Phuentsholing has a moderate weather now. And that’s why people from all parts of the country are flooding this already compact and congested city. Schools and colleges are closed for winter vacations. Businessmen are active. Some are already exporting oranges to Bangladesh. Pious pilgrims are bound to Bodh Gaya and the number of counters selling tickets to the land of thousand buddhas are increasing by the day.
On the other side of the gate, Jaigaon is flooded with Bhutanese shoppers and businessmen. There is no space even to stretch your arms. You have to be extra careful where your feet might take you. Shopkeepers’ smiles are wider. The place is dusty. Garbage has piled onto heaps sending out noxious odor. The number of beggars has increased proportionate to the increased number of Bhutanese shoppers.
Everything comes cheap here. Garments are cheap. Utensils are cheap. Culinary items are cheap. Trust is cheap. Faith is cheap. Dignity is cheap. Human life is cheap. Quality of goods is cheap.
Welcome to Phuentsholing, the gateway to the shopping haven. I remember buying a flashlight that does not glow, a DVD player that malfunctions after a week, a shirt that is torn, a colorful CD that’s empty and an adaptor that conks out as soon as it is plugged in. The list is endless but I cut it short here.