Country side is beautiful and the journey even more.........
I think I have to fuel my blog this way (type it off line and then post it whenever I have the connection), because I cant do it online. When I have the right mood to type my feelings, I don’t have the network connection and when I have the network connection, I don’t have the right mood. So today I decided to give this a go.
I could not write on my blog for the last many days. I could not write, not even a word because earlier in the month I had a term break and immediately after the break I joined my friends for a trip to Phobjikha.
The trip to Phobjikha was an interesting one. In many aspects it was quite worth memory. First thing first, the journey was considerably long but a comfortable one in a tourist coaster bus. We started on a Friday skipping the classes. We were 23 in total including the bus driver. Although we reached there a little late we were greeted by a tea at the place of a friend’s relative. Then the most interesting thing of the day was when we reached the place I was a little surprised to know the place had no electricity supply and it had no signs of life.
There were several houses which once housed the village primary school a year or so ago but now it is abandoned because they had a new school built. First thing that we had to do was clean up the mess, largely consisting of the papers and used books and a lot of dusts. I and a friend along with the girls had to clean the dust in the candle light and I can still feel the smell of the dust that filled my nostrils that evening. I still remember many sneezes I had to blow out.
Within few minutes we have cleaned up the mess and unloaded the things and allocated the rooms. We chose the house close to the road head and it had three rooms. We allocated it in such a way that men and women may not mess up after getting drunk. We kept the stock in the middle room and men and women to sleep on either side of the store house.
By then other friends collected enough firewood. Together we made the cooking hearth and started the fire and cooking. While cooking was done some friends arranged for the bon fire which would be used while we sip through the drinks. Phobjikha is a cold place and it is quite cold especially when you are outside in the open. After dinner all of us got around the fire.
The evening was cool. Although we could not see any stars in the night sky there was a cool breeze wafting around romantically. This gave me a nostalgic feeling of not having my better half by my side. Had she been by my side this night would not be less than euphoric. But that was a wild dream I had.
However in reality nobody had anyone to be called their better halves, so its not a big deal me not having mine. The night was calm and beautiful. We were singing around the fire in our traditional style of merrymaking, occasionally taking a sip through the wine and beer glasses. I had few sober friends reminding me that I wasn’t alone. This is second time in my life so far of being sober and observant.
I saw people losing speech gradually after taking few more sips. The more they drank the more silent and still they became. Some friends trying very hard to open their eyes to confirm that they are still alive. Some had developed reddened ears like they go before a presentation in the class. Some uttered completely unintelligible words like a dumb trying to make sense.
But this night I could not help but appreciate the way my friends conducted themselves. Had I drank I would have made history. There wasn’t any problem but only warm exchanges of understanding and cooperation even in the unintelligible words of the drunken state. I was awestruck. This is true maturity.
We sang through the night until the fire went out and then we retired to our cocoons. Cocoons here refer to sleeping bags. It was past mid-night when we slept.
When I woke up in the morning it was only three of us still in the cocoons; all others have already got up. As I reluctantly tried to get up, I heard our head cook beat the lid of the cooking pot as a calling bell for the breakfast, especially for the three of us still in our slumber.
Outside it was already broad day and I saw that the place closely resemble my birth place, especially with the stunted bamboo mat allover the mild slopes. The vast valley strewn with two storey traditional houses and cattle’s grazing in the distant fields looked quite similar to Shingkhar.
Breakfast was shortly followed by a sumptuous lunch. After lunch four of us started to play parala (traditional dice game). We got so engrossed that we refused to go to see how the roosting place of the endangered black necked cranes looked like, out in the swamps and the stream side.
We banged the dice cup over and over again and the game was going round and round. I didn’t feel that time had passed so fast but by the time friends came back the sun was sinking.
That night we had the most memorable time of our stay. We sang in such a fashion that men and women grouped separately and contested singing. The particular song of interest was “Ashi Kuzu Tsari nyungma dra (the physique of the princess(here refers to women) resemble a bamboo shoot on the cliff of the place called Tsari in Tibet known for its slim quality)”.
We made two lines on either side of the fire and we exchanged the same song praising the physical qualities of the women. Then we started abusing the qualities that we have praised earlier. This in particular sparked a special interest in all of us, as even those who got drunk opened their eyes as wide as possible and participated in the war of songs. The women fought back teasing the physical qualities of the men present. This took a lot of time. In the end we tried to make peace I mean still in the form of song and we made it.
This drained us all of the energies that we have had. As this dragged us past mid-night again, we decided to sing last three concluding songs popularly called “Trashi” and then retired. But that night I with two other friends slept in the bus which was quite comfortable.
Again the same things repeated next morning; I was awakening for breakfast. The sun was shining bright in the cloudless sky. That day we were supposed to leave the place and we decided to make a holy visit to the Gangtey Goenpa which is on the way back to Thimphu.
We packed our tummies with a brunch and packed the things and boarded the bus in our national costume. Thus we started the journey back.
On the way; like a mighty fortress the Gangtey Goenpa looks magnificent with twelve sides to the main structure. This they say is the seat of the Gantey Tulku the physical emanation of the great Terton Pema lingpa. The monastery was awesome ; all the wood works are carvings in the three storey structure. This is the rich reservoir of Pedling terma tradition of Buddhists. We made several circumambulations, scores of prostrations, offerings and appreciated the contents.
We visited the home of one of our friends and took a tea. Then we got back on the bus, which glided past beautiful places in Wangdiphodrang and over Dochula the highest point in our journey back. The return journey was a dull one. Most of them us still could not leave the interesting place, so there was a sort of a hangover.
It was 8pm night when we reached the old hostel room at RIM. And this is just a figment of my memory. Thank you for reading this dull story. Now my back is aching I think I will take a rest. Today is 29th of May and this event has happened exactly a month ago.
This is just a pleasure reading; no morals, no lessons and no reasons.