Friday, April 30, 2010

Ifs and Disappointment

April 29 2010: Back to Bartsham from Yalang. I thought the journey back was easier but when I reached Bartsham, I found that I was so tired and my whole body ached. I went to my brother’s house to have lunch and take bath. Brother is in Monggar for a meeting and Mathang was gone to help Aku in sowing maize. I went to Aku’s house and talked with him for some time and when I found that I was really tired and had no energy to sit, I went to my brother’s house and slept. I woke up and caught the concluding address of the 16th SAARC Summit by the PM of Bhutan. Strangely, I thought I would be much better if I were in Thimphu that moment. It is strange because I always long to be in my village when I’m in Thimphu. This probably shows that our mind is fickle.

Mathang told me that Azem Phomo passed away yesterday. This had a very strong effect on me that I felt a sudden shudder of sadness. I felt bad that she had to suffer before she took her last breath. She lost sight long before, that is before I completed my high school, and then later, though she stayed with her youngest daughter, she did not have a very good life. Not that her daughter did not want to be good to her but she did not have the means and environment to look after her well. I thought, this in a way was my responsibility as well, for they all served my family – meaning, they all helped my family till they married and went away to lead their own family.

I’m going to Tashang where she took her last breath at her elder daughter’s house. I feel a strong sense of something calling me there. I already find myself mourning. I wish I took her with me and kept her with my mother. How much better I would feel then. But of course, we people do not stop thinking of ‘ifs.’ This only sounds like a lame excuse but I honestly feel, I should have done something to ease her pain in life. I thought she was an unhappy woman. When my sister-in-law told me that she was asking for his son in her last stage in bed, it pained me to think of how mothers always love their children and worry about them. She said, “Where is my son? I wish he would come home, or if not, at least send me a small amount of money so that I can eat sweets cherishing him.” I hope his son is now home. He ought to be. I do not want to say this, but I heard that the family for which his son is working did not want to send him home saying that, his mother wasn’t dead yet. This sounds so cruel to me.

And when I see such differences in the life of rich and poor people, I do not see equity written anywhere. Unless we can cling on believing that we have sowed different karmic seeds, I do not find how else we can console ourselves. It is as if, poor people’s life is less important than the rich people’s life.

Thinking of her death, I had a very disturbed sleep last night. I even dreamed of my mother and my sister in Bikhar. This made me wake up at 5 this morning. I’m all ready and waiting for my sister-in-laws to come to go and pay our condolences to the family.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yes I'm here. Yes I am

I can’t believe I’m writing this from Bartsham. Forget about my great grandparents’ time, even during my father’s time, it was just unthinkable. I cup hands on the face and lean closer towards the laptop and I feel tears stinging my eyes. It is not that I am happy that the technology has reached my village. But it is this nostalgia that rushes up my head that makes me want to cry. What is incredible is that, I can’t share it with people all over the world the moment I’m feeling it.

I went to my sister’s house just now. I took along three friends and we had Ara and dinner there. She wanted us to stay there tonight but we said we must go. And here I am now, recollecting my meeting, my conversation, each of the five children’s face flashing in my mind. Wow, what great life, I say. I feel good that I have large family. But as her five kids sat around the fireplace, I could imagine how my parents must have had difficulty raising seven children.

It is heavenly to be in my village, smell home cooked food, listen to music like voice of my sister and laugh like I’m the happiest person. For now, I think I am.  Even as smokes sting my eyes, I feel, I must cherish this moment. Even amidst the happiness, my father’s face flashes by and I have to force back the tears. As I tell my three friends where I grew up and how my father was a role model, I feel truth hitting my heart so hard and I wish my father was here now to tell me where I’m going wrong or what things I must correct. But, I lay in contentment because, much as I’m talking about GNH, I know it is one truth that I cannot cling on and worry because it isn’t as I wish things are.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Maybe I’m living my dream

We have hired 42 graduate enumerators for GNH Survey. We are soon going to the field. Right now, before anything else, we are training them. I don’t want to say that I lose confidence in our education system. But of course, sometimes, it is so hard not to lose heart to see that our graduates do not understand what dzongkha word is for constitution.
But right now, what I’m enjoying is standing in front of them and giving them training on the survey questionnaire. I don’t mean that I feel proud to stand in front of them but I do enjoy teaching…whatever it is. But of course, I am too lazy or have no time to teach my nephew. This guilt is going to haunt me forever I know. Luckily this time, my nephew did quite well and so he is now studying in 11 Science in Yangchenphug HSS. But if he isn’t making into higher studies year after next, I’m sure I will hit my head on the wall for being lazy or acting too busy.

What I’m excited about again is that, soon we are hitting the road into going for the survey. This time, the survey sample is going to 10,000 and we are covering all the 20 dzongkhags. Coming from a rural area, I have always remained a rural woman. I like going to villages, talking to those young women of villages, those natural beauties and I like talking to the old men and women who have thousand of age old stories. How I wish my head functioned like a memory chip. 

This tour is not like any other tour. We aren’t going to visit different villages and have nothing to enrich our experience. Simply because our questionnaire covers all aspects of our life we are not only going to know what our people need, we will also know what our people think of the different many systems in the government. 

Note: This is already the second week of training.

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...