Articles by: ArrogantBuddha
Boss is always right is not always right. When my boss came knocking at my door early Sunday morning, I did not even say hello to him.
Sheepishly I opened the door to see his wrathful face. Instantly I knew he did not come for good reasons: fully dressed up early in the Sunday morning and banging my door; I was not stupid to let him in.
“Yes sir?” I said, the tone signalling for his intrusion to a private residence.
“Where is the timber?” He shouted waving a few pages of paper in his hands. “The office order says you are responsible to arrange the timber from sawmill and handover to the carpenters. They don't have work and have been complaining to me all through the night. You guys don't know your responsibility. I am not at peace.”
“I am not at peace either sir and I have not got the good night sleep,” I replied thinking of how late I had reached from sawmill last night and felt irritated of how he disturbed the little sleep I got in the morning.
“Why are you not? What can you do to make things right? I am not responsible if the Gup withdraws his men back” he shouted, flagging the papers high. If I had stood in his office, those papers would have been flying on the floor. Doing that in front of my house, I was ready to slam the door and went back to sleep without a knowledge if he had picked up those papers and left my house. But he was not stupid either, not all bosses are stupid in certain circumstances. I clung the door-leaf tight and stood rigid blocking him to attempt coming in; inviting him inside was out of my thought.
“Sir,” I muttered now fully awake. If I had washed my face and put on the gho, I could have been more active than him in that early Sunday morning. “There was a power fluctuation in the sawmill and I believe this area faced the similar situation too. I drove all the way to power office at 11 P.M and requested the need of continuous power. There was little the manager could do as the water inflow is minimum during winter months. And for the hope of finishing the work on time, two machine operators, three helpers and the owner of sawmill stayed until very late……”
“Stop your excuses,” he interrupted almost shouting. I heard my wife getting up from the bed and felt bad for her. She was in the last month of our first unborn child. And that did not make me any less sober.
“You arrange yourself the timber right now and follow the order written here.” He shook the papers once again. I wanted to yell at him that should the office order state I had to fly in the air and that I would be able to fly or not. But those words dried within my lips. Somehow I felt he was not right to shout at me before letting me explain to him. And somehow I felt I had to say something too. A few seconds of silence enveloped us; he raging with fire and I lost in thought.
“Sir, my wife is pregnant,” I said breaking the silence. I had no idea why I said it without conceiving the thought very much. Perhaps, I was concerned more about her than to the man in my front. I saw the expressionless face on him. It was the face which did not know whether to continue chiding me or feel happy on the good news. And I took advantage of it and said, “Running 8 month sir” almost proudly.
My boss, my poor boss, I knew from our first meet that he had a softer heart. He came to my house many times before for a cup of tea or to drink local wine. And for the last few months, he never ceased to tease my wife on how handsome the child would be if it was a male owing to the look of his father. But on that morning, I had to understand his situation too. We had a huge responsibility to complete the task of making shift-huts for some important guests for an important occasion. But I could neither explain him the details of how the technical problem delayed the supply of timber. If I had to play the blame-game, I had to blame the glaciers for not melting enough to support running the generators or the nimbus clouds from Bay of Bengal for always waiting for summer months. It was only futile to argue with him. I heard my wife beside me looking tensed at the situation. I released the door and opened enough to let them see each other. None of them met their eyes.
“Sir, tea, sir,” I said. And as soon as I mentioned about it, both of them left to different directions- wife to kitchen and my boss, I did not know where he went.
“Honey, just 2 cups please,” I said closing the main door.
Husband of a Modern Wife: Hung awa ya wai?
Husband of a Typical Wife: Marsey ani mala wai?
Husband of a Modern Wife: Ya, hung marba ya?
Husband of a Typical Wife: Tsing ngam ni wai.
Husband of a Modern Wife: Wai zak cha mangi mo?
Husband of a Typical Wife: Mastong ni.
Husband of a Modern Wife: Rok bu ngam la dhang mo?
Husband of a Typical Wife: Ebi?
Husband of a Modern Wife: Mektsa nisho.
Husband of a Typical Wife: Rok ta mala ko mei.
Husband of a Modern Wife: Jang ma gisa?
Husband of a Typical Wife: Hung jang mei ya, deng khan la jung sha gila.
Husband of a Modern Wife: Zak pa deng cha gidu ni.
Husband of a Typical Wife: Dengmei khena ko mei ni.
Husband of a Modern Wife: Gila mapa.
Husband of a Typical Wife: Ni nan hanten ya wai?
Husband of a Modern Wife: Menkhang dhin cha wai.
Husband of a Typical Wife: Ya hung awa ya?
Husband of a Modern Wife: Maan thur falay dhin cha wai.
Husband of a Typical Wife: Ebi gaya?
Husband of a Modern Wife: Mektsa ga wai.
Husband of a Typical Wife: Hung awa ya rok sho?
Husband of a Modern Wife: Tsing ngam la dhang.
Situation deems different almost in everything. I will narrate on how situation deems different while 'talking' in accordance to the listeners or the possible eavesdropper around.
Out of many examples in the world, I shall stick to my own which is supposed to be very personal.
