Where is My Slipper?
No one is alone. There are many people around, all moving around without much of a purpose, except to plunge themselves in the pleasure of night’s hang out. Many seek to gamble away their moment. There are many kinds of games – viz. khuru, archery, lagou lagou, cards, tambula, fishing the bottle etc. It is men who play these games. Women just wander around, looking as if they can find something meaningful in a trivial walk.
A tschechu in Bhutan has such functions. It is one of the main functions where all people get together. Villagers do not find time to go anywhere but during the yearly tshechu they sacrifice their time for work. It is not only the mask dances and atsaras that make the tshechu interesting. Vendors stretch a wide area of ground than you could cover in a few minutes and people take more interest in seeing the stalls around than the songs and dances. But no one really buys anything. There are also different competitions like throwing shot-put, cutting a big log of wood*, and climbing a long slippery, straight pole.* (*who ever could do that in the shortest time is the winner). The participants usually are from villages. This is the only fun time for them. People cheer in their highest pitch of their voice, they sing and dance. It is more fun to watch people cheer than the actual performers.
And in the midst of such activities, there are some who lose their senses to alcohol. They find more meaning in drinks than laughing with the crowd. At one such function, I saw a man lying on the ground, making stammering noises. I heard him ask (no one in particular) about where his slipper was – he had his slipper on.
I write this here, not for any significance. I thought it is kind of an event that repeats…several people get drunk. For that man who was drunk and didn’t know his slipper was on his feet, drinking was enjoying his moment before it passed.