I am a student studying abroad and I love my country, Bhutan, the last Shangri-la. And this article is not about my country, and my love for it. It is about my journey home during the vacation. I travel in train days and nights. If I have saved some money, I am lucky enough to get into Air conditioned couch. If not I am usually bound in sleeper class and sometimes in general too. To those who don’t know what general class is – just imagine a packed train with passengers and you standing on one leg because you don’t have space for the other. But I bear all this and I am bound to. But I never feel bad about it. It is not because I am patient guy, but it is just that I am impatient to get home, to my country, with any condition.
I will always relish the moment I enter the beautiful gate in Phuentsholing. Maybe it is a psychological feeling, but I get the sense of freshness generated in me and the scent of air I breathe differs way good then where I came from. There will be always smile on my face though my curly hairs are curlier with the dusts and my dresses nearly presentable.
I stay in my aunt’s house in Phuentsholing for one night. I eat meal I wish to eat and everything seems right and in order of what I like to do. But still my journey doesn’t end there. I always have a ticket to Samdrup Jongkhar the next day.
It’s too early in the morning – 5 am and I am near the beautiful gate. Next to the gate the bus warms its engine. I have my luggage with me and the gates open. Near the bus I always argue with the coolies wanting to get paid to load my very light luggage. They want to earn. But I can do such stuffs with ease. So, we quarrel.
The journey starts again. It’s cool in the morning. What it goes through my mind I am not sure but as soon as I am on my seat and the bus moves, the sense of claustrophobia tingles me and makes me irritated. The beggars, the sellers and the people standing – it reminds me of general class I travel. But I bear that. My home awaits me.
The bus always stops and moves and stops and moves. People come in and walk out. I have car sickness and on that this bus sickness (the crowded noisy bus) makes me feel horrible. But still my home awaits me.
I always think the same way. Why cannot I travel through Bhutan? Is there a shorter route to my home? I have limited days for vacation – 2 weeks and the journey has already taken 4 days from there. I don’t want to lose one. So, I cannot travel in Bhutan to reach my home. I have to take shorter route and here it is.
I have the feeling of freshness. It’s too hot and dusty again. It’s another journey which tests my patience.
Phuentsholing is one important city and Samdrup Jongkhar the other, in the southern Bhutan. To cite the importance, these two cities link the commercial activities of eastern people. And they have to rely on the road via India. It’s not only me I have seen many frustrated people. Why can’t we link them through Bhutan? Tragedies happened in the past. Still we are using the same road. Still people are risking their lives along that road. Government is kind enough to arrange escorts. We don’t have strike in Bhutan and when there is one in the border areas, we have to depend on them.
I heard the project of building road has started. If it is, than it’s taking long time. Oranges are getting rotten and people are suffering. My father spent four nights in Assam state while traveling in escort. And thank god I didn’t experience that. My vacation would be way over then.
Though frustrated I am, I am happy inside to see the smiles of my parents and sisters waiting to see me. Happy to taste my mum’s cuisines, I learn to be patient. With this rusty bus journey I reach Samdrup Jongkhar with full of wishes and for the second time I am relieved to see another gate. The same feeling leaves me as I enter the gate.
And then I take a ticket to Trashigang. It’s morning and through the mountains and hills a well settled bus moves on. As a melodic Dzongkha track is played, fresh air sifts through the window and I see people smiling. My head leans backward and get a peaceful sleep with the feeling that by the end of the day I will be in the arms of my parents.
My parents come to pick me up. I am ecstatic. Finally I reach my home and happily I completed my journey.