Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Am I in middle class now?

As I move closer to end my fifth year in Paro, I look back at my bygone year with mixed feelings. I have many moments to cherish and remember. I also look back to those nostalgic moments with great sense of satisfaction and contentment.

I officially joined service in January 2006. It was a humble beginning then. We (me and my wife) rented an apartment below Rimpong Dzong. The apartment had a large living room, 2 bed room, 1 kitchen, 1 store and worst of all 1 toilet. With few personal effects, virtually the whole apartment was empty. But we had to accept it just like we accept a tail of a pig as part of pork. My wife had lot to complain when I got home late because there were either many strangers peeping through our windows curtained partially with her kira or our empty apartment echoed like it does in an empty cave.

Our kitchen at least had few thing in it, because I chose to save my daily subsistence allowance (DSA) earned while I was undergoing my study tour as a trainee officer in Royal institute of management. I proudly recall buying 1 rice cooker, 1 water boiler, gas stove and a small pressure cooker and a small frying pan form Thimphu. We also had a gas cylinder, few pots and other utensils arranged by my father-in-law. My wife's large VIP suitcase was our wardrobe and we had few good carton boxes to supplement that. We are both a very religious person so we also had a small altar set up on a table stained with cement and sand.

With the winter already in the air, the freezing temperatures and limited warm blankets meant that we needed other amenities to keep us warm. So we decided buy a double rod heater only to be shocked later that it cost us so dear. Nu 700/- was a lot of money to be spent on heater alone. It could have been used as a taxi fare to reach me to clinic, when I was fighting an acute pharyngitis.

But now in five years time, things have changed. I am decently paid and I surely do not have to wake or walk early to my office. I could afford a luxury of cell phone which was a distant dream a year ago. It didn’t matter whether I slept in darkness or in light but I have been to Tokyo once. For some, they must have seen a TV commercial “Malaysia Truly Asia” I have been there too. Dusty and din, Delhi was a place of magic.

I feel that god has really heard and answered my prayers. I begin my day seeing my loved ones and I end my day feeling that I have served myself and the Government. Today I have enough amenities to accommodate guests in my house. Carton boxes are well replaced with wooden wardrobe and plastic drawers. As I enjoy news on Aljazeera in my bed room. I can also see my daughters enjoy ‘tom and jerry’, ‘Mr. Bean’, and ‘pink panther’ on other TV in the living room. I can occasionally afford to send items my parents like in Shingkhar.

I have a loving Boss who gave me an idea of Blog and Blogging besides my normal and routine customs job. His acumen has made me more matured and manly. Not only that, I also have so many affectionate friends around me. Even though Customs (my job) has been a subject of controversy for many I have started loving it more. I feel people are ridiculing  us out of sheer ignorance and Stupidity.

Having been recognized and promoted to a level of Assistant Collector of Customs and Excise is even more blessing. It is a realization of yet another dream for not only me but also for my mother and father, for my three lovely growing daughters, my better half, and for my Wife's parents. For me this is Gross National Happiness in its fullness.

am I in middle class now?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Prosperously unprosperous

One evening, my father –in-law called me up and told me to book a flight ticket for Paro- Gaya sector. This was nothing new for me. Having worked in airport for more than 5 years, such assignment used to be a part of my errand besides my official customs work. I became little anxious for no reasons when he told me that a family form Lunana wanted to go on a pilgrimage to Gaya by air. The very next day I got the money and bought six economy class tickets for them. Their journey was due on 23rd Dec

On 22nd Dec evening, they have all come to my place to collect the air tickets. They were two elderly women in mid 60s and two young and good looking but uneducated couple. Among them was a baby who appeared little over 1 year. No one told me about baby in the group. I have purchased an air ticket only for six adults .“What about him” I asked and the reply as expected form the father came “I think I will carry him on my lap”. I tried to educate them about the air travel procedure and that it’s nothing like traveling in a bus. As the evening progressed, I could feel the sense worry on the face of parents. They told me that they wanted to take their baby with them to Gaya at any cost.

The next morning, I took them all to airport and checked in six of them first. I found them so eager to get into the aircraft. Knowing very well the flight wasn’t full that day I requested the manager of airline about the possibility of issuing ticket for an infant. But when I came to know that infant child neither had health card nor passport, my presence proved futile.

Later, the father of an infant told me that there is no practice of registering a child with health care card in their locality. He also told me that the most of the people still practice home delivery and that his child was never vaccinated nor given any vitamins till date. The nearest health care center he said is located far and takes a day’s walk to reach.

Today I feel that the education is a big missing link in the north. Without education these people are prosperously un-prosperous. I have heard and seen the income of the people in the North increased by many folds. This became possible when His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyelpo made harvesting of cordecepts in the pristine mountains of Bhutan legal. Today the so called nomads of North are doing far better than those urban dwellers in terms of monetary. The average annual income of a family is estimated to be more than a million Ngultrum. This economic boom came as a boon to most of them.

Today, most of them stay in a hotel rather than bothering a host who are usually the relatives form the same native place. This has also enabled them to acquire land and construct buildings in the urban towns, buy compound bows to enjoy archery game, buy a car, buy new cloths to replace their yak milk stained cloths, buy mobile phone, buy hi-tech boots, buy expensive wind and rain proof suits, buy ultra violet protected ray ban glasses but what next without the proper Education and health care system for them?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So many dying

let me include the most recent ones that i know ONLY:
1. on 15th Dec, 18 pilgrims perished in a worst air crash in Nepal
2. on 18th Dec, a school going boy committed suicide after he was declared fail in class
3. 22nd Dec, 9 People dead in Lamperi Accident

we have lost 28 dear ones in just 1 week. I am afraid  if we keep loosing people at this rate we will lose 1456 in a year. Bhutan will only take less than  443 weeks to lose all its citizens....Alarming Right!!!!!

i basically wanted to share that its too much for a country size of ours to loose people at this rate.

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