Articles by: kuenza
There he stood, his hands moving like an artists’. I am lost for a while, observing him. He is [only] a person making brooms – one set was what is commonly called in our country as the hard broom. Another delicate set lay a little further away from him. They looked more like flower buds. I pick one up and look at it carefully. Before I realize, I find that I have remarked that it looks more like a flower and it is a shame that they should be used as broom. But anyway, that is immaterial in comparison to what followed.
I am with my colleagues. I honestly don’t remember clearly how we came to be there. It is in a lucid, secret corner of the country. There is a green meadow surrounding this man’s house, which is a two storeyed house with a wide verandah – and that is where he works. He does not even seem to cultivate his field. By the look of it, he seems to live on this trade. Right across his house is a blacktopped road (the color a bit washed away). I think to myself that it is strange that such a small corner of the country should have got road a long time ago. This road is bordered by broad-leaved forest, which adds to the serenity of the place. I first fall in love with the place. Then, I catch eyes of the man.
All this while, I am lost in my own thoughts, my colleagues have bought quite a large number of hard broom and when I notice, they are putting them in a sack. I quietly pull out the gentler broom and indicate to the man that I want to buy that. I find myself taken aback by the price. It is just Nu 5.00. I don’t have change. So I pay him Nu 500.00. He takes quite a while in counting the change. Before he has handed over the change to me, my colleagues have left the place. I quickly go up the ladder (stranger still that the exit should be from the top floor and not where the verandah is). I count the change as I walk and find that he has actually slipped into my hands a huge amount of money. I run back to him to tell him that he has mistakenly given me more than was owed.
He stood next to the fence, where he has a friend working on it. As I step in front of him, a little breathless from the rush, he pulls me over in his arms and kisses me on my lips. And at that moment, all differences seem to have fallen apart. I am drowned by the emotions in his eyes and it didn’t matter that he couldn’t speak. As I write this, I remember how gentle his lips and hands were despite being a person on the farm. He tells me that he wanted me to take the money and he refuses to take it back. Anyway, he walks with me, in a way of seeing me off. As we leave his house, I see that his wife is at the back of his house, pushing swing for children. I didn’t notice earlier that there is a small park behind his house. I am unsure if I should go and inform his wife that I am now leaving – and then, I choose not to go.
Still feeling little butterflies in my heart, we walk on. My colleagues are waiting near a stream, every one of them looking at us, as if they have some kind of suspicion of wrongdoing. I feel a little guilty, firstly for having come without saying goodbye to his wife, and secondly for making my colleagues wait. We walk up to them, both of us smiling, acknowledging their presence. Suddenly, he is nowhere to be seen. Panic runs down me. Did he leave and I didn’t know? Did he feel ignored? The burden on my heart is heavier than the guilt now. I have fallen for him in the duration of two hours and it didn’t matter that he couldn’t speak.
I was hurt beyond words. I was sinking in sorrow. My only solace was to pour my emotions on my Facebook profile through updating the status. I was least bothered that some people, especially my colleagues who are senior to me will find it queer. When you are drunk on emotions of love, you care less of everything else. People have judged me to be a very strong girl. I didn’t really want to portray myself that way, but I felt good about it anyway. It made me think that they respected me as a girl who wouldn’t easily fall victim to any man who made easy promises. But I did. And that is the tragedy of my life. In fact the way people saw me (as a strong girl) made it more difficult for me to deal with it.
I have known him all my life; and we have been friends all our life, until a sudden change crept in. That, I thought was the game of the destiny. Secretly, I have loved him, my best friend. My parents knew him. And worse still, our parents knew each other – and they in fact wished that we would marry. I have heard our mothers secretly talk about it. They even planned on arranging our marriage, if we didn’t fall for each other and get married. All this was only till I and his mother found out that he was already seeing someone else. This girl he was seeing was from a different village, someone his mother couldn’t trust. It made it all the worse, when the girl claimed to be pregnant and he hastily married her, only to learn much later that she wasn’t pregnant at all. Anyway, they remained married. Though he was my first love, and also the love of my life, I prayed well for them. And I decided to move on, amidst much heartaches and tears.
As hard as I tried, I felt like I was dying. This hurt that I felt, something like the lump of hurt that stayed locked in my heart was nothing like any hurt I knew. I cried day and night. My eyes were swollen. I went to office with puffy eyes, my hair uncombed. More than the tears I shed, I was writhing in pain. When I went through all this pain, I had not even a best friend I could share it to, because, all along, I was the strong, respected girl who would never fall victim to such emotions. I must admit that I regretted ever having said anything at all to girls who had cried getting heartbroken over love, or boys who had drunk over unrequited love. Now I knew what it was like to fall in love, get hurt and feel that you have never deserved a true love.
In the midst of all this drama, I met a man, who I thought was god-sent. I thanked God that he had heard me and had sent me someone to take me out of it. But this was only short lived. How I met him is bit bizarre, not because I was drunk. I am not the type who drinks to get over pain. But surely I was drunk over hundreds of emotions that I was feeling for the first time. I had no experience of any of this. This new man in the scene read my thoughts, told me exactly how I felt, and took me in his arms. Oh it did feel good to have someone who knew exactly what I wanted, and made me feel loved. And me the strong girl was already half way through to marriage before I realized that it had all come in a bit of a rush. And he disappeared. He disappeared and I didn’t hear from him again. When I came to my senses, I even wondered if I he had even told me his real name. At this time, at the turn of the events, I must feel utterly deceived. I must feel more drowned in sorrow than I initially was, but I tell you, I am more matured now. He must have seen me as an easy victim to play his tricks on, but I emerge stronger. He has left, yes, but I haven’t forgotten his face. And this is not the end of the world. I do not mean to take revenge, but surely, just as he came walking in my life out of nowhere, he will get a lesson much the same way. That is when, I will probably smile that he chose to walk away before I got entangled in attachment, before I had made a higher commitment.
