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Showing posts from 2010

The Deprived Geog in Transition for Good

One spring month, just before the leeches came alive, I responded to the call of my duty to tune my direction to Metakha, one remote geog under Chukha Dzongkhag. I have had the enough strength to travel to the destination conquering mountains and vales, negotiating the burgeoning rivers and following the trails passing by the mountain waist, some just bare enough to adjust your feet on ground. All these didn’t allow any room for mistakes in your steps. Yet, the inner adamancy and determination that I must faithfully heed the obligations of my job took me safely to that virgin geog, away from all those urban nuisances. Virgin, unexplored and raw geog it was, that development has hardly found its way into the Geog. Located on the lap of mountain, fenced by the thick broadleaved forest, 4 days strenuous foot-walk from the nearest motorable road, everything refused to go there, needless to mention the road. The then, people I met looked most barbaric and orthodox. The village wore the lo

Contemporary Meyme Helehele

I am sure everyone has heard of the legend of Meyme Helehele, about whom your grandfather would have told and retold sitting by the fire with embers just glowing. If it is Hum Jaiga in India, it is Meyme Helehele in Bhutan in the past, reputed for his foolishness and stupidity. The story goes, …..Meyme Helehele is out in the mountain strolling. By mere chance and luck, he stumbles with the diamond ball, he swaps it for the cattle with the man (much worthless comparatively)……….this goes and goes, I mean the change for cheaper things than what he actually had. It goes till he meets a man singing melodious “chumo Aley”. He finally changed it with the cock finally to slip by the wet rock and forget the verse…… Here is man who did no better job than this legendary foolish man. Only that this time it involves the change in cars he thought it better changing everytime. It started with the foreign corona car, splendid and showy. This is the car he was proud himself to drive. But sadly enough,

For The Best Possible Cause

The author dedicates this miniature to those uniformed men of Bhutan, who has served the mother country with so perseverance and strength when in need of our beloved land. The author also wishes to gratify them through this diminutive article for having shown their utmost belonging to the country and bringing peace and serenity once again to our tranquil land of Thunder Dragon. He is left lame and left to hobble around solitary leg for the rest of his life. But he has no regrets. He has proved enough that he is always there when the country needed him most. He is comfortable with ‘lame’ life he leads. The cause of his lameness was the cause of every Bhutanese. He was prepared for the final death since he has done what he is supposed to do as true son of Pelden Drukpa. He survives on what the Royal Government and in particular His Majesty have conferred on him in recognition of his outstanding Tha-Damtse and ley-Judey. Ngultrum three lakhs and his monthly salary is more than sufficient

All Work, No play, makes Choden a divorcee

Choden is a mother of a one year old daughter. She lost the real life just when she thought it was beginning. She blame herself for the failed marriage because she couldn’t workout the choices she was offered. Now she is worried about the brunt her daughter has to face having to grow up with fatherless child though born to legitimate parents. Her work came between and neither could she refuse. From her high school, Choden wanted to become a journalist. The charm of having to meet different people on her hunt for news coverage, the name which came printed on the paper in every issue gave her the satisfaction of the work done. But listening to the sad stories of those unfortunate in life and being able to bring them in limelight was her utmost fulfillment. The profession fitted the principle in her life, “charity with work”. The sprouting of many private newspapers lately gave an opportune avenue for her insatiable quest for writing. It was during one of these numerous interviews for t

Gangkha Chorten Angay

Life is but navigating on trail purely dictated by the destiny. The destiny frames the journey one must make in whole course of life and no matter how rough this course is, one must stride it. So, she was compelled to make the rutted journey in her life. Every newcomer contemplating to enter the premise of the Gangkha Community in Chukha, must go through a 70 years old lady in her dirtiest rags. Sitting by the Chorten on a hilltop that offers the sweeping view of the last horizon, the same chorten from where she bid her daughter adieu 5 years ago, she tries to drive away every stranger, raining with stones, sticks, mud and whatever she can lay her hands upon. If one is not quick enough to bypass her, one can be the easy victim of these bad welcome to the community. Making my first trip to the village once on an official tour, I had a terrible experience of this disturbed lady. Had it not been my porter who was quick enough to rescue me, I won’t have made the journey back home. Over a

