Monday, October 31, 2011

My Father is More Than Hero.. Part One

Once upon a time, when I was young, innocent and green, one of our senior Government officials visited our school. Before he talked extensively on the importance of education, he asked us one question. I was too young then to apprehend as to why he asked that question. But he asked us with great interest and intensity. “Who is your Hero?” He asked us. No sooner did he ask, and then came the roaring answer from my mates. There were many who shouted Salman Khan, Amithabachan, Sharukh Khan Superman, Shaktiman, Spiderman and the list went on. It went on for some time but when it finally subsided, He pulled me from the line and asked me the same question one more time.

I had no beautiful answer for him but I told him that “my father is more than hero” to me. He sounded unsatisfied and so were my mates. They all giggled and I blushed. I even overheard some of my friends making mockery out of my genuine answer. Some said my father is “carpenter Hero” while some even doubted as to whether I really understood the meaning of the word “Hero”. 

Since English was (is) not my mother tongue, it brought me many questions than I could actually answer. English, those days was considered as a language of urban aristocrats, but rural drunkards occasionally took the liberty of misusing it. In my blushing and uneasy moment, I even felt like I was a rural drunkard who misunderstood the meaning of “Hero”. In other words the word “hero” made me contemplate, think and rethink deep all through my life.

Read Part two:      Here
Read the last part : Here

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shingkhar has Electricity.

Hello Folks, I am Chath Dorji of Shingkhar. 

Today I am here to celebrate the coming of much awaited electricity to Shingkhar. I thank our leaders, policy makers and all the concern individuals for their effort in bringing up electricity to Shingkhar. I am grateful to everyone who has initiated this change for Shingkhar.  My god bless us all. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Save Shingkhar and Shingkharpas. My Plea to MP Representing Me and Shingkhar

Add caption


First up many many happy greetings to you and your family from the sweltering Gujarat. I hope my epistle will find you and your family in the best of health and happiness.

Secondly, I would like to share with you the kind of concern me and my parents in Shingkhar share about the coming of Golf course. Since this is not a new topic and more in the interest of time saving, I would not like to go into detail.

Honestly, the way things are taking shape in Shingkhar with regard to Golf course, have not only affected the daily lives of our innocent parents. But it has also created a wave of worries that equally affects Shingkharpas who are away from home currently (like Me)

Photo Courtesy: Lhendup Tharchen
In the light of matters reported in the Kuensel Issue on 27th Oct 2011, Golf Course I would like to request Dasho to kindly visit the place and verify the facts and report it to the concern decision makers accordingly.

It's painful to hear that our illiterate parents being black mailed by so called the "Gup"..Its also worrying thing to see and hear our Gup (Local leader) resorting to such a means. (threatening the innocent villagers). I think our Gup's motive needs a through scrutiny and investigation by the concern authorities. 

I am far positive that our parents are better than those third parties when it comes to making a decision that is going to affect their generation and ancestors. Moreover, Even the deparment of forest and park service's  legitimacy in conducting study after study are highly questionable, as it involves cost to the public exchequer. 

Lastly, Shingkhapras are far far more capable of becoming someone other than a gatekeepers, ball boy or night guard at the Golf course that was (is) unanimously rejected by Shingkharpas. 

Therefore, I would like to request Dasho to use your own judgement as a son of a humble farmer yourself.  I would also like to request Dasho to kindly do your own assessment (if possible) on this issue and report it to where ever  your esteemed office  deem necessary. 

Thanking you.

Kuenzang Thinley 
Gujarat University 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diwali in my Neighborhood.

As the night matures,
The thundering sound of crackers fills the air.
It's a blast after blast,
That sets the blue sky ablaze,
with flames of multi hues. 

A  cry of a frightened peacocks,
A noise of a honking car,
A flame from a burning clay lamp,
Flickering of a florescent lights,
Scent from burning agarbhati,
The Night is full of life, 

The carnival of Dewali is here!
The festival in its own righteousness,
The celebration of light 
 The Celebration of colour,
-A gift from god to the humanity.

Burn more lamps,
For it illuminates the darkness of ignorance.
Add some colour in the sky,
For its celebration of God's gift.

I wish all my Hindu friends, a very very Happy and fulfilling happy Diwali. May god Bless us all and may all humanity have all the time in their life to celebrate life, love, Happiness and   friendship

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Wife Becomes a Licensed Driver.

My better half with my second daughter
Sometime in mid 2008, by the blessing of god and goddess above, I became father of two with the birth of my second daughter and so was my wife. She became mother of two too. In union, we became parents to a pair of most beautiful daughters on this planet. 

