October 2014 is gone. But I must say that no month in my life has kept me this busy. Running between home, office, hospital and the cremation ground, I never thought my simple life could suddenly become this busy.
First there was a case in ICU of Thimphu hospital. It was one serene morning when a phone call from Thimphu brought a ominous silence in my family. I heard my mother-in-law fumbling over a phone. Little later I came to know that her uncle, whom I never met, was in a critical state. Almost dead so to say! Since then, it was raining sadness in her face and eyes. But I never thought she would be that afflicted, because during their healthier years they were not even in talking terms. With my wife I rushed to Thimphu, on the very same day only to find a lifeless body on bed supported by machine. Two more days and the uncle was pronounced dead.
Then there was petty brawl at my sister’s house, which so erupted at the height of her husband’s rage. She said she needed my presence to sort out the things. But I insisted they solve it on their own when the rage is subsided. I told them it’s never a wise decision to seek other people’s involvement in petty family feuds. But she was more adamant than me. Fearing something was not really right, I called off a day from my office. No sooner did I get into my car and started my drive then I got a call from my Director. He told me that he is coming to my office for an official errand. And here is another thing. Hours before, I was told to get ready for my ad-hoc trip to Kolkata. The next day, I had to part to Kolkata, leaving behind so many things unattended.
After a memorable trip to Kolkata, I got back home to hear other tragic news. Somewhere on facebook, I was told about the demise of our beloved Lama, whom the locality of Ura attached so much love and respect. We called him Meme (grandpa) but he was popularly known as Dasho Shingkhar Lam. Looking at the contributions he made to the nation, his demise, to me merited a national mourning day. It was on 16th October 2014, that Bhutan lost a soul irreplaceable. A nation lost a son who has sacrificed his life for its cause. It’s a tragic. While the handful people from Ura community along with family grieved at the lost of a legend, the rest of the nation moved on, still oblivious of the loss with utter indifference. Ten more days and the body of our precious and beloved grandpa was brought to Kichu for his last rites. It was a small funeral rite for a man who lived a life larger than his being. Much to the gloom of grieving people, the sky remained laden with could. Little past noon, when the venerable Khenpo Karpo finally alight a pyre on fire, the sky opened up and there was sun shine. There was even a rainbow too. In hours time, the flame consumed every bit of “Hero with Thousand eyes”. Only that remained was a handful of ash showing how impermanence is such a ubiquitous truth. That was it. Our Meme is no more and our hearts are heavy. Later one of my friend, with his eyes reddened by the tears of smoke and sadness said that we have finally burned down stacks of Bhutan’s History.
Back home, one thing has always kept me on my toes for the last nine months -The coming of my son Dawa Gyeltshen, my fourth child. When I say fourth child, I am sure this is going to raise bros and drop chins of some baby phobic people. Some might even think that I am over doing this biological thing, but all I can say is that he was conceived under a mysterious circumstance. His coming was prophesied by his 5 years old sister and as such it was she who also named him. We banked on her prophetic words and therefore never rushed to find out the gender of the fetus.
Finally in the morning hours of 21st October, I took my wife to the Paro hospital for her last check up. She was instantly admitted. It was a long wait in the ECL room then. Facilities in the hospital were dismal. Toilet was dangerously messy and water was scarce. Pipes were broken and human excreta were overflowing. To sum up, people with all kind of sickness shared one water less toilet. In such a wretched place, the gentle Doctors, soft nurses and kind brothers were a silver lining.
After a prolonged labor, Dawa Gyeltshen was finally out from the womb, finally making me the proudest father of a son. The time as per my watch was 12:45 am dated 22nd October 2014. He weighed 120gram short of mighty 4 kg and has a big head covered with crimson black hair. At the center of his face was a large nose. After his male genital part, the next thing I saw was this tiny red tongue licking his lips in search of something to suckle on. I then checked his ten little fingers and ten little toes, one by one. I found out that he inherited my ears. I checked everything. Despite nine months pregnancy sickness, my wife was relatively stable and was doing fine. Quick dress up and we were soon out of that stinking labor room. We were discharged the same day. Three of us reached home to an overwhelming welcome by our grandmother, father-in-law, mother–in-law and my anxious three little daughters. They have sanctified the house with incense smoke. Butter lamp in the largest ting was lit. It was Grandmother who received Dawa Gyeltshen with a white scarf. She took him to the alter side and said some prayers. Back in Woochu School, birth of my son has gone viral. It has even cascaded to Thimphu. In two days time, my father-in-law has arranged a grand Lhab sang ceremony.
My son is now 12 days old and I am happy to note that he is doing well. He needs bathing, once in the morning and other in the evening. He has a super appetite for milk. He pees like a horse and shits like a bull, otherwise he is as calm and as peaceful like an unperturbed sea. At the moment, all is well.