Unlike any surgeries on the human bodies, the surgery of abscess near the anus is different. I assume any operations on any abscesses are same. You experience once and you learn about it–I got one and I learned that there are varieties of them named after the location of it. Out of all, only one remained in my mind – breast abscess, because the young lady and I got together in a queue for three hours to operation theatre. The two haemorrhoids introduced each other and learned how painful abscesses could be irrespective of their locations. When she did not feel shy to tell me she had it on her breast, I told her my location near the anus. I also told her it was painful even to fart. She laughed little but soon went back to the pain.
After half an hour of operation, I was sent back with extra hole. Like I mused on my own aftermath operation I mused on the woman's breast. I wondered on the location of the hole. It was not that surgeon forgot to stitch back after letting the pus out. The skin was deliberately left open to pass any germs out before developing to abscess.
After three days, when my own bed started to stench the sewer, I closed the bathroom door and unhooked the wall mirror. On few rehearsals for better rear view I could place the mirror on the floor and bent myself enough to mistake the houseflies present I was into yoga therapy. The band aid and the cotton took ample groans and sighs with abrupt jump of feet to detach off the skin. When at last I viewed in the mirror, I was glad I am a straight. There was the point I even felt thanking my parents for not sending me to monkhood. But if I have had practised sodomy on the receiving end, any slip from the partner would force the germs hell out of the hole. Well, such was the terrific size I saw it in the mirror.
Many months later now, when I have to talk about it, I watch my words according to the people around. To those pair of balls who said their last boil was so painful, I tell them abscess is the mother of boils. I tell them that the surgery left me with extra hole to mistake the sodomy partner. Before anyone doubts my words I compare the size to the ping pong ball and warn them not to mess with me if we ever play table tennis. And the size of the ping pong ball sees many faces convincingly nodding in awe.
But situation deems different as I said. If any of the cousin sisters are around, I bypass many explanations and only tell them the recovery from abscess takes longer duration that one does not find solace in drinking anymore.
When I am done, many cousin sisters wish their drinking husbands get an abscess each. While I like their idea, they must not guarantee their husbands don't bed with the same sex. I silently nod in awe.
P.S.: To those homosexual males and gays, I regretfully notify that I have not written for you to fancy me. For your information, I am fully recovered from perianal abscess without a mark of it.
It is been long time I did not contribute anything here. But many have not done so. I understand people are busy but it does not mean I was busy. If there was lots of work I needed to do, I would have bogged down to the point I got sick. And the fact I am still healthy does not mean I did not do extra work because it either way contradicts I am not nominated for slab promotion. Then what does it attribute to not posting mischievous things? The rule does not have a provision to elevate driver to officer for sure but I traveled rounds of road networks in the country that I have developed four hard biceps in my arms. I drive Bolero now.
In this little time recession I see a change in me. I am a father. Not my real son. Her dusted uterus did not allow me to become a biological father but she did not change her mind to become a mother. She pestered us to become foster parents. We adopted a two year old boy. I am a father you see, but I don't doubt I am an impotent to become a father. I still remain faithful to my attic queen.
My attic queen gave up nagging me to own a car. Not that she understands my low income but she became wise with age especially after “god knows whose child” came into our attic home. The dream of parking BP instead of yellow colored BG was long forgotten now. Soothing to my ears but woman that I will die not understanding her, she started asking for micro-wave oven. What the hell was that? Would it cook breakfast for me?
Before I got the answers she fussed enough that I could not give a second thought. Next day I went to accounts section with an application asking for an advance of salary. I understood the hard looking face of Accounts Officer. The other month's salary was just deposited in my ill-fated combination of numbers, in my bank account just two days back and I was already asking for the work yet to be done. Being the man of rules, he approved me an advance but I was not the happiest man. It only meant another harsh winter shall pass without being able to buy any new warmer clothes. My plan of buying new coats dropped with that “can't cook breakfast by itself” oven for yet another winter. Brr! I already felt the cold.
“Langkang, is the water enough?” she showed me the dough. She was baking cake for the first time. It was a trial from the question she asked me. Her trial did cost me my winter. I could have bought one small cake each month if she wanted to try recipe that other rich wives had influenced her. That oven could not make her rich. And her cake was awful, I say.
As if I go out every morning like a chef, I said the water was just enough and helped her bake it in the newly robbed electronic. I punched few buttons like an experienced chef. She stood near watching it as if an oven could disappear right from her eyes. I did not think she looked at the cake that changed the color.
Few minutes later, she snatched the remote control of my “older than her” 14 inch color TV and swapped the channel to my most disliked serial CID. Her mystery is still not yet solved. The case mystery was not likely to get solved even if I reborn my life.
She handed over me her cake. It was not a cake, I hid giggling. She offered it to our son. He shook his head. I controlled giggling for the second time but before she said it was the oven's fault and made me buy another one, I plucked it with my fingers and put it inside my mouth.
I will not explain its taste. It is dangerous if one day she reads this post.
Cheers! Have a good day.
We sat just a metre away from each other. He started speaking and I listened:
“Brother, my brother, me is happy. Yes, me is very happy you in Thimphu. You working in office, me very happy. Thimphu peoples all good.”
My wife came in and on seeing brothers taking time to each other left us immediately. And he continued in a deplorable but happy tone.
“Mathang very beauty. Good woman. Me likes.”
Before I thought he likes my wife, he said, “Me likes you both, both. Me no wife. Choden good but not love me. Me no angry.”
There was no chance for me to ask who is Choden. The monologue continued.
