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My Favorite Short Story

21 Jan 2010 Author kuenza

Growing up in a very remote, far flung village, isolated from the rest of the clustered villages, my life was more about listening to stories, myths and legends. My parents raised 10 children, including two children of a neighboring couple. My parents took them in when their father died. And so, depending on the subsistence farming, living was hard. But there was always a way to find smiles and joys among those hardship in the form of stories. We wove hundreds of stories everyday and listened to more than five stories every night. My grandmother (my father's mother) was a wonderful storyteller. So to say, I grew up imagining world to be more of a magical ball.

Once I was in school, I read “The Cinderella,” “The Ginger Bread Man,” “Rapunzel,” “Snow White,” etc. and then I went on to read “Hardy Boys” and Nancy Drew's stories. These stories always left me wondering if at all we can change our life, magically erasing our pains and sorrows. Howsoever small, it did help me build a world inside myself that I loved, where I had thousand dreams and thousand things to do, not having to worry about heeding what elders say, or what my teachers would think of it.

My brother narrated to me the short story, “The Bet” by Anton Chekhov when I was in class four. We were going home from our farm house (where we usually kept our cattle during summer). I can still so vividly remember the path, the big black stone at the side of the path climbing up, and the two paths, the longer one and the short cut. I listened to the story, “The Bet” as I walked up to our house in Menchari from Phaisingma. My brother, a zealous young student in class 10 had a tireless spirit of sharing with people every small thing he knew. Then I read this story as a part of English Literature syllabus in class 10.

I think, how I saw life, what values I held in my heart and how I saw things or judged were all shaped by this one story. The Author has the capability to spin the wisdom, what Buddhism calls, “The Four Noble Truths” in one short story, teaching the core of truth, touching hearts in the form of a tearful heart-wrenching story of a young lawyer and a rich banker. Their conversation hits our heart with a truth bitterly laying bare our hearts in shame. This is exactly what you and I would talk about, exactly what we think is valuable. But as the author shows, the truth is otherwise.

I might not be wiser than many men there in the world like the lawyer; I might not have read volumes of books like him, but Anton Chekhov through his short story gave me a gift like no other. This author has given me a lifetime's chance of winning from the prevalence of ambivalent conventions.

Note: It was the blogging topic for this week in Redroom (www.redroom.com). It is a place where you can come across bloggers and writers from different countries. Have choice to read different articles of different styles and thoughts.

My Childhood Friends

18 Jan 2010 Author kuenza

Except the memories, I have none of these friends I grew up with. I'm sure everyone who reads my blog and this blog knows that I grew up in a very remote, far flung village in the east. While, I grew up being friends more with animals than with human beings, I never felt deprived of anything.

I grew up with cattle, horses, chickens, and dogs and cats. How I loved all of them. We had this horse named Dotila. He served our family till his old age…until he died one day in the nearby neighbor's maize field left fallow that year. From my two elder brothers to me, he carried our rations to Bidung Primary School. He was my parents' best friend. Unlike the other horse Changmo, he was very friendly. In the evening when we returned home from work, when we didn't have load for him to carry, he would carry us. I remember so vividly, how I rode him from Dulu—a place three kilometers away from our house.

Then, my best, very close friend Tshetsho died at a very young age. I was with her from the day she was born to the day she became a mother. She was the loveliest animal I ever saw. She understood me. I am sure she understood me as I stroked her and spoke to her. It is their eyes that speak to me. That imploring looks kill me not to love them. But soon after she became a mother of 3, she died. I knew of her death only when I went home on my holiday from school. And the rarest, precious gem our family owned was her mother, Langa Jan. She was the leader of the horde of cattle we had. She would lead the group and she had the character of a fine leader. But she died too. And I must admit that I dream of them. I dream of them and the dream haunts me. When she died, I remember, we respected her so much that we didn't eat her meat.

And the number of different kittens I owned as a child. I simply loved them. I love touching their soft nose. It was so peaceful to sleep with them, listening to the noise they made while they slept. I used to find that noise very comforting, as if I was protected from all the evil spirits and tigers, 'Drethpos' and 'Drethmos' that I heard about. But now, I have none of that comfort. I'm flushed into talks of importance of land and business and money. How I hate them. How I hate the fact that I'm woven in this web just as much as I hate them.

Those loving, affectionate friends—I long for them now. I wish, life were as simple as listening to stories of 'Drethpo' and 'Drethmo', of listening to how Masang would eat more than three kgs of rice at once. Am I in a different world now? Have I been transferred to a different planet altogether? What has changed and who is responsible?

What do we call that? Poverty?

11 Jan 2010 Author kuenza

I don't know what I would do, if I had to live in a ramshackle house with no curtains, door or proper roof. I don't know if I would feel secure if I were to sleep inside a cardboard made one room hut. I'm sure anyone can sneak in anytime. The wind wouldn't even let me sleep. But what fear does a person who has nothing have?