I am married. He is married too. And he believes, we met a little too late, despite his tremendous effort. He and I came to know each other online somewhere in 2001. We never chatted continuously to build a friendship that would actually make us want to meet. The sporadic correspondence went on, till we met in 2008. He remembers that we first met in an open online chat – which was famous then in bringing together Bhutanese in different corners of the world. I don’t remember any of it very clearly, as I am a person who forgets things fast. Then we went on to chat on MSN. The fact that we actually went on to share our email addresses tells me that we must have been able to build quite a rapport on the first meeting itself – despite it being online.
Then our correspondence died altogether, until we met online again in 2005. I had matured so much by then, compared to what I was in 2001. I was in a steady, committed relationship and I had decided that I was going to marry. And marry, I did. This friend and my correspondence had died again. I don’t even remember why it always happened like that, and yet, we kept meeting online, again and again. Then, I met him again in 2008 and this time, he asked me to meet him. For the sake of curiosity and for the sake of so many years that I had known him online, I agreed. And since then, the friendship prospered (I am using this word deliberately). But when I met him, the impression I got was that, he is a person who is totally different from the marriageable kind (by this, I mean he seemed to be a person who was more concerned about himself than others, self-centered and over-confident). I think it is because of this perspective that I hold about him that we argue all the time. We always tend to disagree. And yet, there lies our charm.
The more we argue, more we seem to grow closer; more and more we seem to know each other. And that way, we are comfortable with each other, such that, we can actually swear at each other, or criticize each other on the face, without clinching.
And now, coming to why we are written for later: though there has been no specific meaningful conversation that took place, he fell for me. He says, there was something there; from his description, it’s like a myth. I mean, I was at the back of his mind all the time, and that is why he even attempted to meet me after our graduation. But he was misinformed about my office. He went to the wrong office and then, the time lapsed and the next time we met online again, I was married.
His repeated question to me is, ‘why did you have to marry so early?’ And he says, ‘we are written later’. I think it is this hope and determination that he holds in everything he sees that makes him different. It is also this personality that makes him appear arrogant. But again, there lies his charm.
You may call the admiration you feel for someone when you are in high school, an infatuation. Some call it a crush, which I suppose means that it is not really love – which is forever. But I tell you, it never really leaves you. It remains in your heart – both the feelings you felt then, and the person. You can so vividly remember where that person sat in the class – if you were classmates, and how that person responded to questions that the teachers asked; or how he reacted to people’s awed expression of his intelligence. In some cases, it could be the admiration for the coolness, or sense of fashion that he/she exuded. In my case, I think the admiration for the guy was for his intelligence, sharpness of his senses, calmness and his personality that seemed unaffected by what people thought about him.
Yes, there he sat – right at the corner, near the window. He would never volunteer to answer a question if it wasn’t directed to him specifically. This made me think that he was a humble person who didn’t want to show that he knows a lot. He did know a lot, for he always topped the class. I am still in touch with him because from then to now, we have been friends. He says, that isn’t intelligence; in his words, topping a class isn’t intelligence. I don’t know what it is, but he surely did have something not many others did. His movement around the high school arena during the multiple functions seemed almost furtive. There was not a single sound of rustle or footsteps. I think it is also this personality of him that attracted people.
I was lucky because as we passed high school, we were placed in the same school and we got to know each other better. The admiration had come to be mutual and we even went on to believe that it was love. However, love never won. We both got married – and we both have beautiful families. We are blessed that way. But that doesn’t make us forget each other, or how we feel for each other. I think, love never really leaves you. Even if it is just an infatuation, I think it lingers in your mind. It could be just a memory of how you were affected back then, or it could be more than that. But it really always teases your heart, from time to time.
A shimmering light from outside drew a contour of his face in the dark. He quietly held my hand, and pulled my head on his chest. I listened to his heartbeat, and wondered if I was sent there on a purpose, to fall in love. Only the night before, I was a happy girl who was running around so innocently, giggling with friends and teasing them for crying over missing someone.
I had not foreseen such an encounter. I did not know whether this was for good, or bad. I was a naïve young girl, just turned 20. I had had crush on a guy in high school and scribbled hundreds of letters in my diary. But that was different. I did not know if I could equate it to love. Anyway, what I was feeling then was something very different to any feelings I had known. Was I puzzled? Was I scared? I seemed to feel all kinds of emotions, all at once, and yet, there was a complete calm in how we gazed at each other. My tiny hands felt secure and warm in his. I felt a little jumpy in my heart because my head certainly questioned my feelings. But there was this second thought that said I should forget everything and follow my heart.
On my first night there, inside my host’s house, I noticed him come him. His well-built physique and height made an enormous presence. What people notice first about him is his self-possession and poise. But that night, before we had so much as introduced, I went off to sleep because I was tired from the day long bus journey.
The next evening, to my surprise, he walked into my room. We sat talking almost all night long. It was surprising that we had so much to talk about on the first meeting. Until that moment we met, we had no idea about each other’s existence. I dozed off for a little while and that is when he kissed me. As I sit here today, I can so vividly see him and I can still feel the touch of his lips. His words are, ‘you were sleeping so innocently and I couldn’t help pull up and kiss you.’ I remember the feel. With that kiss, it seemed to seal our bond. His proposal took a bigger impact and I couldn’t forget him until I accepted him as a man who I would grow old with. The first kiss always carries with it a meaning larger than we can understand and it stays with you forever.
He and I worked in the same office for eight years, until he changed his job and left the office. Though he was senior to me by several years, we became good friends. By friends, I mean, he embraced me in his friendship as an equal to a man, seen and perceived like a man. I don’t think there was even one moment where he saw me as a girl. He would pat me on my back and treat me like a little brother to him. The joy of sharing such friendship is that, there is closeness and openness that can make you share everything without having to worry about what you may look like to a man. You are stripped of all artificial emotions and gestures, and you are simply yourself.
