I met this lady who had come to see me one Sunday. We talked about her life since she had left her native village in Tashigang and got settled with a Lhotsampa husband too far away from her home. She shared her experience about her encounter with wild elephants that wanders into the southern villages in search of food during the summer and autumn season especially when the paddy is ripe. Hearing her encounter with elephants gave me shivers and made my hair stand on its end. Here is an incident shared to me.
Choden was living with her late husband in a joint family. The daughters of the family had moved away from home after their marriage as desired by the custom and the sons and daughter-in-laws including Choden lived in their thatched roofed mud-patched house which was near the edge of the forest. In the summers, the elders in the family went to guard their field from the wild animals at night and more often Choden and her old mother-in-law had to stay back.
One such summer night, she heard a terrible noise of something breaking nearby. She piped through the window to see a herd of elephants heading towards her courtyard. She immediately rushed to her mother-in-law’s side to inform her about the dangers they were in but to her dismay saw that the old lady was in slumbers from heavy consumption of alcohol. She couldn’t carry the old lady and run to safety. So she decided to save herself and rushed outside towards a hill top after latching the front door.
She stumbled as she ran but she kept on getting up and running towards the hill. After about 15 minutes or so when she looked back, she saw the herd of elephants stamping on her kitchen wall and ransacking it. Luckily the herd left their house intact and her mother-in-law slept through the whole life threatening incident.
Epilogue: Choden is now at a safer place because of His Majesty’s Kidu Grant and she is ever grateful to His Majesty for granting her a new lease of life. She now leads peaceful nights unconcerned of the elephants and the threats unlike her life a decade ago.