Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cost of Fine Grains……

This story is set amidst the backdrop of Bhutan some thirty years ago. Those days, it was like dawn for Bhutan. Some of the students whom Lopen Nado , Father Mackey and many Canadian Jesuit Evangelists had forcefully enrolled in the school had just completed some schooling. Now they were getting employed. All of those people who quit school got job easily because the government was short of manpower then. Life was hard though because the salary was minimum but the needs were also basic then.
During those days, there were few BGTS ( Bhutan Government Transport Service) bus and trucks. There was no scent of any cars. Phuntsho was a driver of one of the trucks which belonged to PWD. Truck driving was like being a pilot of a plane then. He had opportunities to travel all across the country and make some money ferrying people. Those who could afford paid him some money while he never took money from students and poor villagers. Instead he gave some pocket money to some students and told them to remember him when they later became Government officials. He was well known then as Driver Phuntsho.
During one of his usual travel from Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkha, he happened to ferry few villagers on the back of his trucks . When he reached Samdrup Jongkha, he was stopped by a policeman. The policeman demanded why he was carrying people on his truck. He explained to the policeman that the villagers could not catch bus so they had to travel with him. Despite explanation, the policeman slapped him. Phuntsho never forgot the day and the man.
Some fifteen years later, one winter evening, he was travelling from Thimphu to Trongsa. He stopped at Semtokha to pick up a family going towards Shemgang. He offered them a lift till Trongsa. As they reached Dochula, he stopped the truck and asked the family to get out of it. He then ordered his handyboy to throw the luggage of his passengers out into the snow. He had taken revenge. No one knew what happened to the passengers he left at Dochula that winter night.
There is an old saying in Bhutan which goes on to say that it is hard to repay the cost of rice but the people can certainly pay the cost of maize grains. It means that it is difficult to repay gratitude but people would never forget the hurt you cause them. They would certainly take revenge one day. I guess this is what it is.

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