There were one hundred and fifty people from all ages seated on bare and ground. Those rich one or two wore Bata slipper and others are bare feet. They sat under scorching sunlight for hours. Finally, Ajang Gup(Village Headman) came out wearing his hand woven gho with lagay that would have been washed a year before. Those people stood up as Gup came with his two or three chupon. Then he sat on his dirt-laden chair and table which was half-eaten by rats. “Ney baak thaam che langsho” (you all sit down), he said in typical sharchop. People sat down with little hustle and bustle. Gup started meeting by reprimanding those under aged and overage. “Jingi hala rang geneybu, waktsa dang abi meme zome mang tho dhak cha” (I tell small children, old people not come for meeting).
One grandfather stood up and said, “If I don’t come, who will. We are only grandfather and mother in home. Maang Ney la chad keyla (if we don’t come, you fine us).’’ Ajang Gup disapprovingly glared at that half-bent old man. Then, he started reading a decree from Dasho Dzongda. People listened dutifully with their mouth open as they couldn’t understand a word. One woman at the end of the row whispered to another woman, ‘hang lo phenaya Guppu cho (what language gup is speaking)?”.
The other woman replied, “Mas tong near lo mo boedpa lomo (it may be Tibetan or Indian)” Ajang Gup went on reading till he finished and sat down. He then gazed at his people and found half of them dozing off. It was so hot and that reading by gup was fuel upon fire for sleep. One chupon went inside and brought out umbrella which had around three to four holes to Ajang Gup.
“Ha gowamo (have you understood what kasha says), gup asked and people chorused, “Gowala (yes)”. They were eager to go home.
“Tomorrow, each household has to send each man for fifteen days of work. If you don’t send, fine of Ngultrum 150 per day will be imposed.” one woman stood up and asked, “on what purpose you need labour, I don’t have husband.’ “Didn’t you listen to the decree?” the woman scratched her head, “I didn’t understand what you read”. The Gup grudgingly took pains to explain again. “A Secretary is coming for official tour to help us. If we don’t make them happy, he won’t give us help.”
Next day preparation begins. Few engaged in bringing plastic chairs, sofas and costly mat from dzong which is two days walk from their village, for secretary and his entourage. They didn’t want secretary to get angry and complained. For engaged in widening footpath that ran through rugged terrain full of curves, rocks and steep slopes. Few prepared arrangement in the village for His Honourable Secretary who would at maximum talk for 30 minutes and hold one night. And remaining few volunteered to bring pork (rather pig) and hard bought rice hoarded to feast during losar (New Year). In other times, villagers either eat boiled maize or Kharang(grinded maize). Finally, relatives of gup came to his office with lump of cheese wrapped in banana leaves and strong red local wine to say that they wouldn’t be able to contribute labour which gup readily agreed.
After much ado, finally preparation phase got over. Still people had no relief as Ata Coupon,( messenger) knocked their door asking for another round of meeting. Next day, they attended the meeting. Ajang gup, instead of thanking them, started with calling names of those who couldn’t contribute their full labour. Then he asked them to pay fine at earliest because with that fine, gup wanted to buy items that were needed for secretary and his entourage’s food menu. Then, gup decided to give his final command. “Tomorrow, all of you have to come with horse. We have carry luggage of his Excellency and his entourage.” He concluded his speech warning, “when you attend his Excellency’s meeting, dress in best gho or better don’t if don’t have one.
Next day, Gup with villagers went to Dzong to receive Dasho Dungchen and his entourage. Before, he met secretary; he had to meet Dasho Dzongda to get unwanted guidance. “Ajang gup, naa ngensh (uncle gup, listen)”, Dzondag has bellowed. The gup bowed as low as hundred years old hag as mark of respect. Dzongda ordered him to reveal no problems to Secretary. The gup once again bowed and then came out all sweating all over.
The secretary couldn’t walk in a day more than what ordinary people walk in two hours. Gup had to pitch almost 20 to 30 tents for his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Villager took only one night to reach from dzong to village.
That very first evening, personal assistant to secretary called him and informed gup that Dungchen wasn’t happy with Gup’s preparation. For two days of journey, secretary didn’t even look at him. Gup had to live under untold tension and fear. If secretary wish, he would be thrown out of his post with Dungchen’s snap of finger. By third day, they reached at peripheral of jurisdiction of that Gewog. Secretary called him and asked him, “don’t you have girls and singers in your village. My men are tired and need to relax”
He didn’t need to be told twice. Ajang gup ran back to his office to make that preparation. He half-threatened and half-coerced the parents of teenage girls to send them as entertainer or rather honorable duty. With much difficulty, Ajang Gup managed to get five girls, Zangmo, Wangmo, Dema, Yangchen and Yuden.
That night secretary retired early citing bodily pain. He wanted Yuden, who was betrothed to young man of village to do massage. Next morning gup was invited to Dungchen’s tent happily. Gup was sure his village would get most facility available for Dzongkhag.
As expected, when they reached at village, secretary asked if village needs anything. Remembering Dzongda’s warning, he replied, village has everything. Secretary wrote in his report that village even have water in their door. Secretary forgot that he was in Gup’s office which has water brought in bamboo pipes and real pipe only 100 meter joined above office. Anyway, secretary reported back to government that village needed only electricity and road for his legs were full of blisters and nose filled soot emitted by kerosene lamp. Because of Yuden’s reluctant but dutiful service, he reported that villagers were co-operative and friendly.
One week later, secretary found out that media has given rave reviews of his service. The gup had said in paper, “we are grateful to his Honour’s visit despite difficulty to solve our problems.” secretary smiled as he read that paper. Now, he kept newspaper aside as he had to escort his high-bearing wife to business party.
Meanwhile, that same week, gup had to mediate break up between Yuden and her fiancée. They had been betrothed since birth. Village was abuzz about Yuden being Mistress of Dasho Dungchen. Other girls vehemently refused to accept they were being bedded. But real truth came out when two of the girls gave birth to children whose father is Dasho who had no name and who didn’t know they have spread their seeds to wherever they visited.