10 November 2014

Copyrighted Road in Paro?

Japanese are very serious about copyright infringements and I heard even their fruits come without seeds because they don't want the rest of the world to grow their fruits. Talking about copyright, did they copyright the amazing farm roads they built in Paro?

The farm roads Japanese built in Paro are simply the finest example of how engineering when woven with nature can become timeless. They haven't used concrete nor were the roads blacktopped, but over the last 20 years the road stood the test of time. The gravels and sand just seem to know where to remain for ages, and this cannot be an accident. Japanese found the secret to building himalayan roads. And I am thankfully loving this road on my way to meeting my son on the weekend.
How is it built?
But the sad and obvious Bhutanese story is when the Japanese left we only kept the roads, we haven't learned their ways of building that kind of roads. In last 20 years our highways were redone over hundred times and we have built hundreds of funny farm roads across the country, if we knew the Japanese way it would have saved us millions from each kilometer so far. The Japanese came to overseas and mountains to help us but we just took their kindness for granted.

I'm wondering what those Bhutanese offices, engineers, and people who were involved with the Japanese projects were doing besides licking boots. What have they learned? Or am I right in guessing that the Japanese copyrighted the road, and never revealed the secrets? We will never know how good roads are built.

08 November 2014

Little Maya- The Questioning Girl

October took away a part of us. Some things will never be the same again but November is slowly healing us and the new place is making a huge difference. I am still looking for a family house here in Paro.

Above all the worldly affairs was the experience of school visit last week. Going back to school was the greatest feeling. I think I was designed to be a teacher. Along that long rough road I finally felt the joy of having come back to Paro. Watching the farmers harvest their paddies along the road made me nostalgic about my childhood in Paro. There is so much I have to write about this place. Let me first settle down.

Well, lost in thoughts I was driving along the Dotey road and by the time I knew I was near Kuenga High School. I was supposed to be in Dotey (Doteng) Lower Secondary School. This part of Paro was not familiar to me, infact I have never come this way and therefor I was lost. It took me a while to turn back and look for that subtle gate that showed the uphill road to the school.

Let me keep aside the great day long experiences and the hospitality of the teachers for another time, let me focus on a little girl that caught my attention that day. I named her Little Maya. She was in class I. But I saw her among the students of class VII, and at first I wondered how small she was for class VII. Later find out that she was a visitor to their class. She would exercise her liberty of innocence anytime and anywhere with anybody.
There she is,  Still question two Achu's
When she saw me she ran to me and asked, "Are you Japanese?" I laughed and in my typical local accent told her that I was from Haa. She was convinced easily. Then she asked my name, my job, my family and why I was there in her school. Even the principal didn't asked half as many questions as she did. The keenness with which she question and sincerity with she listened to my answers made me want to talk to her for as long as she wanted. It was hard to make her understand why I was observing her teachers because I already told her that I was a students as a matter of fact.

She would twitch her nose when I wasn't very clear and ask additional questions without any hesitation. As I watch her interview me I could help admire her. She was full of questions and she was at all shy to ask her questions. As she set me free to join another group who were playing carom I asked to myself if I was ever so inquisitive as her. Then I look at other students around her, who are much older, and wonder why are they as comfortable as Little Maya? When did they stop questioning? Where did they lose their confidence?

And as a teacher these questions bothered me because I have always dealt with older kids and in them you don't see a tiny bit of Little Maya, because apparently our schools don't let Maya in us live for much longer. We all must have had Little Maya in us once upon a time, and if we rescue that in us it will make all the difference in the way we learn.

01 November 2014

Short Film Fest 2014- Bajothang

I should have written this a long time ago but when the Fest was happening I was caught up in the transfer confusion. The Short Film Festival was an edited form of eLearning resources competition which my student Chidananda conceived. I reduced the scope to just Films and then let him mastermind and managed the whole festival.
Still from a Movie

We invited 18 sections of senior classes to submit a short clip each for the festival and we promised that best 10 will be broadcast on local TV, and the best 3 will be shown to the whole school.
Length: 3 to 5 minutes
Theme: Youth for Change
Format: Any
Deadline: 20 September 2014 (But it overshot several times)

(Compilation of all the movies)

Excited Chidananda pushed everybody so hard that he got the fest done against so many odds. He handed me the compilation of 15 clips for judgement. I don't know which one won but in those 5 min clips I saw amazing things- I loved the way so many children were involved with so much of excitement. The seriousness with which everybody played their role, even the otherwise shy Ms. Nidup Pem who appeared in two of the clips was both touching and motivating.

The technicals and the quality of the videos are full of flaws but what is flawless and priceless is the sincerity with which the children appeared before the cameras, and in some cases the depth of the stories they tried to tell from the darkness of their generation.

