Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bhutan’s Ernest Hemingway!

I once handed a short story to my then English teacher and after reading it. “Lobzang, if you write about love, tragedy other subjects that you are interested, it has already been written and written better than you by Shakespeare, Defoe, Dickens etc…Please concentrate on your Dzongkha ability”. This was way back in the spring of 98 when I was in the 9th grade. Shakespeare was familiar to us as we were taught “Merchant of Venice”. What my teacher failed to see was, I knew beyond Shakespeare! Believe it or not, I had done reading Homers “Odyssey” as I was taught Shakespeare at the same time! My school librarian was more of my English teacher than the one that taught me Shakespeare.

Everything has not been written. What one sees through one’s eyes is a different view point. This remark of my teacher didn’t deter my love for writing and I realized this in my formative high schools years that I had stories to tell and I wanted those stories to be told more than anything. Anything!

Although much has been written about human emotions by the great writers of the past, it is absurd to think that there is never a being that sees, loves, hates and experiences like you do even though human emotions are all the same. And there will never be someone exactly like me in thoughts either, to have the undying passion for storytelling or writing it down. And one need not have lived the moment to write it or to see it! Einstein did not have to travel around the world to arrive at E=MC2 and Tagore did not have to visit gods to write his masterpiece, “Gitanjali”. 

I read Hemingway mostly and I aspired to the next Hemingway of Bhutan, Oops! This was a little farfetched until another teacher told me during a busy summer in 2004, “Find a subject that you feel for. Care this feeling genuinely with your heart and not with word plays and language, then you will discover your own writing style and when you have found that, no one else on earth has the writing style as that of you”. This was the northern star of my life and I passionately think about these words when I write about anything. Possibly anything!

I, at this point of my life, still aspiring to be a professional writer, think that my words are my emotions and tears above all, and I absolutely know that this message will reach someone sooner or later. I am yet to find my ‘writing style’ and I dream to be a full time writer someday. For all aspiring writers of Bhutan, my stand for your passion to write is simple. Write! Write! Write!  I have always believed in the knowledge shared by this great American writer:

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master”
                                                                                                                            –Ernest Hemingway

Monday, July 29, 2013

This too shall pass…

Of late the hell broke loose and all insects came out of the Pandora’s Box to trouble me in its best possible manner. Firstly, it was the dearest one to whom I made all accusations when I was high on ‘liquids’ and the next morning I don’t remember any speck of the words I fired at her. Next, I fought with one of the senior teachers for she was on the other side of our opinion fuelled by the sense of ego which she firmly grips.
This shall pass…
This shall pass and someday in future I hope I could reconcile and make friends again at least, by my little standards. If hurting and paining was what’s in store for me then, I want everyone to trouble me in the rude-st of the manner if not then it will be ‘my turn’ to scratch some of their over emphasized egos.
Then, at the end of the month trouble multiplies with money. Credits here, a bit there, some up there and it normalizes within a few days of the new month.  This is the obvious and an inconvenient truth for almost all civil servants that I am familiar with.
This too shall pass…
There is no harm in confronting misfortunes. On the contrary, the attempt is wholesome. Much of what I dread is really due to indistinctness of outline. If I have the courage to say to ourselves, what is this thing, then? Let the worst come to the worst, and what then? I shall frequently find that after all it is not so terrible. What I have to do is to subdue tremulous, nervous, insane fright. For troubles to trouble me, would mean I experience the other side of humans which frights me mostly!
Let the public be damned and…
This too shall pass…

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Donkeys of bureaucracy!

Dear friends, of late I have been busy like a bee and I couldn’t update anything and I am not sure this is some sign of ‘writers block’ or not. May be I have to undergo some more soul searching rather to fill in this undying love for writing. I am sure all fellow bloggers do feel this way as I am feeling now. However, this morning an unusual gossip caught my imagination and this is not something extraordinary that sweeps in but perfectly ordinary.

