Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A passion so wild!

Photo of me cycling

One thing that makes me feel good after I went to Australia is that I could learn how to ride a bicycle despite being blind. The house I was living in had a small backyard where I could practice cycling during my leisure time as there were a few bicycles collected from the roadsides. At first, my wife and housemates feared that I might fall down and break my limbs but I learned that it was normal for the beginners to fall down a couple of times before becoming a real expert. So, I too fell down a few times injuring my knees and palms but I didn’t give it up. I kept practicing until I began to gain some balance and eventually I could ride the bicycle, all on my own. I had a cognitive map of the backyard which helped me navigate around very safely. My friends were shocked to see me cycling, round and round the backyard without crashing into the walls that surrounded the backyard on three sides. Of course, I once made a mistake and crashed against the wall throwing myself down on the concrete floor. I could not get up for a few seconds as the handle of the bicycle had hit my belly. But nothing tragic happened. It was a very good learning experience.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Just from hand to mouth- a true account of living through poverty

If poverty ever grooms a person to become a good leader as many politicians who have come through this experience claim today, then I feel I should be one of the best leaders in the world. Born in the family of a landless peasant in a remote community, I have got the real taste of what is it like to be ‘poor’, in the actual sense of the word. As early as I can remember, we were living on somebody else’s land, cultivating their farmland and dividing the harvests in mutually agreed proportions. Nevertheless, I was too young to feel the pain my parents were going through in ensuring that we didn’t starve to death.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One thing you might have not known about me

Normally, I am a jolly person blest with an open heart to accommodate anybody who respects me for what I am. Although I am blind, I force myself to squeeze out of my little dark world to mingle with people around me because that often helps me forget the sad realities of my personal life. I love to smile and laugh with people as long as they don’t hesitate to accept me into their group with respect and dignity. I believe I am a person with cool temperament and that I don’t easily get angry. But that does not mean that I am an enlightened soul. As an ordinary human being, I too have a heart that can be hurt if pricked hard.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Some common grammatical confusions in English language (part 2)

I am going to shed some light on a few more common grammatical confusions we face in English language. English is the funniest and most flexible language in the world enabling us to blend it with any other language without any sense of discomfort or oddness. However, there are well-defined grammatical frameworks which dictate the way we speak and write in English language. So, I would like to highlight some of the most common errors we make in English language, at least in British context.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Therapeutic conversation with a boy

I was invited to be part of a youth workshop which had brought together youth from different walks of life. The forum was facilitated by a lady who first took us through her PowerPoint slides about a wide range of youth problems in Bhutan. Following the presentation, she gave us an exercise in which we were supposed to outline what we expect from life and what can we do to achieve it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Silent forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities inBhutan

South Asian Disability Forum (Written in colors). Image curtesy: SADF Facebook page

In September 2011, I was in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, as part of the 3-member delegation from Bhutan representing Disabled Persons’ Association of Bhutan (DPAB) in the first ever South Asian Disability Forum which was held from 19-21 Sept., 2011. On behalf of the team, I was given the opportunity to do a 10-minute presentation on the general living conditions of persons with disabilities in Bhutan. As I pulled the audience through my PowerPoint slides, I talked about how people with disabilities in Bhutan enjoy equal rights and justice in all aspects of life. I even cited the example of how the Royal Government of Bhutan provides equal opportunities to persons with disabilities for employment and scholarships as long as they are capable of competing with their non-disabled counterparts. I further justified this statement by saying that Bhutan is a close-knit society founded on basic Buddhist principles and philosophies because of which people in general are sympathetic and compassionate towards persons with disabilities, and hence, there is no noticeable social discrimination against them.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sharing joy with our boys!

Photo of Bhutanese national soccer team receiving wishes for their success in Sri Lanka

Although it’s too early to celebrate our final victory, I personally can’t wait to share joy with our national soccer players who have won 1-0 against Sri Lanka in the first-round qualifying match for 2018 World Cup tournament. Hats off to our national team for proving to the world that we are not as worse as what our critics think. When Bhutan Football Federation first announced long time ago that they hope to take part in the World Cup after 2015, I and my brother-in-law who were listening to the TV interview did not believe it. We directly thought that even when giant nations like India and China have hardly qualified for such a big event, there’s no way we could make our way through. But today as our national team rejoices over the amazing victory against Sri Lanka in Colombo, I take back my own words. I have come to realize that soccer is a game in which the successes and failures depend largely on team-work and proper coordination among the players. One or two excellent players in a team can’t make much difference when it comes to the success of the entire team.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nobody would beg for pleasure!

Photo of a begging bowl. Image source: Google.

The year 2003 was coming to an end and we were preparing to go back to our college. It was a cool winter afternoon in Phuntsholing. The month of December had just begun and our college was due to be re-opened in a week’s time after the winter vacation. So, I and a few other friends were on our way back to our college in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, India. We had reached Phuntsholing town from Thimphu the day before and we were due to leave for Calcutta at 2:30 pm that afternoon. After checking out from the hotel, I and my friend Sangay Tshering who is currently a lecturer at Samtse College of Education went to buy some eatables and drinks to be taken to the college. We entered a store and bought a few bottles of traditional Bhutanese pickle and some other eatables. By then, it was already about 1:00 pm and we hadn’t even had our lunch. So, we were in a hurry and as soon as we got our things packed up and bills cleared, we rushed out to go to a restaurant for lunch. But as we came out of the shop and hurried away, a sweet-voiced young girl called out in a shy voice, “Could you kindly give me Rs.10 please?” I don’t know whether she was a Bhutanese or an Indian. She was speaking Nepali.

Friday, March 6, 2015

How to eat less to reduce weight

With so many lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension on the rise today, people are increasingly becoming health-conscious. In addition to health concerns, people are also worried about their body-shape and physical beauty which can be certainly distorted by obesity. This can ultimately cost them their social status. Hence, many people are on strict diet nowadays or they are found either jogging or doing physical exercises regularly to maintain their physical health. The life of people in urban centers is not as hard as that of villagers and hence, we have nothing to do that can make us sweat and burn the extra calories we take everyday. So, many people especially girls resort to the easiest option: skipping meals to reduce their body weight. But research suggests that it will instead make you put on weight if you skip meals. Studies have found that rather than skipping meals, eating less quantity of food is the most effective and safe way of shedding off extra weight.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I have seen ghost only once in my life

Diving back to that mysterious experience, I can’t still believe my own eyes. I must have been 7 or 8 at the time and it was in my village in Dipu Jhora under Chengmari Gewog in Samtse. I had not lost my sight then and I was just like any other child in the village, full of life and energy to play around freely. I was living with dad, step-mother and two other siblings. Although we survived mainly by cultivating others’ lands for a certain share of harvests, my step-mother brewed local alcohol which she sold whenever she got customers to make sure that we ate rice and meat curry at least once in a week. My dad was an alcoholic but my step-mother would manage to save some money for the weekly feast. Wednesday was the most favourite day of the week for all of us. It was the day when villagers rushed to Chengmari town for the weekly open market. So every Wednesday when my dad would go to the market, my step-mother would take out whatever little saving she had and would give it to him asking him to bring some rice and meat for the dinner. My dad would carry his basket and leave for the market while we would restlessly wait for his return.