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Articles by: tpG

Gist of the conference

27 Jan 2011 Author tpG

Every workshop has a smart ass (or smart mouth), who uses all vocabularies from his collection to frame a sentence, asking questions that sounded like rehearsed 1000 times before the meet.

Here, everybody seems to know something except for me. Lurking in the corner I feel like a complete 'Black Sheep'. Thank God, the guy entering the room is an old friend of mine. A familiar face is a welcome change from this freaking cold. These guys are up to no good. They are only promoting their business, wanting to grasp the Bhutanese market.

Now this tiny guy seated opposite me is a no-nonsense person. I could sense he genuinely knows something and his inquires has some substance to it plus they are relevant to the subject being presented.

“Switching technology, switching technology,” my head is soon going to burst with the sophisticated networking terminologies. God, I need a diversion. I look around the room scanning each person in turn, searching for a cute guy to send my eye lids fluttering but there was none. I'm pretty much disappointed now.

I haven't eaten since last night and my stomach is growling. My feet are freezing and it's so chilly here. It's awkward sitting here, gazing at the projector pretending to understand everything and occasionally nodding my head in agreement to whatever is being said, when it all sounded alien to me.

This guy in adamartha gho won't stop staring at me. Well may be he's staring through me at the wall behind. But, gosh! This is annoying and makes me uncomfortable. I wish this country bumpkin would look somewhere else. As the Q&A session proceeds, the only thing on my mind is LUNCH. Perhaps, I'm the least interested person among the lot because everyone else had things to ask.

Basically what they are saying is, 'there's more than one way to skin a cat'. Is this all about marketing their products and brand?

The tiny guy opposite me may be well versed in networking stuffs but his command over the language is absolutely zero (his English sucks), and now he's openly criticizing our host for the day and it's awkward. Didn't anybody tell him it's sometimes wise to just shut his mouth?

Well lunch is soon approaching and I'm going to bunk…

How I met my Husband

20 Dec 2010 Author tpG

RIM was conducting IELTS free tutorial classes for ten days. A colleague of mine and I decided that we should join the classes too and hence enrolled ourselves.

The class timing suited us just fine because it was from 4:30 till 6:30 pm. winter timing; we had around half an hour to reach RIM for the classes. First class was spent in introducing ourselves, all were in-service candidates aspiring to pursue their Masters degree in various field of studies.

Third day into the classes, I had some doubt so I raised my hand but the lecturer failed to see it. However one masculine voice from the corner solved my problem when he said,

“Madam, our youngest member apparently has something on her mind”.

This also got me the entire class' undivided attention.

“Not youngest but may be junior most”, said I hoarsely.

“Is there a difference?” same voice.

“Well when you have two years' Diploma to your credit? Yeah it does” I answered coolly.

“Smart answer, Tenzin”. That was the lecturer and the whole class applauded.

The class resumed then but I knew somebody in some corner was seething with anger, not that it bothered me even a little.

Ten days of classes finished without further interruption from the 'voice-in-the-corner'. However, on the last day as we started from RIM we were tailed. I thought perhaps our destination is same and shrugged off the suspicion I felt initially. But when we reached the fly-over area on the express-way the i10 was still behind us. When we took left, the i10 did the same, when I dropped off my friend at her place, it stopped too. When I started the engine to resume the journey, so did the i10. Well one thing was for sure, I had a company.

So when finally I reached my parking area, I got off and went to the stalker who has stopped only few paces behind me. Seated at the driver's seat was the voice-in-the-corner guy. Oh how I wished I could wipe that smirk off his face. I was certain he wanted to avenge me for the snide remark I made some time ago.

Well he was actually nice. In fact nice was an understatement for what he was. Medium built and lean at the hips. Fair with jet-black hair styled with hair jell added to the attractive male features, he could have been easily mistaken for a Bhutanese celebrity (except there's no celebs in Bhutan).  I cursed myself then for not having feasted my eyes for the last ten days.

And when he smiled, I felt my legs turning into jelly. I could have fainted on the spot had I not enough sense of pride.  His manners were so casual and he was an easy person to talk to.

He asked me why I hated being young and I told him it wasn't the young-factor I hated but liked to act my age (which wasn't really young). Then we talked about stuffs each careful not to intrude into other's personal life when that was what we wanted to do actually.

Well one thing lead to another. We were seeing each other for exactly ten days after which both of us mutually agreed that we couldn't live without each other and with the parents' consent got married.

 

Narrow Escape

11 Dec 2010 Author tpG

I was returning home after 5 years. It was in the year 2005 when my maternal aunt invited me to work in the US. I had difficult time procuring the visa but in the end all went well. For five year since, I had been working in New York as a waiter in one café nearby the Hudson River.

Life was very busy trying to earn US Dollars, having to send the bucks monthly to my aging parents in the far east of Bhutan, Trashigang. Even then, there hasn't been any time when I have not missed my folks here. In the beginning I used to call often but those calls became less frequent as time passed.

And finally, on October 30, 2010, my flight landed in Paro. Hard to believe but I was truly here. At Paro international airport I took a cab to Thimphu. I spent the night in Ghasel Hotel and morning by 7 am; I was in the Bus station in Lutenzampa. Fortunately for me I got the last ticket to Trashigang.

