Monday, November 14, 2011

The unceremonious journey

I grew weary of my monotonous life. All I do is come to office, work all day and go home and sleep away the weekends and the tedious job of coming to work follows suit on Monday. Sometimes I feel that my cup of life is poisoned! I realized that I am cocooning myself in a world of my own where fun and excitement has become an absolute No No.

Tired of this, I wanted to lay my hand at something adventurous and I prayed graciously to God, “Almighty God, there is nothing impossible in you. My life has rather become monotonous, deliver me out of this. Grant me something exciting!” Sure enough God answered my prayer amusingly.

As usual, I was at work and it was mid day and I was already exhausted and starved. Food was the only thought dripping on my mind. Suddenly I get this phone call from my dysfunctional brother who was in town a few days earlier. “De (sister) please drop me till Bumthang today, I have to reach Monggar tomorrow by any means.” 
“What? Reach you till Bumthang? At this hour? You kidding me?” I asked him. 
“No de, m serious. Some important work came up at the hospital” he answered. Hundred and one questions started racing through my head. This is totally impossible, I told him. Calming down, I explained him that Bumthang is not an hour or two drive from the capital, and even if you want to go you have to start early and not sometime late in the afternoon like this. I advised him to go early the next day but as adamant as he ever is, he would not listen to me. 
Sensing the urgency in his plea, I consented without a second thought. 

Wait!I have an important meeting at work the next day and I have to be there at any cost. Oh God what am I supposed to do? Disgruntled for not saying “No” to brother, I postponed the meeting fortunately and necessary arrangements were made.

It was already 2 pm in the afternoon. I had never gone on an unceremonious journey before because I had always been a planned traveller. I plan my journey well in advance to evade unnecessary situations on the way and I have been like that ever since I started journeying on my own. And I dislike people who are unplanned and disorganized when it comes to travelling. This time I hated myself so much. The feeling itself was a huge lump on my throat. With a queasy feeling, I rushed home and quickly changed into a pair of jeans, sneakers and sweater and off we started for Bumthang at 2:30 pm. 

The journey was pretty hectic. I felt that we were on a road trip except that it was an unplanned one. As expected, in two hours time we crossed Wangdue. Darkness fell soon yet we continued on. Hunger was long forgotten. Roasted maize sold on the highway was enough to keep noisy mice away from our tummies. 

The bumpy ride through the rough terrain took its toll on me.  The sitting on the back at stretch started giving me enough back ache. Pot holes now and then were all that was needed to give a bumpy ride. Dust was another compliment to the already rough terrain. 

Few kilometers away from Trongsa we encountered a larger than life bear on the road. Gosh! At this hour what was a bear doing on the highway? Its large arms were enough to arouse goose bumps in me. At first I just could not figure out the animal until my brother was “look, A BEAR!”  It was a decent bear though, silently gave way to us and up it disappeared into the thick dark forest. We must have disturbed it on its hunt to maraud some farmer’s crops. 
On and on we climbed uphill into the cold dark road through the forest towards Bumthang. Six years of my stay in Bumthang and I knew the road like the back of my hand. Yet this journey seemed pretty long and hectic to me, the obvious reason being an unplanned one. A little harder push of the accelerator seemed that the car is over speeding and a bump into a pothole made the ride bumpier in the night. Not a single settlement in sight, the road seemed longer and never ending. 

Eight hours later we reached Chumey, 20 km towards Bumthang. The cold in Bumthang is unbearable at this time of the year. Thick mist clouded the air and there was frost on every object outside. The small settlement of Chumey seemed dead, without a single being in sight. The cold weather must have compelled everyone to cuddle in bed and embrace beauty sleep. 

We snaked in through the long deserted road to the greetings of warm bhukari in a friend’s place, it was manna to us. Otherwise, freezing to death was too apparent in that weather. 

The thought of having spent 6 early years of my life in a boarding school in cold Bumthang surprise me today. The weather remains cold in Bumthang almost throughout the year with chilly wind and snowfall in winter. The ritual of early morning prayers and morning studies in the school, having to do our own laundry in the freezing water and those cold evening studies out in the MP (Multi-purpose) hall every day, some yards away from the warmth of our hostel rooms surprised me further. 
How could one possibly survive in this cold without any heat appliances? We must have been adapted then, I presume. A sense of overwhelming appreciation overcomes me when I think about it and I am proud at myself for having been through that.

