17 November 2013

Salty Story- How Much Salt Do We Need?

If mankind can understand how rumors spread, the world would have the next generation of communication technology, which don't require any infrastructure, power and manpower. It can reach to the end of the world and back, penetrate the thickest of society and has the power to convince regardless of how silly the information is.

That salty evening when Kezang returned from her grocery shopping she came with the news of the salty rumor. I told her that I will believe in anything but salt shortage. By then we could see people running from shop to shop and lucky one loading bags of salt into their car trunk. Both of us didn't bother though the scene in the town was creepy with everybody talking about salt and walking with salt.

Cartoon by Wangchuk, Kuensel
We had a packet of salt at home already, how much more do we need? Before Bhutan opened trade with India salt was a big thing. It took men and horses across the mountain to Tibet just to get salt. But that was before we knew there were seven ocean full of salt. And before buffalo knew that he was living in land of salt and needn't wait for the yak.

It's interesting to note that we Bhutanese can believe in something as silly as salt shortage without a second thought and run to buy salt like the world is going to end with salt. But what is most interestingly disheartening is how we react in such situations. Within an hour every phone started ringing and the next moment we hear that all the salt in the towns across the country was sold out.

Some early birds(hawks) bought loads of salt as if salt shortage was going to affect just their families. They haven't paused for moment to think about what their greed would do on to the rest of the population. Thank god the rumor was false. Let them now have salty meals every day.

Shopkeepers suddenly inflated the price of salt and some were heard being very rude when asked why they were increasing the price. How would they show their face now? Are they going to do this to their customers if something real happens in the future?

Some shopkeepers hid all their salt stock in the store inside and lied to their customers knowing that they will fetch bumper price by the day as people become more desperate. They became not just selfish and greedy but also liers that evening.

That evening showed how salty we Bhutanese truly are, thanks to the rumor we got the opportunity to see the true color of our society. We are so selfish. We now know what will happen if a real crisis occurs. That was so unBhutanese and salty experience yet a good opportunity to reflect on what have become of us.

**BBS did a great job of enlightening the public on the issue that evening.
BBS did a wonderful job of clearifying 


  1. I was surprised when I heard about the inflation rate of salt in Bhutan early in the morning.. I wondered what made this to happen. I was utterly surprised.

    It is funny like how me and my mate were talking a day earlier about how the price of the rent and the product increases as soon as the monthly pay is also increased. This is unfair. And the next day, I get to know about the salt information. Incredible!
    Howsoever, I felt relieved after Kuensel mentioned that the rumour is false and the people were misinformed.

    Passu Sir, I actually haven't though about how the shopkeepers would react to the customers at this critical stage. It is likely for them to increase the rate and it is also likely for them to act so rude to the customers. I mean, most of the shopkeepers are.


  2. Bhutanese having bought salts for them to be sufficient till 2020,,haha,,very funny...
    Our bhutanese society is very small and no wonder , the rumours get spread very fast, so does they believe very easily.

    Shopkeepers surely played pretty bad trick. They might have to get some rap songs from the customer for not clearifying them, now that the Media has clarified. haha!!

  3. hahahha....the thing about the salt teaches us a hard lesson...1. Our system is still not people friendly. There is no proper promotion and education on the concerned departments and their works. People do not know where to see when such things happen. 2. The shopkeepers and their antics. I do not understand how some shopkeepers hiked the prices. Where is the official confirmation that certain Dema can charge Nu. 100 on the salt she bought for less than Nu.10 a packet? And if she is doing, what are the consequences? 3. Who decides the change in price? Okie, this time, the rumor broke out from India. Its understandable that they election coming up and they took the game on salt, but BHUTAN, its another country with another trade agreement with the producing country. How can we get worried and bantered by such a small thing.

  4. My family? ...unaffected by the rumour... just like yours, Passu. At my own personal level, I've always failed to understand the true colour of our society. We panic to hear of salt shortage, but are least bothered by the price of alcohol. We feast, we live beyond our means... and then panic! I fail to understand...


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