Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More Bhutanese Scholars in Gujarat

Exactly one year ago, me and five other Bhutanese friends arrived in Gujarat to pursue our masters education. We  reached Gujarat in such a haste that we didn't even have time to get ourselves oriented to the place. Basically, we took a flight to Ahmedabad without even knowing who would come and pick us up from the airport. But thanks to our senior Bhutanese friends (who were already studying here), our first night was anything but a good beginning. 

They knew we would  come like a blind man; not even knowing the most popular man of the place;-Narendra Modi, the chief Minister of the state. They also knew, well in advance that we would show up inasmuch loss in mind as we were fatigued and frustrated physically. Therefore to sooth us in all whatever aspect, they  extended all their wholehearted courtesy. They were not only in the airport to pick us up, but they have also arranged a very humbling banquet in our honor. 

And in the similar manner, when nine other Bhutanese friends made to Gujarat for the same on 30th July 2012, me and one of my friends had to extend the same level of courtesy to our new coming friends as our seniors did the previous year; -we were to become their Guide! We went to pick them from the airport but on our way back, two of us nearly lost our two new coming friends when an auto they were travelling lost sight of the auto we were travelling. Worse, they didn't have our phone number to trace us! In fear I nearly had to run to Police station, but I thank God, for I found them in whole piece in a while. 

The next day, it rained cat and dog. Its probably the first heavy rain in Gujarat this year. The incident brought the same old memories rushing trough my mind, because Gujarat had the first major rainfall the same time we Bhutanese made here, year ago. While waiting for their college bus in the rain, we talked among ourselves in gaiety that Gujarat will have no rain unless some Bhutanese come here every year.

Few minutes later, the bus showed up. As I bid them farewell, they thanked me for being a "light in the darkness". For now, I remain content that we have some more Bhutanese friends in Gujarat. Some in Gandinagar and some in Ahmedabad. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I wanted to Discuss Olympics and Baburam wanted to discuss Refugee problem

"Why Everyone in the World Should Cheer on Bhutan at the London Games" published by "The Washington Post, Social Reader" was our initial topic for discussion. But somewhere in the middle of our discourse, a man named Babu Ram jumped in between and tried to steel our discussion with his "100K refugees" problem. Apparently a lady named Shristi Shrestha, also had the same opinion as that of Babu Ram. Although Shristi had not much to say but Babu Ram's  insane statements were hurting and at the same time annoying. Going through his comments, it gave me an understanding that he passed those comments based on his wild assumptions and rumors. I pity him for his lack of knowledge on the issue and I offered my humble suggestion.

Please read the excerpt

Babu Ram · Manila, Philippines
I don't know why no media talks about the 100K refugees were made by Bhutan.
regime during 90s. They were forced to leave country ( Bhutan) and were living.
in Nepal for decades. Now some still in Nepal, some are in other countries.
Reply · Like · Follow Post · Thursday at 6:01am

Shristi Shrestha
that is the whole other issue...

Reply · Like · Thursday at 11:39am

Peldhen Sonam Nima · Sherubtse College, Kanglung
If u live in Nepal, then perhaps you are not Bhutanese......please don't bring this crap here......
Reply · 3 · Like · Thursday at 1:29pm

Shristi Shrestha
dont be so rude now peldhen sonam nima....that is no crap which u r referring to..its a serious matter for both our countries...

Reply · Like · Thursday at 2:25pm

Peldhen Sonam Nima · Sherubtse College, Kanglung
Shristi Shrestha

I am not being rude here....it's only people like baburam who is trying to sell his stupidity here by bringing this senseless topic......we are discussing Olympics and not so called your infamous100K refugees. Personally I will never acknowledge that as a serious issue between Nepal and Bhutan.........Now can we only discuss Olympics here? Nevertheless, I wish you both (Babu ram and Shristi) good luck. May Nepal win lot of medals in Olympics........
Reply · 1 · Like · Thursday at 2:56pm

Shristi Shrestha
ya i agree wid u...we r discussing olympics here...still the u reply is also not acceptable.
it may not be a serious matter for u..bt it is for those refugees out there...