Through my parents, I knew well in advance that parenting is not going to be an easy task. But without an inch of hesitation, I chose to become one. As sure as the grass is green, fathering two toddlers wasn't easy. It required lot of sacrifices, compromises and attentions. But nevertheless, our two angels brought us immense joy and pleasures beyond. 

It was in the fall of same year that we decided to buy a car. With growing family, Car became our necessity. Befitting to our status (beginner in civil service) we decided to buy an Alto car. But neither of us knew how to drive. That didn't deter us from fiddling with our car. Both of us soon learned to ignite the engine but we had difficulty moving our car forward. In other words, we didn't know how to balance the clutch and accelerator.  

At the cost of three minor accidents and after more than six months, I was finally able to drive on the highways. Whereas my wife, she still had difficulty balancing the clutch and the accelerator. There were days in my past, wherein my wife would come to me and tell me that it was her dream to one day drive a car on her own. 

But with me around, driving was just a dream for her and would have continued to remain so with my presence. We were both to be blamed here, because I was never a good teacher and she, never a good student. Our occasional evening driving class on the road would invariably end when she became enraged with my cumbersome and confusing instructions. She would not even talk to me for hours!

Now in my absence from home, she had not only learned to drive but have also become licensed driver. It gives me immense joy to see my wife finally realizing one of her dreams in life. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Call it Whatever you like..........

Recently, I have had the most memorable days in my life. Firstly I recovered from a deadly fever on my own. I am a foreigner here (Gujarat) but I had to act like a local myself to find all the doctors and medicines. Thanks to my Bhutanese friends, I think I found them at the right time.

 Secondly, I had to write my exams sick and weak. I think I had the worse days in my life for not being able to write well. It was like writing exam in my half sleep and half dreaming.

Thirdly, the news of a Royal wedding taking place in Bhutan came not only as an excitement, but it also brought me many hopes and dreams about the future of our nation. Emotional lines from our Prime Minister on his facebook page really churned my feelings and made me more homesick.

Besides, in the last minute, some other things also kept me going busy and frenzy. I had to submit assignments and do presentations one after another. Not only that, I had to also attend presentations of which 98% were in Gujarati medium. So anybody can very well imagine, the condition of a lone Bhutanese man attending a presentation in Gujarati medium (dozing and blinking and yawning). I attended classes just for the sake of attendance! And the most interesting part is that we were given only 5 minutes to wrap up everything in most of the topics.  In the middle of chaotic condition, there were friends in my class who preferred simply reading it out. There were also people in my class who preferred photo copying the entire text for their assignment!

Two days ago, I had been to four different offices looking for an examination form and each office treated me indifferently. They (I presume sweepers and guards) tried to chase me off like a dog from their office. But I resented. I had to tell them that I am a foreigner here and not local. 

I credit my worst of the bad lucks that brought me here. I don't know how I have landed in this confusing place. We neither had an orientation about the place and institute nor do we have a calendar or a prospectus. Everything seem to be happening at whims and fancy of some mysterious and “anonymous general manager”

Now I am down preparing for my semester exam. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A letter to My beloved Guardians; My King and Queen.

Your Majesties, my beloved King and Queen,
I missed being at home to celebrate our National event, 
"The Royal Wedding"

It brought me deep regret and remorse  
For not being able to join the Nation in person 
to observe the most auspicious and joyous day.

I was down with viral disease, a bad fever, 
People call it a Dengue the dangerous,
Worst, I had exams to write. 
But that didn't deter me a bit;

Your Majesties, I was out  in Gujarat 
Educating  people about the Happiness you brought for us
I wore your badge and told people around 
that Happiness is my identity
because you are my guardian.

A bad viral fever wasn't strong enough; 
because it couldn't withstand the happiness drug 
I took through the smiles and kisses of your majesties. 

your Majesties, I am now fully fit and vibrant,
I am celebrating our national day in my room 
on my blog and on my facebook.

I kiss each picture of yours with my heart, 
each picture is worth a drop of tears of my happiness,
Your Majesties, I am drowning in my Happiness.

I wish you all the joy and happiness,
all the smiles and all the laughter,
May the legacy of  King Khesar and Queen  Jetsuen 
Flourish forever and ever. 

I Survived Worst Fever in Gujarat

I came to a place called Gujarat with high hopes and great expectations. Being selected for a scholarship and then to be travelling abroad was my delight. To make things more promising, I remember getting briefed on our final day. Someone said I am not only going for my studies but I am also going out as a “good will ambassador” of our country. This made me assume many rosier things.