Holiday Brunch – My Favourite Meal time

‘Eat when you are in acute starvation, only then does the food taste very luscious irrespective of quality”. And the holiday brunch serves the right substance for the same. The brunch is the odd mealtime which neither serves as breakfast nor the lunch. It is the meal eaten normally towards later part of early day, when the breakfast time is long gone but the lunch time is yet to come. It is the meal normally consumed at 10 AM to 11 AM in the morning. And this is my favourite mealtime. The other night, when I know the next day is a holiday, I find myself holding myself for long night. No matter how much the wall clock buzz reminding that the time is venturing into deeper darkness, my eyes shows no sign of drowsiness. I find myself reading books, writing fantasies and watching televisions. I am crazy, really crazy. Sometime the crow goes cock-a-doodle-do when I am actually retiring into bed, announcing that the dawn is slowly breaking up. And when my neighbourhood prepares to wake up f

Love for a Days’s Trip

‘To meet, to know, to love and to depart is the law of life’ someone has said it. We rally with strangers and people we have never known before in homes, schools, institutions and other public gatherings because we are born in different places. When we meet the strangers, we make friends with some of them and sometime we fall in love with few of them especially the young guys and ladies. We remains committed and dedicated to friendship or loveship, whatever the relationship you are sharing. But for how long? You got to ask yourself. One fateful day, you find that you are departing from your friend or lover going away to find your own friend, your own lover and your own foes. Ofcourse, it hurts so much but it is a law the life has framed and you ought to obey it. And if you don’t keep in contact through all possible means, it is much easier to forget. While traveling in the bus, you share the seats with someone especially with spinsters and you introduce, talk and become friend and s

Harrowing Through the Sleepless Nights

Dreams and fancies of life that glimmered in his eyes have been washed away by the flood of tears that he has shed for her. The abrupt end of a nurtured relation turned out to be a fake and empty dream, not knowing to keep its words of promises. Those glorious dreams of being together, the maddening urge of holding each other, the divinely trust shared by the two and the humane respect flung to her have now become like a fairy tale told to a sleeping child. A triumphant victory intricately glued to a miserable failure, the moments of joy eclipsed by shadows of sadness, burst of laughter diluted by tears have become the norms of the days. The furious storm that swept through his life extinguished the flames of hopes leaving behind only the radiance, never to rekindle. “By the time you graduate from NRTI, you should be able to name a couple or hundred of plants”, A class on Forest (Field) Botany was on full swing. Ugyen, an undergraduate in NRTI was trying his best to collect his mind

Goddamned Misuse

Reproduction is imperative for sustenance of the species. Foreseeing this need, god shaped two different sexes in every living creature. All creatures come either in male or female with few exceptions. The architect also summoned each a style of performing this arts. But this art, as I suppose, is purely meant by the creator for assuring the descendant or linage. The copulation is expected to bring together the sperm and egg leading to the fine formation-a baby! But, with forward march of the time, it is put into use the designer might have never thought of. He never expected that people will use his intention for making money. You might wonder what I am talking about. I am referring to nothing other than about the Blue Films. At the first place, I don’t understand why it is called blue, when the hero, heroine and other actors comes in white, brown and black. Shall we not agree that the love making is primarily meant for baby production, which ensures that the species never runs exti

Going Back Forty Five Years

My father who is in his late seventies paid me a stopover here in Chukha last July 2006. My mother embarked him to make a sojourn to ensure her son is doing fine serving the government at his best. And obviously she ran little short of funding to hire labour to lend her hand with the farm work this summer. He arrived with the package of fried butter jam-packed in bamboo stem, some kgs of tengma and kharang in Sangkhu (bag stitched from clothes) and some desiccated fruit. It claimed him almost a week to make it to Chukha, sauntering two days to get to the road head and catching the bus that ply very rarely. He has to make sure that his approach to the road should coincide with the bus timing, otherwise with no other trucks and taxis, the road itself looks disserted and he will have to wait until the bus return for the next schedule. The longer his trip took the more harm the summer would do to the parcel. The summer precipitation didn’t spare the parcel sent by my beloved mum. By the

Exceptions In The Ways of The World

With the first crack of the alarm, he wakes up early in the morning. After running down a hot shower, he is ready with hot steaming suja (Bhutanese butter tea). She slowly rises up and the time she opens her eyes for the new day, the bed tea is already beside her. While she shabbily sips the tea, still in her night dress, he is back with her toothbrush with a heap of toothpaste on it. While she is off into the bathroom, he cleans the room and offers the water in the altar. Soon, the rooms fill up with the fragrance of the burning juniper. She is still in the bathroom grooming her long hairs. It takes her almost an hour to come out and when she finally emerges, the breakfast, red rice with emadatsi is laid on the dinning table. She ask him to serve her, while she comes with a towel wrapped in her head, he contently does it. Together, they breakfast and while she is off to put on her make ups, he is cleaning the dishes in the sink. Although, she was first to dress, he is faster to fin

