Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Beginnings, Hard Endings

The city of Thimphu is growing rapidly, and there are many new buildings under construction.  Bhutan has a standard building code to preserve the culture, and therefore the buildings all look similar.  The foundations of the buildings are laid with bamboo, the cement is poured, and the carpentry is completed in what feels like no time.  Much of the work is contacted out to workers from India who sometimes work into the night using large lamps.

Today I hopped into a cab to go to town and grade some tests in a peaceful coffee shop.  The weather was drab.  The cab diver who picked me up was very friendly and smiled as he asked me where I wanted to go.

“I am going to Clocktower la”

We got a few blocks from my home, and I happened to glance out the window at one of the new buildings being constructed.  Something was weird.  I thought I saw a man working, but something made me look more closely.

The muted, clay colors of the unfinished building faded into the overcast sky, until all I could see was a lifeless body at the end of a rope.  I held my next breath inside me, feeling far too many things to attempt to make sense of.  The morning was silent, and the swaying motion of the body rocking in the breeze, almost suggested a feeling of calmness.

I noticed a second man climbing the bamboo to reach the body.  I said nothing to the cab driver who was watching the road and still wore a smile.

I have heard nothing of the incident.  Perhaps the man climbing the bamboo is the only other person who knows the gentleman did not accidentally fall to his death.

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