Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Humane Ride Touches Everything

This story adds yet another milestone for the brothers of the Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club, and it is indeed said with the utmost humility and one felt collectively by all the members that make up the Bhutan Dragons Motorcycle Club. For the more rides the Bhutan Dragons MC has undertaken, the more it is beginning to discover the vast wealth of nature and culture lying to be pried open, not with shovels, crowbars, spades or pitch forks to pry on for questionable purpose but for the finer yet simpler things in life that gives life itself meaning and thereby, inspires one to tread the path and keep on treading for the mere yet touching fact that it makes everyone involved feel good, and thereby do good and so much more.

The season was winter’s reluctant farewell, and the songs of spring, thought faint, had already begun to sung and chirp in their impatient call for the season that renews it all.

The feeling of such a rejuvenation echoing the reincarnating season and the subsiding reluctant forlorn winter did mirror the general aura surrounding the brothers almost as if they had tired of the worn out halos hanging around their lumbering heads from the last ride, and waiting for what was to be the next big expedition; the unbearable anxious anticipation of waiting for it all. The countdown had begun almost as soon as the last ride, the thirteenth,  down south to Tendu in Samtse, was done with and the brothers just couldn't wait to mount up their iron horses once more and just hit the tar.

That was without a single shed of doubt the first impulse, but on greater scrutiny, there is no denying the fact that more than anything, beyond the road and the freedom that comes with it, is a pull and a push of such gravitas far greater than anything the logic can comprehend; a hypnotic call that constantly beckons the fragile and feeling hearts in the bosoms of all the brothers in a club that has become just that- a brotherly bond of altruism. And that call is as humane as anything- for it’s the call of the boondocks, the country, and every being that resides in those timeless spaces filled in with everything that is again as humane as a human and any being capable of that innate instinctual purity. The sprawling meadows, misty mountains, tall woods, the cold breeze, the warm tropics, terraced fields, cows and bulls grazing by the roadside, farmers singing in the fields, a lonesome cowboy with a flute on his lips and the wondrous creatures that appear as fast as they disappear in their secret realms.

You see, the brothers of the Bhutan Dragons MC did start with a kick and a roar, with more than a chip on our shoulders as we rode the many twists and turns of the kingdom’s rollicking roads in what began as a well intentioned sojourn with a bunch of little monks atop an idyllic hillock in the backyards of Paro Valley. That was almost five years ago when the club was formed with naïve innocence but nonetheless an innocence borne of something deeply intuitive- the heart and the will to somehow help somebody, somewhere, anywhere. 
We didn't know how. We didn't know who. We didn't know where and we didn't know what. But we did know why- it just seemed and sounded and just felt right. And when that feeling of intuitive goodness arose it sort of felt forthright and proper- a homecoming akin to the return of the prodigal son. Some things cannot be explained and this was perhaps one of them. 

We didn't know but it didn't matter for the positive feel far out weighted the cynical pessimism. And that was enough to make a kickstart, no matter how naïve it appeared and we were optimistic enough to behold whatever would unfold.

That naivety and sense of childlike innocence has led the brothers to more than fourteen districts and so far we have been fortunate enough to gather the goodwill of members within the club and beyond- to other individuals and communities that have also helped in contributing whatever help they could afford and help our budding endeavor in all its manifestations. A few donations from an empathetic individual here, a sympathetic help from there, voluntary contributions of monies and goods from various individuals both from within and from without the kingdom; from places as far away as Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and the many other individuals and friends that have spontaneously contributed a coin, a vehicle, a pat on the back, helped tow the goods, gone on collections and brought about clothes,  toys, utensils and other assorted goods that could possibly be of immense use to folks living in dire hardship.

And with each ride and the sacks of rice, dried fish, blankets, slippers and the like the club would carry to specific places and villages and individuals in dire need of such necessities (that many do take for granted), and then seeing the visible joy of relief on the faces of grateful recipients has only made the resolve to keep continuing what started as a naive sense of comradeship (to be the harbingers of some goodness) into a steely resolve to continue it to kingdom come; now firmly tested by the umpteen rides with the potholes and bumps, along with the comical falls and welcoming smiles and the warm simplistic hospitality of those we sought out to seek and to help as both witness and companion.

Then along came a cobbler who held such a vision as we did. And it was only natural that we would find each other sooner than later. Today we are proud to have an individual who, bereft of a meaning and eager to help not only himself but others he knew required whatever help he could bring, came into and out of the fold. 
He’s fondly called Help-Shoe-Rider and that is exactly what he does: he collects old shoes and gives them life anew by heeling them, mending them and giving them new soles so they might ease the foot-palms of our country-folks who toil the earth 

And when last we journeyed on to what was one of the toughest and longest rides in terms of distance, the elemental forces at full play, the unpredictable changing climes of what remains a true Shangri La, and in the number of districts, villages and folks we were fortunate enough to lend a helping hand, it was bittersweet irony that more than anything, perhaps what we truly came to realize with all our hearts and our minds was this undeniable and most indelible and simplistic truth that 'we are truly and most wholeheartedly happy when we realize the basic goodness of humanity', and of the magic and miracle of giving without any expectations save to see a burden lessened and made lighter here, there and wherever we can.

We learnt that in sharing and helping each other lay true happiness.

Even as our next ride approaches close on the heels of the monsoons, there is nothing in the eyes of my brothers but that forlorn longing, now borne of the realization that life really is like the road that keeps throwing up surprises, or the elements that warm you and then deceive you with gusty cold winds and torrential rainfalls on high passes that freeze your toes and your fingers to naught; and as if on cue, to see the unexpected gift of finding ourselves in an anonymous tavern, a stranger’s hut that welcomes us with broad smiles and whatever hot beverage they can offer, and providing us with shelter from the storm, that we come to rise beyond the temporary perils and laugh wholeheartedly, at the simple fact that living lies in giving; and in receiving such simple givings, makes us wanna get back on the road to pay tribute to the road that guides us, the simple folks that smiles and welcomes us, leaving us far more indebted to their simple kindness than anything we could ever bring in the back of a truck.

We now understand, that the Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance is more about life and its miraculous manifestations, and in our stance, hand-picking the motorcycle as the medium to connect and fill in those gaps and distances, learning en-route that life's voyage is finally the essence of all that lives and lives in an interconnectness web of life constantly on the move. And as if to taunt us benevolently, the skies clear to reveal a vast blue sphere, and the warmth of the sun’s rays suddenly dry our wet gear, pumping back our blood through the veins, with a warmth and a whisper in the air that almost seems to say,
“This is how it is- the circle of life.”

And thus we decided to pay our respects and pay tribute to a dearly departed brother of the mountains, Robin, whose passing away followed us after we’d been on the road for three days. It seemed apt, standing as we were on top of a beautiful pass with all of the earth hearkening up towards us, as we lit butter lamps in his memory and quietly offered our own prayers, in gratitude and in homage, with the wind whispering as silently that
“This is how it is- the dance of life” that we began to ride again, smile again, with each brother realizing that is just how it is and this is how it has always been, this miraculous movement of life and all of its mercurial changes.

(^) Love To Ride; Ride To Love - {{{::::::::::::>>>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lucky Brothers...thank you for the great images you brought back...all the good work compensates for your roaring carbon footprint! Best Wishes, Stay Happy,xx