I picked the bookmark, placed it between the pages and closed my book. It has been almost an hour that I was reading; I needed a break. Then I logged online - surfed my friends’ pictures on Instagram and checked messages on WeChat, Viber and Facebook.
Almost quite immediately, the Facebook chat bar popped out on my screen. As I touched on it, my friend Gyembo Namgyel from Pemagatshel was greeting me,
“Hello Riku. What you doing there?”
“I’m reading a book. But now taking a short break online here he-he,” I wrote back.
As usual, we jumped into talking about books we read and our writings and blogging. I congratulated him for having created his own blog recently. Gyembo is a former reporter with Bhutan Observer and he writes from his farmland in Pemagatshel.
“Yeah, I love working in my farm. Now feeling good to see my avocados bearing fruits,” he answered me proudly when I asked him about his farming life.
Generously though, he said, “I enjoy going through your blog and I can see you have improved a lot. Your writing, your reads, your circle of friends; and your outlook of life is what I like most.”
That was too big praise about me and I was greatly astounded. I was sure that I really don’t deserve it. However, that’s what friends are for, aren’t they? So I’m lucky to have one.
For a little while, we chatted how it feels to live a humble life. We’ve agreed, together, it’s simply “beautiful and wonderful”. And then I wrote to him that I always wanted to live a humble life and now emphasizing on it even I stay in a City like Thimphu.
Gyembo responded, “I’m glad that you have found this important direction in life. Riku, always be like that. If we live like this, every moment of our life is just beautiful.”
I thought to myself that this is the key to a happy life on our short stay on earth; and most importantly, I hoped this is the right way to life.
“Everything is just ephemeral, you know? Nothing tangible. Nothing actually belongs to us. We are just chowkidars (caretakers) of what little we have and have to pass on including this body,” he wrote to me.
I read the message, and reread it more carefully. Oh it penetrated me so deeply that it stirred every part of my body. For a moment I couldn’t digest the fact, this brutal truth.
Then I turned away from my phone. I pulled up my window curtains, opened the glass and myriad of golden rays of the setting sun flooded into my room. As I craned my head out window, I felt delighted to see the sun shining stunningly through clouds and prayer flags.
I asked the mighty sun in wonder, Are we just caretakers of what little we have including this body?
I waited for answer. But the sun sank beyond the mountain and horizon and beyond my grasp. I was again left with that vast question still echoing in my head.
However, wondrously, after a brief moment I started feeling deep sense of comfort dwelling in this question. Sometimes the depth of our thoughts is like the presence of sun that exists over the horizon, in the sky, which meant the light of life to us yet its existence is way beyond our grasp, logic.
Meanwhile I turned back in my room and picked up the phone. Instantaneously, I wrote back to Gyembo, “I’m glad I dropped at the right place to take this break from reading. This realization is beautiful. Thank you.”
And I continued reading.