Richer you are and more properties you own, I think, more worries you have. My brother told me a week ago that, “The desire brings more worries than joy.” It is your desire of wanting to be happier and more comfortable that pushes you into doing what you don't want to. But the desire manifests into soothing, sweet lullaby-like convictions that, you are finally convinced that you really do need what you desire. And so, when you have performed the act to fulfill that desire that you feel, there isn't much change in the way you live or the way you feel. You probably felt elated once. But that is all gone in a week or less. But, every human being has the right to have a decent, minimum, shelter, food and clothing.

I was at the cremation ground for six and half hours today. I couldn't help notice three children play around, hovering, almost like a predator waiting for his prey; waiting for a quick trick to kill it. (I thought of taking a picture of them but I thought, while they may never see what I wrote about them, it is unfair for me to show their face without their consent.) When the dead bodies were more than half burned, four more had joined the group. They hopped around, pushed one another, and laughed.

I will never forget this guilt I felt as I watched them look at the different dishes, liquor, and fruits that were offered in front of the dead bodies. I could see how big a temptation they felt. I know, if they caught hold of the offerings, they would have gobbled down like a dog. But what can a person like me do to elevate their lives? I told the person standing next to me: “What do they know about life, these kids? I wonder what they will become when they grow up.” I really wished, I could dump the GNH in the trash can and give these children 1000 bucks each. But what would that buy them, maybe, a decent food for a week? I couldn't think of any long lasting solution. And I'm still haunted by their faces, their tattered dress and slippers. Their shamelessness of attempting to steal the food or beg for money. I see no fault in them. If God was here, I think, I would beg him to differ in his judgment in inflicting this pain on the poor kids. I know, they are innocent. And just as any rich kid, they have the same senses, desires and feelings. In the bone eating cold, neither of them wears a sweater or a jacket.

Recollecting who we were

08 Jan 2010 Author kuenza


I must keep my word. So here I am.

My grandfather died before I was born. I'm told that he was an influential 'Umze' in the Tashigang Dzong. Powerful as well. But that story ended with him. Especially during those old times, as much as they were respected, they were silently scorned by the people. And thus, if a downfall should come to those powerful people, mass loved it. Almost as if ravishing a sumptuous meal. But it was soon forgotten as well.

I'm told that my Umze grandfather was also a respected ascetic. He was a respected ordained monk. He is my mother's father's brother.

Years after his death, a relative (not very close) of ours gave birth to a baby son. That baby started pointing upwards in the direction to the village from where my grandfather is. And he repeatedly talked about him owning something and having to go to Majawoong. Soon, my parents, and other relatives came to know about it too. I'm told that, this boy recollected parts of his past life which left no doubts in the minds of the close relatives of my grandfather that he was indeed re-incarnation of my grandfather. And so, he inherited, or, rather, some important belongings of my grandfather were given to him.

All of us have heard of such stories, especially pertaining to the trulkus. So I think there isn't a need for me to elaborate with more stories. Even the people who believe more in science have come to see this as believable. I'm sure you can read from books on Buddhism like 'Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' of near death experiences which will give you a glimpse of afterlife.

Even when we know that someone is a reincarnation of someone close to you, it isn't the same. I mean, this man who was my grandfather in his past life hasn't much to do with us. I also heard that he had very deep interest in Buddhism and wanted to become a monk, but his parents forced him to marry. Even then, he is a very spiritual and kind person. So I guess what kind of people we are in this life is determined by what we were before.

It is better than just being dead…

06 Jan 2010 Author kuenza


“I can't really believe in it; it is not science,” says a chilip friend. When you think of death, do you see another life? Because I am born in a fervent Buddhist family, as I grew up, I never even wondered if what my parents taught me were actually true. If my father said, I needed to pray, I prayed. If my father said, killing insects was a sin, I believed it. There was no complication. Nothing difficult.

Over the farewell dinner last Sunday, we discussed about re-incarnation. There were three chilips. The dinner never came. We were at the Norzin Fine Dining. There seemed to be only one person attending to everything. If not for our enthusiasm in sharing opinions on different topics, we surely would have become “hungry man is an angry man.” Suddenly, one of our friends asked a chilip friend if she believes in re-incarnation. She is a volunteer psychiatrist at the JDWNR Hospital. She said that she doesn't know what she thinks of it but that it is better than just being dead.

So then I thought, while we live fearing death, we have hope that there will be another life where, maybe, we will all get a fair chance of doing what we want to do, or achieving what we dream to achieve. So what, if we are dying tomorrow! We are gonna be back on Earth. I wish it were that easy. Even as I believe in rebirth, I think, it isn't like a lucky draw where you can bribe the authority to give you the ticket to enter back to Earth as human being. If I were to come back, I would personally want to come back as a human being and not as an animal or an insect or any other being. I want to be Homo sapiens who can think.

