Monday, January 20, 2014

For the dumplings

Life is composed of insignificant moments and it is those mischievous risks that we take in our life that makes it worthwhile. Only by taking risks we can explore the qualities concealed deep within us. Our lives are governed by the rules and we sacrifice our means of pleasure by the fear of its consequences. I am not convincing to break the rules but we should break free from the control of the rules. We should not simply stand on the edge of the cliff for the fear of dying; take a jump and only then will you notice the sprouting of the wings on your back which will land you to safety. You get to experience and feel the environment rather than viewing it from the top and wondering your whole life what lies at the bottom.
It was on Saturday when I was studying class twelve as a boarding student in Jigme Sherubling Higher Secondary School. The rules are usually strict like in any other schools and especially for girls; they are not allowed to loiter around in the academic buildings except during their study hours. The shutter of the girls’ hostel should be closed after the dinner. Usually the dinner on Saturday is carried out a little earlier. As usual the food served in the mess did not succeed in satisfying our hunger. It was the usual mundane dinner consisting of rice that smelled of the smoke from the kitchen and curry consisting of potato and spinach; a bad combination since you never know which unlucky person may get the fat worms that had used the leaf of the spinach as a camouflage. So praying not to be the one to receive that worm in our plate we took only a little share leaving our belly still rumbling.   It was the days like this that we terribly missed the dumplings and the hot noodles that we took on our outing which was only once in fourteen days. To add on our misery there was no school canteen to substitute the missed dinners.
The rumbling of our stomachs prompted us to go in search of the noodles. While some were totally broke like us, others could not part away with their limited stocks. My mind was playing slide show of Aum Dema’s delicious dumplings and soon it became unbearable. I could do anything at that moment to satisfy the urge. 
“Let’s bunk” Y.C who was one of our group friends suggested. I gladly accepted her proposal and soon we were joined by Kinley and Chimi who were equally famished. Karma however declined fearing to be caught though she volunteered to open the shutter for us when we came back. We were at advantage since being a senior we could get access to the keys easily from the councilors. The four of us ventured outside when the other students were busy engrossed over the television in the hallway. As an extra precaution we dressed up in pants and shirts so we could be taken for outsiders instead of boarding students. We sneaked out from the back door and Kinley who knew a secret path by the river led us.
Like a soldier sneaking into the enemy’s camp we struggled to pass through the barbed wire that probably marked our school area. At a distance we could hear the gushing of the stream that denoted the pathway to our mission camp. We only needed to reach that stream and then we could follow it downwards towards the bazaar. However the road towards success is never easy. The area had become slippery due to the continuous rain for the past few days. It was indeed hard to create our own road through shrubs and bushes that remained undisturbed by the living souls. I was the one to create a path and check its reliability. On one such occasion I was checking if the area was fit to be walked upon when I slipped and my arms fell into the cluster of nettle plants. I gasped out in pain as my arms throbbed from the sting accompanied by the laughter of my friends. I put on my flip-flop back and to my agony found out that the strap had come off. Cursing my luck I carried the flip-flop in my hand and walked barefoot.
Walking swiftly we reached the stream infested with thirsty bloodsuckers. Those black invertebrate populated the entire stream waiting eagerly for its host.  
“I am not going to donate my blood to them” Chimi cried out and refused to cross the stream. I was also freaked out by those leeches but there was no other way for us to get to the market without crossing that stream. The sight of them sent chills down my spine and made my heart pound harder. Thinking about those delicious dumplings, I closed my eyes and quickly ran across the stream. On reaching the other end I shrieked out as my eyes fell on two leeches that had attached on my leg. Kinley came to my rescue as she was the only one who wasn't afraid of leeches. Same followed with the others as they heaved a sigh of relief after Kinley took off the leeches.
We took the narrow trail upward which lead to a little village above the market. Following the stream downwards was out of question as we didn't want to encounter with those bloodsuckers again. The trail was opposite to the science lab and we could directly see some hardworking students studying enthusiastically. Kinley put on her hood and the two of us quickly passed through that area. We were spotted by some and they started calling and teasing us. Chimi and YC were afraid of being caught and refused to cross that area. After too much of beckoning and pursuing did they finally agree to come. Finally it was a walk downhill and following my footsteps YC slipped and one of her slipper also gave way. It was our turn to laugh at her.
We reached the market trying to ignore the weird glances from the people around since YC and I was walking barefoot with slippers each on our hand. Chimi and Kinley were fighting hard to hold in their laughter. Despite the troubles our mission had accomplished. We entered into Aum Dema’s restaurant with a triumphant smile and the tempting aroma of our reward wafting through every corner of the restaurant. We were so much into the scrumptious dumplings that we didn't notice the other visitors entering into the restaurant.
“Kinley what are you doing here?” our principal’s wife inquired. We nearly choked on our food. Well we got caught and were sure that we would receive a dreadful punishment for breaking the rules. But luck did favor us as Kinley and YC was a relative to our principal. She assured she would not report the matter to the principal but told us to quickly get to the hostel. It was nearly dark after we finished eating and packed some for our friends waiting in the hostel. YC borrowed a pair of slippers from her friend and I was wearing my slipper and the other spare slipper of YC.
We followed the trail back to hostel losing our way once. Since it was dark and the only light was from the mobile in Kinley’s hand, she nearly took us to the dining hall where the teachers were having a farewell party. Quickly finding the right way we reached the barbed wire and called Karma to keep the back door open. Some students were still near the television and no one noticed us getting inside. It wasn't simply us to have fulfilled our wish; the wishes of those leeches were also fulfilled. They had had a feast on our blood as they easily dropped when we went to wash our feet. After getting comfortable in our bed we started to narrate our little adventure to Karma and the other friends.
The four of us took the jump and on the way we realized about ourselves. We are courageous enough to take risks as long as the result on the other end is worth our action. We conquered our own fears and the result at the bottom of the cliff is really astonishing. It will remain as one of a memorable incident in my life, a constant reminder of my bravery.