29 May 2010

My Daughter tasting the first spoon of food

My Darling Sitting Up!
Tonight at 9PM my daughter will be 6 months old. And this morning she tasted the first spoon of food in her life. Her mother and grandmother excitedly enjoyed feeding her, I missed the moment. But this afternoon I watched her during her lunch. She got irritated when her mom took forever in preparation; she was screaming and licking her lips as she saw the bowl coming. Surprisingly she cleaned it thoroughly and was ready for more. She has been hungry for last six months. We fought the temptation of feeding her for so long. My mother tells me that I was fed the very day I was born. It’s our achievement that we could hold on so far.

There were a few exceptions we had to give ourselves; we used diaper in the first week, we has to give her pcm often, we put her in the walker when she was five months and we already started carrying her on our backs. There is right time for everything, but the right time depends on whom you are listening to. So often we decided when the right time is. Of course we would have avoided the medications but there was some unfortunate period in my darling’s life; she was ill and suffering from fever and pain in her neck, which is when we couldn’t help. I thank the doctors in Bajo BHU and JDWNRH and most of all my doctor friend on Facebook, Dr. S. Pradhan.

Today, as my daughter becomes half a year old I am happy to have my mother with me. My mother watches her granddaughter speeding around the room in walker and unscrewing whatever gets into her way. She makes different sounds in different moods and won’t leave us bored. She can already recognize her mom, father, brother Jigme and uncle Samten. She will remain silent if someone other than us picks her up, then if she is no released soon she will cry, but to my pleasure she doesn’t mind my mother.

My Sleeping Child!
One major question is answered today after she emptied the blow of rice soup, i.e. 6 months is the right time to feed your baby. There were other questions like, when should we start bathing her? When should we start using diaper? When can we wear her pants? When is the right time to use pillow? Can we use pacifier after the second month? When can we put her in the walker? When should we start feeding her? We passed all these questions. Now comes the next section of questions: When can we give her solid food? Is it ok to give her vegetables after seventh month? When can we let her walk on her own? What is the first sentence that we should be teaching her? And My personal best question is, when can I start teaching her English Literature and abstract Art?

21 May 2010

Potato and chips story

In school there was a popular joke about Bhutanese way of doing business; we sell a kg of potato for Nu.5 to India and same potato will be fried into chips and sold back to us, only this time we pay Nu.5 per potato. But the serious part of this joke is those highland potatoes are second to none.

I remembered this joke from my childhood on seeing one news on BBS. A bold lady has initiated a green program of recycling papers. She is receiving impressive support from government offices and schools in Thimphu. Of course, who would not want to give away their waste? She is spreading happiness by creating employment, taking care of others’ waste, dealing with environment problem and still making money herself. Hope she will receive recognition for role in reducing waste and pollution.

You might wonder why I remembered a joke on such a wonderful act. Well she is not recycling the paper. She is just sending it out. When I saw jute bags full of papers ready for loading, I wondered how much would each bag fetch. Not more than Nu.100 or Nu.200. There in each bag should be enough paper to make 100 Notebooks, and when it comes back to Bhutan after recycling we will be paying them over Nu.5000. Fifty folds! That’s beyond potato and chip story.

Bhutan will never make microchips or jetfighters but history tells us that we were the makers of world’s strongest paper. We have the history but we failed to move forward. We are still making world’s strongest paper but with technology we used 100 years ago and at the same old pace- hope this is not what we call preservation of culture.  Jokes apart, we need not make the machine to make paper, a country can afford to buy one and contribute toward socioeconomic development.

How long are we going to go on doing potato and chips business?

17 May 2010

27 Years in Teaching and Divided From Family- My Aunt's Story

One Saturday, during my regular weekend visit to my aunty at Punakha she showed me a certificate from 1990. It was awarded to her for successful completion of NAPE course then. What is surprising is that the certificate was wrongly addressed and she just got it from her contemporary after 20 years. The paper was neatly kept and looks as fresh as it was delivered this morning, though in these many years my aunty has become grandmother to two granddaughters. Perhaps now you can guess how many years she served as teacher.

She is new in Punakha and houses in Kuruthang are not at all welcoming. She has lost some weight over the week climbing to the tiny room beneath the roof. We scanned the whole town with all the relatives we have around in search of a decent house, and this is what we had to agree with; a three unit attic with lights coming in only through the transparent roof. The new place and the tiny house have stolen away my aunt’s soul. She looked defeated and depressed, and that’s why I always find time to give her company with my family.

Twenty five years ago, or ten years ago if she was posted to Punakha it would have been very usual and she would have taken it with joy. At this age when joints start paining it is hard for her to believe that she has to move out of Thimphu on compulsory transfer. It is a policy well thought over by the ministry when it comes to making it fair for the system but what about the humane side?

Many of her mates are directors and secretaries, a few are even ministers now, sad but true some have passed away but she is still living and teaching. Recently she tells me that even her students are there among directors and secretaries, sadly they won't remember her because she taught them in PP. Young teachers have new system in place whereby there is a strong career ladder. If it was there during her time by now she would be reigning somewhere on the top. But since 1985 she has only grown horizontally. She has no complains. She knew her service is delivered and therefore would be acknowledged. Not in her wildest dream did she see herself being punished for 25 years of service.