And this makes me want to be good. Good at heart is what matters, says Buddhism. So I think, even if it is taking me a great deal of time, I will want to struggle to groom my heart to be kind. Because, for now, I don't see any other option but to do that to come back to earth in the form I want to.

And yes, I do believe a great deal in rebirth. Even while I can't prove it, I believe in it. I have always believed that, the world has in it, not just what we see but many beyond our sight. And I have always believed in the inner voice that always knows about the existence of something that we cannot see.

Note: I will try to bring a few stories of re-incarnation later

The Guy with an Earring

04 Jan 2010 Author kuenza


I'm in the city bus again. I like traveling by bus because I really get to dream whole lot of good dreams. They carry me to wherever I want to go. I love imaginations. Man, I feel so blessed that we can imagine anything we want and no one can steal it or see it and make fun of it. And yes, the best thing I can do is dream, dream and dream. And dream.

I can't help notice a young boy come and sit in the front, near the driver's seat. He has long hair (not silky and shiny though), and it is tied at the back, almost in a pony tail. I don't want to judge people but sometimes, it is really interesting to notice some of the minutest details of a face. I wonder at the God's perfect craft. And call me foolish, I somehow seem to find everyone good looking. I don't know if that is a problem.

For now, I'm looking at this young boy. He is also wearing an earring on his right ear. I mentally cry out, 'wow!' I don't know what criteria demarcate rowdy, good looking, young smart hunks from the disciplined, traditional, neatly gho-wearing men, but I look at him and I get an idea that he is a young, strong blooded boy who sees life more from the point of view of pleasure and freedom. Also, I know that such boys, young, and rowdy, maybe addicted to drugs or alcohol, are rather, very kind in their hearts. They will not tolerate injustice. If they think there is unfairness, they will fight for the right to prevail. Wow! I mentally worship this kind of energy in the young boys. But I just wish, they won't get carried away by extreme beliefs.

And yes, now, in the bus, I glance at this boy. I think I looked at him 5 times already. He is good looking as well. And I wonder what dreams he holds crested in his heart. I think he is going home after having slept somewhere on the New Year eve. I cannot ask him what business brought him to Thimphu town early in the morning or where he is headed to. So I'm left to my imagination. My imagination always rescues me. They build me palaces. Brings me tens of hundreds of boyfriends. And it never fails to attend to my heart, just as it wants.

The Seduction

30 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

Especially after I watched the documentary by Algore, “The Inconvenient Truth,” I thought I should use all ways possible to protect the environment. To get practical, I used to travel by city bus. But that habit dropped as I became lazier. However, today, after a long time, I traveled by the city bus to my office.

I walk fast. That is one thing people used to comment a lot during my high school days. I walk fast and I say prayers as I walk. Yes, I reached the city bus station in time. Still five minutes more for the departure, I leaned on the seat and watched the outside environment, taking in different scenes. I watched the municipal garbage pickup truck parked a metre away; two guys emptying the BNB sponsored metal dustbins. My eyes struck there, as if it was a work of great interest. There was nothing fanciful there though. Then my attention was caught by a young boy coming towards the bus. He wore a red jacket. A blue pant. It was his eyes that caught my attention. Oh, in less than a minute, he walked into the bus and sat on the seat next to me, brushing his body against me. Uneasy feelings ran through both of us. I wondered if it was attraction. From his dress, I took him to be a police. But later, before we reached our destination, he took off his red jacket, as if he was sweating in nervousness. I stared at him from the corners of my eyes, and from the tie he wore, knew that he was working for G4S. Then he took out a plastic packet of 'khaini' and dumped it inside his mouth. I usually find it filthy but when he did that, I didn't pass any judgment.

At the turning before reaching the junction near the Dzong, as the bus turned, his body leaned on me, almost crushing me against the window. And even when the bus stopped, he just leaned there, as if he was snuggled against a lover's chest. But it seemed like he suddenly realized it. Startled, he sat straight.

He paid Nu 5 to the conductor. So it means our destination was same. I became curious and for no specific reason wanted to see where he got down. He got down at Langjophakha, two meters before my stop. I stared at his silhouette disappearing away as the bus sped past. I thought, how true that the 'game of seduction' is the game that we all love.

The First Annual ICT Conference (25-26 December, 09)

26 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

225 ICT Professionals came together for the conference for the first time in the country. The conference was organized by the Department of Information Technology following the executive order from the government that DIT should be formed as a parent organization for ICT.

This conference was mainly to see what ICT professionals in different agencies think about this formation of a parent agency. However, I would say even as this meeting was called, a decision is made — that the DIT will be the parent organization. It is to endorse this with the meeting, saying that the views from different ICT personnel are taken.