“Thimphu girls all beauty. No pregnant. Village girls small small all pregnant. Not good. Me very sad. Choden no pregnant. Me very happy. Me loves Choden. My brother, me is happy in Thimphu. But me have work. Maize, trees, potatoes, cows, many many works. Me going home. My home is beauty. Me no like Thimphu. Money giving to shops, 5000.”
I filled his glass and looked at his face. Three years younger to me seemed just opposite. His hands were crude like logs, deep scars in his knees, shabby skin, tired eyes and weary heart all inside the old clothes I sent few years back. The strong regret of dropping him from class III to look after the ancestor house and land in the village remains in his heart. After losing both the parents it was due to him I could continue my studies and if I am anything now I owe everything, almost everything to my little brother.
He stood silent the next day. I sensed he missed home; land, crops and cattle. When he spoke, he blatantly told me to get a ticket to home. It was because he knew I would not let him go.
He profusely refused the drinks that evening. In the corner I saw his old green bag kept ready to make journey any time.
I bought him clothes and crockery. When I picked a set of kera, wonju and tego he simply thought I was buying it for my wife. I asked him the size of Choden. He blushed but I was consistent making comparisons on the size with my wife. To make it more emphatic I uttered myself that Choden must not be fatter ordering shopkeeper to pack the set. When there was no resistance from him I paid for it and handed him the gift to Choden.
Early next day, I gave him enough money to pay the due to shopkeeper and for his expense. And when bus started to move I held his hand tight, smiled to him and said, “My brother, me loves you very much. You and Choden marry, me is very happy.” I saw a big smile on my brother's face as bus tunnelled out from the terminal.
Going through the shape of my eyes I am a Bhutanese from a Mongolian race. Unwilling but the truth; looking deeply in my skin and the cut of my facial structure I am either of Dravidian or Aryan race. This fact does not sadden me since I secretly admire India and her daughters. Having grown up simulating Mithun Chakarborty coming out from old jeep, gunning down the goons, somersaulting infinite times in air, running in the trees with fair lady exposing fair waistline changing number of dresses in flick of second I feel strongly bonded with the roots of those races.
However, deep within me I still have a heart of Bhutanese and the fact I don't use left hand for anything confirms I am a Bhutanese although I dearly fall in love with the Indian foods. The culinary art of mashed potatoes spiced up with many ingredients add varieties in the menu to choose; mouth watering. The scrumptious aroma of roadside junk food defies my senses to believe swarming of Hepatitis B viruses and next I ask my brother vendor to satisfy my craving love; delicious and truly mouth watering. Slurp, I forget the seminar talk on Hepatitis B.
The potatoes I bought from the market are shapeless and similar to those my brother vendor does the magic. I am not a magician and I land up getting only Kewa-datsi. The very thought of consuming it in every meal made me angry and I threw it back to its refrigerator shelf and not in a bin. The old motion picture of Mithun Chakraborty- had tough time pronouncing his second name, the lady showing her waistline and my vendor brother started to form image in my mind and it was the time I realised I needed some Indian food. I heard even mosquitoes become immune to same repellent over the time. The guarantee that antibiotics will recover me from physiological disorders cannot be assured and immediately the priority of health coming first I planned to cook Indian dish in my kitchen.
Half an hour gone and I was still thinking how potatoes could turn to golden color. Another fifteen minutes on breaking the code of aroma and by the time I knew cheese as the main ingredient of paneer I already became a cook. The recipe looked familiar, very familiar. But the thought of my strong bond with my brother vendor, Mithun Chakraborty and his lady gave way to a big smile on my face. I thought I was a chef and not a cook.
All the way till mashing potatoes, adding salt and turmeric for golden color I was the busiest man at my home. When it was time to add the last and important component in making potato paneer I realised why my recipe looked familiar. Add cheese and it was becoming my regular Kewa-datsi in irregular form.
Any further analytical thinking should confirm my stupidity and I left the matter discreetly. I once more threw the cheese back to its refrigerator shelf. The characters of old motion picture had left me along with my brother vendor. Alone and half-hearted I dished out my food. Mouth watering would be an unmanageable taste but I remain happy with the Bhutanese heart.
My wife and her friends
Excited like kids to watch the film
7 Missed Calls in Luger Theatre
I dropped them at nine
Left with the command to return at twelve.
Alone at home
Cold dinner and a colder self
On the couch, waiting
TV on, I dozed off.
Morning the door knocked
opened to see my furry wavy wife
Demanding to check my phone
I checked my phone
And saw 7 missed calls;
I controlled my laughter.
When her fury disappeared
and her wavy hair became kempt,
I showed her my phone
And on seeing 7 missed calls
She did not control her laughter.
Had it been the eighth
My day would have been fagged
Without breakfast, lunch and dinner
Dozing off again on the couch
Without a miss call in my phone.
Past midnight and it was still hot in my small living room. My wife had occupied the bed dreaming about anything but me. Last night it was her time to stay very late watching the finals of Zara Nach Kay Dekha between two groups of boys and girls. I wanted to stay up with her cheering for the boys to claim the prize but since dancing is not in my bones and more so because I hate the never ending episodes of serials in that particular channel I had to retire to my bed to dream about anything but her.