Reply · Like · Thursday at 3:11pm

Peldhen Sonam Nima · Sherubtse College, Kanglung
That refugee thing is very long story to be discussed here.........and apart from our own personal opinions, I don't think neither of us are competent person to comment on this. If you still find my response unacceptable then I am helpless.

Reply · 2 · Like · Thursday at 3:45pm

Shristi Shrestha
so am i dear peldhen
Reply · Like · Thursday at 3:52pm

Peldhen Sonam Nima · Sherubtse College, Kanglung
anyways All the best for your life.....Shristi
Reply · Like · Thursday at 4:02pm

Shristi Shrestha
thank u...all the very best to you too...
Reply · Like · Thursday at 4:28pm

Babu Ram · Manila, Philippines
The article also says Gross National Happiness which contradicts with the refugee thing...Anyway, good luck with Olympics and medals. Peace!!
Reply · Like · Thursday at 6:24pm

Babu Ram · Manila, Philippines
Guys! Peace! First clarification: I am Nepalese. I used to hear this refugee news here and there during 90s and early 2000 and i believe its a valid concern to know.
Reply · Like · Friday at 7:07pm

Peldhen Sonam Nima · Sherubtse College, Kanglung
Dear Baburam,

It would be my humble suggestion that you be careful with the news that you get from "here and there" Even though it may be a "valid concern" I dont think you are not the valid person to raise such issues in the first place. Second of all, i think you are nobody to say what contradicts what in our country.....
If your hands are at all itching to write then please do so with substance and justice. Otherwise don't try to complicate things unnecessary. As far as I know, Bhutan and Nepal have a good relation. And as a citizen of Bhutan, I would always work to keep that good relation going. Like you, We, Bhutanese do hear lot of problems and criticisms about Nepal too. But it is not in our blood to either ridicule or disgrace our neighbour. The reason is simple, We respect your country's dignity.

Now its upto you to show some sense or continue showing your mindless presence in this platform......

Wuth rgds

Note: there were also few other Bhutanese people who responded to his accusations, but I have only reproduced my responses here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kunzang Choden, Our very own writer

Our Own Writer
I don't know whether it has to do with my good karmic force or a sheer coincident of events in my life, but I have had the fortune of lunching at her place in Bumthang. That was long time ago. I don't remember the exact date but it was in 1997. I was a young boy then. I suppose it was in summer. Along with my brother, me and one of my friend unexpectedly made to her house for a small chore. - to dig drain for electric wires. when the job was done, she not only lavished us with a grand lunch, but also paid us handsomely. Nu. 300 those days was a lot of money! I remember how that money came at a right time (although there is never a wrong time to receive money) Perhaps as a penny less young boy, It made a lasting memory in my mind.

I later came to know that she is a great writer.

Now she is again making lasting memories in my mind through her books. I read her book "folktales of Bhutan" followed by "Bhutanese tales of the Yeti". I enjoyed her stories just like I enjoyed those stories from my uncle in exchange of a bottle of arra back home. The other book "Dawa, The story of a Stray dog in Bhutan" is by far the most romantic. It is her sublime artistic creation. Her ability to express and describe human world through the eyes of a dog is far far captivating. No amount of praise would justify the beauty of the book.

Last but (hopefully) not the least, I have just finished reading her latest work, her first novel, "the circle of Karma" Half way through, I was mesmerized and gagged with the insight she have about the life in rural Bhutan in 1950-60 and before. Blend of humor and drama, it made me laugh and it made me go emotional. Sometimes the story gets so close to my family that it got my eyes teary. The plight of Tshomo (the main character) depicts the wholesome predicament most of our grandmothers faced. -as a young girl and as a lady. The karmic force that took her around the globe not only torturous but also showed her the path to the ultimate triumph. She finally finds a way to end this mundane affairs by simply adding more love, more kindness, more compassion and more understanding to her life. Tsomo, realizes that "bliss of solitude is indeed a real bliss".

Ashi Kunzang Choden, your works have not only entertained me but  have inspired me a lot.

