Thursday, December 31, 2009

The First Snowfall

31.12.09: My alarm just went off and I am thinking of getting up. But I want to linger in the warmth of the blanket for a while more. When it is 10 minutes to seven, the line phone rings. Who could it be early in the morning? It is Tashi. She wants to tell me that it is snowing outside. Ah, so in Bhutan now, snowfall has become kind of rare. We attribute this to climate change. We are increasingly becoming aware of the erratic weather conditions. I don’t know if it is the climate change that is affecting us. As much as I would like to think that it isn’t, I find myself believing it. Who is responsible?

This planet isn’t mine, or yours. It is ours. And so the responsibility is ours too, to keep this planet alive, as it was, fresh, young and green. But when we are consumed in the desire of making more of everything, we forget this. I wish each individual would see this truth and take it seriously.

As I write this, it is snowing outside. I am excited a bit too. I made a list of who I should call to inform about this news but on a second thought, I gave up.

Especially because today is the last day of 2008, I feel excited about having a snow fall and I feel it indicates something nicer for the next year. I hope this snowfall on the New Year Celebration indicates that, famines all over the world will vanish, happiness will flourish and we will all find meaningful, reasonable ways to live in the world. I think this snow fall tells us that we should protect the world, just so that the nature will find the ways to gift us as it used to.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ohoooo…what a relief!!!

I just had no time to attend to the computer that was giving me problem. My nephew wanted to work on something, but I just had no time to see what was wrong with the computer. I told him that I will try to check it later. Later became two days. And finally, tonight when I reached home (10:00 p.m.), just like that, I turned on the computer. I wasn’t really putting my heart and soul into repairing this old computer that makes a sound like an old horse. But I thought, why not try. So my hands went there.

And just like an accident, suddenly, I remembered repairing my sister-in-law’s computer a month or so back. And it struck me. And there! It was a small work. I think sometime it is best to let things cool off and let our mind find solution at its own free pace. Sometime, because we need to find the solution so urgently, limited by time and pressed by responsibility, we stress ourselves so much to get the solution. But we just get nowhere. It is really important to just free our mind. The solution suddenly strikes our mind, just out of nowhere.

Tonight, I’m sleeping a happy man. Starting tomorrow is the Annual ICT Conference [for two days]. I am just wondering what things we might discuss. I have become too less a technological person. And it is only [very] once in a while that I am attending such meetings on ICT. While I’m sleeping a happy man tonight, I’m looking forward to this meeting with so much enthusiasm. I just hope this meeting doesn’t end without much of any discussion, just like many meetings do. We never really reach any conclusion in many of the meetings. I’m praying that the technical people should be more serious and action oriented. As yet, it is for me to see.

Nganpa Gu Zom (Meeting of the nine evils)

23rd December, 2009, Wednesday: Today was Nganpa Gu Zom, the meeting of the nine evils. Last evening, I had to work late at the office. The other night, Ama told me of her plan on the meeting of the nine evils day. She told me that she was to meet her friends at 10 a.m. at the Chorten. They were to meet with a beer bottle each and packed lunch. So inwardly made plan of preparing something special for her lunch. While I thought this inside myself, I thought I shared this plan with my husband.

While I was coming home in the evening, my cousin who is here these days from Tashiyangtse called me. He wanted to know if I was doing any shopping for that day. Then it suddenly struck me that I had not bought whatever was required for my plan. Having worked for hours without rest, I had already become too irritated. I swear, I could have hit my husband if he was near me (right, I had no right to. He had done no wrong. But we don’t need a reason sometime. I could just hit someone and I would have felt all relieved). I was hungry as well. I called up Karma to find that he was at his friend’s place. This irritated me further but he seemed to have sensed no irritation in my voice. As cool as ever, he walked into the house. So I had to practice whatever anger management I had learnt so far. I’m glad it did vanish and I could say a very peaceful prayer. He and my cousin went for the shopping at 8:45 p.m.

And this morning, he woke up 5:30 and prepared thukpa and all different variety of curries. And all right, there my love swelled beyond the walls of my heart and I could have made him sleep on my lap if I had to (it is funny how our emotions change). And so, the meeting of the nine evils was celebrated. Today, Ama and my nephew Dendre also prepared ‘khura’, a bun prepared from rice flour.

My plan did fall into place. It felt nice to work in the kitchen, pack lunch for my mother and send her to Chorten like sending a five year old kid to school.

Note: It is believed that on this day (7th day of the 11th month in the Bhutanese lunar calendar), the brother and sister committed incest unknowingly when they met after long years of separation. This day used to be a government holiday before.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Was I inspired!!! National Day, 2009

17th December: It is a National Day. It was a holiday yesterday. I got an invitation card too. The Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs send invitation cards to different offices on this day. But I couldn't really plan what I would do. Kinley asked me if we should go to the Changlingmethang, but I told her that we can discuss about it with other friends. But we didn't. The problem with our friends is that, they have to be called, they have to be reminded of the events and plans. I just feel like I have it full. So I am kind of telling myself that maybe I am overdoing it, almost forcing them to agree with what I plan. So I am giving up being a mother and giving them the choice to take over.

I cleaned my room instead. I have got cough because of that. I cleaned every small corner of my bedroom and made a new arrangement (this is one work I do with enthusiasm almost every week). Then I watched the celebration of the National Day at the Changlingmethang on TV. Unlike other days, I was hooked there. I listened with deep concentration to the King's Address. Was I awed! I was happy that many people who are usually forgotten were remembered. Tears welled up my eyes a few times before the King's Address ended. I felt truly patriotic and a sense of nationalism welled up deep within my heart. His words that a work of a sweeper or a planner contributes the same to the nation bought me. And his stress on the importance of the job of teachers was timely. But I must say that I don't really know if we really have built a good foundation of democracy. It is way above me to comment.

