When most of my friends reported to the school on 10th February, I was out of station attending a curriculum workshop. Unlike the workshops and seminars I had attended earlier, this workshop was different. We had the session after 5.00 pm and it went on till 9.30. My friends found this change in timing quite amusing but then we had no other alternatives since the whole eastern region had power blackout during the day for about a week.
The timing arrangement was decided after we reported to the venue and it was through mutual consent and I had to drive all the way from Mongar to Lingmithang every evening and back after 9.30 pm. The distance was just about 25 kms but I had to go through a crematorium which made my hair stand at its end whenever I passed through it. My daughter and niece accompanied me most of the time but there were times when I had to get permission from the coordinator to drive before the session got over. It was a relief when the 5 days workshop got finally over. But I didn’t know that my night driving wasn’t over yet.
Just the day after the workshop, my sister received a phone call saying that one of her close neighbour had an accident. She started making queries and came to know that the victims were in critical condition and the next thing I knew was, I was starting the car with my sister, niece and my daughter and driving down to Gyalposhing. The drive seemed longer than usual and I prayed hard as I drove through the meandering road.
We drove directly to the BHU where we were greeted by loud wails. I was scared to get out of the car but my sister pushed me ahead urging me to move. Reluctantly I got out of the car and made my way to the crowd. Someone came to us and said that the father was no more while the son was being given intensive first Aid. We waited for some time to approach the grieving family but then the wife of the deceased saw us and cried even louder.
As we sat outside the Gyalposhing BHU in dark, we could hear the boy screaming as his wound was being stitched. After more than two hours, the health staff decided to shift the boy to Mongar Referral Hospital with my sister escorting the patient. (The family had to make another arrangement for the deceased).
It was 10.00 pm when I reached home with my daughter and neice. My sister spent a night with the patient and the next day when I visited the boy in the hospital, I couldn’t look into his innocent face which asked so many questions. At one time the boy said. “Aunty, Jang pecha malampa. Jang Ama kam phaiga choley. Janga books ebi gi ngon galey ya?” between his sobs. We all cried hearing an eight year boy say this. My sister assured the boy that his school expense will be taken care of. The boy meekly said thank you and went back to sleep.
On 16th the boy underwent an operation but I couldn’t be there since I had to report back to work.
The boy is still in the hospital and my sister says he is recovering well. Hope he gets well soon and be back to school.
Note:- My right eye is still red due to night driving. I am never going to drive at night henceforth. :P