July 13, 2012


Life is about an easily influential age that can lead young youths off beam. They can march on to wrong lanes and indulge themselves in uninvited actions. Guidance and counseling can reconcile their wounds.
It happened not so long ago. I recall the day evidently, when the deadly earth quake nearly took out our breath away. Though, I didn’t feel the tremble as I was in Calcutta the other day, I heard that it was very ferocious. The next day, I arrived in phuentsholing safely. Things were unusual and I could see cracks almost on every buildings. Everywhere people were talking about their near death experiences. Many narrated funny instances, like hiding under tables and closets. There wasn’t any vehicle movement and I could not travel on that very day. I made up my mind to travel next day and went to the bus booking for reservation of the ticket. I got the confirmed seat and went back to the inn. Next day, I woke up at 8 am and groomed myself. The bus was programmed to depart at 9:30. I was ready by 9 and then headed towards bus station. Everyone loaded their luggage and the journey was yet to begin. I took my seat at number 17. The co-passenger behind me was a young boy of 16 or 17. He was fat but cute and gentle in his behavior. His hands were tattooed and he had one small bag to carry with him. As the bus started boarding, unwillingly, he started the conversation with me. ‘Acho where are you going’? He said politely. I responded, Thimphu without much smile on my face. He then, stared at my hand carefully and said, ‘your tattoo is awesome’. In the meantime, I snoozed off for a short while. I found the little boy gazing outside, through the bus window and getting lost in thoughts. I wondered what he was dreaming off. We started becoming acquainted with each other, as we moved on with the conversation.
 I asked him, ‘are you a student’? He paused for a moment and then replied, ‘I studied till class six and then dropped out’. By then, I was very curious to know the next fact. I questioned him, ‘why did you discontinue your studies?’ with heavy heart and reluctance, he responded me,’ I got into drug, that’s why’. It touched me hugely and I asked him, ‘how did you get into such misconducts?’ He told me, when he was in school, he was terrorized by one of his elders and compellingly, he made him to sniff hallucinates. As time passed, he found himself dependent on it and gradually he also tried out smoking hash. Day by day, he lost interest in studies and for most of the time; he crept around in the dark fantasy world of marijuana. As a consequence, he was chucked out from school. He was even sent to REHAB, in light of hope to recover from the sickness of addiction. He told me, ‘now I repent for all my misdeeds and I hope to continue my studies but I lack support from my parents’. I insisted him to continue with his studies as he was very young to remain idle. The next heart aching part was that, even his parents abandoned him for his manners. I was astonished and asked him, where did you hold your last night? He said, in the hotel, Acho. I have my parents in phuentsholing but they never allow me in their house and they regret calling me as their son sometimes. He said, he only has one person who looks after him and that’s his brother, who always sweats in peace, working for others to make a living. I was quiet for a couple of minutes. I was deeply moved by his sad tales, but there was nothing that I could do to help him out.
By then, it was already afternoon and we arrived to the hotel, where we were supposed to have lunch. The bus stopped and I got out but he didn’t even dare to move from his seat. I asked him for a lunch. At first, he seemed uneager and said, ‘he had bought packed lunch’. I was stunned, where did he get the lunch from? But I didn’t say in words. He said, ‘he bought some samosa’ as a lunch. How sadly he expressed in his humble way. Despite my repeated pleas, he accepted to take chance of my offer. He took noodles and I had food. After that, I went for smoke. As I was pulling the cigi, he came out and started smoking one. He was loaded with cigi but broke with cash. We sucked the butt together for some minutes and he even gave me some pieces. Then we boarded into the bus and started with the next episode of the journey. He shared me his hobbies and his passion for music, as he touched my guitar. He wanted to become doctor. We exchanged many conversations. I asked him, whether he has girlfriend or not? He flummoxed me and laughed out wildly. I thought he had one but I never forced him to sneak out his secret. I repeatedly suggested him to continue with his academic career. In the course of conversation, both of us dozed off for almost an hour. I was disturbed from my sleep by the jerk and uneven speed of the bus. He was snoring and I didn’t disturb him. After some time he got up and freshened up himself with the zephyr that came through the window of the bus. We were about to arrive check post. All of sudden, the bus stopped for interim. He got out and said me good-bye, waving his hands. What puzzled me was his departure in the middle of forest. Neither, I could find house nor people around that area. He disappeared among the bushes. I was filled up with tons of question and I kept wondering about it, till I reached my destination.
Until today, I was longing to see that “broken piece of star” and conversed with him, like we did in the bus but unfortunately I couldn’t. I pray his life to be filled with boundless joy and happiness. I wish, he be liberated from suffering addiction and lead sober life, contributing to the development in his own little ways. Like anybody, he has a dream and wants to shine as other children do. We must take time to understand those unfortunate ones, because they have so much to give to this world. Let them realize the purpose of being on this beautiful earth and they will surely recognize their own potential someday, if not one day. But the weird thing was that, two of us ended our journey, without even knowing each other’s good name.

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