This is the first time I have been to Bumthang after the Chamkhar fire incident in 2010 and I have watched only on Television how the cozy Chamkhar town had collapsed in the fire. I could not help but mourn the fall and called in to check twhether my friends were alright. Today, having being there myself and stand amidst the remnants of the fire is heartrending. A mushrooming town then, I had expected Chamkhar to become a central business hub to the people of the east. Alas! 

The fall of the town took away my memories. Memories of which shaped the person in me today, memories that were of wonder years spent with friends, family and beloved ones, memories of stolen moments which brought immense joys. I was attending the funeral of my memories with Bumthang, which I considered my “second home” with undefined reasons.

The next day, I started early back to the capital as a rejuvenated soul. It was a comfortable one unlike the previous night and reached early. Sometimes going out of one’s territories of protocols is fun and adventurous just as I embarked on this unceremonious journey.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writing a Diary

Do you maintain a diary? Or did u ever maintain one? Well, I used to do since high schools until college. Now I do not remember when was the last I ever wrote because I have completely lost the habit. It is said that writing diaries and maintaining one is a good habit. Perhaps I have turned from a good to a bad kid now because I do not write though I claim writing to be a passion of mine.

My earliest memory of writing a diary was at the age of 13 when I was away at boarding school. There were several factors that attributed to my habit of writing a diary. A young girl just into her teens and away from home was one significant factor that made me to pour out my feelings to someone when homesick and penning down those feelings in something I considered somebody (diary) was the only solace I had then.

Moreover, I was shy as a kid and opening up was my greatest fear. So whatever I wanted to speak up and felt about somebody was always penned down. Basically, my pages of the diary used to be about what I did the whole day, who I met, how I felt and some feelings of the crushes I used to have. :)
Interestingly, The Diary of Anne Frank is highly acknowledged for the quality of her writing. Her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films. Call it a coincidence; Anne Frank also started writing her diary on her 13th birthday. Here is an excerpt from her diary.

Wednesday, 5 April 1944:

“I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!
When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?”
That is so true. Writing means immortality. Even after your death, your writing will live and the world will remember you just as we do for Anne Frank today. For two years since 6 July 1942 till 4 August 1944, Anne records about everything in her diary. The people they have lived within the secret annex for two goddamn years, completely shut out from the outside world are so immaculately described that it’s like you have lived with them in the hiding all those years.
The Diary of Anne Frank was published posthumously, when Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father survived the war and found his daughter’s memoirs in her diary. Knowing that Anne always wanted to become a writer, he edited the diary by giving pseudonyms and sent it for publication. It was positively received and became a huge success. Anne Frank, a 13 year old girl’s dream of living even after her death has come to live. So will be yours and mine as long as we keep on writing and blogging. Someday, my grand child would be able to access this blog hopefully and see the world through the eyes of mine some generations back. That’s how I hope to overrule immortality lol.
Some good years back, I encouraged someone special in my life to write and he wrote vigorously in his diary since then. Few of my New Year gifts to him used to be a diary.  Hopefully, he blossomed into a prolific writer now. And I am glad about it today. And I am sure that he has not left that gift of writing his diary unlike me:(.
So what are you thinking then? Tell me about your earliest memory of writing if you have one, it need not necessarily be writing a diary.   
                                      Image courtesy: Google

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Royal Wedding, finally it is here!

Love is in the air! Not for me but for every Bhutanese. The hearts have been racing extra wildly with excitement and there is excitement on everybody’s face. The celebratory mood is seen everywhere. 

Ask why? Somewhere in a small Himalayan Kingdom, the dragon king is getting married. Our king is getting married.My king is getting married. I find it pleasant when I refer to His Majesty the King as ‘my king’ because he holds a special place in people’s heart. Truly he has been tagged as The People’s King. And that ‘my’ syllable brings extra attachment to my king. Yes my handsome, gallant and down-to-earth king is getting married to the beautiful bride Jetshuen Pema. Its a living testimony of fairy tale. Who said fairy tales does not exist? It does! And its happening in Bhutan, right here, right now :)

With the countdown coming to just some hours now, we are super excited for the royal wedding. Unable to hold the excitement I and my friend went out for a drive in our Pajamas to see the Thimphu city in its magnificent beauty late last night.

I have always been fascinated by the colorful lights; its glow and color in the nights brings a great sense of satisfaction and magical feelings in me whenever I see some colorful lights. So not wanting to let this magical feeling pass away without letting it to conquer my heart, we went out like kids excited with some mischief up their sleeves. And lo and behold! This is what we saw; the structures of the city beautifully decorated just like the groom and bride to-be will be dressed in their best on the wedding day.

