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“Flying without Wings”

The first time we met tchoden, she sang the song “Guna milu shodro mey” and now, this has found its way so deep in our heart that every time we meet, we sing it unconsciously reeling our heart. No, the hearts don’t stop beating. But we find ourselves laughing a little crazily.
The westlife sings: Everybody is looking for that something / one thing that makes it all complete / you’ll find it in the strangest places… / who can deny the joy it brings / when you’ve found that special thing / you’re flying without wings.
Write something like this to your partner and I’m sure he/she will fly without wings.
“I want to love every inch of you
Taste every part of your body
……………………
I want to get lost in your eyes
Consumed by your kiss
Set my body on fire
Quench the fire in my blood
…………………
Touch my soul with your passion
Lay down beside me
Feel my body crying for you
…………………
We will exceed passion, go beyond bliss
For this is our time
………………..
Together, one mind, one soul
Fused in the heat of passionate love
Existing in this moment
Forever” (courtesy: www.lovingyou.com, “Forever In A Moment” by Breanna )
I almost got lost reading this and I thought I should make you fly without wings too.

And you Luzee, I wanted to tell you that you are flying without wings.

What Changes and What Doesn’t

It wasn’t sadness that murders a person. It wasn’t sadness that makes you kill yourself. It was sadness that kills you softly. It had infested me. I thought of nothing but people who are plagued by some unfairness.
Then, one day a friend of mine asked me why I always write about negative stories. I am not going to defend myself here. I’m not going to explain. I identity myself with people who are like myself. I wasn’t born in the chamber of rich-infested glory. I was born in the bare ground of a home that only knew the value of family’s warmth. No, I didn’t have toys – there was no barbie, no dolls, no cars, no bikes. I only had those small metal containers (Khaini timi). I didn’t go to school where I could return home to my parents’ everyday. And when I was born, the world wasn’t talking about computers.
What I went through isn’t even half of what generation past me did. I’m not trying to compare the differences there are in generations. Of course, with development there is betterment of everything. Not many years back, inBhutan, parents feared to have their children go to school. But today, just to the contrary, they have to request endless times for their kids who are barely four years to be in school. But even when the development has seen its height and people have climbed its ladder, there are some who have not even seen the ladder. There are people have just remained as they were the previous generation. Yes, I identify with them. I am not some rigid person, refusing to get out of his cave he had lived for decades. But I know changes aren’t bringing better things to everyone.
Oh, yes, that is how I’m. I open my heart. I speak it out. So what? If I feel something, why should I not say it, as long as I know the nature of it? Have I changed? Wasn’t I like that? Yes, we grow. Our hairs become grey. Veins in our hands stand out clearer. But what doesn’t change? The mind thinks. The eyes see. The brain reasons. The heart feels. The body grows and then breaks. But one thing remains the same – the person. It was you ten years ago. It is you now, ten years after.
I was talking about a sadness eating me softly, wasn’t I? Everyone has some pain in life. Everyone has some trouble at one point in life. This sadness I felt however wasn’t the momentary infliction of downfall. It was change that was forcing me to see the world with the eyes of a woman. It was the change that was breaking what was valued once.

Only Dreams

An innocent child sat by the roadside begging, hoping for a penny some kind heart would drop in her bowl. But she had pain written all over her face. I couldn’t wonder what made her suffer such big afflictions. What karma! What burden! What ironic fate.
She was only six and she had no childhood to play hide and seek, or run with her friends freely in the field. Not everyone is born rich. I heard people say that some are born rich and some have luck thrust on them. But this little girl, who was named Yanki was to have none. Yanki – the meaning of her name wasn’t to bring luck as her mother wanted.
Early morning, she ran to the nearest road and sat by the road keeping a steel bowl in front of her. If she saw someone well-bred walk by, even if she were in public places, she begged. She asked them for a few change, hoping it could change her day and run home with smile.
But not many saw her. They didn’t look down. They looked up. Their world wasn’t defined with pain. They had not known what it was like to live everyday with a fear of going hungry. They didn’t know what it was like to cry in the middle of the night and pray that she never woke up.
It was only dreams. Yanki started selling doma at the age of ten. Four years of begging brought little in her life. Her hair ruffled with dust and dirt, her hands cracked by winter cold, her face succumbed by hunger, she stood at the nearest gas station, saying “Aue, doma chi nyo mey. Please.” But who heard her? If she made 100 bucks, that was the richest she could get.
Then two years later when she was 12, a couple from her locality took her with them to look after their child. She thought, life was getting better. She could already imagine the soft bed in which she would sleep and the good meals she would get to eat. This was only a dream again.
She didn’t think she would be mothering a child. Playing with the baby wasn’t so much work but it wasn’t a small discomfort of sore throat that you get, when she was beaten for no reason and was cursed for no reason but for being born poor. Only because she wasn’t born with the same weight of luck, just because she didn’t have a status they did, she had to take the cold scolding for every small reason even when the fault wasn’t there.
Then one night, when her uncle stole into her room, she had no one to seek help from. She squeezed her eyes shut and succumbed to fate. When pain tore through, she prayed she would never wake up. But who could kill reality?
When she was thrown away with a child inside her, she had only a bigger burden. She had to look for a home for her and her child. It was only dreams. She wished she would die during the childbirth. If there was a God, it was time he saw her pain. If there was a fate that exacted revenge, it was time it was evened. Prayer wasn’t enough. She only spoke to herself. There was no God to rescue her.

Drilling through the Night

Drive wasn’t forever. Hunger did not kill us. How many kilometers was it? The crestfallen night embraced us dearly as if looking for a friend, and we strained our eyes through it.
My brother was coming from Tashigang. The friend who gave him a lift was going to stay in Wangdi – and he wanted us to come and pick him up from Wangdi. He said he will be reaching Wangdi at 9:00pm.
Karma and I were still in the office when my cell rang and those kids of his uncle asked if I was home. They wanted to practice Math. I told them I would be home at four thirty. A while later my cell rang again. It was my mathang’s brother who said was coming to my place but couldn’t locate it. I gave him the directions and told him I would be home in a while.
There was no time for me to sit and talk with my guest. I had to right away start sitting with the kids and then prepare dinner. We didn’t have time to have dinner but it had to be ready for us. The road isn’t smooth. There are little too many speed breakers and we reached Wangdi in a little more than two hours. By the time we reached Wangdi we were hungry. We (My nephew, Karma and myself) walked Wangdi town in the little illumination but it was useless to hope a restaurant would be open. It was past nine and all the shops were closed. In front of the parking, a woman washed clothes and her shop door was ajar. We bought korntos, wai wai, water, and juice (something like frooti) and made room in the car.
There at the corner of the parking area, the drain is a toilet for the public as well as the people residing in town. I wondered why the town changed so much from how it was once when Dasho Pem L Dorji was a Dzongda there. I wondered if there has to be someone always to make things right for us. Can’t we pave the path ourselves? Does someone have to show us what is good at the edge of a knife? This didn’t leave me happy.
We kept dialing my brother’s number but it was unreachable. He finally reached after two hours of waiting in the car. It wasn’t boring and an impatient waiting. The wait wasn’t to be a vain idle sitting.
We finally drove back to Thimphu and reached home at 2 this morning. Glad we were to be home. The drive wasn’t so long. The waiting wasn’t even a wait. We were driving home and I was meeting my brother after a long time. I was all ears to hear the news of our village.
Hunger didn’t kill us. Sleep wasn’t welcomed. Even when my eyes drooped, I wanted to stay awake in the happy hours. No, I wouldn’t count on my dreams. Sleep would only wash away the reality. So I wanted the moment to be. Tiredness vanished.
The door was latched from outside. As I entered in, I heard my mother’s voice – she was still awake waiting for us. There are such times when you don’t have a second to borrow and yet there is always someone waiting for you, counting your safe return.

Seeking Future in the Rain

Like ugeent, I often looked towards my house and prayed that the weekend would come soon. But to walk all the way through the jungle? I wasn’t a brave young boy. I was a meek little girl who only knew how to pray.
My mother and I walked to my school on a Sunday evening. The mountains at the other side of the valley were covered with dark heavy clouds and it seemed to carry the rain that would put pain on our tired feet.  We crossed the river before rain beat on our back. We were climbing up the hill when suddenly the thunder roared and lighting flashed. Suddenly the dark clouds covered the sky and it brought darkness before the sun set.
Our tired feet carried us up but when the torrent of muddy water flowed down from the hill, and we were drenched in the hell of heavy rain, there wasn’t a way we could choose. We lost our path but up we walked. Up we walked. And up we walked. But our destination wasn’t still visible. We had lost our way and it took us longer by many minutes. But the rain still thumped harder on our back.  
I was then only in class five and my mother was younger by 14 years. But she still was my mother who was older to me by many years and was worn by many hard works. She might have been able to climb the hills better than me but it pains me now to think of the darkness we had to clasp with to seek future. It was my future we were treading to. But she took pain for my sake.
When we reached around five kilometers away from my school, she had to leave. I walked up towards my school even as pain tore me to bid goodbye to my mother who walked down towards home. She walked down alone in the rain that was fearful than a ghost. How was she going to cross the river that would have grown five times bigger? The fear that she might drown grabbed my heart and it was the struggle I had to undergo at the cost of a mental torture. I wanted to run back and take her hands in mine. But no, I was building a future that would buy peace…
My mother…there was no telephone to ask if she reached home fine. It worried me sick and her image wouldn’t leave me till next week I was home again. Yes my mother, she is my mother in many ways and she hasn’t only brought me in this world, she has bought my life for me.  (I love you…I wish I could tell everything I write here to her and she could read open my heart)

Growing up, Picking Subjects

I first went to boarding school in class five. Bidung primary school: it was a school located on the hill-top that overlooked many valleys and beautiful villages. I remember my father telling me that it had the best location. You could sit outside and see more villages than you could count. And it was like you stood above the world looking down on earth.

I didn’t have many Indian teachers till class four. There in Bidung, History teacher, Math teacher, and English teacher – all were Indian. Surprisingly they were all from Kerala. Oh man, this Math teacher was a wonder. He made me like the subject so much. History teacher had been in Bidung for so long that he had even taught my brothers. But I didn’t like the subject much. Memorizing wasn’t fun for me even as a child. Remembering dates wasn’t fun either. I liked Math that drew the flow as if you are blowing out water out of a pipe. (But it wasn’t so simple after crossing class X. Differential Calculus? That would always grit its teeth on our brain)

There was Lopen Phurpa who was our basket ball coach. He would treat us like his kids. I remember my twin-like friends Dupten, Sonam Tshomo, Sonam Wangmo and Ngawang. There would be misunderstandings sometimes but it never lasted longer than a minute. Lopen Kinzang thought I wasn’t studying when he saw me play rubber game outside the hostel. This kind of made me extra careful about my studies and I often sat above the football ground and studied. I practiced Math on a slate. The most I did was pray and then practice Math. Science would have caught my interest if only the subject wasn’t changed to a workbook that only had group works and didn’t talk much about science.
I know my brothers studied a science book that detailed out everything about molecules, atoms and electrons. I liked that much better when I went through it with the help of my brother during the winter of class V. But unluckily, the next summer I got to school, I found that science text book I held was only a very scantily written book with only boring work groups. I didn’t understand why the curriculum was changed. I thought if my seniors could understand the other text book, so would the younger batches.

I wrote a letter to my brother for the first time when I was in class four. Then I was in BartshamPrimary School. He was always very encouraging. Usually those who study in rural areas have good written Dzongkha. My first letter to my brother was written in Dzongkha too. Don’t find it queer but when I was in class five, then, I started writing love letters for my friends to their boyfriends. It never occurred to me that I should get a boyfriend. No, not at that age. My friend had a boyfriend. She was a looker. Boys didn’t leave you if you had looks. You see, unluckily my friend got married when she was in class eight and couldn’t even graduate. This leaves me with a relief that I was so fortunate not to have met someone who would take me out of school.

I don’t know if I wrote “Cow needs grass and I need you” but I did write letters for my friends for their boyfriends. I felt myself so tender an age to have a boyfriend. But getting paired up then meant only writing letters and meeting sometime at the blink of a second.

Math since then left me with an interest that hasn’t died yet. Chemistry left me without a goodbye when I reached class nine when I met a teacher who only asked questions and never gave answers.

Design of Life

I didn’t think I would hear of death this morning before anything else – even before I had my breakfast. You mean, my neighbor who I walked with not a month ago is not on earth anymore?
 
 A deer barked at midnight. Was it midnight already? But why was a lone deer barking? Ana Sonam said it wasn’t a healthy sound but plead of an injured animal. As she prayed, she asked another friend if they should go and look for it. The sound didn’t come from very far. It wasn’t barking. It was crying. Each time we heard it, a splinter of pain ran through our hearts. I silently sank in my sleeping bag and caught my heart in my hand and prayed that it wasn’t being chased by a predator or was got into a trap.

We were in Gasa, sleeping cramped in a tent. But this wasn’t life we were leading forever. We had only come for a holiday. But the deer’s bark? The death of my friend? It wasn’t a choice they had made out of fun. That night, I wished life were designed a little way different – like – I wished the food chain wasn’t as it is. I wished the interdependence wasn’t designed in a way of having to depend on another’s life for one’s survival. I wished we (all organisms) were interdependent only in the sense of having to seek help and help others, but not in a matter of sustaining a life. How this shredded my heart in thousand pieces. If every piece were a mirror, you really would have seen the pain of having to accept life as it is.
  
Yes, this neighbor I know, she was fine just a month back. When I wondered why her car never moved from where it was parked, I knew she was taken ill and was diagnosed leukemia. And now today, I hear that she passed away. What is all this truth telling me? What is it trying to tell me to do? When I talked to my mother about it, she told me that it is the youngsters who have to be aware of death because old people already are and they are always chanting mani. Yes, it is the younger lot who haven’t time to think of death. But when it silently asks for our heart, we have to give it. It doesn’t beg and it isn’t in our hand to say no. It asks and we give. This is how life is designed. Her death left me wondering and thousands of questions still linger in my mind. I haven’t any answer. It had me shocked but I know I will have no time to seek answers when death takes me. So I have only now.
  
Life isn’t unfair, you are. Fate isn’t cruel your heart is – for you are your own creator of happiness and sadness.

Reflection of Love

“I can’t exactly remember what really happened…I was fully enchanted; I felt like I have never been happier. I could see the same in the eyes of my beloved.”
It was when I was in my college studying in some kind of a pretext. Doing nothing much than missing home and my friends, wishing there was a way to disappear. I wasn’t feeling that fine. A gloomy face. A tainted hope. An unpinned dream. And I was moving with a thought of a damned man. I didn’t feel like doing anything much. If I wanted to, things demanded effort. I however gave them little care and opted my way and floated in a space – I didn’t even know what I was trying to do.
The days just passed by. I lived. The days came and went and I remained just the same. I didn’t even feel like I owed the world even a little more than what I was doing. When you really are out of mood, you don’t accept the good reasons. I headed my way.
But, in all this misery…the person I have loved and cared walked in. I didn’t know until then, how much he cared and loved me too. He did say so, but I had never really taken them to heart. It was like seeing the sun after long foggy days. A hope emerged. The dreams fluttered. Everything came alive within me. He held me close and I could feel that he felt the same. As we sat, holding each other, it was nothing but love.
I felt like all that mattered was us. It was just he and me. We didn’t see anything further – we didn’t want to see anything more. We were happy that way. We didn’t want the moment to pass and wished time stood still.
The few days passed in the same way. We were meeting after a year. We sat together the whole day, as if we wanted to make up for all those times we had been away. It was beautiful to see him beside me.
He made me see a lot more than I was aware of. He gave me hope, the strength, and we built dreams. I knew I would work for it and I would be happy. I knew all I had to do was think of being with him again, where we could be ourselves in a few years. And that hope was going to push me forward.
When it was time for him to leave, it was less than what I would have wanted. We stood there, looking at each other. “I’ll be missing you,” – this is all we spoke to each other. I cried, unable to bear to see him go. He looked at me with his deep eyes and I felt love embracing me. It was all a reflection of love – he standing in front of me. Looking at me without a word and yet saying thousand things; then coming closer and kissing me softly on my lips.
He would take me in his arms and I would feel like never before. It was love I was wrapped in.  (23/12/02, Monday)

Age isn’t The Reason

My mother gave birth to eight children. My parents brought us up at the expense of growing old at a pace others found incredible. My mother is 64 now and still cannot think of sitting idle.
Our parents work their way all their life and feed us and bring us up into the world of our own. No, they don’t think their children will at one point of time in their life find their ways wrong. They don’t expect to thank them either. They simply want their children to be fitted well in the world where only the fittest survive.
When children grow up and reach an age where they are the parents, their parents aren’t any longer the same strong hands. So what do children do? Not many children in Bhutan are against their parents – despite a very few stories we hear of parents being mistreated.
With age, the flow falters. They can no longer walk with the same stride. They can no longer see with the same clear sight. They can no longer hear the same clear voice. They can no longer see the world as they saw and it is not their wrong, for the world changes at a faster rate  than their senses can cope. The senses wane with age. The cells die, and no longer are they reproduced or replicated.
Parents find themselves being unwanted and useless when their works and their effort to help their children are not appreciated. Because of the technology, the ways to cook, the styles of life, the timing of meals, the taste of food – all change which make them a little unfit. But I would say that isn’t a reason why their work shouldn’t go fine with our ways. If they have worked all their life without your help and seen life through, why should their work suddenly be wrong?
We should appreciate their effort to help us; their unconditional love for us – and we should respect them as they are and see beyond their act and talk with their intention. We should accept them as they are, the truth of they being our parents and the truth of they having been brought us up to what we are now. We should let them be and validate the small works they do for us. We should authenticate their efforts and not make them feel like an invalid – for how many years have they fed us?
Age isn’t the eyes through which you should see your parents. See them through the sight of a human. 

The Death of Love

You just sit by the table or lie on a bed and think over what you have been doing all this time. The life that you have lived so far. You did pass the days. But what did you really do? What’s there to show? You just open your eyes, blink and think again if what you’ve been doing all this time is right. If at all you have been right.
You call yourself superior to the rest of the beings and you just go on tearing apart even the slightest right others have. You sometime claim to have done everything right. A man can sometime be blind and simply be ignorant. Sometime, he can even fail to understand the fellow humans. He can also be so selfish. More than he knows. He becomes too wild when he says he is in love. You will find it hard to believe as much as I did.
I was wondering all this time if love is meant to cause the chaos and disorders of the human mentality. That is how I have come to see. I’ve seen more than enough to say that a man goes wild when he claims to be in love. True love, I mean. What I don’t understand is this: if it is love, why would it ever lead to disappointment, enmity, pain and hatred? I have seen people undergo some of that emotional imbalance.
Now listen. You will be surprised for a while too. But I’m not sure if I can put the story down in the correct form. I’ll tell you the story but I can’t assure you that I can narrate accurately word to word.
It was a long time ago. It is now as old as you and me. I thought I would better let you know too, because it isn’t doing me any good by keeping inside. There was once a boy named Karma. He was then studying in high school, when he first spotted a pretty girl who stole his heart away.
He was in class ten. A new girl was admitted in his class. He felt a gallop of hope and a surge of something that he couldn’t really name. He was later to understand that he was in love. He wrote a letter to the girl confessing his feelings and all he got was a blank reply. He didn’t give up there. He was still with hope that a day would come when he could call her his. And true to his hope, she did accept him, whether the girl loved him or not. When you insist for something too much, you get it one time – but it doesn’t mean you really have it. I really can’t say if she loved him or not, because even Karma didn’t seem to know it.
They were so happy together – but for a while. It was a dream come true for Karma and they were seen as two people who were too much in love. The match was almost made in heaven. Everyone who saw them together envied them. Yangden however told him from time to time about how uncertain everything was. He didn’t want to know the uncertainty of things. What he wanted was their love to last forever. He kept telling her that he loved her so much and everything would work fine. She knew he would be terribly hurt if something went wrong. He never considered the worst. Living in a moment is important but it is equally important to consider the negative sides of things.
She held no secrets from him. He was the closest person she had. But as the days wore on, she started feeling unsure and uneasy with their relationship. All sorts of doubts and reasons crept up. She began to see how everything they dreamt was so impossible – the life with him. She began to know that all she shared with him was an acknowledgement of her being a lady, a girl with passions and emotions that could be coaxed. It was all a display of reciprocating some sort of soft feelings for each other. If a person loves you, you can’t hate him. I guess it works like the Newton’s third law.  
She came to know that she didn’t love him the same way he loved her. The realization hit her hard. It meant hurting him – and she didn’t know how to let him see it. She honestly didn’t want to hurt him. Marrying him would mean seeing him everyday. It would mean many things she even hated to think.
And just on the process she saw another guy. The next time Karma called, she said, “I’m in love…” and the words trailed off. She could feel thousands of questions rising in his mind. The silence spoke more than she could take in. Yangden tried to explain. But the receiver at the other end clicked a little too soon. Her phone kept ringing that night but there was only silence when she picked it. When it rang again, she was ready to shout, whoever it was. “Hello…” – a muffled soft voice came over. It was Karma. He had been crying. He was hurt. But what could she do? She couldn’t live for him. No she couldn’t make any sacrifices. Even if she tried, it wouldn’t work. She couldn’t have pretended what she didn’t like.
“Yangden, please don’t leave me. I can’t live without you. I love you so much…” he went on, “Don’t go away.”
“I’m not going away. I’ll always be there for you. It is just like renaming our relationship. You know I will always be there for you as a friend,” said Yangden with much hope to console him. But he told her that he didn’t want her as a friend – and thus their relationship slipped away. Yangden felt a freedom seep in, but not victorious. He was hurt. He didn’t understand how hard it was for her too. If there was a choice – if it meant staying with him for a day – it would have been easier. She couldn’t bring herself to love him like he did and she couldn’t pretend. She didn’t want to end what they shared with a bang. She wanted them to be friends. She didn’t want to lose him forever. Not like that. He was more than she could forget in a minute.  
After what was said that night, he did try to tell her again. He asked her to reconsider, to think again. But with those, it all the more became clearer that she would only want to end the relationship.
She didn’t hear from him after that for months. The next time he called her, it was only to let her know what had become of him. He gave up on life. He started seeking meanings in beer. “After the only girl I loved left me, I had no one to turn to, no reason to live. It is better to go for some soulless companion, that doesn’t say anything but simply be with you,” he told me when I visited him after he was taken to hospital for the 2nd time. He sounded mad to me in some ways. Yangden could only pray.
In looking for meanings in the beer he held in his hand, he was reduced to a creature that had no dreams, no responsibilities and no nothing. He didn’t know that love cannot be forced, that it should come from within. He didn’t know that true love is mutual. To me, it seemed like he was possessive and he wanted to have her call his own and not love her. If your love is so true – why not – you can love a person even if she/he is someone else’s. Love flows, it doesn’t accumulate. Love lets free, it doesn’t trap. Love breeds love, not hatred.
He seemed so normal, except that he was all worn out and he was living with a half-gone liver. I pitied him. I sympathized him. I prayed for him. But there was nothing I could do to bring his sense back to life. To let him see that life was more than dying for love. He didn’t know me well. We only met by chance in the hospital. How could I let him know what true love means to let him see things truly? I simply listened to his story and I hoped I could give him some relief. He called me a good friend and he said I was nice. “You see, people think I am mad over a girl and they don’t listen to me.” I could see that he had slipped away from all human affection. I only could tell him that no one hates another man – obviously not for no reason.
After a week, I got message that he died. I attended the funeral. I saw a solitary figure in the corner. I went and talked to her. She felt sorry, more because he made her the sole cause for his death.
A man gets wild. Emotions are poisons sometimes. When they adulterate your wit, they don’t kill you. They murder your sanity.
Thus Karma left his world and he felt he was dying for a cause. He wasn’t sad he was dying. He thought love was all the reason.  (28/12/2002, Saturday, 11:20PM)

