I saw them. I found them awfully cute. I took out my camera and took a shot. These little three cute boys and I became friends. Instantaneously.
So to introduce here…. my new friends are Karma, Sangay and Tenzin. And all of them were studying at Trashiyangtse Middle Secondary School. It was in May 2016. That evening, I was walking around Yangtse town exploring the place on my own.
“Uncle, where are you from?” Karma, who was the most talkative among the group, asked me eagerly.
I walked close to them and responded, “I am from Gelephu but I live in Thimphu.”
“What are you doing here?” Tenzin enquired me in a cute tone, looking at my camera.
“I am here on an official tour and now just walking around your town and taking pictures?” I said.
Then, they cheerfully circled me and touched my camera swiftly one by one. And they giggled joyfully.
“Uncle, can I take a picture with your camera?” Karma asked me.
I couldn't deny him. Karma took a few random shots and then he passed the camera to Sangay and then to Tenzin. After that, I showed the images on the camera screen. Seeing their shots, they giggled more cheerfully.
In the meantime, we had become very close and familiar to one another. They suggested me to visit their playground just nearby in the town. It’s an open ground where there’s an old road roller. They animatedly climbed over the dead machine and started their usual act - playing.
They became my guide in the new town of the far eastern dzongkhag. Inhibited by a little more than three thousand people, Trashiyantse town is a secluded commercial centre surrounded by beautiful green alpine trees. The unique feature of the town is that all the buildings have traditional architectural designs.
“What’s so special about Trashiyangtse?” I asked the boys, as we strolled the street.
“Black-necked cranes!” shouted Sangay.
“Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary,” added Karma.
I knew that. On the north of the newest dzongkhag of Bhutan, Bumdeling is home to wintering black-necked cranes. It’s a beautiful place and many tourists visit the place, they explained me. I also learned that it’s home to Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory, the national butterfly of Bhutan and the Yangtsepas have unique skills at woodworking, wooden cups and bowls and papermaking.
“Uncle! Uncle! Chorten Kora,” said Tenzin, running ahead of me.
“Uncle, we will take you there,” offered Karma.
The legendary Stupa is situated on the riverbank right below the town. It stood very tall and looked simply magnificent. There were monks and devotees circumambulating the Chorten. And with my three little friends, I walked the way round Chorten three times and said my prayers.
As the dusk was falling over the valley, we walked back to the town. As a gesture of gratitude, I bought them a bottle of mango juice each.
“Thank you, uncle! See you again!” they screamed and ran to their homes.
See them again… one fine day… hopefully. The truth is that I may not remember them and they may not remember this time together. But I’m writing this story of us - Karma, Sangay, Tenzin and Riku - to remember our beautiful memory together.
Maybe, just maybe these friends of mine would come looking for me one day after reading our story here. And then that fine day, in the far future, we’d sit down in a good restaurant over a cup of tea, or whiskey and talk about our memory, our life and our aspirations.