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Lost at the edge of uncertainty!

Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 12:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Mar 22, 2020 06:33 [IST]

Lost at the edge of uncertainty!

A pair of Blue Throated Barbet had conceived a great hope to have their own chicks’ to extend their family. As the time became too close to lay their eggs, so they were flying to and fro for a suitable tree to make a nest. Finally they found a dry dead tree which stood in front of our courtyard just across the road. Both of them were in hurry to hollow out a cavity nest akin to their shape and size.

My wife and I were keenly enjoying and observing the progress of their eye-catching ceaseless efforts which made us so humble and excited. I kept my camera on without troubling their on-going work and could save their innumerous watchful actions. Gradually both of them took me in faith sensing my harmless activity. By the end of the second day a beautiful cavity nest was almost made ready on to their complacence.  

But hardly one knows how long the canopy of happiness shades on one's life! It may last for a substantial period of time or may collapse in between. So, one has to live with the present with a little hope to slide-on for tomorrow.

On the third day evening soon I reached home after my daylong work, I could notice the dejected mood of my wife while greeting me on my arrival. She was almost with her soaked eyes while briefing me about the fate of that pair of Barbet. Alas, the tree where the unfortunate pair of barbet drew their dreams to deliver and raise their chicks was felled by our neighbor for fire wood.

The next morning, both of them were chanting hither and thither looking at the missing tree lest they find that somehow. Two days of hard work as per the plan and earnest aspiration were ruined in a minute.  Sadly, after a couple of hours they had to fly away in search of   another tree incubating an indomitable hope. Possibly they would find another tree nearby to plan their dream into a success!! There are a lot of unforeseen barricades in life but success remained with one who can negotiate well with the existing situations.  

Only a sufferer can visualize about the pain of any such unpredictable consequences.  Here is a similar example I would like to quote about how we had to go through such mayhem while revamping our own house.  Though we were too small to take part actively but the things are still not blurred in our mind. No one can forget one’s sorrowful days for sure.

My father had been working in a Grade three category posts in the State Government. The salary he received was not sufficient enough to feed and sustain six members in our family back home though the standard of living was very simple in those days. There was no expense on internet, phone, television, cable, electricity, various gadgets, cooking gas, micro oven, refrigerator, washing machine and a long list. He even had to drop his plan each month to purchase a bicycle for his own, thinking lest he falls short of money to meet the maintenance in both ends. 

People in seventies/eighties engaged in cultivation were healthier in terms of their earnings than the one who did Government jobs in class three or four posts. I heard him having conversations with mom for a number of occasions to renovate our old thatched home to the tin shade. Plans were well chalked out but when the requisite financial requirement punched the intent, the matter was dropped for the next time. So on, the word ‘next time’ consumed a decade. He dared not to touch the house for restoring work in case that remained unfinished for short of cash. Each time he had to pack up his luggage and return to his working place soon he finished his spell of leave.

Being an ardent house maker, my mom had no option left except to nod and listen to him. It was not that my mom was unaware about the prevailed financial obligations. She was clever enough though her education was just upper primary level. We had sufficient numbers of beetle nut (Tambol) trees along with beetle leaves (paan) in our backyard which yielded abundantly every year. My mom used to sell those at home itself in lump sum to the bulk dealer. She added some amount to spend for our daily requirements and the rest she kept in custody so that she could contribute in the hour of grave need.

Moreover, she domesticated silk moths at home for silkworm yarn by which she weaved many beautiful shawls for all of us. The excess shawls were sold out in the market which fetched her high value. Thus she made a good amount of money and she kept on putting in a stem cavity between two nodes of a bamboo pole. Bamboo posts were fixed for supporting the side walls of our house. It was like a pedagogical piggy bank which taught us the rudiments of thrift and savings.

Next time when my father came home on leave, they had the same discussion stirred once again while dinning together. This time my mom smiled a little and without talking much, she pointed her fingers towards the pole to open up the inter node of the bamboo cavity which was almost filled with coins and paper currencies. My father took a knife right away showing a sign of jeer to my mom with a word “let’s cut and open up”. After opening the big stem cavity he got shocked and lost his words to appreciate her. How come she could save such a huge amount of money? My father got besieged with wetted eyes sensing that would be a massive contribution towards the refurbishment of our ancestral house. Somehow the old roof top was changed into the tin sheets without further delay for which my father had to extend his leave for a couple of days more.

We were happy to live under the new shade though the tins were fixed and tighten up with bamboo sticks and thus our night ordeals were over. Earlier throughout the monsoon season, we were to sit somewhere in safe place to save ourselves from the number of seepages from thatched roof. We witnessed many terrible nights previously counting every second and prayed for the sun to reappear in the morning in clear sky.

But our happiness didn’t last long. God might have been checking our tallness of endurance. One day in a bad evening of mid June in the same year, almost half of our tin roof had been flown away by a deadly thunderstorm. We all got worried about its reinstallation once again. Soon the storm got calm and still, we all went out along with other ill-fated neighbours in search of our lost belongings throughout the night under the incessant downpour.

 I do remember a proverb which I read somewhere in my schooling days, that well fits into this context i.e. "Man proposes God disposes".  Human beings can make any plans they want, but ultimately it's God that decides their success or failure. Do we know what comes next? The answer is simply a ‘no’. We find courage in the face of helplessness, triviality and uncertainty. Hence, uncertainty is the asylum of hope.

(The author is a freelance writer and presently working in Indian Audit and Accounts Department as a Senior Auditor at Maligaon, Guwahati, Assam. E-mail: rabin1966@gmail.com)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi