Many months back I made my mind to write something about Traveling. It remained on my wish list ready to disappear. If you don’t act on it, it’s hard to remember again. But Thanks to my Android 5.1 Google Keep, I jot down whatever great thoughts that popped into my head as soon as possible. Rather than letting it perish gradually from my subconscious mind.
Or does your photos serve as better memories? Like you post a timeline photos of the expedition on Facebook after many trial snaps, the best one carrying charms, weirdness and some manifested in awe splendors. Ah yes, this guy got a photo snapped near towering Eiffel Tower, oh whoa! Sadly all the photos I can have is only selfies and the beautiful sceneries whenever I chance to see out. This happens when you travel alone. So I thought myself why don’t I write a journal instead when best feelings call?
Best thing I’d ever do in my life is travel, travel, and travel. I want to travel low, high, to the unknown lands, or disappear into the alien villages to experience the different facets of life. The best thing about traveling is the moments it creates. Solo trip taker like me ever seekingthe lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day into different places meeting people. No sunrise find me where sunset left me. Sometimes even when the whole world sleep we travel far.
I shall tell you the brief accounts of my travel now. The events that unfold here are not exaggerated anyhow. It’s a genuine story with lot of memories.
I live in Bhangtar. In real the outskirt of then flourishing town now a dead village to the far eastern of SamdrupJongkhar
It was one fresh summer morning, one of the days in July. I remember some seven months away from the year I finished my sophomore high school in Orong higher Secondary School. I got up very early with the heavy head when there’s the darkness of dawn still invisible. Because I had to rush to catch the bus going SamdrupJongkhar
Ready to embark! I rode my bicycle for almost an hour(It Usually takes) till I reached Tsangchuthama( basically called because its a developing village adjoining River Nyera Ama Chhu that runs in high speed ferociously. )
Woo!! I’m off. Oh did I tell you I’m going to Nepal to meet my sister and attend her wedding? No. Yes, I was going for that very reason. I traveled for next three to four hours. I was very eager to move to a new place. Nothing seems more comfortable than taking trips alone, the world unknown to me, no any hurdles, and only the spectacular views around. I am off. Yet I was apprehensive. I’m going to a place where I haven’t gone before. Seriously I was newly at home from two years of stay at boarding school. Did that thing happen to you? I got to have the little bit of daring heart to walk alone, being independent.
Finally to SamdrupJongkhar
I woke up startled, wondering whether I was late for the travel. 05:00 AM. I sighed with relief. I savored few snacks and hopped inside Bumpa Bus. Soon off I went again for next seven to eight hours, observing the morning sun turning yellowish from huge fiery red. Today is a sacred day! Relax. Can my wander be of any use? It’s going to be.
It was always exciting to travel. I saw Indian plains acquiring the immense beauty. The role largely to the summer’s weather, the roadside ponds looked full, the terraces all planted with paddy, the scenery looked so beautiful, I was into a euphoria. Ate lunch on the half way. In one of the instances, I saw many handicapped and downtrodden people. I always feel sad to see them. I gave them few of the bucks. I was like, he was a cold-blooded until he showed up his empathy to an old man who lives a yard away from him. Lol. But seriously I have a kind heart. To be good we don’t expect god to see us, but it’s a nature born within. And finally, I reached Phuntsholing. The thoroughfare extends far from Phuntsholing, but I stopped to begin next journey the next day.
After many moments later I was set to go to Jaigoan to book a ticket of a vehicle going to PaniTanki (a crowded place far west, West Bengal, Near to Nepal) I stayed one night in one of the brothers who stays in Phuntsholing with his wife, originally from Bhangtar. Their welcome was warm and courteous. I felt glad. Ah! I forgot to tell you about dust. The Indian road was very dusty. I hate dust. Everyone closed their windows, but still, it enters from nook and crannies. By the time I reached Phuntsholing, I was like a foreigner originally to my green eyes and more because I got the grayish paints of dust. Hair disheveled and it was like you don’t have to use hair gel to make it into whatever kind of hair style you like. Cool me!
I remember well the third day’s beginning was a gloomy and foggy one. Here my Journal reads
“ Cloud and the sky hid every inch of the sun. The sun seems sad I guess it’s not going to appear through the dark cloud today.”
I woke up early. Made my hair and I was a boy going to a festival again. Ate the early breakfast they served. I bid them goodbye by thanking them. Then I strode past the gate and soon I was on the Mini Bus. In the Bus, we were five of us. All the strangers to be acquainted soon. The other best thing I love to do is socializing with people, getting into a conversation. I’d turn warm in instant with the smile.
