Make Someone's Day!

Articles by: kuenza

We can all care…

28 Jul 2009 Author kuenza

I do have friends in the community I live. I now know that there are some people who think alike and care alike for the same things.

I wrote—maybe a month back about how unhappy I was to see people dump their garbage by the roadside. This morning on my way to office, I was tweaked into a very happy mood to see that the garbage that was dumped there for three weeks has been cleaned up today. The municipal garbage pickup truck comes on Tuesday and Friday in that area. And someone godly has cleaned it up and made sure to throw them into the garbage pickup truck.

I did as I decided—I decided not to care if the garbage piled into a mountain. But someone cared. Was someone playing a prank with me? I wondered. But I am happy today that whether it is a prank or not, someone has truly done a noble job.

Since I have to walk that road at least twice every day, I can’t help not be nudged by its condition. I’m sure all of you know that the road that diverted towards the MKTS building two meters ahead from Lyonpo Ugyen Tshering’s residence was in a very bad condition before. It is under repair these days. And it will make you wonder how it got attention after such long years. Offices of few sections of the City Corporation are moved to that area. Now I am so badly wishing that someone working in the City Corporation will move into an apartment in the area I live in Changzamtok.

When I heard that the gravel at the CICCC ground was being auctioned, I wanted to buy at least half a truck load to mend that road. But where is the money? If one day I come up with a proposal to look for fund to do that, please don’t be surprised. And wouldn’t that be one of the activities of NVSS?

Yanki and her Gold Ring

27 Jul 2009 Author kuenza

Once upon a time there lived a girl named Yanki. She never knew her father. All she could remember was that, her mother once told her that her father was a hunter. One day, he went to hunt for food and never came back.


Yanki and her mother lived in a corner of a small village. They owned a small area of land where they cultivated maize and potato. The produce wasn’t large but it was enough for them. When Yanki turned 13, her mother got sick. When she consulted the ‘jomo’ she was told that her mother’s soul was captured by a ‘jeypo’ and wouldn’t be released. The jomo said, “Your mother will be taken away like a butter lamp in the storm.”


 That evening, Yanki returned home shaken and hopeless; but to her surprise, she saw her mother resting her head on the pillow, her eyes open and well. As soon as she returned, her mother asked, “Where were you? I have been waiting for you.”


 Her mother took her hand and gave her a gold ring. She said, “My dear daughter, I have nothing to leave you. This is all I have. This will take you through your life.” She was instructed to rub the gold ring every time she faced a hardship.


After many years, Yanki noticed that the ring was bent. She also thought that the ring was getting thinner over the years. This worried her and she thought she had to perfect it. So she hit the ring hot and tried to make it perfect. But as she did that, the ring broke and it turned into ashes.

Cholu (A melancholic recall of life in the form of a song)

16 Jul 2009 Author kuenza

Pe chha lam pa drak tu min thha ney

Phama pinchha sa chhog lok thur ga

Thub thhan deley khewa trang mo jang


Oma noksam miney goth pa kab

Sempa cholay oona hingai rang

Semka dewa nyongpo mala jang


Phama drinlen jorpey leng rang thhai

Lengtan lengtan satha ringbu ga

Delay khewa zakpu shon jongma


Pechha lamney chhuma thurga rang

Rangten senam chhilu mawai ten

Drinchen Apa zamling pang jongma


Oma Ama rang kab chhoney bu

Phamai chechey awa dabu an

Chhag chhi zhuley marba lo pham la


Hang dang hang rang gin thhan deney bu

Jaga drinchen yab yum niktsing sho

Kencho sum rang gila ja den gai


It is a melancholic recall of life. It talks about the life I have led so far. I recall the times I had to be away from my parents and my village while studying with a pinch of regret. Though I grew up with my parents in the village, I felt distance carrying me further away as I grew older. I regret that my father passed away even before I had talked a word with him about my job. I wish I had time to sit down with him and talk at great length.

Though my mother stays with me now, I can see that the love a mother holds for her children are vast and deep beyond our understanding. I can see that what I feel for my mother is actually incomparable to her love and care for me. And thus, it makes me sad that, despite my effort, I’m not really succeeding in making her have the best life.

I shut my eyes to everything. No matter what, my parents are my guardian; they are my protecting deities. They are my triple gem.

