Sunday, July 4, 2010 | By: CHIMI DORJI

Summer Vacation Back Home

As I mount education ladder higher and higher time to stay back in the village with parents runs shorter year by year. Sometimes I have to compromise vacations for internships. Consequently even on vacations reaching back home becomes unfeasible. This summer vacation as I was not required to intern as intended I made home for month long vacation.
Life back in the village with parents no doubt is awesome as well as challenging. Especially in summer being the busiest season it’s quite tiring and challenging. It is not easy and cozy like that of sitting comfortably under the fan in the class. Folding my arms and sitting idly as college going student would be too disgraceful when parents are so busy under sweltering sun so much so that they yearned to borrow even street dogs’ hands if ever helpful to them. I tried my best to contribute my hands as much as possible in their needy times in the short vacation. If I don’t contribute during vacations which I rarely get to go home then there is no way I can help them on other times, otherwise I have to compromise with my studies which they would not allow as they always say “ we don’t want you to suffer day and night back in the village like us".
I being brought up in the village I do know the realities of village folks how they toil but pinch is aggravated when I’m in their shoes. First day somehow went like in the college only. By the time I knew it was time to stir up my brother in-law has already reached one load of firewood. From next day I also followed their schedule with them. Unlike before now they are woken up by mobile alarm which was not the case few years ago rather they were woke up by their natural alarm, crowing of cocks, for which every household used to own at least one cock. Though I did not set alarm but I could hear ringing of alarm and my sister waking up as we slept in the same room because of Khepa fear. There was not much that I could help my sisters in the early hours of dawn but when I saw my in-law with axe on his shoulder and rope on his hand I felt I could do something to make little difference .I used to follow him with rope but he would not dare to take me, he would say, no I’ll go myself, but I would not listen I used to accompany him, at least as long as I stayed with them.
Of all work the most tiring and toiling I found as well as they said is weeding of maize plant. In our village maize plant before it becomes ready to consume and reaches to anybody’s’ attire it has to get weeded three to four times for proper growth. If it lately weeds then weeds are grown longer than maize and tracing the maize plants from bushy weeds consume lots of workers and villagers try weeding as early as possible. By the time I reached they were troubling to complete first phase.
I, spade on shoulder and bamboo woven hat on my head walked to the maize field with my in-law. Reaching spade to every maize plant under sweltering sun was challenging and cumbersome. It was not like holding the pen and scribbling under the fan in the class. Steam of sweat flew from the face but no time to rest under cool shelter when weeds were growing longer and longer day by day and dominating tiny maize plants and looked like shouting them to be removed. No time to rest even if it had rained, unless heavily, either. At the end of the day I saw my hands were blistered. For them they have become used to and rarely get blistered. When I went next day for same work I could feel the pain but I realized it was just temporary for me but for them they have to work until dooms days. I could not imagine how they would endure if they were to work like summer for whole life. But it’s fortunate only in summer and in winter they don’t to have work like in summer so heavily. When I said to my sister , If I were to stay in the village I would not be able to work, She smiled and said, “you don’t have to you’ll get employed”.”When would I get employed?”, I thought. I see how much they suffer and sacrifice for me. I know I’m studying at their cost of handwork which is why sometimes I wish to get employed faster so that they can freed from burdening and I can help them but I guess day is not far for that.
Beside above I also reached to make the boundaries for partition of maternal grandfathers’ land among uncles and aunts as land survey team was reached to our gewog. Walking two hours and making boundaries cutting the dense forest was quite tough as well as enjoying. I have been to the place where I’ve never been before. I got chance to hear from my grandpa how he inherited from his father and how he acquired for his siblings. He also narrated few of other tales.
The worst part of my vacation was that Khepa fear. This rumor endangered my enjoyment and left never peace for whole vacation. I don’t know whether Khepa really exist or not but it was very difficult to go out even once it was dark. However optimistic I’m when whole village was into this rumour and heard, there they saw, here they saw, late night they saw big torches flashing around their house, their house were locked form outside and so, I also veered automatically to their belief. I vividly remember how I slept for whole vacation. We all slept in one room  with sharp knife under pillow. And, bow and few poisoned arrow near pillow read to shoot if ever Khepa appears. I wondered whether we would have able to shoot if ever really Khepas had appeared. But I belief this was just to feel secure. Once even villagers thought of grouping with bows and arrows and hide somewhere but this was not happen. Whenever they saw new faces then they suspected as Khepas. By the time my vacation got over this rumour collapsed and today people in my village almost back to normal peace without fear.
What is there more exciting then meeting with dear parents?. When I stepped on the door I saw happiness with smile in their face and as much as they were happy I was also happy to meet them safely. With all parentally care they treated with best of their food for all times. At the eve of departure relatives gathered to see off with few bucks and few gallons of Ara. I retracted their offer of few bucks and said seeing off itself is enough but they would not listen , its just for cup of tea, said many of them. No option, however i tried to turn down they would not listen I had to accept despite i knowing how much they toiled for single penny. But within, the guilt is burning for accepting their hard earned money. One fineday before too long  i'm sure i'll reciprocate.
 "I’m going stay nicely" I left the home then. After striding few metres I turned back and  saw tears filled in their eyes.I could see how emotionally they weaved at me. In return i also weaved at them.  My eighty five year  grandpa seemed quite doubtful whether his life could resist for  next meeting as i could read from his gestures when i turned back and weaved at them. May everything remain safe and nothing happen back home. May I meet my beloved parents as safe as before in next vacation………….
Life back in the village is cumbersome toiling round the clock everyday but I enjoyed and satisfied no matter however cumbersome it may be .

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