Monday, November 23, 2015

A suitcase or I am not going to school! A Chadom might do the work as well…

My baby girl wasn’t sleeping and it was late into the night. My cousin Yeshey accidentally bumped into ZEE Classic and you can imagine the classic movies they air on this particular channel. On an unattended glace I saw the ‘Keta’ in a ‘Dhoti’ with a metal box singing and walking along the walkway with vintage cars in the background. I could identify a Ford T-model. The song was in Black and White, if you know what I mean. This was last night.

The Literal
Now the thing that caught my imagination was the metal box. We called it the ‘Chadom’ while I attended high school in the late 90’s. And owning a suitcase back then was a luxury. Only the wealthy and those belonging to the wealthy owned one. I could make out by the bedding and the baggage people possessed- who’s wealthy or not? I owned one ‘Chadom’. This Chadom came to me when my mommy paid 250/- Rupees to a merchant in our very familiar ‘Jaigaon’. I considered it hip to own one. I remember the bargain she underwent to pay 250/- Rupees for that Chadom, vividly.

But owning a Chadom, came at a price and I owned one where one could latch on three locks-supposedly to safe keep one’s belonging from the hostel looters. We had lots of unidentified robbers among us. We had pickle looters, ‘Lagay’ looters, sock looters, plate looters, soap looters and believe it or not, on Sundays we had underwear looters.  I rushed for the ‘Kharang’ served during breakfast because the next two meals would definitely be potatoes. I also had an added advantage of eating the coveted breakfast for being one of the defense players in the school’s basketball team. The players were served chick peas with a boiled egg for breakfast. I attended a school where life in the hostel was troublesome.  And I wouldn’t dare to mention the name of the school because the current principal of that school is a friend of mine.
The inferred 

This is yet another generational up-beat story of mine because I am used to seeing my lesser known cousins and relatives, all young, nagging their parents for some happening and in-fashion suit cases and bags. Would today’s pupils hitch a ride with a supposed Chadom and bedding on their back just to get to school?

Coming to my civil service days, I was introduced to yet another Chadom. This time the Chadom was an automobile. The Maruti Van! My dad owned one and I have a lot to write about it….the supposed Maruti Van days. One of the Dzongkha Lopens owned a van and it became known as Chadom. We would ask him if he would give us a ride in his Chadom. – “Apha kay nang wai, choe ghi chadom na”. (Take me till there in your Maruti Van). This was in my previous school. Now, I have a senior teacher friend who owns a Chadom. He is funny but a great human being.

At this juncture, and particularly when I see people with metal boxes even today, I consider myself lucky that I was once a part of the beginning that made what Bhutan has evolved into. Children and kids today….don’t know what an inferred Chadom is apart from the literal Chadom. This is another anecdote from the nostalgia down memory lane…

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Bhutan? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Bhutan in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Calle Valencia, 39
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez