Karma (name changed) is now a successful tour guide who has the inborn talents to entertain his clients and help them make their stay in Bhutan very joyful and memorable. He can get along with tourists very well mainly because of his outgoing personality and good communication skills. He is very friendly and respectful. He is always seen with full of smiles but behind his glowing face, there is a very different story.
Like everybody else, Karma struggled to start off his life. He remained jobless until he met a man from Taiwan who promised to help him set up a jewelry shop in Bhutan. Subsequently, he started receiving gold jewelries from Taiwan at cheaper rates which he sold in his shop in Thimphu. His partner in Taiwan continued to supply the jewelry items to him for a couple of years. By then, he had made a significant amount of saving in his bank account. His business was doing well and he began to have a more comfortable and prosperous life. He married a very beautiful and loving wife and together, they lived a very peaceful and happy life. But one day, he heard the bad news. His supplier was arrested in Taiwan for smuggling gold and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. As a result, his business collapsed and he had to shut down his shop in Thimphu.
Although he had about Nu.200,000 in his bank account, he was once again jobless. But this time, he didn’t have to worry much because he had some money to invest on some other business if he wanted. He decided to completely relax for sometime before returning to business. But what he didn’t know was that with each passing day, he was moving towards the edge of his world.
One day when he was travelling to Phuntsholing, he got the information from one of his relatives over the phone that his wife was having a secret affair with one of his friends in Thimphu. He couldn’t believe it and instantly decided to return home to see if what he heard was true. Moreover, he knew it was impossible for him to travel with that kind of pain in his heart. Without informing his wife about his return plan, he turned back to Thimphu and reached his house late at night. As expected, he found his friend with his wife in the house and he instinctively went mad. He looked for a knife to stab both his wife and his friend to death but fortunately, he couldn’t find one. He caught hold of a hammer instead and wildly started hitting his friend on the head with the hammer. His friend lost consciousness and the neighbors who came to help control the situation took him to hospital. He was so mad that he didn’t know what he was doing. That was the end of his world. Soon, he sought divorce with his wife and spent all his savings on his friend’s treatment. His friend is now living with permanent disability.
Having lost the battle with life, he started to take alcohol regularly to keep his spirit up. He soon became part of a five-member group who shared similar interests and habits. It became a ritual for them to get together in bars regularly. As days passed by, they became addicted and alcohol seemed to be the only factor that kept them lively.
One night, Karma vaguely remembers lying down on the floor of a hotel, drunk and almost unconscious. He faintly saw a woman coming to him and asking him why he was there. When he told her that he was drunk, the woman asked him if she could drop him at his house as it was almost midnight. When he agreed, the woman helped him move towards her car and she drove him away. The woman suggested if they could go for a ride before going to his house and they went towards Zilukha area. When they reached Zilukha, the woman engaged him in a long meaningful conversation. The woman listened to his stories and advised him to be strong enough to stand against the challenges of life. He was told that withdrawing from life by taking drugs and alcohol was a cowardly act. The woman enlightened him on the true purpose of life and how he must be thankful for being born as a human being. For the first time in his life, he could look at life from a completely different angle. The woman was in no way related to him and yet, she was so much concerned about his health. She let him promise never to drink again and then she dropped him at his house. In the morning, he reflected on all the things the woman had told him the night before and with all his heart, he decided to quit drinking for the rest of his life. Today, Karma is only one of two members of his group who are still alive. The remaining three have already died of alcohol-related diseases. Karma is still looking for that unknown angel who saved him. “I am still wondering who that angel was, and I wish if I could meet her at least once so that I could thank her for giving me a new life” he says.
This is a true story narrated to me by a friend of mine who had met this tour guide while hiring out his car to a tour company last year.