Friday, July 31, 2015

The most intelligent boy: a short story for fun

Once upon a time, there lived a boy called Tashi in a small kingdom. He was born with extraordinarily high IQ and there wasn’t any puzzle or trick which he could not solve. As he grew up, he gradually began to gain popularity in the country and every day hundreds of people thronged before his house to test his innate intelligence. Every time he was given a puzzle, he left the audience dumb with amazement. He was about 17 and was living with his Father after the sudden demise of his Mother when he was 10. As more and more people came to know about his miraculous abilities, his name and fame spread like wild fire countrywide.

Will Shakespeare come back to our schools?

I was not happy when Shakespearean plays were removed from Bhutanese education curriculum. As a student of English literature, I had loved his works so much because they had so much to offer in terms of human values, wisdom and extraordinary ideas through the experiences, behaviours and actions of the characters. In 2005 while appearing for the Civil Service Common Examinations, I was asked during the viva interview what was my reaction to the decision of the Ministry of Education to exclude Shakespearean plays from Bhutanese curriculum. My response was similar to what His Majesty the King had expressed during his interaction with the Royal Education Council yesterday. I told them that Shakespearean works contain great philosophies and principles of life which are still very much relevant and applicable, but sadly, the present generation is being deprived of this privilege. I insisted that although people might find his language difficult, there are a lot of practical lessons we can learn from each of his plays. He was a genius and a great self-taught philosopher who has influenced millions of people across the globe over the years. I argued that at least a few of his most notable works should be taught in our schools if we want our children to understand the real essence of English literature. But I was challenged by a panel-member who justified that the decision to remove Shakespeare from the school curriculum was to include a more variety of other forms of literature. At the end, I had to agree.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Me and my Bangchung: a painful episode of my life

I think it was 1998. The New Year’s Day had come and there was a lot of excitement in the air. As usual, my uncle and aunt had planned a family picnic to celebrate the occasion but that did not excite me and my late father because we had never got the opportunity to join them on any of such special events before. Every year, they either joined the community to go on a picnic or arranged the family picnic for themselves on such occasions but I and my late father knew pretty well in advance that we were not part of it. And as expected, we always remained at home taking care of goats, calves and doing routine household chores while they enjoyed the New Year feast elsewhere. At home, we would not have even enough food to eat because my aunt would leave only a calculated quantity of rice in a plate for us and she would lock the rice-container. So, although it was a festive day for others, it was nothing different for me and my late father. This time too, we had not expected to be part of the picnic they had planned. Everybody else in the family was busy preparing for the event while I and father remained aloof. But I don’t know what suddenly went through my uncle’s mind. Just as they were packing up things, he told me I could join them.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The unknown angel

Karma (name changed) is now a successful tour guide who has the inborn talents to entertain his clients and help them make their stay in Bhutan very joyful and memorable. He can get along with tourists very well mainly because of his outgoing personality and good communication skills. He is very friendly and respectful. He is always seen with full of smiles but behind his glowing face, there is a very different story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Public safety in Bhutan

Public safety in general should be a top priority everywhere but I can’t understand why it seems to be getting less attention in Bhutan. When I was in Australia, I realized that they displayed public warning notice even while carrying out a minor construction or maintenance works. If they do not do that and if somebody meets with an accident, they can be legally sued for their negligence. A friend of mine told me that even for the benefit of people with visual impairment, they are required to guard the risky area with either rope or a fence. But in Bhutan, I feel such developments are very rare, if not non-existent.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The unforgettable night

I can never forget that night
When you just hugged me tight
And promised that you would keep me forever in your heart
Although you had not fully recovered from the pain of the previous cut.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This is what the youth of Paro have to say about social media

Photo of youth forum being conducted at Paro Youth Center

Social media was one of the prominent concerns among the youth of Paro as found out during the 2-day youth forum on youth concerns conducted at Paro Youth Center on 17th and 18th July 2015. It was amazing to know that most of the participants were aware of both negative and positive influences of using social media. While many saw it as a platform for keeping in touch with friends and family-members, and sharing good information, some had painful experiences to share. Since all of the 40 participants said they are active users of social media, they acknowledged that using it responsibly is important for their personal safety.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

As funny as this: how I scared away the girl I had loved

First of all, I must confess that during my school days, I think my life was similar to that of a street beggar because I never had the luxury of wearing even nice cloths. The only difference could be that I didn’t have to worry about my daily meals since I was studying in a boarding school where food and hostel facilities are provided free by the government. Otherwise, I was absolutely penniless with no reliable source of support particularly after my father got paralyzed in November 1990. So till I was in grade 6, I could never afford to wear even underwear inside my Gho. However, as long as I didn’t slip off or climb up somewhere, I was safe in my Gho because people never noticed what I was wearing inside. But whenever teachers took us outside to study in the sun especially during cold months, I had to be really careful while sitting down on the ground. I would usually choose to sit at the back to ensure that people from across the rows didn’t see what they were not supposed to see.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What is there in the word 'Jaga'?

