Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Small things matter


I am driving to office and it is already past 9:00 a.m. I must tell you, it is not easy juggling between works and caring for children. I try to do everything from changing baby’s nappy to feeding him with the minimal haste and then, I rush to office without looking in the mirror to check my hair.

And just when I have gotten out of home on my way to office, I must endure the Thimphu’s traffic that is getting worse by the day. It is much thinner after 9 in the morning and 5 in the evening though. But this morning, there was bit of indecision on my part as I was at the round about near the Ministry of Information and Communication’s gate. I thought I could pass, but a taxi driving from below sped up as if to compete with me to check who could reach the round about first. You won’t believe he maneuvered past me by giving the scariest glare. And this look hurt me. I completed the rest of my journey to office churning thoughts upon thoughts of how such small things matter in our life. If only his look was a bit gentler and kinder, we would have both gone our ways feeling good in our hearts.

A few weeks ago, I took the way from India House to get to my office and a lady driving a brand new Eco Sport comes from the opposite side and though she crossed half a meter into my lane, she drove past me with the loudest honk, blowing a shrill into my ear drum. I am a very sensitive person. Such honking seems like a sharp scream into my ears with the biggest tantrum possible from a person. I wonder if it is so difficult for us humans to be a little less righteous and cross at the smallest disturbance in our life and be a little more caring and considerate. Would it cost us a lot to change a bit in our attitude to see people the way we want to be seen by them?

I think if we start now, it is not too late.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Pain of Growing Up in Thimphu

I look back at my childhood with blissful happiness filling my heart and if I could, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and live there again. Cornfields, and a small orchard of different tropical fruits surrounded our house. During summer, the air was filled with sweet natural odour from fruits and flowers, and our ears were naturally lent to music from different insects and birds. Right next to the fields lay abundant forests, unrestraint and free. We feared of the tigers, wild boards and foxes. We lost a few cattle to tigers, and corns and paddy to wild boars. It was hard work but we reaped abundant grains, vegetables and fruits. Some might think it is a life without happiness, filled only by backbreaking work. I don’t doubt my parents toiled, but in all my childhood, I did not see sadness creasing on their faces. In fact, my mother told us that we were blessed to have abundant food.

As children, what is more important is a good place to grow up—with free spaces to play and run around, shout and scream all to our hearts content, soil our clothes, dig mud, jump in the muddy puddle, or play with insects, or anything natural without an adult’s interference. And that is exactly what I had as a child. I pity my daughter who is supposedly born in a better time. I empathize her when she laments of getting bored every single day.

I let her go to our neighbors’ houses to play with their children. I take her to my friends’ house whose daughters are her friends. I take her to the park. I play with her numerous times everyday. But she sinks in boredom the minute I have to attend to something and can’t give her company. Is it really because she is accustomed to the fast images of electronic games and videos? One day, she comes back from a neighbor’s house and tells me this: “I told my friend that I will come back, but she asked me not to. Why is it mummy?” I have to give in to her requests, but I do fear that the neighbors may not like to have her come to their houses frequently. When she sees their kids playing outside, she rushes out but her excitement gets crushed when they refuse to play with her. As a mother, I want to bring her back inside and pamper her right away, but this is how she must grow up. So I hold my heart tight and let her stay—praying that she will pick up the right social traits and she will grow up strong.


I am not boasting when I say I might be one of the many mothers who give a major chunk of her time to her daughter. I do. And yet, when she rolls in the boredom she says she is in, I can’t help wish we had a free space where she could enjoy everything I did as a child. She might have different dresses and food. She might have heard different fairy tales that I knew only when I could read myself and watched them come live without having to imagine but she still does not have what a child needs. I do not blame her for being bored. I do not blame her for getting restless. If only I could let her grow without the fear of cars running over her, or a stranger carrying her away, she would have what I did as a child, and I could simply watch her grow. But it is a deprivation, the price today’s children pay for growing up in a town, blessed with bountiful modern gadgets.