Her children suggested her to resign and take rest because she has already shown sign of wearing of her lung and vocal cord from quarter century of shouting with little children. Money has never been their problem and will not be, now that uncle earns triple his old salary with the new job and their daughter is in job. It is about dedication to work. With her degree of perseverance and experience I would be expecting a medal of honor from the ministry and not punishment.

Why am I calling it a punishment? My aunty and uncle are all by themselves far from the crowd of Thimphu. They planned the cottage on their own to spend their old age. Uncle is in late fifties and worse he is a bad cook. Tears welled in my eyes when he started learning how to cook last winter after aunt’s transfer was confirmed. Their three children are away on job and studies. Uncle may be used to staying alone from his lifelong experience in arm force but not hungry. If he falls sick there is nobody around to offer him a cup of water.

On the other side of Dochula my aunty, who has always lived in crowd of children, has to sleep with TV still on, she is a good cook but with her husband surviving on Maggie she can hardly enjoy a meal. She is overweight and very much vulnerable to sudden illness. But if she wishes to lose weight now, her wish is granted already. I have never been old so far, therefore I don’t know how true it is when old people say they feel lonely. If it is true I feel sorry for them that the system has made it worse.

Writer’s Note: With this article I don’t mean to question the policy because I know any policy is bound to hurt some people. It must look at the majority, for even God himself couldn’t create something that could please everybody. I only wrote it in sympathy and love for my aunty.

15 May 2010

My WAB Dream

Recently we have started a Facebook group following our idea of building the Writers Association of Bhutan. Good responds we received inspired us to begin a blog. With this two we are in search of people who love writing, who can inspire us with their passion and who can lead us through our dream of having a formal association.

The blog has just begun and we have five writers so far, we are looking for interested writers to come forward and be our part. It's a long dream and just daring is enough right now.

I wanted to share my dream of WAB with my readers here, but I have it already posted on the WAB blog and therefore I urge you to go there once and see if you can help us.

My WAB Dream

Well I am still waiting for my writers to break the ground but looks like they are all looking for something substantial to start with, probably they think this is not for their casual writings. But I must clarify that this is indeed the place for anything and everything you have on your mind. Until you decided what to write let me give my piece of mind about the association.

I know it will take time but I am just happy that it has begun. When we first discussed the Idea of the association the first thing that came to my mind was promotion of writers and assisting them with their publication. Where will the money come from? We will figure that out, which is why we are grouping. Writing is one thing and struggling to get it publish is another which puts an end to the first one. Many of us might have been victims ourselves. ...

Read the rest on http://writersassociationofbhutan.blogspot.com/

27 April 2010

ReBlog: Leave Applications

I know there are some articles I am yet to write but forgive me I forgot them all. I sat here hundreds of times to write something but suddenly I feel empty. So, until I get rid of this block I would like to make some of you laugh the way I did when I read this email from Wangchuk Bidha:

A GNM from JDWNRH: Applied for leave as follows:
"Since I have to go to my village to sell my land along with my wife , please sanction me one-week leave." 
This is from a Primary Teacher-a keralite: who was performing the "mundan" ceremony of his 10 year old son:
"as I want to shave my son's head , please leave me for two days.."
Another gem from NEC-Thimphu, Leave-letter from an employee who was performing his daughter's wedding:
"as I am marrying my daughter , please grant a week's leave.."

From Administration section of MoHCA:

"As my mother-in-law has expired and I am only one responsible for it , please grant me 10 days leave."
Another employee from BBSC applied for half day leave as follows:
"Since I've to go to the cremation ground at 10 o-clock and I may not return , please grant me half day casual leave"
An incident of a leave letter:
"I am suffering from fever , please declare one-day holiday."
A leave letter to the headmaster:
"As I am studying in this school I am suffering from headache. I request you to leave me today"
Another leave letter written to the headmaster:
"As my headache is paining , please grant me leave for the day."
Covering note:
"I am enclosed herewith..."
An official rely from MoLHR to a businessman:
"Dear Sir: with reference to the above , please refer to my below..."
Actual letter written for application of leave by an MP (DPT):
"My wife is suffering from sickness and as I am her only husband at home I may be granted leave".
Letter writing by my son:-
"I am well here and hope you are also in the same well."
A perspective candidate's job application:
"This has reference to your advertisement calling for a ' Typist and an Accountant - Male or Female'... As I am both(!! )for the past several years and I can handle both with good experience , I am applying for the post.
How was it? I don't know whose brain is behind this piece... whom ever it may concern, thank you for the laughter

13 February 2010

Bangkok Disappointed Me...

