By Jagen Gautam

Mem Doro 4 October, 2010 – While residents of Gelephu welcome the cool mornings and breezy evenings that the onset of autumn brings, for a 70-year old man, who is often seen carrying his home on his back, it is more of a blessing.“I won’t have to sleep in wet clothes,” says Mem Doro, who keeps moving his makeshift tarpaulin hut in and around the Gelephu municipality and beyond, and survives on the food people drop at his hut.
Gelephu residents only remember Mem Doro as the man who keeps shifting his home often. “He carries all his belongings and keep moving around Gelephu,” said a housewife, Phuntsho. “He moves to Lodarai and the fishery area about twice in a year.”
Gelephu residents know it is Mem Doro on the move, when they see a slightly bent man, sporting a white beard, carrying his blankets, and sacks filled with clothes and empty containers wrapped in the blue tarpaulin sheet, strapped to his back. “I move away every time I have to go hungry,” he said.
No one in Gelephu exactly knows where Mem Doro is from, but some believe that he was a Gomchen, who was abandoned by his relatives after he became sick. “When I first saw him in the late 1990s, he was healthy, said a civil servant, Singye. “He knows how to read the religious scriptures.”
Mem Doro wears a red robe and still tries to read scriptures today. However, his sight has dimmed and the rain has damaged most of the religious texts he carries.
He struggles to eat food and kind of shivers when he speaks. “But I have to live like this until I die,” he said.
Ants, flies and children are a nuisance to him.
As he tries to shoo away about eight students of Gelephu LSS, aged between eight to 10, his voice gets lost in the giggles of children fiddling with the stock of snacks and juices piled in the small-tarpaulin makeshift hut.
Few children even take the unopened bottle of juices and run away, but he is too old to catch them.
This has become a daily routine for Mem Doro, who tries to take care of his things when the students leave home from school. “But some are really nice,” he said, struggling to utter the words. “But the small ones steal away everything.”
Every time a person gives him food, Mem Doro makes an offering. “I thank god for sending me the food,” he said. He stores all the leftovers and eats it when he does not get anything.
His only wish, Mem Doro said, is to go to Paro before his death. “I want to visit the religious sites there,” he said.

Advertisements