It’s not first time that I heard about beggars in Thimphu being not only forceful but also rude. There were instances when I heard of the beggars knocking the doors with sticks instead of hand. And with increasing number each day, it’s not only worrying to the residents but also a cause of concern for the government. Frankly I was little convinced when I heard of such stories from various sources including my cousin sister. However they were right!
Once it was my friend who stays with a relative at Thimphu (NPPF colony) and was alone at home, the owners were out to work. He heard a knock at the door. He didn’t give damn on the first knock. Second time the knock was even louder; little frustrated, he opened the door’s latch reluctantly and he saw a man aged about fifties in ordinary gomchen’s attire. As soon as he opened the door, even without a word from his mouth, the man stepped inside the room and then started to talk. The man told that he resides at Paro Taktsang doing meditation and that he came to collect annual ration. He also boasts of so many other religious accomplishments and stories, which convinced my friend that he was really a realized religious man. He felt touched with all those brags and even though jobless himself (because he is a recent graduate) he searched his wallet and gave the man one hundred ngultrum. There was a beam in the man’s face, he could see it. But there was more to it. The man then began another round of talk that shocks my friend.
“Ja cup thuragmawamo, tshampa tong tongsangmachako” ( is there not even a cup of tea for dry throat of me, tshampa?) came the words. Believing it and feeling pity, my friend went inside the kitchen prepared a cup of tea and offered him. Then another surprise comes:
“Is there no Zaw?”
That was when my friend began to doubt if this man was even a decent gomchen? He told that he has no idea if there is anything as such for it was not his home. With much difficulty, he managed to let the man go out of the house. That evening when his relatives were home, he talked of the day’s incident only to receive some hard-to-digest words.
The same thing happened with me with the same Man! Fortunately I was along with my sister at home. The time was about nine in the morning and we were having breakfast. The door of the house was regrettably not latched. With just a murmur, (not even a clear word!) out of no where came the man. He came directly into the room and repeated the exact words he said to my friend. That was when I became certain of the man’s identity. My sister told if I had Nu.20 or 30 to offer. The man heard our dialogue and it was surprising to hear him say that he wants at least Nu. 50/-! I had no change but he was again quick to answer about having change with him. After I gave him 50 bucks, he was inquiring if we had a cup of tea for him, immediately the dialogues of my friend echoed in my head.
With changing time the beggars also seem to have evolved and become demanding. I remember reading someone’s blog of the same incident and I realize how true the scenarios are now. So a word of caution to the residents of Thimphu; one should never keep the doors un-latched.
It’s also saddening to see the pristine spiritual religious being tainted by disguised as above. It may not be a serious issue for now, but if certain cautions are not taken, the numbers are on the rise and it will only become worse in the times to come.
Interestingly just a week ago, I found the same man at Paro bazaar and I was wondering when does he starts his annual retreat at Paro Taktsang?