In reality, life is difficult when you are away from your loved ones. Life is even more miserable when you are in a far off place; sick, weak and homesick. This never ending misery augments more when you are over burdened with monotonous task of having to write exams after exams. It is even more painful, when you are neglected the most and left at the mercy of our own. The overwhelming senses of being dumped in an unfamiliar place are too hard thing to digest.

I survived the worst ailment called viral fever in Gujarat, and it was during those fateful days that I came to realize that I was at my own mercy. Finding doctor was truly paradoxical thing and so was getting medicine. It almost took me an entire day to get my blood tested and another half day to meet the doctor. I came to know that I was tested negative for malaria parasites. But that did not sooth me entirely. The fever took away all my appetite for food. And to worsen the matter, I had a worse case stomach upset with nausea. It was truly a miserable feeling and helpless situation.

As I stayed back in my room, few of my helpless friends frequented me. From their dismal looks, I could make out how they felt for me. However, I tried my best to fight the ailment with determination. I took loads of amoxicillin and pain killers. Out of my sheer desperateness, I even took paracetimols and anti acid tablets.

But with exam fever, matter worsened. I had difficulty standing and walking. I couldn’t balance my body while walking. But I had no choice other than to walk to the hospital to meet the doctor again. By then I even decided to quit my studies. I thought something was really not right with my health. I prayed loud and clear all those days.

I think the god above answered my prayers; I am now recovering fast and good. I am even done with my internal exams too. Even though I had tough days, I am still keeping my fingers crossed. I am ‘good will ambassador’ here so I got to act like one. I shouldn't be a cause of any worry for my family back home. 

Even though I am accorded bare minimum necessities, I am acquainting well here. My windows look better without (those never-coming) curtains. But thanks to our luck, We got a fridge to store our vegetables, milk and water.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Disaster in Making

As a boy who grew up herding sheep and cattle in the plains of Shingkhar, the idea of Golf course coming there has been anything but a thing that broke and shattered my heart into pieces. I came to know about the idea when it initially surfaced on facebook page. It was then being discussed among the scholars and native indigenous folks who have more insight into the ecological structure economic wellbeing of Shingkhar that are in stake, should the golf course idea succeed in black mailing innocent Shingkharps.

Now the topic has reached its hype. The National news paper “Kuensel” on 1st Oct, 2011, has been seen reporting on the issue as “Golf course proposal still up in the air”. From the report, it was even more disheartening to know the Tourism Council of Bhutan’s involvement in it. The concern authorities, by merely ‘considering’ the idea, have disclosed their inefficiency in implementation of country’s tourism policy, both in terms of social and economic perspective. (And I am not going to discuss in detail, the adverse affects of Investment in golf course, never going to yield positive benefit)

Petition to reject the proposal was first led by Dr. Karma Phuntsho which was supported by majority of people, not only from Shingkhar but also from a distant village of Ura. This is because, a plain and innocent people in the locality knew more about the backwash effects of the proposed investment than those statisticians.

The Paper also reported “that no government directive to reject the proposed golf course had been received” but report also mentions a very conflicting statement; “Following this, agriculture minister (Dr) Pema Jamtsho also told Kuensel that the proposal had already been rejected by the ministry”

Now, if the idea has been already rejected by a highest authority, then why is there a need to conduct a “full impact study” now? When the variable outcomes are known, the study is nothing but a deliberate act of misallocating the resources (be it a Foreign or a national)

More than the ecological destabilization, the imminent risk Shingkhar community face is a total loss of their control over a land that has been an economic backbone passed down from generation to generation. Therefore the third party involvement including the local leaders should be excluded from influencing the decisions. The decision should be entirely left to the people of the community.

The most distressing thing to see in the report was, that Shingkharps themselves remaining “divided on the issue”. This, to some degree is true and is not a new phenomenon in Ura valley. This can be credited to the local leaders who fancied polarizing rather than bringing consensus and unity among the folks. 

To quote my Ashim (sister) Pema, "I dont think Shingkharpas are EQUALLY divided 50:50. I rather feel its like DPT and PDP, he he.." (Please there is no politics here). Through this statement, its is very clear that opinion on coming of golf course are divided BUT NOT WIDELY DIVIDED as media (Kuensel) has reported. 99.99% has already said "No". Therefore its only that negligible 0.01% who are presumed to have said yes in principle. As per my opinion, people who still act adamant and choose to say "yes" are not rational people and therefore should not come in the preview of Economic discussion. Moreover, their their proclamation as Shingkharpas are highly questionable. 

