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by Dorji
Rated: E · Essay · Home/Garden · #2017598
I wrote this essay for author's chair in my class. It was my real account.
Metal Birds

It was a foggy day and I could hardly see my village from a lama’s residence which is within a stone’s throw from my above village. It was a very cold winter and flakes of snow failed to melt in the shady areas. I carried a bundle of firewood, tied with cane rope horizontally, placed on my back and my legs started to tingle as I passed through the path which descended steeply into the village.

As dusk fell I reached home and dropped my firewood behind my house. I wiped the sweat from my forehead with the sleeves of my gho and untied the rope. After winding the rope, I entered the kitchen taking of my gumboots which emitted pungent gas near the door step. Kerosene lamp was placed in the middle of the house as usual and father was leaning on the wall, chewing doma. I could see the dark red strains on his teeth. Mother was busy cooking food and grandfather was busy warming his old icy hand by the hearth. I sat near my father cross legged. Then my mother served us suja. The thick butter floated on the top of my wooden bowl which contained hot brown salty water. I could see hot vapour emitting from my bowl. I picked it up and blew air gently to cool it down and sipped.

When I was about to finish drinking the hot suja, Ajang Zangjay burst into the room. He looked red and was out of breath and he told us that he came with some news.

Before he could share anything, my mother gave him a cup of wine which he refused. He even refused to take a proper seat. He told us to pack warm clothes and something to eat. His old leathery face with uncountable wrinkles was full of smile and a black mole peacefully resting above his right eyebrow. He told us that there would be metal bird perching in our gewog centre the next day. Ajang said that he would be leaving by evening.

‘Metal Bird’, father gasped and asked mother to pack warm clothes and zao, roasted crunching rice made chunky by clinging to small cubes of fresh butter. I went inside my room to take flashlight and I clad in my warm black woolen sweater.

It was an icy night and star shone brightly in the sky. We started marching in the dark. Many people from our village were also going. There were dots of light lined up before and after us moving slowly. My father kept swinging the beam of the flashlight back and forth to show the path for him and mother. For me Ajang did it.

Walking for an hour, moon bounced from eastern silhouetted mountains. Moon was not bright at once but slowly it became very clear against the winter sky. In creamy circular light I could see vague silhouetted man standing near a leafless tree. Ajang explained he is a cow herder. My father and he stopped us for a while. They took batteries from the flashlight  turning its head opposite to each other not to get switched on by accident. Then we walked with the rays of the moonlight.

My feet were sore from the whole nights walk. I heard cock crowing repeatedly when I reached near the Gewog office and by then it was dawn. Ajang and father collected some twigs to light the fire and we had tea.

My father asked me to take rest and he promised me to wake me before the metal bird landed up. Though I was totally exhausted from walking, I didn’t feel like sleeping. I didn’t want to miss that chance. Ajang started narrating stories and meanwhile we had zao and suja. Then the earth which was enveloped in darkness was open to light.

I went near the Gewog office. I looked in every corner of mountains time and again. Ajang with childish eyes joined me.

After an hour, when our neck ached of frequent looking at the sky, the ball of fire appeared from eastern mountains. I heard familiar sound from south mountains. It sounded like turning of our stone grinding mill but it was thousand times louder.

“Helicopter, helicopter,” shouted a man clad in black gho, black shoes and socks in grey and white trapezoid tessellation. He looked like my class six teacher. I thought that the name of that metal bird was helicopter. The roaring sound became louder when it approached nearer. The black image turned red. Many people were looking up without blinking, it made one round of Jompa village before it landed on the ground. There was a gush of wind produced from its landing. It was red like sunbird and bigger than our ox. It was an incredible sight to behold. I gasped at how metal could float on the empty space. It was an exciting moment to see iron birds flying over us.

At first I was numb and motionless. This scene made me shade my tears through my cold bony cheek. I could see grandparents with crutches in their hand that came to see the metal bird. I could see there was no more place to hold their happiness and they started prostrating.

“Chap sum choe,” I said. I too prostrated mistaking it for god. I wasn’t satisfied with watching from distance. I went near and even touched it with my fragile cold fingers. That brought me satisfaction. I was delighted.

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