22nd April, 2010:
I must have walked this road at least 20 times. I must have crossed the stream in Godi 20 times as well. And for all those times, I'm sure I must have dreamed a hundred dreams. I don't quite remember what I dreamed to be when I grew up. I remember, when I was first placed in Tashigang, my father reached me to school on foot. My father carried a wooden box and I walked beside him -- I'm sure I carried a load too but I don't remember what load or what kind of bag I carried. Nothing fanciful I'm sure but I really want to remember every small detail. But I only remember walking beside my father on a sunny day.
It is dark already. And I'm traveling by car today. But in my mind, I only see me walking beside my father or traveling by a truck, so car sick at the end of the journey. I want to remember each conversation my father and I must have had but I cannot remember them. And I hate myself for that. I wish I could just browse somewhere in my head and get every word back. It is important to me. I want to remember what my father told me when I first went away from home to a town to study.
Then I remember the day my father and I went to Tashigang to get my result in class 7. Maybe it is my humility. Or maybe, I just had no self confidence. I had the nature of telling people that I did not do well in my exam. This time too, I did not want to give hope to my parents and then let it doom like putting off a fire. So I told my father that I did not do my exam well. But I know, I made him proud when I got my result.
Then I think of me standing beside him in Lungtenzampa when I was in 2nd year. I was going back to my college. My father and I walked from home to Lungtenzampa, but on the way, it rained so heavily and we were drenched head to toe and because we were on foot, our dresses were muddied. We stood in front of a shop in Lungtenzampa, praying that someone would give us a lift. I think we did get a lift after that.
Drenched and muddied, quite a pitiful sight to onlookers, we waited near the Mani Dungkhor in Tashigang town. I called up, then Tashigang's Dasho Dzongrap, my friend Tenzy's father. He picked us up and we took the night's shelter at his house. We were welcomed with humility so unlike Dasho and Dasho Aum's. But of course, I have known them like my parents, say, for quite sometime.
This is not what I want to remember just now. We must have been dirty. We must have looked even so poor that we could have been mistaken for beggars. But what is etched in my mind at this moment is that, my father taught me the human's big value of humility and hard work, consistency and honesty. I would go starve. I would not win what I want by straight means. But still, I must stick to it or go to hell.
As I pass the Lungtenzampa bridge, which is no longer there now (it is washed away by the flood and government for some reason hasn't given it back), a strong flash of memory rushes in my mind. I take a long breath and fight my tears. I feel knot in my throat. I find myself fighting the urge to look at that shortcut that extends steep upwards at the other side of the river. There used to be a town here in this place and now, this place at this time of the night looks so haunted and abandoned. This takes me to the truth of impermanence and many alike. I know, it all comes to teach me something. But for now, I only think of my father and the strong urge to disagree with the truth. I know I would be happier if my father were here now than having to accept the truth that it is only natural to die.
I cross Lungtenzampa towards Buna and I think of how many times my father walked that road too, taking Ara for sale. I consumed the hard earned money in a go.(As I talk of Ara, I don't know if it is still not allowed to sell. Looking rationally at this, I don't quite agree with the law. Why must farmers not be allowed to sell ara when liquor shops can sell very expensive imported wines? I feel it only asks our farmers not to be independent, not to make any income. How does our government want our farmers to make cash income?)
I drive further up towards Rangjung. Even when I am about to knock on my friend Tenzy's door, I think of my father and my life in Menchari. How I want to go back to that age and place. How I ache to see my father, just this once. I would like to believe that I made him proud. But for all the hard work he put for my education, I don't know if I did him justice.