I lied down in the boxer shorts firmly resting my head on the clutched hands over the pillow. The piercing sound of Vuvuzela was pardoned when my eyes rolled over the sensual Dutch ladies. It was a feast to see them waving flags, blowing trumpets and shaking their hips. I sighed and thought of next world cup when I can get to see Brazilian ladies waving flags and shaking their hips to the famous Samba dance. Even if there is another type of Vuvuzela in Brazil I can still bear the sound. Four years though, anything can happen to me, but I will pray hard that I do not become blind. Otherwise, imagining 90 minutes on what pattern of dancing steps and how little their attires are worn will break my nervous system and even impair my hearing ability. So, until next world cup, I have to take care of my eyesight and save going deaf.
Paul the Octopus had chosen the fate of Spain to lift the world cup and it was the second reason I stayed awake to see if
It was still hot and the match had started half way. By this time I shifted many positions from the floor. When one goal was on shot I jumped very high. Next moment I heard the breaking sound of sleep from another room. I lowered the volume. She must carry on with her dreams away from me. And I again I lied down resting my hands on my naked belly. The beer had really done its job. But it was smooth to caress my own belly in the middle of night. Then a housefly either misconceived to be morning or perceived my belly as jelly to feed upon perched on the thin stomach skin. Lazily I drove away blowing a gust of air from my mouth. It was a message that it should continue to sleep and it was still a night and my belly was not a jelly to feast upon. It left me but only for few seconds. I blew and it went. And it came, again and again. I thought of shouting to it that the morning was still few hours away and it could find the real food only in kitchen. Shouting was not possible. There was another soul sleeping in another room. Let her dream about anything but me. And so I got the new company. Until it flew to my right arm and I made use of it.
Arjen Roben and Van Persie are the deadliest in attacking with their left feet and so my left hand became
When I woke up in the morning I wanted to meet my new
And to my wife I have to tell her how I suppressed my excitement from jumping when the prediction of Yongbu the Housefly came true and that she had an uninterrupted sleep dreaming of anything but me.
I could not find my mobile phone and did not remember where I left it. I searched here and there, left and right and having found nowhere I frisked myself from top to bottom. I closed
“Hi” I greeted. The greatest opportunity to shake her hand was missed.
“Hi” she responded and I no longer felt uncomfortable. Had she said, “Oops I am sorry” I would have wasted many hours haunting from the scene.
I turned towards her, little nervous though, cloaking my body and sat on my chair while asking her to take the seat.
We sat face to face and before I conjured up anything to speak I saw my stained old kera coiled up on the table. I also noticed that it had only few fringes left and those present were shorter from original lengths. Assuming she did not notice what I noticed I did nothing and said nothing except gazed at her lovely face. She was smiling and speaking nothing. I would have loved to see her smiling at any other time but at that moment it was simply killing me. She was not my girlfriend and even if she was I would not dare to stand up from the chair, walk past her and close the door behind. Not if it was not in my office and there were not any colleagues around.
“Won't you wear your cloth?” she asked me with that flirty smile on. I wanted kera to disappear first but knowing very well it will not move I did not want to do anything to divert her attention to my soiled belt. Instead I picked up the pen ready to scribble whatever services she wanted to have. For a while I had almost forgotten I was not properly dressed up. If only the pedestal fan did not push the force of air wiping against my thighs.
“What can I do for you?” I managed to utter professionally while closing my legs and covering them with my ill-fated cloth.
She wanted some information on her land transaction.
“You cannot have it” I said.
“Why is it?” she asked me puzzled that she was deprived of some basic information.
“It is in the file and the file is in other room. I cannot walk without my cloths on”.
She burst out laughing and asked me if she could help herself. I did not want to trouble her but I wanted to wear my cloth.
“Can I put on my cloth?” I said rhetorically. I picked up my kera in a lightning speed, rose from the chair, went to the corner of room and began forming a gentleman.
I resumed in my chair and searched for the file index when she interrupted me in between.
“You need help” she said. “You wear your gho like a school kid”.
“I do not have a mother” I said with a gist of flirt in the sound. I told her I was searching for my mobile phone when she dashed into my office. She asked my number and dialled from her phone with its speaker on. There was a long ring and there was no sound coming from the room. She tried once more. Another long ring before a voice recorder said, “the number you are calling is not responding”.
I knew my phone was not lost and it was lying either in car or at home. I asked her mobile and dialled myself noting the time in my watch. Another long ring and a voice recorder said, “the number you are calling is…….” pressed her phone to mute and I continued the voice, “is not lost”.
I thanked her and told her I would demonstrate her to prove my phone was not lost at all.
“You will get a call from me from my phone” I said. She said she looked forward to it as if I would not call her at all when the fact was not later than that evening.
I gave her information on land and when she went away from my office I already felt if she was the one who could assist me wearing my gho.
Pursuing higher studies is the priority for most of the civil servants. I have not thought of it seriously and I do not know if I will ever think of it. Friends have reached back with extra knowledge and credentials of higher learning. It is a pride to write M.Sc. or MBA in the portfolio. If I ever pursue higher studies I will pull up the lagey little higher as the significance of acquiring additional certificate but humbly live a decent life; and may be advert my nick only to
For some official purposes I visited an organisation where I met few old friends. They had completed the master's degrees and they enquired if I had stepped in their shoes. I showed them my lagey and told the meaning of it.
“When are you going for studies?” one enquired.