Eager to meet my folks at home, I couldn't spend a day in Thimphu. So on October 31, 2010, I boarded Meto Transport to Trashigang.  The bus was filled with sharchops, my native people but then after five years, the language seemed alien to me. I was so used to conversing in American English, back in New York City.  My own people looked to me like strangers and I felt like 'black sheep' amongst the lot. Realizing how awkward I looked, I kept to myself the whole journey.

However, my seat mate was a civil servant working in Thimphu and going for vacation to his hometown, Mongar, who wouldn't stop blabbering and bothering me. My answer was always monosyllable word, 'yes' and 'no'. When I couldn't bear his nonsense anymore, I dozed off. It was 8 pm; I was awakened by my companion. We reached Bumthang. Everyone was hurriedly leaving the bus to look for hotels to spend the night.

I too headed for hotel areas, with my companion tagging along (we still didn't exchange our names), to search for a place to stay. It was post Tsechu time in Bumthang, the place looked quite crowded and I became little apprehensive whether we'd be able to find a place.

Hotel 'Home away from home' reads the board above the door. The place was Chamkhar town in Bumthang. In, we went, booked ourselves two rooms. The bell boy took our luggage to our respective rooms and we went out again to dinner in some restaurant in the locality. We had Putang (special dish in Bumthang), with jugs of beer.  Finally around 11 pm, little drunk we retired to our rooms.

Well I was awakened by the shrill ringing of fire alarms and people shouting outside. I got up lazily from the bed to look outside and then shock engulfed me. Oh my God, we are on fire. There were crowd gathered outside. The natives were struggling with their belongings and the visitors were trying to gather their families and friends. Women were hysterical trying to find their children.

Suddenly, a man shouted to me. “Are you crazy? What are you doing there? Drag your ass to the safety. We can't help adults here”.  Still I couldn't get my feet to carry me outside. I was numb.  The only thing I could think of was, 'Oh my God, Oh my God'. It was like prayer I was chanting.  Then without thinking I grabbed my jacket and left my room. Downstairs, the main entrance to the hotel was blocked completely by fire.  The hotel was completely shrouded with smoke, I was taking in so much smoke and choking on it but there's no way I was getting out of this. I was trapped, there was nobody in sight. 'My Folks, my folks' I thought and fainted on that thought.

When I was conscious, I was in some bed in a tent. Everybody looked alien to me except for some familiar faces from the bus. The story was that some fire volunteer guy got me to safety, from the hotel lobby. Wow!! That was a narrow escape.

The next day, November 1, 2010, as we continued our journey, one person was missing from the bus, my companion of yesterday. I couldn't talk well with him the day before and that night we had beer together. Guilty conscience; I was responsible for his death, a man I didn't know before in my life.

My Lucky Number

18 Nov 2010 Author tpG

Well you are never going to believe this but I'm telling you by all means. Okay my story starts with a friend of a friend asking my help with some official work in my office. After her work was completed, I asked her if she'd like a cup of tea in my office canteen. While sipping tea leisurely, we were indulging in girlie talks when she mentioned him. 'Him', can you believe this?

I've loved this guy forever. Those days we used the term 'crush' but when you have this big crush on this guy for this long, it has to be something bigger than crush, right? It has to be something larger than life. Anyways, back to square one, when she mentioned him, I had to beat around the bush, to keep the subject revolving around him. When she finally rose to leave, I asked her his mobile number. That was tough; I had to come up with thousand lies and more excuses to extract it out of her. I knew she wasn't really convinced of my reasons but she gave in eventually.

That night with shaky hands, I typed in the following message and text him before I could change my mind.

“Hi, I'm trying out my lucky number. If you are intrigued, text me back. I don't know whether you are male or female but it matters not to me. I'm trying my hand at making myself a new friend”.

Not knowing his gender was a lie and the message was pretty cheesy. That night I stayed up for several hours more expecting a reply but it never came. The next morning, I was awakened by a shrill ringing of the phone. Annoyed and with eyes half closed, I checked the caller id. It was him, it was my lucky number. With a mixed feeling of shock, shame and excitement, I said “hello” in my best attempted husky voice.

A woman's scream penetrated right into my ears and nearly broke my eardrum. Damn! Bitch, I thought.  “How dare you lucky number my husband? We already got enough problems of our own without needing some desperate woman to make the matters worse. If you text him again, you'll have to deal with me” says she

Wow that was something. 'empty threat!', I thought.  Before I could utter a word, she hung up on me with the final word “slut”.  I deserved that. I should have never messed with a man I knew was married. Well that was about a year ago.

So last night I persuaded my friend that it's about time we get together for a dinner or something. After much reluctance, she agreed.  At 8 pm we entered Ama's restaurant for dinner. As soon as we reached inside, my friend had to pee so she rushed off to restroom, leaving me alone to look out for an empty table. The restaurant seemed quite crowded so I was waiting for some to rise and vacate one table. And guess whom I saw there? It was him, my lucky number him.  He was with a friend (a male friend) and that friend went to pay the bill (apparently). Believe it or not, just rising from the table next to me was him. Upon recognizing each other, the following dialogue was exchanged between us.

