Tshering woke up suddenly. The bits of sweats dropped from his brows as if he had been working in a hot day. He found himself panting. He had the most frightening dream. He was all alone in a dark forest. He could hear sound of people and of roaring river. He found that he was wrapped by a dark cloud and he was unable to breathe. He was running somewhere downward and at that moment he woke up. It was 3.30am.What a silly dream! exclaimed Tshering. He just wanted to sleep a little longer as it was Sunday. However he was unable to go to sleep. He tossed and turned in the bed.
He got up by 5.30 am. He was feeling restless. He thought of watching TV but he didn’t dare as he didn’t want to disturb his uncle and aunt sleeping in the next room. Instead he crept into kitchen and started preparing breakfast. His uncle loved the food he cooked but they never allowed him to cook as he has to study. Even as he was making breakfast, something was inside his mind like a lump. He was unable to define what was tugging in his mind. After cooking breakfast, he went to shrine room and offered water and burned butter lamp, which he did daily. As he was lighting butter lamp, suddenly a moth came from nowhere and it caught in the flame and died. He felt sorry for the poor thing and said a short prayer.
Then the thought came into his mind. He was feeling restless and so decided that he wanted to go for picnic if his group friends agree. So he dialed his friend’s number and started calling them. They were surprised to hear his voice early in the morning but they all agreed to go for picnic. So he hung up his phone and he got dressed. He went to kitchen and packed his lunch, but he didn’t eat. He was not eager. By the time he was packing lunch; his aunt had got up and was brushing her teeth. He said that he wanted to go for picnic with his friends. She asked him not to be in late coming home. He said bye to his aunt and set off to his friend’s house.
He used to be very lively boy with good humor. However that day he found that his humor has disappeared.
Eight of them decided to go for a picnic near a river. They had been good friends from their pre-primary school days and had never separated. Unlike most boys of their age, they had not fallen into wrong path and all of them were good in studies and Tshering always held positions in academics. They all had common passion for football and swimming.
It was not very hot and the weather was not favorable to go for picnic. They chatted on the way about the usual thing and about their teacher and classmates and home work. Lucky for them they didn’t get home work for that weekend. They talked about the football and players. They sang the song and played on the way. After walking down hill for about half an hour they reached near the bank of the river. They walked along the bank, throwing pebbles across the river. After walking for some time they reached plain ground. The current of the river was not very swift and there they also found good ground to sit and have lunch. Everyone had not taken breakfast however they found that they were not hungry. So they kept their lunch under the shade of the tree and they decided to play football and warm up for swimming. Everything seemed like dream for Tshering and he found himself falling down. However he didn’t let his friend know how he is feeling so he kept on playing. Unknown to him his friends too had been feeling restless, however each one suppressed their feeling from one another.
After playing football for some time, when they were fully warmed up, they got into the river and started swimming. The river was wide but the current was not swift. So they glided happily like sea birds in the river. They decided to cross the water. As they were swimming, they heard the thunder which almost pierced their ears and followed by lightening which almost blinded them for a moment. Suddenly everything became dark as if the night had descended and there was a heavy rainfall. The volume of the river increased and the current of the river became swifter. They found that they were in the middle of the river and luckily one of them spotted a rock not far from where they were. So they decided to go to the rock and wait for the rain to stop, and go back. So they fought against the current and with much exhaustion they reached the rock. They climbed on the rock and huddled together. As the hours wore on they found the volume of the river increasing and becoming muddier. They felt hungry and shivered in the cold. It was like a dream. They didn’t lose the heart and they prayed for the god to help them. They recited prayer that was taught to them in the school.
When they realized that it was getting late, they decided to try crossing the river. However they found that they were nothing against the fast flowing monster. All of them came back to the rock except for one of them. He fought against the current and he found himself being washed away. He didn’t give up. He was praying for the one above to help him and he wanted to help his friends. At the last moment, as what seemed like dream, he came to shore. He collected last energy left in him and ran. Somewhere in the far he could hear his friends shouting. It broke his heart. He ran like deer.
After what seemed like eternity he reached Tshering’s house. Tshering’s Aunt was on her way to his house to look for Tshering. She was shocked to see him and before she could ask anything he just said that Tshering and other friends were waiting somewhere down in the river, he couldn’t speak further and collapsed. So Tshering’s aunt and uncle alerted other friends and formed search party and rushed towards the river.
The very sky seemed to wage war against the humanity. There was a torrential rain. They all ran and it was like nightmare. From somewhere they heard the shouts. The river has swollen and it was rushing at its highest speed. As they walked by the bank, they saw small figures of their children perched on the rock in the middle of the river. By the time the local authority was alerted and requested the concerned authority not to let the water from the dam site. Each drop seemed to add to the volume of water in the dam. The dam could hold certain volume of the water.
The rescue team tied the rope and reached the children. Parents passed cell phones and biscuits. When Tshering saw his aunts and his friends’ parents he felt elated. He could see hope. Each child talked to their parents. They had been on the rock for past six hours without water and food. They were in shorts. As the rain fell heavily, they huddled together and they have become blue with cold and their teeth started chattering. They said prayer and their prayer was almost answered when one of their friends crossed river and went for help.
They were asked to tie the rope around their waist and try crossing the river. Each one tied on one rope. They volume of the river increased as they were getting down from the sanctuary. By then water has reached the top of the rock. With the prayer on their lips and assurance from their parents they started moving. As they were taking move, Tshering saw river rising up like dragon coming towards them. At one side he could see the dark fog enveloping them. It has become dark. In the next moment the torrent swift them all and devoured them. They had been holding hands of each other. Tshering tried to swim but it proved futile, it was like trying to fight monster with mere human power. As he was drifted off downstream, he could see the face of his parents. He had not seen his parents for a long time. He felt happy and tried to reach them. As he tried to reach them, he felt sharp pain on his head and he blacked out.
Parents watched the spectacle like helpless hens watching their chickens being taken away by the eagle. Some of them fainted. They watched their children being carried away by the river. They only wished it was a bad dream and they wanted to wake.
Later they found that the excessive water had been drained out from the dam as the water had crossed the holding capacity. It claimed the lives of seven innocent, young boys. The river took them in the prime of their life.