Today I met a Stranger, a man named James Lee. He is a mechanic by profession. Man in a jeans, old fashioned though. He looked younger than he actually is. I think he was very happy to see me.
He asked me, ‘I didn’t see you before here, when did you start to work here?”
I told him, “been few months now”. “Where are you from?”, he asked me. “I am from Bhutan”, I replied. ” “And where are you from?”, I asked him. “I am from Korea”, He replied.
He looked around in the room, as if he was looking for some lost articles. He pulled of a card box from the corner, and took out pen from his pocket. He started to draw something. At first I didn’t understand, what he was trying to draw, in few minutes time, he came up with a rough sketch of a map.
“Come here”, he said. “I will show you something, this is Himalaya, we started our journey from here. We then moved to china to help them write letters. We didn’t stop there, we kept moving until we were stopped by nature. This is history of Koreans”, he continued. “This is Bhutan, in Himalaya”, he said pointing with pen on the map he just drew few minutes ago. “We share same family history, same ancestors. See how we look, no different”, he said. “If you come to Korea, no one can make out that you are from Bhutan”, he said.
I kept on listening, and nodding my head whenever necessary. First language in the world as he claims was Sanskrit.
“All other languages are derived from Sanskrit, including Korean”, he said. “In Korean we call father, Apa and mother Ama. And in Bhutan too, you call same right?”, he asked me. “Yes you are very true”, I replied. “That is because, we shared same ancestors and language”, he said.
He continued to talk, and I continued to listen. He talked about many things. About religion, about how children in Cambodia are abused. How women in India are exploited. He told me something about, rightful path. I am still not sure if I understood it correctly.
“In life, you should consider four things he said, first always comes spiritualism, then intelligence, after that physical, and then materialism”, he said. “If you break this order, you are going in wrong direction’, he said.
I am not sure, I understood him in this part, but I didn’t ask for clarification. He was almost, going to leave, and reaching to pick up his tool box, he asked:
“When did you come to Australia?” “Last August, 2013. I will go back to Bhutan this August, 2014”, I replied.
He immediately dropped the tool box, and started to ask:
“Why do you want to go back?” “I don’t know, but I have to go back”, I replied. “You came for studies?”, he asked. “Yes, you are right”, I replied. “What do you study?”, he asked. “Master of Laws”, I replied. “Ah, law, do you know, law means right path?”, he said. “I have a daughter who is studying law too”, he said. “You didn’t reach Australia by chance, you are destined to come here, learn and return to your country and serve your country”, he said. “Not many who come here, want to go back and serve their own country. Most of the people come here and this country becomes their new country”, he said. “Since you are going back, I have my blessings and best wishes for you”, he said. “Thank you, that is, so kind of you”, I said. “Are you married?”, he asked.
Instantly, I thought why did he ask me about my marital status. Did he intend to ask my hand for his daughter (that is just intended for joke).
“Yes, I am married”, I replied. “Do you have kids?”, he asked again. “Yes, a girl”, I replied. “I will tell you something”, he said. “Family is very important, learn to love them. I make a point that, I at least cook one meal for them in a day, and eat together”, he said. “I am 52, and my wife is 50, but I still hug her quite often, and say that I love her. I hug my daughter, and smell her hair. It really smells good”, he said. “You try doing it, you will like it”, he said. “You should not just stop there. You have to love others; poor, women, disabled, and other most needy ones”, he said. “Start by loving your family, if you don’t love and care for your family, there is no possibility that you can love and care for others”, he said.
“Look at me, I am just a mechanic, I can’t do much. You are still young, and you did law. You are already in right path. You have all the tools to love and care for others”, he said. “I am doing all I can, my daughters are doing fine, I have a flat now. I have enough for my family”, he said. “Now only dream, is to help and care for others, I have decided to go to Cambodia, and help abandoned children. I want to cook for them, teach them what I know”, he said. “I may not be able to change world, but I can help at least some”, he said. “You may work very hard, and decide to own a house in Australia, a house in Bhutan, a business elsewhere. That would be so selfish of you. You don’t need too much, one house and daily subsistence is enough. Rest, share it to others, who don’t have”, he said. “That is what I do”, he said.
“Your wife may say, do that, don’t do that, etc. That depends on you”, he said. “Talk to her, your daughter, share your dream. Love and care for them, then they will definitely listen to what you have got to say”, he said. “All you need to do is talk, and today people are so busy that they don’t have time to talk to their family. That is very wrong”, he said. “You will need to talk to your child, explain to her why sky is blue, what are the reasons for mother being so upset, you will need to talk to them”, he said. “That is what I do to my family, and now we are one very happy family”, he said. “Many friends of mine, envy us”, he said. “My wife agreed that we will go to Cambodia, and do what we can to help abandoned children there. This won’t have been possible, if I didn’t love and care for my family. They would have blatantly said no, but they didn’t”, he said.
“You can do many things, Bhutan is very beautiful country. You can make it even better, teach others how to love and care for their families, and then others in need”, he said. “Remember, as I earlier said, you can’t care or love others, if you don’t love and care for you own family”, he said. “Going after wealth is very wrong, he said, even if you go after wealth, you should be using it to help other in need, but ofcourse help yourself and your family first”, he said. “If you don’t care to love your family and others in need, and if you keep going after wealth, you cannot live happy life. True happiness lies in loving and caring for others”, he said.
These are some of his advices, I can recollect. I don’t know how truly he practise it by himself. Whatever he said, I think is no less. If every family in our society could be like his family, there would be peace, and true happiness. His words were priceless, I may not be able to practise what he told me, but I remain inspired.
“If you ever come to Sydney, let me know”, he said.
We then exchanged our numbers, and now we are no more a stranger to one another.