19 August 2010

Bhutan’s Dream Town in Making

Wangduephodrang survives on one of Bhutan’s most rustic towns built clumsily on a hill along the eastern highway. It was temporary town though but lasted for generations without development. Today it faces all problems on earth; litter, toilets, parking space, housing, water supply, traffic congestion,… which bring about social disharmony among the dwellers.

It is only good for tourists who love looking at strange places; one could easily misunderstand it for a village badly stricken with poverty. But in those shaky huts, among the dusty dwellers live people with big dreams and big money, all they ever needed was a space.

Plan for the new town was laid seven years ago in the breathtaking paddies of Bajo valley. But land allotment dispute froze the plan for over six years. The place was called townplan, it had road, electrification, drainage and parking in place except buildings. It was often referred to as invisible town.
Wangdue Landscape 2002- Google Earth

All disputes apparently came to an end last year and government gave green signal to constructions. The race began and in less than a year we can see magnificent structures standing. From some verandas we can already see clothes hanging. The deadline for completion of construction is by the end of December 2010, which seems like a lot of time. By then the town is going to come alive with people and shops.

From a distance Bajo town looks like a huge palace unlike other new towns elsewhere. Our neighboring town of Kuruthang looks like a town wrecked apart by a bomb. But Bajo is going to be different; it is a well planned and executed. Building owners sat with their clients on the drawing board over interior and exterior designs to transform the whole look and feel of the structures.

Bajo Town nearing Completion 
As of now I can see three night clubs, two gyms, four full flat shopping malls, and an all in one medical store coming up along with the designs. Other service enterprises like beauty parlors, hotels, karaoke bars, gaming house (that’s mine), computer centers, childcare centers, etc are all waiting for the completion of the structures. I am excited about pizza restaurants, coffee houses, books restaurants and other brave new ideas people are discussing. All in all Bajo is going to be a complete package town with even people from Thimphu visiting us on weekends.

14 August 2010

Living after Death

Earlier this week BBS headlines included a piece of News from Japan; body parts of a dead man were donated. And our students also brought it in the headlines of Bajo Broadcasting on Saturday this morning; of course they always make hot news out of stale ones. I was translating the news to my Singaporean friend Germaine and to my surprise she was surprised. She asked, “How come it is even news?” She told me that in Singapore everybody donates by default.

Then I wondered about our culture; we burn everything and perform expensive rituals. And people believe that if the body couldn’t be cremated well or the rituals weren’t performed right the soul won’t find its path and may come back as a ghost. But Buddha didn’t teach us so. He taught us to be selfless, he taught us to detach ourselves from our body even when we are living, but what are we doing? We don’t want to give up our body even when we die, worse we burn it- how selfish.

Bhutan should be the first country in the world to adopt body parts donation as national pride by the virtue of being the only Buddhist GNH country. But I am sure we will be the last country to be because we are so resistant to good change.
No matter what I am agreeing to donate my body parts after I die; I want to live after death. I swear I will not come back as a ghost.

My Take away List!
  • Take my heart, it is strong and good.
  • Take my brain, it is only half used.
  • Take my kidney, they are stonefree.
  • Take my liver, I only drink occasionally.
  • Take my Lungs; I only smoked for three years.

But Don’t take my stomach, it’s bad, it took in lots of chickens, goats, cows, yaks, pigs, even some frogs. It is the source of unhappiness. Give it to my family for cremation. And during my funeral ask them to play Scorpion’s Wind of Change. And know that I am living after death because my heart will still be beating…

10 August 2010

Drukpa: The Brave Lives on

First Issue of Drukpa
When Drukpa Magazine was launched December last year I was wondering why people don't learn from mistakes. We saw many glossy magazine launches in last few years but never saw their second issues. Some shops are still selling the first issues of those dead magazines. So there was no reason why I should be excited about Drukpa even though I love reading Bhutanese writings so much.

But to my glorious surprise I am holding the eight issue of Drukpa today and before I even started reading the first word I just looked at the caricature of Jurmi Choling and kissed it, "man, you are real something". I know even Drukpa might not have profited a bit but it is not all about business, it has to be more about loving to do the thing and I can't praise Drukpa team enough.

The Great 8th Issue
This magazine has a wonderful history; a man who was going to start a mining changed his mind and invested in something less lucrative, but he knew he was up to making a history. If he had gone for mining he would have made fortune so far but hundred years from now people will look at the deep hole on the mountain and curse him. Drukpa will earn him love and more love as years go by. I already honour this visionary man.

I hope to write for Drukpa when the theme is something I am interested in but every month I am keeping aside Nu.100 for the Brave Magazine which lives on.

Drukpa on Facebook

08 August 2010


We have very few good players in out team and I confess I am not one of them, but playing as a left winger for last three years gave me some crucial knowledge of the position. Out of 24 teams in the tournament I very unpleased to say that our native team is the first to exit from the league round. All thanks to a man who has never turned up for the practice matches and suddenly made himself a manager during the match. We were defeated 6-0 by a team we had played and evened many times before. I didn't go for the second match against a team from Gasa. If we had won that we were through to the next round but we drew.
My Team before the 6-0 Defeat!

Losing a football match, singing competition, marathon race and failing an exam are few things I consider unimportant because I am not designed to be good in them but the mismanagement of the team robbing the charm of the game disturbed me a bit this time. For him this is his fourth year of blunder.

By the way, Bajo Open Football Championship is the most popular in the valley, drawing teams from as far as Gasa.

06 August 2010

I met my superstars

Kuenzang Choden  (Source:http://image.evene.fr)
I was invited to attend a creative non-fiction workshop in Thimphu this afternoon to speak on behalf of Writers Association of Bhutan. It was bigger than a dream; I was sitting with Ashi Kuenzang Choden, Lily Wangchuk, Dr. CT Dorji, Dorji Penjor, Yeshey Dorji, Tashi Tshering, Pek Dorji, an American Editor Mr James and many young aspiring writers. I never thought my luck could be this good. For me these are the superstars and I could meet them all at once and had them listening to what I had to say. I can never forget this day.

I have a few more things to write from the day... May be later, For now I am too happy to concentrate.

Read more about the Workshop on WAB

01 August 2010

Smiles and Tears

It's Okay, Darling

Oh, it is 1 AM already, so it was about yesterday I am going to write now. The result day. It has never been bigger. Our hall couldn't hold all the parents. After the result was declared I walked around teasing kids and asking their results. Among the smiles and tears I stood still to watch a little girls crying on her father's chest. 
I liked the girl's tear because it shows she was sorry and I liked the father's hug because that's what a parent is for.

Photographing Flowers

This morning while students were anxiously waiting for their result, with their parents seated in the hall with teachers, I was trying to calm my nerves too with my camera. I took some shots of some flowers but i don't know their names.