“Next month” I said.
“Oz?” Australlia meant money.
“South Korea” I said.
There was some inquisitive expression shown on their faces. But my facial expression was more serious than words that they had to believe me.
“What course are you undertaking?” they almost said in unison.
I dragged the chair, placed the file on the table and said, “Masters in Taekwondo”.
Now they laughed in unison for sure but I continued with the reasoning.
“If I do MBA then I am left with only a chance for
“Nine times? How is that?” I did not care who said that.
“After masters I will get a chance for dan; 1st dan, 2nd dan, 3rd dan, 4th dan until 9th dan”.
“Who had done all these so far?”
“Bruce Lee” I told them.
“Bruce Lee is here wai” Tenzin was pointing to Bholanath. We were hostel mates in the school. Bholanath was very weak during school days and we teased him a lot in the hostel. His bed was in the upper bunk and he was the regular sweeper of our room. With his tuberculosis stricken ribcage he was called as Chus Lee. As soon as the warden blew the wake up whistle, Chus Lee aka Bholanath in Bruce Lee's style jumped from the bunk resting his feet on the floor as silent as the cat. Then he lifted all the four bunks with his left hand and reached for the farthest corner to take out the dusts with a broom in his right hand.
Bholanath now has gained weight thanks to the paratha and chicken kabab he took in India while undergoing master's degree in business administration. He stood from the chair, stripped the upper half of gho and was about to show his belly when we had to stop him. He was warned not to show his hairy chest before lunch.
I joined them for lunch and before I left them in canteen, I once more compared my lagey with them and touched the ribs of Bholanath.
“Give me a kiss”
She was not willing to kiss me. I faked that I threw doma from my mouth. She was smiling with the cutest smile inherited from her mother; my wife. She came running and offered me a peck on her cheek but unconsciously she was wiping her face with those tiny fingers.
I took out a chewing gum which she immediately snatched from my hand.
“Daddy is tired, go tell mummy to bring me a beer”
“Bear?” She was pointing to her teddy bear.
“No dear, beer”
“Deer?” She was pointing to the dolls comprised of different animals.
I switched the TV to ESPN. The players were ready to kick off the match.
“Butta“. It was her word for ball.
“It is ball”, I tried to teach her.
“Butta-hehe”very irritating but cute.
She had swallowed the chewing gum and was already tugging my pocket for another one.
When the roar from stadium was heard, she pointed her fingers towards TV and said “Nan du“. It was an aero plane for her.
Looking at her two fingers still pointed towards TV said “Nik ching”. Her concentration diverted to numbers.
“Yan two three” at three she jumped up.
I switched off the television, carried her in my arms and we played in our small bedroom.
“Yan two three” she threw pillow over my face. Left gazing at her, I did not care which ever nations played in the world cup. It was very fast for the child to grow. God forbid, in the next world cup she will be 6 years old and I cannot predict her childhood innocence remains same.
“One two three” I took out another chewing gum and this time it was equally shared for both of us.
“Where have you been all these days?” I was excited to see Betterman.
“I am in Thimphu only” I could imagine round faced Betterman equally excited to meet me in the net.
“I thought you had gone on foreign tour”
“Chance mala. I saw you walking last evening” he said.
“I did not see you. In fact I do not see anyone driving a car”
“I was not in the car. I was riding a bicycle. I waved at you”
“I thought he was Japanese mistaking me as his friend but later thought how Japanese could be so dark like me” I typed.
“And where have you been? I also thought you went on study tour”, he repeated. I was happy he was not offended by my words.
“I am always on training and study tour”
“That is nice to hear. Where have you gone?”
“Kawajangsa to office and office to Kawajangsa” I typed.
“When have you shifted to Kawajangsa?”
“Few days back, visit me sometimes”
“I will. Which side of Kawajangsa?”
I described the location of my place and he got it right but not with the apartment.
“As soon as you park your car you will see many verandas. Check out for the veranda full of sliced beef kept for drying. Can't take meals without the meat”
“I got it, I will come to drink tonight” he said.
“I have the best local brew for two of us”
“No, I don't take local brew. Do you have champagne?”
“When have you switched to champagne?” I asked him.
“I do not have champagne and frankly cannot afford it too”, I was honest here.
He knew I was acting smart. Where would I get beef in auspicious 4th month of Bhutanese calendar?
“Ok, then check for the windows which do not have curtains?” I had to be honest now.
He came in the evening without any difficulties.
“You got a big apartment” his voice echoed.
“Yes it is. Someone broke into this apartment and took away all my belongings” I told him with the flavour of realism.
“I see” he was very cool.
“Everything is gone; sofa set, refrigerator, air-conditioner, LCD, dining table and even window curtains”
“Where am I going to sit now?” he was searching for at least a mat on the concrete floor.
“Your choice, sit anywhere you want” I said.
He checked the kitchen and found a single stove connected to a lone cylinder.
“The thief had taken your double stove but was kind enough to replace with the single one”
“The thieves are kind these days” I said.
“Jung dhiwa na wai” he looked annoyed.
“Take champagne first”, I took the bottle kept in the kitchen.
“Instead of champagne you could have bought window curtains”
“Forget the curtains; they do not give in credit”
I poured out champagne and in between the simmering his expression sobered.