Then, after he resigned from my office, I did not meet him for five years. It is surprising that we did not even attempt to make contact. Looking back at it now, I wonder if we did not feel the vacuum. The emptiness of someone close having left all of a sudden. It seems unbelievable and unnatural that we should have remained without contact for five years. But our friendship was pure; we had no expectations from each other. While we were together, we were together. And then, when things had to change, it had to.
Then one day, suddenly, after five years, when I was running through the thoughts of buying a second hand car, he pops up in my office. He was right in front of me, unannounced, and real. He volunteered to take me and help me scan the possible market and there again – off we went riding his bike, like two young boys, swinging in the air. And that is when the twist happened. I can’t really remember how it first started, but the next time we realized, we were more lovers than friends. And since then, we have remained true to each other, this time, love encircling us and promising us better days together.
We have plans to get married. That way, we will be sealing our love, and making a bigger commitment as adults to be there for each other, every day, till the end. But now, I am here, studying, far from him, separated by long, uncountable distance. But, it does not mean that we are not in each other’s thought. When we love someone, there is always a way to show it and when you love someone so truly, you find that nothing is impossible.
It was my birthday few days back and early in the morning, someone was knocking on my door. It was a flower delivery and there I was, showered by red roses and chocolate. I was totally taken by surprise. He had arranged a flower delivery by making an over-seas call. This was no small gesture for me. I was totally touched and I felt like I fell in love with him thousand times over. Do you know what I mean? It was like, love toppled me over, and over and over, till I was dizzy and I was going crazy loving him. And now, I can’t wait to finish my two years of study and go back. I miss the warmth of his hug, the sweet touch of his lips. I miss seeing his silly smile; and most of all I miss him.
Author’s note: a story of a friend. The way she received flowers and chocolate on her birthday from her fiance who is overseas inspired me to write it here.
There he comes again. I have seen him before. I am almost sure, I have. Wasn’t I sitting at the same seat? And didn’t he sit just in front of me then too? Just like he did now? I give just a quick glance his way and find myself not looking above his chin. From the corner of my eyes I can see that he is wearing sun-glasses and even if I were to look at him, I wouldn’t be able to see his eyes.
I can’t really say what it is that makes me want to look at him. I find myself fiddling my fingers, fumbling my bag. I try to keep my hands clasped together, so as to concentrate on myself. But what is wrong with me? I find myself looking out the tram window and then, before a second has passed, I find myself looking at him — of course without giving him any hint that I am attracted. He sits there…so close, his knees just inches away, his hands firmly clasped together, his eyes hovering above my head. I don’t know if I am imagining but I get a feeling that he is looking at me. He ought to. Attraction is always mutual. Now, isn’t that consoling? But I have found it true.
As he squeezes in to sit right in front of me, I feel this male aura, something like the fragrance of a perfume that stays long before the wearer is gone. Then different thoughts churn in my head and I start writing a love story, as I always do. I find myself saying, ‘this is lovely. It is not every day that you find a man attractive.’ A man has got to have an appeal and it is not always his looks. I am sure women got to have that too. And some men, like this stranger who is sitting right in front of me now has the appeal spreading around, like a forerunner of the man himself, sending messages, attracting people, making people want to have just one look at him. It is not quite always the way they dress too. But this man has a fashionable sense of dressing too. Last time too, I noticed the way he was dressed.
I agree that some men would exude their attractiveness through rough appearance such as ruffled hair, shabby, hanging pants and talking a little too loud and making people know that he is there. But often, it is the neatness of men that attracts women. You see a man like this one and you find yourself quickly stripping him to details. I notice how the sweater he is wearing is clinging to his chest, while the jeans tug so tightly fit on his thighs. What also makes such a man more attractive is his calmness, his bearing of total insulation from the rest of the people sitting around him…the way he does not walk with pomposity as if to announce that he is coming and people should notice him. This man has the quiet, sizzling appeal of a stream that would wake your senses if you were to dip just a tip of your toe.
Then I get to my stop and I get out. And because the two seats in the tram facing each other are so close, there is not enough space to take my feet out. My knee brushes against him lightly and I find no voice to say, ‘excuse me’. I find this ridiculous but I am still writing stories in my head and I have not yet come out to speak in the real world. However, I squeeze out, get out in the street and I walk around, bouncy, and hopping. If people must look at me, they must find me funny. But that is what happens to me. It is like I am in a trance. I am smiling to myself. I just can’t control. I feel like a three year old child who has learned to mimic an adult’s life without knowing the pain and sufferings they go through, totally carefree, only seeing the playfulness there is in life. If people will find me crazy, they will. I love this playfulness that I get to grasp and be a child again. And here I am, a child again. And I love this game.
There are times when women console themselves saying that despite all the pain, love was real and it could have been just a mistake. Women often cry feeling dejected and angry at their own stupidity that they threw themselves away to embrace what seemed so promising and pleasant. There are times when they wonder if love is all about pain and nothing about joy. But again, eventually, they find enough strength to forgive and live again, look back and cherish.
If what happened 10 years ago was not real, she would be a young, talented woman in the executive level – an envy of other women her age. She was determined to be that, except for one single mistake she committed that day. Dezang was everything she wanted to avoid and yet, the attraction she felt was so strong that when he approached her that evening at an official dinner party to go for a dance party, she agreed. Some men can exude such charm. Just too much male sexuality that could force you to close your eyes and ignore all sane reasons to say no. Worse situations come like it did for Yanki when such men do realize this charm they have and intend to use it for the wrong reasons. It is as if they have mastered the art of conversation to woo a woman. They know exactly what to say and when you have agreed too many times to what they have said, you have already leaned half of your body towards them. Like we say that looks is a bonus, I think that charm is a bonus for them.
