Once a friend of mine asked me my date of birth. I said, I was born sometime in 1980. "Oh! You are a Monkey personality then". I said yes. "You know what?” He continued. As per the astrological facts, monkey personalities will not have an easy life. He also said that Monkey personalities may toil extra in life but their efforts may never yield fitting appreciations. 'Is it?' I replied. As a matter of fact, life wasn’t easy. For that matter, I think life isn’t easy for anyone. Starting from a minute ant to a giant elephant, I see life as a constant source of struggle. I see life as an ongoing enterprise to survive.
Especially, in Buddhist astrology there is widespread believe among the people that a person born in the year of monkey and who bear unique birthmark called Mewa Nye Nak are doomed to prosper less in life. It’s a disappointing remark. But such are words monkey personality get to hear on a daily basis. These are worst prophecies to have been foretold ever. Based on these insights, I thought maybe I should do some personal reflection on my Monkey personality.
Well, I was born and brought up in a very remote village. I did not know about the conditions of other households in my village then, but in my case, eating rice meal (any rice) was a luxury! Provisions were as scarce as it can get. A humble fish curry for a New Year celebration was equivalent to having a Meal of a King! Electricity and roads did not exist. I don’t know if that has anything to do with being a monkey personality.
When I graduated and got into Government job, I thought those were the last days of my unhappy monkey personality. As I look back thirteen years hence, it appears that my monkey personality came with me, all along. Very recently, some HR commission rejected my promotion proposal. As a Revenue and Customs official, I thought my merit would be based on the additional revenue contributions I have made. An extra contribution of more than Nu. 33 million to our impoverished government exchequer would fetch me an early promotion. In my airport days, under my In-charge ship, I and my team made a contribution of worth more than Nu. 24 million through gold and silver seizures. Let us not forget other contribution me and my team made through the seizures of undeclared foreign currencies. The amount ran into millions! For being a man behind the action, I thought my promotion would come easily. Sadly, it was not to be. It seems the myth of Monkey personality did the rest of the magic. Today morning, much to the delight of all our friends, one of our colleague who got promoted was offering a tea and momo party. I told them all that I would have hosted a grand lunch, if only my promotion came through.
Last month, I had a mild argument with some accounts officer in the Ministry of Finance. For some reason known only to himself, he adamantly refused to sanction travel allowance to me and my boss for an official travel we made to a place called Rangpur in Bangladesh. More than a month passed and there was no sign of our allowance coming. So I made a call. I started the conversation with all humility. I respectfully pleaded him to release the payments. But he acted more stubborn. When he did not relent, I told him that I am going to withdraw my claim altogether! Much to my annoyance, he hanged the phone before I was done talking. Two weeks later, we received our payments. A marginal deduction of 25% was made from our actual claim. Monkey or not, I thanked god. I did not die in between but survived to receive my allowance!
Coming back to the most coveted issue of foreign travels, I feel some civil servants in our country simply live to travel abroad! In my recent time, I have realized how much of horse trading it takes to avail one travel opportunity. In my fortunate years, I have travelled and made lot of memories too. But in most cases, I returned home more broke than ever. There were times I survived on pig ear soup and stolen breakfasts. This year was not bad. I travelled thrice already. One to Bangladesh (Bumarami/Rangpur) to have a meeting with our counterparts on facilitating our trade. And two to India (both to Fulbari) to request Indian authorities to facilitate our stone export to Bangladesh. In all three cases, I travelled the perilous highways of West Bengal. Someday, when my monkey personality myth cease to be my obstacle, I wish to travel beyond India and Bangladesh too.
Last time there was a hush talk in the town. I do not know the factual status of the story. It goes like this. Some Dasho cum Malik had coaxed an innocent girl to spend a night in Hotel with him. As per other talks in the town, it was said that after a momentous night in the hotel, the extravagant Dasho cum Malik lavishly gifted a girl with a bank cheque. The next morning, the innocent girl approached the bank to withdraw the money. Her cheque got bounced. Somebody checked her kaytse and found out that she was a monkey personality too!!!