January 20, 2010


Perhaps, a day will come when my name would figure in bold letters in a powerful media garden like KOL ( kuenselonline ) and make me shun the site like the plague. Until then I will be this big fan of the site, that I am now, for a long time. I would guess some of you abide a decent amount of time to it and maybe even contribute some crucial concerns. I never did get the heart to do so, love as I might to, especially because I felt parting with one’s email account is not a very safe thing to do.

But kudos to those who dare and pour there heart out. It is actually intriguing and equally fascinating to look into it and get to wonder that we are all indeed swimming in a deluge of problems, perhaps not personally affected, but very much wrought into them as a Bhutanese. Back then we would call the forum the ‘GNH Trash Can’ because whatever is dumped there is something GNH can do without. All I can say now is that the trash can is brimming with the never ending woes of the citizens and we could be simultaneously facing the same problems we are facing now with the Memelakha garbage disposal site, with the exception of the physical stench perfuming the atmosphere in one case.

Many might detest the forum since people can anonymously make allegations about others, although we ought not to take them seriously, as viewers. After all, any man is innocent until proven guilty. Yet, there are many other issues and concerns which do seem and sound genuine and makes us reflect holistically. The MPs and the new government, among many, seem to be a favourite topic to discuss on nowadays with many writers taking interest on them. Ministries of Health and Education do not seem far behind. RCSC seems to be doing well among Commissions. Dzongdags are a common target too, with writers making appeals to them.

However, it is not just the topics that tickles my interest further but the subtlety of the writers too. They can outsmart you any time. Some would deliberately write in broken English, probably to waylay potential candidates mentioned from doubting the real writer. Well you could guess he (forgive my generalising the gender to a specific male) is being deliberate when he writes ‘tocharing’ for ‘torturing’ and ‘relivant’ for ‘relevant’ and yet builds up a strong content.

Some come up with weird topics, “Truck Drivers in Wangduephodrang needs blessings of RSTA” and goes about telling how RSTA should intervene in the recent vehicle problems experienced due to the new Punatsangchu project. Some seem to put up a wise topic, “Vote for the candidate, not the party”. An eye opener I suppose. One more that did touch me was when someone came up with, “Zhemgang- The Forbidden Dzongkhag”. As the topic says, the author goes about appealing the Zhemgang elected candidates to do something about their district. Were I in Bhutan now I would have viewed this differently and shrugged it off as a problem of our Khengpas. But now I view it as a Bhutanese and feel about the dire need of a fellow citizen’s appeal to be heard.

Some authors are not without sarcasm, and I actually had a good laugh reading a post that was made towards the end of last year. It speaks out not only of his frustration, but also hits back with an air of cynicism, which I would very much hate to be directed at. To quote him directly;

“Topic: Accounts Personnel to smoke, chew & Drink

Any of the Accounts personnel those who have not got any chance to go abroad even after having served for more than 5years in the remote Dzongkhag can now have the option to go to Vellore and Kolkata for the unidentified term. viz. now we can start drinking alcohol, chew doma and smoke until we get infected with the diseases that needs to be referred to outside Bhutan...”

I actually visit KOL forum to excite a few gigs of laughter but I do have my takeaway points from there too. Maybe if you want to know how your own company is faring, you could write a short scandalous note and about it and await the fair comments of the viewers. I am sure you will learn a lot more in two days than you would from your employees in two years. And maybe if you think you are a well known personality, then you could post something about yourself and see how people react to it to find how you fare in the society. Of course be warned that I am just kidding and that you might actually be better off simply jumping off a cliff than trying it.

Still, as much as I enjoy reading KOL it is not something I look forward to. As long as forums like KOL keep filling up, GNH will keep evading us.

January 11, 2010

A 'trip' to remember...

Okay. Paris was fun, I will give you that. One place I would love to visit again. Two days just isn’t enough. First thing’s first, the tower was simply great. But then, we always don’t want sugar in every meal. Try as I might, I just couldn’t seem get the lofty structure out of my sight. Which explains why I had to spend too much time indoors. If you are in Paris, and do not see the tower, it’s probably because you have either turned your back towards it or enclosed yourself in a windowless room.

Louvre (for some reasons they pronounce it 'Loov'), one of the biggest museums in the world, and of course the biggest in France, is one you cannot miss. The parody of course is that the main treasure in there, The Mona Lisa, is not French at all. But I stood in front of it, cried, I don’t know why, and let myself merge into the Italian masterpiece. There are more, and I tell you it's worth the leg-sore you nourish walking inside that gigantic building.

The Seine (La Seine, as they call it) flows with majesty right in the middle of the city. A man like me with poor sense of judgement had to spend a good amount of time deciding which was downstream. Plains always confused me anyway. You will be sickened to see as many bridges over the river. I have seen less pots in all the public toilets of Thimphu combined. They are full of surprises too. Likewise, the oldest bridge in Paris is ironically called ‘New Bridge’ (Pont Neuf). There’s one bridge, under which we can make a wish and it is known to grant every wish. Just as I was going to, the guide tells me that I need to kiss someone on my side to make the wish come true. Hell I would kiss that lady sitting pretty beside me. Getting thrown into the river by her boyfriend would be anything but my wish.