After a cautious no-no for a week, Yanki shed all her resistance and let Dezang take her to where he could, and for about half a year they danced in delirious, unrealistic world of ecstasy and love. It is so bad that when we are in a delirious busy-spinning-love situation, it just doesn't occur to us that we should ask if it is real and if it is going to last. Most often, they don't last. It didn't last for Yanki.
One evening she returned late from office, tired and hungry. Before she had heated the food from morning, Dezang came over. Realizing that she was not in the best mood, he wanted to try different ways to make her feel better. And suddenly a twist in the conversation took them to sharing their past. He didn't just speak sweetly; he wrote fabulous love letters. Yanki had always felt she could fall in love with a man with good words, even without seeing his face or knowing him real and this was in some ways true when she fell for Dezang. And somehow he told her about a book he wrote about one of his ex girlfriends. And wouldn't you wonder why he carried that book over to her place that evening?
As he randomly read a page from the book, he didn't realize that she was quietly crying. They were sitting on the sofa – she lying on his lap, he stroking her hair. Only when he read something similar to what he always told her did he realize that he spilled something terrible. He then tried to hide it by saying:
“Oh, I guess when you write, you have to say something like this…even if you don't mean it.”
This hurt her more now. She did not blow up this silent evening. She just went quiet.
Just a week before she had gone to the hospital and found out that she was pregnant. Now, she realized that she was doomed to live seeing the face of the person she couldn't trust for the rest of her life. She would be reminded of him every time she saw her baby's face. And true, it did. For reasons she could not explain, she was jealous. It made her feel that she was just one of so many and it was enough reason for her to decide that the relationship was wrong. And so, she ended it there.
Epilogue: He probably really just flirted with other women but loved her truly. He probably just wanted to marry her and forget all his old habit. Maybe she was harsh when she decided that she couldn't marry because she decided that he repeated the same sweet sentences to every girl she met. Today, she lives with her 10 year old girl, unmarried. She often finds herself thinking of him and cherishing all those moments that she lived long ago. Despite all the pain, she admits that it was one of the best moments of her life and if not for him, she probably never would have felt any of those emotions.
Author's note: We can't see the feelings with our eyes; not even if we cut open our hearts. The best we can do is trust and immerse in the feelings we are capable of. Love must be all that is and there isn't a need to see it more clearly than we feel it in our heart.
It was 15 years back that we first met, fell madly in love at first sight and let the world swing around us with the frenzy that we experienced. The world in fact seemed to have turned upside down with us falling in love, for it seemed like, by being in love, we had sinned. It was almost as if the world and our fate were at war. As much as our fate wanted us to be together, we had an unseen enemy that wanted us apart. And that unseen enemy won in not keeping us together – but only physically. We couldn't consume our love in marriage. But that did not end our love.
I have been married for a long time now. I have found my skin falling victim to age. But my heart hasn't grown any older in the way it has felt about this first love. But I must admit, I married only because I found love again in a man who could love me in exactly the same intensity and madness that my first love did. I must admit too that I was surprised we could love more than one person with exactly the same intensity. If it was just his love, I would not have married. Surprisingly, as if there was a purpose for letting my first love slip away, for letting that unseen enemy win, I loved him too. But again, even this love did not kill the love I felt for the first person who made me swim in emotional ecstasy and learn what it means to love someone; in fact, the second love happened as if it was a continuation of the first; as if three of us were meant to spin around in the same thread of love. And somehow, I found that very human. I found it even touching. I thought being able to love two men at the same time without an iota of difference was in some way transcendental.
But now, it is time for me to really let go of my first love. Till now, in this same thread of love, only three of us swung. Now, he has found love too. It is surprising it took him this long. But I am glad he did find it. As he calls it, he has met his dream princess and proudly, happily, I watch him claim her. Just as I was surprised by the capability of our heart to love more than one person at the same time, I am surprised now to realize that there could be no jealousy and no anger in letting go of that person when it is time. It is as if I have waited for this moment to come. It is as if I knew he would find his love too, without forever having to cling on my image. Though we were separated by the barrier of me being married, we always felt like we were connected in some ways. We were best friends.
More than anything else, I am happy that we have all found love to complete a circle. It means that he will now have a partner; he will get married and lead the same life I have been leading, while our feelings will not die. It means that while we will be best of friends, it will not remind us of the marriage that could not happen. It means that love that we have all found will give us harmony.
Yes, I am glad that a time has come to finally say goodbye.
The first time I travelled by tram to go home, I strained my head to see every sign board so that I didn't get down at the wrong stop. I wanted to find some spectacular place or signboard that would indicate that I was nearing my stop, so that I wouldn't have to sit restless and check every time. I couldn't help notice the signboard that read “Charcoal Chicken”. I wondered what it meant. I knew it had to do with chickens because I saw the 'bodies' of chickens laid in a glass shelf, neatly in lines, but why charcoal? This pierced my heart. For some reason I think my heart has been growing softer after becoming a mother. Lately I noticed that I could not hold any violence, especially when it involved children.
There was this scene in a movie I watched on Nazis and the World War where an army general shot all the people gathered outside a church. The mother lay dead and the baby was crying, looking at the general in that pleading look that tears your heart apart. One of the mother's breasts was exposed; she was nursing her baby to soothe her when the general warned them into revealing some information that he needed. And, while the baby stared with the imploring look that would still any heart, he shot. This scene has left me scarred. I just cannot tolerate any such scene anymore. And just the same way, the scene of chickens' dead bodies being roasted and sold for human's greedy appetite makes me mad.
