When I first thought of my manuscript going under the printing machine, I was terrifically panicked. Then I called upon my friends whom I could rely on. They are Ngawang Phuntsho and Kinzang Tshering. I fervently wished another person to be present – she is Aurora. Knowing very well she would not be available, I had to shoot a mail to her giving her the news that I was printing the book. She asked for the manuscript once again stating she would proofread it. She did it in a few days but there was the long list of notifications from her. I downloaded it and saved it under the head ‘AA -Aurora’s Advice’ and printed it. Mean time Ngawang got busy – he simultaneously worked with his manuscript. Time was running out. Kinzang Tshering got into the cover designs from option one to option ten or eleven working day in day out. My inbox started to fill up with the options. I had to give feed backs, choose the colors, almost everything like a big boss of the corporate world. All within the shortest time. At the other end, he could not do anything if I did not comment on anything. I commented, he worked, new message in the inbox, another comment, another work and another message. More than him, I was losing the patience but he had never shown the sign of fatigue from the long hours of work and that regained my zeal. I read the manuscript again and again and again. I had called up Ngawang several times on the doubts of comma position, right insertion or omission of words, right etc. wrong etc. with page numbers and the paragraphs. “I will get back to you boss,” he would say and that meant he was also lost with his work. “Let us meet tomorrow during the lunch,” I would say. And the next few days, we sat together almost an hour together, chewing mushroom, pulling dried beef, munching sikam – all without the taste. One time I asked them reflecting one point from AA, “It is not ready boss, I will go with Aurora.” Both dropped their jaws. Sikam should taste better than the leaves. “Lets do it then, even text books have errors. Also not all English speaking people can write the books,” I added and like a miracle playing its tricks played on the lunch before us. Sikam tasted like what sikam should taste
Like wise, two weeks passed by. If we had not set the deadline, the perfection was never to come to us. “Phew, what next?” Ngawang showed the sign of triumphant although it was from exhaustion. “Quotation from the printers,” Kinzang Tshering answered. And another few days, while he worked on the final touches of the designs, Ngawang and I hysterically hopped from printing press to another, meeting Managers and Assistant Managers but not meeting their Chairmen. Without the Chairmen, we had to move around once again, calling them and seeking for the appointments (they are the real bosses of the corporate world). If parking space in the town was available, we were met with the sorry faces of receptionists telling us we missed their Chairmen by a few moments. Still nothing let us down. Parking or no parking, walking or running, evening or late hours, we waited and met with the right people to compare the rates. And when we at last reached the Galing Printing Press, he gave us the lowest (read reasonable) rates. “If we had come first to this place, would we have run to all other places?” I asked him almost at the verge of collapsing from climbing 5 storied building. “Sure boss, we are human beings,” he said laughing. I laughed too. “We humans are stupid mo?” “Imbey.”
But we had a problem and of course we still have and will continue to have – we did not have money for printing the books. I am not Chetan Baghat for Rupa Publishers to bear the cost. (I will not compare Ngawang to anybody but he too did not have the money and hope he still does not have but wish he gets lot in the future )
“What shall we do boss?” he asked me. I did not have the answer. I just wished I had asked him first. However, I tried but not before making the things light.
“We will rob a house,” I said. “Kidding, we will borrow boss, we may not have money but not all Bhutanese are poor like us.” And he asked me the obvious question, “From whom?”
I again answered to that but again not before something, “From BOB.” Here, he laughed out so loud. I knew why he laughed like that. He had just resigned from BOB
—-to be continued but not guaranteed