It was the summer of 2012. I had planned to visit home before my final semester at NIT, Silchar. It was going to be a daunting journey on foot from Diafam to Shingkhar Lauri since even farm roads had not been paved back then. With the monsoons having hit the region, the rivers were swollen and the temporary bridges constructed during winters were washed away. Landslides were a common sight throughout the journey.
After two days on foot, I reached home just in time for the inauguration of Bhutan Telecom’s first network tower in the village without electricity or road connectivity. The next few days went by in the same excitement. One morning, Sonam came over to my house in desperation after walking for about 7 hours. He was aware that I had recently purchased a Nokia smartphone and he needed my help. He informed me that he had received a call from the Scholarship Division in Thimphu; one of his documents required for the scholarship application was missing. His scholarship was to be revoked upon failure of submission of the document.
Getting to Diafam under the weather condition then was out of the question. So, we were tasked to send the one-page document to his brother in Thimphu who would then pass it along to the said authority. We left no stone unturned in trying to fulfil the task at hand; climbing the hilltop and the roofs of tiny houses were all attempted, but in vain. Sonam broke down knowing his big dream of becoming a doctor was slipping away. We decided to give it one final shot. We were holding unto the branches of a tall oak tree adjacent to the BT tower when my Nokia phone showed the 2G network bar. We finally succeeded. Sonam couldn’t believe that his document had gone through and he sighed in relief, “Thank you Bhutan Telecom for erecting a tower in a location where even road and electricity hasn’t made way.” He was in tears.
Two months had passed since the incident when I heard from him. Sonam was selected for the scholarship and he eventually went on to become one of the finest doctors in Bhutan. I call him 2G Doctor!