I was trekking the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh: Beautiful hills, Cool breeze, Greenery all around, sparingly scarce human population- right in the lap of nature. While I was enjoying every bit of wandering around, just on the outskirts of a random village, I came across a herd of Yaks. Giant majestically beautiful animals grazing around; and from somewhere behind them came a middle aged man with a stick. He appeared to be in his late forties with wrinkled skin which was tanned from working in the sun, wearing a typical Arunachali outfit and an old long hat. I smiled at him and he came to me saying in a very Nepali accent “Namashaar Shaaabji, kahaan jaata hai?“. And I told him about my trek plans and some areas I had covered. He introduced himself as Nurbu. He and I had a pretty brief conversation, but it would stay with me for long. This is how it went:
Me: Aap yahin rehte ho? (Do you stay here?)
Nurbu: Haan yahaan paas me hi, Woh udhar ghar hai mera. (Yes i stay closeby, that’s my house, he said pointing to a hill)
Me: Kya karta hai aap Nurbu? (What do you do?)
Nurbu: Main Ye Yak rakhta hoon.. 36 yak hai mera. (I own these yaks. I have 36 of them)
Me: Arre waah, acha hai. Aur tumhara ghar pe kitne log ho tumlog? (That’s nice. How many members are there in your family?)
Nurbu: Mera Bibi hai aur 6 bacha hai mera shaab (My wife and 6 kids)
Me: Bacha kya karta hai tumhara? School? (What do your kids do? School?)
Nurbu: Bacha log kaam karta hai mera, Yak dekhta haI, Bazaar ka kaam karta hai, Sabji laana, Paani laana, ghar ka kaam karna, sab dekhta hai bacha log. Sheekh raha hai unlog abhi. Shaabji aap bolega Nurbu pagal hai, bhudu hai, bacha ko school nai bhejta, gorment school banaya hai lekin nurbu bacha ko kaam sikhata hai. Kyu bhejega Nurbu apna bacha ko school, Nurbu ka bacha Gorment ka kaam kyu karega, Private naukri kyu karega? Nurbu ka bacha ka to farm hai, itna yak hai .. Bacha yeh dekhega. Nurbu ka bacha ka khud ka itna shundar ghar hai, Sheher jaa ke rent pe kyu rahega sabse duur? (My kids work with me, take care of the house, yaks, do chores like fetching water, shopping etc. they are learning from me. Sir, you will say Nubru is foolish and stupid that he doesn’t send his kids to school, The government has made a school in the village, but Nurbu teaches his kids work. Why shall Nurbu send them to school, Why will Nubru’s kids work in government offices or do private jobs? Nurbu’s kids have their own farm and so many Yaks.. they will look after these. Nurbu’s kids have a beautiful house of their own, Why would they go to cities and stay at a rented house away from family?)
Me: (In awe and not knowing what to say, Patting his back) Hahaha, acha hai acha hai. Chalo Nurbu, Thank you. wapas aana hua to shayad phir milega. Apna Yak aur Bacha ka khayal rakhna. (Hahaha, Nice. Ok Nurbu, thank you for your time. If i happen to come here again, might meet up. Take care of your Yaks and kids.)
Nurbu: Theek hai shaabji. Acha se jaana. Bye bye. (Ok sir, have a safe journey. Bye!)
Now what is special about this conversation is the amazing way in which human minds differ. Although I personally am a believer of “the right to education”, yet i wouldn’t say that Nurbu is totally wrong. Its like they belong to a total different time zone and they are really happy with that life. You can see that contentment on his face which we as educated, hardworking people are thriving to achieve. It’s like we spend a large part of our lives away from our homes, building our careers, earning money to build a status, fighting ourselves to find time for small breaks and vacations so that we can connect with ourselves and nature. While Nurbu didn’t go through any of these, and is yet satisfied. Maybe that is where the difference lies, we have to choose between Success and Satisfaction. Success will be determined by the way people look at me (Nurbu is just a poor Yak Man living in a remote village) and Satisfaction is what makes me happy (Nurbu is a happy man who has his own yaks and 6 beautiful kids and stays amidst nature).
Its amazing what travelling does to you! You meet a new story everywhere!!
This is an experience shared by a friend Mr. Ankit Singh Palawat who is currently exploring Arunachal. Written, Presented and given the insight by Chetna.
Note: Bonfire tales* is a collection of short stories and experiences we gain while Travelling and want to share it like beautiful and light conversational pieces. As the name suggests: camping and around a bonfire? Lets share our stories.. These can be an experience of anybody, You may send me your own story, I would edit (If you wish) or publish it as it is.