Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Remembering Times

 Sometimes back we (two of my friend sisters and me) were terribly in search of an apartment.  Finally we got one on the outskirt of the town, though our peers helped us a lot in our search. We hurriedly went for a shopping spree, bought some curtains and other basic stuffs, etc. We settled down immediately and were so excited for the new beginning that we didn’t take note of a Very Important Person who was going to be a part of our life till the period we were going to stay there.
We realized what a blunder it was on the first day when the tap ran dry and tenants there survived on the mercy of the landlady. Scarcity of water. The flow of water on the tap depended on the mood of our dear lady. For me, it was not the first time I faced such a situation. I had suffered similar instances earlier in my life while studying in a boarding school. It reminded me of some bygone era.
One after another challenges surfaced. We became the object of interest in our landlady’s eyes since we were three young girls perhaps. Much to our amusement, she was handling our lives. She became a source of pain, enquiring about our whereabouts each day… just like a stern matron or for that matter a mom. No doubt, she was a matron; rising us daily at five in the morning (Can anyone believe??). Over the time, we befriended the stray dogs but it was a nightmare for our friends who visited us. They never allowed any stranger to pass our locality. And, yeah the disposal of garbage. So, when you see the road sides and rivers being polluted think of it. People don’t throw garbage everywhere purposely.
But one generous quality which impressed me a lot about her was the cleaning campaign that she initiated. Every weekend along with the tenants she cleaned the basements, swept the floor,. And to mention she graciously invited us for the cleaning campaign on our first Sunday there. A salute to our bossy lady.  
A larger part of our memories are already engrained there. We teased each other about the big ladder that was kept near our veranda when we come home from late night parties, and a bike on the basement, may be waiting for us to ride it when we go for late night out.
After staying there for three months we kinda couldn’t survive our lady and her untimely wishes. So, we moved on. Now we are once again in search of freedom and joy, to explore the unknown. Our small rendezvous with the wild was unexpectantly exciting. We learnt to live with each other and formed a strong companion to defend the intruders. We were accustomed to a life of help, share and care for each other. We taught each other how to survive in the world. So, we became good buddies once again.
(P.S just my opinion on the problems suffered by tenants).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Impromptu Guide

On the eve of  International Women’s Day, when most women were celebrating womanhood, I had a unique adventure of scaling Thimphu’s historical monuments & sites of interest with two of my Indian friends who were in Bhutan for a holiday treat. While both of them were from Udaipur (Rajasthan) and since they were here for the first time, I volunteered to take them on the tour to Thimphu. We started our day with the visit to Folk Heritage Museum.
For the first time in my life I was struck with wilderness that I wasn’t able to explain on the typical Bhutanese house, a lack of culture awareness I assume which made me very guilty that I do not know the very existence of our livelihood. I felt more guiltier when I realized that this is the same houses where our ancestors lived. The massive three storied structure seemed nothing to me, just a house like any other. But luckily a lady guide escorted us and I was lucky that she came to my rescue and explained to us in minute details on the importance of the house etc.  The lady guide gave us every li’l details & information on that particular instance and answered all our queries.
Again I was struck for words for the second time on the same day when they started complaining that they saw nothing in the museum. It was nothing to them.  Anyways it was hard explaining them about it since we belong to a different inter social culture. But they admitted how nice it felt & how peaceful Bhutan was and quite unlikely said that Bhutanese are very well disciplined people. Might be they assumed it when they learnt that our people do not talk a lot unlike them or maybe they got a talk less guide which is very likely me.
 Our second stop was the JDWM Chorten or rather call it as stupa which my friends called often. I was relieved again on the explanation front when a mini coaster bus full of tourists and a guide arrived on the scene. We listened carefully when the guide explained details regarding the importance of the three painting on the entrance gate of the chorten. He even said that everywhere (in any dzongs, chortens etc) we find those similar painting, got to check on that latter (for now I even forgot what he said). Our itinerary list was full for the day, touring the nook and corner of Thimphu. So, we immediately headed towards the Buddha tower next, without wasting our time. The Buddha statue impressed my friends a lot. And reckoned that nowhere had they seen such a massive and beautiful and elegant sight like this. It was quite impressive for me too. Even the bemused impromptu guide felt very proud (that’s me).
And the last part of our tour was visiting the local handicraft shops. They wanted to try out some souvenirs for their friend back at home. One of them wanted a singing bowl. We tried every shop to get the one that she likes. My friends were very clever and inquired about the price in every shop until they could settle for a reasonable one. At last after much bargain we found one. That day was really hectic. For if I hadn’t taken that trip I wouldn’t have been so enlightened. And knew the tricks so well. And would have missed the very essence of our livelihood.