My experience of living in a remote place for few years and then my few months of staying in Thimphu now has enlightened me with a strange wisdom.
Everyone here is work-rich but time-poor. We, the urbanites, don’t have enough time for anything. The best question we ask is ‘Do you have time?’ and the best answer we got is ‘I really don’t have’. We simply don’t have time to dine together as a family. Mother is busy with her soaps on TV, children with their latest Play station games and Father is often outside dining with his clients to run his business. We don’t have time to sit down and ask how the day was because we are engrossed in planning for the next big day. A heart-to-heart conversation doesn’t have a place here. We rush, rush and rush more. Oops! How mechanical we are!
Back in my previous place of posting, we had all the time we needed. We (villagers and i) often use to engage ourselves in conversations that really made us feel good, brought smile on our faces, laughed till our stomach started to pain and tears rolled down our cheeks. And we don’t stop there. A whole family surrounds a small fire and eats the evening meal, serving each other and sharing concern of a neighbor. The conversation over the meal goes on till the moon in the dark sky becomes the brightest. Two hours of walk to the town use to take me four hours. Why? Because i meet people in their fields working or people coming back from the town and we get lost in our conversation. Time never became an excuse for anything. It was abundant like the leaves on those trees along the muddy route to the town or the wrinkles on innocent faces and on those hands that feed large rural families.
|A near by village|
Back here, we have conquered a large space in terms of settlement. The beauty of urban settlement is we don’t have thick forest, big rivers or high mountains dividing the communities. Yet ugliness of it is we don’t know who lives in the next door as our neighbor. We don’t have TIME to know him. We simply don’t care! A cup of streaming coffee shared or dining together in a restaurant is all business affiliated. The roads and pavements are wider here, we have recreation parks everywhere and shops and rooms in our apartments are spacious yet we feel cramped. A swarm of different people cross you every minute yet you feel lonely here.
Life was so beautiful there in the village. You don’t have to rush for anything. The villagers make you feel so special through softness in their voice and kindness in their deeds. They bring you fresh vegetables and dairy products at your door step with only smile on their faces and reverence in their heart. They don’t want anything in return. If you have that caliber to listen someone’s concern carefully, pays visit to a house and ask how are they doing and as simple as greeting with a bow of your head to the elders you earn respect there and it engraves a permanent mark in their hearts (The villagers still call me to inquire about me and expresses how much they miss me now).
But everything here is price tagged-from vegetables in the market to the respect you earn. No discount HERE what so ever. If you drive a luxurious car, lives in a flat or has enough money to spend and runs a business of your own has a place here. And when you have place you indeed have respect. And interestingly everyone here is also snobbish. So, the commoners push themselves to work more, earn more money simply to earn respect and a place here. How materialistic and finicky life and people here is?
A family in a village doesn’t have to beg to bring food on their table. They either work in their small patch of land to make their way out or their fellow villagers come in to provide everything what the struggling family needs. But I saw a healthy monk sitting comfortably on the pavement near the main junction along the Norzin Lam and was begging for few Ngultrums.
|GNH on the street of Thimphu|