Interestingly, mother nature has gifted us in many ways. There used to be walnut trees on the way to school.  We used to collect walnuts and play on the ground with the intention of getting more and more. I remember, losing almost in many occasions. Winning was never a gift for me. 
    As a child, we cared very less of time. We were never punctual. We used to play on the way and land up late in school. I remember when I got beaten for late. It actually helped me, on the contrary, it had been a psychological stress as a child. I remember the days when I landed up late and when  I had to go back  home without reaching school and lie to parents that I did. 
      I remember the days when I asked money in the name of going to school and I even cried when not being given. I should not have done that. I am sorry because I didn't know that parents are suffering lots especially in villages when sources of income is so rare. 
     I am a slow walker. I used to walk so slow on the way to School. My brother used to tell me, 'Sonam, be faster, we are getting late'. I had to gear up and had to pace with him. Unfortunately, I failed in class I, and I don't remember anything about exams but I remember when I had to repeat with juniors. May be I deserved failing. My parents knew I could change and supported me through bad times. Though, they knew very less about academics at that time, it didn't hinder them. They just helped me via love and tender care. 
     I used to be aloof most of the times and even I do stay at this time of age. I never used to participate much in co-curricular activities. There weren't much facilities available at that time. But, we never used to go home early from school or either play on the way. Then, we had to wear slippers in hand and run in darkness in fear. It used to be like a competition because whoever is in front will have less fear. Sometimes, if unfortunate, will have to undergo involuntarily prostrations on the way injuring many parts. That is not an end, parents will be disappointed for such stupidity. 
    Gradually, days passed by and I grew bigger. I reached sixth standard. We had a custom in school. All the sixth standard students should stay in border so as to study more because we had to give common examinations which seemed to be tough. It was tough time for me. I had to collect firewoods. It never used to be dry so, I land up exhausted with eyes becoming red and full of tears while trying to make fire. I remember those days where I had to eat uncooked food many a times. Perhaps because, I didn't know much of cooking. Now, time has changed. It is like a boon and preparing food has become so easy. 
     With such  daily routines, I completed my primary schooling and at last , I was rewarded with colourful results which I cherish even to this times of the day. Then, I happily left for higher classes in the next school. to be continued........