The Balloon Dance!
|Balloon dance. Photo credit: Google.|
This fictional story was written in 2012 when I was at Samtse College of Education undergoing Post-graduate Diploma in Education (PgDE). So all characters or names appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
One morning, an invitation letter greets Tandin in his sitting room. Bound with strong curiosity he quickly reaches for the letter as he reads out loud:
“We the Samtse College Family would like to cordially invite you to the 44th Foundation Day cum sports day of Samtse College of Education on 28th of April, 2012 at 0700 hours at College Stadium. Your presence will be highly appreciated…”
A freshly graduated Army officer from National Defense Academy (NDA) from India, of course, now Dasho Tandin gladly accepts the invitation. It has been just over a couple of months since his first placement at Royal Bhutan Army’s Samtse Branch, and the invitation of this sort too was the first time.
Being the youngest of five siblings, he is cared and loved by all the family members. The humble parents of his, who live in a remote Gonpa in the Eastern Bhutan, places so much of trust on him. But at the same time, he is their sole concern for he is the only remaining son to start the family of his own. Which means, he had all that a son aspires for-the loving parents and now a fulfilling career in the Army, but a true companion for life.
That evening during a walk, he bumped into Major Dasho Tshechi, his immediate boss, who is putting up with a messy relationship with his wife who works in California for about 10 years now. Their once highly fulfilling and successful life together had met with regular turbulences with insurmountable mistrusts creeping in shortly after she had left for USA. Now, a romantic and wonderful life are a thing of past. Their only child, now a 15-year old boy, skips meal, hardly engages in conversation, and worst yet comes home hardly sober. He has resorted to drinking after disqualifying for college, this winter. Tandin, in a way sympathized his boss but was helpless. He only wished he could help revive his glory for this was the time his boss should be shinning!
The next day he woke up early in the morning, washed, had a cup of black tea and a two loafs of bread. He then neatly dressed in the plain green suits and with that shinny-silver stars on his shoulders, he looked just spectacular. His 6.0’ height was an added blend to his already dashing figure. In a few minutes, he was in a deep Green Hilux, a pickup truck, zooming along the NPPF Colony and to the Samtse College of Education main gate. His boss and a couple of other officers-colleagues were escorted by a tall lady councilor to the VIP’s tent.
Shortly, the chief guest, the Honorary Counsul General of India to Bhutan, appeared from his official ambassadorial car as the dancers and the college director escorted him to the Podium, from where he was to deliver a sport day message!
The student-teacher participants in white shirts and paints stood in rows in their respective CG (collaborative group). More than half a dozen of tents were pitched around the ground, which housed the respective CG members. The Flag bearing the CG logo erected by the tent identified the 8 CGs.
As the clock ticked exactly 8:00 AM, with the offering of the Marchang ceremony, the National flag was unfurled and the Olympic torch lighted-indicating the start of the numerous competitions for the day. The roaring cheer-ups from the members, deafening sounds of the officials’ whistles, and remarks of the commentators brought full of life to the otherwise quite campus of Samtse.
Every after the completion of three different sports, the winners were awarded prizes and the next competition began. And with that the guests and student-teachers were kept fully entertained throughout. But the most interesting of all was yet to come. Almost at the end of the competition, the commentator announced that the ‘honorable guests’ are requested to join the ‘Balloon Dance’! Dasho Tandin was at lost, and wasn’t sure if he should give a try. But the college director wouldn’t heed to his pleas as he dragged him to the ground and introduced to a girl, who was going to be his co-dancer. His otherwise white face turned red in blush, but in quest to break the ice, he broke a brief smile to his ‘partner’ and she just looked rather hesitant. He felt quite odd standing there in the middle of the ground with a stranger girl, that too without a clue how the game was played!
He listened carefully to the MC who detailed out the game plan or the rules:
A couple is given a filled balloon each. The balloon is to be placed in between their foreheads, and dance to the background music. Whoever fails to keep the balloon in between (falls down) in due course of dancing, exits the competition.
The rules were said and the music about to begin when Tandin realized that to win the competition, it needed perfect coordination from both the partners. But both of them were strangers and couldn’t dare say anything. He, however, placed so much trust on her and that within no time he felt comfortable dancing together. Bam! There struck the magic! He placed the balloon and made sure she was comfortable as well. He could smell her perfume, which he thought was tantalizing. As they concentrated on the game and coordinated the moves, they discovered something totally unexpected-the love. They both flashed smiles at each other, and exchanged the winks time and again. Tandin found his co-dancer just perfect, well maintained figure, smooth and straight hair and above all a beautiful face! In other words, he found her a complete package of what he was in a need. One after another, the couples left the competition but so far they were still in a perfect shape. As if the spell of invisible glue, the balloon kept sticking well between them. An equally bonded and well-coordinated couple was a bank manager and the college lady lecturer. The audience cheered, clapped, and laughed at them as they danced to a fast-beat music. Although both of them were aware of the fact of life, that the game should eventually end, they didn’t like that fact. All they wanted at that time was to keep dancing together and enjoy each other’s presence on the court. But their wish was rather short lived as the bank manager and his partner lost control of their balloon, making Dasho Tandin and a student-teacher girl the winner of the Balloon dance! The MC as expected roared in appreciation and announced the winners, but neither of them showed any sign of happiness or victory. Deep inside, he was dying to hug her before she could take leave from the court to her respective CG tent, but he couldn’t dare to do so. Somehow, he felt there was a same kind of urge from her as well, but pressure was too much that neither of them could actually dare do it.
Despite winning the competition, he felt sad to end the dance with his newfound partner. He couldn’t believe what has just happened and he couldn’t believe his eyes about what he just saw in that GIRL!
“Wow, she is a complete package,” he thought.
He gently handed her the pink balloon with which they had won the competition and stood for a snap with the chief guest handing them the prize! Without even the thought of it, he handed over the prize to her, bade goodbye and headed towards the VIP tent!
Back in the VIP tent, he felt imprisoned under the confine of love. He tried tracing her but to no avail. She had disappeared into the crowd of student-teachers.