July 27, 2009

Our young trees

Death has a wonderful bond in a Bhutanese life considering the way we treat the deceased in the period of one year from the death of a person. Not until one of my family members very close to me expired did I actually realize the different practices endowed by our ancestors to us to appease the dead. Call me a man poisoned by whims of science and unfaithful to one’s age old custom but I was deeply saddened by what I had to do yesterday; erecting prayer flags.

We believe that 108 prayer flags have to be erected in the name of the dead within fourteen days of his/her death. Hence, to keep up with that belief we rushed to the jungles above Hongtsho to cut trees, precisely 108 of them. Prayers flags demand erect and straight poles and finding such trees are quite hard. They should not be very big also, which mean younger trees (10 to 15 years) have to be cut down. So we have to move deeper into the jungle and stretch far and wide to get neither 1 or 2 nor 5 or 10 but 108 young trees.

Permission was of course granted by the concerned department and the trees cut were done solely for erecting prayer flags. Yet it pained me deeply that such young trees have to be cut down. Just imagine how many people die each year and how many trees have to be felled in their names. We run the risk of rendering our country barren. Not to mention we also cut older trees, both hard wood and soft while cremating.

If at all given the choice (and we have the right to make one) incinerator sounds preferable. An ingenious way to erect prayer flags sans the trees may need to be developed as well. I am not very sure I will think differently of it as I age and really begin to understand the magic of my tradition and culture brought down to us, but as of now I am petrified!

July 23, 2009

Life goes on...

Waking up I sensed today was a day that changed my life but I just could not put it to place. Not my birthday. Not even my graduation day. Then what? An irony that some stranger should pop into my life to refresh my memory...

The young lad wanted lift so I stopped my car and urged him to hop in. He was smiling at me but I could tell his eyes spoke tales of trouble. Despite the red eyes, shoddy hair and the ruffled look I guessed he was at least three years younger than I probably would look like after spending 15-20 minutes in front of the mirror.

Getting in he started punching some numbers on his cell phone. ‘Hello!’ A shrilly voice at the other end. A woman! They would shout and then again fine tune their tone as if the situation demanded them to mull on. Then a choke, tears in his eyes…and again redialing. The woman in question probably turned her phone off. He fiddles the numbers again, shouts into it… then again redials. Our eyes meet in the rearview mirror and he tells me it’s his wife. I give him a sad look and he shrugs, as if to say “Women!”

This time I can hear the frustrated calls from the other end. The woman is angry and crying too. She sure can shout because I can hear almost all the words she is telling him. I assumed he didn’t want to listen for he was trying to voice his angry thoughts into the speaker. The last words bring a chill to my spine.

“Ok, if it’s divorce you want, then it’s divorce you will get.”

The man puts off his phone and looks out of the window. I am just a stranger so I don’t say anything. He tells me to stop at the flyover bridge and I abide. Getting out he sends his hand towards his rear where probably lay his wallet. How much? I wave my hand in mock exasperation. Come on! He smiles through his pained face and thanks me profusely. I take 2 seconds to reciprocate and then send myself into the expressway again.

We must agree, not all things are always joyful. Poor chap, he was living the life I lived exactly one year ago.

Happy anniversary!

July 15, 2009


Whew! I now know how it feels to be preoccupied. It’s an irony in a way that one has to do lots of stuffs that has neither any inkling with one’s own life nor makes you so proud to do it. Yet, to feed what we call our tummy we ought to work. And work we should, whether we like it or not. Talking about tummy I have a food incidence to share with.

Since our job demanded us to start early the next morning 5 of us went to Paro on Sunday eve (two weeks ago). Our office there had arranged for our logistics at Drugyel. The two ladies, our host for the occasion, declared that they would go and prepare dinner for us and insisted that we enjoy the fair share of the soothing air of Paro town.

Soothing it was, but only for some time. The chilling effect soon began to overwhelm us and we were shivering in the cold breeze. I ran my hand over the other to send back the goose pimples cropping up. Damn! I left the jacket in the vehicle and the driver had zoomed off to Drugyel with the hosts.

At 9PM, our driver called. Dinner was ready and he ‘ld be coming to pick us up. ‘Where are you all?’ Same old spot you left us dumbo! (But dare I say that to him?). Road to Drugyel is a fine ride. The house is great. The dinner is best of all. Our lovely hosts have prepared pork for us. The driver says they have kept separately the vegetarian dishes on the other side. That reminds me to tell you about the two Tamangs in our group.

Yeah, the two Tamangs, as they insist are non-pork-eaters. There are Tamangs who will eat Pork but not beef, or vice versa, and they are of the latter kind. Lucky me and my friend, the whole pork prepared for five shall be free of competition. A royal treat indeed. However, more intriguing is the delicious looking soup staked in the vegetarian corner. Seeing a huge pan full I followed my Tamang friends and scooped out a large ladle. Needless to say, the soup was the tastiest of all.

‘Mo ta yo soup mithro lagewta,’ goes one Tamang. The other nods in agreement. I can only nod too because the soup taste weirdly great. Weirdly great! I do not remember taking a vegetarian soup as great as that. No wonder my friends were enjoying. I looked over my plate as the two Tamangs stomped into the kitchen to scoop out another ladle of the yummy gourmet. As we were finishing, the senior Tamang kept on appreciating it’s delicacy as he swiped in large sips from his cup. Just then, the second Tamang threw something from the cup on the table. A hard white stuff clattered on the table.