Simple Truth: A teaching by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

Every thought, every action – i.e. every step we take is for happiness. Even eating bittergaut for example is for some kind of satisfaction. Yes, everything is for happiness. 
Happiness is the end. And the Buddhist term for happiness – the ultimate happiness that is, is nirvana. But how do we get there? There are many different ways. Many thinkers thought that we can reach it through materialism. But if you want to have happiness, you have to know the truth.  This truth isn’t any divine, god-made, beyond-ordinary truth. It is a very simple truth.
We’re all born; we all die – and this is the incorruptible truth. We know many people have died before us – but we forget this after a while.
And yes, everything in this world is designed to take us away from the truth. We call people who plan ahead a visionary person, a person with good management, but we don’t even know if we are going to live until that time. And when we say ‘long’ we mean forever. We have to plan, but we have to keep reminding ourselves of the truth. If we have this alarm set on all the time, it will help us economically, as well as environmentally. This will bring a balance in everything.
View, the truth, such as death is important but to live with it is difficult. To achieve this, we need to meditate. Truth of impermanence of death is only one aspect of the truth. Then, what is the whole truth? Everything by nature is perfect – and this is the truth. The primordial perfection is the truth. This truth is too simple to believe, too close to see. We can achieve it only by doing nothing – by not touching it, or trying to alter or distort it.
The quintessence of Buddhist teaching is to keep things as they are – undisturbed – without fabrication and manipulation. You don’t have to leave behind the life you lead now to be enlightened. You feel you should leave your job and lead an ascetic life of a monk because you hold Milarepa and the like as your model. But there are many like Ashoka for example, who led a worldly life and still was enlightened. What is important is perseverance and consistency.
We are always trying to secure ourselves from problem that may or may not come. But then, how do we solve the problem? The problem that the ‘I’ creates? The answer is to just watch. Don’t try to find solution, simply let it be and watch. Mind can be destructed and the destruction of mind is enlightenment. Don’t judge – just watch. Break the habit of finding solutions to problems and just watch. This is Buddhism.
Note: I unluckily could attend only the third day of the teaching. It was mainly on the view and meditation. This is a very summarized form of the teaching I attended on 28th October, 2007, Sunday. The teaching is from the book “The Ways of the Bodhisattva” by Shantideva.

A goodbye too soon

Saying goodbye is the hardest thing. But Yanki had to and tears weren’t enough.
An invisible friend he was. But he was the closest friend she had. Internet does miracle sometimes – it did, when she met him online many months back. Did she choose him by the look of his nick? Or was she led there by her fate?
The intimacy grew. The talks geared. Emotions soared. And though they hadn’t seen each other, all the while, they groomed in their hearts something near love. Was it love? Neither was sure –but it wasn’t just nothing. Probably it wasn’t love, perhaps it was. But they knew they could have named it, if they had the right to, the right which was hidden far behind the wall of a commitment they didn’t want to name.
It is strange, how things run in the world; how feelings circulate. It was out of the blue that they met. It was out of the blue that they became close. The feelings grew, not from the mere attraction, but from the talks they shared and the attitudes they held. It was as if, if only there wasn’t one thing missing, they would have married in the woods without having to read vow by a priest.
But it had only time to bud, not bloom. He bombed the news to her one day that he was going away, perhaps never to return. She asked, “So you’re gonna look for a fortune there?” to which he replied that “Sometimes in life, you’ve to give up something to achieve something.” What he was giving up and what he wanted to achieve was beyond her to see. But a goodbye came a little too soon. And though, she had never seen him, she cried to say goodbye to him for he was the closest friend she had.

Welcoming back our CEO, the Nopkin

We have in our mind carved, the phrase that, to be a nopkin isn’t an easy task. Ask one of the nopkins what makes it so hard to be a nopkin and you will believe him, and yes, you will think, ‘I can’t be the nopkin.’
When Nopkin left, we couldn’t even have a gathering to see him off properly. Leave that apart, we didn’t even know he was leaving, until the very last minute. And then, we had nothing we could do. I didn’t even write him a message, taking a revenge that he didn’t tell me…funny huh?
But he is now back – did we see some changes in him when we met him last evening? There is always one comment he gives about why he doesn’t put on weight, no matter how much he eats. He knows where it goes. But, I have a big doubt because of what happens to his love. But I’m not blaming him.
Yes, Shyam called, and we met. The Daichee restaurant nearly blasted with our laughter. It was as if we were the only people present – and yes, circle of such friends makes you forget that you care about the world. All you care about is yourself at such moments. And laughter got the better of us – but I hope we didn’t make our NATO’s Indonesian (or is he a Filipino?) friend out of place. We laughed till our lungs felt empty and our ribs ached.
Welcoming Nopkin back from the US, he was the one who had to actually clear the bill – since he has the dollars. Shyam did well by bringing along a friend of his, who works in Trongsa because he was kind enough to share it. We thank them and we welcome back our CEO. We are glad to have him back without a scratch. We were surprisingly so glad that he hasn’t forgotten how to sing Hindi songs.
We did leave the restaurant in one piece when we left. We all rushed home early since Luzee had a guest at home.
Our CEO has so much to work for in a very short time. We are glad to have him with us again. It wasn’t the same without him, was it?
(Nopkins present were: oCoP, Luzee, 5457, NATO, NATO’s friend, Shyam, Shyam’s friend, Nopkin, and Kuenza)

Quotes from the book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

  1. I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. 
  1. Rationality is the recognition of the fact that nothing can alter the truth and nothing can take precedence over that act of perceiving it. 

    3. The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.
  1. "Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against… We're after power and we mean it… There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be
    much easier to deal with."
     
  1. "The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours. But to win it requires total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence, which is man, for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the morality of life and yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth.
  1. People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie – the purpose the price one pays is the destruction of that which the gain was intended to serve. The man, who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on.

Balancing Sanity

I sit alone on the lawn in front of the police mess. The football match is going on. I didn’t think I will sit here and watch the football match but that is what I am doing now.
I squat, take out my knitting kit, and plug the earphone. The infamous RJ of Radio Valley (FM 99.9), Ms. Tshernyen goes on. The music is soothing. Many are requests for lovers – and music is just as heart wrenching as their messages. But here I sit, watching the football, knitting and listening to the radio, all at the same time. There is a bizarre cacophony of cheering coming from the group of guys sitting at the far end of the steps.
No sooner do I sit and make a place for myself in the lawn, a guy comes and pees behind a broken-wall at the end of the ground. Then comes another. He turns towards my direction, but lucky that he sees me before he starts to pee. He cannot control the burst of laughter that forces out of his lungs. I can’t control either. So I hide my face behind the culvert that sits taller than me. Ah, when the match is in full swing, another man comes and comfortably finds relief behind the wall. But I sit here, witnessing nothing, except the imagination of the world I would make if I were the builder.
My honey runs in the ground among the players. He seems to be looking straight at me – and though, I doubt he will see me – I wave my hand at him. Even as the very few cheering groups cheer the players, I think of my primary school days. I was in Bidung then. How we cheered during the house football matches! I remember so clearly, me, sitting in front of my hostel in the middle of tall grasses, shouting at the top of my voice, wishing from deep within my heart that my house would win.
The cold wind blows through my dress, and it almost drills holes through my bones. Few people leave cursing the wind but I sit like I’m resistant against it. If people find me crazy to sit there alone for a purpose that isn’t visible, they are not wrong.
The cacophonic cheering roars louder and I listen carefully if they are cursing the referee – for the referee is my honey. They didn’t say anything. Even if they do, it isn’t anything personal – but we feel good when they don’t say anything bad.
I won’t be sitting here, witnessing the match. But I had to witness the reality in the commotion, waiting for the identity card. When I submitted the form in the morning, I was asked to come at two in the afternoon and I did reach there at dot two. But the bossy announcer said that Trashigangpas are to back off and wait. I did. When, after two hours of waiting my Geog’s turn came, my name wasn’t called. In more of a mood to complain and shout at the first person than request for my ID card, I walked in taking a friend. In a little less fuss than I wanted, a friend my friend knows volunteers to search for my card. And he later returns and tells me that I hadn’t listened when my name was called. I only heard the name ‘Kezang Lhamo’ being called. He joked with my friend that I should be punched for this – but I thought the person who read out the names should really be punched hard and I really wanted him to be punched hard and knocked down. This is the reality in the midst of a commotion.
Because of this, I am here now watching the football match. I weighed between going home and going to watch the match and the later won. I thought my honey would like to see me waiting for him there and I did. Was he happy? I would like to think he did though, I didn’t really read it in his face.
Yes, this is the reality. The wind blew hard and cold but it didn’t drill holes through my bones. The Health HQ team B lost to the Dental group – which shows that in a match one has to lose. I waited for him and I didn’t shiver of the rebuke but was smiling when I saw him walk up. The sun had long set but everyone waited for the moon, for the life hasn’t ended.

My Experience of Nungney

After much hurry and hustle, my mother and I walked out of home – and it was past five already. Were we supposed to meet the other group at Sanjaygang at five thirty? I cursed that I couldn’t take off early from office. But inwardly, I prayed they were waiting for us.
We didn’t have to carry a big backpack. Thanks to L, she had everything arranged with the help of the kind lama. Dusk fell before we reached the Goenpa. Thujedrag in Phajoding was our destination. My mother lagged behind, her energy exhausted. We couldn’t expect her to walk at the pace of the youngsters. I was rather surprised she had the stamina to keep on. 
When we reached the lawn below Thujedrag, my mother got cramps on her feet and she pleaded that she would sleep there and go the next day. But the lights shined and looked at us with so much of hope – it was rather really near. We had walked this far…and we could really reach the final destination. All we needed was determination. So my mother, after the encouragement and persuasion, went on in her socks. She thought putting on shoes was going to cause some pain in her feet. The cramp got better with some miraculous blessing. I’m sure, the invisible power we felt, looking down on us from that blessed cave really did some work for the miracle.
The lama was a very humble, down to earth person, wrapped in red robes with compassionate eyes. The calm naturalness in his eyes made us ease out in his place. We slumped out and dreams fluttered before our eyes even before we had actually fallen asleep. I looked up at nothing in particular and excitement held my mind and I found myself looking forward for the next day.
We slept at around nine and got up at four the next day. This is a routine we don’t even dream of in our normal life. The chilling breeze and the ice-cold water chased away the last of the dreams and we were in the temple ready to start the first ever nungney. Since Luzee wrote about the details of the process, I won’t go on about it here.
We only gestured and we had no speech when we went to bed the second day. But so much of my forgetfulness got me that, the early next morning, when the jug fell off the shelf, I said, “Ooouu..” and only when lama smiled at me did I realize that I was not to utter a word. I had taken oath of silence.
And before it was eleven the next morning, my body slumped and I couldn’t prostrate. I shivered and sweated and I was passing out. So I had to beg a monk there that I had to eat something. And he rescued me from the slouch I was becoming. I was not supposed to chew. The kapchhey mixed in sugar tea was the best meal I ever had in my life. I never cherished a taste of a meal like I did that day.
This helped me go on with the rest till the next day. More than hungry, we were thirsty. You could really imagine the kind of suffering in the realm of yidag – yes there are feasts – only that you can’t eat. You could feel yourself dying and even then you can’t eat it. Such is the suffering and I felt more alert and alive than before.
I don’t know if I would like to attend a nungney again. But I’m really a person who nearly collapses the minute the hunger strikes. I haven’t any stored energy. But it really teaches you meaning you might not otherwise find in the jumbo life that covers many truths.
I was wrong to worry about my mother. She had stamina I could never dream of in me.
More than chill morning air sank in us when we sat for prayer the 3rd day at 3a.m. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I told you that even when you looked back at the temple, while you descended down back home, you felt yourself wanting to stay there. There you have the luxury of silence that we are deprived of in town.
Everything in nature is perfect; our perceptions create faults.

You only need a car

“I met a girl in the taxi this morning and she asked for my phone number, but I didn’t give it,” says a friend.
Another friend says, “There is a girl who I never met but says is madly in love with me.” What are we to understand from this? I only sat in a little wonderment as to the change the world has come through. Probably I was too in with myself that I never saw what was going on in the world, but I strongly believe that the world wasn’t like this a few years back. Definitely not during my parents’ time.
 “Young girls in the United States, when asked what they regard as important about a boy, immediately list a car./ …confirmed gloomily that ‘if a guy doesn’t have a car, he doesn’t have a girl.’”(Future Shock, Alvin Toffler.)I was like, what? But this is the reality now.
Men say that if they have a car, girls are easy. Easy? That is what they say. And by easy, it couldn’t mean a simple date. I wonder what is going to happen if this should go on and girls should continue being a commodity-like object. And why is it women who have to care how they look like, more than men do?
I was watching a movie called “Hombre” where a young girl talks flirtatiously with a rough-looking man and when the man forcefully kisses her and later complains, the elderly woman tells her that she wagged her tail and she got what she asked for. I mean, many say (women too) that it is women who initiate it and I wonder if there isn’t some truth there. There is a friend of mine who keeps telling me that, when you place meat in front of a dog, you cannot expect the dog to not eat it. But, don’t we women know better than this?
When men talk to us, we cannot just not reply. And when we do reply in the same tone, they think we are going to give in. I wish they would stop assuming. They can’t judge, can they? Their assumptions cannot always come true.
But a car can only take you where the road is.

The Cold Saturday Morning

Don’t ask me what I understand from the songs I’m listening now. These are songs Sangay (sdd, who is now working in Telecom) recorded for me when we were in class 12. These are Hindi songs from the movie “Mohabattein,” which was a hit that year. Is it seven years already?
Saturday usually is the day I look forward to, for I can sleep as late as I want. And on Friday evening, I don’t have to worry about what time I go to bed. But I always go to bed early.
Saturday – today, it isn’t so beautiful as in keeping me excited and on the ground. I thought I will go, do some work such as wash the car, but the situation wasn’t to favor me. I came back home and entered the house that seemed almost as cold as a ruin that was left decade back.
One thing I always do every Saturday is rearrange things. I did this even today. I made sure a book shelf was shifted to a different corner and the setting changed which left me satisfied.
But that was in the morning before nine. Now, I’m here on my bed, wondering about nothing in particular and yet some kind of sadness simmering in my heart lower than I want to allow.
The music goes on and I still can’t seem to locate what it is that is making me feel this chilling feeling. It isn’t loneliness. It is – a peace that is mixed with a chill of escape that you want from earth. I like being alone and yet I can’t seem to know what to do.
Did you ever get such feeling? I have always often got such feeling and that is when I always got the closest look at myself. It tells us of many things that we don’t know in the normal situation of enjoyment where we have many friends around.
I look out the window and see two people talking in the new construction coming up. The one is standing at the door, his hands stretched out on the bamboo support, almost hanging his body. They don’t seem to see this Saturday like I do. But I’m sure they have many worries than I do. It isn’t like living in a fairly comfortable house and thinking life should be better than this. They have to work hard day and night and haven’t time to worry about what tomorrow is going to be like. They don’t even have time to worry about what kind of work they will be doing tomorrow.  Work they do is so much worse and harder and they have a way to catch meaning in it than we do by working on a computer. I envy them for their capability to accept life as it is. How many of us think, life we have is good enough? Eh? Desire is always soaring higher up and we haven’t time to rejoice the life we have. Yes, their worry is greater than we have.
Yes, this Saturday unlike many others is cold and it is trying to tell me many things. It isn’t about love or broken hearts.
This Saturday is still cooling my heart and freezing it around more than music. The music is still going on but I hardly hear it. My heart isn’t beating for it but it is wandering already in some far, far place.

The Calling (II)

As soon as I get up, I utter prayer which has kind of gotten me hard. It isn’t a habit I’m trying to shake off. I’m glad it bore inside me and I let it make home.
Did I say I’m more stuck than I ever was? I was pessimistic there. That isn’t my nature…hmm…I mean, I haven’t yet given up. I still attend that call and I talk to myself about it more often than I find time. Even when I walk to office and cars pass by, I think of what might happen if I were to be smashed by a car and my life would end there.
There isn’t sudden sadness overpowering me, making me wish that life were eternal. I do not feel much fear, except a creepy sense that I would no longer be in the world. But of course I will be in another world then. What kind of world it is going to be is beyond anyone’s imagination. But it would be a complete bliss really to be in a heaven that is described in ‘kuenzang Moenlam’ where it says ‘Nen na nemzhing tekna par je pa.’ Who wouldn’t wish to be born in such paradise? And this is making me almost cry wanting to know what enlightenment is like. Lamas describe, it isn’t completely-out-of-the-world feeling, just a complete peaceful rest as you see things as they are. But yes, that clarity is something we all need and I can feel myself wanting it so badly.
There are times when I can’t sit and do my prayer. There are times when I have to forego my prayer time, just because I haven’t got time, for time is allocated for some other things with friends. I don’t know if I would call this practical but I feel that if I were to just make myself run like an automated machine on my time-table, I would be left out from the social circle. And it isn’t fear that is driving me to it but it is the feeling that I cherish when I am with them. This isn’t comparable to paradise, but it is a very comforting earthly feeling and I like it. So long as I don’t harm others, or intend to harm others, I have the consolation from myself that I am not preparing to be dragged by the ‘Drenagchung.’
The calling is so strong sometimes – and I just sit and cry. Something like a clarity of light dawns on me and I feel pain inside. The pain isn’t of sadness, it is of regret that life sweeps past like a torrent river and I am where I have been all my life. Even if I tried boring hole in a stone, I would have succeeded. Why is this call so different? Why is it so hard? I find that I’m just someone who wants to know the color of truth. Is it white? Or blue? I don’t want the superficial truth that the powerful people have coined. I want to know the naked truth, the truth as truth is. And here I’m, the call still ringing and I, still thinking. Where I would be will soon be decided and the ladder is soon going to be ready. I’m glad.  

