I never did realize the fun of mingling up with aged people until lately. I always looked for a way to shrink away and even if one turned up, I was so indisposed to their candour that I rejected it flatly. However this time by default, I was conferred good opportunity to sit around with oldies and celebrate the day together. Perhaps, I should remember the day as the best ever celebrated blessed rainy day.
The day cracked up with greetings from the sun rays gently warming up the air inside the room. No sooner did I freshen up than a neighbour next door invited me for lunch. I felt as if I was home with my own parents. With a pot of porridge I bided farewell to breakfast followed by some preparations for the day. Lunch hour was in air when a man of late sixties and seventies joined us with their wrinkled face and eyes pocketed deep inside.
It wasn’t until some thirty minutes before that they broke the ice when they were poured with a cup of locally brewed chankey. The two senior old folks were comfortably seated with their backs leaned on sofa as if in charge of the day. First they started with some historic background and significance of the day and after which came the joke of the annual bath by the senior citizen. We all burst out laughing to the joke, but he interjected and helped himself with another round. But he didn’t even show us the slightest hint of intoxication and maintained his pace.
“Agay, how many children have you produced” asked I with a grin. “I didn’t marry” followed the reluctant reply. I stopped inquiring further dreading the sombre looks of the agay. Later I knew from my neighbour that agay never paired up with any women. As the conversation heated up, all of us were well acquainted and I did not dread any longer.
The other man took us back to sixties when Bhutanese were still not exposed to wearing underwear. He even narrated his first incidence with a women and how he got rid of virginity. Compared to agay, he was fortunate enough to be partially schooled. Often the man blended in some English words in his joke which puzzled agay. But every time he uttered an alien word, he made it sure that it reached agay’s ear in translated language. Noticing this, I laughed hysterically and seldom did the man stare me with his uninviting eyes.
Next he narrated about how he earned the sobriquet “Balay Balay”. It was told so lively that it almost took my breath away. Agay nodded to his joke but never displayed adequate smile.
So often their conversation followed light arguments which left us ambivalent on whom to referee.
By then the clock on the wall chimed five times warning us with the sundown. I went to thank agay for his good humor but not until he wakes up from his snore. Uncle Balay Balay stood till the last bottle.
I called off my day pacifically with blessing and memoirs carved on my heart.