Eternal Enemies

The Cats and Dogs are often adopted by the people in the metropolitan as pets. They go pretty good as pets since they are known to be endearing animals. Some set of folks have their paramount love and passion for these animals. But back in the village, these two creatures are mainly spared space in the home to shoulder their own responsibilities. For instance, the cat is entrusted with the job of dwindling or keeping at the sea bed, the number of rats referred to as naughty rodents in the village. And the dog cannot keep eating what the owner provides and sleep. At night, they have to escort the owners into the corn field and keep barking to keep away, the lurking night’s ambusher (deer, bears, porcupine, and wild pig etcetera). So, I see no overlapping of their right to food and duties. But, many might have surely taken the notice of these two four legged animal never tolerating each other’s presence. One fine day they meet but await a big confrontation. The sight of one another inv

Last Man died, so did his PHAYUL

This is a village located on the mountain lap, overlooking the Wangchu River (as it copiously flows in its southward journey) and the glistering Gelli Gompa. As I stood on the rock, the river in the south reminded me the huge economic proliferation (development) the country have achieved as the river spins the fortune wheel of CHPC and THPA. The solitary temple standing so peaceful and tranquil within the bluepine thickets just opposite to the village provided me enough evidence of country’s success in the preservation of the religion and custom. No place would have been perfect for the settlement. But everyone didn’t share the same notion. Everything was perfect, the location, the view, the fertility of the soil, the harmony among the community members. The people lived in harmony with nature, with closely-knitted community. They lived for each other, making everyone available for everyone in needs and problems. Every season, villagers enjoyed the bountiful potato harvest from the fe

Defining Tsa-Wa-Sum in One’s own Perspective

If I am asked, I would boldly answer, “The Tsa-Wa-Sum is “Gyeb, Gyelkhab and Meser”, (King, Country and People). But not everyone knows about what tsa-wa-sum is. Hence, when the superior ask them, they are left to conceive their own tsa-wa-sum. Once a meeting was convened by the Dzongdag. In a large congregation of illiterate rural people, the Dzongdag thundered, “do you know what tsa-wa-sum is?” “Can anyone from the crowd tell me?” The crowd went to pin drop silence and no one seems ready to answer. Are they scared of Dasho or no one has the slightest idea what it is? Suddenly, a Ngalop man sitting in the last bench, for whom Dasho is hardly visible, stood up. With his head bowed low, he answers, “The three tsa-wa-sum are Ngalops, Sharchops and Lhotsampas”. “This is because they are the three race in Bhutan” Dasho went into bout of annoyance but before he fired the man, another Lhotsampa (Southern Bhutanese Man) supplemented, “the three tsa-wa-sum are Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) Royal B

Bullshit, No Bulleye

Everything in life is about hitting the bull eye. We all aim and dream for the highest and when that doesn’t come through, we say bullshit, I could make it. So, you see every failure and success in life can be attributed to the bull (an ox). And is it bull that is responsible for all this??? Be it about career, home, dreams, ambitions and literally whatever we undertake, we want to hit the bull eye of the target we set for ourselves for that matter it is the main goal of everyone. Say it a student back in the school. He targets to the bull eye of scoring the highest marks so that he can come out with flying results. But to do that, he needs to put in lots of efforts, burning midnight oils. Hitting bull eye doesn’t come easy, not for me either. So, sometime or is it my craziest of the idea that living can be compared to playing games. And yes life itself is a mysterious game of hide and seeks. Playing a dart manned with players is a typical illustration of daily lives. All these playe

Doomed Destiny

Ashique, ‘pure and unadulterated love’ does his name denote but questions lurks, how much such love does he enjoy? He was deprived of the tender love of his parents when he landed up in foreign land to serve foreign master. His daily chore includes scrubbing the floors, cleaning the toilet, doing the basins, babysitting and all other odd jobs he failed to remember. In return to his dedicated service, he is fed with whips and heart-wrenching words. He received all black and blues for little mistakes he committed sometime even for no reasons. He is treated no better than creature that is common nuisance at home. When he thought he can go on no more with it, he framed up a plan to run away for once and ever and go back to the safe hands to nurture with his beloved parents. That’s when I met him on his way back. But a confrontation does await him ahead. He carries no cash to expend his journey, without which he can hardly make home. He was born to the destitute family just across the bor

Bhutanese Perspective of Phallus

The phallus is the integral part of Bhutanese paintings. If you happen to visit Bumthang (not necessarily sticking to it) you will see that every corner of the wall of the house bear a clear picture of phallus. Some prefer to paint; others curve the proxy and hang it by the corner of the roof or in the door itself. Sometime it is embarrassing that the first one to welcome you in home is the giant Phallus. But looking deeper into the meaning, one would appreciate why it is there. The Phallus is seen in Bhutanese homes in many forms. Some are painted scary red on the wall while others are hung from the four corners of the roof. In other parts of the country, the phallus is erected in the post at the front of the house. Still few prefer to keep it right at the entrance, hard and pointed. The perspective of phallus I present here is restricted to my own hallucination and nothing of the serious research findings. But as far as I have heard people explain, especially when tourist are aro