There is absolutely no problem when you call a spade a spade, but something is wrong when you call a crowbar or a shovel a spade. The term ‘Jaga’ in Bhutan is an official tag for India and its people just like ‘Jami’ for Chinese and ‘Chillips’ for Westerners. But it’s sad to know that in the feat of anger and hatred, many Bhutanese have the tendency to call Lhotshampas or Southern Bhutanese Jagas which carries a strong racial tone. Over the years, I have often heard people using this term to refer to Lhotshampas whom they hate and I have always been wondering what is actually there in the word that satisfies people who use it. Is it retaliation to the word ‘Bhotey’ often used in the south to refer to Drukpas? If that’s the case, I feel there’s nothing that one should be angry about. The word ‘Bhotey’ literarily refers to the people of ‘Bhot-stan’, one of the earlier names of our country which means ‘The country of Highlands’. So, I feel one should be instead proud to be called Bhotey, but the word ‘Jaga’ has literarily nothing to do with Lhotshampas.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The work of my 18-year-old brain

A couple of weeks ago, I was very happy to know that my brother-in-law still had the old magazine of National Institute for the Disabled (NID) in Khaling where I studied from 1990-2001. The magazine was published in 1999 to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Institute which started as Zangley Muenseling School for the Blind in 1973. I was studying in grade X when this magazine was published and as a senior student, I got the opportunity to contribute three articles for the magazine. Now after 17 years, I get a mixed feeling while going through my own articles. I feel as though I have wound back my time by 17 years because I feel I am re-living those days in Khaling. So, I would like to share those three poems which I had written 17 years ago as a tribute to my king, country and the institute. I am afraid the language is not as good as it appeared then. But I guess they would be worth your time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Five things you are not taught in school

Photo of students studying English subject in a school in Paro. Image courtesy: Google.

Our school curriculum is mostly academic-based and the textbooks contain only theories and logic which are not always applicable in our daily life. In addition to geography, history, science, economics and language studies, there are many things we need to know which are equally important for our success and wellbeing. But sadly, it seems we are missing them in our school curricula today. I may not be absolutely right but I feel following are some of the things we should learn while we are in the school in addition to existing subjects.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My visual memories of Phuntsholing town

I think I was aged 7 or 8 when I first came to Phuntsholing town. That was the biggest city I had ever seen in my life. After having grown up in a remote community of Dipujhora (Damzhagsa) under Chengmari Gewog in Samtse, the scene of Phuntsholing town was something I had not even imagined in my dreams. I was so excited to see so many beautifully painted buildings, different cars and bikes running in different directions weaving a beautiful tapestry of daily life, and numerous shops lined up along the roads. The good thing was that I was still able to see at that time and I had the full privilege of enjoying the real beauty of the entire town with my own eyes.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

My forgotten brother

Whenever I hold my 5-year-old son Rigden in my arms, the image of my late younger brother often flashes through my mind. I think he was about the same age as my son when he died. He was about four years younger to me. Like my son Rigden, he was active, jolly and of course, I should say he was intelligent. I still have vivid memories of those days when he used to help me when I became blind. Even when he was busy taking meals, he would stop eating and help me to go to toilet whenever requested. That way, he was very helpful and supportive even at such a tender age. I always wish if he were still alive.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A song of a broken heart

What a big dream I had in my life
But as misfortunes stabbed me one after another with a sharp knife,
All my dreams have gone down the drain
And here in the pool of my own blood I am still crying with pain.

Never fades away from my head the image of your moon-shaped face
And no matter how much I try to forget those bygone days,
Tears keep rolling down my eyes
Although nobody can hear my silent cries.

I wish if I could once again revive
Those smiles which you had before you killed me alive
But seeing how you have changed from the time when we first met,
I have no reason to doubt that you had treated me only like a pet.

Anyway I respect the choice you have made on your part
To listen to your heart
And take a different path from that of mine
AndI pray that you may always be fine.


Author's note
This is a short imaginary poem I have written last night after being inspired by a Nepali love song. I hope some of you might love it...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A devil with a human face

It was in March 1998. I and my late father were on our way to my school in Khaling. My uncle and aunt with whom we were living at the time had given us only Nu.500 to go to Khaling which was not enough even for the one-way journey, forget about the round-trip for my late father who had to return home after reaching me to school. But fortunately during those days, we used to get money from the school for the return journey which used to be enough for our escorts. With Nu.400 in the pocket after paying the bus fares, we boarded a passenger bus in Samtse bound for Phuntsholing at around 8 o’clock in the morning. My uncle and aunt also boarded the same bus to go to Phuntsholing to see aunt’s brother who had met with an accident and was in Phuntsholing hospital. But from the moment we got out of the house, we walked as if we were strangers. They never bothered to talk to us even in the bus. When we reached Phuntsholing, they had left without saying a word to us.