Saturday, September 30, 2017

Rains, Dumplings and then? Rains of course!

A couple of weeks back our course director mentioned of the orientation program to be held on the 30th of September. That is today, the last Saturday of September 2017. And here we are, dressed in our traditional attire. No sooner did we enter our faculty room, it started raining cats and dogs. I am a lover of rain and I think I need to change my perspectives on rain after what I see in Thailand. Roads flooded, drains clogged, street food corners shut and stinks.  As we entered the hall, I think we were the last ones to take our seats and a gentleman was presenting on reading, hard work and attitudes on learning with examples. He was speaking in Thai.


I nearly slipped into boredom when suddenly our course director started sending us messages in English, translating the speaker to our respective cell phones to my much needed relief. I thanked her with, “Oh thank God Ajarn…you came to our rescue.” From then on familiar faces began to appear on the screen, of course with some talks in Thai. Will Smith, Steve Jobs, Malala Yousefzai, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and a Chinese man in a video mentioning his perseverance. All inspiring until now.

The next incidence is to today’s update. The speaker now showed a video with some Thai writings where the late King Bhumibol was pictured…Remember, I am in Thailand and must do what Thais do. The audience in front of me started sobbing and most were wiping their tears. I couldn’t help but joined them with a tear or two.

I watched a video and read a short biography on King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was a king of extraordinary charm and the Thais reverence to him is unmatched-How can one argue with that? This is beyond words. Check out YouTube on the late Thai king.

Now my reason for joining the bandwagon with some tears is, I also belong to a kingdom and we share so many things in common. If you can draw your own conclusions over what I am intending and underpinning to say. Come October and my Ajarn tells me there will be some sort of mourning again since it’s been exactly a year since the late king passed away.

End of the program-grabbed some dumplings, some chocolate cakes and lemon grass juice. Took some pictures even with strangers because most of them were fascinated with our dress… besides the knowledge and the positivity of things just happened today, this is what all summed up to…Rain, dumplings and Rains again. We left the hall only to do this on  our way back home...



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Is this hacked?

www.education.gov.bt
Watching Aljazeera online streaming is what I did today with nothing to do at home. Internet is amazing and informational but at the same time what is good and what to consume is at the discretion of its users. My other friend Tashi, came to my room saying the WiFi in his room isn’t working. I made him a coffee and he was watching some academic stuff on YouTube. I was on Facebook and was just done with video calling my family back home.

Out of the blue I wanted to check and see what was happening with the education fraternity back home and saw this despite numerous push on the ‘Enter’ button.



www.rcsc.gov.bt
 Later, I also wanted to see what was happening with the civil service and saw this! I have never seen a hacked website and I wonder if I may see one in the future. I doubt whether this is a hack or not. I am naming the only Internet and computer savvy people I know; Passu and Pema Gyamtsho. Will you check and see if what I am mentioning is true?


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A piece of Myanmar…

The ingredients
This is my very first update on cookery in my six years of blogging. I have a very good friend named Moses and he happens to be my immediate neighbor. Today after my classes at the university, I heard some noises at his apartment and I checked on him with a sense of curiosity. 

My apartment has residents from all over the world, viz: Germany, Africa, Japan, Myanmar (Burma), Finland and not to forget our very own Bhutanese.

Checking on him, he was cooking or rather boiling some fish with lemon grass. Inside he had some chillies mashed, some ginger, coriander leaves, lemon grass leaves, crab meat and some fried onions. This broth or rather soup must be eaten with rice noodles and I skipped the noodles but the soup tasted awesome.

The soup
Moses
To make it a little limey, one can choose to add some lemon juice. That’s exactly what Moses did. And yes not to forget the salt.










The final Dish
Now for some history, this dish is called Rakhine Moudi. This is the traditional dish of the ethnic people of Rakhine state as he tells me. Now, one can find this dish in every corner of Myanmar.



With international headlines on Rakhine and the Rohingyas these days, I get to savor a piece of Myanmar in the silent city of Rangsit. Look at those pictures, doesn’t it look flavorful?


Until then, happy savoring folks!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Smile, you are going to lose weight!

