“Samdrup Jongkhar……Samdrup Jongkhar….”
The taxi drivers looking for passengers travelling to different places called out their destinations. Some people hurried to the nearby cab with hot tea in a plastic cup from a roadside shop while some scurried out the hotel back doors like frightened by ghost. And some briskly followed the cab man calling them and headed to the cabs.
“Sir, Samdrup Jongkhar joemi ina?”
A man came to me asking if I’m to head to East. A good trick that they use is the use of ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ to the strangers and attracts passengers (They simply addresses for the sack of politeness). I was amused by the way a taxi man say something like that to a person like me; a youngster! I was just entering my country when I decided to directly head to Samdrup Jongkhar the same morning! I followed the man not because he called me ‘Sir’ but the reasonable fare he mentioned.
|Bhutanese vehicles stopped by a Strike in WB|
At seven, we headed to Samdrup Jongkhar via Jai Gaon; the border town and through the Indian plains. Having all the back seats empty, I tried for a nap that never happened for.
Our country being geographically challenged, we take the Indian highway to reach Samdrup Jongkhar from Phuntsholing via the plains as every Bhutanese knows. However, the route is unwelcoming especially when it coincides with the strikes in the plains. On the West Bengal and Assam plains, the protesters march the roads and do their stuffs. While we wait for the time to pass under the hot humid air! On that same day, an uncalled strike was happening and we had to wait for an hour in the plains of WB.
We were just rolling through the plains when the thundering started in my belly. I began to regret the abrupt decision. I looked out the window, tried to listen to the songs and enjoy the scenes played on the windscreens but failed to quell my hunger.
At Santa Bara; halfway to Samdrup jongkhar, the cab was brought to a halt when I surprised the driver that I needed to pee! Inside I was hungry! A girl sitting in front of me giggled softly to her mother upon what I just said.
An hour later, we were meandering through the busy streets of Assam. A group of men in ‘khaki’ drew my eyes away the mobile phone! There a headless man lay surrounded by those men. Probably a reckless driver ran upon his head and brutally smashed him! Something told me that they didn't get the culprit!
|the scene of an accident in the plains|
Not so far, two heavy vehicles stood in the middle of the highway! The trucks had a dangerous joint! I didn't hope the life of one of the driver as it was clear that he was abruptly squeezed with the sped-trucks! I felt that the drivers didn't really care the traffic rules any more there! Dogs, cats, birds and snakes smashed on the roads like anything as if they were just nothing! It was nothing a new sight after all! I have seen every time I traveled the same highway! And every time I saw them, a line came to my mind; humans are brutes!
By three in the afternoon, the hilly areas not so far greeted my sight! Half an hour later I was stepping out into the taxi parking at Samdrup Jongkhar where my parents greeted with warm hugs and loving smiles.
The next morning, we (along with parent) headed for home-to Bayphu! It was exciting that I was going to be home soon yet the road blockages killed my smiles every passing hour! Rainy season and the fresh-cut soils really work as a team; they clear away the roads and make your journey so interesting that you have to keep on frowning upon yourself for the schedule or travelling!
|Road block near Orong Valley|
I was smiling as the car snaked the three turnings below the Wamrong Zangdo Pelri which indicated that I was home! My village greeted me with the cool breeze and the Greens!