The Calling (I)

“Come, you can stay with us before your rooms are ready,” said our seniors. Bhutanese have the sense of helping their fellow countrymen when they are away from home.
Second night of our arrival in the college, we had fallen asleep on the barren metal bed. It was our seniors who woke us up. But we said we were fine. And fine we were.
Our seniors stayed in different block, though it wasn’t two minutes’ walk (the two buildings, the old and new block were attached together). The building walls, as tall as they stood made two-minutes a long hour. So we never really met, unless we made it our purpose to visit each other, or else take a walk outside the hostel after dinner.
The walk after dinner was a ritual. But it wasn’t no fancy walk – for – the walls obstructed us from any further view than the walls of our hostels and the night-guard at our hostel gate. This was the time we chatted, took brisk walks and tried slimming down or keeping ourselves fit in the land where heat melted everything, even the hard tarred road surface.
It wasn’t my first time away from home. But the thought that I was in a different country and more than 1500 kilometers away made me sick and miss home more. Often, I would dream that my parents had come to meet me.
L and I wrote thousands of letters to our friends. I took solace in chatting online with my friends. This was the only time I forgot I was unhappy. Unhappiness could be as bad as making you irresponsible. When you feel unhappiness stripping you of reasons, you find that you care for nothing and no one except to dream away the moments. And that is what happened to me.
I would be sleeping in the class and wouldn’t hear my name being called. I would just walk out at the door and stand there, forgetting that the teacher was there in the class. I would look out through the door and dream of faraway meadows and rivers.
We were found a little different, for we were too independent to need much help. We traveled around places, forgetting that we were girls. We made friends and cared less about what people talked behind our back.
Loneliness crept deep through the bones and we buried in our room and cried. We remained awake till 2 to 3 in the morning and talked of life. I wanted so much to run away and look for something beyond the walls life held. I thought there ought to be more than just what I learnt in class. I thought there was my dream calling me.
I wrote endless frustrations and my desire to get away from science and look for what my mind could understand. What I was learning wasn’t abstract religion but it really was computer’s brain and how it functions – which in many ways was more abstract. That is when I gave up my exam and thought I wouldn’t write it. I thought I could carry an arrear. So what, was all I cared to think. But of course my brother told me I would better write – and I attempted to write directly the university exam in much of a foggy thought than clear understanding. And there I was in the computer lab, trying to strain my eyes closer to the computer to see if I understood what it talked to me. But it was foreign to me. Oh, was that shell language L? God, they almost ate me up. But I’m glad I’m alive now.
And yes, the call was too strong and tears were never enough. The only haven was my room. The power of human mind is that it can carry you to places you want in the whim of a thought. I never really could attend the call – and it is still ringing. I can hear – yet what can I do but to listen to it and know I am more stuck than I ever was?

Through the Darkest Hours

Yanki wondered what was wrong with her and the people. She was new to the place and she wasn’t even given a chance to know people and the place. Neither was she given enough time to adapt.
There was the breakthrough of an avalanche of words before she could understand what was happeningShe was taken aback by the way people behaved towards her. How could she know them? They maintained a gap. She wouldn’t have done anything. What she was – was not her fault and it wasn’t contagious.
She was shunned, talked off and looked down. She had the unassuming nature which made her trust everyone. She came to know that people had a different tone, a different look for her. People mistook her behavior. What happened was a history now and it wasn’t her making. But she wasn’t insane. And why should people even bother about it?
Perhaps, people were way too sensible. Really, she could never have competed or stood to fight. She was only a small heap of human and she was never known for violence. For the first few weeks, she hid herself in her room and cried. But now, the tears dried. She gained strength back. She forgave them. The poor people. How could she help not sympathize with people who didn’t know what they were doing? She knew they were entitled to think the way they did[1]. It was their problem and it didn’t really harm her – now that she understood the nature of people. She was the same girl, not a mark did people make on who she was. She understood her best and she knew she needed to believe in herself more than she did in others, if she were to survive and see through life. She didn’t have any right to accuse and she didn’t want to ask for it. Let them be.
Forgiving isn’t telling someone that they could do as they like to you, but telling them that you are okay and that you don’t mind it. They either didn’t know what they were saying or they wanted sheer fun. There are sadists in the world. When you are with some people, you either talk their language or you shut up. She knew she could never be one of them. So she chose to be alone, and alone she was. Her only friends were story books and her diaries.
She accepted things as they were. To some, she might have appeared cold – but people never took a chance to know her. One said who she was and others believed. It was as if, people didn’t have their own capability to judge and see things for their own.
People gave her a chance to grow fast. If she didn’t face such hardship, she wouldn’t have encountered the reality soon. They prepared her to face the world boldly. And in the midst of all this painful moments, she heard from home that her brother was sick and her father wasn’t well. It was all a tragedy. Calamity strikes a man in a punch. Few die and only few walk through it. She wasn’t crushed by this nightmare.
Now there sat Yanki – looking dreamily out in the space. Without those dark moments, she would never have known the beauty of life. Had she not gone through those bruises, she wouldn’t have known the beauty she felt now. She learnt to be strong and external flapping of wind didn’t alter her dreams. Oh yes, she had a bitter childhood, when she was thrown out and made a victim of the brutality of animalistic men. The scar was far from healing. She could only choose to cover it but it didn’t just disappear. Now, all she counted was where she was and her strength to come this long. Hadn’t she achieved her dreams beside the scar? The social stigma did nothing but build her strength.

Author’s note: I’m sure some of you might have had a childhood where you had to go though such bitter experiences. When you are in boarding schools, there always are people who think they know the best, whose power speaks for others. I was one person who never had much voice and minded only my business. I was a loner and a dreamer. A friend of mine wrote that, he’s a dreamer and yet he cannot dream smart…I guess I was that. It is a story from “Short stories,” written on 20thDecember, 2002, Friday.





[1] From “To kill a mocking bird.”

My Definition of Love

I didn’t say, ‘I love you’ the minute I met him. Neither did my heart race at the first sight of him. It wasn’t love at first sight. How did I know it was love, when it later wrapped around me?
We did not begin by saying ‘I like you’ or whatever starter there is. We just wanted to take a chance. It was by chance that we met. We called it an adventure and I’m glad we didn’t sink in skeptic frigidness. And now I realize that it was going to be the journey that lasted a lifetime.
People say that love is a feeling that makes you skip your heartbeat at the sight of a person. It didn’t happen to me but I sure know mine was love. I find myself refuting inwardly the saying that love is blind. If you don’t have something to base your love upon, love cannot take birth out of nothing.
Often it is the physical looks that make us like someone but sadly, not many of this love lasts. When we love a person, it has to be his looks, his personality, his style of things or everything that we must begin it from. We cannot just love nothing. 
He did not come carrying dashing style to rob my heart. He breezed my heart by his slow, tender ways of dealing with matters in life. It pained me to say goodbye to him, no matter how short the parting and I was surer than I ever was about my feelings.
When you love a person because of his personality, it doesn’t smash with time. Love grows and glows ever effervescent in your heart. But if you have loved a person for his looks merely, as time passes you’ll meet his personality that is most often not to your liking. You are lucky if it meets your desire. But often it is in contrast to what you dreamt he would be. And differences collapse your life fast if you hadn’t realized it was his looks you were admiring. (Do we say, beauty is only skin deep or that beauty is nothing when the light is out? But I believe beauty really is a bonus – you will realize this yourself. It sells, you see. And the buyer isn’t just one.)
Physical attraction can take you only this far. Not farther.
I would say, love is our admiration of the person, his values, his principles, and our feeling for the heart of the man knowing that, that heart is the store for everything we respect.
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Note** I told one of the members here that I would be writing my definition of love soon and here I’m today. Was it Ngangringbu that I told this to? Never mind. I’m so forgetful.

Affair – Is It a Solution?

You don’t plan to be unfaithful. But it happens, as hard as you despise to admit.
“About six months earlier, Hank’s wife, Pat, had discovered he was having an affair. Although he had ended it, his infidelity had caused deep wounds. Now Hank was afraid he might lose Pat forever. 
Earlier that evening Hank tried again to win Pat back with romantic overtures. But she rejected them, and an argument ensued. Hank stormed out of the house and drove away.
Now far away from home, he started crying. If Pat wanted to leave him, he wouldn’t stop her – but he desperately wanted her to stay.” (September-October 2007, RD Joy, pg. 5-6).
Affairs happen often in the wake of a crisis. When you are having a difficult time in your life, you find yourself turning for help, especially by looking for someone who can understand you. As you grab persons you can talk your personal inner feelings to, you find yourself inclined towards them in more than words. Your heart bends towards that person and the affairs spring from it which boosts your mood. You feel lighter and important. But a nagging sense doesn’t leave you with the boost.
When you finally calm down, you see that you have started a fire where the warmth wasn’t even needed. You cannot put it out simply because the person you have sought help from in the form of an affair is human who will not just let you come and go as you want. In the marsh of such fogginess, you often end up losing your partner, who you actually love truly and want to be with. It is often irretrievable and irreversible. So it is best not to act in a rash. Don’t try to act for tit-for-tat; don’t hold personal things secret. Don’t just blurt out your personal things to friends; be honest with each other – be utterly honest and get yourself time to talk and feel love.
Affair springs from the action you take in the heat of the moment in looking for something to stroke your ego; in looking for a person to listen to your woes and make you feel loved. But this isn’t a permanent solution. It often cracks the wound wider and leaves you more aghast and torn. Even when you feel you cannot face your spouse with some failures, turn to her. She is the best friend you’ve got. Do not look outside for a person who can understand you better in the times of a crisis – when the only person you can trust best is the person you have known all your life.  (From my journal “In the Eyes of the World.”)

Incoherent Thought – Individuality and Public

“When life is closing up on me, I feel a shudder of sadness enveloping me in almost a misery. Marriage doesn’t seem a haven to me. I wish I could enjoy my individuality as far as I want.”
I wrote that in 2005, when I had just graduated and wasn’t really looking for any union. I was happy living life of my own – which meant I could run where I wanted. I didn’t think society was a great concern to me. What they thought was their business. But now, I feel I was wrong – not totally though. We identify with people and therefore the impact of our behavior on them should be our concern. But I however did not think that I was impacting them whatsoever. Sometimes, society just grills on pointless things and tries to sting you for no reason at all, except that they have spotted you.
But now I feel, we should learn to live with people. It is true that we cannot always live on our own rules.
But, then, more than two years back, when my brothers thought I should marry, I wasn’t happy at all. I thought they were trying to push me fast with time. I wanted to take my own pace. But, it happened almost as they wanted and I am happy.
I thought some people here (like Luzee for example), might be grueling, weighing points between sigledom and marriage. Hmm…no, marriage isn’t a bad idea if it is with the right person.
Ayan Rand put in me a lot of stuffs on individuality principle, but I still feel we identify with people and we should know where to mark the line – in going with individuality and others. We are often left disgruntled when we can’t have our way – but we also have to see if we are really right. We do have right, don’t we?

Dream Coming True After Almost Four Years

We wanted to go to Haa Mela (IMTRAT Mela) since July 2004. We didn't know what the fun there was but the curiosity within us held us ready to jump into the car with anyone.
Until then, we didn't forget it. Once we make a promise, we cling to it like it was to talk to us on its own.
In 2005, we talked of going there with a friend we call lucky-star but we never reached there – though I don't remember what held us off. But now, with the man of L's heart, we flapped off on the run. The real event of the mela wasn't to start until the next day, but we didn't miss the fun. The fun wasn't going to be in the events that unfurled there, but in the joys we found ourselves in our friendship. It was as if even I knew KP all my life. With an ease I haven't known with many men, I laughed like it was so natural for me to feel comfortable.
Unlucky did I turn again. I called kyangsom only to hear that she had no one at home and she couldn't make it; 5457 to hear that he was going to Phuntsholing to accompany Shyam back home (The reason shouldn't be laid bare now). So this left me alone with the two lovebirds. I wasn't worried how I would reach Haa – but there was Dankala who teased me about how lonely I was going to be alone at the back. I was alone, but I wasn't lonely. They were so much my friends.
Sorry KP that, it was mostly L and I who talked. We talked endless of our old times which I'm sure might have driven him mad if he weren't some very ordinarily a couch-comfort. You could sit beside him and not worry about a tinge of discomfort. I thought L really has found her man. But I warned her that she would better not tell me later that he wasn't the one, to which she replied that even if she were to marry 11 times, it would be him.
A friend of ours, StarVoyager recommended that we drove up to Damthang – which we definitely did. In the meadow so wide, we had lunch with the enormous feeling of engulfing peace. I won't forget this day – I can't. We called a day with a delicious, yet simple dinner. Beauty really lies in the simplicity.
I would like to thank KP who made our dream come possible, and for his patience to drive us through despite our chattering of our past which he had no part. You are the best. We will not forget the day, not because you made it possible, but because you made us feel truly ourselves. And yes, L and K, the careless, adventurous girls had some things of their hearts done with this day.

Life I See Through the Window

I have written, “Veiled by his smile lay the sadness hidden like the smirk of murky teardrops. I could feel the feelings of how it would be to wake up every morning without anything new to look for.” What was the sadness I saw fighting so hard in him?
It is good to fight but you should know when. And when you aren’t holding a good chance, it is better to accept the situation as the art of fate. The belief of fate can help you cope much better with what you want so much to get away from but can’t. If you ask yourself, why, and keep thinking that you don’t deserve it, you will tear yourself into shreds of misery, which will finally kill yourself, which is called depression.
The fact of life is that, when you are doing well, you cannot ride on joy with full certainty – because life is a journey, a continuous change, and change need not always be better. Sometimes it will be just like tightening the nook of the rope around your neck when you are sitting on the execution chair.
Life is like that. If you’ve worked so hard and achieved what you wanted, you should enjoy and rejoice while you can. In fact, what makes that moment more joyous is the fact that reminds you of the uncertainty of how long it will last. There is always a thrill when there is some risk involved. We call this life – that which promises and makes us hope and yet fear. There is so much of risk involved there in fact, isn’t there?
You want to swear of the unfairness, but you should shut your mouth because the people will not hear it with pleasure. You could just tell someone not to bother you and to f*** off but you shouldn’t do that because you have to put manners there. What is it that makes you not do what you want? If we had the freedom to, we can just shoot our heads off, but no, suicide isn’t painless. There is always a different person in you who questions every single thought. The presence of two persons in you actually counter-balances one another and keeps you on track by not letting you go off the road. But to whom you listen depends best on your judgment. Of course, for the fool you aren’t, you should know which one to choose and listen to.
Life isn’t sitting here on my bed, looking through the window and wondering with the clouds and prayer flags I see on the other side of the hill not knowing where I am. Life is about knowing where you are with each step you take and knowing exactly if it was your choice to be where you are.
Fate isn’t so insistent if you’re strong enough to refuse what it is trying to force you into. That way, you create your fate. You may not be able to change the whole course, but you can always make it better. If it wasn’t in our power, why should we even be called human?
Life as I see now is the stars that twinkle in the sky, which gives me the assurance that, even though sun lights the whole world during the day, even these tiny, beautiful stars have their own time to know its glory and art.

Story of One Man

He lived in the forests, tending cows. He did his job but his mind wandered around in the quest of his ambition. What he wanted to be wasn’t a cow herder. As he grew up with the cattle, listening to nothing but the chirping of birds and whispering of winds everyday, he saw the hardship that took more than sweat to meet the end’s need.
My brother, who was a drungtsho and now a lecturer in Institute of Traditional Medicine and Sciences grew up with our grandmother (paternal) in another house half an hour walk from Menchari called Phaisingma. Though he wanted to be more than a young boy whose ambition in life was tethered with the cattle, he didn’t see a way out, until the dreams soared high above the forests and wanted to get out of a cocoon that was woven around him. When there is a will, there is a way. You only have to want a thing strong enough to try hard to get it. And when you try, most often you can get it. Most of us give up at the first meet of a small hardship. But my brother seemed to have seen far beyond his young eyes.
One day, he told grandma that he wanted to go to Lungtenzampa, the nearest town to buy a pair of battery (Thrimi zey). But grandma panicked when he didn’t return even when the morning sun was high up and it was time for the farmers to be in the field. So she informed my father and father caught him early next morning from Riju, where he had put up at Meme Dondru’s hut. So much for the young boy’s hunt for his dream…he reached home disheveled but not disheartened. He didn’t lose sight of his dreams. He didn’t want to throw his dreams away with just one failure. He knew he would find his way. Someone said, “Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much” and I feel it is really true. Even if you can’t catch reality in your hand, it is better to have dreams caught in your mind.
So he ran away the second time. This time, my father didn’t go after him. He didn’t only want to dream but wanted it to become a reality and this want carried him far till Thimphu. Thimphu then was seen as almost an unreachable destination. I wonder at his will and courage to travel as far as Thimphu in the quest of what he wanted so badly. We were later to hear that, he was seen fallen asleep outside Azem’s house in Kawajangsa when they returned from the movie. They didn’t recognize him instantly. He sold his tale – which they bought with much enthusiasm and encouragement. So he was enrolled in Simtokha Rigzhung Lobdra (Institute of Cultural and Language Studies). It wasn’t without much hurdle that he got admitted there. But all obstacles were overcome by the zeal that flamed in his mind with the thought of how little out of touch he was from getting it.
He didn’t fly away his time into nothingness when he was at home herding cattle. He carried a book with him and he studied most of the basic subjects for Dzongkha and thus he seemed to have excelled in the subjects he was required to study in the institute. He thus sat in class six directly and he topped his class to the surprise of his inner mind. He tells us now about how he feared he might not be able to do well as other regular students there did. So he studied far into time…and he now is what he is.
We often sit and talk of his tale which might after many years sound like a fable to his grandchildren. It is the courage of this man that inspires us even now. I wonder, how a young man as he was saw, so clearly the dream he held.
But yes, when you want something strong enough to really want it, you can feel the drive for it. And you most often wheel right at it.

Live It like…

Look at life this way: you have only one life, and you ain’t guaranteed that you are going to have the same one next time. So when it’s in your hand to live it, live it. Live it like you have never been taught to die. Live it like you have never known failure. Live it like you have never been taught to cry…live it like you have always been the happiest person.
When you see that life is a mixture of sorrow and happiness, blend of more than just one color, you’ll realize that it is a coin with two sides, and you can toss it either way. Life offers you the option to be happy and it is in your hand to make the choice. When you give space to think of more than one thing, you will realize that life after all is worth more than just one thing.
Thinking over life as unfair is only one perception, and it is not necessarily the way your life is. Realize that while you cannot control the things that happen to you, you can control how you react to them. It’s true, though we cannot control the flow of fate’s pattern, we can control how we react to it. Cheer up and don’t cry over what you cannot change.
I have been talking a lot about life as if I knew a lot about it. But my intention here is to apologize to the one person I have loved all my life. There has been some accidental reminiscing of the past and I was hurt beyond words, knowing that I hurt him beyond any apologies can mend. I beg him to forgive me and to see me in the light of a human. I erred beyond anyone would have erred their whole life. But I must confess, I was only carried away and carried away happened not because I allowed it but because I was really lonely and was seeking him in the person who wanted to console me.
Am I doing good by apologizing him here in a blog everyone can see? I won’t mind. I really am sorry and I hope he sees the truth – the truth that what was then weaving feelings in my heart wasn’t anything else, just my love for him.
Don’t tell me, ‘is it some joke?’ It happens to everyone. Just that some person chooses to hide it.
But whatever maybe, live life like you really are the happiest person. You are what you think you are.

Isn’t it Safe to Walk Alone?

Sometimes luck just run completely dry and you have to make the meager choice that you so badly wanted to avoid. It is October now and winter hasn’t yet started but the dusk come a little too early before you can pack and go home for the day. I didn’t intend to sulk in fear for no reason but fear was what I felt all along.

“Karma, would you be able to wait for me in your office? I am about to start from here now.” But to my utter dismay, she said she had to go and see a sick senior staff. I had no choice. I called 5457, and he was busy. I didn’t ask what work he had – because I thought I didn’t have the right to. There are things you have to respect before jumping into a territory of privacy we all like to keep.

I wasn’t all sunk in dejection. Not yet. I walked home. I stopped the first taxi I saw and it was full. I have to get what I want the first time I ask or else I don’t try after that. So I gave up the thought of taking a taxi. Dusk was falling fast but I kept walking. I would not have sought anyone’s company today if I didn’t have some work in town. I had some work for my niece and it was urgent. I was tempted hundred times to call Luzee or some other friends but I said, they were busy with their work. I thought there should be friends who would care enough to at least give me a company for half an hour. But of course, why should they care? This is how I stopped myself from calling any of my friends.

Yes the dusk fell and it overlapped my sight as well. Very poor sighted, I’m doomed when I have to walk after dusk. As soon as I crossed the road near Hotel Lhanam, I saw a man cross before me. He was a big, strong man. I was almost racing after him, keeping him in my sight. I was following the man and I found it a little awkward too, though whether the man noticed it or not wasn’t within me to know. When he went the same way to mine from Chorten, I sighed in relief. I was seeking protection from him, from whatever I was scared. I made sure I walked just behind him. And when we parted ways from hospital, I thanked him in silence. If it were not for him, I would really have driven myself mad by the fear that someone might just grab me out of nowhere – and you can guess what kind of fear it was. I wondered if women had such fear when they had to walk alone just few years back.

I cursed why those construction people had to pedal around after dark. You have no pedestrian at all or it is them. I don’t know what gives me the right to suspect, but their sight scares me to hell. I wouldn’t know who could do what, but it is scary to walk alone after night – I wouldn’t feel so scared to walk alone in the neighborhood in my village. What brought this change? Why wasn’t I feeling safe?

I should have a sense of trust? But for whom? You cannot just trust someone on the whim of your mind like that.