I stood on a place where Marie Antoinette and her husband (King Louis XVI) had been executed by guillotine, 217 years ago. Place de la Concorde. They have a huge Egyptian obelisk where once stood the guillotine. At 3300 years old it is the oldest structure in Paris. It felt tingly to stand by a side where 1300 heads were chopped off during the French Revolution. Mmmm, Parisians are one scary people. All for saying, “Eat cakes”? (For the record, she is just credited for having said that, never proven).

But they are lovely too. Moulin Rouge (Red Mill) says so. In the heart of Paris’ Red Light area. To walk by in the middle of the night is like throwing yourself into a pack of wolves. Everyone wants you to be their customer. But no, no flashy legs and lipstick girls beckoning you to come over. It’s all males doing the talking (asking). The agents! The erotica museum was superb, which is why I spent my time there than with the agents. 7 floors of bizarre artwork, you are bound to get dizzy.

Notre Dame is a rare example of the French architectural ingenuity. You will know why it took about 180 years to finish it. There are more historical sites and masterpieces to see. And I was crazy to think two days would be enough. Yet, all the more reason to go back and enjoy what I have missed this time. Only heaven knows when will that second chance come.

The days in Paris were cool. The nights? Not so. To keep it cheap I booked into an affordable dorm with 6 beds,and a shared bathroom. I step into the room and spot two lovely American ladies. Actually, one was fat and the other was PHAT (pretty hot and tempting). Cool! They are all giggly and we have fun chit chatting. 3 beds to go and lo, 3 more step in. Two dashing Asian girls accompanied by a lad. If life can ever get kind, this was it! But I couldn't help wishing the girls responded to my smiles in a better way. Anyway, time to sleep over it. Kidding me? It’s time to stay awake whole night. Boy, can this woman snore! I am actually slightly embarrassed because we look alike (Asian). I can hear the American ladies twisting and turning in their beds. I would have been surprised if they could have slept through the din.

But praise heavens again, I lived to see another day. I just fled from the room. Felt lot better exposing oneself in the bitter cold, but enjoying the silence by the Seine. The transportation system is good. Every place you can name or spell is connected by metro. The trains on rubber wheels look cool. Another day of cruise and strutting in and around Paris and it’s time to return. Yeah, yeah...all good things must come to an end. But not before you get another jolt.

I left few of my stuffs in the hostel locker room because it was getting heavy to carry around. Going back, I just couldn’t find it. So once again Paris officially becomes the first place where I lost a belonging and made a written statement to someone. The thief, the devil rip his guts apart, got away with an 18Euro souvenir that I had paid for at Eiffel Tower. I am not so sure what 'he' (presuming girls just snore, and don’t steal) wanted to do with my stuffs. Well, he didn’t get much but now I am a smite short of a bed-sheet, towel, toothbrush, 2 pairs of smelly socks and an underwear. I hope he wears the last one on his head and jumps into oblivion to celebrate his victory!

Paris, you indeed were full of surprises. Just can’t wait to go back again!

January 4, 2010

Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will.

I am sure most of us have heard about Murphy’s Law. It does reflect on the uncanny side of our life. I had this nagging wish to google it up and I read that it is an adage or an epigram which typically states that, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” I couldn’t help noticing how vulnerable we are to this law.

Just the other day I was to see off a Bhutanese couple at the airport. They were specific. “We have some dried-chillies and a few other stuffs, so it would be nice if you could come to the airport at 10am tomorrow and pick them up.” I promised them I would be there.
First things first, I overslept (it was 20 past 10 when I woke up the next day) thanks to the sleeping disorder I seem to have developed lately. My alarm failed to go off. The couple could not call me (as they later told m), because they were out of phone balance. They were having their own fair share of Murphy’s Law too. I decided against going because by the time I get to the airport, they could already have left. But I made myself move anyway. Better late than never!

The fastest transport would take 30 minutes. This time it took 45. You could imagine how frustrating it is to see even a minute go in waste at such times. The trains usually come every 4 minutes, and this time it was taking more than 10. More trains came from the airport than actually went towards it. Finally, getting into one, it stopped a good long 5 minutes overtime at the penultimate station for no apparent reason, much to my dismay.

Yet I made it, some minutes past 11am. They were there, just sparing a few minutes before they made their final exit. You could actually weigh the relief on their faces. They reward me with dry chillies, as promised, a few other interesting edibles and books, and their cute rice-cooker was icing of the cake. Boy was I glad I didn’t give up and stay back. The dread of them having to carry them along because I failed to show up than actually mine missing them was overwhelming.
Like I said, I wasn’t the only one hanging by the loose noose of the damned Law. They had forgotten to hand over their room keys and a card and that would have cost them a good fine. Nice that I could make up for my delay by returning them a favour.

Long after the generous couple had left I kept on wondering if things go wrong just so that people can step in and make things right? Definitely, Murphy’s Law is not just one piece of a jigsaw puzzle, even if it as cruel as the following parody by Thomas Moore;
I never had a slice of bread,
Particularly large and wide,
That did not fall upon the floor,
And always on the buttered side.