Buddhist Object of Veneration and Reverence

Bhutan is a Buddhist country where dharma flourishes lavishly. The numerous temples and chortens spread around the nooks and cranny of the country is evident enough. These structures houses many stories of the past buried and bounded inside the four corners of the stone walls. Few have dared to peep inside and bring back the past to the present. On my one of tour to remote place, I happen to catch the image of such Buddhist architecture. Hence, I am giving my hand in trying to reveal what it actually is. But readers might have to strict to the limitation that this is nothing of the accepted description since I am not an expert in it. It is just my own perception, those out of what I read and heard say about Chorten. Chorten (Stupa) is believed to be one of the earliest forms of Buddhist architecture. In Bhuddhism, the body (Ku), Speech (Sung) and Mind (Thug) are considered as primary component of what the human being is made of. The chorten represents the minds of those enlightened o

Better use of what is unusable

“Desire is unlimited but the resources are limited” from what I have been taught at my high school. Given the choice, every individual would prefer to own everything in this world. How greedy are we? But the economists have intervened in the right time and have suggested that judicious use of resources is how we can make sure it meets present demand keeping it available for future generations. So, how many of you have thought of better idea as to what use the old pair shoe can be of? As the skin of the shoes starts peeling off revealing the inner self, everyone would remark, “It is time I dump it in the bin and contemplate a brand new pair of shoe”. One would instantly forget how much that old pair has served warming our feet in the winter, the ground it has traversed. So, is it the bin that it deserves at the end? I do not know how many would agree to believe me with the fact that every pair of shoe is the life of animal because it is the skin of the animal that the shoe is made of.

What when sun set real in life

In my childhood, the setting of the sun used to be the biggest wonder. I would wonder how such big firewall would get under the soil (that’s how it looked like when the sun went behind the mountain). And the same has been substantiated by the words of my mother. Now I realized the answer would have been more scientific if my mother was literate. But don’t worry, I now know that the earth is oval in shape and the earth revolves around the sun (solar system). But traditionally, it is believed that the sun orbits around the earth and people in the villages would still argue if one happens to tell them the truth. The sun is one important element of life among the Jungwa Zhi (with soil, water, Air as other three) considered essential for sustenance of life on earth. It provides the solar energy such as light, warmth and most important of all the photosynthesis of trees and plants, making oxygen available for breathing. And here I happened to capture the image of sun when it is just about

Ap Sambha Legend continues

If early birds are supposed to catch most worms, exclude me for it is also the early birds who get caught. Weekends especially provide me enough time to oversleep. Batsman & Robin on Zee Studio kept me enchanted last Saturday night followed by Shanghai Knights. So, I was almost into late silent night nothing but the sounds of goods fighting over evils. It is always the good that win over evils. It was a silent night so unusual of the busy Thimphu-Phuntsholing national highway. Is it the road block at Takti? But not even a car whizzed. Everything must be in slumber for no doubt the night was aged enough. But not everyone is asleep. I am still awake watching late night shows. From no where in the silent night came familiar tone of old rugged Nepali song. I tried tracing the noise and it definitely is from outside. I wide opened the window and popped out my head and pair of antennae. For no doubt, it is the ‘ruler of Chhukha night’ Ap Sambha, a national workforce member returning fro

A Rural Story

Having been to the place several times, I took the opportunity to learn a bit of its history. Metakha-at first the name denoted me nothing more than just simply the name as with any other names. It could certainly sound a greek to first timer as it did the first time with me but I have picked up the spelling and the pronunciation. I caught over a man, a porter to me. When we are walking, talking such leisure chat is known to save the fatigue. Hence, in my quest as well to know about the place, I asked him to narrate me the brief history of the place we were heading that day. He started about how the place got its name-METAKHA “In the time immemorial,” he commenced. The place served as the migratory route for people from Paro. Come winter, the people would head down to Phuntsholing for their warmer habitat. When Paro got dry in winter, the warmer place further south provided their cattle and horses enough forage. This people are known to have two houses, one in the south and other in

