SOMETHING MORE THAN DRUK WANGYAL
I am a journalist; the best part about my job is I get to meet people from all walks of life. I have done a lot of articles for my paper but for the first time I am proud of one particular article.
The article was about Tshewang Dema, a 65 year old woman who walked all the way from Thimphu to Trashiyangtse.
Bhutan did create history with the whole democratic process but this woman created a bigger history by making an extra effort to caste her vote.
Today, the 31st of December, 2008, she will be awarded a special award by the CICCC for Media and Democracy.
A well deserved award!
Of course her story did come out in my paper but this article is a story within a story, the other side of the story. My part of the story and my interview with her.
It was then March 22nd, 2008, two days before the big day of Bhutanese democracy. I had gone to interview the PDP candidate and since the day was a media black out day he suggested I did an article on this woman who has walked the Thimphu-Trashiyangtse highway in just 14 days.
I jumped on the opportunity, it was a beautiful article, and perhaps the best article I will ever write.
So I followed the PDP candidate to meet her on the way, the news was she had reached Chazam. We drove along the Trashiyangtse-Trashigang highway and didn’t find her there. We waited and waited and waited.
We were then told she had already reached her village. By then it was almost two in the afternoon without lunch yet. I decided to go see her immediately.
On the way I met my brother who works for BBS and a Sr. Reporter from Kuensel. My heart skipped a beat. I was disappointed thinking they knew about her. I cursed! (Trust me I am just being a good reporter)
I later found out they had no idea about it and they had come to drop a friend. I sighed!
We drove till the road end!
Tshewang Dema, I was told lived in Pandang. We met some villagers and asked them where Pandang was. They told us it was just a few minutes walk.
My driver, Jan a man from Denmark who was following me for a documentary and his guide, we walked as fast as we could.
We came to a small village and asked some villagers if we were at Pandang. They said it was another few minutes we will be there.
By the time we reached the village before Pandang it was already 3:30 and we were hungry. So we asked a woman she could cook for us if we paid her. She agreed and we didn’t even have to pay. (So much for a stranger eh)
In another hour we started walking again and took not a few minutes but another hour to get to Pandang.
We asked around for her and finally reached her brother’s house and there was my woman, standing at the door.
I was panting and so were Jan and the other two. Imagine this woman walked 14 days and she looks totally fine and we walked for a few hours and we were almost dying.
By the time we found her it was already 4:30. We quickly got down to business and I started interviewing her over a cup of nice hot tea.
I scribbled as fast as I could on my note pad. Nodding, smiling, awed and feeling a pinch in my heart as she told me her story.
After the interview we took the chance to take pictures with her. “I am taking a picture with history,” said Jan with a big smile on his face.
At around six in the evening we started our journey back. As I walked, I smiled and walked so fast because I just wanted to get back and write the story. I was so excited. I thought about my lead, I spoke to myself.
Ah! She was a beautiful story!
While on the way walking back, it became dark and started to rain. Jan covered his huge video camera with a borrowed plastic. But we didn’t bother covering ourselves, we were both thinking of the story we were taking back with us.
I enjoyed the rain fall on my face as I kept reworking on my lead in my head.
Today as the award is announced at the CICCC ground, I am gonna watch it on TV and truly smile to myself!
Ah! What a perfect New Year gift!
Happy New Year to all of you!