Tashichhodzong at its glory at night

Shearee Square in Olakha, the only shopping mall with elevators in Thimphu glowing wid blue hues

Hotel Migmar in Olakha and the Expressway sheddin away the same glow
Sorry my pictures are not as aesthetic as it should be. To get the aesthetic view you should go out at night and see it for yourself, trust me you will be amazed! :) 

This is indeed a very auspicious occasion for every one of us. Our king since time immemorial has taken people true to his heart and considered each and every one of us as his family. Thus, we are participating in this historic occasion as one huge family. 

I wish your Majesties a Happy wedding and a prosperous life for now and forever! And live happily ever after, both the people and their Majesties.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Check Check! Reality Check!

Bogged down with work :(

Work seems to have taken its toll on me. It is like I am racing against time without a proper destination in mind. Like a horse in a polo race, work seems to rein me and I haven’t had the time to look sideways, but always forward like the horse. This explains why I have missed blogging for a pretty long time now. In fact this must be the first post in September.   

People say there is no work in civil service. This isn’t the diagnosis with me. Since I am in my probation year in the service, I am overburdened with work. The so popular cliché of ‘The boss is always right’ overrule here, I believe. This is because the boss always passes on his/her work to the probationer without speculating whether he/she has a slightest work knowledge as to the given task or not, your subordinate looks upon you and leaves the work half done expecting you to complete it for them. And feeling it as your responsibility, you sincerely do it for every Tom, Dick and Harry.  This is why I get back home just to eat and sleep, wake up in the morning and rush to work with that incomplete sleep; work like a robot the whole week long, and on and on continues the routine. So where is the time to pursue your hobbies, see your friends, have fun and be content? I have been missing on these things lately. 

I started to read Life of Pi a month ago. I have just started it and have remained there, where do I have the time to read? I would love to flip a page or two before I go to bed every night but at the end of the day I am so tired that as soon as I lie down, I become a dead log. This is how my world has been revolving lately. 

Reality Check: Off late media has been reporting distressing news. Rampant suicides and rapes, drug abuse and smuggling are becoming reportedly high. Minor arrested for alleged sexual harassment, prisoner committing suicide when he had just 1 year and 7 months of his 10 years to serve jail, traditional healers committing rape in a row in the name of curing bjaney (supposed to be urinary tract infection) and numerous smuggling of tobacco, sandal woods, animal hides and others to name a few. These always leave me in great contemplation. The traditional healers’ crime reminds me of the sages (esp. the Indian sadhus) I have read about in crime magazines who lures and coax women into sexual activities for the sake of enlightenment. 

Apart from other reasons, desperateness seems to be the ordeal of the day. There is this job vacancy for a class XII graduate in my workplace. Surprisingly, some 6 university graduates applied for the post. Asked as to what made them to apply for the post, the dearth of job opportunities made them to do it was the quick reply. Not only that, the desperateness to earn a living must have made them to apply for it. Daily a bunch of high school and university graduates come asking around for jobs at my workplace. The present scenario questions whether a small country like Bhutan can accommodate almost all the workforce in its capital alone. I wonder what if it becomes like the Malthusian Theory where the population overburdens the carrying capacity of the land to produce food. And what if Bhutan is no longer able to provide job opportunities to every other graduate each passing year...  

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink- A book review



Known for its impact of eroticism and moral claims upon the reader, The Reader is a contemporary fiction. It tells a mesmerizing story of love, secrets, betrayal, guilt, horror and compassion against the backdrop of post war Germany. It’s an autobiographical novel about a 15-year old, Michael Berg who falls in love with Hanna Schmidt, a woman twice his age.

What makes this book interesting is, after a brief love-affair; Hanna disappears suddenly until years later they meet in a court where the boy is visiting a trial about war crimes as a law student.

The Reader takes us literally to the German city after the Holocaust through the eyes of Michael and Hanna. One can see the growing love connection of the two distinct people and feel the betrayals and guilt as secrets are revealed in a surprising manner.

What I loved about the book is that it opens your eyes to the raw humanity portrayed through the characters in postwar Germany and how it is beautifully captured in writing is amazing! The title of the book itself is a real cache which encircles the storyline and once you start reading you cannot stop pondering as to whose shoes you must put yourself into. Never-ending page flipping is guaranteed until you finish the book. This book has been made in to a major motion picture where Kate Winslet won the Oscar for best actress in 2009.

This appeared in the 3rd edition of Yeewong magazine.


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