Saturday, June 2, 2012

From Gelephu with love

I had just arrived Gelephu for a fortnight-long official tour. Warm air gushed forth in a bus I was travelling from Thimphu. The air was humid, thick. It, uh, suffocated me. And even to catch my breath for me had become, so unexpectedly, difficult.


I was seated in the bus, doing nothing, my arms and legs akimbo. But my body got heated automatically. In a while, my body started streaming with sweat and it drenched my shirt completely bringing a touch of nauseous. Yuck, I felt as if I were bathing in sweat.

Even at 6 pm, the sun in Gelephu would be bright, beastly hot. Temperature, eh? It’d be, rather roughly, about 36 Degree Celsius. And you know what? Gelephu has got one of the hateful winds. It remains stagnant, sun heated.
What made my trip worse was that Gelephu hardly saw rain in the last two weeks. Often, it had been sunny, hard, brutal heat. Now I understood why people of this region are burnt skins. Men, generally, wear half vest and half pants. Women wear cotton lungi, a garment hanging from waist till toe, and thin blouse. And all wear slippers.

At almost all meeting places and markets, tall notification boards read,

You are now in the malaria endemic area, beware of malaria and dengue!

And it says that malaria and dengue leads to “complication and death”.
Scary, na? I had some anti-malarial creams and always used bed net at night. Still then, it’s frightening to stay here in summer. You know all threats: humid air, hot sun and heat, malaria and dengue. What else? Hoo-ha, poisonous snakes and leeches too.

When home, I read a little, not a lot, but sweat streamed down relentlessly. Electric fan only blows a warmer current of air. I dozed off. In two weeks, for god’s sake, I could complete, with much difficult, only the first chapter of a novel. I wanted to write, but I suffered from a block. It’s due to humid air suffocating me, blocking my creative thinking. And the worst thing? Even thinking was exhausting. It made me sweat and weary.

Give me a break!

Did I say about my sleepless nights? Well, I spent all nights tossing and turning in my bed. Sleepless. Because the mosquito netting had further suffocated me. And even inside your net, this blood sucking creature would bite you. Jedha. Yes, even after you had applied anti-malarial creams on your body.
In a day, my skin burnt. Gosh, this burn was an intense pain! I brought sun block creams all the way from Thimphu. But sweat would wash it away from your body. And you’re exposed to that dangerous sunlight called UV, unprotected.

Oh, I forgot to tell you one more thing. It’s about my duty (official) in Gelephu. Under the burning sun, I set off to work at 10 am. In my workplace, I’d just put on fan, stay idle, robotic and dull, gazing up at ceiling. And lost, rather ominously. Psst! I attempted to work on my PC. Oh, it’s just another vain attempt. Then, I’d lie down on a divan, almost entire day snoring, exceedingly tired. I was, yeah, exhausted by the hardest of summer sun. Forget about meeting my friends or even date, I couldn’t even walk out of my house.

I wouldn’t whine anymore, he-he!
However, as the days rolled into weeks, well, I had started taking pleasure in things and people in Gelephu. I had, so automatically, ultimately adjusted here. I always used to believe that in time things change and we, humans, have supreme capacity within to adjust to any places. I was not sure precisely how, but with perseverance, I discovered now, would everything be perfect in the end. There’s something good, and kind, and gentle for everyone everywhere. Now, I feel, I’ve become a part of Gelephu. I’m burnt skins, suntanned. I wear half vest, half pants. And sleepers on my feet. I sweat, yet I can walk and work. Without grumbling.  


  1. it has grown beautiful sir.....

  2. This is my first time that I am seeing Gelegphug. Thanks to you Rikku Sir. The place look amazing except for the hot weather. It must be really terrible walking during the day time. I am wondering how people survive in such high climatic condition.
    I believe you are going to enjoy fighting with Mosquitoes and the nets for another few days. Take care!

  3. I just loved the descriptive descriptions. And, yeah, it reminded me of my first day and night out here in Raichur where temperature ranges from 39 to 45 degree Celsius.
    Loved the article but I still hate the experiences because I am experiencing it right now also. Hope I would adapt to it too...some day...

  4. U gotta admit that it is a beautiful place :O)