Tour Report

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It is not an official tour report but an exposure and coups d'oeil of what I saw in my recent eastern tour. When most of the officers boast of the foreign exposures I have my own share of village exposure too. They bring me socks and Thailand sweets but I have nothing to bring with me except few liters of home brewed ara. It is not for them though.

If ever I hear the topic of our rich culture and tradition I will always think of villages. Villagers are the true practitioners and townsmen only prattling of it. Forgive me if I am wrong but the integrity must have surely lessened with zooming cars and egoistic minds.

Meandering down the bumpy farm road we reached our host's place. He showed us the room and few minutes later we were served with series of ara and bangchang. He made an announcement that whole denizens were gathering for tsokchang.

During tsokchang I was more charged to learn about their thoughts and lives than the standing bottles of ara, eggs, beaten-maize and cheese. The smiling faces and plebeian jokes were synonymous and deep within my mind I felt I found the answer to GNH in my own terms. I overheard one officer saying the custom had changed over the time.

Few changes that I could not ignore to notice were they have known to address drivers from Lopon Driver to Ata Driver. Few years ago, any driver is almost reverent to worshiping. It was the talk of the village marrying to a driver.

They have known that Sap Tashi (Forest Guard) is not greater than Dasho Dzongdag. Few years ago, hear the name of Sap Tashi they would be scared to death. Hear the visit of Dasho Dzongdag, it was a pain to pitch tents, renovating mule tracks and cleaning the village.

The real change is on their swapping from ara to beer. Townsmen gulp any volume of ara if they know it is sent from village. Buy an ara from local vendor and invite them telling it is sent by your grandparents from your native place. With mix of devour and happiness they will make out the time and hear your cell phone beeped or your door knocked. Make sure you keep the secret for I will not warrant their anger and vengeance.

In the village every household is a distilling factory brewing ara, bangchang and singchang. And yet they prefer Ngangringmu, long-necked beer bottle.

We carried few boxes of beer and presented to them. We preferred their produce and they preferred beer. A bottle of beer is shared among many in the traditional wooden cups. In bars a man shares many bottles of beer in the high rise glass. It occurred to me that if they need to change then they must make a traditional wooden high rise cup only for beer. Another thought occurred that it may not be easy to fit in their hemchus like the present cup.

Few continuous thoughts followed in my mind. I have started to find solutions to their problems. They looked stupid to me visiting us from bottom to top of the village. They looked comical to me in their shabby dresses. Another thought made me jealous of them. I wanted to stay in the village too. I wanted to smile like them. I wanted to work for decent living and die peacefully. And again they looked funny and again they looked godly.

I saw my cup being filled continuously and my head started to knock me off. I was drunk.


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