The short winter days passed with bright sun rise and the smiling warm sun set. Closer it came the day when I must leave my dear aged parents back at my long stayed village, working in the beautifully patterned fields.
My beloved mother sweating and drooling carried on with her tiresome work. She lined up the potatoes on the rows made by my father. My caring father dripping in a pool of sweats wearily pulled spade full soil over the lined up potatoes. I squatted on the border of the field and watched them working tirelessly. My parents though in other days call me for my help that was my last second day before moving to Wangdi they didn’t allow me to work. They just wanted me to tell farewell story to them as they keenly listened and responded with breath filled in their hearts. I cannot think of living my life without their presence. But my fated novel profession soon swung with my separation from them.
My tightfisted winter holidays ended. On the 5th march 2013, with the sun rise I started to pack my things looking nooks and corners in my house to make sure I have left nothing unpacked. The day was called off, I wondered all around the rooms, unbolted the cases and cupboards whole day. Within the crawling of dusk I finished packing the things including my mother’s puffed rice packed in an old ragged green plastic and one full measuring bowl flattened rice packed in a pink plastic. She had also packed a bundle of dried beef and dried eggplant in a faded yellow piece of cloth especially for me.
I was bed ridden on that tiring evening and I was not able to prepare anything for my parents who were just back from their exhausting day long work. I was in a deep slumber enjoying a very humorous dream in my mother’s cozy bed.
I heard a vague voice of an old hoary man shouting from below our kitchen window, “hello! Anybody is home”. I answered, “Yes we do, and can I help you”. “Can you please lend me a room for a night halt?” hurriedly I jumped from the bed and looked out from the huge opened window of our veranda. I saw an old grey haired man, wearing a tattered black woolen gho carrying a big old traditional lidded bamboo basket leaning on our downstairs room’s windowsill. I was bit scared and murmured the words to myself, “If I answer him from here it seems I am disrespectful to the elders and if I go out and welcome him won’t he be a robber or won’t strange things happen”. I tried practicing my words before I went out. “Kuzu zangpo la! Na ga dem chi bay jem”. ( Hello! What made you to be here?)
I tumbled down the stairs and went outside to answer the old man. I hounded the practiced words and remained in silence. He replied, “I came here to sell something worth some valuable things”. I was in big doubt, “What could this be?” Then he slowly put down the bamboo basket and told me to open the lid. At a snail’s pace I held on the leather handle and pulled the lid up…….. Three small skinny monkeys jumped out of the basket which scared me and started yelling “Tseyak! Tseyak! Tseyak!”. In a worry I closed my eyes and jolted around the old man and cried out “Azaii”. When I opened my eyes I felt stars blinking in my round shocked eyes. I saw my mother standing beside me. I think my mother came running in our bedroom and slapped me on my face. Sadly, the funny dream ended with a hand harsh slap on my cheeks. I wished if I could end that humorous dream what kind of story this would have been.
Quickly, I have gotten up to make fire in our small rusted bhukhari in the spiced aroma kitchen. I carefully plugged the boiler. Then rinsed the rice and made it ready to cook. Hastily, I made a pickle out of chilly, tomato and onion putting a little mashed Bhutanese cheese. Mean time I saw the light indication of the boiler on warm. With half of the boiled water in the tea pot I have put scoop full yellowish local butter with pinch of salt and homemade tea leave named Yonten Dem. I stirred it hard with the blender and boiled on the fire. My suja got ready for my dear tired parents.
The heat from the fresh cooked food warmed the cold freezing room along with the bhukhari’s rambling heat. I made everything ready in front of my parents. We started our late evening meal. As usual my father won the race of the evening mealtime. Then he started filling up hot water in the flask. My mother arranged the pots and plates in the proper place. While I plugged my laptop extension code and began face booking in front of the Bhukari. I bid farewell to my college mates who were online and chatted with my close friend Sonam Choden studying in Banglore whom I haven’t met for more than six years after secondary grades. I bid her goodbye for a while. That time I stayed late into nights listening to my mother’s life stories and essence advices.
The day before hangover has put me into deep sleep, morning till eleven. I have gotten up late and went to veranda to wash myself. There I saw our old white flask bunged beside the aluminum bowl on the cement. I shook it and found the flask was half full. Actually when my brother and sisters are home two full flask of hot water isn’t enough for us. Now, they all have left home on their studies. So presently a flask of water remains more than our use. I washed myself hastily and joined my mother and father for the breakfast. The warm shiny pots placed on the circular bamboo band filled with local red rice and a very hot red chilli with cheese. A grin on my mother’s lovely face greeted me. Happily we enjoyed the delicious breakfast chatting.
It was almost 10. My mother in a hurry dialed her taxi driver friend’s number and asked for his hand. ...........to be continued............