“At least you should not have let her take away everything”
It was difficult for me. I simply adhered to the verdict of court order. Ever since my marriage came to an end I lived a vagabond life but as far as my heart kept on beating I had to survive the life no matter what. It was futile to remind the past and I managed hard to live the present in the most jovial ways. It was solacing to meet friends and I was happy to meet Betterman and that too in my new apartment with champagne in our hands although we had to stand in the supposedly sitting room. He was leaning against the wall with glass in his hand looking straight at me. Avoiding his glance I stooped to the floor picking up the bottle and silently filled his glass.
He understood what was going on in my mind, must have felt sorry. That was understandable from me but I did not want to think about it at all.
“I am planning to buy a carom board and keep it right here” I spread my hand with glass showing the position of it.
“I will be regular to play” he instantly joined me.
“Still I need another two players” I said.
“I will bring Sedey and Choden”
“Will they take away my carom board?” I teased.
“It will be better than stripping away your window curtains” he was right.
“Then I will not buy window curtains” I said.
“Good idea, but don't you think people will see us playing from outside?” he said.
“What do you suggest?” I wanted help.
“Do you have champagne?” his throat was on heat.
“I have local brew”
“Let's have it with your beef”, he reminded.
“The thief emptied my veranda too” I said.
“You should have kept it in refrigerator”
“I did not think of that”
And it continued until our knees ached.
When he left I thought we should have at least sat on my mattress. It will be done next time and I closed my eyes before the stars peeked me from sky.
“I saw many of your relatives standing at the Sunday market ” another reminder of my dark skin.
“My relatives are also your relatives” I told him. Then we laughed at our benighted skin.
“How will your kids look like?” a fair complexion Sonam ejaculated at us.
“Zebra” I told him.
“Not mine, my third wife is black and I will not risk with other two wives” Tenzin escaped the scapegoat.
“First get the wife and stop dreaming of having many wives, ugly fellow”, Sonam snapped.
The bottles were emptying and I gestured the waitress to serve the same order. Catching up with old friends are very rare and at the rarest chance of meeting together, we care enough to drain in drinks until dusk.
Tenzin at college never showed interest in books and if he read anything it was the Business Journals. Sonam always kept few thousands of Bhutanese currency in his wallet. He reasoned it as saving where he could use in Phuentsholing during the summer break. Few months on in India when his rupee got exhausted he always landed up pleading Tenzin to change his neatly folded ngultrum for rupee. And it was the business time for Tenzin, he was never to exchange at par and Sonam summoned the deal for 90 rupees for every 100 ngultrums.
It was our turn to laugh now.
After so much of laughing and many pints of beer we retrieved towards Tenzin’s car. On our way to parking lot we met our common friend Deepak.
“Malik Tenzin, how are you?” Deepak said.
“Where is your sister? I wanted to marry your sister since school days”,Tenzin told him.
“She is with her husband now”, he said jestingly.
“I heard she is married but her husband must be puzzled to have you as his brother-in-law”
“What is wrong with me?” Deepak already knew what was coming up next.
“Malik never runs out of wit. Where is your car?”
“It is very difficult to park Landcruiser, it is somewhere out there.”
“Nice to see you guys, bye”, Deepak left laughing.
We got into his car from Luger Theater, took a round from Tashi Taj junction and at the cross junction below Bhutan Post, Deepak was trying to cross the road.
He slowed down the car and called to Deepak, “Could not take out the Landcruiser”
“Malik” Deepak was waving at us once more with smile all over his face.
And inside the old Alto, we too joined the laughter against the rattling sound of its metallic body.
I was driving a car which had five wheels; the fifth wheel being in the centre of chassis. There was no wind shield, no gear lever and no brakes and yet I was speeding fast along the dusts of Kalahari Desert.
The house flies buzzed and sat over my face and lips; I shoved them off. From a distance I heard, “A big chance missed there” faint but clear to my ears.
My car was suddenly broken down and in a nearby motel I took a table to order steak and
beer. The waitress who took my order had a moustache and her voice sounded familiar to me.
Again from a distance I heard the voice, “It was a correct decision from the Hungarian…..” The house flies again walked over my lips giving me sensation to shove them off.
The waitress had returned back to my table without my notice. She placed the big plate in front of me and with a black African mamba snake spiced up with vegetables of weird colours. I took the fork and before I sliced the head, she said “Enjoy your steak sir”
Did I order mamba, the snake? I wondered. And next thing I remembered was her voice resembled the one I heard from the distance.
Few moments passed. I had no idea whether I ate the steak or snake. The house flies were gone. From the window pane I saw my broken car. Now it had four wheels and its colour had changed to white blanketed from falling snow.
“It is a goal” I heard it very loud.
I reached to my senses, opened my heavy eyes and checked the clock. It was 2.15 AM. The living room was resonating to the vuvuzela trumpets from Ellis Park stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa. I had missed first half of the match of Brazil and North Korea.
I was starving but chose not to check in the kitchen until breakfast time.
In my circle of friends he invincibly takes the lead. His brain of wits and humor gets everything and everyone on his way. Few of us behind him are happy as well as unhappy for him. We are happy because he can get us out of trouble and makes us laugh even in odd hours. Unhappy because he gets what he wants. When he dated one of the hottest girls in the campus, rest of us went silent each wishing to be in his shoes; all of us were unhappy at least for few hours.
