03 July 2009

Back to Drukgyel after seven years

2002 I passed out from Drukgyel with beautiful memories; this was the best school I have ever been to. I have done lots for the school and school has lots for me. It was the best of time and the worst of time... I now remember only the best. This school showed me great teachers like BB Mishera, Boj Raj, Surja lapcha and Gopilal Acherya. I became a teachers because i loved them.

I am here this time for a five-day training on Bhutan W.I.R.E.D project, even My teacher Surja lapcha is there... He is one among the only three teachers left from my times.

I can't help walking about the paths and looking at how tall the trees have grown over years, didn't even know time has passed so much. Some buildings are faded and others are recolored. There are new structures here and there but I love looking at those things that were there hwen i was here. I am still among the pages of school Magazine with my short stories and the poems. Oh! this coming back brought wave of joy and sadness...

28 June 2009

e- Soonkey

Soonkey means a holy locket, a tiny packet containing prayer stitched in silken pouch or a miniature statue or a picture of some god or just a foot long string, generally worn by Buddhists and even Hindus as protection from evil influences, just as Christians wear cross. Soonkey was a priceless gift pilgrims bring home from holy places like Dorjidhing, Tsho Pema, Lhasa, and even Bumthang Kuje, Paro Taktshang, and Paro Chumphu. Over

the time fashion influenced soonkey's designs; any piece hang-able on the neck becomes soonkey with blessing received upon it, making it worth commercial. Ironically even bullets are worn as soonkey! Many won't want to wear the bamboo piece from Paro Chumphu, once considered holiest. So this is a little bit about soonkey, but what is e-Soonkey?

This is my very personal invention and therefore must sound crazy to some. Though my faith in religion and god is deep rooted, I often

take some practices for granted, by choice or by chance. People give me soonkeys and I appreciate it so much but I hardly have it on my neck the next day, either it went lose or I forgot to wear it back after shower. What I don't forget to wear on my neck is my 1 GB Thumb Drive (you may call it Pen Drive or USB Drive). I don't remember a day I didn't wear it! Now the point is Why don't I get my Thumb Drive blessed and wear it as soonkey?

Logic behind the idea is no just I-don't-forget-to-wear-it but that 1 GB space can hold hundreds of pages of prayer, hundreds of Kupars, and religious symbols along side my important documents and software. If the same amount of prayers, kupars and symbols are to be hung literally on your neck; perhaps you may need a car to carry your soonkey. Now, if you question the content of the device being just virtual and nonphysical, you should perhaps reflect on your faith.

So my e-Soonkey is the marriage of faith and technology.

At times I funnily believe that someday e-Soonkey may be more effective than antivirus in protection against computer viruses.

27 June 2009

Even Michael Jackson Dies...

Yesterday morning I was dressing up when my son screamed out for me, "Dad, Michael Jackson is dead" I thought, what a silly joke! I found myself running for the TV though. It is hard to accept Michael Jackson is dead at 50. I was his fan long before i heard any of his songs. I became crazy after him later when I actually saw his MTVs. When he was going through his rough times I was always by his side, believing in his innocence and loving him all the same. I watched a movie made on his life where I knew he was indeed Innocent and child-loving, and that people were jealous of his fame and money.
God gave him super talents just to take him back so soon, what difference it would have made to let him live through the London Comeback show this July. What a life he lived? He shall be 50 forever, Peter Pan as he always wished in his Neverland Ranch with children, and most of all with nobody to accuse him anymore.
God is afraid that people love Michael Jackson More than they love Him and therefore He takes him away. RIP