Sawadhekhrab! Here’s the second update. Well, inspiration and ideas come in the weirdest ways when you fall short of words, lines and subjects to write about. I was soul searching for a couple of days after my first update here in the land of smiles. This is my 24th night here in the scorching city of north Bangkok. Well, again coming to the point, sleep wasn’t coming easily as often is the case with me, I went to relieve myself in the toilet of my apartment and only today, that’s the night of 11th September at 11:24 pm (Bangkok Time) I saw what was written just above the toilet pot. This is to today’s update.

Only today did I come to know about the toilet ‘bowl’.  Until just a moment ago, I was pretty sure that it is called the toilet pot-just for the sake of understanding for those like me for whom English is the second language. The English teacher in me wasn’t agreeing to this ‘bowl’ thing and was rather comfortable with ‘pot’. Checked into searching the right thing and it was indeed right. But my ‘pot’ was also right.

I know this may sound a little weird when a supposed blogger knew ‘bowl’ today but even weirder is, it’s a toilet inspiration. Certainly, sitting up and down the same pot, (sorry ‘bowl’ or whatever) numerous times and you have no freaking idea of its appropriate name. This is a certain un-learning attitude. Folks! Remember, it is a ‘bowl’ and also a ‘pot’. If toilet bowl thing is to be personified, it would say, “Smile, you are going to lose weight”. Or, I just read it on the internet, “Keep me clean, use me well, what I see, I never tell.”

Ok just a weird thought on a weird night enveloped in this weird heat and hoping positively not to have a weird sleep later. BOWL”, “POT” Same-same (if I was indeed shopping for a pot here in Thailand). Here’s a measure for measure-It’s stuffs inside the bowl that later gets flushed in to the pot. Confused? I am too.

Good night folks and remember, “Keep me clean, use me well, what I see, I never tell”.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Hot, Hotter and Hottest!

Sawadhekhab!
Greetings from the land of smiles. This is my very first update after coming to Thailand. I am one of the hundreds of Bhutanese students studying in Thailand and my batch here includes eleven, of which four are ladies. When I was interviewed for the scholarship I was asked, how will you manage to communicate with the Thais who are not very fluent with English? He already answered his question. I said, “I can manage”.

True to what the interviewer asked I am having difficulty speaking but what they write in English is a whole different story. I am beginning to pick some basics already. I have come to realize that their written English is sky high especially of Ajarns (Teacher/Professor). Logging into my university’s website I was amazed at the educational background of the faculty here; Harvard, Oxford, Princeton etc… Perhaps a reminder that good/big things come in small packages. Another striking feature of my Ajarns-no male Ajarns. My faculty, education is women power-all women show. No wonder my course director remarks, “This year we have a lot of guys”.

A week into coming to Rangsit University situated in Pathum Thani, an hour north of Bangkok I come face to face with my first culture shocks.

1.      Whether you board a public transport, a sky train(BTS) or any other modes of transport, most Thais especially the young never talk to each other instead fiddle their cell phones until their stop is reached. I am yet to experience the motorcycle Taxi.
2.      I reside in an apartment named ‘Penthip House’ where students of many different nationalities reside. We Bhutanese and Moses, a Burmese friend are the only ones to cook and eat. Rest of the dwellers just walk, grab something, eat and come back.
3.      Everyone smiles here-back in Bhutan only familiar faces smile.
4.      The sound- Just by listening to the roar of an engine one cannot make out whether it’s an SUV or a motorcycle. Here, they fuel up their cars with some sort of gas-a literal air which I am not aware of.
5.      Bangkok and its outskirts are known for its vast super expressways and highways. Traffic jams and convoy are a daily sight. Despite the speeding cars and Lorries, no one honks at each other which is not in our case. Perhaps, something to learn from the drivers here. But if one is caught up in an accident the survival rate is second only to none.
6.      Food-Even before coming to Thailand, I have had experiences of eating Thai foods and what is salt to us is sugar for them and lots of it. I see many a young a little plump than their age because Thais love their food. One can see food stalls in whichever market and whatever malls.

This is my 15th night here in Thailand and I am anticipating more of such shocks. I will keep updated on things happening and yeah like everyone else here I do miss my family back home and I tell you there’s nothing like the air of our country. Here, they say, Thailand has only two seasons; hot and very hot. Happy breathing folks for those of you back home and happy blistering for the ones like me here.
Thank you for visiting…Khab poon khab…

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fear Death…Let’s not be insolent!