Folk Tales of Bhutan

Dawa, The story of a Stray dog in Bhutan

The Circle of Karma

Bhutanese Tales of the Yeti
Please get your copy and read it for yourself. If you are in India, place your order for "the circle of Karma" via Homeshop18.com or flipkart.com.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One Living Legend of Bhutan

Picture courtesy: Phuntsho Dhendup and Group

Ladies and Gentleman, My dear friends, Boys and Girls, you are at the moment looking at the picture of a great man, whose supreme wisdom, compassion, insight and intelligence can never be rivaled.  What makes him special is that we have very few people like him in this world. Dasho by title and Lama by birth, he is, without the slightest doubt, a divine man destined to be among us and enlighten us. With  humane attributes  beyond  description and contributions to our society beyond measure, he is rightly referred to as the "Hero with thousand eyes" and the encyclopedia of Bhutan.

I present to you the latest picture of our "Hero with Thousand eyes" Dasho Shingkhar Lam, Our Legend that still lives among us. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This is What I wrote to Icon Shoe Producer

Dear icon shoe producer,

I am Buddhist man Living in India.

I am so disheartened to see the kind of disgrace and injustice your company have done to Buddhism by putting Buddha's picture on the shoes. In our religion, Buddha is our master, he is our light in the darkness, he represents our hope for this life and life after, he is our everything. Therefore we Buddhist do not think that our master seriously do not deserve to be put on your shoes and other inappropriate articles.  

I would like to urge your company to do the needful things before it is met with a serious consequences in the form of mass customer protest and other charges under the existing international law on respect for religions. This is a serious religious offence and we Buddhist world take it very seriously. 


Saturday, July 21, 2012

In Search of Rupee in Bhutan

BOB token
I think many will agree without a second thought, that going to bank is the most distasteful and often unsuccessful errand. Long queue with grumbling people, restlessly gazing at the token board are the first images that comes to our fore in any of the banks (in Bhutan.)

In my recent past, I had experienced one such moment in Bank of Bhutan. I was out in the bank looking for few thousand rupees. 

As I entered the bank, I was given token No. 32. And in the queue, I was closely observing the time taken to clear one person by the teller guy. I found out that it was dead slow. -Slower than the one I observed in Hospital. The reasons were very obvious. A teller guy had to verify tons of documents before a bundle of those elusive notes were finally disbursed.

Few hours into waiting and I came to realize that rupee has become elusive and scarce. Few more hours and I got a rough idea as to how rupee has gone extinct in Bhutanese market! But in the words of our Government, we are not in crises yet! 

When the token number 14 reached for final clearance, I asked the security guy at the counter. I asked him whether my turn would really come that day. He giggled and said, 'sure but not too soon!' 

In my mind, I could feel many things rushing. I had this urge to tell him that 'I am your customer, -your king- and you cannot keep your king waiting like a dog. and you see, I have come to my own bank' (as per their catch phrase that read, "Bank of Bhutan, Your own bank" )

More than half a day wait in the bank was awful and boring. I even felt bit sleepy. 

Bored and exhausted, I gave a call to my friend. Calling up my friends when bored is something that I do most of the time. That time I called up my friend who is a Member of Parliament. I called him not to express my grievance or vent out my frustrations! I also did not call him for any favors. He showed up in a wink of few minutes and I was pleased to see him beyond description. Not many thing have changed in him. Even at the height of being my MP, I sensed little difference between us. 

That day, we discussed every thing between the earth and the sky except politics. That is because I am civil servant and I have a mandate to uphold my apolitical status even with my closest MP friend. As we lunched together, we talked about our family, friends and most importantly about our past mischief in Ura. 

By the time we were done with our talking, the bank was closed for any further transaction. But one thing was painful and ironical. I went home knowing how difficult it was getting rupee and how confusing our PM's report was on economic front. I can't say about rest, but on rupee report, I am  still not convinced.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back again in Gujarat

Double lock to ensure safety 

Before I could even complete writing my last article (remembering chicken curry in Gujarat) I am back here in Gujarat again. I have loads to write about how I spent my break in Bhutan with my family, but for now I, somehow feel so tempted to write about my return to the college.

Although broke and exhausted, I reached P/ling from where I started my onward journey the next day. In P/ling I have had the fortune of staying in one of the best hotels there. Thanks to my friend Dolo, I was accorded free food and free lodge. It was by far the most memorable night because I used my friend's i-pad to update my facebook status!