JAAB Tree Plantation for 2009

15 Jul 2009 Author kuenza

I would like to inform everyone who visits that the JICA Alumni Association of Bhutan, a volunteer association which works towards helping the community through voluntary services like cleaning campaign, tree plantation, blood donation etc. is organizing the tree plantation on 18th July 2009, i.e. this Saturday. The area allocated for tree plantation by the Department of Forest is above Tandin Ney where there was a forest fire not long ago.


If anyone of you is interested in the voluntary service and would like to join, please leave a comment here and let me know. Refreshments will be served. I will post the detailed agenda tomorrow or day after. I’m waiting to hear from our General Secretary about the finalization of the plan in the mean time. The holes are already being dug. All we have to do is carry the saplings and plant them.


I thought it would be a good idea to go as a group from—I mean volunteers from the Nopkin Volunteers for Social Service. This will not only revive our service for the community, it will be a great contribution for the future generation. While we are all busy with our work, I think we should be able to join this volunteer service body to jointly carry out this great task. Let me know what you think about it.


It seems like I’m gonna be on the hunt for volunteers for social service all my life—but so be it. I count on your support and I’m sure it will go well.

The Strange Human Greed. The Strange Human Behavior.

04 Jul 2009 Author kuenza

“Oh so you don’t want the money,” she said and she took away the money I forgot on the floor after I had my dinner. It struck me so strange because I would call that stealing. But there were other people. I looked back a little surprised and told them, “Roki ja tiru buwa ko mai?” and the other person giggled.

 Oh but when someone can be that bold we cannot match him/her. So I decided to be quiet about it. I am not a saint but when someone’s behavior is beyond natural goodness, I can’t understand them. I can’t even put them in my head. The woman must have been too attracted to the money. The desire must have soared high above her head. Just as quickly as she picked up the money, she chanted, “Om Ah Hung Baza Guru Pema Sidi Hung.” I thought, “What an irony. Hypocritical,” but I didn’t say it.

When I was in class seven, I once gave a morning speech on the saying, “He who has honey in the tongue has poison in the heart.” I don’t know if I understood its full meaning. But there was a time a few weeks back that made me think of that saying repeatedly. We are all human. We all make mistakes. But the mistake you make to hurt someone deliberately can be so well seen from outside. And when someone makes a plan like that, I can’t believe it. I somehow can’t imagine that human beings can get that nasty. But since I have seen them, I must accept that there can be any kind of man and woman.

 When that woman took away my money with a chant of mani, I thought the money must have had the power like the “Ring” in the “Lord of the Rings.” The fastness with which she threw herself on it was same.

 In the area I live, I often clean up the garbage people dump by the roadside. A week back, I cleaned that up and left a message which read, “Please do not dump your garbage here. Keep it clean.” But in the evening when I returned home from office, my message had disappeared not to be seen anywhere and there were three piles of garbage dumped there. Someone was doing that deliberately. Maybe instead of cooperating, someone wants to fight with me that way. Or maybe I’m to endure life like that. I sometime feel I have endured so much already. So I give up on cleaning that area again.

Sometime I feel the world is becoming too hypocritical. It is good manner to not say things straight. It is good manner to hide feelings and say, ‘it is okay,’ even when it is not. It is good manners to be not yourself. And for a person like me, it is too hard to accept the world that way.

The Servant Girl – III

12 Jun 2009 Author kuenza

That summer when Dradrol came home on break, he got a gift for me. He still saw me as a kid, I guess. He brought me a shirt with a hello kitty on it. This touched me a lot and I valued his gift so much that I wore it only on rare occasions. This was the first time I got something really new. I think everything I wore came from the second hand shops. I didn’t mind it but I think when I first got that gift, it made me realize how much it means to have someone know your presence.


When Dradrol finished class 12, his parents argued a lot about what he should study. But in the end, he decided himself to take BCA. He wasn’t even a science student but he opted it because he, in some way thought, since he had interest in playing computer games, he would be interested to study that course. I heard him complain of his inability to understand some subjects but in the end, he did manage to graduate with not so bad marks.