‘Who is related to whom in this world, every creature is born alone and he dies alone’ a very common Bhutanese maxim reads. Relation however intimate and close it may be, everything and everyone is leveled at the crematorium. Death may be untimely but it is ultimate. Forgetting whatever one achieved and accumulated in one’s living moments is insignificant when time for departure has come and when god’s will be done.

Now you may wonder, a supposed blogger preaching about death. As obvious as it may seem I am beginning to think about what people do one of these days, seriously on people being very insolent. I was on a weekend veggie hunting at the farmers market and after I got some, back in my small car I was waiting for the familiar parking fee collector. He is a boy with humility as I have known him for the last three years or so. Before he could collect Nu: 15/- from the car before me, I saw him ridiculed by the driver who was may be too proud to park his shiny Toyota Prado. He almost punched him on the face and later threw Nu:15/- on the road and sped off.

Walking towards me and after grabbing my charges, I asked him, “Gachi Bayee Nochu”, “Kho sir ghi hema park chapchi, ganta chi Yasi”, Teru ray meetay sa lap mey”. Shob chab mey” - (What’s wrong! He parked even before sir came and left the car for an hour. He is unwilling to pay, He’s lying). The Prado owed more than just 15 bucks. I felt sorry for the boy and handed another extra ten to my charges to which he smilingly said, “Kadrinchey”.

On my way back home, I was thinking hard to connect his Prado to a meager charge of Nu:15/-. What would have gone wrong if he paid the charges? What would he pay if his Prado succumbs to an accident? And many more questions until I realized who am I to worry so much on the cruel behavior of an ill-mannered wealthy. After all, he shall die, the parking fee boy’s time will come and my time also will be done. Considering death as an ultimate equalizer, there’s no time to be so insolent and proud of one’s machine which also comes with an expiry date. Being humane matters! Remember my tryst at the CFM[i], Thimphu. Please be humble! I know you will and yes have a nice day. A food for thought perhaps to tickle your consciousness…

“Death is not the greatest loss in life; the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live”



[i] Centenary Farmers Market

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Morning Sun…Some Reflections!

Thank you Monu and Sonam Yangki for having me at your lodge for the launch of The Morning Sun. It took me close to two and half hours to begin and end in one sitting.  It was a refreshing read and it was a metaphorical cruise into the life of Sonam Yangki put into words by our very own doctor.

Monu has used words and expressions to cater to all readers and I strongly recommend this book to our youth these days who with little hardships have big complaints and for whom putting in a little more effort means punishment.

Well, first things first, I am awestruck at Sonam’s endurance and her zeal to live despite the life-threatening circumstances early on in her childhood. Reading of working hard to make ends meet on a daily basis brought tears to my eyes and I will never forget the memorial Chorten incidences, Doma and Tshering later. Reading between the lines I am quite confident what Sonam underwent was 10 or so years back. I am also beginning to wonder such people like Ap Gyembo and the other uncle existed in what we call now the capital city. I also cannot forget the army officer whom I should say was a literal maniac.

Modernity has bred negativity and this fact is evident how careless and bother less were people who knew Sonam. My favorite part from the book begins after chapter 19 when Sonam’s life takes a turn for the better meeting Tshering and not forgetting Uncle Mila’s who sees the dream and desperation in Sonam when she was young. If time permits I would like to meet Sonam Yangki and Tshering in person once again not forgetting Golu. I know he will grow up be a confident bloom as he is now a timid bud. I wish him all luck and wishes. I now know its Sonam and Golu in the picture of The Morning Sun. This picture speaks. Just give it a try. I know you will!

Sonam’s love for singing and her achievements in this art is commendable considering her dedication and economic challenges she underwent in achieving the almost impossible. Sonam’s forgiveness is praiseworthy when she embraces her mother later despite all her doings and I still wonder how you cannot love your own child. The Morning Sun greets readers with a pity on the onset where one cannot help but turn the pages and read for what happens next? It is a story of survival amidst economic advances we boast of and more importantly Sonam’s struggle to find life worth living. Every plot of the story takes some obvious turns and you know how values degenerate in humans once money takes precedence over everything else in life. All in all, The Morning Sun is a story of stories but true.