The mini bus reeled off apace and we were into many conversations soon. I asked them whether it was their first visit to Nepal. Most of them had traveled there before. I was relieved. The farther west we went, the more eager I became to meet them. I’m seeing a sister whose presence I knew only after twenty years. I never knew they existed before. Here I am. Anytime soon I will be in Nepal. The places to the far looked more thick with forest, and an occasional view of the roadside motel and retail shops unheeded to the dust. Soon we went past the crowded places which bore many shops of miscellaneous thing as if the town is not planned well while building. The garbage left unnoticed were everywhere. it looked filthy. But I promise you there’s the best thing to behold too.
After few hours we halted for the lunch by the roadside hotel. I was so hungry I devoured two shares like a gluttonous guy. It’s apparent that you eat more food when its taste is undeniably tasty. Isn’t it? But I was very hungry. We geared off again with belly obsessed against food.
On the way what was more interesting is to witness monkeys. To my awe excitements and bewilderments, those monkeys are so used with the vehicles and people passing by, they stay to the side of the road unheeded to the peril. I haven’t seen so many monkeys before. I saw people giving them edible things too. it so acted like a human being. I wished I could catch one. The smaller ones looked more cute. Little cute Monkeys lol.
We left the monkeys after a while and passed over the towering bridge built very high on the murky water. I bet you won’t see such a big river here in Bhutan. The road is very high on the apex of the mountains, it’s hard to look down the narrow steep landforms and jungles.
In addition to my journal, I even clicked many photos of the scenes. It was a beautiful moment anyways. It indeed is. Traveling alone. Then we passed the way leading to Darjeeling. and it was almost near midday I reached Pani Tanki. From there, The other one woman( I called her aunty. Use Sister if you want to. lol ) asked for a ride in Rickshaw.
The owner was Indian, a slender sunburned man who looked very thin. We moved past very long suspension bridge away from the congested area. He pulled us at ease in the plain road and a moment later road led steeper up.
On the way, I ask him how many years he had pulled the Rickshaw. He answered 20 years.
I could see a horde of Rickshawallas turning the pedal to their utmost try. I pitied them. I suggested him what if he buy a rickshaw or a Tempo if he had worked for twenty years. He must have made enough bucks. But he explained later, they are not allowed in that region. To his struggle to pull us the addition of scorching sun was killing. I pitied them so much. I hopped out of the Rickshaw and walked with it instead. Soon I was standing in front of the busy gate, huge and red I color. The one side of the gate was still on construction. I paid the Rickshaw Driver thirty rupees. Bade both the aunt and Driver goodbye and sat in one of the concrete sitting place in the shade and I wrote;
“ The thing of life is so intense. Like you wish yourself to get well soon through utmost prayers. Gate of Nepal which he assumed to be the place where everything is at peace is a place which is burdened by the immense hardship. He saw Rickshawallas struggle in scorching sun pulling people up and down. Believe its really hard. Don’t they have a choice? It’s like a real hell on earth. He reflected how lucky he is to be born in Bhutan. It’s one of the greatest luck. He wished and prayed for their life to be calmer, less struggles to eke out their living.”
Finally Nepal; Kakarvita
The place looked strange. I walked few minutes and enter into a place where there were loads of buses. The places looked very akin to Indian places. The place messed with dirt, waste materials thrown everywhere. The retailer’s commodities stacked in lines, graffiti in every place. The thing that differed is only the sign boards hanged in front of the buildings. All the letters are in Nepali. No English at all. what even confused me more is I couldn’t make out who all are Indian and Nepalese. Most looked black. Women wore Saris. I observed few of the women carefully and made out Nepalese are commonly using very red lipstick. I was like a lost guy who woke up from a dream to find out in a place where he dreamt a moment ago.
I got to have a shower as soon as possible. The dust is sickening. I asked one of the girls who came towards me.
“ Excuse me, Aeta Boundaggi janay Bus ko ticket kaha pahincha hola?” lol. Did I say it right?
Well, must have. I have had always a problem in speaking Nepali. I grew up all years in Punakha. Perhaps it’s because of speaking Dzongkha all the time. I was to learn more in future.
She showed me the direction. I went to the booth which looked like a hut and asked for the tickets It cost fifty Indian rupees.
