So we set on our journey. We called it road trip; and by then, it was already noon. Our destination was Haa, and then Chelala.
“We have to drive fast; else it will get dark,” my friend Pema who was driving the car told me. Then, he upped the speed.
Quite frequently, we do this, travel outside Thimphu on weekends and holidays; for no better reason than to rejoice our time together and meet other friends. So this particular trip was our fourth time together to Haa only.
A day before, then, a colleague of mine wondered at me, “Of all place, why Haa again? You crazy? I think you have girlfriends there.”
And my colleague spoke it all. Haa, also know as “Hidden-Land Rice Valley”, is still one of the most isolated and least visited dzongkhags. The description list of the place goes on: “tough people”, “dry town”, “cold place”, and “tiny”.
However, Haa is a different and wonderful place; at least for me. My favour for this place comes not misplaced; for I didn’t have any girlfriends there.
There again, Pema and I were travelling. This time was autumn; now we’ve travelled the place in all four different seasons. Once we hit the Haa road from Chuzom confluence, the road became extremely narrow, thin.
The frequency of vehicles greatly reduced; we came across hardly any. We raced on and on and all anxious to reach our destination.
But quite surprisingly, the beauty of autumn and its allure grabbed two of us. Several times, we stopped the car and marveled at the colourful and infinite variety of fields and houses that consumed the landscape. It was overwhelming beautiful. We grabbed our cameras and snapped shots.
All along, the road has amazing views of more spectacular villages and valleys adorned with prayer flags and pristine alpine forests. We simply enjoyed driving, never like before, and all the more fascinated by the innocence and smiles on people’s face and rural peasants toiling humbly. We joined them.
As we neared Haa, the cold air started blowing and the alpine trees appeared richer and dense. Well, the proper Haa is a steep valley with a narrow floor and the entire valley has been so preciously guarded by the venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The serene Haa River runs right in the middle of valley, feeding the valley and human settlements for ages. Such is Haa. Such is beauty.
After meeting our friend in the town, we set on to our next destination, Chelela. This route has got a gorgeous road and it has amazing views looking down at Haa valley. Oh, I wished that I could fly across the mountaintops for an aerial view of it all.
We were only halfway to our next destination when the sun already started to set; we were worried that we cannot see Chelela. However, we stopped the car again, came out on the road and shared a small talk. The dazzling grass stirred in the air against the yellow, pink and blue hues of the sunset as if enjoying our company.
At that moment a thought crossed my mind, the joy is found not in reaching the destination, but focusing on journey. When we constantly anticipate for the destination we lose sight of all the present moments, isn’t it?
Similarly, our life is not so much about beginnings and endings, and starting and destination. It’s about going on and on and on, and treating the present moments and time as the essence, life.
So we charged forward. So we took our time to appreciate the journey.
Note: Few pictures by Rima