I was throttling dry and killing myself when I finally reached home to be greeted by my niece. We are just ourselves again this time.

MY FATHER’S WAY OF SHOWING THE WORLD

Oh hell, how old was I? I guess I was then studying in class nine. I think I wasn’t a youngish anymore but I was still a chechey to my parents in some ways. My father and I descended down the hills, winds brushing against our cheeks bringing a mixture of joy and sadness. As we descended down the hills overlooking Lungtenzampa (in Trashigang) and Gamri Chhu, we felt our heart sinking over no particular memory.
We went to Trashigang by the evening BGTS (a passenger truck) and stayed the night at one Bartshampa tshongpa. We boarded the bus early next morning. It still gave me a chill down my stomach. I was feeling as if I was leaving home never to return. It was Burma Travels as I remember now.
I don’t remember seeing anything much as the bus took me further away from home, except the orange orchards. My father and I for almost half the journey kept reciting the ‘Barchhe Lamsey’ and ‘Sampa Lhundupma’ – prayers that wipe out untoward circumstances and bring your heart’s small fortunes. I didn’t fall sick until I had crossed Narphung after I took potato chips. I never touched those chips again until I was in class twelve.
The bus started going down and I saw the vegetation change. My father told me that we were nearing Samdrupjongkhar. We put up at another relative’s place there. It was hot there still and people mostly lazed around with their shirts off, without much work.
We went to do the shopping the next day. I don’t remember anything much and I curse my memory now but I’m writing here as a tribute to my father, who made a point to take each one of us with him. It was his way of showing us the world. My brother and I were talking about it few days back and we wondered over his implicit hard ways of taming a person without actually using any lashes like some people do. He just had to look at you and you wouldn’t dare think of doing a thing any other way that would upset him. He wasn’t terrifying, but he had his power that would hold people in awe. I admired this character my father knew how to hold in his hand.
We came back buying many things to last many months. I bought many kiras, tegos and wonjus. I had never bought many things in my life.
He taught us that we had to see the world for ourselves with our eyes. Even if it was simply sitting with him in the house, or walking to school following his steps, even when he wasn’t talking anything, he had so much to tell us with even the dignity he held in silence.
Trashigang didn’t hold me in wonder. Neither did Samdrupjongkhar. I was only happy that it was my turn to take a trip with my father and he had kept it up till my time. It was a journey that made me discover the heart of a man who had never told me more than to take care. Whenever I went to school, he only told me to study well and to take care. Nothing beyond that and I know he said everything there.

Spoken Love

This is my collection of different expressions of love. The spoken love. You could give your expression there…right, there, this moment.
I love you because I can’t hate you. I can’t hate you because there is nothing in you that I don’t admire. I admire you because you are integrity of honesty and love.
It is wonderful to love you but torturesome to miss you. I have never fallen in love with anyone this way!
When you love someone you feel too wonderful. Even missing that person is a beautiful feeling that you wish you could engrave the feeling forever.
Love is a beautiful feeling you feel for another person. Love is like a hand that mother reaches out for her child when the child wants the heart to rest his tired soul on.

I miss you because I can’t live without you. I miss you because I love you so much. I miss you because I feel so empty without you.

Without you it is just an emptiness of void….a rest of pain…thoughts of loneliness and life without a soul.

Without you, I would never want to see the sun shine, the wind blow, the stars twinkle. And I know without you, I would never be what I’m.

Sweet dreams…if I were an angel, if I had the power of magic, I’d come there right at this moment and love you, for you are mine and you are truly special.

I can love you like that…I can hold you to my heart and make you feel how much I love you.

Love was the warmth that filled my heart. It was the comfort I found in the circle of his embrace. (Luzee to her one love)
That is how sweet I find you. There is no parameter to describe you. I feel it. And when I feel it, it is beautiful…something like a feathery touch. A sweet sensation.
You are the joy of my life. You are more than a life to me.
If to live were to love you and be with you, I would wish to live forever
He swooped with power, talked with dignity and moved with a reason.
You helped me walk through the darkest hours; you pulled me up from the swamp of mess. You made me smile through tears; you made me see the beauty of life.

I appreciate what you do. I trust what you say. And I love you for what you are. I even get surprised to realize that there exists a man, a person so unique and truly made in this world. I can never forget you.
I don’t make you feel good, or happy. You do because you know our love.

Missing him has become a part of my day to day activities. It is not so unusual. I think of him and I feel good because I know he is there thinking of me too.

You love me because I love you. We love each other because we are meant for each other.
Even if there was no tomorrow, I would be happy just to have you. You are all I need.
I would give the world everything I have to be with you tonight. Think of me and I will be there.

When I can trust myself to trust you, why can’t you trust yourself to trust me?

You are all I need because you are the world to me.
To hear what’s unspoken, to see what’s unseen, to feel without touching is the miracle of love.

“Money Talks. No Money, No Honey”

A friend of mine in the US called me this morning. In the middle of the conversation, we picked up an argument about money. He tells me that money buys everything these days. He says that money talks. No money, no honey, eh?
I tell him that there is no point stressing oneself in making money. Yeah, you go there and make big money, but for what? Where does it lead? What does it buy that we can really count for good? For sure it doesn’t buy your way to heaven.
He says that people there earn the amount we earn in a month in a day. So what? The value of a life isn’t measured by what amount of money you own. For sure you pave your way up the ladder and you make friends with those who can help you in your life. But isn’t it temporary? Of course the rich becomes richer. But the humble peasants do not look at them with awe because they have money. Money has become power now. But power doesn’t collect the humanity in its embrace. Honesty doesn’t pay these days, does it? But people who are born good remain good and their mind don’t get stained. Not by anyone’s mind-blowing preaching. They don’t want money that can buy land and buildings, and power.
I think having enough to drive a living is all we want. Didn’t we learn in Gyalse Laglen that we have to leave behind even the body that we have temporarily rented for our soul? Didn’t Jetshuen Milarepa call our body a corpse? My friend argues that it is better to earn the same amount you earn in a month by working without stress in a day by working hard. Working hard always involves stress. I won’t call that living well.
But does money really buy even love? Honey, as my friend calls? I won’t call that love either. Maybe the person you have bought with money could be so artificially and lovingly called honey but I can well see the honey in the edge of a razor. Whether to lick it or not is up to you. 

First Blind Date AND the Metamorphosis


Twins day out – My first blind date
I heard about it when I reached Kanglung in class eleven. Not many of the PU fresher went for this most famous blind date in Sherubtse except those who came from Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School. Coming right from the heart of Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, they were those who have wider eyes in everything they saw around them.
Timid and shy, Sherubtse’s fantasy and dreams of fluffy romance failed to set in my heart any butterflies except that I took away to dreaming a lot and my diary became my best friend. I wrote every small dream, every small event in my diary and I held it dearer to my heart than any person. Oh yes, there was that 83 stuff. Can you believe I was watching that Hindi movie “Dil to Pagal Hai” last night? And I had many romantic dreams. I felt myself getting carried away to those childhood dreams and the belief of a soul mate. I dreamt like that, though there was no particular person. 83 came into picture much later.
Then when I had completed my ISC, I had myself thrown crazy over the band Westlife. If I saw them on TV, I got up even if I were driven sick in bed. I downloaded thousand of their pictures, subscribed to every small links of theirs, bought every single album of theirs and sang their songs. But this soon faded as a teenager’s fantasy. And the girl really became a woman. Oh man, but didn’t they look awesome? When my brother came back from studies, he even brought me their music videos. And my brother’s friend’s girlfriend from Hongkong who studied in Australia sent me their posters. They took place on the walls in my room for a long time. I still have them, though I don’t get carried away like those old times.
I guess it was then that I learnt to talk with the tune of easy flirtations (but purely non-sexual.) When someone talked to you, you had to reply and I needed to learn that I wasn’t dumb. I remember how I still was a person who talked to myself than to others. When we first journeyed to India for our study, I was so engrossed in the novel and hardly took part in the jokes other friends laughed so heartily at. But yes, a person grows. A person learns. I won’t call that change; I would call that growing up. And I did grow up. I think I grew up faster then than I ever did before.
Yes, when we were in first year in VIT our senior girls organized a blind date. It was the Valentine’s Day. There were only handful of guys anyway and we would know each other. I didn’t know my date was Sangay, Nopkin, the CEO of this famous www.nopkin.com, the site that really makes someone’s day everyday. You see, we found that we had very co-incidentally dressed up like twins. We wrote notes on the napkins as we waited for our lunch at Darling Residency. We then went for a movie…a Hindi movie, and I have this disadvantage: I don’t understand Hindi well. Even if there were some romantic conversations, I would have missed to understand any twitch. But the day did go well. I guess he even read some of my crazy writings. (I had my habit of keeping a journal even then and I still have this habit.)
It didn’t set any fire. Ah! Not even a frill of smoke started. But I guess I had had a beginning of a date. Don’t call me a backward person. I had my principles well laid in my mind and I held on it stronger than I believed in anyone’s preaching. And though there were times when people thought I had changed, I knew how closely I still had them intact inside myself. I then learnt that growing up is not so simple as a beautiful butterfly coming out of its pupa but a challenge that involves even your reputation at stake. But I also learnt that if you couldn’t love yourself and know that what you believed was true, you could so easily tumble over the cobblestones of others’ words – because there could be people who could so easily let you doubt yourself.
And yes, that was my first blind date. Am I not lucky to have been the CEO’s Valentine? And that was how I grew up.
Growing up isn’t about changing as people understand. It is about becoming a better you.

Gari Nangka Sho Sogno Sha Cha

Shyam and I waited to cross the road in front of the RICB building. The cars had streamed up from down below as far as we could see.
“Zai, gari tai dasur bu nongmo mala ko,” said I.
“Gari nang ka sho songo sha cha.” Shyam replied nonchalantly. This hit something like a notch inside me. I found myself agreeing with him. But he said it is only in Bhutan. Why shouldn’t Bhutanese have a common sense like any other people? I wondered.
We waited for a long time. Night has already fallen and our friends were waiting at his house. It didn’t take forever but it took almost a lifetime. And when we finally breathed relief, we had many steps more to cover.
There are times you are in a hurry because you have to catch a bus and cars just seem endless. You stand by the road, panic rising up your throat but the drivers who are human don’t seem to see this. They don’t seem to know that a minute missed could be made up with a little more speed later unlike the person whose bus doesn’t wait for her.
I just thought Shyam’s words that the drivers are only “Songo” has a deep meaning. It seems like when you are driving, the common sense gets dribbled by the wheels.

Girls’ Night Out

Leki and Kyangsom walked in, smiles already spreading across the room. When Leki called earlier, she said that she had some work with L and me. Work? I couldn’t get my mind on what work she meant.
“Let us all have dinner together,” we chirped in unison. We called Tenzy, our honey, our doctor. She is known as the teenage doctor in the hospital. Someone remarked that she is still young. She wondered what ‘young’ meant and to bring down her brows I told her that it meant she still looked a sweet-sixteen. She does. Tenzy really is still a kid. Though we never really see any dogs in sight, she complained that she was scared of dogs – and three of us had to wait for her some way across the road between her house and mine.
Four of us let hell loose in my house before we left for dinner. I sure as hell know my mother couldn’t understand the laughter that was almost blasting the walls. Really, the doors creaked and the window sills shook. We are all kinda man-like girls except for Leki who is known for her female daintiness. But we still tried wearing some make-up – at least eyeliner.
Leki did say she had work with me and she did. It wasn’t only with me though. She straight away pulled out two booklets and she meant business. I didn’t have to wonder why she joined Telecom, the big-profit making company. She wanted us to order some girls’ items and we did. But she wanted to hook Tenzy too. I however interrupted them and told them that we could do that when we waited for our dinner in the restaurant.
Before we were at our dinner, we sent our friend Kezang (a business woman) haywire. Talking about marriage, she said she ain’t looking for a young guy with a style but a man (I repeat, a man). (I quote her: “Aai tai fresh graduate, dorma oodawa dufa, tsham wonen fiwa mangi wa, lajan oomtur kaiba tshat pey na"). And our friends Tenzy and Kyangsom couldn’t agree more. They were all smiles. I guess that spoke their thoughts. Leki and I tucked our thoughts aside as we so contently looked on through the items in her shop. We had nothing to worry about.
We looked around in the shop for some sandals. It was Leki who wanted to buy a sandal and when it reached the practical end, Tenzy and I ended up carrying a pair each.
We finally settled down at Chopstick restaurant – a little tired and laughter still sizzling in the air. There was only one empty table at the corner. The restaurant was filled with elderly man. And finally when people at the table near the window stood to go, I noticed that it was our Bhutanese Idol there. I apologized hurriedly that I didn’t see him.
The table was for four and we almost looped around it. We bent our head so intently on choosing an item for the order – we really were going to make Leki feel like a real business woman. She even asked me if I wanted to be one to work on it like her. And I said, a straight forward person like me can’t do business. Tenzy laughed a lot as some funnier lines followed.
Dinner was finally served. But while Tenzy and Kyangsom dreamt with mouthful, their chicken Manchurian and shredded potato were taken away. By then Leki and I had finished our dinner. With more smiles than regret they finished their dinner too. Leki went to pick up her honey because he wanted a hair cut. We waited and chirped a little longer. Tok…tok…tok…Leki joined us. Oh she walks like a woman.
The night was still young. A soft music filled the room. We heard “When we are hungry, Love will keep us alive.” But it seemed like the four women were not very sure if love really would keep them alive when they were hungry. But now that they had their fill, they walked out leaving the restaurant in peace not wishing for a love like that.
(If you want to see the girls I so fondly talk about, I will post their pictures)

A Letter to Tchhoden

I don’t quite know how you would take itBut I know I should show that I careDon’t bend over the past nowCheer up and start a life
Did you talk of love you’ve lost?You don’t buy love, it happensLove leaves when it has’d its shine on youHow long you want to keep its shine is up to you
You cannot cry because love is still in your heartYou have only lost a personIf he thought love isn’t youYou gotta open the door and not look at the closed windows
World doesn’t end with one love lostLove happens just as many times as you wantStand up and get readyLove cannot ride over you and claim a victory.

LIFE’S AFFAIRS

Yanki sat lonely in the Chopstick restaurant. She took the table at the corner overlooking the street below. Time and again she looked out into the street and a cloud of dreamy tiredness hung around her eyes.
Not long after, a lone man walked in. The restaurant wasn’t packed as it usually was. He sat at the other side of the table and ordered for a beer. He looked at her for more than he intended. Yanki noticed that he wasn’t an old sagging man but a smart young man hung down by beer.
Yanki had her dinner and stood to go; and so did he.
He seemed a little peculiar. Why would he drink alone? But of course she was dining alone and he might have had the same reason she did. Yanki never thought that, though love struck like a lightning, it would blow away hearts like thunders. It did and she had to take the pain.
She had been seeing Lotay for six years and they had been childhood friends. Their parents knew about them and their friends thought they were the perfect couple. Perfect was only when the sea was calm. When the wave rose, it stirred the whole ocean. She didn’t cry. Did she think to split from a relationship would break her heart?
She denied all pain and hurt. And for her to know most emotions, she was numb. But she had no catch on her work. Neither could she remain indoors and think of life. She took solace in the solitude among the crowd. Sometime, to just watch the crowd, it takes you away in the dreams of multitude and you forget you are alone.
She met the alcoholic young man at the same restaurant after two weeks. This time the guy looked far too straight and long, and said, “I guess I have seen you somewhere…” and the conversation began.
Oh yes, the hurt heals.
They got married after two months. Lotay cried on the phone, as he congratulated Yanki.
Note** Only when you lose something do you know the worth of it.

“The Truth isn’t Sexy”

Have you sat in the luxuriant bar and admired the beautiful bartender, looked at her sexy backside and thought, “I wish she were mine?”
These days, people always associate things with the idea of fun. And when they feel, some things are gonna be fun, they don’t hesitate much. They don’t linger long to think of how long the fun is gonna last.
Have girls really become a commodity? You know my friends and I were talking about it and a friend of mine told me, “Before, I had the notion like you, but I have come to accept it now. You gotta accept the reality. This is how it has become now.” When I asked, “What about the guilt?” He said that people get used to it and start finding it normal.
I know principles cannot be rigidly defined according to one person. Different person has different principles but I’m sure there are basic telling of the conscience that differentiates good and bad, and the dos and don’ts. When you aren’t sure that what you are going to indulge in is right, you get the guilt. Something pricks inside your mind and you aren’t at peace. And I would say, everything that causes that is against the principle. No matter how strongly you try to defend yourself, the hinge of the truth doesn’t even crack easily. It may not lock the door permanently but it doesn’t break.
I guess I have lived too long in the delusion but, I’m sure this that is delusion for others is reality for me.
I was reading the September issue of NewInternational magazine which talks mainly about sex trafficking and prostitution. This made me think of things I have thought I shouldn’t write. But I won’t argue about who should do what and why.
Yes, when you come to know the truth of those beautiful bartenders smiling sweetly at you, with an inviting look, you wouldn’t feel so tantalized. Many don’t choose to become a sex-worker. They are forced. There are few who out of desperation for money, or other need, choose to take it as a job. When you know that the sexy girl standing over there, looking at you almost drinking you up in her eyes, is an orphan who had to look after her younger siblings, you would get a second thought to ponder on.  The truth isn’t sexy.
Inspired by stories from NewInternational, September 2007

Instantaneous Thoughts: On Friendship

I don’t forget my friends. The nice things they are. Even if they turn away from me and hate me, the good things they have done always remain good. It doesn’t change.***********************************
Friendship is something you can’t put at stake. You live and make sacrifices but you don’t just throw friendship into fire.***********************************
I was lying on a bed (in the hospital) when I came back…I looked around in wide eyes…he was sitting beside my bed. God knows for how long! I fell back into another long hours of drowsiness and unconsciousness as I felt him holding my hands. I was happy that he was there with me. Friends – aren’t they beautiful? They are there with you no matter what.
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Life is not always beautiful but the few beautiful moments are too remarkable to forget…and it all centers around our friends. Without friends life would be a darn hell…you agree with me? I know you do.
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Friendship bridges two hearts into a harmonic rhythm of their beat such that they can feel exactly the same. Friendship flowers but never dies.
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At the most poignant situation, you are my beacon of hope. You have proved to be a very true friend.
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It is not always you meet a nice friend. When I met my friends in Vellore, I couldn’t call myself more lucky.
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In life we meet lot of people but make friends with few. Few of them touch our life in such a way that their presence is felt even in their absence.
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Friendship is no big time favor, nor a courteous duty but a gift. Not a small hurt, nor a big one can shatter it.
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Step mom

Yanki grew up in the suburb where not many things happened. Even as a young girl, she was known for her art in weaving and the right she could stand for. She turned down many wooers. Not her mother’s continuous talk could convince her. She wanted to be only one thing she long dreamt of.

As the winds blew among the banana trees, the only sound in the silent community was the intermittent sound of her weaving. She hummed the tune of “La dochu lamo geydi jo da lu” and little did she worry about her future.

As she wove the beautiful designs on the kira, her mind intricately wove with it in the imaginations of life where serenity would be the beauty to adorn a morning.  She was away from her mother, working so hard on finishing a kira in a week for the tshechu when a man walked in with her neighbor ata Taupo. No, she didn’t meet him before.

Was she out of her mind? When she realized that night, she had agreed to marry the man when he asked her for her hand. Why him? She didn’t have to know his history. She could see the hard lines on his face which told her that he hadn’t been born yesterday. They wed and she was to be the step mom of four children.

Life changed. Her dreams flew far behind the mountain and not even the morning sunshine could bring with it any hope of living it again. Always a person who worked for perfection in her art, she strived hard – rather too hard. The people in the new neighborhood (her husband’s village) exclaimed at her hard work. She made sure they didn’t have a penny due to pay anyone. Working hard day and night, even carrying her baby on her back, all she could look for was the next day without much of a glimmer in her eyes.

Her step-children didn’t appreciate her working hard for them. They didn’t see much of a value in her trying to be good to them. No matter how hard she tried, the standard that a society’s convention had long been awarded to a step-mom always remained unchanged. And even the gold that she touched was equaled to a dust.  