He: Hi

Me: oh Hi! Didn't expect to see you here. [Shit! I shouldn't have said that]

He: well we came for dinner

Me: so it seems

He:  Did you come alone?

Me: Nope, I'm with a friend. SHE, I mean SHE took off to restroom. [I had to stress on 'she' so he won't think I'm committed or with a guy]

[After that I kept glancing around him, which provoked this from him]

He: Are you expecting someone?

Me: I was wondering where you wife is. Isn't she with you tonight? [That was not only bold but blunt as well but I couldn't help. I mean I had to know]

He:  I'm divorced now. Been so for almost 6 months. Things didn't work out for us you know.

[Have you ever heard someone say what you wanted to hear? I may sound like a bitch but that was the best news I heard in years]

Me: Oh! I'm so sorry.  [That was a lie]

He: Are you? Really!

Me:  No! I'm not. I mean yes of course for you. No. [Oops again. I shouldn't have sounded so excited. What's wrong with me tonight?]

Just then, both our friends approached our side. He had to go but before he exited the restaurant, he asked my number and I gave him willingly, with all my heart.

They took off and my friend and I sat down to dinner. I was all smiles, all ears but I didn't hear a word of what my friend said. Amazingly, for once, I couldn't empty Ama's bowl of ezay last night.  If my companion found me weird, she didn't say so.

The waiting period starts…you know what I'm waiting for right? A call from my lucky number…

*** [text in between these square brackets are supposed to be my thoughts]

Of Cycling and Fitness

16 Nov 2010 Author tpG

They say cycling is a shortest road to fitness, not only it burns up your calories, tones your body and strengthen your heart but also help you stay in shape. Regular cycling gives you skinny upper body and shapely legs, or so they say.

Cycling is the best fitness exercise for obese people, since the weight of your body is supported by the cycle; it doesn't exert much pressure on your joints. Couple of years ago, cycling wasn't very common in the highland country like Bhutan. However, with the passage of time, cycle brand started producing cycles with gears as much as 25, which has perhaps convinced the Bhutanese small society to seek fitness outside harm work and gym.

I had a small cycle in Bangalore for 2 years, small enough to be for kids. Unfortunately my best buddy, Pema could never learn to balance her body on two wheelers or to ride for that matter. That's why we could never enjoy a ride together but then I had my share of fun riding early mornings or on weekends. Those days we used to ride for hours for no apparent reason. Most of the times, it used to be my friend Mithun and I. Occasionally Tim used to join us for ride but then at times like this Pema was the cause of worry for us. Since none of us could take doubles, Pema had to walk, while we rode. For that reason, she hardly joined us.

Anyways that joy was short lived. When I graduated from Bangalore, I couldn't bring my cycle on the train till NJP.  That was the last I saw of my dear cycle and God knows I miss her very much. Well now that I'm in Bhutan, I can't help falling for every geared and helmeted cycle on the streets here. So I thought of buying one myself and one day I asked opposition leader, Tshering Tobgay, the cost of cycles and Lyonpo was kind enough to answer my query.

To my disappointment, the cost of cycle freaked me out. For the life of me, I could never dream of owning one, the price was way above my budget and so I had to give up finally. Cycles are luxury items for the riches, not a necessity for middle-class people, like me.

However, we had this discussion in my office and to my surprise; many of my colleagues (males) are in awe of cycling and fitness. It was good to know, somebody shared my passion for riding. We had exclusive discussion on the topic and finally agreed that we all should take loan and buy one for each and maybe eventually go for long ride as a team. It was a sheer pleasure to talk about stuffs you like.

I've always admired Lyonpo Tshering Tobgay, for his passion for the sport. And it'd be a good way to start especially now that the world has become conscious of environment related issues like automobiles and pollution. 

Someday, I'd hope to see the streets of Bhutan flooded with riders, not vehicles, accidents and traffic congestion.

The Blame Game

03 Nov 2010 Author tpG

The recent fire incident in Bumthang that gutted 67 shops and houses rendered hundreds helpless and homeless was perhaps the worst fire incident Bumthang valley has experienced over that years, not to mention the lives lost to the fire. The whole nation is together in this; we grieve for the victims; dead and alive but even in tragic times like this some people are quite intended on blaming the disaster management, saying those people were not ready for disasters but always touring and training abroad. The best thing we could do is to donate in cash or kind so that we can help the victims in our own small ways. The incident has already happened and there's not much use 'crying over the spilled milk' but prepare ourselves to prevent it from happening in the future. It was a forth-night or two ago when I heard on BBS, the plan to shift Bumthang town to a new area called Dekiling in Bumthang. Though it was a good initiative but not all shopkeepers were happy about the new town plan. Apparently the MoWHS has only space for a hundred or so shops, rest 27 are to be in the Chamkhar town at least for few years. Perhaps due to that incident, people now are thinking, maybe there's a motive behind the fire. Though it was purely accidental but we can't stop people from having someone to put the blame on. Some people were not even sure whether it was Chamkar forest or the town that caught the fire but still he blames it on women playing Khuru. This guy says women playing Khuru was a bad omen to begin with. The most recent controversial issue we had in Bhutan was women playing Khuru. Though not many are bold enough to voice it out but they are hell-bent on blaming those women for every bad thing that happened this year. Where is the connection between the fire and the Khuru? How people can cook stories is amazing? Such superstition can really blind our good judgment. Although, I concede women playing Khuru is not a pretty sight to the onlookers but it definitely cannot be the cause of a fire incident happened miles away from the actual playground. Perhaps the fire could have been averted if the town wasn't full of makeshift huts? Or if the town was relocated to Dekiling has planned? May be people didn't build concrete buildings because of the relocation plan? Nobody knows for sure. But it's a shame for the Bhutanese small society that we hear of thieves and looters who come in the pretext of helping the fire victims but for their own good, in times like this. The sad thing is that only few shops and makeshift wooden structures are insured with RICBL. If only such tragic incident was foreseen most residents could have insured their homes and the cost of rebuilding, RICBL would have to bear.

