I must have been 7 or 8 years old when I first saw a road accident happen. It was in Gai Khurey, above Rinchending. My father used to work in charcoal production at the time and our camp was based not so far from the Phuntsholing-Thimphu highway. The sky was clear with plenty of sunshine and the view of the popular Seven Turnings (Sath Ghumti) and Sorcheng was spectacular from where I was standing. I was able to see at the time and I would often spend time watching different vehicles plying the highway especially during the night because the lights and their varying colors would make them look like angels on the road.
On a hot July day in 2003, Dhan Bahadur Subba and his friends were felling trees in the jungle of Gedu under Chukha Dzongkhag. They had got the contract work to supply timber. The 18-year-old Dhan Bahadur was cutting the trunk of a huge tree with a chainsaw while his friends were working on other trees nearby. However, what he did not realize at the time was that the vibration from his chainsaw was causing a half-dried branch straight above him to slowly break away. Then at the flash of a second, he heard a crashing sound as the branch snapped off and came down straight on him. The branch hit his head and knocked him unconscious.
It was June 1999 and I was volunteering at Muenselling Institute in Khaling as a temporary teacher. We had done our class X exams (ICSC) in March and I had volunteered to stay back at the Institute to serve as a temporary teacher while awaiting the academic results. The results were finally declared in May 1999 but sadly we the visually impaired students were left out in the list. Although I was confident that I would qualify for class XI, I had wanted to come to Thimphu to find out why our results were withheld. The new academic sessions for class XI were due to commence from July and with every passing day, I began to get more worried about my future. But to my delight, I heard that the Vice-principal of the Institute, Sir Shriman Gurung was planning to go to Thimphu in the Institute’s vehicle to settle the annual accounts of the Institute and I immediately decided to jump at the opportunity. I discussed this option with my friend Leki Chedup who had completed class XII and who was also working as a temporary teacher with me in the Institute. Since he was one of my best friends in school, I always sought his opinions whenever I had to make important decisions and he helped me a lot. When I told him about my plan, he flatly rejected my idea and advised me to inform the Principal of Khaling Higher Secondary School and wait for the results to come through, instead of travelling all the way to and from Thimphu unnecessarily wasting money. Yes, after all, he was right. I didn’t have money to meet my travel expenses and I decided to stay back. I went to see the Principal of Khaling Higher Secondary School and requested him to reserve my admission convincing him that I would definitely qualify for class XI. I was happy that he agreed to admit me as long as I fulfilled the admission criteria. Leki soon left for Thimphu to explore some training/employment opportunities since he had completed class XII.
My wife told me that just this morning, one of her training-mates at Gangjung Driving Institute was hit by a speeding Bolero taxicab while crossing the road after being dropped off near his house by Gangjung bus. The bus had not yet left when the speeding taxi hit him and flung him across the drains. When the remaining passengers of the bus heard a loud thud, they all turned around and were shocked to see the tragedy. He had got down the bus just a few seconds ago. When people rushed to the scene, he was already unconscious and bleeding from the head. They could not do anything but to put him in the same taxi and send him to hospital. Nobody still knows what will happen to him. People say he was in a critical condition. May God be on his side for now!
I don’t remember exactly which year it was, but I was returning to my school in Khaling from the long winter vacation. After waiting for a few days at Samdrup Jongkhar, I and my father could finally manage to get tickets to Khaling in a passenger-bus bound for Trashigang. It was a mini-bus as it was called during those days and its engine roared like that of a DCM truck. We boarded the bus at around 7 o’clock in the morning and began our journey to Khaling that could take about eight hours. I was seated near the driver.
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