Friday, May 11, 2012

Of Chogos and Rimdros

Chogo is an annual event particularly marked by every household in the western part of Bhutan to appease the deities and gods for a good fortune and a bountiful harvest in the year that is to come. Rimdro is a lesser form of the appeasement which is generally adhoc in nature and often as a result of an oracle's prescription. This would classify as a spiritual bribery, isnt it? On a serious note, this is one moment where we pay homage and solidarity to the unseen forces for letting us share the four elements of nature. Sadly, at one point of time, this rituals also became a societal competition out of mere human ignorance. People simply looked upto those who hosted grandeur of foods and drinks. Thankfully, these days, people are resorting to vegetarian servings following a decree from the monastic body.

However, the story that i have for now is about one such event that i have my participation at a place called Hebesa under Wangdue district. I dont really remember the date..ahh...not even the month, but it was cold enough to make me wear my feather jacket. The Lam (religious head) of the village Goemba -monastery had generously invited the whole staff of the plant to his Chogo. With some decent contributions from each one of us attending the function- dont ask me how much we did - we headed straight to the house. The bus was full of cheerful and delighted people, jolting and cajoling all the way up to the destination. Happy they were, due to their very own reasons - some because of the abundance of ara (locally brewed liquor) to pour down the gutter and some expecting a promising courtship along side the festivity. The other reason was probably the presence of a young and a pretty girl in that house which nobody took a chance to miss the encounter. If these were not the reasons for making them cheerful, it was then that the rest were happy. Whatsoever it was, no sooner than we arrived, every nook and corner of the house was filled with people who never ceased to flock in continuously. By virtue of our good deeds in the past..ahem..we were led into the inner chamber which had the above-the-normal arrangement. Even more good was it, that, I got the privilege to sit on the carpet meant for the special guest, not that i was one of them but, nobody wanted to sit on it. I thought why not take a chance given the opportunity and there i was like a village head sitting on the thick carpet. Butter tea, milk tea, juice, etc were served one after another. For those who had an avid appetite for ara (do i consider one of them, besides the figures like Karma Wangdi and Pelden Nima?? could barely wait for the non-liquor servings to end. The shaky hands of one lady finally brought in the pot of ara. One could imagine the quantity that the pot contained and I could already visualize the state of the room after few more hours.

In one of my college days, a lady yelled at us saying "When the wine is in, wit is out", and yes truly it was. The room started getting louder, noisier and merrier, the GNH was starting to take its effect. Talks on random topics, mostly to pull the legs of each other was presented with some exaggeration. Some of our mates, who were less immune to ara were already in horizontal position meaning dead flat and snoring. Those of the new recruits who were keen and passionate about their just gotten jobs were all ears to my lecture on work and learning. Did I tell you that I have this terrible other-side of me wanting to speak out everything but secrets, when i am between tipsy and near-drunk. Nonetheless, they were eagerly listening to what ever i had to say, atleast it looked that way to my then drooping eyes. By then, most of the people had already called it a day and retired to their respective houses and there i was like the "last of the Mohicans" still taking some intermittent sips and blabbering out some fundamentals not bothering who i was speaking to. Gradually, the potful of ara was overpowering every mankind and most of the bachelors could not even stand upright or atleast pretended that way, so as to spend the night in that house for their good own reasons under this pretext. Even before i could realize that i thanked the owner and left the house, i was knocking at my very own door only to hear the yelling of my wife for being so drunk and late. There went on the never ending blah blah blah....until i realized that she had stopped only to start again, but this time waking me up for the breakfast. That moment was one of a kind, and for this, I live my life as the way I am and that I be invited to all the Chogos and Rimdros.

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