The Secretary, MoIC, stressed over and again that, this isn't to make DIT a super power kind of organization but that it will act as a facilitator for the different ICT personnel working in different agencies. While many had mixed feeling, not many came forward to share their thoughts. Most people who were bold enough to express their views wanted to know if DIT is in a position to shoulder this big responsibility.

Now the government has a McKinsey project of G2C, (Government to Citizen) which will be using ICT to take services to the people, mainly using E-platform to deliver services. An example here is E-Forestry, an application developed to process the forest permit (for timber etc.) without having the person to physically go and follow up with the Dzongdag, the Gup etc. like before.

And the biggest IT project at present is the IT Park project which will start in a 5 acre land leased in Babesa. It is expected to employ 700 people directly in this IT Park, besides the other associating employment it might generate.

The strategy of the government as I understood is to outsource most of the IT related works, thus encouraging IT Professionals in the government to move to private sectors. We were told that this is in keeping with the government's plan of developing private sector and promoting compact and efficient (zero growth) civil servant. I didn't quite buy the idea but I think it is for the best of the future that I cannot yet see.

The resolution of the meeting is that, DIT will act as a coordinating agency, thus looking after transfer, training etc. of all the ICT professionals and that DIT will get back to us in a month from yesterday about the final decision with clear mandates.

Note: I'm writing this here as an information for ICT Officers who were unable to attend the meeting. I know many members here work in this field.

What does a virus look like?

20 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

“Virus sho bi gadang six chhowa awa, oofe dawa thongla,” (I think virus is like a six legged insect) says my nephew. My sister in-law called me up to check her computer. She thought it was infected, especially because my nephew Namda, who is six years old,  plays lots of computer games. He now demands to play games on the internet. He says he gets bored playing those games he has already installed. He takes me to his room and then shows me all the games he has. He counts 24. “24 sha la,” says he. He wants more.

He got so impatient while I scanned the computer. It showed that only 1% of the files were scanned. He points there and asks me if only one is complete. I try to explain. I tell him that it will get over when it shows 100%. Then he keeps counting. He gets more impatient. I am blasted with countless questions. “Virus sho hang dawa oofe Ana Kinzang?” (What does a virus look like?) When messages appear on the computer screen of viruses being deleted, I tell him that the virus isn't physically visible but only named. (I knew he wasn't convinced). Then he asks me where the viruses are thrown away, when I tell him about them being deleted. “Oga gem cha ya Ana Kinzang, ri nang ka gem cha mo?' (Where are the viruses thrown away, in the water?) I tell him that viruses are deleted like the litters are burnt. God knows if he understood me.

I get surprised at such big curiosity of kids. Wow, it is a big wonder how the brains develop thus. I thought, my nephew sure is growing up smart! (Ha ha, call me boastful). I once told him that he should listen to what elders say and his reply was, “What if elders ask you to do something naughty?” I had no answer.

I honestly have no answer to his question of what a computer virus looks like. What do you think it looks like?

Can we not be corrupt?

16 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

I got this message in my cell phone on 9th December: “I will not be corrupt and I will not tolerate corruption in others.” The message says we are commemorating the International Anticorruption Day. The message is sent by the Anti Corruption Commission Office. To write a quick note on this office's work, I thought they have been working hard. They put their heart and soul in their job. But there are others who ask, “Aren't they corrupt too?” They mean the staff in ACC. They are or they are not. But so long as they perform their work, I think we don't have to bother to know. But what bothers me is that, I hear that many staff in ACC are resigning. I don't know what is not going smooth there. I can understand that they have to work under a lot of stress. I would fear to even walk alone. What if someone who is alleged tries to take it personally on you?

Also, we cannot always trust that the allegations made can be right. You could be investigated for many things – some of them or all of them could be not really corrupt practices. But you will still be investigated. From what I understand, the ACC will investigate you, once they receive a complaint against you, no matter whether it is true or not. I may be wrong and I would like to be corrected if I am. But what I feel is that, if it is so, the person who was alleged should have the right to at least clarify it in the newspaper or some other media that it was false. What about her image tainted? What about her name thrown down the drain? The ACC should put the result of their investigation (whether found true or false) as a follow up news.

Talking about corruption, I wonder if at all we can root it out. It will be there. Bhutanese blame the system. We say, it is the system. There is nothing we can do. But I do feel, if we start from each of us, it will go down. I would like to quote a senior, respected official here. He said, “Just do your work right. Don't covet to have big money disproportionate to your effort. Then you will be at peace with yourself. You will not have to worry at all.” I think this is what we should all do. Just be right.

Where is Heaven?