But when he was in second year, my life changed forever. I was 15 already and I was no longer that little girl who needed to stand on toes to dry clothes, or that little girl who had to climb on the support table to prepare food on the gas stove. He still played guitar and I served him tea. I could feel tension building between us as we grew up. I wasn’t that dirty little girl from village who had dirty finger nails and thick curly hair. I didn’t wear lipsticks and I didn’t wear eye shadows but I was a girl of 5’2’’, had my hair beautifully grown: and now I was a woman.


Uncle was out of Thimphu for work. Aunty wasn’t home either. She said she had dinner at Aunty Pelmo’s house. I thought Dradrol left with his friends but when Aunty closed the door and locked it from outside, I heard him sing from his bedroom. I guess he wanted me to know that he was there. Maybe it was his trick. I would never know. When I realized, I had committed the mistake I never thought I would. I paid the heaviest price for the split second of pleasure I felt when he fondled me and said he desired me. And I was out of the house before I truly understood what happened.


Epilogue: When Dradrol’s parents knew that I was pregnant, they got mad. He said he could marry me but they would not hear of such madness, they said. They wanted their son to marry a girl of equal status. Aunty Pelmo’s daughter was studying in the US with Dradrol’s two sisters, and they wanted him to marry her.


I had no courage to go back to my parents. I never regretted that big for never having gone to school. But when I thought all luck had turned against me, I met Sangay, my childhood friend.


Dradrol got married to Euthra, aunty Pelmo’s daughter who is a doctor. She is 2 years older to him. I didn’t want to know how well or how bad they are doing but I couldn’t help sympathize, when I heard two days back that they are getting divorced.

The Servant Girl – II

11 Jun 2009 Author kuenza

I started getting bored at home. Though Dradrol and I never really talked, I had gotten used to his presence at home. Even if it was as simple as serving him tea or packing lunch for him for school, his presence made me feel less alone in the mansion like 6 room bungalow. The two masters got up only at around 8:30. Uncle was a very rich contractor who kept traveling around the country.


I never told anyone about Aunty coming home late when her husband was not at home. With their son studying in India, it was just me and she at home most of the time. So when she went out, she locked the door from outside and at around midnight, I would hear voices…and in the early next morning when I took tea to her bedroom, I would sometime catch her sleeping with very young man half her age. I would just very quietly whistle a low tune and slip out of the room as fast as I had entered.


Whenever uncle returned, he was tired. They never really argued. Aunty had a very perfect show. When uncle came home, she would be home all day and make plans of picnic or of visiting some of their friends of the same social status. But it was surprising to see they invited very few guests at their house.


It was my third year at their house now. I was 12. I got my period this year and I had started getting fear for the sheer reason of being a girl. I had carelessly let a drop fall on the bathroom floor. I somehow didn’t see it. Aunty shouted at me and called me name I could never forget. I thought she qualified a lot for the name than me. I’m sure she slept with more than 20 different men. But it was not for me to judge her. I was there to carry out duties as directed by them and I was just a lowly servant girl. I was happy with Nu. 1000 a month that went to my parents back at home.


[To be continued]

Announcement — Storytelling Conference from June 28 to 30 2009

11 Jun 2009 Author kuenza

Dear Nopkin readers, users and writers,

The Centre for Bhutan Studies is organizing The Storytelling Conference from 28 to 30 June 2009 in Thimphu at the CBS Conference hall. The focus of the conference will be on the following:

1.      Reviving, promoting and recognizing the importance of live oral cultures and its contribution to a sense of community, unique culture and identity, satisfaction and happiness.

2.      Bringing together indigenous storytellers from different parts of Bhutan and giving due recognition to their artistic skills and creativity.

3.      Promoting collection, compilation and dissemination of stories for entertainment and education in schools.

Please confirm your participation here through the comments, or write to, or call me at 335872. I thought is a place where many interested readers and writers flock and would help get to the right people. The program starts at 9:00 a.m.

For your information, refreshment and lunch will be served every day.




The Servant Girl – I

10 Jun 2009 Author kuenza

I was nine when I first came to Thimphu. The table on which the gas stove was kept was too high for me. My masters had to make a small table on which I could stand to reach the gas stove and wash basin. All their children studied abroad except for the youngest son who studied in class eight in Y.H.S. He was 13 years old. Though we had four years of difference in our age, he was a kid too and it made me feel a certain kind of closeness with him.


