Thimphu received its first snow fall of the year.It started from the morning of 19th January 2011,however it isn't a heavy fall.I took a ride towards sangaygang and few days later towards Dochula and took as many glimpses as possible.The snow coverage seems to be getting thinner year by year.Many of the highway passes such as Dochula,Thrimshingla were blocked and no traffic for few days.Here are the moments of perfect walk with the nature.
Thimphu and Dochula after the 2011 snowfall.
Friday, January 7
I heard a recitation sound of BazaGuru echoing from the curve of Hot spring well.It was Agay Dopchu from Ozorong,he is drunk again.He started with his epic of Guru tales while battling the debate through humors,dirty jokes,teasing the Ngalong women that consistently keep the teasing and lust temptation arouse within him.
December,January,February and almost in the midst of March are the most favourable time for the people who loves Tsachu(soaking in hot spring).For my Apa,it has been a regular routine going all the way to Gelephu Tsachu atleast once a year.Where as my Ama prefers Chubu Tsachu(Punakha).The Tsachu/soaking in a hotspring has been like a customary way of life dating back to the times as far my Apa remembers recalling the face of his great grand father.It was ultimately me who then get a chance to vist all the Tsachus assisting Apa and Ama as a professional homely Bhutanese cook.I can cook to the tune of their appetites,while being active and flexible in all the matters ranging from shopping to waking up in the middle of night preparing tea and porridge for them.This had made Apa and Ama felt more convenient taking me with them from all the seven siblings.
Winter is the most suitable season for the hot spring goers.While Tsachus/hot spring suppose to contain highly medicinal value,here in Bhutan of myths and beliefs,we strongly in the view of considering these places as the most sacred place visited and blessed by saints with magical powers.Therefore every one must go/must have experience the beauty and charm of natural hot spring bath.
Chubu Tsachu is located in the Majestic Punakaha valley along the banks of river Phochu,a distance of 5 hour initially walk from Samdingkha.Now the new road leads as far as nabdingkha Valley,leaving just a 2-3 hours walk to the hot spring.Its a lovely short kind of trekking,breathing a fresh natural air,while sighting the valleys through the terrains,following the horses that would help you take your rations to the hot spring.If you are long distance walk phobia,its better then to head towards the south for a warm Gelephu Tsachu.A car or cab would take just approximately 15 kilometres from the main town.You don't have to walk like the Chubu Tsachu.
9 lovely days at Tsachu is worth and spent in the most memorable times of my life.I wish to visit atleast once a year again.A 12 year old boy in a red jacket just skipped by in front of my eyes with a cane of Tongma as i passed by him towards the first glimpse of Tsachu pools.A year before me,Apa,Ama,and my younger brother just returned from Chubu Hot spring.This year favoring my Apa,we decided to go for Gelephu Tsachu,which Ama reluctantly agreed.
I was then in class 11.We started our journey from Paro,packing all the necessary ration such as dry chillies,red rice,mini gasstove,blankets,tent,patang,dried vegetables,biscuits,lantern,butter,salt,snacks,milk,torch,match stick,cheese,a tray of egg,some noodles,red label tea,chankey,candles,slippers,half pants,a radio,tea leaves for Suja,pots,hotcase,sikam paa,dried beef.My sisters had,a day before had a grand shopping from Tashi super market,the modern necessities and items,that are required along with regular rations.
At Tsachu i was then involved with regular schedule of cooking.I managed the ration till the last day at Tsachu.It was extremely lovely.I was the man who soaked 8 hours in the well almost panting for breath.My body absorbed the depth of minerals enough to knock off like Mr Bean's chicken cooking.I peeped to the beautiful charming girls who dressed in black paints(slacks),long hair,glossy lips,fair skin,perfume smell that made the madness in me erupt.They come slowly to the well and cant take off my eyes from the sight of their fingers with a black nail polish and purple eyes.That was a kind of madness in me,watching a beauty,never letting it skip by.I was really sorry,cant wait there to watch the entire show of a beauty.My ama distracts me.She comes back to the pool and i had to to sacrifice and leave.I am a shy guy who is so much scare of falling in love and talking of getting crush,forget about it,cant even have guts to propose an opportunity.Lets forget it,all a past stories and memories.
For me the art of happiness within still lingers a shadow.Its through the times at Tsachu,some come for happy trekking in a group,some family,some lovers,some couples,some official,some monks,laymen and cooking that ranges from a a thukpa to fried rice and aroma of the red rice and dried chillies buzzing amongst sikam paa within the aluminium pots keeps me afresh of living memory that yes,i had my wonderful days at Tsachu.Its through laugh and interaction,jokes,songs,the dependability on others that arouse the inner happiness within to go beyond the concept of finding GNH within ourselves.
Thursday, January 6
I was riding the winter roads.Somewhere to the opposite of Tamchoe Lhakhang,on the Chuzom-Paro highway,it was more than an hour that larger number of vehicles were being stopped at a massive landslide that blocked the road yesterday on my journey towards Paro.I wondered, but why such a huge slide without any sign of rain.Believe me the soil were so loose,but who could have had imagined and the guts to help build a wall across the falling boulders on this particular site or cut it bit more wide? I had witnessed several slides on this particular ridge since the Paro-Thimphu highway widened.I felt sorry for the two pilots who were delayed their duties for Bangkok flight and the passengers who were travelling abroad.Finally,thanks to traffic police and the RSTA personnels who were assisting in avoiding a heavy JAM.
Along the wide highway nearing Khasadrapchu,a Toyota Prado plunged downwards the hill,across an apple orchard in the silent Thim chu river.Crowd at the site reporting the four wheels of the car had been stolen on the very night of an accident.There still must be the cruel someone who seeks joy in the mirth of someone's weep.
Well,on the eve of new year party,several cars were being dashed,some by sheer carelessness,some by alcohol,some by speed for EGO.There were more shows down the wintry roads.A Wagnor taxi touched the hip of blue CRV on the cross roads.The freeze and icy roads makes accident more prone.A private Santro swift through the path bursting the front glasses to pieces.Few policemen watch aside studying the cause.Earlier The national Newspaper paper reporting an alto taxi nearly get smacked towards an Eicher truck carrying iron beams down the Dochula snow paved ridge,however letting passengers unharmed.
There were many more nameless and countless incidences along the winter roads.A matter of patience,cool in you,slowing down the speed,attentive,be free from getting drunk or senseless,dropping down EGO,,abiding by traffic rules and regulations would not just save you and your car ,but the lives and soul that lay trust on you as you ride the wintry roads.Even in taxi or in someone's car,i would be bold enough but in the most courteous form to ask the driver to slow down for safety travel of me and other companion.
The number of cars had increased so rapidly especially in the city resulting into number of accidents one after another.
Several highway notice and warnings that alerts me frequently while driving are:
********* START EARLY,REACH EARLY ***********
********** SPEED THRILLS,BUT KILLS ************
**********IF YOU CAN READ THIS,THEN YOU ARE ABOUT TO KISS ME ***********
********** ACCIDENT PRONE AREA,DRIVE SLOWY OR SINKING AREA *************
By writing down all these,i don't meant to say that i m a perfect driver or a professional driving buddy ,but believe me,a cool and patience in you can matter a lot from going to workshop for denting painting,writng a statement and filing a case in the traffic unit while more than that, Life is more precious than anything else where ever you are.Some shady places are quite risky and slippery,all the time covered with frost and ice like the Dochula-Lamperi,Chelela,Tanalum area,Isuna Paro,towards eastern and central Bhutan like the passes of Thrumshing la,Pelela,Yutong la.
The results of careless driving can be at times so devastating,losing lives,while disabling our ability.