15 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

I wrote on 11th November, 2009, (when it was past midnight) that, “I feel heaven will be just an ordinary expanse of land.” I wrote this sentence in my mind as I listened to the song, “Heaven is a place nearby,” by Lene Marlin. I wondered what heaven is like and where it is. And I still wonder if heaven is a separate world, a different planet.

Some say that in the developed countries, they have everything, every small gadget to make life comfortable. They are lost in the world of all this comfort and luxury that there is no time or gap to think of death. And if I am not wrong, I think I remember hearing people say that these countries can be likened to what we call the “Lhayul,” the realm where the gods dwell. Suddenly the death strikes and they stand shattered and torn, not knowing where they can turn to for help. But this doesn’t solve my question of, where is heaven? Is it outside this world? Outside Earth?

But now, from what I understand, heaven isn’t a separate world. It isn’t separate from yourself. It is all creation of our own hand. I feel that even from the small act of being kind, you know what effect it will have on you. I marvel at this truth, that, nothing is inherently existent. Everything is dependent arising. And this alone tells us that, we will reap what we sow.

But now this thought doesn’t leave me. That there are billions of other organisms and beings living with us on this same planet Earth. I imagine colliding with them. I sometime wonder about what they might think seeing all these crazy hungry animals called human beings.  Desire driven, never happy. And just as I imagine heaven to be nowhere but here, I imagine hell to be nowhere but here. But now, I wonder if at all people in the hell realm see us, just as we say that the enlightened beings can see us. They are omnipresent. Doesn’t this tickle you? That someone really sees everything you do? From the biggest merit you accumulate to the dirtiest sin you commit?

To me at least, even while I fear death, I now find comfort in this knowledge that we can all be liberated. It is all within our reach. The power to be happy or sad, the power to be in the hell realm or nirvana is all within ourselves. How comforting!

Plagiarism and Copyright

15 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

We can never use someone's work and claim it is ours. We can never use someone's work and not mention where we got it from. We can use other's work but we have to acknowledge them.

I'm not gonna make it a big talk. But today (15th December, 2009) Aurora found that her poem,”Walking Home” was published before she did by someone else. She said that she gave this poem to few of her friends to read and so the person who posted it on this website before she did must be one of her friends. Her friend however forgot to mention that it was actually not her original writing.  Some of you might have read the comments we left on that poem as well. But for those of you who haven't had time to read, I'm producing this article here for information.

I would like to speak on behalf of the moderators that, even if what is posted here isn't an original work of the author and has somehow failed to acknowledge the proper source, we cannot delete the article without informing him/her. It is the responsibility of the members/authors to acknowledge the source.

While some of us are aware of issues related to plagiarism and copyright, we must also understand that there probably are many others who aren't. Nopkin.com is a website that is encouraging people, old and young, published writers and newbies, from all walks of life to write and we cannot hope everyone to know about these issues. We all learn.

I would also like to clarify that the opinions regarding any issue pertain to author himself/herself and they do not represent the opinions of the moderators. I'm sure you will see all this in the terms and conditions that you accept when you register. We would like to urge every one of you again and again, to please acknowledge the source of your information, ideas, or the art itself.

P.S. While many think that the articles should be edited, we try to keep them in their original form in the best possible ways. This is also in view of respecting the author's idea and his/her way of constructing his/her idea into a sentence. But we however make small changes sometimes.

The innocent face – I

11 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

Dorji raised her like a daughter; loved her like a lover; cared her like a wife. Right in front of his eyes Yanki grew up from a little untidy child to a voluptuous, full woman. She was only six years old when she first stepped into his house. Growing up in a family with not enough to sustain daily living, going to school was out of question. She was born to the young couple Tshezang and Rigsel on a cold winter night. In a corner of a ramshackle house on the roadside in Namling, the night of 7th November, 1982 was suddenly consumed in the shrill cry of a new life.

Her childhood passed growing up by the road, often covered in dust. Apart from helping her parents fetch water, there wasn't much she could do. She stood by the road everyday with her friends, counting the vehicles that passed to and fro. They would shout shrilly at the people driving by, waving at them. Once in a while there would be a strong shot of pain, wishing she were in a car sweeping past.

One winter night in 1988, she jumped in joy when her mother told her that she would be going to Thimphu. She started dreaming of going to school; of meeting many friends; of watching TV and of traveling in the nice shining car. She couldn't sleep that night. So in exactly a week, she walked into a well furnished house with beautiful glossy joy.

She enjoyed being with this family, though, the wife, Aum Dema often got a little too boisterous and arrogant and she had to take her rebukes–for no reason. Even when things were totally in place, exactly as she wanted, she would call Yanki in the haughty strong voice and scold her. Then after she had been with them for a year, a prayer was answered. Dorji wanted her to go to school. He was the one who brought her with him. He was the one who spotted her waving at him at the roadside in Namling when he was going on a tour to the East. Then, his child had turned exactly two months and was looking for a baby sitter.