18 June 2009

Punatshangchhu: a River to Revolution

The Pho chhu and the Mo chhu in Punakha combine and form a bigger river called Punatshangchhu; meaning “Punakha River”. The name remains even when it flows through the Wangdue valley.
It was just a river (name of a river actually) the other year but now a life changing revolution. Ever since the hydro electric project began the name “Punatshangchhu” became symbolic to power, money, lavishness, snob, etc.
Besides the bigger national dream of the biggest Hydro power project, we ordinary had our own dreams coming true with the Punatshangchhu: jobs for thousands, schools, hospitals, public service vehicles, business boom, etc. etc. But what happens now? The valley lost its innocence with the project. People are hiring out everything to Punatshangchhu: Building, truck, car, house, hut, land… Thank god Punatshangchhu doesn’t hire eyes; otherwise people are ready.
Ordinary people are losing homes, the landlords no more want tenants, whom they had hard time getting in earlier days. House vacating Notices are sent in like love letters in most household in Wangdue. The denial of the notices result in rent hike far beyond human reasoning; the value of compassion has burnt itself in the desire of huge Punatshangchhu offers. With hardly any building left behind by the Punatshangchhu, Where would the tenants go?
We ordinary cannot find a way out now, we can forgive the road damage and blocks caused by huge Punatshangchhu trucks and machines but we want our homes back. Please don’t buy away our living…

14 June 2009

Attempt to Burn us Down

My family rent a cozy apartment in Bajothang, little beyond our income, but where else to go?; Bajo is next Bombay with Punatshangchhu Project coming up. Of late we are spending sleepless nights, not because the rent is soaring but because there were several attempts on burning down the building we live in.
Attempt one; Fire was set underneath our staircase, burning down the electric line and some belongings of tenants stored there. We took it for a careless accident.
Attempt two; There was a pile of wood staked up by the side of our building. June 6 (O it was my birthday and we were out) the woodpile was set on fire. The tenants rushed out to put down the fire before it could catch on to the building.
Attempt three: The same woodpile was set on fire again a week after (13Th June). This time the fire was set close to the building and by the time we were alerted the fire was kissing the window of the third floor. The tenants were always united and we could manage to put down the fire again. But we are now sleepless more than ever. The suspect is at large. This is unlike Bhutan. the innocence of the Bhutanese is lost. There are nine families living in the building who have nothing to do with anybody in the community and if the fire burns down the building we are all gone. Call 113 from Wangdue and see...Punakha police responds and says call Wangdue police, We are helpless and waiting for the next attempt without a peaceful sleep. Funny part of all is that we use lot of water on putting out the fire when Bajothang has water shortage.

12 June 2009

Ngawang’s Book: Our common Dream

Ngawang Inspired me and I inspired him. 2005, we met in Ugyen Dorji High School. He had a draft manuscript and I had mine. We were our first readers. Four years in waiting, I almost forgot my dreams but Ngawang has achieved it. He reminded me my dreams again. He does it often. But I am so happy for him. He knew where to go, Bhutan is not a place for publication. It took a Nepali publisher to fulfill his dreams, and I am still waiting for Bhutanese publishers to complete their high-budget government document printing. How can I totally blame the publishers, they are just being smart, they know Bhutanese people won't buy Bhutanese books. I heard the best-seller sold four hundred copies in four years…

But Ngawang and I write stories because we feel we are made to do that! We don't want money from our writings, we only want readers. Ngawang's book has not yet come to Bhutanese stores but it will soon come and I want Bhutanese to read and appreciate… who made Shakespeare great? The English readers!

The Cuckoo and the Pigeon
by Ngawang Phuntsho
ISBN: 9788177697674

10 June 2009

Calling the Media

Media across the world go in search of news but in Bhutan News go in search of Media. Last night I was watching BBS reporting on the road damage caused by rain below Bajo Lhakhang; stating how it has affected the villagers. It was not a farm road over a cliff, it was actually a path among the field and there are hundred other ways for the villager. However since our media goes where they are called there is nothing else we could expect. If the Media is little more sensitive just on their way to that road block lies our school, Bajothang school, where the entire sand from valley above flooded our girls hostel. But it was hardly noticed. That night the whole school didn’t sleep keeping the sandy water from getting into the rooms…the picture will tell more.