Love, The Rhythm of Heartbeat

Hi Honey, I write. Oh yes, you haven’t got to break your neck wondering about how the technology works. No matter where someone is, internet does wonder of taking your word right there in a second. But this miracle doesn’t do much wonder when love really isn’t the beating of a single heart alone.  
And yes, I will do myself a justice by writing the unscrupulous mischief people plan at the back here. There is some pretence, a person who cannot show his face here trying crappy things. I wrote, “You have written to the wrong person” and I tell him here again that he really has. There are men who aren’t looking at life from more angles than fun. These days, reading Ayan Rand’s book is giving me more conviction than I could ever have thought of, in why I should stand on my right. Right? Yes, the right each person has. What we do is what we do and if we have earned it by our right, why should someone squeeze their pupils out and wonder why? This isn’t out of context. This is one thing that makes me sure that when I talk love, it isn’t about thread of a cloud that disappears at the sunshine but is the heart’s beat that doesn’t stop for a moment – the very essence that keeps us alive.  
Love yes, is more than the beating of one heart alone. There is the other heart which is the stimulus and vice versa. Didn’t someone say the feeling of missing someone is love? I have myself convinced more than ever these days. You aren’t gonna sneer at me like that guys. You know it too.
How many times can you write, “I miss you and I wish you were here?” Yes we can do as long as we want. And sometimes that is the best you can tell yourself and the other person. Isn’t distance a factor that makes love fragile? Once someone wrote, “Distance washes the very essence of the heart – the closeness. And closeness is more of a love than itself…../ Distance shatters with it the very speed and time of the timeless love which lovers whisper to each other.”  
But at this moment, I would like to believe that distance doesn’t shatter the closeness two hearts share. And it doesn’t if you are sure, love you hold is really the timeless love, not just whispered but true. Hell no, distance isn’t something that makes you forget your heart is beating not only for yourself but for the person you love and that it is only when your heart is beating in the same rhythm with that of the person you love that it creates a melody and a string that attaches more of life than love alone.   
Distance rather stands as a marker, a reminder that you have every reason to miss him; every reason to feel alone; every reason to be strong; and every reason to be yourself. The person who loves you knows who you are and you don’t have to win him all your life. The moment he falls in love with you, he knows you don’t need never try and convince him that you are the best.  This is why I keep telling you that love doesn’t take much, it only takes you.  
Haven’t many big men in the history believed that love is the strongest emotion that a person needs to feel? I guess, love really can move a mountain. When you feel it in your heart, it doesn’t only sing there. Its rhythm’s melody binds the world. 

Dining out with Shyam and Nopkin (Wednesday)

Try as I might, I couldn’t help but write here. I told Shyam that I won’t write in Nopkin.com for a few days. But here I’m and it is about him and Nopkin and I hope he will be happy.
Oh man! No, I haven’t an expression. As blank as the wall, I will try to do justice in my own way.
Shyam called when it was five O’clock. He said, “Call me when you are near my office.”
I said, I will give you a missed call and I did, but he waved and asked me to come to his office.
 He was waiting for a woman who was coming to pick her laptop.
But how long? The dusk crept in and Nopkin called again.
 I wasn’t worried, but I thought Nopkin must be almost attending his patience’s funeral (to borrow Diva’s words). We got a lift and forgot about the walk we promised.
We met in town…and decided we would dine out.
It was a nice dinner and we had our fill. But it was Shyam who had to pay again. He gets more than anyone of us anyway, I consoled.
 Nopkin wanted to borrow a movie CD, but he had no luck. We left Osang and crossed the road.
We talked of Dankala and giving him a surprise, but of course we better behave, we all said.
They walked me home. It has no western connotation. They turned back but they said, “Where should we go now?” I said they could call our only exceptional lady of Nopkin. Probably, they might get a ride too.
Oh yes, but it was a beautiful dinner.

Shedding Innocence

She is only eleven years old and studying in class seven. Which class was I in when I was eleven? I guess I was much older when I was in class seven but I think I had more innocence then, than she does now. I didn’t even hear of computers then, whereas she can use computer, use internet and chat online. She can draw and write stories. Did I do that? Yes, I definitely did. The small cave below my hostel in Tashigang was my resort.
I sat under that cave and wrote poems. Madam Ganga taught me Geography and I wasn’t a fool then not to believe about the world spinning around its own axis and the like. But I still had hard time studying maps and locating national parks, passes, and rivers. It was because what was captured in the map so small was actually vast beyond my imagination.
As I went through the sketches of this nine year old girl, I thought, this is how we grow up. We come to the world without knowing anything and it is a wonder how our brain develops. I looked at it and felt my heart swelling within me. It was more than I could bear in the closed moment of so brief a time.
As we grow up, we leave the innocence such as asking ‘where does the moon sleep?’ – (asked the niece of one of my friends). We also leave behind the innocence of smiling sweetly without malice.
I looked at the morning sunshine and wondered of the vastness of the sky. I wondered that there was only one sun and yet, it covered the whole world. Even as I herded cattle in the vast stretch of forests, I lay down and read stories and wondered in more worlds than I could imagine. But it was only innocence which allowed me that luxury. Now, before I can even step outside the threshold of my thought, I have another striking it off. I wonder, but I always have to come back home.

Gossiping, is it a Feminine Character?

It is Monday morning but being a government holiday, I didn’t get up until my mother woke me up at 7:20am. I had different dreams…one time I was at my home in Menchari. Another time I was with my friends and yet another time I was with someone else. Even in the dreams, something like a rumor, a gossip surrounded me and had me wondering if something had gone wrong. (I really was; I ain’t trying to exaggerate my feeling).
It is usually when a man is found talking nonesensical things such as gossip that a fellow man tells him he talks like a woman (the phrase often used is, ‘amsu morem zum’). Just as when I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday evening, I wondered if this is true. Hasn’t it become the very root of everyone? I find men chattering about who they met, how they wooed or how they cheated them into bed. And I don’t call that sensible. My friend and I often talk about why men have to take pride in thing such as this. They sought pleasure alone, and when they have got it, why should what happened even be shared with his friends? If it is talked as any other thing without irony and contempt it could be accepted but it is with pride and contempt that they talk about it. It is as if their manliness is measured by how many women they can actually attract and woo. Of course there is no denying that men are the ones who can easily make a promise even when they know they are lying. But I ain’t trying to say all men are like that. There are few who respect the lives of others as much as theirs. They are the true man.
If you refute this, I would know you are lamely trying to escape from the truth. I have seen men do that. I have heard them do it too.
We have a saying that when women are together, they talk about men and when men are together they talk about sex. And I wonder if it ain’t true. Nothing is without a grain of truth of course. Even a joke has some meaning, doesn’t it?
When women are together, they talk about who is seeing who. They talk about who is smart and who isn’t. But they don’t talk about things that would strip someone’s reputation. Their gossip is often harmless murmur of their hearts. And it is often about themselves.
You know, during that Zhabto work at Dechenphug, 5457 had me carry the stones as heavy as the ones they carried, telling me that it was gender equality. Now, don’t point fingers, and try to say that it is women who gossip, because men gossip as much and of filthier things.
Eh? But really, someone gossips and next minute it is around the whole society. The rumors spread far and wide in a minute. As my brother said, rumor really is one form of news medium in Bhutan. What say you? 

All I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM

It is now 10:21am and I have been listening to this song “All I have to do is dream” for may be, the 20th time. I usually take breakfast but I ain’t really in the mood today. My mother went forkora and my niece left to meet her mother’s sister. It is as if this song knew exactly how I felt. Oh yes, as mellow as I get, I cry just listening to such songs sometimes.
Even as I’m typing this article, the song is so melodically sinking deep down in my heart. It is as if it knew what I would like to hear and is talking just that. Yes, “whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream…./I can make you mine, taste your lips of wine, anytime day or night.”
Sometimes you just feel like you aren’t yourself but it doesn’t take much to know what you are feeling. You listen to a song and that is all it takes to talk to yourself. Sometimes friends don’t have to be friends who can respond verbally…we can silently speak to even songs as it speaks to us. You can write down letters and as you do so, speak to yourself and the person you want to. It doesn’t have to be sparkling diamonds…it only takes your heart. You.
Everyone has perceived love to some extent and different people may have different opinion but I feel love isn’t what your lovers/husbands buy for you, not what gifts he offers you, not sweet talks and promises he swears to fulfill, but the glitter of hope and longing that sets in your hearts in both his presence and absence. The biggest of love is the one that has the capability to make you feel drowned in nothing but the thought of wanting nothing in the world but his love. You don’t tell the person you are dating that you want this and that, that he should let you be. When the love so naturally flows and finds place in the two hearts, it just simulates the heart beats and synchronizes the life’s flow exactly as you would have wanted.
But it is not without your doing nothing. When you love someone, you just don’t kill yourself, trying to find ways of impressing him. The best thing you can do to yourself and him is to be yourself and hold no secrets. Be yourself! – How many times have we always spoken this to ourselves? Yes, being yourself is the best you can do and be. It is when you are yourself that you are at your best. And when you are dating someone, and you have only tried to impress him with a borrowed character, one day you will have to send it back to wherever you borrowed it from and when you show your true colors, there will be turbulence that you didn’t want. So be yourself. Yes, all we have to do is dream…in the nakedness of our true self. 

The Man I Loved Behind the Mask

I don’t know if it was my fate. I don’t know if it was my creation. But I fell in love with a person I couldn’t really see. Who was he and why did he choose me?
It all started that fateful day I was at my friend’s for dinner. Not a soul would have thought something like what happened would happen. I couldn’t catch it in my hand and throw it out but I had only one choice and that was to catch it and hold on it like it would pain me to part with it. Of course it would have pained me to part with it like it pains me now.
There was this man I couldn’t have thought possible to fall for. Do you set a criterion as to what kinda man you would fall for? If you are doing that, drop it. Because it ain’t gonna work, not that way. When it comes, it comes with a gush of its own force and you lie there, not really knowing what swept over you. You really remain a little enchanted. I can see, many people in nopkin have already become like this. And I hope all of you will have your love returned in not many days from now.
Oh yes, the man I loved was…hmm, I wonder if I should really get so candid. He had a marital status that I couldn’t understand and discuss with others. He had family that I was sure wouldn’t accept a girl like me. Don’t talk about the age gap because that isn’t a matter I cannot solve. It is not important. This man I loved had something I could not touch and yet, every time I looked at him, it had me flying in the thoughts I never thought before. The man sat before me and all I could think of was “I love this man.” But for what? And why? The man wore a mask I couldn’t take off. He hid behind the mask something I could not name. But no matter what, no matter what mask he wore, I loved him and I knew I could risk knowing him more. That was when I said yes, when he asked, “Will you marry me?”
I wasn’t blind I know because the man I loved behind the mask was a man I had long dreamt of growing old with. But I sit here alone now, looking over the years I had known him. I know it wasn’t his mistake, not mine either. It hurt us but we had to part ways and part ways we did. I don’t know where he is now and if he has married again…but I still think of him and those moments I knew him. I have no one but my daughter. She calls me “Mommy” and it is not her voice but his that I hear. Every time I see her, it is his face I see. She is a gift he left and I know he will live with me for more than a lifetime.
P.S. My gratitude and acknowledgement to my friend for giving me the idea and the title.

Dinner at Shyam’s – Birthday Bumps to Luzee

As usual, we will be meeting at Shyam’s tomorrow evening. But the occasion is going to be a little different this time. During the Kheww, Luzee had guys staring at her with I-wish-she-were-mine thought. I cannot say what show she is gonna put up tomorrow. But guys, I tell you, you really are gonna have a treat.
Tomorrow is Luzee’s birthday as you might have seen here at this site at “Whose birthday is tomorrow?” I am not intending to put color on anything but I thought I should as well write something when my lunch break is dragging me to drowsiness. It is better to dream than sleep a dreamless sleep. So I’m here dreaming tomorrow’s dinner.
I won’t say how old Luzee is gonna be tomorrow but she sure is in for some heavy birthday bumps. Don’t worry you have never even touched her. You will see how you feel when you touch her. Tomorrow is the day for sure. NATO is gonna see another stroke of hard-dance. Luzee is going to be the queen of the night tomorrow. Let her be the queen, if at least for a night. What is there, right?
L as I know her isn’t only a person who talks and talks and talks. You have to know that what we talk isn’t feminine gossip. We talk of life and science, Buddhism and death. So, don’t worry, we aren’t gonna tear your eardrums tomorrow but you are in a watch to see what is going to happen. I hope Shyam’s walls are strong enough. We aren’t planning to break them down but we are sure planning to have a blast. I on behalf of L would like to extend a hearty invitation to everyone out there. Nopkin.com isn’t just for the few of us who always crack laughter…we extend our embrace to one and all who reside in here. We are in for a friend…so you could as well take our hand. 
A very happy birthday to L. Just when she was about to have the big day, she has held hands with the man she loves. We pray that she doesn’t have to hope that the stars would twinkle forever but that she would find love in her heart for “forever and a day.”

Why is it this way?

If it can be this way, why can’t it be that way?
If I can be here, why can’t I be somewhere else?If I love him, why can’t I love everyone else?If there is no bad, where can the good be?If there is no suffering, where can the happiness be?

I go out for my day’s work, return home and all I get is this whimper of cry from within that there is so much I can do…and I haven’t started.

If he feels good to be this way, if it is what he wants, why shouldn’t he be this way? “What is the matter with you?”

If I’m comfortable being what I’m and if it doesn’t affect the sense of humanity, why the hell should I bother at all?

If we don’t like each other and never got along for the reason that never existed, then, why should it make him or me a bad man?

I sit here like I’m all the man the world is for. And I sit like I have all the time when the time just slips out of my hand. Isn’t it time I stood and found out what I could do?

The Sun shines. The insect cricks. The stars twinkle. The wind blows. The waves waver. The time sails. And the life just goes on. We age. We near our deathbed. We didn’t have time to think of why we age, why we become weaker or why we have to die…but where were we then? Haven’t we asked enough questions?

(Excerpt from my journal: These were thoughts I couldn’t help defy when I was in college. I just note them down here again because I’m sure many are getting the same questions and would like to discuss.)

Difference of a carefree Student and a Working Woman

I get up at six, prepare breakfast for my niece and nephew and I sit for prayer. I stand up to get ready for office and then I realize how hurried life is. But amidst the buzz of flying time, I feel  my heart  sinking.
No, I haven’t been alone for long. So I won’t talk of missing anyone. Not here. But you gotta understand what your heart feels when you miss someone. Actually, nothing leaves me space to feel the absence, just the pinch of void that snatches the taste in things. I have taken every responsibility of a mother now, just that I haven’t a child myself. Even before I knew I had become a woman, responsibility came in a torrent of sudden steepness, stumbling on my shoulder. I had no choice but to take them – and no, of course I am not complaining. I just feel the difference of being a carefree student and a working woman. I haven’t changed much, except that now I earn and I look after myself and some of my relatives.
I get a call and it is my brother. Has he something urgent to call me for? It is something he wants me to do. Oh yes, I have to run to the hospital before I can have breakfast and go requesting a doctor I know about some help I need urgently. Then, I have to call up another relative and ask if she is doing fine and find she is sick.
My sister has sent me a parcel all the way from village and have to go looking for the house of that person through whom she has sent the parcel and my morning is gone there. I have to rush to the kitchen and grab a quick breakfast. Oh yes,this is life once you get a job and you are on your own. When you are a student, you have no idea that your parents, your elder brothers and sisters are running through such frenzied schedule. It is only when you are doing it yourself that you realize how hard it must have been for them.
I have realized that, being a woman is harder than being a girl. And being responsible is harder than being casual. And knowing life is harder than looking at the sun shine or the sun set. It isn’t like watching the dancing clouds. You sit at the door step and wait till the sun set but your thought doesn’t take you anywhere longer. You have to be back in the house and see that everything is ready and taken care of. Except for the small moments I catch to laugh with my friends in nopkin this is the life I lead. 

Love at First Sight

I was on my holidays. I went to meet my friends. It was little known to me that there were group of Bhutanese students studying there. I was unprepared and naïve that such a thing would happen to me.
I went to my friend Kencho’s college. He told me that he wanted me to meet his friends. There was this guy, standing tall and you know…the guy was cool. Kencho introduced him to me as Pema. I was struck by his physique, the height and the way he was speaking. He sounded a crazy kind of a guy but smart. He spoke like he was outta control. We spent some time with him and we chatted on some trivial matters just to make the conversation go on. Let me add that, more often than not, we met…hmm…what do you call that? An eye contact. Yeah, I caught him looking at me. I guess, that meant I was looking at him too. The time wasn’t very long but long enough for me to know that something was going on. He took little notice if he knew what was going on in my mind. But I am not that hot-headed girl who would run crazy over such a feeling. I was sitting next to him and I took my place firmly. Even if I was sure, I loved him, I would not have let him know that. Not in the first meeting. Who could trust such a feeling? I couldn’t. I thought it could be just a passing fancy, an infatuation. A mere attraction. He was sitting next to me, almost touching me. Whether that was love or not, I never felt something like that. If I did, I don’t remember.
Then it was around 1:00pm and it was time that we went back. We bid them goodbye and some shook hands and parted. People didn’t know that something was tightening my heart into a knot. It felt heavy and down. I was thinking, “what if I never see him again?” My steps were heavy and dragging. We went to an internet café and chatted with some friends online for sometime. Surprisingly, when we came out of the café, there he was, standing at the other side of the road. I asked Kencho, “Ain’t that Pema?” I felt a little uncomfortable to say his name and I was even scared that Kencho would notice it. You don’t know how happy I was. Just a few hours back, I was with fear that I might not see him again and there he was. He went with us to our place. We had our lunch and a little more time chatting again. I was sure there was something going on between us – like the way he was giving me the look…
We were going away to another place but he couldn’t accompany us. He had classes the next day. My heart sank as I lost sight of him. I resumed the talks with my friend with the fear that he might think something was amiss but I had nothing or little to talk with him. Throughout my journey and all night through, I couldn’t help thinking about him. I couldn’t really differentiate whether it was my dream or my thoughts – because no sooner did I close my eyes than I saw him. I was drowned in an emotion strange and unknown. I had no idea I would fall in love too and that I would encounter it at the most unlikely moment. The next day, we began wandering around the place. We were in a bus with other people who have come on holiday at that place. We shared everything from a scratch to a mole on philosophy, life, spiritualism, love and studies. I even mentioned about Pema from time to time. I told him that liked him but he didn’t believe me. He took it for a joke because he thought it was impossible for me to love a guy like him – since Pema was kinda offhanded, cocky and without manners.  The truth was only within me. But there was this nice man who I was about to go out with. People told me endless times about how nice he was. They didn’t know that you can’t love the goodness of a man but have to love the man, the person. Even if I tried telling him that I loved Pema, he wouldn’t have believed me. So I didn’t even want to try convincing him. What was the point?
The places we visited were so beautiful: the lakes, the meadows, the serene mountains…you would know how it feels to see such beautiful places when you’re in love. You couldn’t miss the person more. It was sensualizing in some quiet ways and it took my breath away. I thought, that explained why all the tourists there were couples.

I had not called Tshering, the guy I was about dating then.  I felt little guilt. What could I do? You shouldn’t judge me so fast. You will know how it feels when you’re involved with a guy you don’t love and the guy you love is so near. Time was passing so fast and I had not seen Pema for days now. He was busy with his classes. I gave every reason. I told myself that I couldn’t love him. I even reasoned that he probably must be already seeing someone. That he wasn’t my type of person. But none of them worked. My holiday was drawing closer to an end and I had only two days left to stay there when surprisingly, Kencho told me that Pema wanted us to come for dinner. I couldn’t believe it but he was there at 7:30pm. Goodness! How could you take your eyes off a man, when you see him so attractive, standing right in front of you?
We talked of classes, movies, musics, novels…etc. somehow he was sitting next to me again. The man was restless. I didn’t know what he was up to. He dangled his legs; drummed his fingers on the table, looked here and there. He made such queer faces at me. I couldn’t dare ask if this was his normal self. We were almost at the end of our dinner when he assumed a serious expression, turned to me and asked me questions like if I had a boyfriend. You could very well guess the rest. You know that I loved him.

