That evening, if I say so, I had plenty of time on my hands. Even after leisurely shopping and eating foods and struggling with Indian vendors (bargaining and denying) in Jaigaon, I had this time. So I phoned a close friend of mine who lived there, having had decided to meet him.
“Zangdopelri. Yep. Wait there, dude, I will be in a while,” he hung the phone.
So I walked to the Zangdopelri, a Buddhist monastery in the middle of Phuentsholing town. The darkness gradually enfolded the town; however, the power promptly came to light. The monastery was a serene, heavenly place and was perfectly illuminated by the glittering lights. A green park with neatly trimmed trees and benches spread around encircling the monastery where people both old and young were relaxing.
Meanwhile, I joined a group of elderly people and circumambulated the monastery. As we walked around, we kept turning the prayer wheels and breathing in the sweet odour of incense and butter lamps. Many people, all walks of life, were saying their evening prayers, prostrating and circumambulating the monastery.
“Kota, where you from?” an elderly man from the group asked me in Sharchopkha as we continued turning the prayer wheels.
I responded, “From Chuzagang Gelephu.”
“Oh we were thinking you Sharchokpa. Because you got the Sarchop looks,” the meme’s wife quickly reacted.
For the next stretch of time, we kept circumambulating, we kept talking. About our villages, our family members, and our lives. This heavenly monastery and this wonderful conversation with elderly people fed on me a refined kind of energy and humbling experience.
I phoned my friend, to check where he reached. His phone was busy. Then I chose a bench in the park and sat there. A big dog came running to me, tail wagging. I stroke his head and fed him some Indian sweets that I bought from Jaigaon. He climbed on the bench and snuggled brushing against me.
Already I had snapped several pictures in my phone. I filtered a few and when I was about to post on Instagram, a woman called out at me from behind, “Hello, Aue!”
I turned around and was dazzled. A gorgeous woman, tall and slim, stood staring at me. She wore dark short and sleeveless blouse revealing her fair arms. Oh goodness, she is hot, I whispered, inwardly though.
“Aue, can I take away my dog?” she asked me, pointing at my new found friend sitting next to me.
“Oh ok you can. But you need to refund me what he ate – a packet of sweets,” I joked, as I handed the strap of the dog to her.
She pulled the dog from me and shouted, “Lazy, let’s go home.”
Before she left, she turned back and smiled at me. Oh, she appeared way more beautiful. My eyes followed her until she disappeared way beyond the Zangdopelri. Beautiful, beautiful, I kept on saying as if like chanting mantra.
When I was debating with myself whether to phone my friend again, my phone rang. Yes, it’s him, “I’ve reached here, dude. Come straight right in front of the GOI building.”
I ran towards the building. It’s a frenzied last hours in the border town; both merchants and customers were busily engaged in the final commercial activity of the day.
“Hey here, Riku!” my friend waved at me from his car. We hugged, and he took me to his place for dinner. His house was about 10 minutes drive away from the town.
My friend rang the bell. As soon as the door was opened, Lazy sprinted out, wagging his furry tail. A giddy nervousness started to fill my head because I knew what’s coming next.
“Meet my wife,” my friend introduced his wife to me.
I got ambushed.