Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Three Apples and a Meditative Dog

It is a little before eight in the morning. My daily routine takes me to the parking lot below Lungtenzampa, where I drop, nay literally shove my younger son and his two like-minded mates off the car and drive on to Dam Dazo – upper Motithang.

As I swerve around the famous ‘double turning’, I enter one of the poshest residential areas of Thimphu. Except for a few families with school going kids, the neighbourhood is still quiet. Inmates are still snoring their last snores. Even in the hustle-bustle of the morning school hour, I usually find this area quiet. Perhaps everyone is schooled and educated and there isn’t anyone anymore going to school. Perhaps, Motithang Standard Time is half an hour behind BST! I don’t know. I can only conjecture!

As I take the last turn to enter my office premises, I come across two dogs. They are obviously tired, what with all the competitive and one-upmanship howling and barking that our strays indulge in. One of them is resting on its paws. Its posture does not look very different from one of the many Baba Ramdev poses. Perhaps it is performing ‘Sirsasana’! The other dog is staring at a solid turd; perhaps it is contemplating breakfast!

Just beyond the meditative dogs, are two Motithang HSS uniform attired boys. They are looking up at the sky. ‘Brilliant boys’, I thought. ‘They must be reflecting on their geography or physics lessons.’ Now they look at me; I look at them as I slow down to park my car. Soon I realize that it is neither geography nor physics that has caught their imaginations. It is the red ripe apples on a tree by the kerb of the road.
 One of the boys keeps a watch of the house, which presumably owns the fruit tree. The other, lankier, straightens himself up and with a swing of his hand plucks three apples from the tree. Mission Accomplished! As they gather composure and start walking towards the school, a girl in Motithang dress appears. Was she waiting for the boys to complete the crime? Again, I don’t know!

Three apples – three young citizens – future of our country. The boys keep one apple each and hand over one to the girl. After a very brief dishonest hesitation, she grabs the apple. Then they walk happily towards the school. All the while, they ignore me completely!

Afterword & Reflections: Boys are boys. A girl in need is a girl indeed! Stealing is a crime, but sharing is loving! You can certainly NOT sugarcoat crime, but this one was dipped in camaraderie and, perhaps a dose of puppy love. What does the penal code of Bhutan say about two young boys picking three apples from a neighbourhood tree?

For a fleeting moment, the three MHSS students throw me back to my own school days in Neoly Bhutan, now Pemathang. After all, I was part of a ‘gang’ that once stole guavas from Dhungyel Jetha’s orchard on our way to school. That was 1979!  We must preserve our culture!!


  1. He sees a vast world clinging over a tiny spot with his extra eyes; writes to express the truth he sees, paints to display the scene he sees that others don’t- He is an artist!!!
    Om daju, you are a fine artist. You not only write what exists unseen, but also-you have refined unique skills- painting within writing. That is why I see you differently, I admire you and I love to read all of your writings. You are, for me, a unique writer ever read.
    You never look for any big subject to write. You’ve apt dexterity in giving right shape and height to a tiniest of any scenes, situations and happenings in the vicinity.
    Your writings are so lively and moving. Your writings leave in the minds of readers a recurring wave of feelings, make readers sketch pictures and paint. Your writings don’t allow any reader to discontinue reading or leaving the piece half read. You have that needed element to mesmerize readers.
    And, here, through this piece you have so successfully took readers like me to the far past by introducing Dhungel Jetha's orchard. Sleeping dog- otherwise, a true guard!
    I flew back to mid 80s- I too had saddened Dahalni Bajai ( a kind old women) by stealing young cucumbers and peaches while at the then Damphu Junior High School. Thus the 'Mediative dog' I became- on reading your finest piece.
    I always wish you author a book, Om daju!!!

    1. Wow...very fine words again. Thank you, Rup Bhai. Its people like you who encourage me to write and tell more!

  2. Very good story, Om ji. It seems you have a hidden literary talent and your style sounds similar to R.K. Narayan's. All stories, including fiction, have a context that inspires a talent. This story seems to have a context of its own to lead the readers towards thinking and reflecting and leaving the readers hanging in the air. Keep writing and who knows these stories might get into English text books some day, if not in Bhutan, somewhere else who have a soul to appreciate them. All the best for your writing talents..

  3. Thank you very much, Upendra ji.

    I am flattered when I receive such kind words from people with excellent flair of the language, as you.

    My best regards to you!