Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Search of His MP

I was standing in front of the MKTS building in Thimphu wonderstruck, still not believing where the crowd had disappeared. The otherwise very crowded Thimphu Street looked deserted with only a few shopkeepers pulling up the shutters of their shops and a bunch of street boys smoking in the building corners. The day being Zhabdrung Kuchoe and perhaps most Buddhists were on pilgrimage to temples and other sacred places, I reasoned. An unpleasant air of neither spring nor summer further drugged my mind into numbness. It was in the last May.
Suddenly, a gentle touch on my shoulder shuddered and awakened me from this disbelief. In a sheer embarrassment, I turned back and there was a boy in his 18 smiling simplistically at me. “Acho, where is MP Karma’s [name changed] office?” he asked me as he folded his fungid lagey over his tattered gho sleeves. His easy blush and rough accent proved me that he was probably a recent arrival to the city.

I showed him his MP’s office. He marched ahead of me speeding up his pace when I could spot his mud-stained black converse shoes and torn stockings.

After he reached a dozen steps ahead of me, he stopped abruptly. When I came closer to him, he asked me again, “Sorry la, today’s the national holiday and all the offices will be closed. Do you know where his resident is?” Nervousness clouded his rustic face as he asked me this time. May be he was guilty to ask me for the second time. I shook my head.

“But I heard from my cousin with whom I am putting up now that my MP resides in a big yellow building at Motithang. Where’s Motithang? I want to meet him personally,” he added rather in a hurry this time.

I just couldn’t stop laughing at him. “Ha-ha, ‘a big yellow building at Motithang,’?” I repeated it. “Lad, almost all the buildings in Thimphu are yellow and big,” I affirmed him.

However, a curiosity had strike me instantly. What’s that urgent for this lad to meet his MP? Hesitantly, I asked him about it. “It’s about the job,” he answered me, casually. Perhaps over a short period of time he found me pleasant and trustworthy in this otherwise deceitful street.

With an objectionable sarcasm yet confused, I asked him how his MP can guarantee him a job. Without any hesitation and rather with an air of pride he replied, “During the election campaign my family and I supported him. That time he had promised us any kind of kidu including the job.” A glow of confidence haloed on his otherwise nervous rustic face. It bemused me immensely and I just couldn’t help myself from asking him about his village. He told me that he was from a remote village from the southern Bhutan. Along with his wife and two kids, he had been putting up with his distant cousin who is a butcher in a meat shop in the Hongkong market. As promised by his MP, he sold his cattle and boarded the bus to the capital in a big expectation of getting a dignified job to start a new and better life with his family.

Now I just wanted to ask him why he left his village. Again he didn’t hesitate to answer me, “We were starving back at home. Wild animals rampage our crops before every harvest. Worst is that a herd of jumbos destroyed my house last month.”

This time I gazed at him with much interest and in a sheer amazement. “More importantly, my kids are growing old enough to be sent to school now. There’s no school back in my village,” he added, definitely grieving this time.

His predicaments pained me. I phoned my sister who knows the resident of the MP he was searching. I hired a cab for him and directed the cabbie to drop the lad at the MP’s resident at Motithang.

As I returned home; however, a concern and indeed an inerasable worry engulfed me. Will this lad meet his MP? Can his MP offer him a dignified job? What if his MP is away on tours or attending meetings somewhere in Europe, Japan or the States? And how many days or even weeks he has to keep on visiting the MP’s resident or office? Undeniably, how many days can his butcher cousin afford or tolerate extra mouths? But what concerned me most was, can he return home and till his farmland again? 

Photo: Googlesearch

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