May be fourteen years is not too long for anyone to forget one’s most beloved person.
Fourteen years has passed by. I have passed my child hood days, my teenage days and I am now nearing to be an adult yet he remains in my heart and soul. Fourteen years is not a very long time for me now because I had lost one of the most important persons of my life.
Today as I journey through the steeps of Namling, (the steep pass between Bumthang and Monger a dangerous and an accident prone area) whole of my body stiffens, giving me goose pimples and the image of my brother flashes through my mind. As I look down through the vehicle at the steep slope, covered by the thick forest, it chills me to think of the pain people faced that night of the accident.
People interpret the bus accident in their own way. Most say that the bus driver was drunk at the night of accident. While some say that he was angry with his passenger. Other blames bus being overloaded. Few consider it as the destiny of the passengers. I am neither a saint nor detective to know the cause of the accident. I am a simple human being and I only know that the bus accident had cause the lives of so many precious lives and among them was my brother. As I pass through Namling pass today, I see the image of my distress family.
The summer of 1998 was the most disastrous for my family. I still remember the anguish on my nephew’s face telling me, “uncle Ugyen is no more” The news had traumatized me immediately. My heart beat stopped for a moment. My whole world was at a standstill. I wished the news to be a fake one. I wished myself to be in dream and wanted to wake up laughing at myself for such a dream. However, the reality could not be denied. I cried my eyes out and I cried even more at the thoughts that I will not be able to attain his funeral. I had to travel three days to reach my home town where his body has been taken for cremation.
After spending three sleepless nights I and my sisters ended the World’s most calamitous journey and reached our home town to attend the rituals. Desolated my house appeared, silently it stood and even the mountains around it seemed to mourn at the loss of my brother. Sight of my parents was even more depressing for me. As soon as I stepped into my house I noticed my mother grief-stricken with flocks of villagers around her. My father sat motionless like a statue.
My brother was placed at the center of the room but not in flesh and bone but only a gema (the shadow) that represented him. The food and drinks were offered in front of him. I ran hurriedly towards my mother. She stood up and hugged me tight. Volumes of tears ran through my cheeks. There was nothing I could do nor did anything left for me to say. My brother was helpless in the battle of fate. He lost the battle of life to destiny.
I could not do anything but pray silently to almighty for his soul to rest in heaven. His body consigned to ashes, his soul no more, only the prayer flags stood in his memory. I was left deserted only to pray and stare at those prayer flags. Never ever did I realize before that such a young person leaves so soon.
Now, I wonder to whom I should blame, whether to blame the carelessness of the driver or the government for not widening the road or to blame the night of the accident itself. Or should I blame the fate for such misfortune?
But memories can never fade away from me as the word Namling synonyms him for me now.