Tenzin as a friend I will label him as fair looking person. If he is not my friend, he is simply an odd ugly looking fellow I have ever come across in my life. Witticism and kind heart make us his friends; God is great for dispensing fair judgment to him.
There is a beautiful girl living in my neighborhood. She is extremely beautiful that I need supernatural powers to get along with her. If she sees me walking with Tenzin, she will definitely avoid looking at him. If Tenzin gets chance to talk to her, she will utterly hate me for deception. If only I am Tenzin, though not his physical anatomy, I may make her laugh but it is remotely impossible for me. Or she can have my body and Tenzin's mind, will she take this combination? I can never understand a girl and my hope of one in million will take my second birth. In the re-birth I will come as Tenzin with pleasing structured face.
Anyway I need her and Tenzin's intelligence. I called him only to hear his phone was switched off. One week later I called up again and found him on line. When asked about his absence he told me he went to Bangkok. Before I could ask the reason he said “for a hair cut” in his normal tone. I could not help smiling because he does not have a hair in his head. It helped me, I found an answer- the wit. It came as a reminder like a student brushing up his text books just before examination.
In the backyard I saw her coming on my way. Her beauty warmed me; I was feeling hot with sensation giving off the heat. My chest rumbled fast, limps shook, lips dry, face blushed and ears piercing iron hot. She was nearing and super natural power was far from me. Just then I remembered my friend, the one who went to Bangkok. I remembered his wits and not his bald. I stopped on the way and gazed at her. She slowed down her pace and looked nervous. It was delightful to see a beautiful girl getting nervous. I wished Tenzin was with me to witness the situation.
She stopped and I cleared my voice, “Did you study in Sherubtse?” I said.
“No”, she replied, now completely cool.
“Oh! I did not study in Sherubtse too” I said. It was my turn to get nervous. I was lucky Tenzin was not with me.
She walked away from me and my body was losing the heat. I was left looking at her and then she suddenly stopped, smiled her beautiful mischievous smile and said, “I studied in Sherubtse with Tenzin” before walking away, very fast. Dumbstruck I whispered I studied in Sherubtse too. This time I remembered my friend and did not even mind thinking of his bald.
I remain an unhappy person one more time. But to Tenzin, I am begrudged and jealous and deep within I tell him, “Boss you rocks”.
There is the strong smell of death in hospital where there are ghost doctors and ghost nurses. Woman in labor cries for help when help will never come around. Bed sheets in ward are never washed for heaven knows how long with every inch and area soaked in blood. Incubating refrigerator stands in the corner without the medicine stock and without the electrical code. A teenage girl dies from normal dehydration stripping away her life well before her youth.
Schools are built everywhere disproportionate to the number of students. The construction cost is shared between the civil servants, representatives of people and the businessmen. Teachers need not be qualified and many schools are even without them. People bribe the government and register as teachers who do not show up in the schools. By registering as teachers they earn the pension fund illegitimately after superannuation terms. Students walk to schools miles each way only to wait for teachers who are never to be seen; ghost teachers. Text books are not available since the networks of distributors ask for bribes.
Senior international inspector visits a remote village of Bhutan where there is a small clinic called BHU Grade III. She is greeted by a warm smile of Health Assistant (HA) in neatly worn white-coat. In escorting to ward she sees patients genuinely smiling their faces despite the pain. In a corner she sees the refrigerator with full stock of medicines incubated by propylene gas. The bed sheets in the ward are as neat as her guest house in the capital. She says it shocked her system expecting the same with the countries in South East Asia. She sees the real professional in the field and real clinic for the first time. She decides to ask few questions to him only to regret how foolishly she asked those. When she asks why he preferred to be in remote place he simply cites an example of our King. He is there because King is there for the people. Importance of leadership runs in her mind. She says King is the leader and HA is also the leader because of his personal leadership. She reminds the floor about the fallacy of delusions of grandeur and talks about personal leadership.
Person at any level has the leadership qualities to work hard and earn salary. She says a person gets charity if one does not burn fire in the belly to work. To keep the fire burning one has to solicit stepping in the service recipients' shoes and then only a salary can be earned. Start earning your salary and not getting charity-Shiv Khera, I recalled my memory.
Bhutan is a country blessed under the great leadership of His Majesty the King. You have many things in place and it is only a matter of containing them and it falls in your hands. Humans are tempted to want and greed. Bhutanese are humans too and are vulnerable to any evils in the society. To contain your values you must begin with the personal leadership and understanding the misconception of power and titles, she sums up.
I look around to see the reaction of the floor. The fire in the belly is already setting in. I see tears in all of them including in my own eyes too.
I was a lonely man until I came by you. I saw you in the store on my way to town. The colorful lightings in the store brightened my heart only to melt away seeing you emitting your lustrous beauty. I ran to my friend and talked about you. He knew I wanted you dearly and promised to help me getting you. After you came to my life, I thanked and promised him I would never leave you, ever. I knew you even thanked him though you did not tell me, you never told me those but I loved you for that.
I never used to listen to music and I never sang even in bathroom. My voice croaked like a frog searching the mate. Music was not my hobby dear but you made me listen to it. You were tough but it came so easily with your contagious love. You explored and brought out a singing talent in me, how you knew me dear. You made me sleep with music and wake up with music. I was angry at you for teaching me to sing. To you everything was music. I wanted you to teach me different but you never did.
