“Tshering...why don’t you understand. It’s the most important journey we had agreed to embark may na? We just cannot afford to give up now. After rigorous planning, purchasing all these expensive mountaineering equipment and this huge hand-sewn National flag that cost us almost a fortune...because for past one month we had to sent the flag across the country to let all Bhutanese citizens place their signature on it…you don't say NO now....” Looking at Dondup, a travel agent and a college friend of mine, "... please talk with him", I directed Dondup, to convince Tshering about the expedition.
Dondup in his attempt to break the difficult conversation between Tshering and me, he announces his preparedness for the expedition. He informs me, "Pelden... I could manage these tents, prayer flags, Lungtas....please tell me what else I should be arranging...we are super duper excited! Wow!...right Tshering?...Can't wait anymore now!" He added frequently glancing at Tshering in his attempt to convince him.
Tshering still didn't look convinced after Dondup's modest attempt but I had to do what I wanted to do. "Silly emotions, at the moment, needed to put aside for we are prepared for the mission of our life", I assured myself and therefore I maintained my cool and continued to bring Doklam back to our prospective.
Thus, I debrief my two friends, if Tshering is willing or not, regarding this journey of our life time. The dates on which places we would reach to, the emergency kit, Plan B if Plan A fails and how exactly we would maneuver our planned action the moment we reach there.
Its such an urgent and significant journey we were to embark on. At least I presume it to be so. Because the magnitude of the situation urges us. The gravity of the issue demands us. No matter what...we are all set and prepared for the expedition to Doklam! "If not anyone, I shall go all by myself" I declared.
The following day, Tshering stands aside the taxi on my drive way which would take us to the end of motor-able road in extreme western part of Haa Dzongkhag which will take us towards Chumbi Valley. From there we were to descend, hike and finally reach Doklam.
Deep down we knew Tshering would come along with us anyway. He is a true son of this Dragon kingdom. Only his interview for an enriching working experience at silicon valley in California, USA gave him some hiccups. We learnt on our way to Haa that after our confrontation he had made a trans-continental telephone call to US. Luckily his American counterpart agreed to his plea to extend the interview for they better understand the gravity of the situation at Doklam and its impact on the future of the entire South East Asia.
We finally reached at the base camp near Doklam plateau in the evening of 6th August. "Congratulations friends,” I said, "we are on schedule..... Tomorrow is the day we all have sacrificed, prepared and have been waiting for".
On 7th we climbed the plateau of Doklam again and hoist the prayer flags, hung the Lungtas and collectively we then painted ‘om mane pamay hu’ mantra on the huge rock nearby.
That day and the day before, we only had preserved food meant for mountain climbers. The real home-made sumptuous Bhutanese cuisine shall be prepared and self-served on Doklam Plateau itself. It was also enlisted in the bucket list of sort that we ought to do there apart from the hoisting of prayer flags and our National Flag.
My software engineer friend who aspires to work in silicon valley requested me to explain why 8th of August is so auspicious on the eve of the d-day of our mission. Surrounded with flames of a large bonfire, I explained immediately that it was on 8th of August, 1949 when Indo-Bhutan Treaty was signed Bhutan had officially made use of its National Flag to exhibit our status as a sovereign and independent country!
Its a bright sunny day on 8th of August. Clear blue sky without a single fringe of cloud. I told myself, "what a lovely day! Today will be again marked in the history of Bhutan; 8th of August, 2017...ofcourse this time for a different reason".
In the early morning of 8th of August, Dondup prepared the pre-agreed cuisine namely emadatshi, red rice, ezay, Lang Sha, Thukpa, home made noodles, suja and home brewed alcohol which Dondup surprised us with. He had brought more than what was agreed. But we didn't mind. While Dondup was busy, Tshering and I forged ourselves in digging a deep hole stable enough to hold our huge hand sewn National Flag.
Together with utmost respect we hoist our National Flag on Doklam Plateau, sang our national anthem with our hands held high and then we served ourselves the sumptuous Bhutanese cousine amidst the air of conflict blowing from the power corridors of Asian giants; China and India.
As we climb down, Dondup was leading us. And as usual, Tshering positioned himself between us. I was at the end. With great satisfaction I kept glancing at the prayer flags and our National Flag flying high on Doklam symbolically nullifying the hollow claims and confusion created by our neighbouring giants.
The well painted mantras on the huge rock and the Lungtas dancing in the air gave me a sense of assurance that happiness and peace shall prevail. The mantras on the prayer flags will spread far and wide. Owing to its power, the evil thoughts will be subdued and it shall help to give rise to only positive ones. Of brotherhood and lasting peace.
China in the north and India in the south would then mind their own business and let Bhutan be alone. Let the mantras on the prayer flags and mantra encurved on the rock sweeps away the dark political clouds hovering above the sky of New Delhi and Beijing.
The moment we spent and The Weapons of Mass Happiness and Peace we had left behind and engraved on the Plateau gives me immense pleasure. "We did it..we did it!" Sincerely I pat on my back.
"I think someday our Tourism Industry have to open "Doklam Trekking and Camping" for our esteemed politically minded tourists, will fetch a lot of dollars", announced my friend Dondup. And Tshering shared his wildest dream of having a multi-national multi-billion research center stationed on Doklam Plateau all for the betterment of the entire region.
As we descend further down, I suddenly hear a firm call by a lady from far distance." I am familiar with this lady’s voice...", I muttered to myself. "...but how would someone know my name in this isolated, tri-junction and so deserted place?" I wondered myself. Another loud call forced me to open my eyes. Alas! It’s my wife pulling my hand and waking me up for school. I was literally in deep sleep after a month long summer vacation.
Oh man! It was a mere dream. A thought provoking one. But worthy of recollecting and rejoicing the moment at Doklam; The hot and happening place right now!
# Picture courtesy: Concern photographers/Google.com.
# Picture courtesy: Concern photographers/Google.com.