A Talk Show Host: To become or not to become?

25 Oct 2010 Author tpG

As a kid we all wanted to become so many things but by choice or under compulsion many of us do not get to become what we wanted to become when we grow up.  In a small country like Bhutan where population is less, opportunities are few.

A footballer in England has a celebrity status and earns millions of Dollars so does Sachin Tendulkar  by cricket in India, earning crores of Rupees. The same cannot be said for Bhutanese people. In Bhutan, a footballer cannot choose football as his career because that's not enough to earn his living. A Bhutanese footballer at the most can play at the national level, as soon as he goes out of the country, he loses the very first match to the opponent and returns home empty handed.

Although the Bhutanese small society has always been an advantage to its people but sometimes I can't help but wish for a bigger country, more people and varied opportunities.  The disadvantage of having small society is that there's no audience and opportunities are restricted. Here in Bhutan people  just prefer to stay in the 'comfort zone' by opting for the civil service because it's safe and pays your bills at the end of the month either you work or don't, leaving aside your hobbies and passion as past-time stuffs irrespective of your talent.

Every one of us wants to become famous and to crave our name in the society. I'd very much like to become a singer, but I have no good voice. Then I wanted to become an actor but I have neither looks nor the talent. So the other day I was thinking what would I have to do to make my existence known to others?

Finally I have figured out what I'd want to become in my life eventually; I could become a Talk Show Host. I was thinking it wouldn't have to be as big as 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' neither as cheesy as 'Coffee with Karan' but it can have its own identity. With this thought in my mind, I logged in to my facebook account, created an application titled “The Ganzin Talk Show”, uploaded my logo but I couldn't come up with a caption. I thought it should be something catchy so I wondered if, 'Speak out your mind' would do. But that sounded like cliché, used often before. After debating arduously with myself I gave up and logged out of the facebook.

That night as I went to bed, I was thinking about that day and suddenly I was scared. Was I crazy to even think such thing? A Talk show host? For God's sake, what'd I even talk about? Who could even come to my show? I'm not a famous face in town; nobody would even bother to watch. With hardly any audience, BBS would never consent to broadcast it. I was insane to even consider risking my career to give in to passion. I could never do this, at least not yet.  With that emotional turmoil playing around in my mind, it was impossible to sleep. Then I rubbished away the thought and tried to think like a matured, wise woman. When I finally dozed off, towards the dawn, I've promised myself never to consider mixing my hobbies and passion with real stuffs.

I've kept that promise and never thought of it until I typed it here, at this moment…..

 

 

Into the Wrong Car

25 Oct 2010 Author tpG

It was in Paro, I went to drop one keyboard to Paro Br. Office. After doing so I came out and went to my car that was parked outside. I went near the A-star parked there and with my remote-enabled key I unlocked the car but to my dismay the door is not unlocking. I thought may be the remote is not working so inserted the key to open but nothing happened again. After trying both ways several times I got frustrated and gave up.

Finally I realized the location of the car is different from where I initially parked so I had a peek at the vehicle plate number. To my embarrassment, it was a wrong car. With the mixed feeling of embarrassment and awkwardness I fled the sight before any police could arrest me for robbery.

To my relief though nobody noticed but it was really embarrassing. Only when I reached the vicinity of my car, I could release the pent up breath.

Love Tri-Angle

11 Oct 2010 Author tpG

My love life has ended before it could begin because some old hag of a woman chose to haunt my life as a ghost from his past. I never did see this coming but even a man has more past than just meet-the-eye.

I met this guy about an year ago through chat and we had it going strong until recently. I thought this time it's serious not like in the past but in the end all guys are same. Maybe God in heaven has already marked me as a confirmed spinster, maybe marriage was never meant for me but still sometimes it's sad to see none of my relationships working.

It's still a mystery whether the problem lies with me or the guys I've been seeing. I was about to fall in love when his past unfolds in front of me. My trust in him shattered when this middle aged woman emerged from his past, a woman seemingly had been financially supporting him for the past 6 years when he was still in college. Now that he's done with college she isn't willing to let go of him so easily. I have heard of female prostitutes but never a male whore.
I never thought a guy can sell sex for money neither did I think a time has come for women to opt for paid sex but then in our case it's understandable; a middle aged woman might have to pay if the guy is young enough to be her son.

