Thursday, August 28, 2014

Home, Hearth and Heart!

An old Bhutanese maxim reads, “There is no such place as your home, be it under a bridge”. After years of staying away, working and making a living for myself, I completely forgot that I grew up in a place elsewhere from where I now work. For years at end I have lived in a remote place, and then got transferred to a semi-urban town. Now, I reside in Bhutan’s largest city. All this change in places didn’t deter my nostalgia of going back down memory lane. I made sure I pay my annual visit to this place and relive all the past that grew me up.
This place was instrumental (in all sense of the word) in my formative years. Everyone has a place of this formative grooming and then live elsewhere as this maxim puts it, “A child is at peace with his mother, but must leave even if peace prevails”.

I got beaten up by people, beat up people here. I, for the first time knew what infatuation is and what can love really mean in this place. I learnt how to drive in this place. I knew how to play basketball in this place and I even got my driving license in this place. The school which was an elementary school then is a middle school now. The current principal in this school was my Geography teacher, Mr. DS Tamang.

I lied to my parents in this place, got pats for the jobs and work well done both at home and at school in this place, bullied my siblings in this place and got smacked for doing that many a time from my mom. Now when I look back at the childhood I spent, it brings a faint smile on my face and I cherish those moments with much awe. There is always a sense of sentimental attachment in this place and all my naughty friends back then are all working and famili-ed now.

We do gather at times to relive our past and talk about all the naughty things we did. One criminal act that comes to my mind even now is, me and a best friend of mine stole the neighbor’s fowl and ate it near the Wangchu River. Some days later, we heard of getting someone punished for our acts. This remains a secret to this day. My best friend is a successful Entrepreneur here in Thimphu. We talk of this when we meet. All this adds to the growing up anecdotes. 

My dad still works for the Hydro Power Plant in this place. The place I have been trying to mention is, yes you have guessed it, and you are right! Chukha!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Disclaimer: This is my first ever an attempt to write a short story and I hope you will like it. The characters and events in this story are fictitious and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Reader’s discretion is advised.

This is a story of Dawa, an occasional drinker and Dema, a dominating wife. People considered Dawa, a daily drinker. He drank when he had money to spare and in times of no-money days, he stayed home. He drank for fun. One thing that stood above all things in his life was ‘friends’. All this while he had been in the company of friends through thick and thin- in grief and in pain-in fun and in laughter! He was unaware that a momentary care and concern from his supposed wife would make him witness multiplicity of family problems later. The drunk had truth in his argument but, however genuine and truthful a man may be, who would consider it to be worthy if a man drinks occasionally. He was working for a consultancy firm. He had been married for just about a year.

Dema on the other was also a working woman. Every kith and kin were surprised at her. How can a pimp-like-husband get such a nice lady for wife?  Nice! Dema happened to be the youngest among her siblings and her childhood resembles to that of a ‘rags to riches’ story. One weakness that women have is the tendency to shed tears easily. Over some petty reasons she would cry and let people around know of her self contained righteousness. If women had temper, Dema would embody the epitome of all temperament. Out of outbursts on some previous dissatisfaction over some issues, she would make faces and after having nothing to say, she would weep all night as if to let neighbors and other people know of her fictitious righteousness.

On many of the brawls over continual nights, people always thought badly about Dawa branding him with drinks and alcohol. A man who made his wife weep, and most commonly unhappy became a subject of gossip in the community. For a working couple, although salaried, they had difficulty making ends meet and he on one occasion tweeted, “Why are there many months after every salary?”

Dawa would forget the next day what had just happened but Dema would ignore him for days without exchanging a word. These incidences made him resort to drinking even more, whenever he had the opportunity. Friends of Dawa had him warned about drinks to avoid problems and complications. But only Dawa knew of the cold at home. He was dying a slow death. Meanwhile, Dema garnered favorers from people who knew them. All blame went to Dawa for his habit.
After months of the status quo, Dawa succumbed and died in his sleep with a bottle of beer by his bed holding a note on his chest;

When I was single I usually drank for fun and after being with you for a year, I don’t remember drinking for fun. Had you told me not to, I would have but you never took a heed to understand me and your judgment always came in some form of squabble, that too for a year. This made me lose all speck of faith that I had in you. I could not afford to lose you but I never thought of losing myself for you. I want you to know that all this while I was living for you and now to make you worthy of your womanhood, I will die for you.”

The reason for his apparent death was alcohol and every one believed in this shrewd truth. But Dema went on to remarry and there too, the brawls continued. For Dawa, nobody remembered him except his own soul. The life of a seemingly happy individual ended in an instant. The ways of the world made him give in to what he resorted to and ultimately, those associated with the dead were at ease for the loss. Such is the way of the world.  Now, at this juncture friends of the dead were confused whether to believe in Dema’s life or Dawa’s death. Dawa lived a melancholic life, that’s for sure but is Dema living a life of contentment…that is for my fellow readers to decide!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Some are better left alone!

The distractions, the noise, the squabbles, and the constant cry of the sounds from automobiles even after midnight are a common phenomenon in the alleys of Olakha, Chang Jalu, Barbesa and in most parts of the city. People have become immune to these noises and the sight of young people going awry these days is as common as the common cold. Despite having the law enforcement in every populated areas of the city, it seemed to have no effect whatsoever.

A line of cars were smashed in the rear just recently, stolen tires have become a lucrative business for night hawkers. I was approached by a young boy who wanted to sell a pair of Apollo tires with the drum attached for ‘twice as good and half the price’. I knew it instantly, it was stolen. To him I politely declined saying I already bought one and not to offend him I told him you should have told me a little early. He smiled and went on his way.

Off all the young people, girls have become a little awry at nights. They drink openly, smoke openly and if you happen to visit discos, the floor would be crammed with girls. Most Karaoke bars would be filled with women and girls more than men. On a mundane stroll around the Norzin Lam lane, one can see young people with disturbing hairstyles and with unusual colors; forget about the garment they put on. I have heard of Pony tail in women’s hairstyles but it was the first time to have seen a pony tailed man. What a frightful sight?

Young people talk to elderly as if they were on a mission to rob them or crucify them. Children in schools now know more about PS and K-Pop than subject verb agreement. Most young people now spend more time on Facebook than on other educational activities. The good old habit of reading is literally non-existent. If someone doesn't qualify for further studies, young people pursue their studies outside not to excel academically but to sight see and have fun for years at end.

In my formative years of schooling, it took us just a smack or two to get us into behaving like humans and if you do this now, your child will have you jailed. Tough times! If you have no idea on how many or how much of the young, please make a visit to Kuensel Phodrang after the disco hours. Rains won’t deter our young people. The roads will be full and there would be mobile shops selling all sorts of drinks and local fast foods.

The elderly sleep a worry less night when the young are actually going astray at nights. Who knows what is in the making or what might be happening? And perhaps, I wouldn't be surprised, a few years down the line, if the Apollo tire burglar becomes a successful car dealer. Let us just wait and watch, because for some no remedy seems to be working. They are just better left alone.  
Food for thought: Teaching kids to count is fine but teaching them what counts is difficult!