That night, it rained cat and dog, all night long. Knowing full well the condition of road between Bagdora and P/ling, I went off to bed worried and anxious. I also thought to myself that how in the world did most of my friends (like Dolo) become so rich in a wink of few years! (Perhaps they must have prayed to Lord Namsey more fervently than me!

The next day, I reached Gujarat in safe, sound and happy condition. It was little past 10 pm when I reached my door. But sadly and frustratingly, I was denied access to my room! Another giant lock from the Dean's office dangling on my door was little frightening, so to say. But Thank god, I had a friend who not only graciously welcomed me but also sacrificed his bed for me that night.

The next day I went to collect the key along with some gifts for her in my bag. But as usual the Dean was't to found in her office. However I met her peons who apparently displayed more power than the Dean herself. Instead of apologizing me for the inconvenience, they accused me of having breached the college norm. (by not surrendering my room keys to the office!) They could be right, but since I was never oriented to such a norm, I feel I was not wrong either. I requested those peons to hand over the keys to me but they kept on denying. It was bitter feeling and I felt embarrassed. When my incessant request for the key saw no end, I threatened to leave the college altogether! I told them that I did not come here on my own and that I represent Royal Government of Bhutan.

Moments later the phone rang and finally it was Dean on the other end. I greeted her with utmost respect  but she was in a hurry to make three things clear to me. One, my room has been locked to ensure safety in case of emergency (although I still do not know how double lock will assure safety in emergency) Two, the hostel rent would be increased. Three, me and my Bhutanese friends are required to surrender our room keys when ever we go for a break. With those three things, our conversation came to an end.

I don't know why but I sensed anger in Dean. She did not sound happy and pleased. Like her I was angry and outraged too. I am a humble foreigner here and I strongly believe I didn't deserve that harassment.

Anyways, I got those keys and came back to my room with my gifts still intact.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Few Pictures From Bhutan

Walking Buddha from behind and front

Rich lady at the Memorial Chorten.
From where did she manage to
get so many rosary and beads?

Memorial Chorten

Swing Machine

My Little Daughters

My nephew who has his own way of posing for picture.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Longchen Thongdrel Project

First Design 
Second Design
Third Design
Fourth Design

Shingkhar Dechenling is said to be the foremost of the eight holy places established by Omniscient Longchen Rabjampa in Bhutan at around 1308-1363. The 14th century master who propounded the philosophy and practices of the Dzogchen School of Buddhism, Longchenpa who was assisted by one of the primary protector deity of Nyingma, Rahul, meditated at Drogri Rinchen Jungney (Garkhai) and preached in the beautiful valley below. Later his great grandson, Tsezang Thaye Drakpa built a small temple to enshrine the sacred throne and became the first Shingkhar Lama. The throne was discovered in 1999 when renovating the temple. Currently, it is adorned with yet another wooden throne to elevate the life size statue of the master himself.

Today, we the youths in Shingkhar under the leadership of Dasho Lham Dorji and Lyonpo Minjur Dorji, are initiating "Longchen Thongdrol Project". The primary objective of the project is to pay homage to Longchenpa and his teachings. This magnificent Thongdrol is also for the general well being of  all the sentient beings who are constantly longing to see the end of samsaric sufferings and to bring harmony, peace and prosperity to the World at large.

Therefore it is our humble request for all the devoted followers of Longchenpa to come forward and play a part. We wholeheartedly assure that contribution offered in any form will not go in vain and that everything will be properly acknowledged and accounted for.

A/C No: 5000040605011

Bank: Bhutan National Bank, Thimphu main branch

A/C Name: Shingkhar Dechenling Tshogpa

Contact Person:
Dasho Lham Dorji (Director General of RSTA, Thimphu)
Phuntsho Ddendup Mobile: ++975 17626323 )
Sonam Rinchen (Buddhist Astrologer, Pangrizampa, Thimphu)
Pema Wanagdi (Dentist, JDWNRN, Thimphu)

Drogri Rinchen Jungney Lhakhang
that houses the unique statue of
Longchenpa as shown above

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