Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A simple life

Everything was brighter after the rain, once more. Here in Thimphu. Even the dark clouds were simply pulled away on mountain-tops, then way beyond. All so happened in a small wedge of time; as if commanded by the almighty above. It seemed to me like a military troop taking back their force after a daylong war.

And suddenly, quite wondrously, the day has become all clear, beautiful. The sun appeared once again and started sparkling tantalizingly over the valley.
It seemed a perfect proposition to Sonam, my friend, to go to Khasadrapchu, to pluck apples in his orchard there. I and Tshering accompanied him to Khasadrapchu, south of Thimphu. It took us about 30 minutes by car.

Perched on a giant piece of land on the valley of Khasadrapchu, Sonam’s apple orchard was all enclosed by rice fields and pine trees. A dozen of households scattered all over the valley. Everything was so serene and beautiful here.  

“Riku, I always want to come here, again and again. Here, I feel as if I have come closer to myself,” Sonam started the conversation, as we plucked apples, red and ripe. Then he burst into whistling.
So excited, we went onto our day’s chore of plucking apples. It’s a simple task though.

Once done, we walked down a footpath becoming intoxicated by the fragrance of apples and the fresh smell of cow dung. This footpath ultimately left the fence of the orchard and came out to a huge rice field.  

On a giant rock, at the top of the field, we just sat and continued our conversation.

“It’s a lovely place,” I exclaimed.

“Yes, it is. After my retirement, I will live here,” Sonam responded, his voice genuine and crisp.

He mused for a small moment and added, “I don’t have any outrageous dreams, but only to live a humble life. I will build a small cottage and spend all of my remaining years here after the retirement.” 

It really surprised me, honestly. Because all other people in Thimphu wanted to go overseas and earn, then construct tall buildings in Thimphu and buy big cars. But this young man, a friend of mine, is very different. I stared at him for a moment, strangely impressed. And how I wish I could describe his feeling.

I didn’t know what to say, at all, so I stood in silence. More tellingly, I was awed by his outlook of life, his simplicity, and his understanding of the life’s essence.

As Sonam rolled his hands, searching for words, my eyes stretched for miles all over the valley. The Wangchu River flows gently, right in the middle, dividing the valley into two. Far away on the other side, over this river, I caught sight of a few households. A chorten sat nearby, adorning and protecting these households for eternity. And a herd of cows were grazing around the chorten, graciously.

Now I came to realize Sonam’s words that as we come closer to the nature and serenity of this quality, we become so close to ourselves and understand ourselves better. For we dread inside of us and become more aware of our own perceptions, feelings and motivations. So we understand our purpose of life better. I hope it so.

On the way back to the orchard, we were invited by a farmer for cup of suja in her house. We declined, but she insisted on. She took us in her house, served us with suja and snacks. We shared a small talk as we sipped on hot suja.

Outside the house, we came across a group of children playing and making spontaneous laughter. As soon as they saw us, they smiled and giggled.

“We all go to schools la,” the kids responded to us, choosing their words with care, with apparent shyness.

We packed apples in our baskets and walked down a farm road that leads us to the highway. For the next bit of few minutes, I stopped and gazed at the most capturing valley for the last time. Oh, the setting sun was incredibly beautiful here.
The simplicity of life of this village dazzled me; their innocence gasped me. More importantly, they taught me that ordinary things are often the greatest strengths of all. A serene smile. A cup of tea. A small talk. A sincere thank you. A small compliment.

All this make you to open your heart and feel better, a little happier. And this is precisely what my friend, Sonam, wished for. A simple life!     


  1. Wish we have more of Mr. Sonam, like your friend wishing for the simplicity. Simplicity without desires is one essence of Buddhism that everyone of us know.
    Wonderful post Riku sir.

    1. Thank u dumcho. It is the essence of Buddhism. Keep blogging la. I would love to read more from you.

  2. HI Riku, you are back with the sweet words post. Loving it! Keep writing!!!

    1. Thank you Rima. I wrote sweet words as it is all inspired by my fren n this particular place. Sonam is sweet. Khasadrapchu is sweet.

    2. I only knew that those apples were sweet because I tasted few of it when you were not around hehe... :D

  3. You really captured the essence of that beautiful village in your words. It reads as beautiful as your friend, Sonam, and beautiful Khasadrapchhu. Enjoyed a lot. Keep updating. Would keep reading.

    1. Thank you Monu for all those wonderful words. I hope you reached your college safe despite the "frustrating" train journey. Keep writing, and keep inspiring hundreds others.

    2. We reached safe and sound. But I am extremely sorry for I could not keep my promise of coming to your home for dinner. I just stayed a night at Thimphu after I came back from my village as my dear parents wished me to be with them for longer time. We would sit together for dinner in my next vacation la.

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  5. Interesting post like always!
    Bhutan is beautiful and it shall remain the same :)