The only foreseeable solution to this problem is proper allocation of property rights. Assign the property right of plains in Shingkhar to Shngkharps. I think they are far more capable of making their own decisions with their property than those people, who see only one side of an affair. I also don’t think any Government agency have that right to barge in and start doing things that are not in the interest of local community.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Story From Gujarat

Of the scheduled 24 months in India, I have just completed my second month on 29th of September 2011. With each passing day, I feel I am getting more settled (so to say). Now I know which direction is North-West and how many miles I am away from my motherland. I am also getting used to sweating in the heat and getting burned in the heat too. The high temperatures of 36o- 37o are not Himalayan-man friendly but thanks to the attributes of humanness, nothing seems unbearable. The loud and distracting noise of a peacock right next to my window is just as fine as my noisy class mates and Nau-rathri Puja drums.

Waiting in traffic of not only automobiles, but of cows and bulls, either in auto or on foot has become my norm in a city called Vastrapur. At times, getting lost in so many ‘G’ roads (like MG road, and CG road etc) has also become an acceptable thing not by choice but by default for me.

I am here on a Government scholarship, but it took me nearly 2 weeks to complete my admission formalities. “Welcome to India!” says some of my Indian friends. On this note I assume that Indians are the most patient and most tolerant people on this earth. When I am finally done with my admission to the University and College respectively, I had to walk to my class alone on my own. Believe me it didn’t require any introduction and familiarization before I could start attending lectures. It was as simple as that. 

With admission headache over, it was time for me and my friends to look for an apartment that was going to become our home-away-from-home for next 24 odd months. I think we were given the best of the best rooms available in the university campus. As it stands, it is near university library, secured 24 hours with full time security guard. 

But true to the common Shakespearean adage “all that glitters is not gold”, we were given a flat at second floor that required massive cleaning and maintenance. In our initial days, we shared the flat with Lizards, Pigeons, ants and mosquitoes. The worse was that our room did not have a fan! But however our patience paid off. We finally got fans, bed, mattress, table and toasters after waiting for more than a month. For now I am anticipating when the fridge and window curtains might make to our flat. Not only that we are also waiting for our long overdue welcome dinner from the office of the dean of students affairs. 

Thanks to few of my English speaking friends, I feel am not a stranger anymore in my class. I know most of my classmates by name now. Even though some are elusive, they are by far the most admirable set of friends I met in my life. They are noisy by nature, but that doesn’t, in any way make them distressing buddies. I like the culture of talking on top of my voice with them. 

Most of my Gujarati Buddies are vegetarian by birth and hence compassionate in nature. This really puts me in an uncomfortable position, because being Buddhist, (more so by eating meat) I find myself less compassionate compared to them. With this I am now thinking of inclining more towards veg food in my coming days. (By the way, I gave up pork last year and this year I gave up fish, Success?)

To talk more about compassion in place like Gujarat, creatures like lizard, Mosquitoes, ants, and pigeons can really take one to the limits. I have a pigeon that lays egg on my door (without any nest) that only fall and break in my room. The most disgusting thing is a Lizard in my room that prefers taking shelter in my coffee mug than feeding on ants that crawls on my table. For his inefficiency, I had to force him out from my room last Wednesday. The last thing, I want to see are the mosquitoes in my room. They are by far the most irritating and….. and…… far creepier creatures I would want to see in my room. Unlike in Bhutan, Mosquitoes here come in tens and hundreds and thousands. I do not kill them but I use ‘all out’ to chase them. Some die but it’s their fate. 

Anyways ‘INFLIBNET, near readers’ flat, room No. 5’ is my home-away-from-home. I share a flat with 3 friends from Bhutan; - a Historian, Political Science and a senior teacher who is pursuing MA in Psychology. They are all unique in their own ways, starting from cooking to talking, dressing to walking and laughing to sleeping. 

Jurmi is a Historian by profession and he is from Lhuntse. But his look says he is more of native man from Punakha and Wangdi. His dark skin is a blessing because he doesn’t get jeered in the streets of Vastrapur like I and Tashi do (they call us Chingkas). He is a very emotional person but talks very practical things. 

Tashi is a silent lover but, in presence of person like Jurmi and me, he has other features to display too. He is a fun loving man and he likes collecting peacock feathers like me. His vulture like eye-sight is something that makes me envious here. There is one common thing that Jurmi and Tashi have is; -that they are competing to reduce their calorie intake but to no avail.

Finally our senior friend is Drukpa. He is rather very quiet and private person. As a person, I find him enigmatic. That is because he prefers confining himself in his room all the time than joining our lively senseless sessions. But thanks to his indigenous way of cooking; potato eggplant and cabbage are soon going off our menu list. 

For now I will stop here.....because I have a presentation tomorrow in English for people who studied in Gujarati medium all their life (except few)

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