There are just too many Charcoal Chickens. There is one just next to the train station from where I board. One time my family and I were coming from the city and we just got down from the train and then we waited for the tram. It was right outside the chicken shop. I saw the chickens pierced through by an iron road and roasted over fire. I flinched at the thought of my body being roasted that way, while so many people watched with hunger. Then I noticed a couple and a young girl around 10. The girl looked into the shop, leaning on the glass window, for quite long. Until she and her mother went inside the shop and the shopkeeper gave them a piece of chicken, I didn't know that she was craving for the chicken and they probably didn't have money to buy it. This is how human's hunger is for animals, you see. There are my housemates who eat meat every day that it makes me feel like throwing up. It is as if they don't know the taste of food without meat. And yes, this is how much human's hunger is for animals.
Now, I wonder if we had choices if we would always make the right one that did not involve any guilt at all for causing disruption to other lives. My husband and I were talking about the birds causing accidents to flights and how in fact, it is their right to be there because we invaded their space. If we wouldn't, would we be so happy to know that we would be killed for our bodies to be roasted to feed the appetite of some hungry animals (I refer to human beings as animals too in this context)? It is shameful that the earth that is supposed to be for a peaceful coexistence should come to be such a harsh predatory place. I don't see the need of human intervention to balance the ecosystem. Do you?
I think of you in the deep silent night
This memory of you and me
I will carry it through my life
Even when my life should end
This memory I will carry forward
And if we should both be reborn
I know the scent of true love will lead me to you
Last night, I woke up to go to toilet. Then, one single memory of love kept flooding my thought and I just couldn't go back to sleep. I didn't know what the time was. I usually keep my mobile near the pillow but yesterday, somehow it was not there. I don't wear my wrist watch when I sleep. Very beautiful words strewn in my mind but there was no way I could write them down. I helplessly looked for my mobile but couldn't find it. I wanted the words to remain in my mind when I woke up but knew they would be gone. What I am writing here is only a fragment of trying to put together what the gist of the flooding thought was. There are some things we can never really forget.
I wanted to get up, grab my laptop and get down to pouring out my emotions but reasoned it was not rational. And so I soothed myself to sleep, which took a long time. And this flooding thought went on.
I think of you in the deep silent night
You stare at me and we are sinking in love
Softly I feel your caress on my face
I turn away and cry
Not knowing when I can have this moment again
I tossed around a bit. I closed my eyes tight but his face filled my thought. I thought of him again and again and I tried to remember if there ever was a story where love gave wings to a person to fly where her lover was.
Of love never-dying and love so true
Beneath the clear blue sky one evening
We whistled of love that we could die for
And here I am wishing
This same love will give me wings
And I will be where you are
And then, strewing a love story that I wanted to end with a love-forever, I sang myself a lullaby that would next day take me to his arms. And in my dream, I clearly saw his face, holding his face to my bosom, I vowed that if this love should take a lifetime, and the next, I would wait, because in his arms is where I belong.
I attended the first class for my course yesterday. It rained and I reached the lecture theater half drenched. Unlike what I thought, the professor for Internet Technology was a pretty serious man who straight away went to his teaching and did not put any jokes or music in between (the few other tutors and professors I dealt with for orientation program gave me this idea). Before I could form an opinion of him, a young man walked in. I must first tell you that I got a new funny haircut few days back. I probably would not have been aware of this young man but for his hairstyle. Our haircut resembled.
I am sure many women who will read this story would have watched the Korean series, 'Full House.' I was also struck by his resemblance to the actor in that series. For now, let us say that this man has made a small mark in my heart. I mean, if I met him somewhere I would recognize him. With some people, we could be together in the same class one whole semester or a year and not recognize them when we meet them somewhere. I got on a tram and I thought I caught sight of this man again, sitting on the seat opposite to me but it was too much for my pride to look towards his direction to confirm. And then, he was forgotten. I got home and my mind lingered on him no longer.
But today I had to attend another class, this time on Database Systems and Information Modeling. And this time, though the professor did not seem of an easygoing kind, he did let us introduce. I am the only person from my country and he the only one from his. This fact somehow registered in my mind as soon as I heard him introduce and found myself thinking that we are in a similar state. The three hour lecture got boring after sometime. Almost everything that he taught was what I learned in my undergraduate. But dare I say that? I lingered between the indecision to walk out or stay – the latter won and I stayed.
At the end of three hours at 8:30 p.m., I walked out fast and took the shortcut to get to the platform to catch the tram. I know the routes in between the engineering buildings. Then I saw this guy walk alongside me, heading to the same direction. It was odd not to talk because we knew that we had just come out from the same class. So we talked and we introduced again. He seemed to know another shortcut to get to the tram platform but found that all the doors in that building were closed and we were kind of trapped in the semi-lighted area behind the building. And as we stood a little puzzled not knowing which route to take, our hands brushed – very briefly and gently but we both became aware of this.
A love story similar to the one that we only read in novels or watch in movies began to unravel. The one hour tram journey took me home before I realized that I had traveled that long. It usually is so boring that I read every sign board and advertisement I see on the road. But today – only butterflies danced in my stomach and I was smiling all the time, marveled by how love could throw us out of balance. But this is how love is – unpredictable and spontaneous and I love it. Love took me out of the blue but I am glad it happened.
Author's note: inspired by a real incident
When I heard so many of my peers going for further studies, I wondered if it had become a fashion. It even made me look a little foolish, or not smart enough. I tried my luck too, not really questioning my interest. I never asked why I would like to do my masters. When we are governed more by the society's ratings and its acceptance, we forget about our genuine interest and concentrate more on how we must perform to fit best into its prototype of the good and the intelligent. But often, it is good to see that such biddings that take us serve us well. We find that, by sheer coincidence they are what we love to do, or what we might have done even if we had a choice. And that keeps pushing us into depending on sheer luck or we call it a fate and we fall into a tendency to never really exert our own intelligent decision.