Lonely Visitor

The rays of the morning sun reflected over the surface of the still ocean. It’s a beautiful morning. You look at it and you feel like you are drowning in the emotion that makes you drugged. You would feel the miracle of morning breeze, the smell of the ocean adding the charm. Suddenly a figure appeared: 5.9, well built and looked like a real macho. But when you looked closer at him, you could see the lines on his face that only worries and sorrows would bring. He jogged quietly and his appearance could make you almost lonely. The beach was at an utter silence except for that lonely visitor. He looked around, as if to see if there was anyone following him.
After 20 minutes of his jog, he went away with hint of a mocking smile but there wasn’t any contentment. He needed human company. This was what the observers felt. He disappeared behind the palm trees and no one knew where he lived. No one knew his purpose of his appearance in that community. He wasn’t anywhere during the day. He must be at home doing whatever he was doing.
The sun inclined towards the western horizon and there he would appear again – just taking a walk. People looked at him but no one spoke to him. One day, I decided to approach him and make friends. It was after two weeks of his arrival there. I did and he was nice. He was even kind and harmless. He talked but little. All I could learn was that he was on a holiday and he was alone. He said he was going back in a week. He promised to write to me after he left.
When he left I felt sad that I didn’t know him more, couldn’t befriend him close and couldn’t even relieve him of the worries that knit his brows closer all the time. My new friend left before I knew if there was anything I could do for him.
It was after a year of his departure that I received a small chit from him. He said, he was in prison, and “I’m soon going to heaven.” Whatever it meant, I cried. I thought he was someone accused of a crime, whether he committed it or not and he was on the seat of prosecution. I limped into my chair as the chit fell from my numb hands. If I knew it earlier, I would have at least rendered the human heart a compassion. Or at least let him know that he wasn’t seen as the other part of the world saw him. That was all I knew of the lonely visitor…and I miss him even now when I look out of my window and listen to the sounds of the waves. (November 19, 2003, 7:20am)

A Moment Alone – Identifying Reality

I walked home alone. I thought of calling Shyam but he said he would be busy with the work on GIS Exhibition,so I didn’t bother him. But did I call a friend?  There are moments when you don’t know who is your friend and who isn’t – it is all a sham.
As I walked alone, chanting ‘Baza Guru,’ a sudden memory of my childhood struck me right in the middle. I thought of that nine year old girl, walking amidst the lemon grass and pine trees fervently praying and wishing that no grossly thing such as an attack by a wild animal would happen. I remembered climbing up the steep hill taking a short cut when I went to school in Bidung. I remembered of the many frightening Friday evenings I went home when the many ghost stories attacked my mind.
I was a little late of catching the bus. When it was exactly 18:00 hours, and I was near the Langjophakha bridge my office car stopped. Why should he give me a lift today? I said I was going on foot and the car swooped past. I stopped to note down the time and the moment in my notepad on the culvert and the Thimphu River flowed with a joy of its own with a ‘shor, shor’ sound. I sat a little longer and listened to its sound because it gave me a peculiar feeling of peace. It made me closer to nature than possible in the midst of speeding cars.
Over the bridge I stopped to note down another moment and two young soldiers looked at me in strange curiosity. I walked past without much thought. They probably found it strange to find a girl walking alone when it was dusk and noting down something as if she couldn’t afford to forget.
I crossed the Chubachu roundabout. As I met three monks walking by, holding hands, giving me no space on the footpath, I guess I forgot to pay them any respect. A while later at 18:18 hours, I walked past the huts in front of Chubachu School. Two women sat by the footpath cleaning rice. I smelled of a meat cooked somewhere (I don’t take meat – so it didn’t give me any temptation whatsoever, even though I didn’t have my lunch). Dusk was falling fast and lights have already been turned on at Jambayang Resort at the other side of the river.
As I walked by the town, I looked down at the big drain near Druk Shopping Complex that we cleaned two months back and found it all dirty but it gave me no surprise. I passed by a couple walking by in deep conversation. I caught the girl smiling shyly and looking at the man at her side as if seeking approval. Soon as I crossed the road in front of Norling Building, I was swamped in the line of Indians. I had to cross the road again. There was the traffic police standing in front of Plums Building and I made sure I crossed the road from the Zebra crossing. Does anyone care about the rules these days?
As I neared Thimphu Chorten, there was a swift moment where Dankala’s thought passed by. The lone vendor still sat at the footpath. I bought a small packet of ground nut from her. I stood still and prayed for a short moment in front of the chorten. (Whenever a good deep thought sink down in me, I just touch my forehead and heart in a prayer and this is what I did there.) Then I munched the groundnut all the way.
I thought of this moment when L and I went for a lunch with our friend one day and found she was wearing perfume. “You started wearing perfume now?” I asked. She said, she was using …..perfume (I forgot whatever the name it was) and that she has come to like it. I thought, when did L start naming brands? But then, again I thought this must be life – life that is a journey and a continuous change.
Finally at 18:55 hours I knocked on the door at home. There was no one at home except my 13 year old niece. This is reality of course. I dreamt all the way home and as I parsed through my thoughts I found myself getting hurt for no reason at times and I also found myself giving reasons why I should be what I’m.

A FATHER TO A SON

He never saw his father. He didn’t have the memory of playing catch with his father. He never knew how it was to grow up with a father around. He left him even before he saw the world. Where is he now?
His mother loved him so much and single handedly she brought up into a fine young man. It wasn’t until he was three years old when he was at his friend’s birthday party that he knew it. That night, he asked his mother where his father was. She told him that he was gone for studies and would return soon. But he never returned. His mother later explained why they were alone when he was in class five. Then he knew he would never have someone to call by that name. But he never had time to feel the missing, except when there was functions at school and his friends’ fathers came to cheer them and pick them up. He never knew how it felt to have a father to run to after winning a game.
He didn’t feel the loss much. His mother did everything to give him the best life. He now looked at his mother as the epitome of love and the crux of life. She was the one who gave him everything and it was for her that he was where he was today.
A loner within, he never hanged out much with others. He socialized little even when he was in high school and when his friends had time to write love letters, he had no such luxury. He buried himself in his dairies and poured out his heart there. He was a dreamer and he knew he would see beyond those mountains that surrounded his school one day. He hid behind the school building and prayed even as the sun started to shine from above that mountain.
He dreaded to become a father, just because he didn’t want to fail his children. But when he was 28, he met the woman who changed everything he ever believed to be wrong.  He fell in love with Yanki. Yanki was a woman who knew how to carry herself. She wasn’t that kind who showed herself and exaggerated her beauty but a woman who shined with her wisdom. And not many saw it except those who had the vision like Lotay. A dreamer he was, he now poured out his heart to Yanki and they married to live happily. Their happiness was showered with another blessing when she gave birth to a son.
Now as you walk by their house, you will see Lotay and Yanki sitting on the bench outside their house in Motithang, watching their son play, running around and swinging in the dream he will float one day.
Lotay made sure his son had everything he didn’t. He made sure he was there at every small function his son had. He clung on his son like he would have done to his father. He was in love once again and as his son was born, he fell in love all over again with Yanki. Many husbands change the way they treat their wives after the first-born, but Lotay loved her even more.
Lotay’s father must be somewhere and he must be living a life of his own, not knowing that he had a son who had now grown up to be a father and a successful man. But does he deserve to know him at all? Does he deserve to even call him his son? I know this is painful but it is always better to forgive things we cannot have the power to hold in our hands. Call it fate and send your good wishes his way. This sure was what Lotay did. A fine man, he knew he could never hate his father. As he went to his son’s school on the result declaration day and his son stood first in his class, he cried silently and wished he had his father standing proudly when he topped his class…

Much Talked Kheww: Nopkin and his counselling

It is 13:22 hours and I was just woken up from a deep slumber by that persisting ringing of my phone. Who is this urging me to get up when I’m dreaming so beautifully? Oh but…it must be the call.
When we finally got out from Shyam’s house, it was past eleven and we were little disheartened because in the last minute, many were complaining of cold and put in reasons of not being able to make up for the Kneww or the Zhabto. But the few of us walked with a big heart and optimism and it really wasn’t bad. There were only eight of us for the Zhabto but it couldn’t have gone better even if there were 20. We laughed and as the joke trickled down like the sweat in our brow, we carried the stones and it was as if we really carried the moral of the story “Tom white washes the fence”, the story we studied in class ten. The heat made it a little hard but we had the the light side of everything and there was a joke associated with even each stone we carried. There was a light refreshent in between of Appy, Fruiti, Lays etc. and then later at two, we had a nice feast of lunch near the Laptsa (it is marked by a small chorten by the road).
We had a nice lunch and then we lay down, stretched our legs and looked up at the sky. Oh how beautiful everything is! I for some reasons seemed to think of nothing else except embracing myself closer than ever to peace. I felt peace shining in everyone’s face too. But we got into our cars as we saw the smog of clouds hovering over the mountains behind Kabisa and Begana. There wasn’t more than a dizzle though.
We waited longer than our patience allowed us for the rest of the guys who were joining us for the Kneww for the evening in Dechencholing. And we decided to cancel it, when finally Nopkin walked out from the car with much like out of the dream.
Looks like, it is going to get longer than I assumed but I have made up my mind to keep going. So guys, read how the kheww went:
We pitched the tent before a little short of dusk. Then we descended down the slope to where the kheww was to be. The lavish supply of Bangchang (locally brewwed wine) took our guys to some near heaven before kheww was ready.
Luzee and I got the privilege to be the first one to kheww (being only girls)…as our beautiful lady took off the shawl to get in, the wow look in our guys almost took me to a surreal belief that oh, yes, Luzee should have been a model. We had the beautiful entertainment of Dhongs at the other side of stream dancing with taking his legs as high up as he could. And there was Nopkin with his expression of “Wow, Classic Shot!!” until I felt a little giddy and got out of the wa (wooden tub). As 5457, Nopkin and Luzee enjoyed the kheww, I stood near the fire, all damp, thinking of the thoughts I knew wouldn’t bring any miracle but wished it would. For some unknown reason, emotion engulfed me and I felt tears in my eyes. Oh yes, there was someone I wished were present then. I held him to my heart and I sure thought of him in the closest way possible.
Nopkin was the one who was really in heaven. I cannot describe here his expressions but you would laugh as much as we did if you saw him. He said all of us would come to him one day, knocking on his door, asking him for suggestions and advice. He said, he would be a marriage consultant and a counsellor one day. NATO said he is a failed consultant but Nopkin sounded true. He had truth in his words and I thought he wasn’t drunk but he was speaking his heart out only then. I won’t get into deep detail but all of us were in some levels above the earth.
It was 12:46 am when we finally went to bed and when we all slumbered softly, we all carried one common feeling and it was the feeling of peace.
Heaven might not have descended on earth today, but angels really were hovering above us. Luzee and I said we should keep our circle of friends in all years to come and enjoy this way, but 5457 said, it is not going to take us anywhere. So we might as well walk the path everyone has done. But for now, this doesn’t give us the luxury of anything but happiness. And that is all we need.
Oh yes, the call was from my relative: she is coming here and she wants to have lunch here but I’m still a little hazy over the accomplished dream of kheww and I want the peace I knew then to last a little longer. So let me dream…

Sl. No.
People Present for Zhabto
People Present for Kheww
1
Luzee
Luzee
2
Kyangsom
Nopkin
3
Kuenza
Kuenza
4
MeritOcean (couldn’t come to Kheww since he is suffering from a bad cold)
NATO
5
5457
5457
6
Denim
Dhongs
7
Shyam
Shyam
8
Kampan
Kampan
9

DSO
10

DSO’s friend

The Wrong Miracle

Dankala knocked on the door and was greeted by his wife Yanki with a smile that could melt anyone’s heart. He just dropped his bag, hugged and kissed her. He had indeed missed her so much.
They had been married for five years but didn’t have any child. They didn’t panick that it must be something they should count as anti-blessing. Unlike 5457, they were not worried of the incapacity. Was it incapacity really?
Over the hot steaming tea, they talked of his trip abroad (for my own reason, I’m omitting the name of the place). Was it interesting, his wife asked. Interesting? He took a moment too long to answer. He then took her hand in his and looked at her straight in the eye. He nodded, “Yes it was interesting, except that I missed you so much. Not in any crowd could I find anyone like you.”
He seemed unusually drawn in his thoughts but she thought he was tired because of the journey. So she just tended to household work and didn’t bother him with questions. Of course she wasn’t suspecting anything.
Next day was their anniversary. This was the day they paired up and the day they married after seeing each other for three years. Then, both of them were in college and young. They weren’t very old now but age seemed to have caught on him today. She had woven a mentshi mathra gho especially for this day. But even as she gave him the new gho, he only had a wry, meek smile and a swift kiss on her lips with a not-so-loud thank you.
Was he really keeping something from her? But what? What could be so painful for him to confess? One day, she called him at his office and found he wasn’t there. Was he having an affair? But later in the evening, he told her that he was at the hospital. What for? She never got his answer.
The days wore on and the next month, his wife had a surprise for him. Over the quiet dinner they shared (it had strangely become quiet these days), his wife told him that she was pregnant. What took her so long to conceive? He could only feel the sky falling on him. He knew he could never escape.
He was a man known for his integrity. Even as a young kid in the village, elders would tell their children to look at Dankala:  “Look at that kid. He knows what he wants to be and that he can.” But this time, not any string in his heart could stop him. He made a mistake. And he was now taking lives of two other human. Was there a way to ask forgiveness for the sin he bought in search of pleasure? He only knew.
Their little girl Selwa was born. They knew she was going to grow up into a very beautiful girl. But it only carried one strong flaw – the mistake her father made and had not been confessed to either her mother or her. He waited…the day would dawn soon. Might be, then, the lives would change forever. He was an HIV/AIDS patient.

A woman cannot walk where a man can

It was dark. I could hardly see anything on the way. I was coming from a place around ten kilometers away from my house. If I didn’t reach home that night, everyone would be worried. I was panicking in a fit of fear but I told  myself that it was gonna be all right. I prayed…and kept on praying. Even the light rustle of leaves under my feet seemed to echo the whole dark jungle. I was lost and a strange feeling of fear consumed me.
I was aware of my presence in the wood and I was conscious of each step I took. But the fear had gripped me so strong that I feared to even turn back and see if there wasn’t any unlikely figure following me. Huh! A voice. Did I imagine? Did I really hear sounds of footsteps behind me? It was unlikely, my reason said. But it was more unlikely I was imagining because I knew my sense was in place. If I stopped and tried to listen, I heard nothing. It was me alone and the woods seemed a little unfamiliar and darker at this time of the night. I took longer strides and prayed even harder. What is gonna happen now?
If anything had to happen, I could never deny its fate. But I couldn’t be a victim to something I have only heard in stories and read in novels. I didn’t have to think far about what choice I would make, for, suddenly a hand caught me and everything went blank in a second.
The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital. No one seemed to know what exactly happened. It seemed like someone out there in the woods had some sheer thirst for fun. I was drugged and robbed but had not been harmed beyond that. I could only imagine what could have happened if memey Khandu hadn’t chanced upon that path that night – it was something near miracle.
I was lucky this time but can everyone count on their luck?
We often say gender equality and that women can do what men can. Getting a little honest won’t hurt anyone, will it? Where a man can walk alone, a woman can’t. What if? – this is the fear of women.
I was on the hospital bed still trying to remember what really happened, trying to remember the faces, when the doctor walked in…

Glimpse of My First Trip to Coimbatore

When you travel around, seeing new places, meeting different people, you just go without a pre-notion of what’s gonna happen or what sorta person you are gonna meet. But you do meet many kinds of people and with some you open up your heart in the ways you didn’t think possible.
I had a friend I had never met before. A man I had come to trust and cherish through letters. Though all we had shared were words and we had never seen each other, what mattered was that we did exist and neither of us was on terms of lying or cheating for some ulterior motive.
Luzee and I stepped into the train and when we reached there after six hours, you wouldn’t know what kinda joy that was! NATO and Nyonba waited for us at the train station. We put up at NATO’s apartment. The next day we went to PSG-IMSR (PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research) – Nyonba was an MBBS student there. The minute we walked inside his gate, we spotted a tall, rather lanky guy taking something in front of a shop. He was a very frank and outspoken person. He is the friend with whom I held completely different view and still stood on the same ground. Yes, I met this man I later called my friend. Nothing we said was same. Nothing we did was similar. But we shared a friendship people thought impossible.
There at his college, he introduced us to eight other friends (all men) over some cool drinks (My husband was one of them).
Without much ado, we left their canteen. We had a packed schedule. We went to Ooty that evening. We returned the next day. Then we went to Palicut and then to Black Thunder…and here, we met Kampan. He had come for holidays from Nagpur. He was an engineering student there. Yes, those were days packed with fun and laughter. We had just given our exams, why should we worry at all about studies? That was time for fun.
NATO and Nyonba proved to be the gentlest of the hosts. They took us around and had endless things to show. As we started back to the apartment in the taxi in the evening, we tuned ourselves into different melodious songs and we once again felt our hearts closer to our bosom.
We were back in our college after a week. A week was too short for us but we kept in touch through letters. We talked on phone. But we wrote endless letters. Nyonba and I shared mostly about Buddhism and our views on it.
The days numbered. The friendship blossomed. But all I took from Coimbatore then was nothing more than friendship and even what flowered in my heart was nothing except the happiness that blooms from gratitude you feel in finding a friend you can trust.
And yes, my first trip to Coimbatore brought NATO and Nyonba closer than unit of an arm’s length. Luzee and I were of course at our best and even when we were in class we had time to spare for a chit chat that we had the habit of passing in a piece of paper.
Like the beautiful lakes and flowers in Ooty, like that ‘Zip Zap Zoom’ we played in Palicut, it wasn’t only beautiful but truly a joy.

Ring of Impermanence

I took leave yesterday. I had a ‘rimdro’ to be done at home – guys I’m sorry, I couldn’t call you. My husband and I discussed that we could call you all for dinner but I was tired and I wanted to take off early. I’m sorry. I will make sure I call the whole bunch of you over for dinner soon. (I always keep my promise.) It seems like I have become a philosopher these days…sorry guys, I can’t seem to think of anything else these days than death and things associated with it. But you will see there isn’t anything more important than that, really. 
I had called my apchi Yeshi Dondru (my father’s cousin) for this rimdro. After dinner over a glass of wine, he talked of past. He seemed a little unhappy and the film “Khyen Lop Chhoe Sum” made us all the more sunk. He talked of my grandfather who was a very clever, wise and strict Umze at Trashigang Dzong. That must have been a decade back because I have only heard of him. And during his time, when my mother was around six years old they (my mother’s family) owned a large stretch of land where Bartsham school stands today. But this was later lost to some powerful man….blah and blah the story goes on.
But it doesn’t matter what they owned at one point of time in their lives. They lost it. My mother later lived with my father in a far-flung village isolated by pine trees.
This made me think so much about impermanence and how our life is so unpredictable. One time, you could be so happy and next minute you could be crying like a wretch. I couldn’t help think of my father again. Even my mother was tearful.
Even after he was long gone, my mother and I talked of past. How it rang so beautifully in my heart. To my 13 year old niece it might have sounded like a history or a folk tale but my mother lived it and I to an extent was part of it. We always say that past is past and we shouldn’t cling on it, but often it is our past that shapes us. However, as the thought of impermanence dawns on us, we think of it but don’t cling on it. As a clear and strong sadness sinks in our heart, we see the path that lies before us and we know where we should go.
Yes, this morning I was at home preparing breakfast, talking to my mother and now, in a difference of three hours I’m here, typing this article…and this is impermanence. Who knows where I’m gonna be tomorrow?  

Death as the Limit Setter

Do you sometime lie down, look up at the ceiling or look out of the window and wonder what would happen if there was no death? I do that quite often. I appreciate death as much as I fear it. Death doesn’t only take away a person you love, but it tears you apart and the loss becomes too heavy but there is no denying that it gives you much more than you actually see. 
If there was no death as an end to life, I can’t help wonder how greedy and selfish people would be. Even when we know we aren’t going to live forever, we risk higher on what doesn’t last. We do need some things in life but most often we find ourselves wanting things we know aren’t necessary.
I won’t prolong…I just mean that I can’t help wonder what a wonderful fate it is -  that we have death that tells us that we need to stop and be content in life; that we don’t have to always look for something better when we already have something. 

Rural-Urban Migration: My Argument

In the movie “The Perfect Girl,” Motithrishing, the lead character runs away from her village and she lands on the palm of a cruel fate, until she meets a kind man who sees beyond the show of her face. But how many girls are lucky like her these days?
 No, I wasn’t going to argue that girls migrate from rural to urban areas for better employment opportunities, though it is also true. But I am rather more concerned about our farmers who depend more on what they get from their field than what is available in the market. What is available in the market is no concern to them because they don’t have hard cash to buy it anyway.
Keeping in mind the fact that most of our population depend on agriculture, we cannot just ignore their wellbeing. Now there are forestry rules making lives of our farmers harder. In the times of hardship such as when they didn't have a good harvest they always had their forest to depend on. But this has been robbed off from them. Even when the wild animals encroach on their land and they can harvest less than 50% of what they have expected or sowed/planted, there are people who say that they should still be happy to live in villages. They wonder aloud about what is causing the rural-urban migration. [Nopkin, I would like you to answer this]
 People who migrate from rural to urban areas seeking better employment opportunities are those who have gone to school, have received at least a secondary level of education and had not been able to climb higher than that. They are the disgruntled group (as one of my senior colleagues said) who aren’t happy with their lives. This is the group who doesn’t want to go back to their village and work in the farm.
 But there are our loving farmers who have never sought much in life but the survival. They work hard all their lives for nothing but to live. But when the rules change and these rules are made to condition their lives in a negative way, they do not have much choice of choosing to live the way they have always done.
I have my sister-in-law who has come from village and she talks about how hard it is for them to guard the crops at night from wild boars.
Did shifting cultivation harm the forest coverage? I thought people knew that the forest needed to regenerate and left it fallow after 2 to 3 years of cultivation for regeneration.
Coming from a farming background, I understand what it means for farmers to earn a living. It isn’t going to office and sitting in front of a computer. It isn’t about having a fan to cool off when you are hot and having a shelter to run too when it rains. It is about working day and night, no matter if it is raining or the scorching sun is peeling off your skin. You haven’t much choice, have you? It is about being in the field from morning since night and then not having a time for leisure until you sleep.
But are there people who understand this? Why should farmers suffer just because they are born farmers? Why should anyone add more hardship to their toil?