His parents loved him but they were rarely at home when he came back from school. They had so many social obligations. They always had to smile, even when they didn’t want to. They had to keep that façade – of making people think that they were perfect. They made sure I was kept busy. I cleaned the house, washed clothes, tended to flowers, did dishes and arranged flower pots three times a day.


As soon as Dradrol returned from school, he threw his bag on the sofa, rushed into the kitchen and looked for food. He was a nice boy in that he didn’t demand me to warm food for him, or to serve him food. Though he was still a young boy who didn’t really know of karmic forces, he was kind. But he changed. Maybe because of the social upbringing, and the most expensive clothes he could wear, he had the smartest look of a modern boy. He started hanging out with his friends late. He started stealing his father’s car late in the night. He started missing classes. And then, his parents decided to send him to India. He wanted to go to Thailand because two of his friends were going there, but his parents thought it was not a good idea to send him with them. So he went to Chennai. He studied his undergraduate there too.


When he returned home for his break, I thought he looked cockier than he used to. He had large metal chain hanging down his neck and his pants hung almost falling down. As the evening sun set, he sat outside in the lawn and played guitar. He would sometime shout at me, “Yanki, get me a cup of tea,” and as I took him tea, I would catch him looking at me rather too closely. This always intimidated me and made me feel nervous but we never really talked.


[To be continued]

The Destiny (13th May, 2009)

08 Jun 2009 Author kuenza

I am gasping for breath. I can see people walking up and down the path outside the bamboo hut. When I thought there was no one outside, I hear two people come inside the hut. The hut is a pool of water. I swear I was going to wet my dress. As I look at the two women in terror, they talk to me without any hatred. They want to know why I am here.


I tell them that I am here to meet with the lama. And as they tell me that one of them is the lama’s sister, I think I must be destined to be here. Inside the lama’s room, I prostrate three times and take seat at the corner. I am praying so hard: I take refuge in the lama and tell him that I pledge my body, mind and soul to him. He asks his assistant to give tea to me and while I take tea, he wants to know why I think there is suffering in the world. This is a tough question. He knows I was running away. He wants to know how I can overcome it. But before I can answer him or even think of the answer, there is a hassle outside the room. I knew they would be here.


The people who were looking for me are here. I pray even harder and I know that lama will protect me. I cover my face with a shawl as fear paralyzes me. And in a minute they are gone. They didn’t find me. It must have been the lama’s trick. After they leave, he tells me that if I had not taken tea, they would not have known that I was here. I don’t remember what heinous crime I have committed. But for these people to look for me, I know I must have done something very wrong.


Now I walk out of the lama’s room and descend down the ladder. But my father is here too. He says he is taking karmay for my grandmother (his mother). I tell him that my destiny lies here and I can’t go home. He looks at me with his digging gaze, touches my head with his and doesn’t ask a single question. I can see in his eyes how well he has understood me.


Yes, I must really belong here. I never felt this kind of peace. And I wonder that my tsawai lama must be telling me to go to this lama for a greater cause.


//Author’s note: For reason unknown to herself, she chooses not to disclose the lama’s name

The Proximity of Death

27 May 2009 Author kuenza

I told Karma, “Look, the water level has risen so unusually high.” We looked out the car window as we crossed the Langjophakha zam yesterday morning. It has been raining continuously for three nights and two days. As soon as I reached office, the electricity went out. The meeting ran for half the day and when I reached my table, my laptop has run out of battery.


The rain still showered. It noisily pattered on the roof that I even thought, “It rained enough,” though I knew it was ‘duetse’ (Kuensel 26.5.09) for farmers. I thought I might have to take a cold lunch but our friend Ngawang was so kind to take our packed lunch and heat it at the office caretaker’s house. In kind of morbid atmosphere we talked, sitting in a circle on the office floor. Tshoki and I thought we should go home and work since we had a dateline to meet but when it was 2:30 p.m. the power did come in.


The rain didn’t stop. Then I heard from a friend who works in newspaper that a child has been carried away by the furious river. My instant answer was, “Why did the foolish child go in the rain and near the river?” It was my sympathy and love for this [unknown] child that took out this rude answer from me. I imagined myself in his place. I imagined myself in his friends’ place too. He was alive just a second back and he was no more in the world in a second later. And what did those two friends frozen by the incapability to help think when they saw their friend wash away? Death took just a second to claim a body.


