Sunday, February 6, 2011

Troubling traveller; a lesson from a drunkard


Have you ever travelled with a drunkard-that too, on a prepaid taxi? Most of you sure did,at least once, yeah? But this drunkard surely made me think a bit, in fact, something my sober mind has never realized in all these years.
I was returning back from Lungtenphu after visiting my auntie. As usual, I walked all the way through the busy Thimphu street on Saturday evening towards my favorite spot near Bhutan Telecom office- it was better that I get a taxi from there than to get from the taxi parking because I never have to hire the taxi or pay more than my individual fare regardless of taxi being full or half empty. Nothing otherwise, that was to save my own pocket money.
The taxi pulled in front of me. The man with the rags in hand and with bunch in other, like someone shifting the place occupied the back seat with a small boy beside him. With an unkempt hair, and scruffy dressings, one can surely be not so wrong to conclude him being drown in the bottles of alcohol. Beside his little kid with a dirty cream from chocolate in his mouth smudged allover his hands, I made myself at the back seat rather uncomfortably. Usually I’m the one who breaks the silence-nothing less than barging into other’s business- and end up conversing, but this man was totally in bad consciousness, so I impeded myself from having a conversation. Moreover, the distance was not so long; Jhungshina from Thimphu is just two kms or even less.
We started conversing though I didn’t really give so much a warm response to his questions. I didn’t really mean to be mean. But what triggered our point of conversation was when he asked me where I’m actually from, and to which I said I’m from Zhemgang. I could have been little weird while we conversed in Dzongkha that the drunkard suddenly started acting like my father scolding me of how bad I am in speaking Dzongkha and yet I don’t converse with him in the language we are supposedly comfortable with. Now, how I am supposed to know we have common language-khengkha- just by sitting next to eachother unless we know about us being both khengpa. I was getting little edgy with the barbaric intrusion. And what does he have to do with my speaking of Dzongkha?
“My father was a foolish man!” wiping off the chocolate smudges from his son’s dirty face, he continues “He lived his whole life here and never taught us our own cultures and languages.”
After a pause, when I do not react to his cry-of-a-foul words, he asked me “What does your father do?”
The driver has his attention towards us for sometime now. I could see him raising his eyes towards the image in the mirror that was placed over his head inside the car.
He didn’t really seem to understand that we are in capital of Bhutan. He hated the place because of his father’s selfish reasons. Why would he care then about the place? My Father is not foolish, I thought.
I have to bear the brunt of having shared a taxi with a drunkard till he got out at Hejo. He pulled straws from everywhere- about today’s youth losing one’s identity, about one squeezing into city not just leaving one’s village but also one’s  culture and of course about his son which could be another story if I write about it.
“Please visit sometimes. I stay below the chorten with my father,” gathering his son and his luggage, he continued after having some arguments over the price with a driver “He's built his own house.”
He might have been a shameful son who brags lot dirtier about his own father living on the breads earned by his father even after becoming himself a father, though rest of the journey was spent in telling taxi driver not to carry drunkards, but today when I think of it, he did make some sense to me about one being lost his own identity in an attempt to live by others’. But that’s how it functions at home; I wonder whether my young brothers who have been brought up in Wangduephodrang would ever know little about the cultures and languages of our village. And in long run, these originalities may even be rooted out completely.
The cultures extinct are in cultures blend and cultures evolution (just being positive about it).                                                                                                         
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