Divorce: a trend

“I saw her with a different man this time. I guess she broke up with the other one.”
“Oh yes, I saw them in a restaurant together.”
“Did you hear that Aum Pema is now married to Tshering? But what about their children?”
I was inspired by MeritOcean’s article “An Undesired Love” to write on this issue. Observer says in her comment on this article that many marriages break down because of extramarital affairs – but what causes extramarital affairs? When a man or a woman leaves his spouse to hold the hand of another, what is it that he/she finds in the new person?
Yes marriages break down everyday. Everyday there is a woman crying because she is left battered with her own dreams, with her own foolishness of believing in the promise of a man she thought was trustworthy. And yes, everyday there is a child loitering lonely along the bushes by the sidewalk sniffing marijuana. But why? What joy does he find there? He knows it won’t last but he prefers to hold on it stronger than he would like to try believing in himself, because he thinks just as his parents showed him, he cannot believe in human.
There are young women marrying older men – just because they think they would be more trustworthy; because they have seen more of life; because they have the weight of wisdom in their eyes and voice. Because they know what a woman needs. There are also men who exchange women and money like a commodity – now, is it because they find more meaning in money than in human? We could ask this to ourselves everyday, and maybe then, we could find an answer.
There are rich men, contractors and businessmen marrying more than one woman and they call it a fashion. Yes, you heard me right. They call it a fashion. Where is the value of morality? Even as you read this, you might want to have such luxury…but I tell you, the joy that you find in the luxury that you buy at the expense of another’s misery doesn’t give you happiness. You may fly in the height of pleasure but you fall down just where you have risen from.
You hear of your next door neighbor coming and whispering in your ears of a woman living on the first floor having an affair with a man in her office. Then you go out and you meet your friend who tells you that her husband has been coming home late. Yes, you hear the woes and it resonates long in your ears after they are gone.
Grass on the other side always looks greener. The other woman’s hair always looks lovelier. But, it would do you good to find time to love and appreciate what you have.

Author’s note to Nopkin users (My bachelor friends): You should never commit yourself if you aren’t sure that you love her/him. You should never woo her into things that would lead you to mistakes if you aren’t sure you are going to marry her. You should always have the wisdom to look a little behind the façade. And once you commit to a person, you should never let her down because you did it only because you knew you could keep her happy. I would like to hope that my friends here know what morality means and that it carries more values and it isn’t an old fashion. 

Why many victims of HIV/AIDS are Women

I was in a workshop and the facilitator in her introduction said, over 20 million have died of HIV/AIDS and many of the victims are women.
This struck too strong a note in my mind. The minute this sentence sank into me, I started thinking what might be the reason. I tried looking for a reason – I didn’t have access to anything except my mind. And I couldn’t get any satisfactory answer.
Now here I’m, back in my room and I still can’t seem to figure out much. Though HIV infection results from heterosexual transmission worldwide, in the US it has been primarily between gay or bisexual men and it is changing too. Now the new cases diagnosed are mostly among heterosexuals and intravenous drug users.
A new UNAIDS research in Africa shows that young girls are more prone to being infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) not by boys their own age, but by older men known as 'sugar daddies.'
Most of the young girls are infected during their first few exposures to sex, maybe even their very first, the study says.
According to Jane Chege, one of the researchers, "men say they prefer to have young girls, because they think that young girls are safe."
"Unfortunately those guys who think that young girls are safe are not safe themselves," said Chege.
"The unavoidable conclusion is that girls are getting infected not by boys their own age, but by older men," According to the Southern African AIDS information network (SAfAIDS), many social and economic factors within their social and family environments can impact on the youth. (http://www.hartford-hwp.com )
These are because of rapid social change, urbanization, limited information about sexual health and risk behavior, domestic violence etc. You can think of 10001 reasons.
Seriously, it cannot wait. We have to look into problems. Nopkin.com users…spread out the message. If you have friends, sisters and daughters make sure that they know what it is and how they should protect themselves from it. Don’t just shy away – it is an education. We can’t just watch it happen.
Reference:

Dankala and His Bride

Dankala has just graduated – and he was ready to take up anything that came his way. He loved adventure most of all. When a vacancy announcement looking for young graduate volunteers to work in a village on some project came out, he jumped for the opportunity and clasped at it stronger than he meant to…
There he was in Khamdang village. A young, stout and tall man…everyone in the village addressed him as Dasho Dankala. He loved adventure but he wasn’t in the lookout for a bride. But if fate brought something for him, even unexpected, he took firmly in his hold.
All his friends gambled to pass their time and they didn’t sleep until very late in the night. It was usually 1 am when his friends called it a day. Danakala wondered what they saw in the cards they held in their hands. They laughed loud and were drunk by the time they even had the wit to know if they were holding their lucks like the cards in their hands. He knew he could never ask for a luck that way. You couldn’t call luck to come your way. You had to work for it.
One evening he was sheepishly watching his friends play. He wasn’t really concentrating on their game but he was thinking of the eagerness with which he had jumped at the opportunity for this job. He missed his parents but he knew he had to make his way and he couldn’t depend on them for everything for the rest of his life. “A man has to start somewhere” and this was his beginning.
There was this girl named Luzee, the talk of the village. Guys talked of how she could charm everyone. She could not kick a guy out if he met him on the way. She would smile slowly and as she talked, men didn’t hear her but something pulsated down their heart that disturbed them for days.  Dankala gave least bother. He wasn’t planning to marry. But when he met her on the way from the nearest small town, he couldn’t pretend he didn’t notice her charm. He wasn’t a person who waited idly for angels to throw flowers on his bed. So the next day, he with his doctor friend left for her house and asked for her hand from her parents like a good man. Oh but what can her parents say? He was truly a man. Even as he sat and walked silently in the village, his image rustled off softly through like the winds that blew in the woods at night. They were betrothed thus…
Dankala received a letter from Thimphu shortly after his marriage that he was needed at home urgently. With promises he parted from his beloved Luzee…the sky itself cast a dark shadow over the ridge where Luzee’s house was located.
Luzee gave birth to their first daughter and she named her Lasen Yangchen. Even after 4 years Luzee and her daughter waited for him to come back.
Oh yes, he came back one day, but not to stay. He said he loved her but he had other bigger responsibilities. Luzee couldn’t understand what his responsibility was that restricted him to take her with him to Thimphu. He left after a day.
Luzee probably would never know that he got married to an educated, working lady in Thimphuand they had a son and a daughter and that Dankala did become a Dasho. But who was she to follow? She never thought rainbow that shined on the other side of the valley lasted longer than the rainfall.
This is a story I hear more often than I want when I go to villages in Bhutan. There are many young women, barely 20 who have a child and are left by their husbands. I wouldn’t blame them for this mistake. I would blame the educated men who enter villages with an intentional hope for this lookout.

Tiptoeing back to Childhood – part I

I heard the sound of the bell…no, I wasn’t in school then. It was past five in the evening…the sun had just set beyond that mountain which guarded us like some protecting deity but its golden rays still fell on the other side of the mountain.
It was time for us to take the cattle home …I stood by the maize field but time and again I got lost into vague dreams that I wasn’t sure about. We lived in a house far away from the rest of the villages. We are housed in the middle of pine trees and lemon grasses. If something happens, help isn’t just a call away. Not even the loudest and the shrillest voice could reach the next neighbor easily. In a place called Menchari, we lived like the hermit who knew nothing except serenity. Other children from villages might have found us lacking many things they had. But we had one thing they didn’t – we had the freedom to know the nature; the freedom to wander and dream. We had the freedom to talk to trees; we had the freedom to just lie down on the ground in the middle of the forest, look at the sky and build large dreams. And of course, it made up for everything. 
I am the youngest of the seven siblings. I grew up without many companies of my age but I had my sister to play with. We didn’t have the bell that tinkered and the cars that wheeled. But we possessed many wooden cattle and horses, cars, and other play-things. All my brothers and sisters had mastered in that art. When the cattle grazed happily in the big meadow, we lay down and built houses. We even harvested plants. We cooked. We ate and we made friends. We carved designs and patterns we weave in clothes on the barks of pine trees. I’m sure they still stand now. I would play as Pangko and my sister as Dema. I don’t know how we got those names but we were them whenever we played as two neighbors in a village.
We were not rich people. We didn’t have large land holdings. We even practiced a shifting cultivation. Some 30 minutes away, we had a land (we called it ‘Pangbar oong’) and we kept our cattle there during winter. We went there in the morning to milk the cows. Sometimes we even slept in the rattling hut we had above the land. I remember how I snuggled close to my sister one night when it rained and it leaked. The roof wasn’t done good enough…but what choice did we have? It was roofed with grasses.
The mornings we went there, I would carry a pail and then tiptoe away before the rest…lifting my left leg, then right…shouting and singing. I would then wound around a tree and wait for them, whistling and singing. Even as I write this here now, I find myself missing those days. Those days might not have been everything, but they were the best.  
I wasn’t taught to read but I was taught to learn. I wasn’t taught school but I was taught discipline. I wasn’t taught to earn but I was taught not to steal. I wasn’t taught to lie but I was taught to be honest.
In the midst of nature and nothing else, I lived my childhood and I learnt nothing except humanity. 

Years Pass but Love Stands

Hmmm… days passed and so did many months. It is even years and yet I see you and I find myself thinking, god no, not again, I can’t get lost. But it simply takes its toll and I am a victim to this emotion. May be I shouldn’t say this but what good will it do if I keep it to myself? This thing is something I really can’t make any near conclusion. You see, it just caresses me with a flicker of a seducing moment and I find myself having no sense of positive thinking. There is no common sense to defend me. I just lie there, all myself, lost, looking at you and longing for you to take me into your arms. It just has no explanations.  Don’t ask me questions, like if I love you or if I think it is right. I know nothing; I am just like a child looking into the eyes of his mother.

Years passed cannot make hearts go still. Love shared can’t be blinded. Bonds built cannot be broken…love stands through time and no matter what you go through, even after the things are done, hurts are caused, and pains are inflicted, a day comes where you forgive every little pain and is ready to fall into his arms once again.

Ah! I guess that is love that lives: Love that doesn’t promise the moon and the stars but the love that promises life. 

Merging with the Past

It was one such yesterday that we met and created fun and laughter. We did not know that life would take us further away from each other. The shore remained where it was…the waves moved as they always did. The sea did not look troubled a bit. But there we stood, trying to understand life we might make.
There we sat together to watch a movie…to have a meal, or listen to a music. We shrilled out our voice and made faces that only we understood. We hadn’t seen the harsh world. It was a cushion-soft bench. No, we didn’t believe we would be in a different house after seven years.
Tenzy and I met often because both of us were in South India. But Sangay seemed to be sinking in sorrow in a place called Durgapur in the North.
We had given our exams for class XII and we had nothing much to do. We felt like we were flying for the first time because we didn’t have to study and anxiety had a way of creeping inside us giving more excitement than worry. As we waited for our results to be out, we floated in more fun than we ever thought possible. We stayed with my brother – my brother stayed with two of his friends – Ata Yeshi and Ata Karma Dendrup. Good God. We now realize that we might have driven them mad by our childish shrill of fun and the way we nagged them.
My brother was in Japan. That made ata Yeshi our victim. One day he was taking a nap and we wanted to go for a ride. But we couldn’t ask him. So we made the alarm that had the sound of a cock wake him up. We had to do it several times and finally he opened his eyes and said, “mo mo…” and we won.
We didn’t bother if we disturbed his sleep. We just wanted to get out of the house and have some fresh air…and that evening, we went to Hongtsho for the sheer fun of having ‘Bathub’. My brother Tenzin was there too. On the way back, each one had some ghost stories which made us turn half way back from Dochula. Night had fallen already and none of us wanted to risk seeing a ghost.
We never had the like of that time, ever again, until this Saturday. We met at Sangay’s place for lunch and the minute we busted inside her house, we were our old selves again. Her husband might have wondered what bunch of mad people! But who cared? We had missed it for seven years.
We rattled over lunch as soon as we reached. Sangay asked us, “juice or coffee?” and we said we would go for lunch. We waited long enough for Tenzy (she works in the hospital and that makes everything untimely (hehe…no hard feelings honey)) and it was past two when we finally reached there. Though I told Sangay that we would be there at 11:30, we reached there when it was past two.
Sangay was her cool self. Not even the sound of a thunder would budge her. It is Tenzy and I who are jumpy. Oh GOD! We reeled the house for two hours and we rushed back to my place: three of us. I understood later that Sangay’s husband didn’t really want her to go because he misses her so much…but we oozed out the door before he could say much and we were lost in the middle of pictures and albums and memories…
We had missed so much in the pursuit of a job. In trying to find an education, we have lost this aura for seven years. I never thought seven years was that long.  
We are finally back in Thimphu. No matter if it is just some occasional meeting…we still bring up those memories of our 12th summer and we merge back with the past and we are young again. 

Un-fallen Dewdrops on the Leaf

L had left a gift and a letter with Karma (my husband) last evening. I called her earlier but she didn’t hint me of anything.   It brought me immense joy – not because she has taken pain to give me a present but because we have still kept this custom of ours alive. I remember how we both love writing and how we wrote thousands of letters when we were in first year. We always had around four or five letters to post…we even came to be friends with that woman at the post office. We always had something to write to our friends and that relieved us of our sorrows. Grief-stricken, we still found joy in the small ways of finding joy in writing down our thoughts in our journals.
It is impossible for me to forget those days. We might have come across differences but we always had a way to solve it. I remember how often I wilted my mind in front of those complicated subjects – and she was always ready to help me. There were those girls who lived in the same flat who got shit-worried that I might flunk. And they thought I was a careless girl who didn’t know my responsibility. I had my responsibility engraved in my mind, just that I thought I didn’t have to give my life for it. What is the use if you have to struggle and find no joy in your life?   But here we are today: grown up and more matured. I feel good sometimes to think that we always live forward and learn. I also feel good that there are times when we can go backward in time and catch those moments back to give us joy. No matter how hard the times, there was always something we could look forward to, and it was our hope that we could really walk out the door one day as independent women. I remember how we ardently read Dr. Schuler’s books and opened our eyes in dealing with people and in being positive in life.
In life we come across such people who can remain a life-long friend and they are the un-fallen dewdrops on the leaf – the dewdrops that don’t dry at the mercy of the morning sunrays.
L wrote, “Remember what we believe: Happiness is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance.” And yes, happiness is a matter of choice. Wouldn’t you be sitting at the porch with a smile, looking at the sunset, if you have made it your choice? Take your chance and make it your choice.

A blog that you can talk with

Just wanted to tell you guys (especially those who studied in Vellore) and software engineers that this site is great. It is a blog of that genius Vandana of my batch. God…I couldn’t have dreamt she writes like a genius too. I thought she excelled in computer programs and here she tells me she is an all rounder. And you won’t believe she is a Tamil…her accent can deceive your wit. 

I couldn’t help falling in love with her ways of writing…it makes you feel a part of it. Read through when you are sitting in front of your computer and have no idea what else to do. Here click this: http://thestorygyrl.blogspot.com 

Love: the Art of Fate

Love is one wonderful feeling you can’t define. In a second of a moment, you feel thousands of emotions and you just lie in the reflection of these images.
But some love, you can only feel it in your heart and you cannot tell the world the feeling that glows inside your heart.  Such love sometimes is peculiarly remarkable and strange. It makes you many a woman you can’t be otherwise. It teaches you the ecstasy of simple emotions woven with your feelings. It teaches you to let go, when love has had its shine on you. It teaches you the virtue of heart when you can truly love another person.
This love has you inside out. It brings tears amidst your smiles. Years back, I had this written in my journal: “Despite all the ups and downs, I loved him still and it’s a wonder to myself – I couldn’t explain why I felt the way I did when I looked at him. He was the man who taught me that a heart can roll on emotions and dance on love’s melody…”
You walk with an awed sensation of feeling, thinking of many things in an instant.  You venture out of home without much thought but that one person. You could be as young as nineteen…I call nineteen young because you cannot really identify love and infatuation before that age.  And therefore, I call that age matured enough for a girl to walk free. You can be blind sometimes…you just walk out and meet the person that changes your life forever. You can ask thousand questions but you haven’t any answer. You can call it the art of fate.  Such fateful day turns everything over and your life takes change in many folds. You learn many things and you cherish them as lessons of your life. If you don’t take the risk to trust a person you have never really known, you wouldn’t really know him. Everything has a beginning and sometimes you have to begin from a small idea of trusting a person you haven’t any idea.  You walk with the awed sensation, not because the person you are going to meet is scary, not because he makes you feel dumb. It is a complete turnover of every sense in you. The person girls usually look for is someone who can really carry themselves, someone who knows exactly where he is looking.
And yes…there you go building up all the fantasies you held since your childhood. And you dream the whole night through and dread what tomorrow would bring. While you hope love would still last, you fear secretly of having to wake up with a hollow feeling of having lost it.
While fate creates love, it doesn’t create the fortune of being together forever. Even when you have met someone you love, you have to part from him. Even when you have known it all along, you cry when you have to bid him goodbye. As distance moves between you, your heart sinks and it becomes a moment of sadness.   Sometimes it so happens that even when you know you feel dearly for him than you felt for anyone else, you cannot decide. But there are moments when answer run up in your blood and you feel it in your heart in a minute and there is no looking back.  “Once I was with him sitting by the lake when suddenly emotions held me closer than ever…I wrote a letter to him there and, we became closer than ever.”
You find love in the most unlikely places and in the most unlikely persons sometimes. You have to accept that love isn’t written in the faces of those people you find beautiful. You don’t love someone because he/she is beautiful but he/she is beautiful because you love him/her.  You meet a person, discover love together and you build heaven on earth. And that is when you sometime wish a moment could last forever. But of course, you have to learn to let it go if you have to…

Sharchokpa Katsom

This is a sharchokpa (Tshangla) ka-tsom I wrote when sleep seemed a little too far at midnight yesterday.  This is something like talking to myself about how parents suffered in the process of sending me to school and how now, I have to keep in mind of helping them. 
Ka kha pechha lampa maney laKha wa toh thur nyongpa kadu dakGadong xedro filey kangyel giNgawa chhiwa draktum nang dok pa
Chala lekpu thong ma sem shorbeyChharo rang dang rok tey thham chey rangJa dang yu gi tshim pey mawa dangNya ka nyo ko ani tshe chhum la
Taka mangfa aney chhon goth pa
Thadang damtshi tsung khan nyungpu laDara doro aney mangi waNa na drik pey aney sem thrang chhoi
Paksam jenshing dabu zangpo miPhama kadrin yidka ma ngat choBanang yekcho chhas ba thamchey rangMadang pulley gem thhai soda ba
Tsawa hingai nyingjey kai tha neyTshadrang dukngel nyongpey mabin jiZati dabu nyozey thub tha neyWa dang semchen cheypa pang tha ney
Zhawa dabu chholey mangi waZa and zamin aiba thamchey kiWa wur mawa nyamchhung thungkai anYarab cheypa phama zhabtok zhui
Raga mawa ginthhan deney buLalung gainey deley kheney buSha and si rang biley marney buSara serey aney Chhak chhi zhui
Ha ha hi hi aney mangi waApa ama drinlen jorpa phi.

Weighing Marriage on the Heart's Scale

“I heard you are married. How is married life?” I don’t know from where people hear (I guess walls really do have ears), they ask this question. How is it really? I have never really found it quite different – maybe because I knew my husband quite well before we made this lifetime’s commitment. I see him as I always saw him. I still crave to hear the same words I craved when I first fell in love. I still love him as I always did. What’s changed then? And what does marriage bring in life that wasn’t there?

You become matured; you’ve larger circle of people you have to reach out; you’ve bigger responsibility of looking after the young relatives. And bigger than anything, you have the commitment that you shouldn’t let love falter: not in the face of differences, not in the face of calamity.

There are times when you would like him to say something and he doesn’t. There are also times when you would like him to hold you and he doesn’t. But you just shouldn’t hide this feeling inside. You should let him know. I think what is important for the husband to know is that – the heart doesn’t age and showing affection isn’t only for the young and new couples. If you’re sitting at the beach, looking out at the vast ocean as the sun sets with its rays falling over it, just hold her hand in yours.

There are times when you would like him to be with you watching TV, or reading a novel, or just sitting together watching the sun rise, or the sun set…but he has other duties to attend. At such times the feeling is too strong to hold him back but it doesn’t matter if it is your heart that is speaking – you have to let him go. You’ve to make compromise even if it makes you cry – otherwise marriage will fall over the crevice shattering not only your heart but your life. You have to make a compromise even when you don’t want to:

I didn’t think the day would be like hailing rain in the storm. I had missed home so much and looked forward to being there soon. But who should I look forward to meet if my beloved was busy with his “always important work”?

I talked with my relatives, almost in the manner of olden days during which everyone sat around the hearth to listen to grandmother’s story – and therefore, it wasn’t so hard to wait for him. He called to say he was coming home which indeed was a long time till my eyelids drooped and I went to bed. He came in just when I had shut my eyes; but he left just as soon. He kissed me softly on my lips, and said, “I love you” and walked out looking at me. As he walked out the door with a little hasty feeling of having to be present at that important task, he didn’t see the lonely teardrops fall down my cheeks. He didn’t look closer. Was I failing to understand his job with the possessiveness of love? I cried silently and let him go…it is hard but I don’t want to be the bitch that watches her husband’s footsteps. Sometimes it is hard to just let him go and not let your heart go with him…at such times there is no choice but to face yourself and let yourself think of as an individual.

This is how you have to put up with marriage. Even when your love walks out the door, leaving you alone in bed, you have to let it, because that is love. Marriage isn’t about looking at the pond and wondering when it would fill up, but letting the water flow.

It doesn’t matter what little emotions pass in your heart, you have to be sure that your man is right there.

I would call marriage a commitment to accept the other person as a friend of a lifetime with the vow to give company in all times without putting any barbed wire around its territory.

