I was first going away from my home and parents. After completing my primary education we were placed to one of most remote gewogs in our dzongkha, (Samdrup Jongkhar) that time I cruse, thinking why they should build the Junior High School to that remote part, well I now understand equal development. One day walk from the road point was never like eating the piece of cake. And for me things were really get worse as it was my first time to be away from my home and parents.
What so ever I had no other choice rather than join the school along with other mates.
It was evening of early spring, weather was considerable cool. Tried from social work in Saturday afternoon, and I tell you social work was not like weeding flower garden, which I am very sure if one was in High School, one would pass time by playing with one stick and gossip when your teachers is away, but here it was carrying firewood from the valley down by river bank, and thanks God, we at least need not had to chop the wood. Well that never used to be an easy task for me and each time we had that social work I used to cruise like hell. And things were made extremely worse when in lunch we were served with ahsham porridges (maize) well eastern Bhutan is most famous for it. In fact unlike in south and west, maize is their chief food. But still in front of teacher, who used to come around on so called teacher’s duty we used to smirk helplessly.
In one such afternoon, tried and exhausted as sun begun to hide itself behind the thick clouds and far off valley which enclose my school. Enlarging itself gradually rise the silver circle over the blue sky. After dinner we laid in our respectively bad…gossiping and galling over the unsatisfied dinner we had, which kept our stomach half full. But what could authority and poor villagers do also, as summer comes over all the path becomes between the Minjoong and Daifam (which is Dungkha and a road point) gets badly damage, making travel risky at the time. So we had to adjust with the porridge many a times.
Okay coming back to the point, we wait for hours but none of us could go to sleep. And you can well understand how can a child of class seven go to sleep half stomach that also in times when night hold longer than night. Suddenly Phuntsho, who was most jolly among we friends pointed the silver moon, shining beautifully over the valley of Minjoong, as if it could fill our stomach full.amd another at the next bed shout, “let’s go outside”, it was Dechen, naughtiest in the group. For her adventure was enough to live her way of life. And at her one comment, we would find our self climbing the hills in the nearby village to either steal maize or orange. At once we found our self dangling our tired leg over the half fenced veranda. As the school was new at the time hostel rules were not much strict, thanks to that. We resume our half left gossip. Family, movies and home were top gossip topics for us and sometime boys of section ‘B’. Over whom our shy and beautiful Choeki was crazy. Tall, dark and handsome was tag she would mark boys of school. And if few lucky meets her criteria than that would be the beginning of most romantic love story.
Moon had grown `more beautifully and we could see few lights on in boy’s hostel across the fence. We finish blow full of zahu and few packet of uncle chips famous at the time and school time biscuit, which was only one kind of biscuit nearby shop sold. Opps! I hate that biscuit. And the point, Choeki pointed out the dream she had dreamt last night. She narrated us her dream but none us really could make out what exactly her dreams meant. So we decided to visit out friend in next hostel. We walked as lightly as those chilly breeze, we were out of hostel in odd hour if beings caught I would die seriously. As we reached to her bed she was not there, confused and afraid, we asked the girl next to her, she replied, she is in bathroom. We walk to bath room form way back and saw her bathing, singing softly. Yes she was defiantly enjoying the bath or who could bath at the midnight. I would never, I knew that. “Guys let’s throw the pebbles at her” Dechen told us and I heroically spoke to her in male voice. ‘oie …Pema’ and that was enough to make her live one second of most scary moment. And all I could remember in next 12 hour is her scream; it was creepier than the scream in horror movies. She left the bathroom at the speed of light and like the night during the bad weather she yelled as loud as the thundered that night.
Next we found our self lying on the bed as helpless as the person in coma. And even in temperature when one could die due to cold, we were quivering not due to cold but due to fear. Our eyes were shut; we had covered our self with as much we could. But the worst thing was that, we could still hear, and knew well what exactly was going outside. In next few minutes, al the student in campus was awake. I know some must have cursed us to the hell, for it was mid night and most of they were in deep slumber. But what we had in that remote valleys to keep us awake till midnight, unlike us stupid friends to discuses over the stupid dreams. Which was either true or could benefit us at the least. Television, computers were like far away dreams for us. So nearly with dawn we used to find us losing in the depth of dreams and cozy bed.
Bad, very bad, my god , god please save us…etc …etc, I would hear Cheoki praying under her bedspread, in fact cursing the stupid plans of dreams and visiting the friend in next hostel. Captains were called over; for worst part was that our so called matron thought that it was one of boy. ‘Poor boys, why it’s always boys, can’t girls tease her girl friend, well rudely not at the midnight that also when one is bathing’ I thought to myself but never spoke out for it would be like adding fuel to the fire. And that was worst fear. Poor boys, but we could not say that it was not boys, the fear to face matron and bear her scolding that would come as pot and pans, never made us bold enough to step ahead. That night even torch light scared us, even a light knock at the door melt us. The night was full of night mares, fear of beings caught, or even being suspended and all humiliation.
Tik, tik, the second and hour arms of the clock seemed was testing our patience; it was slower than the snail, well our heart was throbbing out as hard as it could. Atmosphere inside our room was like night in the cremation ground in the night of full moon day. All nab and woozy laid on bed watching time to pass fast, 1 am, 2 am, 3am, and 4 am, gradually situation was coming under control outside the hostel. Teachers disappointed on beings not able to find the culprit, returned to their quarters. But we still had had a fear, for beings caught.
We waited for next morning more early than a bride would wait for her groom on her wedding day. Finally it was morning, beautiful spring day, with bright sun and blue clouds on the wing over us, stood before us a day.
We walk to the mess for again same porridges. And I knew the last night incident would have filled the air and I was not wrong too, as we approach the doorstep of mess. First words I heard was my school captain girls grumbling, “zi gikalo, ebi chowa gisa za sho” saying so she walked ahead of us. ‘Oops! Sorry boys’ I felt I should apologies them. We wobble around, looked through the lines towards each other, our lips were sealed, no words. But that day it was like we have taken holiday from talking and has given whole floor for our fellow mates to speak, talk or gossip. “Bla, bla, bla…” air was filled with serious and revengeful atmosphere.
I spotted Pema in the corner silent and sad. “Was the incident that scandalous” that she thought she would surely be raped and is so silent out of nowhere, ‘no’ I told to myself silently.
We receive our share, but one cloud still eat, were we also in shock like Pema, or was it because we had eaten bit more of stupid ‘School Time’ Biscuit. Dechen, sign and we knew she had some interesting news, we gather and with much relief she disclosed the news to us. “‘Wow’ Pema…Pema, she said, she has mistaken herself and on seeing some shadow, she had screamed”. ‘Really’ deep inside me I wanted to kiss her and give her hug but I control myself.
We run to our room, and really wanted to celebrate our escape. We got back our lost smiles and fun life. All thanks to Miss Pema. The sky looked more beautiful and clear, may be because the heavy load, which we had been carrying over our head and heart from last 7 hour was cleared.
Even the longest day if the year passed at the wink of eyes and everything looked perfectly okay. That night as we lay on our bed we promise never to repeat to same mistake. But I was still thinking, why did Pema solved the case at the end putting all the blame over her?, I wanted to ask her but never I dare to ask her, now you can say whether it was my cowardice and selfishness, I leave it to you. But I promise to myself I will never try to hurt her hence and never ever try to change my voice like male, which was sounding not so sweet also. Assembling all sweet and bitter thought of day I whisper , ‘thank God’ and got lost in the mesmerized night and my tiny world, which is made up of my little dreams and happiness…