Well in the end, I was but a mere pawn in the game played by an old woman and a manipulative young man. I was in rage but there was nothing I could do except let go of him. I didn't blame him for his past because I have no rights to but I'm insulted that he kept seeing her while he was with me. My only comfort is that I didn't do anything I might regret.

He did insist that he was done with her and that he wants a fresh start with me but if there was actually a ten months old baby involved then I didn't think we could start afresh. I might sound selfish but I never liked the concept of step mother or being one to a baby. I'd never be able to love someone's baby as my own when it's not, in fact I might even despise this baby because it reminds me of its mother.

After weighing all the pros and cons I had to back out of this love triangle. Even now I feel very sad, my pride is hurt most because a guy chose this old woman, mother of 3 teenage children to me but then all's well in the end. I could never be able to raise a husband, support him financially because my mindset is still conservative, and I believe a man is supposed to support his wife and family not the other way round.

All i did was remove him from my facebook friends' list, delete all his text messages and his mobile number from my cell and it's as if he never existed at all, that phase of my life is over and perhaps for good. The advantage of having a strong heart is it's easy to fall in love and easier yet to fall out of love. I didn't shed a drop of tear neither is my heart broken; it's still intact and inside the rib cage.

Voting System: Fair trial to judge the best?

28 Sep 2010 Author tpG

In the recent years, almost everything in Bhutan has turned to the voting system, from parliamentary elections to reality shows and Miss Bhutan Pageant, voting through text messages and calls has become some sort of trend in Bhutan. It's very vague whether we credit this to Bhutan Telecom or the Democracy system of government in the country.

Well the motive initially was to select/choose the best by taking in the opinion of the public at large and awarding the best deserving candidate. However, due to the commercial interest of the organizers or the people involved, this motive was long lost. Still we cannot blame anybody in the system; not the organizers who seek to gain some financial benefits (nobody works for free), neither the supporters of the candidates those who want to see their candidate as the winner. Perhaps, Bill Gates is right in saying, “Life is not fair, get used to it!”. We simply can't blame some people for having more money.

The rule of the game here is simple, 'if you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen'. For middle class and poor people in Bhutan, unless one is exceptionally talented and blessed with beauty, it's better to stay out of the event instead of wasting one's time, energy and resources for nothing.

The big question here is, “Is voting a fair process to judge and choose the best one?” No, it isn't the best method, but then who cares to differ? who has the guts to go against the system and land up in controversies? Most people are just happy to follow the lead. And unless one is participating one self, one hardly bothers to indulge in the affairs so trifle.

I personally have nothing against the voting system, nor do I care who wins what, as long as I'm not in. However, it's but sad to see the deserving candidates go waste just because of financial issues and poor relatives. Maybe it's time we get used to the not-so-fair life.

Of Gangs, Cat Fights and weird sports

02 Sep 2010 Author tpG

The Korean movies have glorified the gangsters so much that, youth in Bhutan have followed the trend. Who can blame the youngsters, the gangsters do look cute with suit, boots and stripped ties.

Every day the number of rowdy guys forming groups increase in number. The recent telecast of Bhutanese gangsters on BBS has perhaps made them look like celebrity. It's alarming to see so many of adolescent youth wasting their life away by forming groups and ending up behind the bars. May be it's time we analyze where the fault lies; whether it's the negligence of parents or unemployment or million other reasons.

Whatever may be the reason, it's one's own responsibility to take care of one's life. A person who can't think what's best for him/her is of no use to anyone. Perhaps the best way to reduce the number of rowdy guys is to impose strict punishment, rather than cleaning toilets and picking papers etc.

Well if young boys are difficult, girls are impossible. If women playing Khuru in Kira is not enough, there are girls fighting in night clubs. It was ridiculous to see Bhutanese housewives and middle aged woman in half kira playing Khura and cheering for themselves. Khuru, Bhutanese traditional game has been in the man's domain for centuries until recently. God knows what those groups of women were trying to prove by invading the male domain, playing the masculine game.

However, that wasn't as outrageous as the cat fight that happened over a fortnight ago. We did hear of women gangsters but couldn't comprehend whether women really were capable of actually implementing it. With aggressive and frustrated boys and girls around, Thimphu in particular, has become unsafe for Bhutanese citizens to be out in the streets at night. What's the world coming to? Whom do we blame, who's responsible for untamed youngster? So many questions but hardly any answers.

My Controversial Nature

24 Aug 2010 Author tpG

Year 2003: 7 years ago, I was in Class 12. ISC Exams were approaching and the school authority refused to grant us two days study leave. As a result, we (class 12 students) decided to boycott the classes unless we were given the study leave. This action has enraged the teachers and principal so much that they threatened to send us all to jail. I've no remembrance of what had happened afterwards but our Physics teacher has refused to teach us the practicals that I nearly failed in the practical exam which eventually deteriorated my performance on the whole. Even to these days my mother blames the school councilor of that year for rebelling against the teachers and superiors. As a leader, she thought, the councilor was responsible.