I wasn't happy when I knew we were flying straight to Singapore without a day halt in Bangkok. I heard of the grourious city from every Bhutanese who has ever been there and I was only seeing it from the airport. During my week long stay in Singapore I was dreaming of the day I will land in Bangkok. I wanted to see the city for myself, I wanted to go shopping, explore the magnificent streets and malls, meet angel like girls, go to the beach and have a wonderful night in Bangkok after the sleepless week in Singapore!

And finally the day came, we were flying to Bangkok and this time we have a day to stay there. I envied Kuenga who had already extended her stay in Bangkok by a few days more. She had her brother studying there. Kuenga is a teacher from Drukgyel, who was among the 14 other teachers on the trip.

My excitement started dying the moment we walked out of the terminal, we had to rush for taxi under the intense heat. We had to repeat out address to the driver for eternity and finally he took us to a wrong place. The sights along the long road to our hotel gave me an impression of indian road along phuntsholing samtse highway. Damn, one piece of dust got into my eye and that bugged me the whole afternoon. My eye was conditioned to amazingly dust free Singapore already and it forgot its natural reflex.

We entered the city and I wondered if that was the same Bangkok people talk about. It was no better then Jaigong, messy, overcrowded and disorganized. I already wanted to leave. but there was more to experience when we finally got to the right address. Kuenga's brother had kindly booked us in Rangnam Apartment, a very popular place for Bhutanese visitors.

It was a nine-storeyed building with an almost broken lift. Our room has a toilet attached and a bed with mattress, and also a gigantic AC hanging over the bed, which may fall anytime. When it is put on it sounds like car, but thanks to it we were spared from being cooked. Apartments are by default this way, we should be occupying it like we rent houses. I don't know why we didn't go for a hotel instead. And guess what, this is where our Bangkok-goers spend their vacation, I would prefer my hostel in high school.

No taxi would take us to Puntip Plaza, because it happened to be too close and we had to walk. By now 'we' meant only three of us. Rest were gone. Three of us were hungry and tired but we couldn't find a place to sit. Roads are impossible to cross with heavy traffic. If we didn't find the rest of them soon we may even lose our way back to the appartment. We ask everyman on the road for direction but they all sounded like dumb. God even students can't speak english.

We got there finally and caught up with our friends but by then the whole charm of shopping was gone. I had plenty of electronics on my shopping list but people come from every corner of the mall with pronographic CD and ask us to buy and after a while I forgot everything.

In the midst of confusion two of us were singeled out and confronted by a tourist who wanted to know about Bhutan. He wanted to see our currency and it's value. God, later we knew that everybody in our group was awear of this except the two of us. The tourist disappeared into the crowd after fiddling with out purse. My friend checked his purse later to find $300 are missing. From that moment I hated every tourist I met. I didn't want to be kind to any stranger anymore.

Kuenga had planned out our shopping places, she has already been here several times. She was going to take us to three different places, which probably would be all that can be possible. But the tuktuk drivers are one hell of people. They want to take us to their choice of place first, upon us disagreeing with them we landed up paying them so much.

Only Big C cheered me up later in the evening. It was a grand shopping mall with AC and without anybody to bother. I did a lot of shopping for my daughter and wife, there can't be a better palce than this. Thanks to Kuenga and her brother who made sure we were not lost again, who took charge of our group and gave us time to rest and shop.

rest too be written...soon...and correction in process.... 

25 January 2010

Coffee Maker and the Blogger

I saw my father’s picture only in my high school, I always imagined him. He died in a bus accident when I was one.  But the bigger surprise is that I saw one of my uncles just last summer. I have always known him though. He would send us clothes when my mother visits him during the annual puja in our ancestral home. He has two sons and a daughter- my never-met cousins.

After meeting asha last summer I knew he was a great man. I always thought he was too rich to connect to us anymore, but I was wrong. It’s just that we didn’t meet. He would at times drop at my place for a cup of tea and talk down our bloodline I never knew about.

And last Saturday asha called me up to invite my family to his granddaughter’s birthday. There I saw two of my three cousins for the first time. I was anxious about how to break the ice but luckily my cousin brother Karma happened to be a very comfortable person. 

Just between our handshake and introduction he recognized me, (Do you keep a blog?) He said he follows my blog.  Not long after that I remembered “Karma’s Coffee” in Thimphu. I heard a lot about the shop and the coffee maker “Karma” and there he was talking to me. He was a man who left his job for the love of making coffee, and today he satisfies the taste buds of hundreds of coffee drinker in Thimphu- I am yet to step in for the best cup of coffee…

On the dinner table we were held spellbound by how we were already connected through our interests long before our first union. “The coffee maker and the blogger…” would be an interesting topic to start a short story…

11 January 2010

Snowfall in Yangthang

Snowfall in Yangthang has always been a big inspiration. I completed a collection of short story under the title 'Snowfall in Yangthang'. I always wanted a photograph for my cover page; thanks to the New Year eve snowfall and my presence in my village, now I have the best picture for my cover page.

Trying my hands on Photography with inspiration from Yeshey Dorji

My Village Yangthang 

The First light on the virgin Snow

My Wife and Daughter (Just 32 Days old. It's her first morning in Yangthang and her first snowfall experience)