At school, she did get many friends. She did get to watch TV. Aum Dema was a housewife but still Yanki had to do everything: from watching the baby, feeding the baby, washing baby's clothes to cleaning the house. Despite these works taking away her time from study, she did well at school. When she started topping the class, she became proud of herself and she found herself emerging from the old tattered dreamless girl to an ambitious, strong girl.

 

//To be continued.

The innocent face – II

11 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

Yes, Dorji loved her like a lover and cared her like a wife. Yanki was now a part of his family. When she was studying in class 8 in Lungtenzampa School, he started dropping her too. He found comfort in her innocent giggle when he asked her to call him her father. She called him uncle but later, over the years, she started calling him 'aue.' He was 25 years older to her and as they started walking more together, people mistook them to be real siblings.

Now at 16, she was a beautiful young woman. Dorji was aware of her getting so many proposals at school and that increasingly made him worry. It didn't take him long to realize that he coveted to kiss the luscious lips, and hold this young soft skin against himself. So, from this loving brother-sister relationship rose a strong passionate love of young lovers. There was no choice but for his wife to accept Yanki as a central part of the family.

Despite her reputation of being a very bright student at school, she did not qualify for government scholarship from class 12. But there wasn't much confusion as to where she should be next. So she went to India to study Business Administration for three years. And then, right after she graduated, Dorji gladly sent her to Canada to do her masters. Their relationship thrived. On the other hand, his own daughter and wife cried every night.

How often we forget to look at how our destiny might design our will. How often we forget that by being selfish, other people might be hurting. And how often we forget that all things and moments come to an end.

When the girl returned from Canada, there was no sweet smile, no luscious lips parting in longing, and not even a note of thank you. Yanki, now a capable grown up woman of ambitious arrogance and self righteousness led an independent life of a working woman.

Note: Except for the places, names and other small details,  it is a true story.

Splash it was…

06 Dec 2009 Author kuenza

When I was about to get ready for the night, I wondered why I agreed to go at all. I had already given my word to Karma. I cannot take my word back. Most of the time, I'm a person who cannot say 'no'. As best I can, I stick to my words. And so, on Friday evening, over the dinner Kinley treated us, we discussed of this plan of splashing ourselves on the dance floor at the famous party place Splash.

When it was past nine, I sent an sms to Karma informing him that, keeping my word, I'd be there. I got nine of my friends. Thank me now, won't you? You must thank Trongsap more because true to her word, she did come here all the way from Phuntsholing. She left today.

Karma in his reply said that he would be at the entrance. Not having met him before, I had a picture of his face in my mind. I looked for a face resembling that picture I had in my mind but saw none. So, without much fuss, I went in with my friends. But like I said, as traditional and old as I feel, I sat on the sofa in a corner and tried to take in the music. But honestly, no matter how I tried to let my heart flip with the music's rhythm, there was no response from my heart. So I sat there for a long, long time. When I came out at 1:00 a.m., I saw another face at the entrance counter. A guy with glasses, dressed completely in black. I thought he must be our friend Karma. I tried several times to ask him, but I just didn't find a good way to do that and so I couldn't meet him.

 We thought of leaving at 1:00 a.m. but there was this huge dark red prado parked blocking many cars. So we had to stay till the floor stopped resonating and vibrating the bones. So I got a chance to witness a quick series of queer incidences that must happen only in the party halls:

A guy and a girl kissed so passionately, the girl sitting on the man's lap. I thought, 'wow, what a nice thing to feel so loved; so passionate and young.' I didn't quite envy them but I envied the evolution that has taken them far ahead of my generation. (I'm not writing to demean or say that it is bad, but I honestly felt it was such big revealing guts to be able to kiss a lover in the crowd.)

Then a guy carried over a completely drunk girl to the sofa on the corner. God, for once, I did think the girl probably stopped breathing. She slumped on the sofa dead (looked like to me). She was a pretty, slim, modern, fashionable girl. As the guy carried her out, a group of equally good looking and fashionable girls swooped out the door, most probably her faithful friends. (But what I didn't like is the remark I heard from a male acquaintance: “God, what if someone takes advantage of her, when she is completely out?” Yes, what if?)

Finally at 2:30 a.m., I reached home, completely exhausted and hungry. I thought, that was quite a sacrifice for a good cause. I told myself that it is not everyday that I get to see so much in a night. And that was that. I woke up at 9:14 this morning to see a completely new day.