Two years later I saw myself in RIM. That year our class made three-day trip to Phojoding, without the consent of management. When we returned punishment awaited us in RIM so when everybody was celebrating His Majesty's birthday (K4) on November 11, 12 and 13, we were busy cleaning the drains without break. When I look back to those days, I can't really say I regret it. All that matters is we had a great time.

In between, there were so many instances when I had to face people from all walks of life. Heated arguments, controversies, debate happened so many times that I now got used to it. I remember an incident in school, where we had a tea party in the broad daylight and nearly got choked out of school for indecent behavior although nothing of that sort was possible in class of 30 plus students.

The latest controversy I was involved in was the biggest E-mail scam. Though the intention was nothing malicious it has created enough fuss. However it's a long story and I'd not elaborate it now. All I can say is, I do not regret what I've done. Everybody is entitled to their own perspectives and opinion; it's only a difference of interpreting it. I did what I thought was right and I don't care what the rest of the world thinks of me, as long as my conscience is clear, I'm on my part.

A Holy Matrimony or Modern Mockery??

20 Jul 2010 Author tpG

I can't help but be very cynical when it comes to marriages, love affairs and Live-in-sin relationships. Although ours is easiest sort in the world, with no 'I do' part', no church and bridal gown, no Sadhu and mangalsutra, to bind you to a person in matrimony by a holy ceremony.

For Bhutanese people, marriage in fact is the simplest of all affairs. Two people, irrespective of sexes (today), sleep together one night and considered married the next morning (in most cases). There's but a little distinction between Bhutanese matrimony and the western live-in relationships.  People today have made a mockery of once holy matrimony, by often changing their life partners.

Modern men and women are very practical, that marriage has now become a business, where both parties seek to gain some benefits and advantages. Love and fondness is but an old fashioned, thing of the past. Today, rich marry riches, handsome marry beauties and yet we do have cases where rich oldies get to marry the pretty-young ones.  The wrinkled oldies are sugar-daddy for the young and the young in turn become the possessions of the oldies, just as the oldie's precious porcelain or his vast art collections, kept as a showcase.

In our forefathers' time, marriages were for life time. Divorces were unheard of, shunned by the society if it happened at all. The social stigma that could attach along with is almost unbearable. Today, however, people rather take pride in changing their spouses like their attire. Somebody has rightly pointed out, “till death do us part? Not when we can divorce”, a perfect theme for today's marriages. It's easy to marry and easier to divorce.

In the past, our parents have tolerated each other for decades, despite all their differences. That's how we are happy today but if we keep following the western trend of devastating divorces, for even a silly little stuff, we are bound to ruin the future of our children and destroy their lives before they could begin, for no fault of their own.

I've seen my share of ugly marriages and miserable couples, to know better than to believe in it. For god's sake, where's the initial love and insanity gone? Where's the missing and I-can't-live-without-you part? Are all those gone astray?

The basic problem with Bhutanese couples, is once bound by the marriage certificate or children, they tend to take things for granted. The search of Mr. /Mrs. Right is over, and then they lay back and relax. A married man starts receding hairline and bulging waistline. The case is no better for the women counterpart, after giving birth, a woman's backside starts widening and her sagging bosoms, is a total turn-off for every onlooker. Gone were those fresh youthful looks. One can only understand why married couples tend to get repulsive by the mere sight of each other, since the eye fetching sight is no longer in place.

So far so good, no married couple has been a role model for those single ones on outlook for potential suitors, because every marriage has its own dirty ugly story. Adultery, love affairs and greedy relatives are some of the many reasons why couples fight, marriages break down and children suffer. I have many divorcee friends; single mothers and fathers, those who have tried their hands at marriage, for what is worth, their only regret is why they didn't think twice before taking the huge leap. Can't marriage be like software, with the testing part? That way, if all test cases are right, one can proceed to the next stage i.e. conceiving part so that no innocent children have to suffer.

In courts, high and district, divorce scenes are horrible and monstrous, with couples flying at each other's neck and murderous gleam in their eyes shows not a tint of love they had for each other in the past. Couples blaming each other, the case of “pot calling the kettle black”. Eventually it's the children, those who bear the consequences of some petty deed of their parents. Children, whose life is compromised by the circumstances and consequences of divorces, without being asked what they want, for their decision doesn't count here.

50% tax on vehicles is ridiculous

03 Jul 2010 Author tpG

The DPT government's decision to impose 50% tax on import of vehicles is simply ridiculous.

Like it or not the target victims are always the poorer section of the society because the rich ones can afford to buy even if the tax is 100% and high post holders can buy because they are entitled to quotas and high salary.

Why the government is always dividing the people; letting the poor remain poor and
rich grow richer. If the government intends to put in place a fair system, it should do away
with the pool vehicles and do-away with the quota system for the high-graders; otherwise it's as usual the middle and the lower class people that are suffering.

Bhutan does not manufacture a single car. It has neither the ability nor the raw materials so the only option left is to import cars. If we can manufacture cars within Bhutan then imposing high tax is reasonable since it can discourage people importing from outside. But traffic congestion and environmental issues are not reason enough to deprive people of buying cars.

