|Picture Courtesy: Google|
After graduation, a decent job that earns a decent pay check is something that every college going students dream of. But most often than not and as the theory goes, many have to bear the burns and blaze of realities like cut-throat competition for jobs. The cruel competition for ever shrinking job opportunities invariably keeps, -so called the fresh graduates in period of jobless limbo. Being jobless hurts and hurts even more when limbo prolongs. Since the sole purpose of education is perceived as finding a job at the end, an affair of being jobless is often considered as the most nervous, helpless and anxious moment in one’s life.
Having said those lines, I have had my own share of jobless limbo too. But contrary to what has been described, my jobless limbo has rather been adventurous and fun. Seemingly done with my busy student life, I felt that was the most memorable time I spent as a young man.
Precisely, my limbo went on at stretch for 12 months, during which I had the pleasure of witnessing some of the most fascinating events in my life.
To begin with, here is how it goes. Being born in rural village, I had to travel to capital city more in the interest of keeping myself abreast with the information of employment and job which are mostly confined to only capital city. The cost of living in city was surely a bad blow for the economy of my farming parents but we felt the cost was worth bearing.
Once in City, my presence not only added another number to the lengthy list of young job seekers but also added another burden to my relatives who lived there. Since I had few cousins, it was rather a cousinly burden I created for them to bear. I was an anomaly TV watcher then. With my little nephews and niece, I remember settling mostly with Tom and Jerry programs and other programs on cartoon network. In other words their choice prevailed most of the time. With this they were nothing but an annoying piece of little creatures. But surprisingly we had one common program to watch; we all enjoyed the Wrestling program on Tensports! I would often treat them with ice creams and chocolates when I felt happy and satisfied.
Then in day time, it used to be a business as usual. It was the time for birds of same feather to flock together. I joined my friends in rambling which mostly took place in the main city. We wandered among the shops and restaurants. Initially with enough pocket money, I recollect how we fondly lunched in restaurants that sold sikkam paa (Pork) and shakam paa (dry beef) with red rice. When those provisions ran out, there were times I either stopped appearing in the city completely or made an in invited guest in one of my friend’s cousin’s, uncle’s aunt’s and sibling’s house.
Those were indeed the most defining period in my life. I learnt a great deal about the expected norms of being guest, (invited or uninvited) starting form general behavior to ways one eats, drinks and talks to the host. As much as it was my privilege to have come across good hosts that acknowledged my presence with tea followed by meals, it has also been my sad fortune to have been disregarded as guest on different occasions too. There is a famous saying: “treat your overnight guest at par with god”. With this, I thought to myself that some people got it right and some, not so right.
As a guest, I truly did not like sticking to one place all the time. To give my host some breathing space and most deserving privacy, I often went out for a night or two along with my friends. Young, and easy, I enjoyed those nights like no other. I normally slept in the living room (known more as sting room in Bhutan) on sofas, but there were instances where, sometimes my host honored me as “future Officer” and offered me a bed in the altar room.
Amidst all this events, there was also one thing which got my attention and still lingers afresh in my mind. There was this notion that: “if you are a man then act like one”. Even though my provisions were barely enough to sustain my daily wandering, I firmly remember visiting not only bars but also the gambling hubs.
By nature, I was not a boozer but in the company of friends who booze, it was as simple as saying “when in Rome, be a Roman”. This act of being Roman often resulted in a nasty situation; I got hit or hit the person in the process. The otherwise good looking bartender (mostly Ladies) who welcomed us with smiling face would have lots to complain afterwards.
Coming back to gambling hub, it was all a coincidence. The bar I frequented not only catered booze to drinkers but also provided a safe haven to gamblers deep inside. As the gamblers took their gambling positions, I remember seeing their glittering faces . They were mostly ladies who had lips clad in glossy lip sticks and nails, polished and well nurtured. Their carefully threaded eye brows decorated with black mendi, looked all the more appealing and attractive. The otherwise drowsy bar soon became alive with the scent of their imported perfumes.
Later, on my closer association with the bartender, I came to know that they were mostly from business background. “Some are actually the wives of our ‘Dashos’” .He whispered to me. As the gambling progressed inside, I could sense some smoking profusely. The bartender frequented the room to attend their needs like booze and beers along with salad and meat. There were rumors that some even lost their expensive cars in course of gambling!
If being man was something than acting like one has even been more interesting. As an unemployed young man, my future was still very far from considering it as secured one. With unsecured future, the question of having a girlfriend was not only self restricting affair but was also an unaffordable business too. So to exercise my manly franchise, all I did was frequented my lady friends either for a cup of coffee or for a prolonged discourse on various topics.
As a popular saying goes: what goes around must come around. I often went back to my village in between to brief my parents about the progress of my job search. I remember briefing them with all the positivity in my endeavor. But my unconvinced nephew in the village had other preconceived notions. He thought that I was more of a liability to my parents and that I actually did not have a place to stay on this earth.