l Kinzang Namgay, Thimphu
He is probably the only one who thinks that the gushing wind prods him and laughs with him. His shadow is his only companion in this bitter world. But he smiles in pains and he never gives a hint to the people around about his perpetual grief. He never begs but he is a beggar, and he always looks sober but he is an alcoholic.
A 59 year-old Dorji Sherpa is a new face in the town. Crippled and abandoned by his family members, he roams and sleeps in the street. Water is something he is allergic to and as a result, a foul smell engulfs the ambience wherever he stays.
Apart from being crippled, he also suffers from mental illness. His right leg is numb and thus, he uses a cane staff when he walks.
He prays for those who give him money. And before eating anything, he offers the first bite to the Almighty. “I live a wrecked life but I am thankful to the god for holding me strong. I can breathe and see the world around. It is all because of the god,” he says with bitter smiles on his face.
Interestingly, he knows no prayers but he prays. He is often seen circumambulating an electric pole. “Everything is god’s creation and I must respect it,” he says.
He has no friends, except a dog trailing him wherever he goes. According to him, his dog will show him the way to eternal bliss when he dies.
He tells an intriguing tale about himself. He claims to have served in Royal Bhutan Army some decades ago but he knows nothing about guns or even how to salute. “I don’t remember anything now,” he says.
He also claims to have never married and that at one point of life, he was a driver but the truth is that he was crippled by birth.
One thing that he clearly recalls is that his brother and sister-in-law abandoned him and threatened to his life if he return back home. He also vividly recalls how he had to survive for 45 days in thick jungle without any thing to eat.
“On my way to Thimphu from Wangdue Phodrang, I lost my way in the deep forest somewhere near Dochula. Since I had no money to travel on bus or taxi, I had to walk and while attempting to reach Thimphu through the traditional route on foot, I had to spend 45 days in dense forest,” he says with tears welling up in his eyes.
He mentioned that he had to survive on wild berries and water for one and half months.
“Without knowing where I was heading, I kept on walking and after a while, due to exhaustion, I had to crawl,” he said.
According to him, it was a nightmarish moment. “When I opened my eyes, I was at Wangdue Phodrang hospital and thanks to those army officials who save me and brought me to the hospital,” he said. This incident happened seven years ago.
After loitering around the streets of Wangdue Phodrang and Thimphu for a couple of years, he descended to his parental home in Kharpandi (Rinchending), Phuentsholing.
“Here also, my younger brother and his wife could not tolerate my presence at home. They stopped giving me a decent one meal a day. Maybe it was because I could not work and help them. So I decided leave their house and live in my own ways,” he said.
He describes his life as a journey without destination. He strongly clings to his belief that the god will show him a way if he keeps perambulating.
“I have seen different people and different places but what I am looking for is the God and his place. So I have to keep traveling to find it,” he said.
Despite being a cripple, he claims to have travelled in many places. He knows about many places in and out of Bhutan.
Drawing out two portraits of the Lord Buddha and Guru Rinpoche from his tattered bag-pack, he said that he will be taken in their arms when he dies. “God is there for me and I don’t have to worry,” he said.