Bhutan does not even have timely and good public bus services, so unless it's considering going back in time to the isolation age, there's no need to reduce vehicles on the road.

My Father & His Potatoes

22 Jun 2010 Author tpG

My father is a passionate farmer. I haven't seen a man so hard working and so dedicated for a cause.  Growing potato is no man's 'cup of tea'.  You need to first till the soil, for countless times, put manure, spread the seeds and then make endless beds. After plantation is done, he had to sleep in the fields, for the whole season of the crop, safeguarding the crop from wild animals such as boars.  During those sleep-over, our family dog, Blackie, is his sole companion. Every night, right after dinner, he'd leave for the fields, with Blackie tagging along, like an obedient servant.

On the sloppy land, behind our house, the potato fields stretch for acres. In between those vast fields, he had built himself a small hut with a space just enough for a bed. Besides the hut is another tiny hut with only a roof above, for Blackie. The duo remains alert most nights, pricking their ears to any tiny sound of boars and other animals, fearing his hard labor might go down the drain.

At harvesting time, I was present myself for a day. My father literally glowed with pleasure and pride, never failing to compliment his big and red potatoes, odd shaped potatoes and others. The man seemed so energetic uprooting potatoes, encouraging others and talking of the big money he could fetch with his crop like last year and contemplating what all things he'd buy with the money.

A week later he was in Phuentsholing auctioning his potatoes, in the FCB yard. The potato prices plummeted there due to the good yield from the Indian state of West Bengal or so they said.  He could fetch only Nu. 830 per sack or 50 Kilos. For god's sake, he bought the seeds, 3 months ago, at Nu. 1000 per sack , hoping for better yields.  It was all to less for his hard labor, missing the warmth of his home at night, the wages he had paid to so many laborers he had hired etc. 

Later that day, he was on the phone with me from Phuentsholing. Though he didn't mention his hopelessness, I could hear tears in his voice. I felt truly sorry for my poor, deflated father then. The man seemed pissed and disappointed with the end result.

In the beginning of the season, we'd always discourage him against planting so many acres of potatoes but no amount of persuasion works with him when his mind is made up. He was adamant on having his way, hoping to make big money. However, the unfavorable potato prices have achieved the unachievable; it made my father realize it was all not worth the sweat.

In the end, I still feel sorry for my father and all potato planters in general, for the losses it has incurred. If this trend continues in the future, I'm sure no farmer would want to plant potatoes. This incident/event is very discouraging for our hardworking Bhutanese farmers.  All we can do now is to keep our fingers crossed, and pray for better yields and favorable prices the next seson for what's happened has already happened.  

Not Religious but Superstitious

26 May 2010 Author tpG

Until I was into my twenties, I could never differentiate between the two, due to my weakness in Languages; English and Dzongkha both.

Gradually, I started to know the difference between being Religious and being Superstitious, and to my horror, I've discovered I'm not religious but superstitious. For instance, while walking to Thimphu hospital, I never bother to make rounds (right) of the memorial chorten on the way. I'd always walk by the right side while going and returning by the same route (which becomes left now), because that's the only pedestrian's path available and only means of avoiding the risk of being killed in the heavy traffic. But of course, traveling by vehicle (car) is a different story because the RSTA people had made the road one way, that being right.

Being superstitious is in my blood and my genes, I believe, since my mom is the supreme superstition herself. Like, if we had one of the family members going somewhere, a mere sound of a crow cawing could freak the hell out of her. It's then time to get the message and stay far away from her because if you happen to be nearby, she'd freak you out too. The caw of a crow that day is supposed to be a bad omen for her, that means something bad like an accident had happened to that family member and no amount of consoling or reassuring can calm her jittered nerves. A cat wiping its face with her spit is a sign of guest. That day preparation had to be made for the unannounced guest whether he arrives or not is never bothered afterwards.

Similarly, I've inherited all her superstitious genes.  For instance, if I had to attend an interview or any important work, I'd always do it on Tuesdays since Tuesday happens to be my Laza (good day), and if the day does not coincide with Tuesday, I'd dress up and go out for a while with the luggage I'm supposed to be taking that day by pretending the interview is on that day. Though only pretence I always do it on Tuesday prior to the actual day. An encounter with an empty vessel, in the early morning is a bad sign, that day nothing gets accomplished because of my disturbed mentality. Likewise my superstitious list brags on and on.

On the other hand, I don't believe in going to temple on every auspicious day, neither do I believe in receiving every blessing in town. I don't find it necessary to kneel in front of every man in red and yellow robes. And yet, I believe in hell-heaven concept; if you do good you'd go to heaven and bad deeds can lead you to hell. Still all religious beliefs are not so easy to follow; they won't let you live your life. It's like 'if you follow all the rules, you'd miss all the fun'.

But then, I'm a woman of very few interests so nothing much can be expected out of me. Except reading and writing and my work, I take very little interest in the other worldly pleasures. I try being religious once in a while but this modern mentality of youth, is very hard to tame.

Hopefully I'd see myself as a dedicated Buddhist ten to twenty years down the line….