And even as I heard the news that all the schools would be close today, I thought of what sorrow this child’s family might be stricken with. Having gone through such moments myself, it pained me that despite everything we know, we still get so kicked off by death. And it pained me that it was a tragic loss to that family. They did not dream this the previous night. They did not think of such misfortune even at that moment their boy was carried away by the river.


This morning the sun shined brightly. Even the road looked cleaner. But as I neared the Langjophakha Bridge, I saw several cars parked by the riverside. And I was surprised to see that there were men—their body half plunged in the river. They were groping their hands in the river in the hope of catching dead fish. And I must tell you that I took the place of those fish as well. I don’t know if the family of other animals mourns for their member’s death just as humans do but honestly in my heart I feel that they don’t like death either. I was struck by this irony: I wondered if those men even for a second thought of their body being preyed on and devoured by other animals this way. I’m still here wondering over life and death, over different animals and the harmony the world has failed to find between different animal families.


Author’s Note: I would like to join with all the members of in praying for this innocent child’s death. Later I heard that there was another death. I pray for both their souls to rest in peace.

Building Dreams in the Abandoned Van

20 May 2009 Author kuenza

The abandoned van was my house. It was in that van that I had the luxury to travel around the world. It was in that van that I met hundreds of beautiful women. And it was in that van that I became the president of the United States.


My rickety house lay in the middle of paddy fields and just at the right corner of the house, where my bedroom window looked out stood beautiful bamboo groove. Sometime in the middle of the night, as my three younger brothers slept, I would listen to the rustle of winds that swooped between the bamboo leaves. As they snored so peacefully, I would drift myself into different thoughts. I would sometime cry simply because I thought I was less privileged than many people in the world.


I couldn’t go to school because when I was barely two, my mother gave birth to a son. And to me it seemed like she just kept on giving birth. I now wonder if there was no such thing as birth control in those days. And then just as I turned four, she gave birth to another son and then another. So my dream of ever going to school was forever murdered.


But when I thought all my dreams died, a small school sprang in my locality. The school was just big enough for hundred children but my father got me admitted. I never knew how he did that.


But even after I went to school, I did not abandon my dream house, the abandoned van. I would sometime fall asleep there and I would wake up only when my mother called my name frantically. I also still went fishing on that small pond in the middle of the paddy field. As the huge trucks drove past my dream house, I thought, I would like to be a truck driver. Even as I saw their turbaned head out the window, I felt they held an air of gracefulness. And I thought I would one day drove a truck and come to meet my parents.


And as first learned to write the English alphabet in my dream house, I thought, like a miracle, my hand moved as if I had the magic of stroking a girl’s hair in my hand. Writing each letter felt like the silky hair sliding between my fingers.  And just as my father probably wanted of me, I am now a teacher at that community school. And there are 1000 students studying there. And I still see the abandoned van’s white metals by the road. And I still sometime walk there and talk to it, just as I used to do when I was six year old.


//This story is inspired by the children I saw by the road side in India as I went to Bodh Gaya on 26th January 2009. As you read the story I hope you will be able to get the picture of those small thatched houses you see by the road side.

The Secret Lust-III

18 May 2009 Author kuenza

It was the full moon day and a Sunday. Euthra went early to the Memorial Chorten in Thimphu. She wanted to pray. Yes, she led a very realistic and practical life. She took refuge in the unseen force after her failed marriage.


As she circumambulated the chorten, she thought something caught her eyes. At the next round again, she felt someone watching her from the bench. She did not want to be distracted, so she went on. But when it became too uneasy, she felt paranoid. She turned towards the bench to see the man she had met five years back. Though she met him only once, she could never mistake him—he had the eyes that bore through you until you felt tickled in your heart.


And as she walked towards him, she cried. People were gonna talk. She was marrying an Indian. But did it matter? No one made her feel herself like he did. And as they hugged, nothing mattered, except what she felt in her heart. If this was wrong, she was ready to take the sin.


He seemed to have traveled a hard path. He bore unbearable pain behind his eyes.


The dreams of her parents shattered. The society started talking. But there could never have been a perfect world. She could never have been happier in another world. This was the man she could understand without listening to his words. This was the man she could see without looking at him. And this was the man who held magic in every stroke of touch, in every single kiss and every single word he spoke. And thus she exchanged her family’s joy for her deepest want.