Stories of men

23 Nov 2009 Author kuenza

I'm married. Yes, I am, definitely. But as liberal as the world is now with internet, I want to use it to the whim of my fancy and so, I spend more time talking to friends online than real. I don't know if at all my wife will understand if I tell her how many different women I chat with everyday. I even wonder if at all she will understand how it is possible to talk on the computers. I married a young, heart robber of the village, my serga-mathang to fulfill my father's wish when he passed away. I was then studying in class 10. I was happy to be married to a beautiful girl–so young, so attractive and the appeal that she exuded, God, that would send everyone wishing that they got at least a chance to hold her hand.

At the village tshechu, guys would steal a glance or two at her, their desire of pulling her out of the crowd almost throwing them off. When I got married to her, I was at the height of my happiness, I felt like, I had won the 800m race and knew I would win the 1500m race even without having less than half an hour of rest. She gave birth soon after. But since she still stayed with her parents, I didn't have to worry so much about having to have a job. It only meant a bonus for me. Back at the village during my vacation, when my friends talked of going for night-hunting, I had my most attractive wife waiting for me.

But of course, we human are funny. No matter how dazzling and attractive a prize is, doesn't it lose its luster after a while? If marrying young has taken away my opportunity to have numerous girlfriends in school, it hasn't yet robbed me of my opportunity to talk to hundreds of women around the world. Once in a while, I get to even meet a few of them. And I feel, I haven't yet grown much older. As I near the girl I have never seen before, as the time of the appointment draws nearer, my heart still thumps like that first night I was to sleep at my wife's house.

 Author's Note: In an exuberant hyper blood rushing hi, he takes you to believe that there is no one else in his mind. And even when your brain bangs your mind not to get carried away, you talk as if you cannot even let your butt settle on the chair.

And it goes on.

On the first day, you are his centre of attention. He throws compliments that you never thought you deserved. And he tells you how kind you are. It is up to you to believe what he says or not:

I'm not married. I'm here looking for some good girl who might just pop up in my life like a god-send parcel. And who knows? It might be you. (Believe it and live to regret.)

I'm married but I'm not happy. I have been having problem and now, I'm not even staying with her. I'm yet to finalize my divorce. (Believe it, go for a date and you will see where you are next).

When would we be liberated?

13 Nov 2009 Author kuenza

Who says money can't buy gateway to heaven? We see that these days, it is the rich who can actually perform virtuous deeds as they want. And it is also them who get audience with all the great lamas.

I was writing an article about this scene where a child most obviously poor was beaten up because he stole something from a shop and suddenly, thoughts popped in my mind: When would this kind of children ever have a time to be free from poverty? When would they even get to ride a car? Forget that. When would they get to even have a decent meal?

A beggar would always be forced to beg. Since he doesn't have enough to eat, there is no question about having enough to offer to God. If the offering is what is more important, he can do that only by sacrificing himself to go empty stomach. I am sure we can argue that he can always pray and intention is what matters and not what you offer. But when we are in the dire situation of not even having enough to eat, what good thoughts can rise in us but our own hunger?

Even when the sight tears me apart, I don't usually give money to beggars. This is with my conviction that, the more they get by begging, the more they will want to be beggars—and thus not think of any alternative ways of making a living. This also comes with the conviction that, thus indebted to the people who give them money or whatever, their stay in the sorry state will only be perpetuated. We can say that, as someone drops a note of Nu 5 on their hand, a thought of gratitude will grow in their heart and thus will create virtue. But I don't see this as so great a prayer that it will take you away from what you are.

So, thus the cycle goes on. A poverty stricken family obviously cannot educate his children the way rich people can, which closes door on the possibility of his children embarking on any good jobs, unless a miraculous transformation comes and he is changed overnight into a rich person living in a house like a palace as happens in our folktales.

Seeing all this, I keep wondering when would a chance come for ordinary, meager people to liberate himself from the ordinary-not-having-enough-to-eat samsaric world. Even when I don't want to sound pessimistic, I see that the only way to spend all the sins or whatever conditions created for this present life is through taking more than 500 rebirths in the same sorrowful state. And that is a long, long way to go.

The reason behind violence

12 Nov 2009 Author kuenza

It rained so heavily the previous night. This made us fear that our plan for the next day might have to be cancelled. But the next day was a bright, sunny day. So we went ahead with our plan. I didn't know what wonderful things were there in that place called Quiapo. Karma said that there were beautiful pearls at cheap price and so the plan.

In the notepad in my cell phone is written, “We are in Quiapo just now. Children are playing in the dirty water collected on the road from rain. A group of young boys beat up a child. He stole. Did he? I think poverty forces a child to steal.”

It was 4:30 p.m. The traffic was heavy. All of us were on the brim of changing our minds. The further we went, further the place seemed to get and the surrounding started changing from clean, paved sidewalk, to dirty, garbage filled footpath. From the tall beautiful buildings to about-to-fall tin and grass roofed shacks. From fashionably clothed youngsters to hippie like junkie. Fear started creeping in our bones. But we went ahead anyway, having come that far.