The Return of Aum PayDay

15 May 2010 Author tpG

Last time I wrote anything for Nopkin.com was on Janaury 27. It's been more than 4 months since I've been active on this site. My life totally changed after I started working. There was never enough time to write or do anything for that matter because my office work eats away all my time. I've been literally running here and there to get my personal work done.

Probation period is one of the toughest times of one's career, because one is kept under observation by one's boss and superiors. Life's been terribly busy that I forgot this site completely but today I remembered all of a sudden of this beautiful site. As I was going through all the beautiful articles by great writers here, I was reminded of the old times. There are so many articles I wrote, some of which I don't even remember have written those. All these seem like a lifetime away, from different place and different times yet I come to regret leaving this site in the first place.

So today I make my comeback my embracing nopkin.com for once and all. I've been in forced exile for past few months because of the workload and pressure but I'd be damned if I do it again. I'm not paid for my personal time so why should I work off hours as long as I do my share of work.

Henceforth I might not be one spontaneous writer but will try contributing sometimes if anything comes up.  So I say “Hello Nopkin-ners!! Happy writing”

The Call

27 Jan 2010 Author tpG

I take my cell in my hand and ask myself, “should I call now?” no, I cannot call, not now at least. I dare not. My hand would automatically grab my mobile and punch in his number. Somehow this has become something like naturally initiated stimulus and I had to literally drag my hand away. The left hand has assumed the role of controlling the right because it's always the right hand that goes in search of my cell.

Suddenly I am scared of the mere thought of calling. What if he chose to ignore it? Worse still, if he decides to cut it. How humiliating for me then? Would I be able to live with that insult?

Love or infatuation, whatever you call it, is a crazy thing. It makes you go nuts and do crazy stuffs. Then again, my right hand gradually snatches the phone for the hundredth time and I take a moment to reconsider.

“Should I call now or should I wait for his call?” but what if he never calls? Can't I not forget my pride just this time and initiate. Maybe it's no big deal at all. Maybe I am being indecisive and overly sensitive. I am calling now. Whatever happens afterwards let me deal with the consequences. I punch in the number again and decide to press the green button.

“Oh nooooo..” the bombshell dropped. I can't do this. Those unanswered questions popped up in my head yet again.

The spacious room suddenly seems so small. I feel breathless now and my whole body is shaking. I feel like a school girl in the principal's office ready to be penalized for some mischievous offense. 

For every incoming call my ears would prick like that of a dog's to the sound of bones only to end up disappointed when the caller id reveals it's not him.

No I can't do this today. I don't have the guts to call now. Perhaps next time? Or the next-next time….if there's one for us.

I think I'm a geek

11 Jan 2010 Author tpG

I have always thought of myself as a geek because I am socially uncomfortable, though talkative in nature, it's always been difficult knowing people for the first time.

I should think ten times before I can leave my house and the very fact that I hate parties and hardly hang out with friends is a clear indication. I remember going to party last year and feeling completely out of place. Afterwards I never agreed to go to any parties because I realized that I don't belong there.

Moreover my dress up is completely unfashionable, not that I haven't tried but fashionable attire does not suit me. I have to admit there's a geeky air about me and now I have given up trying to look stylish because all my effort goes in vain and it's totally useless to pretend to be someone I'm not.

And when it comes to my thoughts I can be very conservative at times. I, for instance, think it's not proper for couple to be living together before marriage and I am against gay marriages and infidelity or adultery.
I believe in one-man-one-woman relationships and against divorces and child born out of wedlock. So in nutshell I still think like how other people did in the sixties. I can't do away with this 'Victorian attitude' which has been there with me ever since I can recall.

I know some people who look naturally sophisticated and stylish without any effort and some are pathetic like me, no amount of effort can change; neither their physical appearances nor their outlook towards life.

There are those tech-geeks who are geniuses but I can't even be branded in that category because I have no brains but then I have learned to be happy and satisfied with what I have and sort of ceased to complain of things I lack. So I guess that makes me a dork. Well I am a dork and a proud one.

In a way there's always a geeky side to all of us however otherwise we appear on the front-end (trying a technical term) so that makes everybody a geek, a doRK.

Gosh!! When do we stop studying?

09 Jan 2010 Author tpG

When I was in school I thought I'd become a nun after class X if I didn't qualify for government school in class XI. That 'nun' subject never surfaced again because I did qualify.

After ISC when I didn't qualify for Sherubtse College I had to opt for diploma. Though the course really helped me a lot I wasn't satisfied with my qualification. These days a bachelor's degree is the minimum qualification in the job market.

I remember my diploma days in RIM when I felt so small in presence of the post-graduate students down there. That was when I decided that I need a degree too if only to boost my ego.

Well now that I have it, I see most people going for masters. Many people I know are either in the US or Canada or Australia and yet again I am starting to feel small with those people with Masters onto their credentials.

One week in office and I am already longing to do masters but my chances this time is very slim since I am not a civil servant but a corporate employee. With the help of my dear sister I have already started enquiring about the IELTS exams which is one of the basic requirements for pursuing any master's course.

If I ever get to do Masters would be I satisfied then? Or would I want to do PhD then? Are we ever satisfied with what we have? 

 

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