An Irony of Co-ordinatorship

 In the midst of colossal howl of exult and reverberating round of applause, Bhutan welcomed Television in 1999 when His Majesty the King announced the overture of Television during his national address of Silver jubilee commemoration.    Back at NRTI the trainees joined the throng from the institute knowing little that such advent of technology would hardly bring least differences to the trainees. From that day, they remained looking forward for the day to proffer the television yet another welcome to NRTI.    They were full of themselves that the Television would one or other day find its way to NRTI in view of the fact that a year ago, His Majesty gifted them with a set of screen and antennae dish during his visit to the institute.    But on the grounds that they should not do away with the exceptional gift of the golden throne, they saw the cable operator going back after he connected NRTI village excluding the institute in the list. The other reason for not incepting the cable in

An Ara in Making

“Make sure you always carry the knife and cup in your pocket, one never know which you will encounter, the wine or enemy” This adage is more than an indication to illustrate that drinking is an integral part of Bhutanese Society. Drinking is more prevalent in eastern part of the country, so do people say. But almost every Bhutanese are known to relish the drinks. Farmers do drink but only to relieve the pain and labour of having worked in the field for whole day. Working people say they drink to fight work stress, wives drink to counter family tension and kids say either the mum taught them or they want to look matured or is it because they love being in the realm world the alcohol is known to transport us …so, you see no sober people. So, anyone ever wondered how is Ara, popularly known as distilled water is prepared. People just care to see that the bottle of ara (locally known as local) is placed on the table or the alcohol stand has variety of foreign drinks) However, I happened

Years in Forlorn

“In a world that we seldom understand, there are winds of destiny that blow when we least expect them. Sometime, they gust with the fury of a hurricane, sometime; they barely fan one’s cheek. But the winds cannot be denied, bringing as they often do a future that is impossible to ignore”. She was the wind that I did not anticipate that will gust more strongly than I ever imagined possible. She was my destiny in which I always promised find myself solace in. Like a cautious traveler, I tried to protect myself from the wind and lost my soul instead when the wind I anticipated to be more of a fan, gusted to blew off to eternity. I was a fool to ignore the harsh destiny I have ever confronted yet, there was nothing I could have done than to be silently the victim of crooked fate. I have come to realize that she was the most important thing I have had in this world ever. February 2005, it was 6 months after we, as a couple received a child (son) into our world. We were filled with all ela

A Night to prove you deserve the Breakfast!

Anyone heading to remote Getena, four days arduous foot-walk through the immaculate and virgin forest, plague-ridden with ferocious beasts and the creature crawlies (leeches) will find themselves en route a village. No matter, how speedy strider you are, you have no option than to halt for the night in the village. If you trespass the village, the darkness fall before managing to reach to the next destination. So, you have a choice here- the comfort of atleast the ramshackle house that will shield you from the rain and the cold or the bitter backbone-hurting siesta in the cavern with clear view of the summer night sky. Looks like everyone prefer the dilapidated house and the host because everyone finds themselves in the solace of the house. The convincing and credible hospitality and generosity of the host is another one that puts brake, the passerby for the night-halt in the house that their legs refuse to make a step forward but suddenly feels the inner strength rise. The sun is a

Ageing before Age

“Toothache – the mention of it kills me, but there is no escape for me” I say it. If women say labour is greatest pain, toothache is not far. For those men who don’t respect the pain the women endure during giving a child birth, a man should experience the toothache. The pain one have to bear during toothache is equivalent to labour. It makes every sense in body go numb and the brain and the blood vessels are most attacked. In middle of pain, I contemplate getting rid of it but then I worry I have only numbered teeth in my mouth. I choose stomachache rather but I wonder if only there is choice over what pain one must go through. Those who have the taste of it will agree me. Like any child, I was born with 32 teethes. My milk teeth went out to be replaced with fresh 32 teethes. But come the age of 12, bacteria chose to feed and devour my teeth. In middle of the child’s play, I would suddenly go lethargic and this is because the pain in my teeth bothering me. I would spoil the climax

A travelogue of a tour to Disadvantage Place III

Looking at the pristine forest, with varied flora and fauna that accompanied us the entire four days expedition, I remained complacent that Bhutan authentically deserved “Earth Champion Award”. The environment conservation is one among the four pillars of the Gross National Happiness and is also clearly enshrined in the Constitution of Bhutan. The National Policy of preserving forest coverage of 60% of its land coverage for all time to come is a dream almost a reality. The unperturbed nature, all in its purest form charmed me no less. There is no denying that the forest can be maintained intact if there exist such virgin forest even outside the protected area system and the biological corridors. We were almost to the top of the ridge. The sun is already high in the sky. We rested for the lunch (packed one) in the clearings at the top of the ridge. No sooner we reached the mountain, the atmosphere buzzed. We have left the sounds of trucks and cars far behind and it should not be audib