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Saturday, July 16, 2016

No Longer a Safe Haven

Bhutan, globally branded as the Last Shangri-La is certainly losing some glamour to be the last haven on earth.
The tiny Buddhist kingdom that was totally isolated from the rest of the world until 1970s – not due to its rugged mountainous terrain or thick vegetation – but secluded calculatedly by the reigning Monarchs of the Wangchuck Dynasty to defend its sovereignty, is witnessing a sea of change over a wee epoch of time, particularly Thimphu, the Capital city of Bhutan.
Thimphu City at night. Picture courtesy: Click LINK
As many won’t deny, no slice of earth in Thimphu is excused from the blades of booming constructions of varying sizes and shapes, strangulating the green and serene Bhutanese niche. No section of street is exempted from a convoy of ceaseless automobiles of various brands and marque, prostituting the otherwise halcyon night and untainted oxygen. And more eccentrically, no dusk is spared from the footsteps of bellicose adolescent gangs of diverse colors and pigments which arithmetically outnumbers the pacific street canines, converging for different engagements at these odd hours and incommoding the ritualistic evening walk-goers.               
Thimphuians are certainly immune and resistant to such strange pooling of youths in the town at night I observed.
That late night as I was waiting in the parking lot for my friend who was in the night duty shift, a maroon Hilux rested its wheels beside my car. An earsplitting voice by the passengers inside followed with a thunderous applaud, supposedly indicating a triumph over a safe arrival or succeeding something. On seeing them in a squad, my timid mind which was already enduring the fever of dread and angst hearing the recent stab case due to a violent youth clash, further turned pale and cold. My posture had involuntarily shrunk to an inch size C-shape. Within a short while, I heard two loud successive smacks on my car, which further aggravated me to tremble in fear and hum the prayers even more in a fast-forward mode.
But it dint last long. As the volume of the howl by these scoundrels lowered, I gradually raised my head, only to observe 6 inebriated teens in a proportionate gender equality, heading towards the town by supporting on each other’s shoulders.     
Although that hell-like moment in a heaven Thimphu was brief by time, it has generated a lasting scar of shockwave in my mind. I immediately quitted the place and drove towards the well-lit part of the town, and inspected my car. It sustained with some bruises, possibly due to a forceful door opening after they narrowly parked beside my car.
Since I valued my life more than those material property, I thanked the Almighty for extending my dateline to register in the death logbook. Had I reacted to them instantly for hitting my car, my name might have probably appeared in the “Headlines” of the national television, or might have reserved the front pages of our newspaper or social media to earn some “Rest In Peace” comments or occupy some obituary column.
So after giving a huge sigh of relief, I murmured, these days our people don’t need a reason to get enraged, pick up a fight or stab each other.
Being an educator by profession, witnessing a wide spectrum of wild behaviors by our very own domestic kids nowadays, makes me wonder: Where are our youths heading to? What are our dear parents doing and why are our parents not able to smell the whereabouts of OUR own kids? And of course, what lucrative business does our society runs at that very late night?
While hearing the gamut of such juvenile delinquencies are one, experiencing in reality is another. The later engulfs with the hell lot fear that even if one has some genuine reasons to travel at night, one is obliged to forbid, experiencing some bitter taste of a living hell in this Last Shangri La.
“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference” – Nelson Mandela


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