Our parents toil in the field to make the ends meet, from dawn to dusk, round the seasons in scorching sun, in hammering incessant rain, in frosty morning, in relentless summer heat with strings of endless works. Life became more arduous when crops became vulnerable to worms at ground level and had to spent sleepless night beating empty vessel to alarm away monkeys, wild boars and porcupines. The daily routine starts with tethering the horses herding the cattle’s nothing other than this. They drank every evening and they were right in drinking, they drank to alleviate the pain of tiresome works and to obliterate the painful memories (they drink for the reason!).
I vividly remember my friends (including me!) at times walking on bare foot amid jagged stumps of gravel through Kairu chorten and Goenpa Zor to reach Zangthi community school. During lunch hour, we used to gather around in a group and shared our respective lunch: boiled potatoes, golden colored Kharang (most of the time), and at times even Bogpi with blood red pounded chilies, that you could hardly eat. In classes, (Lucky enough!) to improve handwriting, lopen Rinchen would suggest us not to use ball pens. Chinese pen was the best but it was so costly. Many couldn’t effort to buy one. Pencil was alternative. No sharpener to sharp it. Use the teeth to sharp it (what’s the big deal!). In primary level we hardly studied for fear of exhaustion of kerosene oil. But the later at higher classes, students of Shingkhar Lauri were known for toppers we are still.
It was hard those times, but these enduring memories are rejuvenating.
The living standard of salubrious peaceful villages had been lifted high, far beyond the little dreams we had, within a decade. The long dreamed farm road which is moving at snail’s pace almost crossed Menjiwoong, cutting the walking distance by almost half. Otherwise people still need shuttle to and fro for four days to Diafam, to get basic amenities with caravan of horses jingling the bells with heavy loads, following circuitous foot path along the speeding Jomori, holding night under trees and caves.
The old matted bamboo and tattered banana leave’s roofing are replaced by the galvanized tin sheets. Imported Indian rice is taking over those golden colored kharangs and bogpii’s. People talk about beers instead of the age old locally brewed ara. The electric poles are standing to get charged very soon and are waiting to bid adieu to kerosene lamps. Each and every home possesses a mobile phone now. They never attend single class yet they can dial phone numbers of dear ones who are far away, thanks to Bhutan Telecom for bridging the gap of communications and bringing nuclear families closer.
Thanks to everyone for endeavoring contributions which bought this sea of change in isolated and neglected part of the world.