My scribble here is another episode to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. I have a pig in the story and several pigs above that pig and they have one grudging agenda-to rule the world, if you have read ‘Animal Farm’. If everyone serving the pigs go by the commandments it is rather amusing that the system revolves and believes in the communistic ideals and principles. My idea of a communist regime is shallow but it also mentions about the state owning almost everything and the pigs that form the bureaucracy are mere pawns.  

The system in every sphere of bureaucracy has definite aims and expectations and the pig that presides over the system is the epitome of such systems. The pig defines the system-literally. Confused? Sure you may be! Now let’s come to the gossip part! 

It came to me that one of the pigs has a firm grip on its subjects-other animals including the Donkey, but here there are several donkeys! Animals and donkeys carry about their daily chores and chores differ with professions and systems. I am one of those donkeys. And these breed of animals and donkeys teach! 

We the animals are expected to fulfill what has been laid down when we were first recruited into the farm. As time went on rather gradually, it seemed to the donkeys, supposedly for their muscle power, that those who work with diligence and honesty were the ones that were abused with all possible weaknesses. Who doesn’t have weaknesses? And other animals who chore themselves with abundant reasoning to impress the pigs are at the safer end of all things and opportunists are these that reasons.  

As mentioned, animals teach to other younger animals. These pigs have a tendency to strictly grip the animals that teach rather than having a control over the animal learners. This is no fake and such communistic is the farm! No wonder Goerge Orwell opined, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth would be a revolutionary act”. 

Food for thought: Failure is not fatal but failure to change might be-John Wooden

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sonam of Thimphu Drayang!

A visit to the Drayangs, night clubs and Karaoke bars left me awestruck with the enjoyment people seek when visiting such ‘recreational’ places. I wonder whether such places could be termed ‘recreational’ in its literal sense. It’s indeed a place to get ‘high’ and the money people spend is simply lavish. 
I went to a familiar Drayang just to see and experience the life in such places. After a bottle of the ‘mood swinger’ I could see a familiar face and it was pretty.  As the face drew closer it was one of the little kids I knew back then when I was in college and this kid had just done elementary schooling. She was a pretty faced kid. She was our neighbor at my parents place.  This is the story of hers as I was told. This is a story of a girl who ended up working in a Drayang after her parents split for whatever reasons and this is pretty disheartening. Let’s name her Sonam. 

Sonam is one of the two kids her parents had. She has a brother. I know the parents very well. She was brought up in the place where I grew up. Unlike the underprivileged kids these days, Sonam has both her dad and mom working, even now! She enjoyed all the luxury of a modern kid and as I was told money wasn’t necessarily a problem. Sonam’s mom brought up two kids with no problems of any sort, yet she had this inclination towards parties, gatherings, drinks and friends who click in every aspect of their nightly behaviors. She was obsessed with the night life so much that her marriage to Sonam’s dad ended in a divorce. That’s when all hell broke loose for the kids. Sonam ended up repeating the 9th grade and she left schooling in the midst of her 10th year. 

I don’t know the whereabouts of Sonam’s brother but Sonam now works for a Drayang in Thimphu. And we know the behavior and attitudes of men while drunk! She undergoes harassment and abuse, at least by our Bhutanese standards. This is a stark reminder of the social fabric that we are a part of. Families all over the developing world have such similar stories to tell and the root being ‘Poverty’. How many Sonams’ could there be in the Drayangs making a living with no other means and alternatives? What has been done cannot be undone and that’s the way it has been for girls like Sonam. 

As I left, I asked Sonam one last time “Do you like here?” She moved her head in denial, “I am happy today as I got my salary” said Sonam smilingly. This innocent little girl doesn’t know she ended up in a Drayang with no faults of hers. I smiled back at her and wished her luck and told her to save some money with her grandma because at her age she isn’t eligible for a savings account yet. This is a fact she told me. She is yet to process her citizenship identity card. Such tender is her age. 

Dear friends please do remember Sonam, when you visit Drayangs next time! Will you?