Journey: Fun on the Bhutanese roads

Let us take a ride, just for fun. Well, we could have a little more along the journey. Why not, spectacular vistas besides? Ah, let us look at the roadside cautions and signs that stare straight back at us. It’s not a bad deal altogether, because there is always something vastly arresting to look at, philosophise them deeply indeed and, to roll down helplessly in a kind of frenzied pain in the stomach.

Journey along the Himalayan bends give extraordinary excitement, a tourist remarked. It is indeed an otherworldly treat all in all. Oh, we just crossed a grinning skull on a tanker that says “inflammable”. Sometimes, language has amazing capacity to upend one’s brains and to bring down life to temporary closure. What foul and toxic fumes we are left to breathe is a different matter altogether. We had it all.

And we ride on. What people sell along the roadsides in the government-sponsored sheds is indeed truly scandalising. Dream organic, our original and cherished little dream, had so long ago flown out of the window. Would you like some fizzy drinks, cool and proper? There you have it, in ones and twos. What colour do you choose?

But then, we have more to see besides potholes and worryingly sunken road parts along the journey – the signs. Are they reminders? Are they admonitions? Why ought they to read so hilariously funny? Well, maybe we should have some fun while we drive on towards that part of the Promised Land. The kick we get is so strong we do not know whether to laugh or cry. But they have the staying power. They endure, in our heads, forever.

And there you go: “If You Are Married, Divorce Speed.” How poetically express indeed! And, “After Whiskey, Driving Risky” could not be more enlightening than “After Rum, No More Fun.” And here it is, another one, more so grim than thoughtful: “Be Mr Late, Not Late Mr.”

Nothing can beat this, though: “Be Gentle on My Curves” because the “More You Speed, The More You Skid.”

And there is the airport. The town is just a little way beyond the fold. We have made it, in one piece and well.

But then, turn around and look at the taller signs over there. Just what do they mean? The fun ain’t over yet.

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