I hope there will be next Film Fest in 2015 without me and I hope it will bring out the best in many people, bring out the stories that are dying to be told and bring together people and talents. I want to applaud and thank Chidananda for making it happen, and Ms. Nidup for being there- You are awesome.  And thanks to all the actors, directors, cameramen, and teachers who help the children in making the movies. 

29 October 2014

Bhutan Toilet Organization

Who gives shit about toilets? Who even knows if there is a world organization for toilets? Well let me answer both myself. I give shit about toilets. I believe in toilets. I believe more in clean toilets. I believe most in toilet-for-all. And therefore I have become the member of WTO( World Toilet Organization) and perhaps I am the first one from Bhutan.

Since 2001 WTO has done amazing things about toilets across the world from World Toilet Day to World Toilet Summit, and World Toilet College to SaniShop. When 2.5 billion people do not have access to toilets it isn't a joke anymore. When over 1 billion people have to face the indignity of defecating in the open every day toilet deserves to be thought about and talked about.

As a member of WTO, I wish to do a little something during the World Toilet Day (19 Nov) this year, for which I have created a Facebook Page to gather some support for my ideas to kick start. (Please Like the Page: https://www.facebook.com/BTO.org). I am looking forward to a Photo Exhibition of Toilet in Bhutan, perhaps virtual to get a sense of what sort of toilet culture we have in our country before anything. I am expecting people to send in entries beginning Nov 1, 2014.
For now I have no formal linkages with WTO or any organizations here in Bhutan but groundworks are almost happening in terms of taking BhutanToilet,org beyond paper ideas. I can foresee how relevant it's going to be for our country very soon, and even now. 

Update: 1st Nov 2014: Thanks Logo Bhutan for accepting to freely design logo for Bhutan Toilet Org. Following are the different designs they tirelessly worked on based on our feedback. The last one is chosen for now. Please kindly critic.
First Attempt


Simplified and Chosen.

25 October 2014

Third Dimension of Circle

Mathematically, Circle is a two dimensional shape, but over the past weeks during the twenty one days of religious and spiritual marathon after the passing of my mother inlaw I noticed another dimension to a circle. It's hard to define that dimension, perhaps that's why they never tried doing that, but certainly it's not something tangible~ it's not the height of circle though it's so majestic, it's not even the depth of circle though it's so deep, it's roughly the beauty of circle, the art of circle, it's anyway something more than Pi can help.
Please join me in finding the third dimension to circle among the following circles I capture from walls, ceilings, doors, frames, plates and thangkas. I don't know the names and significance of many of the following but I just captured them with lots of love and now I am getting their names and studying them. Any help in this field will be appreciated. If you have other circle arts that aren't in my collection, please send in and allow me to appreciate.











You are most welcome to add to this modest collection of circles, and also any information on any of the 12 circle will be appreciated, please leave the information as comment to this post.

Updated on 7.11.2014

24 October 2014


It was the October I never want to remember, the october that suddenly took away a beloved family member. My mother inlaw was a simple lady who has lived her life well. She must be the only mother inlaw who didn't complain even once in all these years we have lived together. Even heavens don't know the true fairness. She was a blessing I always cherish. And to her soul I promise that I will always love her daughter, take care of her daughter, and protect her from the world of harm, and that she can peacefully go and find her path to the next life that awaits her.  

In her last hours, when medical science didn't have anything to do, when everything was left to god, and when in between doctors and gods my mother inlaw's life slipping away I watched that screen endlessly and counted my blessings. 
The monitor shows the heart rate, the oxygen level, the blood pressure, the pulse rate, the body temperature... Whenever numbers changed badly and when ever the alarm on the machine went off I called sisters and doctors for help, I pretended to be the strongest and stood by the sick, but I was also reading the faces of people there. Even though my mother inlaw showed good signs of recovery after suffering from stroke, the hospital was preparing us for the worst. My wife cried and begged for her mother's life but after sometime I understood that the hospital has seen too many deaths to be bothered by one dying lady who is occupying their bed in ICU. 
That long painful night I stood by her bed listening to the deafening beep of the machines, suffocating rhythm of the ventilator, and watching the numbers on the screen change now and then, I realized how blessed we are every minute of our lives.
There are hundreds of things that could go wrong inside our body without warning; heart could stop, kidney could fail, blood pressure could fall or rise, temperature could shoot or drop, brain could die, all so suddenly but the fact that we are standing and breathing is a blessing- having our heart beats between 80-100 is a blessing, having our BP close to 120/80 is blessing, regular passing of urine is blessing, having body temperature around 36* is blessing, even being able to breath on our own is a blessing- but these are blessing we don't acknowledge and appreciate until one day one of these begins to misbehave in ourselves or in someone we care. I have seen all of the failing in my beloved mother inlaw to understand how blessed I am and how blessed all of you are despite life's little problems. You are blessed.