Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Journey worth taken

Came the train,
That we were supposed to travel in.
The stoppage time was just five minutes.
So we rushed in,
Like swarms of bees.

Tears of sadness
Swirled in our eyes,
To dapart from our lovely parents
And to leave the land of paradise.

The air inside
Was so hot and suffocating.
Every inch of our body
Were drenched by our own perspiration,
And we stinked out of it.
The rumours about robberies
Were a nagging concern
For the four innocent people.

This left us with no choice
Than to keep our bags
Still on our back,
No matter whether we are sitting or sleeping.
It was pretty heavy though.
We never took our eyes
Off our luggage.

Then came the people,
To sell their goods
And food of all kinds.
They were shouting,
This sound would fade away
In the distant compartments.
Could vividly remember this,
Though have heard many.

It was night then.
Everyone around moved
 To their respective sleeper beds.
Lights were switched off,
But we were fully awake in the dark.

My eyes had quite a dispute
With the brain.
But how hard it tried in response,
It kept on falling down time and again.
Eventually, my eyes won
And flat was I on the sleeper bed.
But with the bag still on my back
And my handbag
Clutched tightly between my fingers.
Because I didn’t want to take a chance.

I could hear the tickling sound
Of the second hand of my watch.
But the time seemed
Never to be moving.
Startled was I and wondered
When dawn would arise.

Two of my friends,
Were sharing one sleeper bed.
Because we kept our luggage on one.
At around midnight,
I offered my bed
To one of my friend s.

From then on,
I never slept.
Chanting my silent prayers,
Preoccupied with the thought;
What if our luggage were lost..?
What if we were robbed..?
What if we were attacked..?
Because then,
All our necessary documents
Would be lost.

Just then, four men appeared
And were passing by
Our sleeper bed.
No sooner did they reach
Our compartment than
My friend who was
 Into deep sleep,
Woke all of a sudden
And shouted, “Oyeee!”

This annoyed them
And they shouted back,
“Hey, Tumhara dhimak kharab hoghaya!”
Fearing that this men were
Going to do something mischievious
Let my friend protest in her half conscious mind.
This woke all other fellows
In ours and nearby compartments,
Who managed to mumble a few angry words.
Blissful were we
To witness the day break.
We kept on inquiring
The people around about
The station of our current halt,
And the station
That we are supposed to get out.
Eventually, our endless journey
Was wiped away by time.
But we were done with
Just half of our journey,
When we got out at Howrah train station.
Many a labourers were after us
Offering us the service.
We hardly paid any heed.
But that was inevitable.
That’s when our necessity
Became their opportunity.

We were led to the waiting room
In a state that we were almost gasping,
In the hot suffocating atmosphere.
Helpless were we.
We splashed a handful of water
On our rough and dreary faces.
 But even the water
Was no better than
The geyser heated water.
Our despearteness for cool water
Back in our country,
Was at its peak at that instant.

Then went we,
To find something to fill
Our empty and grawling stomach.
Nothing matched the taste
That we were desiring for.
But circumstances left us with no choice
Than to force anything,
Down ur esophagus
To stop our head from spinning.

It was almost time
For us to get on the next train.
So we moved on
Carrying and dragging our belongings
With all our might.
The necessity of a  bath
Was compensated by our own sweat bath.

Uncertain were we
Of the steps we were taking,
With all the eyes
Gazing unflinchingly and focused
On the four innocent strangers.
Tried talking to a few
But all in vain.
We were like
Aliens landed on the earth.

A train was approaching
Found it to be the East Coast Express.
In haste, we were looking for coach number S/2.
Lucky were we to be in.
But what a blunder thing we did
Was we got into a.c. class,
Not sleeper class coach S/2.

A chill crept through my spines.
But managed to stammer,
“I…Is….Is there a way to the sleeper class…straight from here?”
The response was positive.
So I told my friends to follow me.
None did when I happened to look back,
After crossing an a.c. compartment.

Lost and dump-founded was I.
Rushed back to the place
Where they were before.
Could find no one.
Tears of misery,
Crawled down my cheek.
Soothing and pleasing was it to my ears
To have heard that the train will
Put its engine to live only after 15 minutes.
So I got out,
Ran with dashing speed
To the sleeper class.
I reached there
With a ripened plum cheek.

I found them there.
Each face marked by sternness
 Was lightened to a grin.
Again we started another,
Yet never ending journey.
I prayed so that
Everything turns out to be good.

I was awake a while before dawn.
Was keeping a track of
The train stations,
Referring to the list given by the travel agent.
I just ticked the ones
That we have passed
And waited for the ones
Yet to come
Until it was our turn
To get out
At the Tadepalligudem train station.

We were being told
That somebody would be waiting for us.
Expectantly and eagerly did we wait there.
Hoping someone would turn out.
But only for our hopes of fire
To be extinguished abruptly.

A man appeared suddenly,
Holding a paper
Embedded with bold letters
Of our university name.
All of us rushed
Towards the man
With unprecedented happiness.
Safely were we
Reached to our hostel.
The three of us were allotted a room.
It looked so gloomy.
With nothing around
Than the main academic block,
The administrative block,
Two hostels for girls and one for boys,
And a few staff quarters,
The college campus is dominated
By orchards and forest around.
Some of our seniors said,
“ The town is 15 kilometers away from here
And you will have to go there for everything you need.”
That added to our melancholy.

We went to the town,
Did all the necessary shopping.
The atmosphere and the noise out there
Had a hypnotic effects.
We did all we could
To make our room
A better place to live in.

It was the first night
At our hostel.
I noticed a few drops of secretions
Treading its way down 
Their innocent cheeks.
I too felt the turmoil
Churning within myself.
Felt like crying my heart out.
But thinking that
This would add to our agony,
I let the urge to subside before it emerged.
I pretended to be
Consoling my helpless friends.

I told them not to be depressed,
Because our human mind
 Is incredibly adaptable,
And soon we would find
Ourselves liking the place as never before.

Everything we got in the mess
Tasted so different and gross.
Our taste buds were not in a state
Ready to accept the change.
Every food would be spicy.
Not mistaken that India got its name,
‘The Home of Spices.’
I deeply sympathize with one of my friend
Who had to sacrifice curry every time
Since she was an ulcer patient.

All this have led to a self- realization
That whatever hardships
We encounter in life,
Are somehow meant to make us brighter and braver.
Because the bitter in our lives
Are meant to make us better.
And the need to sow
The seed of hard work,
So that we reap
The fruit of success.

And, here we unite,
In our thoughts
To be optimistic
And put our utmost efforts
With the undying aim.


  1. Aiie, Tashi, how pitiful! A nice post and it really brought back the memories of me and my friends having the same kind of experience as all of us were travelling into India in a train for the first time. And the frightening words of other people made the situation even worse. Hope our suffering and hardships we faced pay us ultimately in the long run. Though for its considerable length, I enjoyed your poem very much. And I must say I am happy to know that you have finally come up with a blog to express the interest in writing in you to the world. Keep going. No doubt, you write wonderful. I knew you were very good at that indeed. Do keep updating.

    1. Thank you for sparing your time and of course for being the first reader. Though I am not a professional writer, my interest in writing despite my tight academic schedule let me to come up with this idea. As you say, it took me quite a long time to come up with a blog and I am happy that I did. I would like to acknowledge suggestions and feedback from my readers so that I can improve on my lapse.

    2. I forgot to mention that I enjoy reading the posts in your blog. Continue doing so...