31 July 2009

Students in Love

On my way to town last Sunday, I saw Sangay walking with Chokey with some other friends following them some distance apart. Sangay already had a girl friend from class nine, god know what he’s doing with Chokey. Maybe it was just a walk together.

Yesterday, while I was monitoring their work on JavaScript I saw Sangay’s left arm bearing Chokey’s name in fresh wound. When the class was over I caught hold of his arm and asked what it was all about. But what I didn’t realize was Chokey’s class was coming in for their HTML lesson. The coincidence left both thoroughly blushed.

That evening I called on sangay to tell him not to make his love bloody, and also to ask what happen to his little girl friend from class nine. I held his arm to see that Chokey’s name was buried under fresh wound. He showed me a letter from her saying she has lost faith in him and that she returning to her ex-boyfriend.

I really wanted to sort out things for them and teach them lessons on love but I am their teacher and what I am doing is against the school rules and may be against the mindset of my colleagues. Students are here to learn and not for honeymoon. If people knew I knew about their affair and left it without any disciplinary action against them I may be questioned. And what If school knew I know many such cases?

Well I am an individual and I have the right to exercise my own principles. In fact I may question them instead. Students are here to learn what is required for living. What are they going to do with algebra? Or why should they know about world war? What can they do with their knowledge of chemical reactions? We don’t teach them what they exactly require in life. All of them will once marry, so we must teach them the value of love, faith, and ways to sort out problems in relationship.

Schools treat love affairs as illegal relations and thus never allow it in anyway, so a graduate comes out of college with no idea on how to deal with his first date, how to keep love alive in a relationship, how to propose for marriage, how to care for ones pregnant wife, … Divorce is on the rise! Is there something wrong in their schooling?

29 July 2009

Bhutanese Rescue Service

The news of seven boys in Chukha was shocking, it was only shocking until I knew they were washed away after hours of hanging on to life and before the eyes of their parents and police and the Dzongda. Deep inside I feel strongly that if I was there I could have rescued some of them, may be... But we can imagine the reality there, pitch dark night, fading torch, roaring river, nylon rope, and terrified children 30 feet away.

There may be many with my set of notion but how can we blame the people who were there? In fact they were there and we should be thankful, if at all being present is enough. Elsewhere in the world they have helicopters to rescue a cow and here seven children were hanging on to a nylon rope of their lives. Perhaps it is time for action; do Bhutan have a rescue team? or is it just the 113; normal people with normal ability without punctuality.

It it our share to cry, our heart to pray, our work to offer butter lamp and our right and duty to cast votes; Prime Minister, ministers and MP should not waste time doing variety shows, you all are placed there to ACT. Learn from mistakes and history, don't cry over them. Give us an extraordinary set of rescue men like those in the west (West is not always bad).

22 July 2009

Darkness after Sunrise

Excitement seized this morning. Though the school announced 9 a.m. assembly I was fresh by 6 a.m. waiting with my camera. I nearly cried when I opened my veranda door to gloomy sky. Usually we used to have glaring sunrays right in the morning but today (god! of all the days) was cloudy; I hate Wangdue for this! I put on the TV to watch the Live coverage of the Event from Thimphu; the weather didn't look too good even there, however they got glimpses of the sun time to time through the cloud.
Depressed I went into the kitchen to prepare tea then I felt the whole room turning dark. My wife screamed out for me from the veranda. We then watch the darkness after sunrise, which they call the event of the century, one that has happened after 375 years and that will happen only 105 years later.
My wife called her mother from the darkness to find her sad about the Sun being eaten by devil, I then called my mother but she had long joined the village folks to the temple for prayer.

03 July 2009

My First Long Drive...

I don't have driving license yet but I had to drive home during the summer vacation. I was not sure if I will be able to drive over such long distance without sleeping, I used to sleep half my journey so far. This time if I sleep, I tell my wife, everybody in the car will have to sleep too. There was my wife, son, my brother and Pem Dechen, a friend.
I drove from Wangdue to Paro via Thimphu without a scratch and I am proud. Someone said, if you are travelling with a first-timer don't worry. It is with those confident drivers that you have to be carefull.
Experience through the police check-posts without driving License is fun...though I have taken precautions, which are many, to fool smart people...I can't discuss it here. the bottomline is that I drive well, without harming any life.

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