You see life is hard, harder when you are stupid. Didn’t I know that I don’t know how to decipher Nepali written language? I forgot to ask what was written on the tickets. The tickets vendor told the bus will go fifteen minutes later.
Doesn’t matter much. There was a way. The bus going a moment later must be parked near. Hmm… Brilliant thought. So I began to tally the unknown twisted numbers of the ticket with the bus. I searched hard to my no avail. How I wished I could have known to read. Sad. a moment later a tall girl walked near me. I asked her where the bus is showing the ticket. she must have thought I was not educated. She smiled and led me near the bus. I thanked her and hopped into the bus.
To my tiredness, the bus looked very crowded. everyone already sat on their respective seats.
Blimey! I forgot to ask the seat number. Stupid me! All the people looked as if they haven’t seen anyone like me. I paved my way to the last seat and asked one long haired girl with the perfectly shaped face. She looked pretty. I admit that. And she showed me a seat to the far last corner. Soon she joined me, I was glad.
The girl was so warm. She was not one of the girls hiding from the crowd, her gestures and the eloquence amazed me. She looked little shorter than me and one thing that ridiculed me was she perfectly looked like Namrata Shrestha(Nepali
Finally on the bus, hmm. I was relieved to meet a people of similar origin after the unknown generations. Yet I was the alien to the land. The language superior, the chatter frequent and the eloquence incomparable. I talked with the girl uneasily. I was pretty bad in Nepali. but I tried my best to speak politely. I told her how I reached there, from where I belong to and about my goings. Many people joined later.
I told them I was going to Boundaggi. The interest around the seats sharpened. One old man asked me which side of Boundaggi I was going, another to whose house I was going yet another asked me if I had a phone number. I was oblivious that Boundaggi is a general name that enclosed petty villages.
One man asked for the phone number and called for me.
The girl suggested me to get out near the main point of Boundaggi. There was a huge Bodhi tree. I stayed there for a while and the image of the I saw a moment ago perished with the disappearing bus. I walked towards the shop to call my relatives.
To my sadness, the women (shopkeeper) denied lending her phone. What a woman! I would have paid in return. This event conveys all people are not same. I shifted to another shop. the man proved kind enough to call my sister. I felt grateful to him.
I was oblivious of my sister and brother in-law’s visit to Kakarvita, the place I bypassed an hour ago to welcome me. What a day!
Where was I? A place called Boundaggi. Lost from the people with whom I stay talking all day. Perspiration coming out from every pore of my body. Forgetting the hunger.
After almost an hour of waiting, Brother In-law had sent me a bike. And off we went climbing towards the north where the bus I rode disappeared.
The places gradually transformed into bushes and few houses appear. I was in a real village. The guy biked faster and unexpected large drops of rain began to pour down. It lashed on my face. the rain ceased after sometimes. I asked him to halt near the clustered shop to take few things. To my surprise, the prices are all skyrocketing there. It was very expensive.
The man who came to fetch me bid me bye and went away. I walked for another 15 minutes asking whereabouts would be wedding place to every person I encountered on the way.
That side of the place looked greener, bamboo groves frequent after every seven to eight walks. The unknown birds produced staccato sounds. I also saw the group of women planting paddies.
At last, after two and half days later, I reached there. The house was built new. Freshly colored into intricate patterns and with the presence of glassed windows. It was usually rare to find one.
There, I saw her in real amongst the many unknown people who must be my unknown relatives. There, my sister, face strikingly familiar smiled big at me. Of course, others smiled too.
I clasped my hand, and said “ Namaste”. I don’t remember their reactions well. I shook hand with the brothers. I was in a far west from my place. Only the sky looked same. Come more days, I knew them all. They were so warm and welcoming.
The next day the place looked different festooned with many decorations. The large tent was hosted. Many visitors came afterward. I asked my sister to teach writing Nepali, learned great deals too. After three days later, I witnessed the wedding. The elaborate celebrations, and the bride and bridegroom elegantly dressed. The day looked incredible. For the first time in my life, I was a part of the culturally unvaried wedding with all the awesome people around. That night, there was a music sound to the extreme decibels. You don’t know what happens in that moments. Whoops and cries, the jumps, smiles, and the glittering laughter. That was the best day for me. I loved it so much.
And you reckon the beautiful girl whom I met on the bus showed up again?
No, she didn’t.
Back to where it all started. I look forward to new journey again. I have got to set for new beginnings. Let it be personal transformations
With love, Me