Happily exhausted

Very big perk!

I’m in Dorikha, totally exhausted. But I’ve had a hot stone bath, an extra large bowl of buckwheat noodle soup, copious amounts of o-ja (milk-sweetened tea), and a glass of Ani Gaki’s stiff ara. I’m sitting near a bukhari, typing, under the watchful gaze of three inquisitive nieces. And I’m already forgetting the pain of the last two days.

Yesterday, after meeting the people and touring the village of Thangdokha, we decided to take a shortcut down from the remote village to Somchu, a tributary of Amochu. The “shortcut” isn’t a path; it’s lunging in an approximate direction downhill, while hacking through undergrowth and nettle. My arms still feel sore and numb thanks to the thorns and stinging nettle.

After we finally made to Somchu, we waded across its icy waters, and climbed to Gongthangka and then to Sektena, both villages populated by Lhotshampa Rais. By then I felt literally drained out, as I had developed a diarrhea.

Last night, as I dozed off on Ap Gharay’s shikua (a porch) I remembered how, almost two years ago, my wife and I waded across the Somchu and took the same “shortcut” up to Thangdokha. The urgency of the impending elections drove me uphill. But, I still don’t know where Tashi’s strength and determination came from. If I was thankful for her support then, I’m now eternally grateful.

Incidentally, Ap Gharay’s real name is Dhan Bir Rai. His nickname comes from ghar meaning house. About 30 years ago, after Dhan Bir built his house, his neighbors started calling him “Gharay” as his was the only house that had been properly constructed. Dhan Bir’s sobriquet continues to be relevant: his is still the only proper house in the neighborhood of 29 households.

Today, we walked 12 hours. Most of it was uphill, from Sektena (at about 1500 meters) to Sel-la (about 3800 meters). And I almost couldn’t make it. Two magic potions helped me: ORS and Red Bull.

The oral rehydration salts replenished water and restored minerals and salts in my body that I would lose continuously to heavy sweating and the many trips to the bushes. The Red Bull simply pushed me uphill when my legs wouldn’t.

I may have been struggling, but the beauty of the trail wasn’t lost on me – the crisp predawn air, the warmth of the morning sun, the shade from the broadleaf forests, relatively flat meadows, real shortcuts, the season’s first primulas, the sweet scent of daphne flowers, rhododendron trees preparing to blossom, the 360-degree view from Ayto Pcheku, farmers returning from shopping in Haa, and the distant view of the new road being built to Sombaykha.

And, at Sel-la, just as I crossed the pass, gasping for air, nature gifted me with a rare sight – the sun offering its final rays for the day to the sacred Mt Jumolhari.

I’m in Dorikha, exhausted, but totally satisfied.


Facebook Comments:


  1. i believe you too forgot to visit for three,after election. happy u visited and dzongdag too. if they are also elected like you,they would have made frequent visit. unfortunate they are’

  2. Enjoyed reading this one, I guess travelling makes a poet out us all.:)

  3. You are doing a great job. Give a clarion call to the nation and your PDP coleagues to answer the call of the nation. This DPT-dominated NA and government is destroying our country and we need balance in the parliament. I hope you are keeping your good candidates who lost to smearing tactics of JYT…..God bless Bhutan.

  4. You made this trip of yours to your own constintuency where you amde all the promises sound like you were travelling to the end of the world where no one else ever dared to do. Wow! wow! wow!

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