Yes, more like a rudderless ship, I have been shored overseas to follow a certain pattern of pursuing further studies that so many of my peers and seniors have already done. I have seen almost all of them complain of the overload of assignments and the shortage of time they have in writing them. That is when I told myself that I will not complain. And whether I will or not is yet to be seen. I'm sure it will be difficult for me, as it may have been for many others, but as much as I am anxious, I tell myself that I will have to keep myself fit to perform to the best of my capability. And that comes with the weight of carrying the message that we were given from our government as an ambassadors of the country. No matter where we are, we have to behave and conduct ourselves not to portray a bad image of our country. With that comes the responsibility to perform well academically.
Then as the classes called the Intensive Academic Course began, we were told that we are the agents of change; that, when we return, we must be able to change something – make something better. Now, before I begin my course, I question, 'what can I do differently?' and I find myself not knowing what I would learn or how I would be able to apply what I learn. Often, there are so many information and knowledge in one lecture that it takes time to process. This IAP teaches us to read academic papers critically, how to read them fast, what information to look for, and how to write academic papers. The whole four weeks that is gone had been interesting. I find it so useful and I find myself wishing that I were enrolled in a literature, linguistic or a social science course. But I must keep aside my wish for now. It is the last week of IAP and we are yet to prove ourselves of being able to critically analyze academic papers and if we can fight our stand in an academic arena – and I think, maybe, this is what I have learned. I remember how I would find academic papers heavy and difficult. Now, knowing that they follow a certain standard structure, they aren't as difficult as they used to be.
Though I was driven here without a clear idea of what I want, I now know that if there is one thing I want to change, it is not how the world must be but how I must see myself. I still debate whether I must work so hard to fit into the society's prototype of the good and the intelligent and I find that if we must be an agent of change, it means there are expectations from us and we can keep our expectations only by fitting into the prototype that is already drawn.
I'm talking with PasSu. We talk about parents, their love and how their love can carry them to the extent of putting their lives for their children. We seem similar in our thoughts. We both love our mothers so much and we fear impermanence because we cannot be together always. If forever is till the time we have fulfilled our dreams, made home for our mother, loved them like they love us, then, we could be readier than we otherwise will be. But there could be several years giving you a chance and still want a few more years. You think, if I have only two years more, I could do everything I want for her.
It is not uncommon for our parents to have had a hard life. There were not many schools. There was no road, no electricity. The country was not opened to trade. There were not enough food and clothes. There was never anything good to wear. There was never a good house to stay. But these things were not what they could worry about. They had to worry about living – filling their belly and their children's. And in some instances, like in mine, giving best to their children meant sacrifices on the part of some of the siblings.
My eldest brother could not go to school because he was the eldest and my parents needed him at home to help them. In my parents time, going to school was not the most important thing. Learning local trade to survive was the most important – because going to school would not bring immediate result to their needs of food. My parents would have kept my other brothers at home too with them, but my eldest brother won over them in sending them to school.
However, my two elder sisters never had a chance. More because they are women. Girls were needed at home more than the boys. They had to weave, tend to younger siblings and herd cattle. I'm told that, one of my sisters once got frustrated and said to my brother, 'If we could stay home and send you ration, you will happily go to school!'
I feel when I'm not sweating in the field, they shouldn't be too. But my friend says, 'My uncles never thought like you did.' It is same with many of us. While we pile different clothes in our wardrobe and eat in different restaurants, some of our siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins are sweating to just keep themselves off from debt.
My best friend said to me too, 'your sisters are lucky, you put yourself in their shoes. My uncles never did. My mother suffered while they enjoyed in Thimphu.'
It is important for us to put ourselves in the shoes of others once in a while. Unless we do so, we cannot really understand them. While you read my article, put yourself in the shoes of your brother or sister who is working hard at home, and next time, be more considerate of how you treat them.
He was divorced twice. He had a 10 year old son from his first wife. His second wife left him before she bore a child. And his third wife, his present wife had a cute little baby girl. She was two months now.
Yanki was working in a private organization when she met her husband Tashi. He accosted her with bounties of gifts. More than gifts, what bought her was his never-ending love letters. And, and, he always had something nice to say to her. He seemed to know exactly what she would like to hear. When her office got over at 5:30, he would be waiting outside her office door, leaning against the wall, looking ever so pleasant and in love. They would then go to a quiet restaurant for dinner and after that to his two room apartment where she would be made to believe every word he uttered. It went on for two months; he then proposed that they should marry, to which she readily agreed. In the duration of two months they had been dating, he never once behaved that would make her think that she would regret if she married him.
And so, they married. It was after a year of marriage that she gave birth to their daughter. When she knew that she was pregnant she resigned. Tashi urged her to; he reasoned that her pay was not making much difference to them. Rather he said it was giving her strain, having to go to office at 8 in the morning and then coming home only at 5:30. Since she was going to give birth soon, she thought he was right. It was difficult to get a babysitter and she thought if she resigned she would be able to give full time to her baby.
Soon after their marriage, she thought Tashi seemed a little different. He no longer paid her compliments, no longer gave her much attention and he always seemed to be in a hurry to go to office. And ever so tiring was waiting for him to come home from office. He always came home saying that he had a meeting which stretched late into the evening, following which he had to attend an official dinner or bumped into friends who decided to go for dinner.
And it went on. And on.
She doubted something was going on behind her. She knew he was too good to be true. To him, she probably was a trampled flower that no longer was attractive. She probably exuded no sexuality that would make him want to stay with her in bed long after the sun had risen, talking of love.
When his wife struggled at home with the baby, preparing dinner, washing clothes, and cleaning rooms, he snuggled against the bosom of his many girlfriends. At dinner with his friends, he chattered proudly of his capability of wooing women and he always ended by talking about how many girls he was dating simultaneously and how each of them was in bed. He would then say, no man could compare with his libido.
Slowly, he had even become blunt to the point that he would tell his wife where he was when he called her and he would spit his girlfriend's name out, comparing them, demeaning her and laughing at her handicapped situation. He knew she would have to depend on him, now that she had a baby and no job.
