Sunday, August 2, 2009
Friday, August 2008:
Around two weeks back, about 12 members of the Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club made their first official ride to steer in the New Year. They set the tropical climes and plains of Gelephu in southern Bhutan as their chosen destination. The objective was rather simple; ride the weekend to Gelephu, distribute the shawls, blankets, robes and other assorted gifts to eighteen little monks aged between seven – fifteen at the Khaduyangtse Gyemba and ride back to Thimphu the next day.
You see, these bikers are unlike anything you’d ever expect from a stereotypical motor-head. They had to get back to their work stations the following Monday.
Sitting in his office, one of the four founding members, Pale-Rider, looked visibly pleased and sounded passionate recalling the journey, “before we arranged the trip we identified the monastery and the poor monks studying there as the beneficiaries of whatever little contributions we could make.” He said, “Every ride is in effect a little help.”
During the club’s final 2008 ride they did something similar, identifying a monastery that housed orphaned boys turned monks in Paro. On that occasion, the monks were handed warm red jackets for the coming winter.
The club also intends to raise social awareness of the minimal conditions in which they find children, monks, monasteries, community schools and the socio-economically disadvantaged lot. The monastery in Gelephu, Pale-Rider said, was “lacking in basic sanitation, sewerage pipes along with clothing and daily rations.”
Unable to resist the reactions of a welcoming party of a bunch of innocent little monks for some rather unconventional guests dressed in leather and perched on roaring 500cc Royal Enfield Bullets, I had to ask, “What was it like?” He said the reactions were rather curious, with a little fright thrown in for good measure. The scared little faces were soon replaced with broad smiles as the gifts were presented. The two footballs were the highlights. They now had something proper to kick around the temple grounds.
The club rode back the next day, without any mishaps and with a lot of joy at a journey well rounded. He said the roads were in good shape and well maintained.
Recalling the sights and sounds of the changing landscapes, the orange harvests and the pastoral life and the really mean and green colored houses along the route had Pale-Rider breaking in jolly remembrance.
Recollecting the events in the environs of a corporate office made it even more poetic. Then came the bombshell, one of the club’s members, Jamtsho is to look after the education of a little girl. The club and Jamtsho’s attention had been drawn from a Kuensel story in Zhemgang titled, “Wedded to Violence”.
The little girl is paying the price for her parents’ violent-domestic life. When last contacted, Pale-Rider said the procedure involved too many legal complications, further compounded by the alcoholic father’s stubbornness, now in prison.
They are still figuring out how best the five-year-old girl can be helped. This is what sets apart the Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club; every journey is a helping hand steering to aid someone…somewhere.