Epilogue: Euthra got married to her Indian lover. They actually met only for the second time when they met after five years at the Memorial Chorten. Her lover returned to India for marriage and worked there but after his wife died, he came back to Bhutan, in the hope of finding her secret lover once again.


Since Bhutan seems to be a place only for those people who can take the wrong judgment, they chose to live in India. Euthra was kind of disowned by her family. She is the only daughter. She has two elder brothers. When they got married and left to live their own lives, their parents had none with them at home. And later, she was to hear that at the later stage of her parents’ life, they were not looked after well. Her brothers had other important responsibilities than attending to their parents. With regret she came back to Bhutan only to find that same void haunting her.


As regret tore her apart, there was no way she could make her parents understand her. She could only hope that they would have forgiven her.


She and her husband, and his son who is now 12 years old stay in her village. His son is going to high school and both Euthra and her husband now teach at the local school in her village. He now speaks both Sharchop and Dzongkha and local people don’t seem to see him as an outsider. In pursuit of love, he has chosen to be a Bhutanese. But it is nothing like a hard compromise. Just as they understand their need, they understand their freedom.

The Secret Lust-II

17 May 2009 Author kuenza

A year passed. And then another. But not a word did she hear from him still.


Life went on pretty well but there always hung a hollow feeling behind her mind. Even after two years, the void just did not disappear. She missed him.


 When she knew that there was never going to be a reunion, she decided to take her life more seriously. She knew that she was fantasizing a completely different life. Her parents and friends told her too that she looked at life beyond the mountain that separated her village and another, when it was so much practical to lead a life everybody did—getting married, bearing children and growing old, the natural way.


 And finally to her mother’s greatest joy, she married when she turned 38. Though the man, who was two years older and a divorcee had the looks and the respectable post in the civil service, he seemed to lack one essential character of man—the capacity to feel love. She looked back after two years of marriage and she could not understand what made her marry Dorji. He was everything except what she dreamed her husband to be. No one saw anything wrong with him and she thought the fault lay within her heart. Even when he kissed her, she only felt his cold lips—there was not a spark of passion. There was nothing in his touch—except that he seemed uncertain of what he was doing. There was not a single stroke of confidence, though he was a man many respected. If marriage was meant to be just a union for reproduction, she hated it. Perhaps she was the odd man out. But wasn’t everyone human? Didn’t everyone feel the same about love?


Two years dragged. It took two years to know that she could not finish her life with him. And then on 21st March, 2005, she filed for divorce. There was no court procedure, she just left. And he understood.


To be continued….

Luzee's Farewell

15 May 2009 Author kuenza

I would like to apologize for the delay in bringing out this article. I know we should have done it a long time ago but somehow all of us got busy and there wasn’t a good time to get to it. I hope Luzee will understand us and not crib on the delay. And I am sure there were many people here who wanted to know how Luzee was seen off, and wanted to see her pictures. I hope her ‘fans’ will find the pictures worth their wait.

I leave the caption to the readers. You see the host attending to the guests.

The guys knew only one thing: to drink. The girls suffered in the kitchen. 

Just to show the new faces: Tashi and his wife…

Ask Luzee what she was up to. I failed to get the answer.

Tashi’s son. There was too much of raw humor that the kid laughed as much as the dad. 

I’m sure this is what you have been waiting for. Isn’t it just too romantic? By the way guys, this is the much talked KP, who won Luzee’s heart. 

And here again—I guess she needs to pull stronger. 

Girls got dinner ready on time…but men! They just couldn’t get rid of all those bottles. Not just yet. Tell you what? I really had to chase them away cuz I was dozing off. And Betterman who didn’t want to mix the drinks, emptied all the bottles before he left. He made sure not a single bottle had the contents. 

Yes, here you see Betterman, lamenting of the many drinks that went in.

Dear L, Must I tell you how much we miss you? I’m sure you know that. Though you have your presence in nopkin as much as you did when you were here, it isn’t the same not to have you here. It isn’t the same to read your articles and not hear your laughter.

I know you are busy with your assignments, but you must know that we feel happy to hear from you once in a while—so don’t just read, reply the group mails.