Why you left me is still mystery to me even after many years. I tried my best to take you to different specialist but everyone told me it was time for you to rest in peace. I cried for several nights and my heart aches when I remember you often. You knew I would be lonely and so you taught me to sing and turn my hobby to music. I am sorry I showed anger at you, if only I had known you taught me the biggest companion to live during my difficult times. You are right dear. With music I am complete and with music I am never sad. And in music you live my life. Thank you very much.
I have passed the same store I saw you first. The store has grown big but it is cold without you. I went inside to search your soul. Frankly dear I saw many alike you but not you. They told me once gone never comes, they were rude, I hated them with my heart. I came back feeling lonely but as soon as I sang the songs I was a normal man. It is sad I will never see you again. It is difficult for me to say but dear they have gone crazy to replace you with MP4. I will never bring anything in your place, I promise my dear.
P.S.: Ode to my first Walkman CD.
I have immense respect to the women howsoever my normal genes may behave within me. Women are beautiful and women are sexy; I cannot deny the later part and it only shows the features of being a macho man. The curves in the women send thrills in my spine. Feminine features are exalting for praise and they are honorable. But it is also vulnerable to consider as a mistaken identity. For a woman of honor there is no room to generate misconception and I respect the wholesome of body and mind. It only needs conviction to respect women, simple yet fickle.
Conviction is complex. It needs mental strength to keep qualifying its meaning. Fashion is an obstacle as well as elusive to my conviction. A fashionable woman is beautiful to herself and beautiful to me. All women have to maintain status quo in every respect. My elder sister in minimum fashionable clothes does not deprive my respect. Her friend does not deprive my respect either. There is a fact to the maxim all women are my sisters.
Integrity is another panoptic word which plays pivotal to our understanding of human relationships. Integrity and conviction runs parallel to each other. I remember a motivational story:
Teacher: What will you do if you find a wallet on your way and there is no one around?
Student: If there is no one around me then I will pick it up and keep it with me.
Teacher was impressed and explained to the student that he told the truth but only lacked conviction. Truth here was integrity and lack of conviction was keeping the wallet which was never meant to him.
Simple yet complex or complex yet simple, the ball is in my court.
(Will continue as per the interest of Nopkin members)
Not many people live a peaceful life. I have seen people grumbling about the hardships of anything. I do not ask the reasons and how can I ask the reasons? I am a busy man with my own problems. Sometimes I must listen to them not because I can help them but it helps me to forget mine. People can fret anywhere. We fret at homes, in offices, in cars, in buses, in cremation ground, in auto mobile workshops, in grocery shops and in hospitals. I think people fret even in space, if only I am astronaut to shout towards the crazy world.
We now have a new place to fret, behind the internet connected computer screens. I sit alone in my desk mistaking everyone I am in my busy schedules of work. Someone accuses me of something and I just cannot do anything. Feel like punching the monitor but computer is expensive and I fret. Even if computers come cheap, I will fret from the pain of my fist and the broken screen.
A girl opens up her inbox expecting mail from her boyfriend. She finds none and she frets. I get wild to follow the instructions of boss when he asks me in a tone of get the hell out of here. What difference does it make? It does, it sure does. A beautiful girl asking my name with a rose flower in her hand will get the sweetest reply I am Arrogant Buddha even if she does not offer me her rose. The same girl with rose in hand telling her boyfriend I love you in a tone of get the hell of out here will get a nasty look to say the least. If he kicks her outright, it will not be surprising to me.
People accuse each other not only in the real lives but in the screens too. A car collides with another car with negligible scratches and both the drivers come out of the cars to explain each is right on his own terms. When both are right, it means one is wrong, therefore a need of intermediation from third parties. In the screens people exchange profane texts incriminating each other. Therefore, we all fret with reasons or without reasons anywhere, anytime with anyone, ignorantly or not.
Anxious psychotic husband in his first night is covered with beads of sweat. Someone tells him the story of location of woman's important organ. What he does not realize about the story is when a woman is nine month old pregnant. He starts to fret from ignorance. Actually I am also not sure on this; my disclaimer is I may be ignorant too. I will not fret now, at least.
Bhutan could be sitting on a ticking bomb, reads yesterday's paper mystifying Bhutanese to experience major earthquake any minute or after 100 years. I am worried especially when it says the magnitude expecting higher than ever before. Many lives will be lost and those survived will live with traumatic minds not to mention the damages of infrastructure in the country. I am more worried on the time and its unpredictability of occurrences. It says sooner the better which means of lesser magnitude in the Richter scale. Sooner or later is a tickling question we must comprehend and not to wait for both.
Earthquake to my conscience is a manifestation of death. As much as the truth of our lives unguaranteed to live the next minute, earthquake is going to hit us same. And as much as we prepare to live for next 100 years it does have the mitigation measures to put in place. It is sad to note we are unprepared. Aftermath of earthquake will not be same from a normal death. We need government's efforts in two-pronged strategies to place the mitigation measures and creating public education for awakened citizenry before experiencing the worst.
Bomb really ticks to explode anytime now. If we escape in our time, we cannot be complacent to our future generation. Population by then will increase and many new costly infrastructure will be lost. It is then our children are at stake and nation as whole.
Sooner or later, it is time to worry and prepare for the worst. It is only timely now.