‘Oi mero soup bara ta bone pa nishkeow ta ho!’ (I got a bone from my soup)

Alas, it was two cups too late. This did explain why our pork curry had no gravy. Only then did I understand why the soup tasted weirdly great. The taste of meat had been lurking in the soup all along!

July 5, 2009

The World without Engineers

While surfing, I bumped across images depicting the world without engineers. Why don't you see for yourself and decide if you agree or not. Incidentally, I could not find any images for 'World without electrical engineers' so I took the liberty of pasting an image from my own collection; hope you 'll agree...

The world without Aeronautic Engineers (Fly baby fly!)

The world without Civil Engineers (Watch Out!)

The world without Communication Engineers (hello? hello? helloooooo?)

The world without Computer Engineers (Count count)

The world without Mechanical Engineers (Drive folks, drive!)

The world without Electronic Engineers

The world without Electrical Engineers (wouldn't the world be just a dark spot?)

My search has not ended here though. I am actually looking for 'The world without Politicians!' If anyone finds it, please let me know.

July 3, 2009

What if I were a MP...

A few of the blogs I frequent come strongly on our present day politicians. They are simply wonderful. They are passionate about what they write, they are passionate about their feelings and they are passionate about how they try to convey what they feel though their writings. Some do dare go a step ahead and address our honorable MPs as monkeys. I can’t help smiling. It would be an insult to our ancestors for them (MPs) to actually extract displeasure out of this strong address. If someone could jeer at you then you probably earned it!

But what if were I to be an MP? Perhaps I too would pull out of my chair in half sleep and declare the condescending fool to be dragged by his ear lobes and declare him the rightful owner of the ragged space by the corner in one of Bhutan’s worst jails. Didn’t some MPs think a journalist deserving of what I just mentioned? I am not a journalist; I do not know about the consequences of misreporting, or of the certain probability of being harangued for reporting what was not particularly pleasing to the honorable MPs’ ears. But I do know, talking feudalistic vibes in otherwise democratic arena creates more confusion than the fathomable limits and subjects the topic to further deliberations and subsequent ill-bearings.

But I do not want to know what if I was a journalist. More importantly, what if I were a MP? Okay, what if I were a MP? Would I go to the media to express my displeasure about the media? Hmm, I would have to think about that. When I normally talk ill of my boss I run to my friends instead. But I make sure they are those sections of friends who stride at the same wavelength as mine. Just because the boss’ wife is my friend I dare not go about speaking ill of her husband.

The actual question should be “Why do I want to be a MP?” So because it seems the only opportunity available now? So because I have this gift of the gab? So because my village folks are willing to press their thumb on my cute face? So because I can promise them heaven on earth? So because blah blah blah…Or perhaps you know why you and I have to be an MP for all the good reasons.

Well if you ask me, my intent is not to answer what if I were to be a MP. It’s fearful enough to even dream to be one. What if I was to take part in the elections and later have none at all, or worse comes to worst- just me, voted from my party? The sacred house of deliberations is no place for people who represent the minority. And even in winning not be able to enjoy the people's confidence and satisfaction. That is not the worst fear I have. My worst fear is what if I promise a bridge and then have to declare it impossible after gaining the people’s votes?

Sleep over it folks. And wake up to a happy weekend, no matter what! Ciao.

July 1, 2009

Of marriage and marriages

Hehe. Who enjoys being lambasted on personal issues, even if it comes from a high chair? I can see my readers are not so happy about it.

Anyway, I got to my friend’s lair and there they were. I would be the sixth man. Four of them are married. One has a girlfriend. I am as single as the first digit of the set of natural numbers. The PM’s words rang loud and clear to me. You could tell I wasn’t enjoying as much this game of marriage as I used to before.

Why should I? First thing’s first, those married folks will have to get rid of their phones! Four men are struggling to keep up with their cards in hand and at the same time attend the calls from their better halves. My goodness, you can really grit on the patience (or impatience) of a woman. You let the first ring go by and they won’t even rest a few seconds to call him for the second, third and so forth time. They won’t have it until you pick up the damned phone.

I look at my cards and shake my head. They aren’t going to bring me any of the stakes to my pockets. Just not my day. Then I look at my friends who have to walk out of the room turn by turn to answer their wives (they probably don’t want us to hear the God-knows-what-kind-of-lectures they get). Yeah, you could tell I wasn’t enjoying as much this game of marriage as I used to before. Why can’t those wives give a little time over a weekend for their friend? I let them have their husbands to themselves for the rest of the week… and all of the nights.

Despite my annoyance I can’t help feeling sorry for the girlfriend. Poor girl, she had come all the way to her boyfriend’s place to have a cozy day and we barge into his house and drag him for a game of cards. She would be annoyed with us but, such a good friend she is, the best she can do is smile at us and take our leave. Now, if I have to feel sorry for the poor girlfriend, then I ought to feel sorry for the wives too. What do I know of family issues? Why am I single at the first place? Perhaps I have a lot to learn about married life. Most importantly, to understand women. Yes, if let alone, we men could bring chaos to a family. Not a good breed of specie who could be allowed to lead themselves astray.

I need to get my conscience straight yet again. Why break a family to keep one friend? Dear wives, fight for your rights. Fight for your family. Fight that sole enemy in your house, your husband. Discipline him. Fear not, even the Prime Minister is behind you.