I love weekends. I love it more to keep them empty and un-programmed. You know it well that weekdays are all scheduled, committed and busy. These two particular days of the week – Saturdays and Sundays – are exclusively meant for me, to spend time on myself, on what I love, on what is close to my heart.
So last weekend, I’ve spent my entire weekend at Chapcha in Chukha with my friends Chencho and Pema. I’ve got a very small circle of friends, and have always emphasized, valued and protected them. They are so close to my heart.
Chencho’s parents still live in Chapcha and it’s our first time visiting his village. It’s a beautiful village where a handful of traditional houses spread over the valley surrounded by green forest trees and farmlands.
As we entered the village, Chencho showed us the places where he used play archery games with other village kids and the footpath that he used to walk to his primary school. Every nook and corner evoked childhood memories in him.
We saw a few ruins whose owners had forsaken for urban areas. Then we came across a group of farmers weeding in their field. Chencho knows them well; they too know him. We stopped as Chencho began chatting with an old woman. She knows all the family members of Chencho and what they do and where they work. It’s a pleasant thing to know this; whereas in Thimphu we don’t’ care to know about our next-door neighbors.
The sun was beginning to march down when we reached Chencho’s house. We sat in a room and over tea and snacks we watched his photo albums. The photos gave us rare opportunity to know Chencho’s life from his childhood to boyhood and now as a man.
We could also see some photos that we took together when three of us met for the first time at Sherubtse in 2005. All the memories we had made, the laughs and tears have flashbacked instantaneously. We reminisced at the memories, together, feeling surprised and blessed too.
The window of the house has amazing views looking down at the infinite green valley of Chabcha. My eyes stretched for miles over the fields, valley and mountains that soared high up daring to surpass the heaven.
“How fortunate you’re to be born and brought up in such a beautiful place,” I whispered to Chencho, feeling elated and deeply at peace.
The setting sun shone brilliantly painting the entire valley in golden rays. The evening breeze stirred grasses in the air and how we wished to stay forever gazing at it and spread our wings, fly, soar. Like this.
Then we walked down to potato field of Chencho’s parents. Three of us, three friends, dug a bag full of potatoes to be brought home in Thimphu. Potato is the main cash crop and source of income for the people of Chapcha.
“I could complete my education - primary, high school, university degree and postgraduate – all thanks to this potato,” Chencho explained to us, his face all in smile.
Pema, who is from Paro, agreed and remarked, “In my case, it is apple.”
And as I’m from Chuzagang I reiterated, “I thank rice.”
How wonderful to discover together the important roles that crops have played in our lives. To tell you, rather proudly, this visit helped us understand Chencho’s family and place, upbringing and explored what he was born into. Most importantly, it gave this friendship even greater depth, meaning and respect.
Note: All pictures shot in phone