4th October 2007 posted me in to a hotel room. Small and cozy room I was putting up in. Smaller was the TV, smallest was the toilet I ever saw. With Maya’s thought still lingering in my mind, I enveloped myself in to the thin blanket.
Holding myself to sleep was difficult as the bed was new, Gelephu, my own hometown, seemed newer. Only misquotes sounded familiar with the most irritating sound. TV is not something that I cling to on to, after I dine, even back home (in Thimphu). I knew, I would get bored and I was equipped with all my reading materials. I took out the World famous detective stories of Sherlock Homes. “The Red-Headed League”, “The Six Nepoleons” and other stories drove me through the night. How many books do I have in my travel bag and how many nights do I still need to drive along awake? I wondered.
Next day was warm and bright. I had no idea where I was suppose to be. The streets seemed deserted of famine that season. Few pigeons greeted me as I admired the feathers and the beak. With an empty mind, I wondered like a gypsy in an unknown land. I just kept moving the direction I first began. By then, the day was no more dark, I happen to be in a park. And just then, a yellow cab (Taxi) came about. Greeting with smiles and genuine politeness, I asked the taxi driver to drop me to the GUP’s office. The direction I began wasn’t wrong. But the path I had to tread was definitely newer and unknown. Small and beautiful residential area I was dropped off. Cautiously, yet loud enough, I knocked on to the blue painted door. An old lady greeted me with all her wrinkles and directed me to the backyard of the cottage through the betel nut trees. It was suppose to be the Gup’s office, but, my first thought as I saw, was that of a “poultry house”.
My Gup sat with all his authority in a white “PANGTSE” gho (not pangtse half-pant—may be it too was, I couldn’t verify). Bright and white was his dress (Gho) and so was his head. Mouth full of “doma”, he couldn’t even smile as I entered the room with my usual greetings. Like the king, he had many attendants. I felt his power and knew of his authority — no wonder he didn’t speak. His assistants do. I just had a question: my sole reason for the visit. I am usually not so scared to speak in public meetings and to my boss but that day my voice was shaky as I faced the Gup’s entourage. I was there all the way from Thimphu to collect my ID card as per the date my geog announced. But my Gup’s assistants informed me to head back as the dates were changed. I had no words then. I couldn’t believe and I approached the ‘Doma chewing Gup’ to be sure of the changes in dates. He nodded in agreement. I had no further questions. I couldn’t dare the might of the policy.
Getting back to town with no plan was very easy. Sun was almost overhead (my shadow proved it) and my hungry (empty) stomach confirmed it. With a hefty lunch, back in to my room, I dragged myself. I dug my bag for something to read and I caught my regular magazine: “New Internationalist”. A feature article “Because I am a girl…… How young women’s rights are being ignored” caught my attention and took me to understand that we, men are rude and harsh at times. I wouldn’t prefer to reproduce all that is written in the magazine but I would really like to share the crux of the story as reported: “In the age of girl power, it is easy to think that girls are now equal to boys. But a recent report has revealed that this is not the case. Nikki van Gaag, who wrote the report, reveals how, in many countries around the world, girls are still discriminated against, abused, and treated as second-class citizens — just because they are girls”. Thank God, Bhutanese girls are not worse hit and Bhutanese men are not so rude. I hope I am one amongst the better men……. hehehe.