Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A gift of time, a gift of hope

He offered me a wooden stool next to his bed. I dragged it gently, and sat on it. As usual, Jigme Pelden was lying down on his bed in his room.

“I just finished my prayer,” he started the conversation, with a bright smile. Meanwhile, he folded his prayer beads and pushed it under his pillow.

The room was warm, heated with electric heaters. Four other elderly patients also shared the room. And in this room of the Patients Guest House of JDWNR Hospital, Jigme Pelden has been staying for the past two years. Always lying on the bed, and taking medications.  

On the window, adjacent to his bed, was his small space for praying – a few kupar (religious portraits) affixed and incense sticks burning. Right below it, on a cardboard box, there was a stack of notebooks and a few Dzongkha novels.
“Have you completed writing your book?” I asked him, rather curiously. By the way, Jigme Pelden was writing a book. And I visited him, this time, particularly to know about his book.   

“Yes, I completed it. Finally,” he replied me. A gleeful smile instantly surfaced on his face. “The book is all about my life. An autobiography,” Jigme continued, his smile ever growing.

“There are only few people who have lived and are enduring the kind of life that I live. I hope that this book of mine would help other people understand our lives and support us,” he explained to me.

In 2010, when Jigme Pelden was only 34, he met with a dreadful accident in Phuentsholing which has completely changed the course of his life. That time, as a craftsman, he was painting a building when he suddenly fell down. Half of his body (below abdomen) remained paralyzed, and he never lived a normal life.
Jigme's daily chore, weaving rachu
Worst of all, after this fateful incident, he was divorced from his wife and he had to look after his two children even in such condition.   

“Sometimes, everything was just not fair. God is unfair. Life is unfair. But yet, we learn to accept of what simply is,” Jigme shared his opinion, as I stared at him, marveling at the way he was speaking. He speaks with a great passion. And he is, undeniably, a wise person.    

Then, we stood in silence. Even though I wanted to continue our conversation, I have no idea what to say or how to say it, so I just gazed outside, beyond the window. Out in the open - everyone looked happy. They were walking, running and laughing. Free.

It pained to see Jigme lying in the room, chained to his bed. For how long, I don’t know. And my inquiring mind frequently wanted me to ask him how it feels to see other normal people outside or what it’s like being a paralyzed person. But I realized it’s a terrible thing to ask, and I shut it up in my mind.

In a while, Jigme took out a pair of notebooks in which he wrote his book. He has never attended any schools; however, he learned Dzongkha at home. The book is written in Dzongkha, and one of his supporters has been helping him translate it into English.   

The gentle afternoon sunlight flooded the room. Jigme began reading out for me a small paragraph from his book,
“Sometimes I feel that the only cure to my suffering is writing on. Because for a person like me, writing is transformative, healing. And I write this book to tell you exactly.”
As he reads out, he smiled and fumed at the melody of the words. I was amazed by the way he has built the words and crafted sentences in his book. They are just gorgeous, overwhelming.

More exciting, the book contains many beautiful poems and heartbreaking lyrics that he had composed when he was young man back in his village, Khoma, Kurtoe. And he has woven all that together beautifully in the book.

Oh, how wonderful it’s to sit next to a brilliant writer and listening to his book all afternoon. Like this. 

“You know what? It takes commitment to write a book. All cannot do it. Only those people who have discovered purpose in their life can write,” this aspiring young writer told me. I agreed with him, genuinely impressed.    
The sundown was approaching, and the daylight has already grown weak. Outside, it started to rain. It was a typical Fall day. Intermittent rains. Cold.

I stood up, leaned over and gave him a hug, a little tighter than usual. “Please visit again,” he whispered. I nodded. He offered me an umbrella. I took it.

On my way out of his room, he shouted at me, “And thank you for the books and pens.” 

I waved at him, becoming teary. And I walked out of his room; I walked way back my home. The rain was pouring down. And deep down, my heart glowed, hugely inspired and awed. I assured, reassured to myself, again and again, “I will be the first person to buy, read and review your book, Jigme Pelden.” 

23 comments:

  1. Wonderfully written Riku. I am all tears here. Thank you for bringing out to our notice information about such persons. It is really inspiring. Let's know how we can help him publish his work. I am personally willing to offer whatever I can do within my limited capacity in getting him published. Let's discuss this in person Riku.

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  2. Thank you Nawang for your kind support. We really need to help Jigme in getting his works published. Moreover, the money that he can earn from the sale, he can go for further treatments.

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  3. It's a sad story. His wife leaving him when he needed her the most is sadder. Yet he has got an inspiring way to console himself. Sad. May he recover soon..

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    1. Its very sad la. But the cottage he regained from the incident was amazing. Thank you Sherab.

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  4. It's all about fate. One or the other day, any one of us may become next Jigme and suffer his fate but not many can be so positive and determined to pen down one's own suffering and troubled days. It's so kind of you to share about his dream and letting others know, so that people like Ngawang P. Phuntsho can hear and support his dream. I pray for a miracle a to happen and wish him speedy recovery.

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    1. Pema, yes, everything is uncertain. But the way Jigme moved on with his life surprises everyone. Take care n thank you.

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  5. Really sad, true and living story of Mr. Jigme... Tears occupied me, thank u for bringing true story... May god bless him... My simple prayer for his quick recovery...

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    1. Thank you so much for dropping comment here. Please keep writing.

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  6. I salute to Mr.Jigme. It's really sad to hear that he's left by his wife when it's the time he need her most. I wonder how he could look after his two children despite the plight he's in! God bless him. It's nice of you, Riku sir, to have helped him. Buddha bless you too for the deed.
    I too shall buy his book one day. Thank you for bringing up the story sir. Have a nice day. Tcare.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sonam, for your good words. We look forward to reading his book very soon.

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  7. So sad, but also inspiring to know such stories and Riku sir its always nice to know from you, keep it up la
    My prayers for Jigme...

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    1. It's sad, but very inspiring too. Thank you Tshewang!

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  8. I am heartbroken. It is interesting to know that he is surviving each day like many other courageous people in the world.My prayers and wishes for Jigme.
    Hoping to read his book one day....

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  9. Thank you Yeshi fro dropping by my blog all time and leaving your comments. Much thankful!

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    1. You are always welcome. I get to know so much from you and I love that :D
      Keep updating!!!

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  10. Happy to know that, Yeshi. Thanks loads!

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  11. inspiring ... and eagerly waiting to read his book..

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    1. I hope you help him sell his book. Thank you.

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  12. heart touching. we are glad people like you lift his life up.

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    1. Thank you tashi. You also keep doing the same.

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  13. Its motivating and inspiring too... keep sharing the same story in future Riku sir.
    My good wishes and prayers are always with him. :)

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    1. Thanks Rupa for the encouragement n kind words. I would love to read from you more too.

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