And finally the cab driver dropped us by the big puddle of muddy water. There was no sign of road. The road had become a huge swimming pool. And if you saw it, you would have been as surprised as we were. Little children swam in that dirty water. And there was a group of five drunken men playing in the water. Two stood on the sidewalk and pushed the other three men in the water. They seemed to enjoy plunging in the dirty water. They didn't care that this dirty water was getting into their mouth.

We had to take a locally made tricycle over the water to get to the market we were heading to. We also had to walk in that dirty water which was knee deep. It was quite an adventure in fact.

On our way back, we turned back as a chaos rose behind us. In a second, a group of young healthy looking boys, all dressed in similar clothes gathered around a whimpering child (around 10 years old) and beat him up. The child stole some precious gem from a shop. I wondered if it was true. More than the child being a thief, to me, the group of boys seemed like an organized-crime-creator. My heart was more with the child than with the shopkeeper.

I felt heavy weight of unfairness sinking in my heart. I wondered if at all God saw all this and if so, why he sometime took so long to intervene. The child went away crying, and people around assumed normalcy but I tell you, it honestly hasn't left my heart yet.

The child was obviously from a poverty stricken family. I wondered for what wrong he had to look for food the hard way. Forget the hard way. For no wrong he remembered, he had to look for food the wrong way. And for a believer of karma like me, I think he is going to circle around in this same woeful state for generations to come—simply because he doesn't have the means that takes to create virtue.

The more I drink, more beautiful she becomes

04 Nov 2009 Author kuenza


I'm at the edge of my life; on the verge of divorce. How candid can you get with your friends? It has been sometime since I last shared my crisis with them. But now, I have found another way of shedding this stress.

 

There is this famous restaurant (I will not name it here. I don't want to get kind and let people know of its name. I know people will get curious and run to that restaurant for just a glimpse of her). Now, every evening after office I go there. I just sit in a corner from where I can see her and sip my drink. She sometimes looks my way and gives a squinted smile. You know that smile? The twisted small smiles of shy combined with, I-enjoy-you-watching-me smile?

 

“Another beer please,” I shout. She nods in a gentle smile and sends another bottle of beer at my table. As I feel a little tipsy in my head, I wish she would come and serve me herself. But she just stands there at the counter, watching people in the room, like a watchdog. I know many people in that restaurant come not because the food is good. They come there to enjoy and feed their fetish desire of eye-feasting. I don't know anything about her except her beautiful face. I have watched her long enough to be able to draw every single contour of her face, every single feature. Even the smile; her tone of voice; the curve of sensuality in her laughter.

 

I look around the room and wonder how many people actually wish they owned her. Own her is a wrong word I know but when a man marries a woman, is that not what he wants to do? I sit here, now my head in my hands, barely able to keep my head up, looking at her. Stressing my eyes to look at her straight. I have now taken more than 10 bottles of beer. But she stands there at the counter more beautiful than ever. With every new bottle of beer I take, the more beautiful she becomes. And finally I walk out, wishing her goodnight, making sure that I'm the last one to leave.

My sanity slain, I don't know where I'm heading

27 Oct 2009 Author kuenza

I'm engaged to be married. My fiance is working in another district. We have known each other for seven years. Last year, after he finished his masters, I finally decided to tell my parents and I took him home with me. My parents were happy that I would be married to a man with a secure job and stable earning.

I soon got a job myself. This made me happy; I would no longer have to depend on my parents for money. It also meant I would not have to depend on my husband for money later when we were married. But what I did not think was that it would also change my destiny completely. I'm now in love with the person who interviewed me for the job. We are working in the same office, but that cannot make it any easier for me to defy my love for him. It is rather a very awkward situation–having to be in love with the person who is my boss. Also, I get a feeling that I'm being looked at differently by the staff. I don't care about that. But there is one fact that glares at me every night I'm in bed, lying down, looking at the ceiling, seeing nothing but that glaring truth. He is already married.

I would like to believe everything he says. I would like to believe that he was not happy with his wife. I would like to believe that he always wanted to get a divorce and he wanted to have someone like me instead as his wife. I would like to believe that I will be able to get away from the triangle without hurting his wife. I would like to believe that I will be able to keep his children happy. But despite all this, I don't seem to know what future is like for me. I don't know if I'm marrying him because I don't know if one day he will call me and say, 'Dear, I'm sorry, but I have decided to stick with my family.' That will break my heart. Not because I cannot go on. Because now, I have come to believe so strongly that marrying him isn't impossible.

Amidst all this, I haven't told Tashi anything about it. He will be heartbroken but we aren't married–and that makes me feel better. I am dying every night, wondering what pain his wife is going through. But, at the end of it all, I care about myself more. And if he asks me to marry him, I will.

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