It still freezes my nerves whenever I think of those accidents which I have narrowly escaped during my school days. As a child, I guess I was quite restless and adventurous because I still remember being always curious about everything my hands landed on. I would keep exploring things around me until I got some clues what they were and I was not afraid to put my hands into almost anything to explore what was beneath or inside. One day when I was living with my late father in Gai Khure, above Rinchending, I still remember putting my fingers deep into a small hole I had discovered in the ground while playing until I found some small eggs. I didn’t know they were frog’s eggs until I broke one of them and placed it on the top of a flat rock. There was a premature little frog which instantly died after being heated by the scorching sun. I was able to see at that time though. When I told this to my father, he scolded me for risking myself from the bites of poisonous creatures like snakes and centipedes. But I still continued to explore whatever I saw and whatever my hands reached for. When I was in the village, I and my late sister often used to go to the river to take bath and try to catch fish. During such times, I used to put my hands deep underneath huge rocks in the murky water and take out dangerous crabs with my bare hands without being hurt by them. However, my inborn talents to catch crabs finally came to a stop after a small soft-bodied crab pinched me on the finger so hard that I even cried. That was the most terrible and painful experience I ever had, and I instantly stopped catching crabs, but I still continued my adventures in other areas. I used to catch all types of spiders, tease the swarms of beetles in their nests, learn to be a sharp shooter by stoning red-headed lizards peeping out from behind trees at the distance and indulge in many other mischievous and often risky activities. But all that happened before I lost my sight.
However, after I lost my sight at the age of 9, my life slammed into a more complicated twist. My bare hands and ears became the only tools for exploring my world and not realizing the dangers I was exposed to, I kept on trying to discover and explore my surroundings with my hands. The first near-death accident of my life happened in Phuntsholing when I was returning to my school in Khaling from Samtse. I think I was a class 5 student at the time. I was escorted by a teacher of Mongar High School and we had put up in a hotel. It was a warm afternoon and the teacher had a lady guest. We all were on the balcony of the hotel and while two of them were engrossed in their conversations, I bent down to explore what was beneath the balcony. I stretched my hand out of the gap in the lower part of the railing and bent down to get to the farthest point possible. But just half way down, I jerked with shock when something scratched my finger. By reflex, I pulled my hand up but getting more curious, I once again tried to explore what it was. This time too, I got scratched on my finger. I assumed there was a cat down there and I thought the hotel staff might have kept a cat in the cage down there. I told my escort that there was a cat down there, he looked down and said there was no cat. I repeated that the cat scratched me but he insisted that there was no cat. So, I asked him to keep watching me as I took my hand down the balcony. Just when I was about to reach the point where I was scratched before, he shouted “Oh no, no!” and he pushed me behind from my forehead. “That was the naked electric wire” he and his lady friend yelled. He was so afraid and shocked. He scolded me for being mischievous and asked me to remain quiet. I learned that it was the live electric cable before the meter-box and it could have electrocuted me if I had touched it properly. Fortunately, my finger had not physically touched the wire when I felt the scratch.
Some years later, the second near-death experience shook me off when I decided to use the rudimentary electric rod-heater to make hot water to take bath one Sunday in the school in Khaling. By then, I was a senior guy and I was mature enough to use electric appliances responsibly. But the electric switch-box in the bathroom was loose and it was just hanging out from the wall. I filled a bucket of water, placed the rod-heater in the bucket and switched on the power. The heater began to roar as the current passed through the water. I left the bucket and went outside. When I returned in a few minutes, the roaring sound had completely disappeared. I placed my ear close to the bucket but still I could not hear any sound. I just thought the power might have got disconnected due to the loose plug. I don’t know what silly reason pushed me forward but I gently touched the brim of the bucket and carefully lowered my finger into the water to see if the power was still on. The moment my finger came into contact with the water, a strong surge of current shook and jerked my entire body at the flash of a second. Once again, I was fortunate although the incident kept me trembling for sometime inside the bathroom. Only then I realized how painful it would be to be electrocuted. The entire right-side of my body starting from my fingers and wrist ached for a couple of days.
The 3rd near-death incident happened on a school picnic day in Khaling. We were taken to the dam of Khaling mini-hydropower house and while our teachers prepared our food, we the students were left on the dam to sing songs and play games as per our wishes. The dam was covered on one side with concrete floor and at one point, there were a few iron-rods that had gaps big enough for us to get our hands across to feel the water below. After playing some scissor-paper games, I stood up and walked across the dam thinking it was entirely covered. I don’t know what changed my mind but after walking a few steps forward, I knelled down to touch the floor since I could feel with my feet some overflowing water. But to my shock, just about two steps forward was the edge of the concrete floor. If I had not stopped where I had stopped, I would have certainly fallen into the dam which at the time was overflowing with water. When I realized how narrowly I had escaped that tragic accident, I literarily froze with fear. Those were some of the most dangerous incidents God has saved me from and the memories of those terrible experiences still haunt me today. But so far, life has been treating me well and I hope God would continue to befriend me for all the times to come.