He did not know that she had tolerated his behavior to the fill and she was there only until something better came up. She did not want to go to her parents with a sad tale. But she contemplated on leaving him soon. She told herself, it was only till her daughter was big enough and then, she would have life in her own hands.
Tashi on the other hand would throw sarcastic comments about her situation. He would always say, alcohol stinking from his mouth, 'where have you to go? You are doomed with me.' He did not understand that his libido or whatever he would want to call was only till it took a sudden downfall. He did not realize that he would not forever stay young or that his interest would remain just the same. He did not know that one day he would want to have a stable family to whom he felt belonged.
But right now, all he cared about was his many girlfriends, who he was going to sleep with next and what gift she would like. As his friends laughed at his tales, he felt encouraged to go on, not knowing that not all laugh were appreciation, failing to recognize the satirical hint beneath their laugh, not knowing that some friends laughed at him and did not tell him that he was being a fool.
“Oh he is cute,” chips one. Another says, “Ah now, he isn't good-looking.” The conversation goes on. Giggles continue. And I'm sitting on the bed, hearing every small word they speak. I naturally compare my times to theirs. How different they are. No wonder an uncle of mine remarked that he feels like he has been reborn.
This remark came because of this: He was born to poor parents who did not even have enough to feed the family. He suffered so much in his childhood but luckily because he was an intelligent young boy, he was handpicked to come to Thimphu for a government project (I will not go into detail here). Since then, finding himself thrown into an opportunity, he worked hard to make himself rich. He is rich, I hear. He is a contractor now. I think my mother feels the same way. When she was young, there was no road and electricity and the daily toil in the field was all they knew of life. It was beyond her to think that there was any other ways to earn a living.
My time: Many lived in the villages depending on subsistence farming. But time did change a little. Many children my age were sent to school. A quarter of the population thought education was important. But technology had not found way into Bhutan. We in the villages still studied under the kerosene lamp, slept in the bedbug infested hostels and many sorry environment.
Today: Children are exposed to television and internet. Mobile phones are another. They have so many facilities; they are engulfed in many choices that many a time they do not know which is good for them, or which one they should possess. At most times they land up buying everything new that comes in the market because now, the time is such that the necessity and want are unidentifiable.
During my time, the only communication we had was through writing letters. There was no frequent bus service, so if you were sending letter to a person studying in another district, the shortest you could expect your reply was 10 days. But today? By the flick of a phone, by the click of a mouse, you can see different faces of people. You can in fact, choose who you like and who you should approach to date right from the screen that stands in front of you.
My nieces sit in front of me cramming on the single chair. One is the peer internet user. She teaches the other two how to use facebook. I honestly disapprove using facebook the minute someone learns to use internet. Learning to use internet isn't about knowing how to browse facebook, looking up different users, and browsing the different faces, as if looking for their groom. As their giggle prolonged to hours, I got a little irritated. I calculated as to whether or not I should scold them. I would not scold in fact. I would only tell that it was enough. I warned them in the beginning. I told them that social networking sites if not used properly could exploit them. I then tell myself that that is how we grow up; that, they will know how to differentiate the right and wrong, the reality and virtual. What irritated me so much was the continuous noise of message alert tone. I found that they even thought a large friend list meant being popular. But I stayed quiet until it was lunch time and they had found their cute guy who they obviously had a crush on.
The phone at my house rang. A guy asked me if the phone was working. I then knew that my husband must have put a complaint about it not working: For no reason at all, we could not make STD and ISD calls from our line phone. Neither of us did anything. I asked the caller if I should check and call him back. He said yes. He gave me his number. He also told me to call the counter (I realized he meant the counter at the Telecom) and inquire the status; he gave me the number to the counter. I checked and it didn't work. I called the number I was given. It rang and after what seemed like ages, someone picked up. I asked the receiver to put me through to the counter and she did. But no one answered at the counter. I tried three times. And on the third call, not even anyone answered at the PABX.
Then I called the person who first called me to ask if the phone was working. He then gave me another number. He said that was at the switching. I was supposed to call there and ask anyone there to check the status of my phone. I did. Luckily, this time, someone answered. I introduced my problem. He said, 'Only local call is activated in your phone.' I asked how that could have happened and I was told that when we filled up the form again for their service, we must have specified needing only the local calls activated. I thought maybe my husband did that. I was told that from the switching, they can only check the status and cannot make changes. I thanked him and then called the first person again to tell him this.
After all this hassle, I realized that it wasn't my job to do this. The person who was sent to fix it should have made all the calls I made and he should have called me only after he had fixed the problem. (I also realized that the people working at the telecom get free voucher worth of Nu 1000). I told my husband about it in the evening when he came home. He told me that he did not fill up any damn form. So then, somehow, it must have been the mistake of the telecom to have made such changes in the type of service we required.
Then there is this power voucher. The first time I heard about it was from my uncle. He told me about how cheap it was to make calls from that. But I wasn't bought into it. But a week back my husband has bought it. I made two calls to my sisters from his phone because he said it was cheaper. He also told me that the first time he made a call after putting power voucher, his balance was deducted – I came to know that, power voucher means, the balance deduction is separately done from the regular voucher you use to recharge your cell phones. I have heard my friend Luzee say that too. I think she said she even called up the Telecom to complain about it.
Then, yesterday, my husband told me that his outgoing call did not work. He called up the Telecom again to ask what was wrong. Of course the customer care is why it is there. To attend to complaints, to fix what is wrong in the services we have availed. And because we are all interpedently working and surviving, they should be polite to their customers. On the other hand customers should not call them up and talk to them as if their one and only purpose is to serve them. But he told me that the person at the customer care picked the phone and on hearing his complaint asked, more appropriately commanded that he check his balance. My husband, who is a righteous person, asked him if that was his way of talking to customers, being in customer care. Then the person, politely asked for his phone number.