And while you can, yes, fly without wings…as high up as possible. (Pun intended) And I would like to read stories like “Three kisses,” again.

The Secret Lust

15 May 2009 Author kuenza

Euthra was a very beautiful middle aged woman. Despite her looks and the many proposals that came, there was not a single man who could win her heart. But her parents began to worry about her choosing to lead an independent life.


But Euthra had a secret life. Though she did not want to marry, she had a secret lover who understood all her needs. She had no idea that a casual meeting would take her life to a completely new beginning. The one day casual meeting led to an unfathomable everyday ritual of love making. Just as much as she wanted to hear him, he wanted to savor her beautiful body. He wanted to hear him because every single syllable was wafted with desire. Every word carried a passionate longing for her. But it was a strange relationship. The lover and she never met.


It went on…imagination stroked the life’s fine nerves every day. And just as simple as shaking hands of an acquaintance in the crowd, they shared the most intimate moments. They never had to meet. But they knew each other so well without seeing each other.


They understood each other’s freedom just as they understood each other’s need. Life went on…without any turning points. And then one day, she heard from him none.


Euthra, who had known love only in words, Euthra who shared closeness with a man only in words, didn’t know where to find solace. But of course life always has a beginning and an end. When he disappeared without a word from her life, she knew he had met the person he could finally decide to marry.


To be continued….

The Child in Me

30 Apr 2009 Author kuenza

I loved impersonating characters, creating characters and building imaginations. Just above our house, I had my place. I had all my toys dumped there—not the Barbie dolls, not the battery-run cars. But my toys were cattle made from barks, few unwanted metal containers and lorry made from wood.


Two days back, my four year old niece came over. I gave her company and we had a good time. So she came over last evening as well. And she brought ‘present’ (as she called) for my mother.


The Play: We created imaginary houses for ourselves. And we created imaginary doors, sofa, gas stoves, utensils etc. She came over to my place with presents. I gave her tea and she left. Then I went over to her house. She gave me tea too. And I had to go taking presents.


Just then we twisted our imagination a bit and we started impersonating child and mother. One time I was the mother and she the child. I reached her to school and went to pick her up. And then it was her turn to be the mother.


I was sleeping so soundly but she woke me up saying that I was getting late for school. She had the breakfast ready. She dropped me to school and came to pick me up. We rushed home because I didn’t want to miss that cartoon show I am so interested in. But when I was watching cartoon, she said, “Mommy wants to watch a movie,” and oblivious to my request, she turned her back and watched movie.


This was too much impersonation in fact. I felt so utterly speechless. This shows that we cannot take children’s wit for granted. This shows that they grow up to become just what you show them to be. So we have to be more careful in how we bring them up than ignore their needs and observation.


I still have that knack of ease in playing with kids. That is why my nephew and my niece love me. They enjoy playing with me. That is why I become friends so fast with children.


This morning when I walked to the bus station, two kids, not older than 7 walked back home. They wore Changzamtok School uniform. They were chasing each other and laughing loudly. I asked them if they had no class and one teased me that they forgot their packed lunch and were going back home to get it. Then another said that his friend was lying. As I smiled at them, it triggered in me the childhood I had long walked and I felt so close to happiness.

The Choking Love

30 Apr 2009 Author kuenza

Karma is out of station again and I am spending more time with my mother these days. I call her “amku………”  in a long singing tone and hug her. I have to hold her in my embrace and then just swing. To her I am still her baby and to me she is my only precious gem. I feel so handicapped not to have a word in our language to tell her how much I love her. I wish I could utter, “I love you ama.”


So much has changed. We are no longer living in the vastness of forest. We are no longer enjoying the deer or dogs barking in the silence of the night. We are no longer waking up to the crowing of rooster. We are no longer enjoying the cackling of fire as we cook. And we are no longer enjoying the company of the beautiful cattle. Yes, life has changed so much. We are now in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Even if we wished for a minute of silence, it would be impossible. But what is so hugely different is that, though we meet people in the corridor, we don’t talk. But my mother does. She finds someone talk in Sharchop and she asks, “Sharchokpa phina mai, ausa ogai ya?” and the conversation begins. I sometime wonder why it isn’t that easy to talk to our neighbors. She sees students rushing to school and she asks, “School ga dencha mo kota.” It doesn’t require any hard work, and yet we find ourselves closed in the walls of our own apartment not even knowing the person who lives next door.