29 May 2009

Fire, Water and My Village Yangthang

Yangthang, like phoenix rose from the ashes. Royal Kidu gave us strength and hope to rebuild our homes after the 2002 fire, which burnt down twenty five houses. We lost more than houses in the fire; history and memories. We dread fire, eight years of moving forward we still dread fire.
When my house was burnt down to ashes I was in Gyelposhing, crying over an imaginary picture of my-village-on-fire. Now I am in Wangdue, still having to imagine a picture of my-village-in-flood.
Punatshangchhu grew wild on 26th May, hundreds of logs thundering downstream, touching the heights it never did, and threatening the bold Wangdue Bridge. When the river encroached into our school campus I remembered my village. It lies on bank of the Ha chhu. I called my mother; she was giving me chilling details of the flood. She was planning to take our cow and move to the hills. The rivers, she said, had split into two, forming new course through our fields, washing away Tshering’s sawmill and Lam Dorji’s house.
“The village of Yangthang (52 households) had been cut off from the rest of Haa as, during the flash floods, the river had breached its banks and created a new course between the village and the highway.” Tobgay, T. from(http://www.tsheringtobgay.com/)
I saw the first picture in our Opposition Leader, Tshering Tobgay’s blog, who has visited my village after the disaster. It made me sad, and then made me happy. What if the river has gone the other side? The village still stands and against all geographical justifications we are grateful to Ap Chundu for saving our village.
“Yangthang’s New Bridge” in OL Tshering Tobgay’s blog touched my heart in different corners; People standing in unity against adversity, Dzongkhag’s helping hands, and most significantly Building a Bridge together, which made all the difference. It shall remain in our village history.
“Civil servants. When the dzongkhag staff heard about the efforts of the farmers, they, led by the new Dasho Dzongdag, quickly made their way to Yangthang, and took up their position on the bank opposite the stranded villagers. With farmers working on one side of the river and civil servants on the other, it didn’t take long for the river to be bridged.” Tobgay, T from (http://www.tsheringtobgay.com/villages/2009/yangthangs-new-bridge.html)
Photo Courtesy: Tshering Tobgay

26 May 2009

Flooding Bhutan!

Heaven started tearing down on us for three days now and it felt very good until today. Rivers started to grow wilder and heaven seems to have more of it still. BBS announces the damages across the country, revealing the chilling picture of raging water touching the heights it never touched before.

My school resides on the bank of Punatshangchhu, the mysteriously silent river which has the history of deadly flood. A few weeks ago we had to panic when the announcement was made of a potential GLOF from Lunana, that created fear and nothing more. But logically we know that the fate of our school lies by the bank of the river.

However this time it is very unexpected! We casually watched the river change its color. By midday it swelled and between the clicks of camera apparent raise in water level was seen. As hundreds of logs came thundering downstream all eyes opened wide in fear. The school fencing which stood about four meters above the river level submerged and we soon lost the fishery to the river.

Up the road bajo thango the whole plain was submerged and the huge houses looked like boats with people already evacuated. Office-goers were still in gho and kira with their cars parked on safer ground. They watched the black top road disappearing under water.
Huge streams formed out of rough roads and cars are parked all along the road, not make their way to their usual parking.

The strong Wangdue bridge was shivering with ravaging water kissing its belly, threatening its strength. Official were keeping close watch over the water level and I was wondering, what they could do if at all the bridge fell?

So far the Punatshangchhu seems to have done no great harm to lives and property, but the rain is still falling... One night more will cross the line, If tonight the rain keeps falling I don't want to wake up tomorrow morning to see what the river has done.

13 March 2009

The Story teller

Short stories have reinvented my vision of life;Life is not a spakling stream of dreams but I,with my short stories invent it...I say Life is built up of thousand bricks of short stories;It is full of stories and Stories are full of life.I began by reading O Henry, Anton Chekov, ... and then Idiscovered in me a story teller, though not yet loud enough.I wrote a couple of it and will publish it someday...I will go on writing ...I say: My dream may change mebut I will not change my dream.
Read some of my short stories by following the SHORT STORY link. I couldnot include all of them because they are due to be published by bhutantimes.