In the good old days, National Service was mandatory after school. My batch had the privilege of being on National Service twice – first after Class X and then when we returned from our postgraduate studies. I am most grateful for the humbling discoveries and priceless learning that the two unique opportunities made possible.
I was on my maiden pilgrimage to the fabled East following my ICSE examinations, some forty years ago this month.
A day-long walk with our beddings on the back took us from remote Dorokha to Samtse, followed by a bus-ride through the tea-gardens of Jalpaiguri, then on to Phuentsholing. The next day, we were on a giant blue BGTS bus that cruised on the never-ending Indian NH 31 that linked West Bengal to Assam to finally emerge at Samdrupjongkhar at the other end of Bhutan, covering some 380-kilometres from dawn to dusk.
One night on the pavement of the homely Hamro Hotel and the following day, we were on a black, open BGTS truck that groaned and grated up the meandering mountain-road till it descended on Trashigang, 180 kilometres away, by late evening. I was sick all the way.
We reported to Dasho Dzongdag, Kunzang Tangbi, and Dasho Dzongrab, Nagchung Tshering, gracious in their own right, in the breath-taking Trashigang Dzong, had our briefings and were directed to meet Mr CDT Namchu, then head of the regional agricultural office. Elder Namchu, dressed in a formal suit, wore an endearing smile as he sat with his senior colleagues, GD Sharma and DB Rai, and welcomed us. Following a round of preliminaries, we were told that seven of us would be posted to Gyalpoizhing.
Read more at: http://www.kuenselonline.com/gyalpoizhing-forty-years-on/
Kuensel, March 11, 2017