Long ago, a handsome, young and capable courtier was sent to Gasa by Druk Depa to serve under Lama of Gasa. He had to leave his beloved sweetheart Galem at Punakha Chang located near Punakha Dzong which was seat of Druk Depa. While Singye was serving Lama, his beloved was pressured to marry Depa, the powerful man of the country. Unknown to Singye, Galem was also pregnant with his child which proved catastrophic as her family feared backlash from the Depa. Galem was thus left to die with her unborn child along the bank of Mochu River. The ill-fated lovers could meet at last on the burning pyre.
I can’t imagine the pain Singye might have endured missing his beloved. He had loved his lover more than his life. Yet the duty he was entrusted was heavier than mountain and more precious than mound of gold. Given the choice, he would definitely have given up his service to Lama for his beloved of legendary beauty. But he was not given choice. Given the circumstances of his time, he wouldn’t even have questioned the rationale for sending him away to Gasa. As a public servant, I imagined that he might have just bowed to Depa’s Zimpon and left immediately to Gasa treading on dangerous track haunted by wild beasts and monstrous weather.
As a civil servant whose first posting was given at Gasa, I would like to imagine that he and I have certain similarities. I am a married family man. I have wife and a daughter. I loved my daughter very much. The worry and concern for family back in Thimphu was overwhelming. My daughter who is just eighteen months old looks for me if I go away from her for a minute. She follows me even into washroom. She has to be fed and washed by her father. She needs to be put to sleep in father’s arms. She has to be kissed good morning every day. I miss her more than any person in the world.
Another similarity with Singye is we are (were) both public servants. Our prerogative is to serve people first. Our choice and preference comes later. As I sit on my desk missing my family, I imagined Singye shedding tears in loneliness in dzong’s small court yard. I imagine him putting brave face with a smile while entertaining lama’s guests just as I smile especially when other civil servants approach me to dispense my duties. Just as I try to serve people as best as I could, I imagine Singye serving lama and people of Gasa to the best of his ability.
Some of you may wonder why guy like me wants to compare myself to Singye. He was more capable than I can ever be. What can I say about his looks? I can bet even Shakespeare can’t describe his feature. I am just an ordinary man. But I am luckier than him in one way. I can always reserve a taxi and go to meet my family back in Thimphu at weekend as long as I have some money saved from my salary. However, as of now, I don’t even feel I better in that way.
On other hand, every morning and evening, my wife calls me telling me that my daughter who learnt to say few words scans whole apartment chanting ‘daddy’. Obviously she misses her daddy. I felt so down whenever I heard that my baby looks for me. I had no time and fortune to be with her when she is learning the ways of this world. I also wish there wasn’t a telecommunication facility so that I don’t have to be reminded of how much she misses me. I don’t want to hear how much my daughter wants me to be with her. I just want to be completely in ignorance about in what state my loved one is. In that way, I can at least hope that everything is fine. Singye was better in a way he was oblivious to pain and suffering his beloved underwent when he was at Lama’s service. He had a freedom to at least hope that his beloved was well in Chang Yul harvesting paddy and herding the cattle.