“I used to have a pretty simple and typical day like most other Bhutanese farmers. I used to drink tea as soon as I got up, and after that I used to head to the rice field. I used to plough the rice field and make the terraces till lunch time. For lunch, I used to have rice, lentil soup and veggies. Most of the time I used to drink rice beer and wine with lunch. Then I would take a nap. Usually, I would come home after dusk and have supper and sleep on time. There was no television like these days. The soil was very fertile, yielding a good harvest. Hard work would pay off. Sometimes I would go to the bazaar for supplies. Our market was Daifam Bazar in two three hours of walking distance. Sometimes we would go to Indian bazaar too. People used to walk, ride the bicycle or take oxen carts. As a Jogi by caste we have a special vocation to ward off evil spirits and bad luck from people’s houses. Twice a year in the month of Kartik and Chaitra I would be busy taking rounds in the people’s houses at night and blowing horns and chanting mantras. For that you start your job right at midnight till three in the morning. I was never afraid of anything at night and I never saw any ghosts, as commonly warned about back in those days. Ghosts and witches all make believe stories. They don’t exist. But I would always drink home-made alcohol before going for my nightly rounds. Then you take a few hours of sleep and start collecting people’s alms. Everybody used to offer me generous amounts of money and food for that service. It was a good opportunity to meet with people and stay connected.”
Jainarayan Jogi, 68, is originally from Daifam, Bhutan and is based in Grand forks, North Dakota at the time this story was compiled.
Story and photo compilation by Pabi Rai for BNS.