Friday, August 20, 2010

To Destiny's own Mighty Grasp!

I was the first passenger to get into a cab traveling to Paro. “Wait for sometime, kota. I need to find three more people,” the cabbie of mid 30s told me and set out hunting for more passengers. It’s early September, a day on which the temperature has fallen, fetching the first true cool air of the year in Thimphu.

I sat by the window and looked around the crowded Luntenzampa bus station wondering, rather less casually, who my fellow passengers would be. Outside, the station was a miniature world in every sense. It hummed with activities-cabbies fighting for the passengers, hawkers begging, momo and doma sellers crying out, “Momo! Momo!” or “Doma! Tiru nga!”

Here too “survival of the fittest” remained the order of the day. 

The first to arrive was a lady. She wore red tego and mathra kira, heavy lipstick, strong perfume-all fighting against the universal phenomenon called “ageing”. She smiled faintly as she made a grand entrance. “Hellow,” she greeted me, foraging her blue handbag which was in stark contrast to her dress colour. “Hi,” I said, just out of courtesy, although I was in no mood for conversation.

Shortly afterwards, two young girls arrived. “Songo tshangpa! Now let’s go,” shouted the cabbie. The young girls were students on a weekend visit to their homes in Paro. Their conversation, their accents and their mannerisms-all spoke a life of luxury with loads of money to spend. Their non-stop natter of good looking boys in their schools, of their ex-boyfriends, of lopoen Karpolas and Kakurus, of test papers and Korean movies went on and on.

As the sun set we moved out of the busy Thimphu city. The cabbie put on a eye-shades, seemingly the cheap one from Jaigoan supermarket. Perhaps to impress the three lady passengers, but surely a misplaced of fashion, I mused at his lack of knowledge on fashion.

The girls slept on each other’s laps and a complete silence ensued. Outside the window, I could see the lights and concrete buildings decreased in number gradually. A few number of houses and shops perched on the hills and nearby the Wangchu produced the lights like fireflies here and there. And then, total darkness embraced us after crossing the Bzeezam immigration check post.

The cab racketed on and on through the wilderness. The country lights again on the increase, then the city lights and the Paro town. A cyclical process like life itself the philosopher in me couldn’t help thinking, with light and darkness alternating, noise and silence alternating, love and hate alternating, joy and sorrow alternating…a free roller coaster ride from birth to death!
Inside the taxi, the young girls were looking pictures of a magazine. It’s the Yeewong magazine. On the glossy cover was the first aspiring Miss Bhutan Chokye Tshomo Karchung. The daily national newspaper, Kuensel lay in my bag. I took it out and read the headline for several times-‘Drangpon dies in road accident’. I moaned for his untimely brutal death but also becoming melancholically romanticized by the nothing-is-permanent-on-earth dogma.
And the newspaper fluttered in the wind, begging to be released from my grasp, to fly out into the Unknown. Slowly, I let go off the paper. Out of the cab window, it flew-out into the Unknown.
I looked up at the sky from the car window. Infinite stars were up there. Do they decide the destiny of us mortals here on earth, I asked myself in wonder. The stars blinked at me, as if in reply.

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