l Tashi Tobgay, Thimphu
Not only does he see the old folks circumambulating the national memorial chorten, but he sees the god dwelling in them. He sees the god resonating from the smiles of every soul there and he hears the god speaking to him in the murmurs of their prayers. And to draw himself more close to the god, he serves thukpas (rice porridge) to the congregation, mostly the elderly ones, for free.
A 29-year-old Jigme Yosel Jigme, better known as Dingay, is the co-founder of a social service group, The Feeding Love, and apart from feeding people at the chorten, his group takes up the job of cleaning the area voluntarily.
“After seeing some volunteers serving free meals to thousands of devotees in some temples in India, particularly in Punjab, we decided to replicate it here in Bhutan,” said Dingay.
He is a recovering drug addict and thus, what he is doing is not only to cleanse his sins and gain merits, but also to keep himself engaged in a meaningful task.
“It is to spread our love and make our society a better place to live,” Dingay added.
“At the moment, we can afford only thukpa (rice porridge) and some small edible stuffs, and that too once or twice a week, but if things go well, we may plan to provide mid-day meals in future,” said the co-founder.
He said that most of the group members come from humble families and thus, they confront acute financial shortage to maintain their initiative.
“To save money, rather than celebrating our birthdays in cozy restaurants and decorated homes, we go to chorten and celebrate there with our older ones, feeding them our thukpas,” said Dingay.
He mentioned that nothing else gives them more pleasure than seeing smiles on the faces of the people who swallow their thukpas.
A co-founder of the group, Phuntsho Rabten, said that the group survives on meager fund collected from the members in the form of contribution.
“At the moment, we are a small group and thus, our contributions sum up to a small amount. We would like to request all the interested people to join us and help us in taking this noble initiative to a new height,” said Phuntsho Rabten.
He mentioned that anyone can login to the group’s facebook account and become a member.
A group member, Chimi, said that she always considered herself as an unlucky one for never having seen her grandparents. “My grandparents had passed away before I was born and thus, I envied my friends who get surfeiting loves from their grandparents. But after joining this group and serving our thukpas to the old folks at the chorten, I feel that I have many grandparents to love me,” said Chimi.
Chimi and her friends are often seen strolling around the chorten with old people every Sunday.
“Apart from joys that we get from feeding, we get to learn many things from them,” said Chimi.
Talking to The Journalist, a 69-year-old Angay Jamyang Wangmo said that she is thankful to this group of young people who feeds her.
“I come here every morning and spend my whole day circumambulating the chorten. I hardly go home for lunch because it is quite far. But this young boys and girls bring us our lunch and we are thankful to them,” said Angay Jamyang.
“Who said the world is changing and that it is becoming a hell. Look at these young people and what they are doing. The world is becoming a better place to live,” she added.
Agay Khamsum, 77, said that people must appreciate this group of young people for their efforts. “It is blessings for us as well as for them. When we are hungry, they come here and serve us their thukpas. What more do we expect from these young people whom we have never met before?” said Agya Khamsum.