Gidakom is about half an hour drive from Thimphu and about 16 kms away. This place is more popularly known as Jemina; mother nature’s abundant supply of stones and minerals to this area has allowed operation of quarries that has and continues to supply construction materials everywhere in Bhutan. To simply state it, it is the start of a journey, of every Bhutanese to own a home; it is from here on the backs of hundreds of trucks, leaving the dusty factories and quarries that some of those dreams are realized.
Situated in the area, a lot quieter and very different in the nature of business is the Gidakom Hospital. Nature’s assortment of offering is as varied as visible around Jemina. In a narrow strip of a single storey building, next to the road leading up to the more industrial explorations is a ward. What is unique about this ward is not the tuberculosis patients but a group of aging people, stricken with illness. They are housed at the upper end of the building. Entering into the two roomed ward, a television monitor on a rickety old table next to the entrance to the common rest room is visible. There are six beds in each room with six occupants of each bed. These twelve aging patients all share the agony of suffering from leprosy. A consolation to a visitor perhaps would be the plain dedication to reciting mantras and the strong presence of a belief that their next life would be better. Lying in their beds with their faces aligned to the strangers visiting them, a few of them hit it off with my mother immediately. They talked about their homes and regions they hailed from. Basically their lives before they had come to Gidakom Hospital. I suspect from the warm goodbyes they shared with my mother before we embarked on our journey back to Thimphu, at least a few of them were happy to have had exchanged words with someone from outside of Gida. It would be wrong and presumptuous of me to say that they were happy but it certainly gave them a gush of fresh air. They maybe old and frail, sick and weak but a dream is just a dream. And from where starts a journey of many dreams, a few dreams, twelve to be precise, remains in the two bed roomed ward at Gidakom Hospital.
This was a day with my mother, an auspicious day in Bhutan.