Saturday, December 15, 2012

Out of Station: II

Few days ago, it snowed much to surprise. There wasn't much in store except some dried chillies and potatoes. I have been complaining to Choden about the repetition of her menu but she said she couldn't help much. Except for the beautiful sunny day, there is nothing good being in Chumey in the winter.
On the greener side, i have got my new posting: Sarpang, it read. I almost regretted to have applied for transfer because i have always had this phobia of changing places and adapting to new faces but i am sure it is for the good reasons that i take leave from here. For teachers,there it is a great humiliation being in the same school. Your students come back to the same school as your colleague and shake hands with you saying: You are still here sir?
Two years shy of a decade, i am packing my things from Bumthang. Come next year, i intend to bask in the sub-tropical temperature in Sarpang and munch on fresh vegetables and fruits there. I bet the kidnappers would regret if they ever got their plans on me because there is nothing in me to exchange for their ransoms. But i would give them a list of people who needs to be kidnapped from our society or atleast from our government.:)

So i was travelling from with a passenger that i picked up from old Wangdi town, i told you? I almost took him to be some Indian worker but he was a good Bhutanese Nepali.
"Why did you resign?", asked him. There was a brief silence.
"Things are not going on as i have expected", he told me.
"You must have got lots of money when you resigned?".
"Yes. And finished repaying the loans i had!", pat came the reply. I felt miserable having asked that query in the first place.
No promotion. And what is more, he hadnt had his increment for the last 8 months. Reason: his salary reached the ceiling!(He told me some 18,000 plus) .
Ask for a posting, they send you in some remote villages, he said. His wife was presently in Lhuntse while he went to thimphu to complete his resignation.
In the course of our long conversation, it took us to his days of 1970s. He had completed his 6th grade when he opted to join in the government service. Few months later, he was in Thimphu training to be HA. He started with that post and and ended with the same post. 32 years of HA-ing!! Twice he had the opportunity to go outside Bhutan: Tamil Nadu and few years ago to Nepal.
Well we talked a lot of topic including the medicine, sanitation, rain-water harvest, surgery, Ngolops, and hydropower projects in Bhutan.
So he was heading to Trongsa to apply for some medical jobs in Mangdechu project. He told me that his prospects weren't good given his basic qualification. "First question they ask is, what is your qualification?", he told me with regret. "Oh, it is not same", i tried to defend him. A primary graduate in 1970s can easily compete with a general graduate of 21st century, i put in.
"I am happy now". There were smiles in his eyes."I couldn;t construct a house for myself but i have educated all my five kids", he boasted. I bowed my head in acceptance.

We reached at Trongsa past darkness. He bought me a beer while he sipped his coffee. We bid goodbye with warm wishes to each other.
Just then i realised that i haven't even asked his name. "Sir, your good name sir?", i asked him. "Loknath Sharma, la", he told me.
"Kadrinche. Hope we meet again sir", i told him as we turned to different directions thence.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Out of Station..

It has been quite sometime since i last updated my blog. Firstly, i was busier than bees seeing over the home examinations of the school. Despite, i was helping Choden to pack things for the winter vacation. And secondly, i had to go out of station for more than a week. Well, not for workshop. It is simply pity to think of teachers going to workshops. At my side, i console myself by regularly visiting the workshop to mend my troublesome car and that gives me high self-esteem to boast the frequency of workshops i attended:). At any cost, there is no point in knocking the doors of various departments asking if they have any vacancies for the winter workshop. Most of them, nay almost all of them say that they have already sent the letters to the DEO for nominations. " You know,everything is decentralized. We dont nominate any candidates directly." I remember officer X explaining to me few days ago. Things have become more transparent, atleast it seems so!
Infact, i had to brave against another personal bereavement back in my village. It was my maternal Aku who expired recently and i couldn't but make my presence for his 21st funeral rites. Going to my village was not that easy. Afterall, what is there to brag about a kheng region? I wonder why our Lyonchen is making his efforts touring the poor and neglected kheng region sporting his Gucci that was supposedly given away as a parting gift by Ban Ki-Moon during his last honey-Moon in the headquarters of the UN. I tell you he is digging his own grave making his first visits in those region in all his tenure.
After 15 years, Gongphu haven't changed much. If you saw one village elder in bata slippers, you should be lucky! But happy they are as they were. Untouched by ruthless modernism or any global korean fever, it stands out tall in its primitive life cycle.
Since we rarely stayed in the village or ever visited, it was difficult for them to recognise us. I had to repeat my mother's name for countless times to let them know how genuinely i was related to them. Two days later, we had to leave. I looked back at my village with fond memories and sadness. There is no point in trying to make them realise how wonderfully the world outside their circumference had developed. My mother cried while left her widowed sister back in the village while i drove more speedily to run away from there.

Driving back from Wangdi, i saw that scenic ruins of the Dzong and i prayed for some more ruins in future. He he he.
Just as i was about to cross the old Wangdi town, i was stopped by another elderly citizen who wanted to go to Trongsa. I surveyed him at once. By any means, he was aged(hexagenarian) and that gave me reasons not to be scared. These days it is dangerous to pick up strangers in your car.
"Trongsa huh?"
"Yes la", he answered to me politely.
As we talked, i came to know he went to Thimphu to complete his formalities since he had resigned from the government service two months ago. He served the Ministry of Health for 32 years as a HA(Health Assistant) mostly in the remote eastern Dzongkhags. I asked him why he did resign when it was nearly time for his superannuation.
He has his own story which i will not write this time.