The BBS however had problems with the sounds. We could hear many voices in between the live telecast of the shows. The songs were interrupted several times. I thought this sure was a mistake they could have corrected. I will not really blame them anyway for this problem exists in all the meeting halls.

I wasn't here to complain. All I wanted to say was that I truly am happy. No matter what small things go wrong, ( I know it is like this everywhere), if there is one place I want to be on Earth, it is Bhutan and nowhere else.

What am I thinking?

For the many years that I have lived listening to the good teachings, I wonder if it is even rightful to think what I'm thinking now. Am I angry? I don't know. I wonder at how people can take you so foolishly.

Don't we often forget to look at ourselves and judge others? Don't we often ask questions to others before asking them to ourselves? Don't we often forget that people are all same, basically?

I will not argue more. I know if there are any readers at all, reading this blog of mine, I will only confuse them. But at this moment, I have nowhere to shed this emotion but here. I so darn want to hit someone. Not because I am so angry. Because, I would really want to crack open someone's brain to really understand his thought.

Even when I lose everything, I know I will not lose my interest to write. Even if I don't write so well like others, I know I will write, even if it is nothing important.

For sure I will have to sleep tonight with wanting to hit someone so bad. But if there isn't someone to trigger emotions, when can I ever practice what I have learned?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Mother's Worry

My sister calls me up from Bikhar. She wants to know how her son, my nephew who is staying with me is doing his exam. She says that she let a fortune teller read how he would do his exam only to find that he would have difficulty getting into a college. I tell her not to worry; that it cannot always be right. But of course, I know I cannot convince her enough to drop her worry.

She calls up often to see how he has done his exam. I find myself consumed in empathy. I pity her as well. I pity all fathers and mothers. As much as I want to admit that I’m sick of people’s excuses of hoarding wealth in the name of their sons and daughters, I feel so sorry for them. I feel sorry because, they seem to think that if they don’t make everything ready, from giving education to building a house, to getting ready a wife/husband, their sons and daughters aren’t capable of getting them done themselves.

My sister’s constant call and worry makes me wonder if my nephew is worried half as much as his mother. This makes me wonder if all students even worry at all about doing their exams well. It sometimes appears, because their parents worry for them, they think their job is to just go to school, listen to what teachers teach, not so much with concentration and scribble something in the exam, not bothering about how well they do.

How sickening it is to know that despite all the effort their parents put in bringing up their children to be Dashos (The best ones) in the society, they give their parents so much worry by getting into the habit that constantly take them away from being responsible.

If I were a mother, I would give my son or daughter an education. Not worry so much after that. Why should I prepare everything for them? What would they know then?

Thank you Acho

I grew up in a farm. When I say farm, it is not as in the context of a farm in the developed western countries. Bhutan is a small country, landlocked between India and China. More than 70% of our people depend on agriculture -- the subsistence farming.

I was born into a couple who made their living from subsistence farming. I was born as the youngest of the seven children. My elder brothers and sisters had to go through hardship: helping our father cut wood, get firewood, sell fruits, etc. But I being the youngest didn't have to go through all this hardship they did.

My eldest brother, who did not get to go to school, saw education as a very important tool to live in the world that was changing fast. My second elder brother did not get to go to school either. But both of them looked for opportunities to learn to read and write and thus, on their own interest and effort, they did learn to read and write. And then one day, my eldest brother helped him run away from home to the capital where he got an opportunity to go to school.

Likewise, he encouraged us, convinced our parents to send four of us to school. I'm here today because of him. Even today, we respect and look upon him like our father. He guided us all through and we are today living on our own feet, because of him. Thank you acho for seeing beyond your age and thinking of us like your own children.

//A frail attempt to write an article paying gratitude to my eldest brother for sending me and other three siblings to school.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

We only hear of conferences being held in other countries…

I presented on the progress we have made in the field of GNH and a person speaks up saying that as an outsider, they hear only of international conferences being held. He says that this gives people a notion that Bhutan is concentrating more on reaching the information on GNH to outsiders forgetting to disseminate these same information to our very own people. He cited the article published recently in Kuensel where the writer said that while we are organizing so many conferences outside, we have not held a single zomdue on GNH in our villages.  I will not try to argue but simply put a clarification.
For every one international conference, we have 10 domestic workshops. But for reason unknown, Bhutanese show little interest. When there are workshops in Bhutan, they don’t hear about it, but they perk up their ears and become very attentive when they hear of international conferences being held.  For the simple reason that the people all over the world have now realized what barren and uninhabitable earth will become if we go with the same pace and method of development, they now look at GNH as the solution and it is our responsibility to help them understand what GNH is and how it can really be the solution.
Bhutan has rich environment. Culture is intact. We still have family support during our needs. Because we have all these, we forget that we might lose them all if we don’t try to take measures of preserving them now. If we don’t track the progress of our society now, we will never know when it is going down. When all our natural resources are gone, when our family ties are broken, when we are rushing back and forth from work because we need more money, when we have more cars than people, we will be too late. I’m sure when Bhutan becomes a place like that Bhutanese will then realize that we do need something like GNH to measure progress. But will that bring back the happy, peaceful country Bhutan was? 

//The view expressed is the author's alone.

This is Bhutan

I moved to Adelaide, South Australia 10 months ago. This decision was driven by my belief that family has to be together and pursuing your c...