It was 6 a.m in the morning. Probably I had slept only three hours. I am a late sleeper by habit and late riser as a consequence. Eight hours ago around 10 pm, looking from verandah of hostel, I have seen snow flake descending to earth from the dark heaven. I was happy because God has gifted the earth another beauty of his creation. I was sad because Monday will not be public holiday as Home Ministry has already declared holiday a month ago when snow barely touched the Thimphu Town.
Anyway, my roommates woke me up because they wanted to be first to play with virgin snow that adorned the land so yellow and dry just 12 hours before. I sat up like a dumb man irritated for disturbing my heavenly peace of sleep. I ignored the first suggestion and dozed off again to dreamland. Then they said they wanted to see the snow in its natural setting and beauty. What the hell! I woke up groping for the jacket. Again hell, I forgot my camera. Hadn’t I know it would snow like this, I would have even rented a car to fetch from home. Worse, I forgot even to bring sneaker from home. But that didn’t stop me from going out.
The white snow had blanketed the earth and it had capped the mountains that are rugged and green. The green trees were still and bent under weight of the snow that has landed on their leaves. There was snow on tree, snow on roof, snow on cars. Indeed, it was the morning of snow, snow everywhere. The sight made me wonder whether the master landscape designer would ever equal the grandeur that this morning presented. I almost felt guilty of blaming God for his laziness and non-performance the previous night. Slowly, I stepped one foot on the soft white velvet. It was so soft. I was afraid lest I tamper with its beauty. I wished I could save its beauty forever.
Four of us, the roommates walked to small space that was between dining hall and academic block. The garden with its trimmed plants covered with snow transported me to North Pole, the abode of Santa Clause. Actually, I imagined Santa’s abode to be like the garden, pure and peaceful.
We took few pictures and headed to soccer ground that looked like ironed wrinkleless white sheet spread over protecting the ground that was so uneven and vast. I slowly walked on it leaving the footprints there. I became sad because my foot prints would be damaged by others who would come to trample upon the beauty. Worse, the sun would make whole snow evaporate within next six hours at the earliest. My footprints would be gone as if I never was part of God’s grand plan. After few pictures taking there, we headed back to hostel for the breakfast.
When we entered the scene after breakfast, it was different sight. Many feet had trampled upon the beauty. The perfect blanket looked wrinkled. A bevy of girls were there preserving the memory of snow at RIM in their digital camera. One of the girls, my classmate was excited as she saw snow for the first time. Few groups of boys are scattered on various grounds playing with snow some trying to build snowmen. Along with them, we also engaged in snow fight. For first few minutes, I was afraid even to scoop the snow so fragile and soft because I felt I was hurting the beauty. As the fight intensified all was forgotten. May be, it is human nature to get pleasured in sadistic torture of nature. I have to admit that we had fun. Girls of our class came and snow fight between Adam and Eve continued; laughter reverberating the land. Then we headed to soccer ground which too looked like darned and ragged sheet. Its early beauty was stolen by young boys and girls enjoying the fight.
The snow of this kind probably didn’t happen for a decade. The beauty of this kind was missed for 10 long years or more. As I returned to my hostel, I could see sun above the horizon glaring at earth from the parted clouds. As I wrote this, I looked through window and found the white snow melting. In few places, the dry and yellow grasses had reappeared. May be such phenomenon of nature is what taught Buddha the impermanence. Although, my footprints on snow will be melted along with snow, one thing would remain with me till death; a memory of how Thimphu became so quiet and beautiful, decorated with snow on 17th February 2013 just four days before Birth Aniversary of His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk.
Hope all my friends would print this memory forever in their heart too.