The problem I learned was that, because he was using power voucher, his validity had expired. First, you have to know that when you are using what it is called power voucher, the balance deduction is separate. Second you have to know that when you use it, the validity of your voucher doesn't get extended.
Another friend complained about using data card. Now her complaint was about the bills. She thought she shouldn't have been charged the amount she was charged. A person I know working in Telecom told me that, she was right – there is some problem with the billing in Telecom. No one is perfect. So consequently, I guess no system is perfect too. But the degree of flaws should be somewhere between the lines that humans can accept. I don't know, I feel like I'm increasingly hearing of complaints on all these services and I feel, the organization should take it seriously and work on it without giving it a second priority.
Now I would call that the nicest, nicest surprise I had in the whole life I can remember. ArrogantBuddha says, 'Bella and I will come.” Bella? That puts a question in my mind because I know she was in Samtse and by my calculation I thought she was still there attending some training. I expressed surprise and asked him if she is in Thimphu, to which he answered yes. But even if she is in Thimphu, why would she trouble herself – to come and visit me? Because, when people are in Thimphu, they have a busy, very busy schedule. They have definitely thousand and one things to do. But this left me perplexed, yet, totally happy. Now, I tell you, a heart of an unenlightened person like me gets elated over such news. I was happy she even thought of visiting me, let alone decide to do so.
For the one hour or so I had before they came, I was still trying to grasp the reality. I couldn't be at my door to receive them. I was in my bedroom with my daughter. Babies mean joy – but it also means you have no other priority but the baby – which of course you do it not dutifully, but out of joy. Coco was coming with them. They said there was another person coming with them but AB didn't want to tell me who it was; he said it was a surprise for me. I shouted from inside the bedroom, 'Stay in the sitting room, I'm coming there in a while.'
So instead of the bear hugs and shrill cry of excitement, they have already sat down. I did not even address Bella separately to thank her or welcome her; I thought maybe I should do that, but I didn't, because I was confused as to what to call her. I mean I didn't know how to address her. In my mind, I have always called her Bella and now, I found AB and Coco calling her Madam, which left me confused. I would sound hoax to address her that way. So I did not address her the whole time we were together. But I'm sure she got my message of how happy I was to have her at my house. The honor was totally mine. I told my daughter that she had come from SJ to see her.
And writing this note here is not only to express my joy but to thank her again for ever crossing her mind to visit me and my daughter. (Thank you Bella, I was happy beyond words to meet you.)
The person they had for a surprise was Observer. She had already visited me. I was glad to see her again of course. This incident made me think that nopkin.com isn't just a place to express ourselves, but it also brings together people – it lets you meet people you would want to count in your life and I think I have already begun to walk this mile.
The doorbell rang. I rushed to open it and I opened my mouth in shock to see my ex-lover standing at the door. Why on earth is he here today? This question rushed in my mind. But before I could ask anything, he pushed himself inside the house. He didn't utter a single word either. And then, he took me in his arms, closed the door with one hand and crushed me under a forceful kiss.
I'm crushed against the cheap pine wood bookshelf in my house under his kiss which I sensed held no magic like before. He is heavily built and much taller than me. When the next door bell rang, I had not been able to push him away. He took off from me with a heavy breath and I ran to get the door. There stood my husband's brother, who also knows my ex-lover. They exchanged quick glances and before they found the right words to greet each other, I had to rush in my bedroom to attend to my baby. She gave a shrill cry for me. She had been sleeping for hours today. It was time that I fed her. I didn't know what conversation they had but when I entered the sitting room, they were sitting strangely, their bodies stiff, neither really knowing what to talk about.
It was surprising that even after 15 minutes that I took to feed the baby, he hadn't left. He has guts that way. I think this is one character of him that I thought my parents wouldn't approve of if I told them that I wanted to marry him. He could be quite foolish sometimes, in that, he could be indifferent to situations that in society's conventions must be respected. But forget that. Here was my ex-lover today. Unannounced. He knew I was pregnant. But even when he knew I would have given birth, he did not write to me to ask if had given birth and that hurt me. Not that, hearing from him is soothing; but we have parted as friends and we said we would hold no grudge against each other. So I thought, he did not keep his words.
After I offered them tea, both stood to leave and I couldn't have been more relieved. After I closed the door behind them, I let out a deep sigh and then, in the bedroom, holding my baby to my bosom, I cried. This time, I wasn't sure what the tears were for. I have never felt more content. My baby's face held the magic of melting my heart better than any man's sweet words. As I wiped my tears, I knew my place was here and that this was the last cry in my life.
I'm in the office right now. I know it is more than two hours past office time. But I have some work I must complete and submit by today by all means.
Now, there have been scary talks about the office I work in. For example, we are told that some staff while working late heard of tap water running out in the bathroom; some have heard of keyboard typing sounds being made. And some heard of footsteps in the corridor.
I get a call on the office fixed line. I pick it up wondering who would call in the office at such hour. The caller says, 'I'm Dorji.' He claims to have received repeated missed calls from this number. I tell him that maybe he has a friend working in this office and he would have called him. But he claims, he received call from this number just now. A moment ago. I tell him that I'm the only staff in this office working late right now. But he isn't convinced. Anyway, after a little umm and uh, he says, 'Then sorry la.' And he hung up.
I'm tired; so tired in fact from working hard. But strange as it is, this incident is making me smile and strangely, I wonder if it isn't such incident that people make stories of – relating to ghosts and spirits. As I type this, I feel a little scared – because I watched movies where some disbeliever of ghosts encounter the ghosts as they talk of their non-existence.
But right now, I know, as odd as the call was, it was really a person – a real human being I talked to. He said, he works in Dechencholing. I'm sure he isn't a handsome man (ghosts are usually referred to in stories as women – very beautiful women) with feet of a hen or anything scary.
I think this article took my mind off my work a bit and I'm going to get my work done before any creepy thing happens.
Off I go.