Loving my land

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Peky Samal

Two weeks back, I decided I needed a break. I thought it was well deserved too because since I joined Business Bhutan in the capacity of Managing Editor, I hadn’t really taken “an official break” as such. And when a journalist friend from India recommended me for a workshop in Sri Lanka, the land of warm beaches, sunshine and tea, I jumped at the opportunity.

Flying on Drukair, I was accosted by a friendly matronly nurse from Thailand who offered me her snacks box when she found out that I had to spend more than four hours at transit in Bangkok airport.

By the time I reached Sri Lanka, it was midnight. I was ferried from the airport to the five-star hotel where I was to stay by a friendly old Sinhalese driver.

My roommate was from India and she was indeed a very nice and warm person who gave me company and played the part of my photographer the whole time I was in Sri Lanka.

The three days at the island passed like a dream and when I departed early morning assured by prayers, wishes and hugs from well-wishers, I was anticipating my two-night stay at Bangkok.

To tell you the truth, I was pretty excited at the idea of Bangkok and exploring it alone. My dad, true to his quintessential foreknowledge had printed out a Google map of Bangkok for me.

I stayed in a quaint little hotel, enjoying my time alone and going on shopping sprees. I thrived mostly on street food including fresh fruit juices and a lot of skewered meat. But at the end of each day, though I was fulfilled in a way, I would be dreaming of home back in Bhutan.

How was my family doing and my friends? Wouldn’t it be exciting to get back to office and start working again? I wanted to get back and give out all the gifts I had bought for folks back home.

But what I really missed was the feel of Bhutan: the environment, the atmosphere, the culture, its people. Don’t get me wrong. I am not xenophobic but out here, people and the goings-on seemed so plastic.

No one seemed to have time to “smell the roses”. I explored only the urban areas of Bangkok so I might be wrong in assuming this but I missed the warmth and easy-going nature of the Bhutanese.

I missed our women’s national dress: the kira. I missed our hot, creamy ema-datshi and mountains of hot rice. I missed the soothing greenery that our country has to offer to sore eyes. I missed the sight of birds circling the air. I missed seeing our dilapidated but still-beautiful monuments. In fact, I missed everything about Bhutan.

I won’t judge people and ask why they leave their native lands for others. I will only say: learn to appreciate your origins and what you have because at the end that is what makes you!