Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guys at Car Wash

The first time I went there for servicing, I had to wait for three hours straight. There was a boy who was elder than me. He was 23 years old and I still haven't gotten his name. He just seemed to be so disorganized and smoked cigarettes like I did. But there was something he did which I could never do, again. He was sniffing dendrite, yes, the hallucination that he requires to escape from his inferno of cold chilly water. Time and again he disappeared from the site and came back with a lot of more smiles with widening lips.



I didn't pay much attention to him because there was a MP who didn't give a fuck about anything but his Prado which he wanted to be clean. My friend who is a chain smoker, didn't hesitate to smoke in front of him, after knowing that fact that he actually had MP in front of him. The MP turned a blind eye and that was before they discussed the amendment of the act.

But to my notice, I saw the little boys who were dirty and were wet and were actually shivering. But they didn't mind to work. Now I am a busy man and my work schedule is shitty. I did sleep over office once and worked till midnight once. So I barely get any time to clean my father's car, which I been driving all around Thimphu as my Daddy is away. Good for me.

So I went there for myself the second time. It was in the afternoon and the kid was really hospitable. He called me acho and we made some conversation. He said, he was from Mongar and lived with his brother here in Thimphu. His work was to clean the vehicle and he didn't know how to drive. But he was just a 16 year old kid. I found it weird that a boy who works now living with his brother in a workshop. Because I thought child labour was long gone away. But whom are we kidding. We still see little nannies around and some people are servants at the homes of khata pita ghaar. And the arrogant attitudes they show to us, by saying, he has no parents, he has got nowhere to go and we are actually looking after him! I never get that line into my head. Maybe, I am too adamant myself to hear that sort of stories. A man is to live free and it might shock you, our generation has the maximum number of slaves than the world ever had in past. And why should we be so harsh on the past generations where they enslaved the stolen men from Africa? At least they were doing it openly. Yes, today, nobody might be lynched like a African American but who knows, some kid might be rapped at this very moment while you are sipping your coffee.

But those are the probabilities that I think at times. Anyways, this guy wash my car and later on I wanted to tip him, but there were too many people and I just didn't want to act azha pasa. So I left, thinking to return at this place once again. But due to my busy schedule again, I had to wait for another month, only to find the car coated with dust and pigeon shits. Yesterday I went there, but I was 5:30 pm. It was cold. At first I hesitated  and went to that car service center again. I asked the same kid, he didn't recognize me. I asked whether he was interested at this hour. He said no. But there was another boy who was really active. He said, hey, the sir looks to be good man. Wash his car man.
I was delighted and flattered as well. I don't know why he found me as a gentle man. Maybe because of my aviator look. Hair style I meant.
But then the guy refused and the one who requested his friend for car wash, stepped forward to wash my car. I knew it was cold. So I said, if you wash it then I will tip you. The boy first refused but later he took the tip and this time, it wasn't 50. I will not tell you the amount but it wasn't that big. I didn't ask the kids to wipe it, as the car would get dried up while I drove home I thought. The boys were closing off and I asked where they stayed. They said near the Changlam Plaza. I thought they were living in that neighbourhood but later on, the story changed.

You see, these three kids were students whom I gave lift. One studied in Paro, One studied in Changangkha and one studied in Zhemgang. They were here to make some pocket money. I was taken back to my childhood days. Whereby most of my friends took the PWD job and crushed the rocks into gravels. I was always disqualified for the job as I was the youngest in the group. The tripper was not my ride ever since.

But my winter job started in winters, when I got banners to be painted and one letter paid me 25 bucks. From class 8 till second year of my college, I did make good cash out of painting banners.

Those kids did feel some sort of inferiority to admit that they were working while most of their friends were busy somewhere else buying stuff or on vacation enjoying. I lied to them to boast their morality. I said, I used to work every winter at road sites and my work was to blend rocks into gravels. I wish I had gotten that job. I told them that we should do these sort of jobs to pay for our own expenditure.
So a dude asked me what I was doing for living?
I said I am an Engineer.
Zai... they went
So you must be earning well now.
I said 20k as I am a temporary guy.
They were like, 20k is too much.

You can get married now and live with your wife. But there was another one who opposed to that and said, Sir, if you get married wife won't let you enjoy!

Such a smart kid I thought. And I asked how many cars they washed, one had washed four and made around 300 bucks from the tips and other make 80 bucks. They said, they hated to wash those prados, because the vehicle was too big and time consuming and most of the big vehicle ones never pay them the tips. They didn't expect much either, all they wanted was 20 bucks for tea or maggi.

So yeah, next time, I exactly know how to look at the prado drivers lol... Maybe they saved each penny and bought those lol.. But not all are like that. But yeah, knowing the value of money does matter too.

So we reached Changlam Plaza and they said, they had some work in town. Their work was to play PS for a while and then go home. One stayed in subji bazaar, one stayed in hongkong market and one stayed in chubachu.

I looked at them the last time and asked their names. Such a young age to learn the world in a harsh way I thought. But, then again, I remembered Lincoln, "The Test of Fire gives the Best Steel!"

I know lately the youth issue is coming up and it is getting messy. But that is if you mess with the people. And who else should we blame? Everybody doesn't become far sighted. They blame the one who stabbed with the six inch dagger. But has anybody ever analyzed why are these kids getting there? Watch Thimphu closely. Most of the parents get their sixteen year old high school days back when they hit thirties or forties. Or else, they are too busy making money or the line most often used, gambling. But how come gambling? It is illegal. Most of the kids go and share the same schools with the rich kids and they too have wants. And someone is up with his iphone and you wonder why mb boys started nicking people around. Everything is imbalanced here, yet we all are happy. And that isn't the parody, that is the fact. But I blame only one thing that Thimphu is the way it is now because Houses are too fucking expensive. And our market is dependent on the house rents and not petrol rate hikes. The solution is not fixing the youth, the solution however is fixing ourselves. I am 22 years old now, and it will be my responsibility to make things right. I will not clean the streets but I surly will make my kids go on right path. Don't mind folks.

Ps: Those boys at the car wash did give me a hope that not everybody takes it in a negative way. I saw honesty in them. Who doesn't want money but they didn't steal or nick people, they rather chose to wash cars. 

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