***It should be understood that it is entirely my perspective and I’m not trying to generalize anything.

Where Did It Go Wrong? (Contd.)

She couldn’t even eat well that night. She ate a little and slipped into her bedroom again. She reviewed the short panorama of her encounter with the boy of her dreams. She fell asleep with his thoughts still lingering in her mind.
She met him outside her house after two days. She was taking a short stroll when she nearly bumped into him. It was there that it all began. He introduced himself as Sonam and he said he lived in the building next to hers. He started asking her out almost every day and love sprung in their hearts without any effort. As they sat together in the quiet of the evening, no one had to speak. He played guitar and she sang. Love flowed between them as naturally as if they were always meant to be. It happened so naturally – they didn’t have to ask or accept. They just walked together and there they were. Moments could not have been more beautiful. The world itself seemed a heaven. Time ran fast and soon it was time for them to go back to school. Pede was studying in Khaling and he in Thimphu. It was a distance longer than imaginable for lovers like them. She could not think of the long days and nights she might have to go through and the gnawing feelings of missing him.
They had to go where their responsibility called and they had no choice but to follow the call. On the day of the departure, she couldn’t even hold his gaze. She was too choked to even say a word. All she did was look at him with that plead in her eyes. They hugged and she got in the bus. The bus soon geared into life and there she was, going further away from her lover. Though she sat there in the bus, she was looking for a way to go back. She was making plans about how she could be in his arms again. Love sometimes could be that strong and when love comes so strong like that, you forget your responsibilities; you even forget your good reasons. And there! Out of nowhere, a miracle happened. When she reached Bumthang, she got news that, her school would be opened two weeks after the mentioned date. As luck could have it, she was on her way back to Thimphu. And there she was back again in his arms. Parting and meetings are the ways of life as people say. But during the next parting, they didn’t feel that bad. They promised to write to each other – they knew how much they were going to miss each other.
When she got back to school, she was the happiest girl. As love would have it, she was totally smitten. She bubbled with sweet memories of her times with him in Thimphu…even the pains she felt with longing for him felt pleasant. She cherished missing him as it meant loving him. For the past six months, they exchanged letters and mails as they promised.  This soon died out and the frequency of their correspondence moved down to a letter in two weeks, and then to a month without a letter and finally there was no news altogether. She couldn’t stand this. But she didn’t have time to worry about this. She was in a precarious year. She had to study as her ICSE (exam) wasn’t far. And yes, she did her exam well. She was happy, except for the relapsed gap created between Sonam and her. But she was going to Thimphu once again.
When she was in Thimphu, she couldn’t bear to think that he was so nearby and yet so far. She enrolled into the same school the next year in class eleven. It’s even harder to bear seeing him everyday and not talk. He was taking commerce and she was in Science. For some reason, neither of them could approach the barrier and break that ice love created between them. As time passed, she heard from some of her friends that he was seeing someone else. This hit the notch of her ego. She could have well dated someone else but she still felt those same feelings every time she saw him. But there had to be some ways to console her and she took it. She thought if he didn’t try to make up, she shouldn’t try. So then, Pede started dating a guy from her class. It wasn’t love of course. She just wanted to show Sonam that if he could do that, so could she. She thought probably this would make Sonam realize his love. But Sonam was too humble to do that. He just let her have her way; he didn’t interfere. But every time they met their eyes, that flinching of muscles and racing of heartbeats were still there and both of them knew that.
But she had to take the blow when she later learnt the truth that Sonam had never been seeing anyone since he met her. She made a mistake and she carried the guilt and regret, the weight of it hanging heavy down her neck. Her two years in that school soon came to an end. She qualified for the professional course on government scholarship and would have to go out of the country for four years, whereas he would still be studying in Bhutan. Probably this made him feel a little inferior. When it comes to studies and professions, guys usually have a bigger ego. So, he never came to confront her.
Now, sitting there in the restaurant with her friends, sadly recollecting those memories, re-living each moment like present, she couldn’t understand where it went wrong. Where was the mistake? And who was wrong? She knew she could never love anyone like she loved him. That was the first and the true love. The enchanting moments and the feelings she felt then still wouldn’t leave her. It was the happiest times, the happiest moments of her life.
She still wished to see him, talk to him and tell him sorry. But how? She wanted to tell him how much she still loved him. She believed he would come to know it one day. Where did it go wrong? ~ (14thDecember, 2002, 1:45 am)
(This is a true story – now they are both married to different persons. Sometimes as fate would have it, it even let love torture you and not have the man/woman you love. It is when you have no choice but to be happy with someone. Hearing this story, I thought that maybe, the love you feel for the second person isn’t as true and intense as it is for the first person you love. It is when you have to believe that being together and coming to know the person would make you love him beyond your reason. )

Miss You (Random Thoughts)

The river didn't trickle a ripple
It didn't lie even as we laughed at its face
It lay there true
Only smiling up at the sky
People laughed with the moment
The hours tricked with happiness
The songs beautifully enwrapped the hearts
And hips moved in magical motion
Where was I but?
The laughter slowly sank in my ears
The stars smiled at me
And my heart ached for a love that was far away

The Moment--it is Never Complete

We rowed far, far away above the still river. Nothing on earth could have tricked us into believing that there was any other beautiful moment.
But, who was it talking to me? Even as I saw an island far ahead and people's laughter echoing in my mind, I heard the voice that told me there was something more than that. It told me that life just wasn't what was there in front of me. No matter if you laughed till your heart cracked…even as you laugh, something like a steel cold sadness seep in through this crack.
I found myself thinking if it was me alone  who felt life a little incomplete despite the laughter that reverberated even over the river. But I loooked around and saw people sitting alone, looking far ahead, as if waiting for an answer. Then I thought, maybe even as people try to crack jokes and dance to the music, they feel that something we cannot name. It is they are missing? Or is it something a goddess too far to touch?
Life itself feels like a boat that sails ahead…sometimes without a definite destination.
Moments dance in laughter sometimes and we laugh with it at other times. But when our hearts' resonance has stopped, it sinks inside us with a cold sadness that grips it tighter and asks us to find the answer. No matter what…we always fall back and there is something we still want.

In the Midst of Reality

 heard my father's voice with a weight of it circling me closer to where it was coming from. I walked up fast. My mother stood there: she was young and crystal-like, laughing a hearty laugh.
I looked closer at the man whose voice was my father's. Even as I climbed up towards my house, I called “Apa” in that long tone I used to call him. As I called him, I felt something like a wrenching wish tearing me apart. I moved closer to the man. His eyes were sunken in the socket and – and I thought he didn't see me. I just bent down and hugged him – which took him by surprise. Even my eldest brother was sitting there. As that man looked closely at me with the same sadness I felt in my heart, he cried. My brother told me that he was Ajang Lobzang Yeshi, my father's cousin who has the same encompassing wise voice.  But he looked so frail – which made me worry.
I suddenly woke up with a jerk and here I am now. It's 6:50am (I slet late last night). This still grips me, grips my heart with a very hard knot . No matter how I pray and take the reality, there are still times when I think of my father and wish he were here. He was a human I don't see now. He was a man I thought everyone should be. I'm sure everyone finds his father a man 'this' ideal. My father was a man too hard to defeat, too wise to cheat, and too humble to rule. He taught me that people who're called wise are those who know the truth of what they believe.
Yes he lives in everything I do. He is still there guiding me. But sometimes, the voice isn't just enough – then, I hold my heart and I cry.

Where did it go wrong (true story)

She suddenly got up from the table and looked around with big scary eyes. In a minute she looked almost sullen, tired and hurt. “What is wrong, Pede?” asked her friends. But she either ignored them or didn’t hear them. She walked to the window, looked out into the street and then sank back in her chair. She was almost in tears. They were dining out, celebrating their last week in final year in college. They were going to graduate in a week’s time. Her friends asked her to join them for dance, but she just wasn’t in the mood to dance or to do anything.
It was long six years back when she saw him there, standing with a dignity of a man. She just couldn’t believe she was looking into a real man. She couldn’t help wonder who he could be. She found herself murmuring this wonder to herself. It was December and she was home for her winter vacation. She had been home only the other night and her sisters got transferred there last year and she didn’t know any neighbors residing there. When she realized, she’d been staring at him for minutes long; he gave her a twisted smile. She thought he was stern. But she couldn’t help admit how good-looking he was. The night itself seemed so quiet and calm, and she felt herself being enveloped into some kind of unseen warm embrace. Few people who were taking walk by the road in front of her house seemed to be moving in a dancing manner. Everything circled and rippled around into a message of love.
She ran inside her bedroom, slumped on her bed and tried to think, but his face kept on flashing in her mind. She had fallen in love with a guy she had not the least idea about. That face dazzled into her mind’s eye. She tried to reason that she didn’t even know him. But she just couldn’t help thinking of him. She could hardly name this feeling. 

(To be continued)

Love -- a true story

I was in high school and I had a classmate named Zangmo (name changed).  Few days after the new academic year began, she received some proposals…I didn’t really know if she loved that guy, but I later knew that they were seeing each other. I guess, by the time I came to know about it, they had already been dating for sometime. They were going well, until the guy left for another school.
Zangmo then fell in love in head over heels with a new guy who joined that school. She told me that she couldn’t lose him. I wondered what was best for her to do: to betray the first guy or to win the love of the second. Even then, I wondered so hard as to whether love meant possessing something as yours. I wondered if love could vanish so fast and then grow again for another man. I wondered if love was just so ephemeral.  I don’t think she wondered as hard as I did. Even before she really got an answer, she dated the new guy.  Even that love didn’t last…then I thought, for some, forever meant just few moments, or few years. Then I didn’t know anything about love. I guess, all I missed were my parents and all I loved were them. I did admire and appreciate those who were doing so well in studies but I don’t think that could be associated to love.
As she passed out from that school, even that new-found love died. Now as I stand here today, I feel love is so hard to fluff out. Stronger is the human emotion – it just doesn’t die over one spill. You could may be, fluff out a candlelight like that. But emotions, even if they break, thousand splinters still form some emotions.
I would say, love isn’t just an attraction. It is something you feel real from within. Something you cannot really name but have it in your heart. I guess, all you have to do is to be able to differentiate between infatuation, some short-lived physical attraction and some love that you feel in the want of something. If you feel the need of a person in the want of something from him, that isn’t love. Such love dies as soon as you have got hold of what you wanted.
Oops…I talked like I knew everything about love. But guys, I really mean it. Love isn’t about just loving a person in the good times. Love is finding the strength to feel love, even when you are crying.  
P.S. Would be writing something about marriage soon…

Reading L’s Love Story and the Memories…

I haven’t written to L asking her permission to use a piece of her writing here. I am going through her story right now and I just couldn’t help laughing myself, remembering those old days:
People were genuine and honest, save some who pounded on foreigners. Like, when we first entered College, the auto driver robbed us 70 bucks! The normal rate was just 35. The chance of any argument was slim since these people knew we were new to the place.
Even an hotelier charged us 260 rupees for 5-hours sleep in a room fit for one and we were six. I still remember how Jigme slept on the piles of suitcase. The small bed had uneven stands and it rose from the other end when stepped on one end. With no bath for the last 36 hours, save the drops of sweats running down the skin, we were so desperate to jump into a pool of chill water. It was late summer but the heat still burnt. Guess us! The hotel had no decent bathroom and the bucket in the room smelt of saline water, it was embedded with rusty accumulation. The choice was either to remain unclean or manage few drabs. We chose the latter.
One funny incident I must not miss. Our names are the hardest to be pronounced by people there. When we checked into the hotel, the manager, a man in late sixties asked one of our names. Balu, our friend gave his nick.
“Name?” the manager alerted through his tiny spectacles. His bald head looked tempting to give a hit.
“Balu.” Our friend was serious. We smirked behind him.
“Father’s name?”
“Dorji.” His answer was abrupt. But lo! The man wrote as “Gorji.” The sound of that huge laughter still rings in my ears each time I recollect how we sneaked in making total fool of that old man.
Similarly, one of our sirs could not get Kuenza’s name correct through out the days, he kept calling her “Kuen- Yang!”  (One Love Story, Luzee)
I’m sorry L, but I just couldn’t help laughing over those incidents. Add more of the funny incidents here….I’m sure nopkin users will enjoy them too.
A Stranger in the Shadow
They were both married. They both had children. But they were both lonely and alone.
In the world where morality played a giant role, they didn’t know where they should go and how. They felt a strange attraction, the minute they set their eyes on each other. The attraction was strange, because, neither thought that they would finally be falling for someone after all the long years of happy marriage and their beautiful son and daughter. Maybe fate meant good…but they were frozen in time and they couldn’t dig a tunnel to make a different way for themselves. Couldn’t they really do it if they wanted? But again, there was this morality popping in their mind.
The few times they talked on the phone, they always had so much to share and it wasn’t enough. It was as if fate meant to torture them. And they thought, nothing in the world was impossible. But how could they break the wall of marriage that has thickened with long years? They had their son and daughter to think of on the one hand and their reputation on the other. You often say it doesn’t matter what others tell you or think of you – you have your own life and all that matters to you is yourself. But it is wrong. More often than you would like to admit, you are governed by the way people see you. Even stronger than the thickened marriage wall was the reputation they had set in the society. No one would believe if they were to leave everything they had ever done in their life and start new with each other. It might not be a beautiful new beginning.
Thousands of thoughts ran in their minds. But in their hearts no one dwelled but each other. Who should they blame and why? What path should they choose? Would loving each other silently from the other side of the river enough? They would definitely see the shadow but they couldn’t touch it, could they?  
Ban of Smoking in Bhutan
First, we have this rule of ban of using plastics. It has now been there for many years but I’m sure all of you see people using it. It isn’t very worse and I won’t say much on it.
But look at those people smoking in all the public places. It is in fact a shame! We have made headlines that our country has banned smoking and, ironically, you see people smoking at bus stations, in hotels, in offices…you name it. There they go – with some kind of an utter expression, they take a puff and let out the smoke, not really knowing that there are also people who hate smokes piercing their nostrils.
I guess, young people get a hang of some big-ness out of it. They feel matured. They feel themselves a little on the higher realm than those who are humble. I wonder in whose hand it is to educate them. I personally feel that it is the failure of parents if their children don’t know the meaning of what they are doing. Isn’t it in their hands to teach them the right from wrong? Oh man. Won’t you agree that people who smoke always raise their chin with some condescending looks? This is how I see them. I know they have the right to pose the way they want, but I also know that I have the right to see them the way I do. Hehe…
Where do you see the effect of ban of smoking? The smoke circulates around everywhere in Bhutan and you won’t see a single person who has stopped smoking for this reason. On the contrary, there has been a rise in this black business because of this sheer reason. It is a bigger irony.  Nopkin.com uers, I would love to hear stories of you educating your brothers and sisters, your family and friends. Why not make ourselves less of hypocrite? I’m sure you won’t want an outsider asking you why she/he sees people smoking everywhere.  
Amsu Morem
(This is something I wrote last year when the debate was flaring hot on it)
Ages ago, this very word would have had no effect, not because it did not mean anything to the lot of women but because, then, it was used for a different meaning. ‘Amsu Morem’ meant those women who were bereaved of their husbands and had no male figure who could help them to stand at the same height as others.
Therefore, they were exempted from certain taxes. It wasn’t used to make derogatory remarks on women as many a man use today. Today, this word is heard either to make a comparison or to tell someone how unworthy and un-smart he is. When this very word was heard in the 85th National Assembly, the highest legislative body of the country, it very obviously was used to mean that women aren’t at par with men. Now where does that take us?
The person who spoke it might not have meant it as it was heard by the public but couldn’t he have thought of the uproar it would cause, this age being not the age of old generation? I cannot argue that it would have a very great effect on the current gender issues but it would not die off silently because women country-wide heard it and it would have set something like, aren’t we all equal?  in their minds and it would not just go off like nothing happened. We cannot pretend such things to have not happened at all. 
If women can fight for the issues like why they are not allowed to go into a ‘Goenkhang’, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t pick on the word that very clearly said something low of them. You bet, it wouldn’t hurt them, if it held the same meaning it once did – a long time ago. But then, can’t everyone see, it now means women are the weaker sex? Time hasn’t remained still – it hasn’t grown backward. It has developed to a stage where men and women could be responsible equally for same kind of works. Today, we no longer have those remarkable demarcations where women can’t do what men can – though, it still is true in villages. But, women so far has not backed off from men. They have always stood as tall as men and they haven’t been defeated. If it were to do something with physical feat, then women might not equal men but so long as the world has something to do with brain, women would stand just as men do.
Lucky that it was in Bhutan. If it were in some other developed countries, that remark would not have escaped rough repercussion. Women in Bhutan are mild and gentle but men cannot see this as a weakness. They cannot think that they can forever go on pulling the rim of their feelings. Everyone can tolerate only too far.
Amsu Morem – this is equivalent term of a widow. This is only a term, a noun that was referred to those women who lost their husbands. There is no reason why we should curb its meaning to tell that women are inferior or weaker, because it just isn’t the meaning. If men go on using this term to their liking to make a comparison between the two genders, then it really would become a topic in the gender issues. Why not?
Untamed Heart
I’m sitting here, racking my brain. Thinking, there has to be a way to know myself. I have been sitting still for around half an hour…trying to act wise. Trying to understand…trying to reason.
I had so many experiences to just deny the truth. I owe myself the answer. Don’t call me a philosopher or that I’m trying to philosophize over nothing. It’s just an attempt, where I mean harm to no one. It’s just a desire of a sort.
Many a time, we find ourselves confronted by the most unlikely questions and we find ourselves facing the most unprepared situations. Okay, tell me, what do you do at such times? We act on an impulse, don’t we? We find ourselves doing something before we know the righteousness of it. You sometime do something in a rash, or in hurry and then you swear you won’t do it again but you find yourself having done the darn thing again. How do you explain that? We all lack explanations. Sometimes, we just do something and we don’t think of its consequences. Sometimes we risk too much. Even after much reasoning and analysis, we want to risk the odds. And I guess, that is living. We always want some kind of adventure in making our lives fuller.
Love is one tough emotion. It engulfs you at times. It hurts you at another. And it consoles you with tenderness at other times. Knowing that love just about swings in the air, we still feel ourselves lured into some sort of drowsiness that only love’s drugs can trick us. Is it because our hearts are untamed? Or is it just natural? I’m confused. A fool that I’m, I’m still coursing through to find a way out because I need a rein of my emotions.

(It is an excerpt from my journal. Written in July 2003)
Final Destination
I have no option but to talk about death….
Death – it hangs around us with such solemnity every single breath of our life and we don’t take much notice of it until it really dawns on us (do we?) But I watched this movie, “Final Destination” and I couldn’t help but wonder over this truth. Watch it and you will feel yourself haunted with the thought of when your death is actually coming. It speaks so much about the death being the truth and not knowing when exactly we’re going to die. It also shows that when your time comes, no matter who you beg for to give you more time, you have to go and you have no way to get out of it.

Death isn’t a mystery. It is with us now and everyday. We just haven’t got the guts to face it.
Anger contd.
I’m sorry…putting in image requires a URL…so I’m here putting them up in a text. I thought I should put them up somehow since I would be lying if I didn’t. Following are the words that had a great effect on me that evening I was getting burned with my anger.
Three things that are truly constant:
1.    Father
2.    Son
3.    Holy Spirit

Three things in life that can destroy a man/woman:
1.    Alcohol
2.    Pride
3.    Anger

Three things that make a man/woman:
1.    Hard work
2.    Sincerity
3.    Commitment

Three things in life that are never certain:
1.    Dreams
2.    Success
3.    Fortune

Three things in life that are most valuable:
1.    Love
2.    Self-confidence
3.    Friends


Three things in life that may never be lost:
1.    Peace
2.    Hope
3.    Honesty

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back:
1.    Time
2.    Words
3.    Opportunity

Learning to Love
Love him for what he is.  Do not wish he were someone perfect or better so that you could love him more. If you haven’t learnt to love, there is no one called perfect to fit your prototype.

Anger
I got so pissed…I felt like things were crashing on me. In really a big fire of anger I thought I will quit doing anything and make a different turn to life. I thought I wouldn’t care what comes after that. I thought life I was going to choose would be much better. But here I’m at office working late on something (It is 8:43PM). I had my work done and checked my mail before I left and here is what made me really think deeper and melt away all the remnants of anger I felt three hours earlier. It is lovely and it is surprising how much effect it can have on you.
Nopkin…you gotta tell me how  to put an image here. Don’t have much time to try it right now. So you’ll have to wait for those words that had a great effect on me.
Nice weekends guys.



Young Girls' Attraction

I was at some workshop and I heard people talk that there are some hotels/clubs where young girls dance, sit on the laps of older man…and I also heard that there was once a group of Indian officials working in Bhutan with a group of young school girls entertaining themselves somewhere on the way to Sangaygang (or is it Sanjaygang?); What concerned me more as I heard this was not the young girls entertaining them (Remember, as they danced, those men kind of strip teased them ), but what made them do it. It seems like people here are all educated and well-learned. I just thought it might provoke some wise steps…

I will come with more of such stories…I just want women and men alike to help Bhutanbecome less hypocritical.

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