Happy Reading folks and Monu! See you around buddy!

Monday, May 8, 2017

My Inspiration: A Teacher and a Journalist

On a usual morning, getting lost in my usual chores, I get a call from a colleague who was doubtful whether I will recognize him or not. He had no idea I saved his number a year ago when we met at conferences and the much celebrated Mountain Echoes 2016. We became friends by our likes and love for writing. And he is Monu Tamang, now a Physiotherapist at JDWNRH.

The Teacher
I was invited for the release of his third book, The Morning Sun. I made myself available and in the evening I was waiting for others to arrive and in the distance saw Tashi Gyem, a Horticulturalist also a blogger.  Behind us were Creative Donkey and Beenu. We were late. Calling Monu we slipped into the last row and sat diligently. Looking at the speaker I was taken aback. It was HE T.S. Powdyel. His talks and the silence the audience maintained took me back 12 years into college when I was taught literature by Mr. Powdyel.

Scanning through the heads listening to the talks were familiar faces like Chador Wangmo, Karma Choden, Passu, Nawang P and I am not sure whether you heard the name KB Lama.

My update today is about who inspired me to write in the first place. Besides Ernest Hemingway, DH Lawrence, William Wordsworth, RK Narayan and the modern Elizabeth Gilbert, I am still fascinated with words and writings of our very own TS Powdyel and KB Lama. Mr. Lama used to head one of the private newspapers and my admiration for him was his fiery editorials.

The Journalist
Monu gave me the opportunity to meet my inspirations and I try and write like my inspiration: A teacher and a journalist. Just to make this read a pensive one, listening sincerely to Mr. TS; I took to the pain of memorizing and remembering his words “We need artists to make our society fuller and much realized.”  Back in college, all presentations that we did in Sir Powdyel’s class were displayed on our classrooms walls and not realizing some of the charts were trash, sir exclaimed looking at the walls, “Oh! It’s a hanging garden ina la, Make sure you pick only the flowers mey la.”

I got this wonderful opportunity to meet my inspirations and my experience was nothing short of edifying.





Monday, May 1, 2017

Just Write!

www.blogger.com
Whether you write on experiences, observations or opinions on whatever you come across, it shouldn’t be ignored, is the first ground rule for blogging. In my years of blogging I have come to know whether you write trash or state your opinion, you must stand your ground firmly to justify your writing and in doing so I have come across so many accusing me of the writings I have published here in my blog. 

As a factual anecdote I was once asked to explain to an agency for stating my opinion on the services it rendered. These are just a blowing breeze in the quest of achieving perfection in writing or telling stories. 

So never lose hope and believe genuinely in what you write. How will readers react to your writing is solely dependent on how you want the readers to understand in the first place, Criticisms can come in various types and kinds so feel passionately about your love for words and expression.  

So dear readers, find your inspiration today and care-less about what may ensue for what you write… lastly, you will be amazed at the audience who follow your blog and much more amazed at readers from different countries. Here is mine.


For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.Vincent van Gogh 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Somebody's sorrow is making me weep!

If you remember the notice last night on BBS news, the boy who went missing was fished out today from the Wangchu and I can only imagine the plight of the parents and what must be going on as of now. RIP the four year old and my deep condolences to the boy’s parents. Look at his picture below. The poem below by E.L. Wilcox now makes sense in its entirety. After some years of a happy life EL Wilcox too suffered the same fate. Pardon me I can remember only a few verses from her poem.






Facebook 
       Somebody’s baby was buried to-day— 
      The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back, 
      And the morning somehow seemed less smiling and gay 
      As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way, 
      And a shadow seemed drawn o’er the sun’s golden track. 

                Somebody’s baby was laid out to rest, 
               White as a snowdrop, and fair to behold, 
               And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast, 
               And those hands and the lips and the eyelids were pressed 
               With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold. 

       I know not her name, but her sorrow I know; 
       While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more, 
       And back to my heart surged that river of woe 
      That but in the breast of a mother can flow; 
      For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.


This is a partial excerpt from the Poem, "The Little White Hearse" by E L Wilcox