That is how much life has changed. She has to walk as the countless cars speed past her giving her a dizzy sensation. And as she waits to cross the road, not a person stops to let her pass—just as it happens to everyone. It is as if only people who are driving are in a hurry.


And before she can knock on the door, she has to climb three storeys up. I was bitten by empathy last evening as we climbed up the stairs. I noticed that her right foot still had problem. She cannot keep it in the slipper. It just hangs numb and she limps now. Life’s uncertainty isn’t making me see it objectively. I am aware of only one thing: it pains me to see the sickness that inflicted her for no wrong of her.


But as strong a woman as she is, she never complains. She cooks for us. She wakes up children, asks them to study and she does all the household chores, just as she used to when her children were young. Though so much has changed, one thing remains the same. Not the clear fact that she is still my mother. But that, just as she cared and fed us, she is still the mother who must do everything herself not resigning into non-work.



This is to kind of keep word to my friend who wanted me to continue on an earlier article. This isn’t exactly how it should be, but for now, I must let this do. I hope he understands.


Spark of an Infinite Joy

28 Apr 2009 Author kuenza

I must say that for this moment, I’m the happiest person. Writing letters and receiving letters were the greatest source of happiness for me—but that became history as I stepped into the world of work and adulthood. But to tell you that it sparked back today is such a great joy!


Did it, guys. Oh khotkin and my dearest L. A colleague in my office told me that there was a letter for me, but for once, I just couldn’t think of who could have sent it. And as I read the address, I knew that neat handwriting I first saw in Vellore. And Luzee’s card reads, “You’ll need courage my friend, For your life will depend, On your effort, and how hard you try….”  I must tell my friend here that she is the source of inspiration and strength and she is the only person with whom I can share even the silliest and the most absurd dreams I hold.


I am feeling the same warm joy I felt many years back in my first year. When there was nothing I could do to drive away my blues, I found solace in writing letters. And luckily, my friends wrote to me too. And today, as if to say that we are reviving back this culture, these two kind friends wrote to me.


There really isn’t a greater joy than knowing that you have someone who cares. You don’t have to be unhappy if you feel that there isn’t anyone who cares, because you have yourself, but life starts becoming more meaningful when you have people you can trust, no matter in what circumstance.




Hey L, thanks for the card. Thank ST for me.


Meeting My Sisters—III

17 Apr 2009 Author kuenza

My brother and my sister-in-law, accompanied by another sister-in-law and a cousin brother went with me to meet our sister who is in another village. We reached Bikhar at lunch time. Abi Kuntari told me that my sister just went home carrying fodder. As soon as we stepped inside her house, we could see how busy she was.


Her jersey cow had difficulty giving normal birth to a calf and a caesarian was done. So she had to tend to this patient she had. Oh the calf is so cute and beautiful. After two days, I heard that she died. This shows just how multiple tasks they have to handle. And I felt for this cow as much as I would have felt for my mother. And the beautiful calf…when she grows up, I’m sure she will know that she lost her mother in giving birth to her.


All I ever heard from Bikharpa people I met was how hard my sister worked. And this worried me. I have bad experience from my parents working so hard. This was good for children but it was bad for their health. Working too hard makes us age beyond our age and it takes toll on us before long and that is when we are rendered helpless before we would expect it.

So I expected to see my sister gone old beyond her age. But I found her to have remained much the same. She quickly got herself into business of preparing lunch for us. Our driver was bored for sure. So was my company. But how could I help?


After lunch, we went to Karma’s mother’s house. My colleague liked Karma’s place better because of the homely feeling it rendered. After taking tea, we went back to my sister’s house because I knew my nieces would be back from school. And yes, they had. My heart went out to them the instant I saw them. The elder niece used to stay with my parents before she was sent to school and thus we have our attachment. I had missed her and her talks. She is an unusual bold, talkative girl. She topped her class. This made me want to give extra attention to her. But her sister, so unlike her, is always complaining of not wanting to go to school. My sister told me that she always talks of wanting to stay home herding cattle. We always say that we must choose to do things based on our choice, but this I did not approve. Despite the discussions we share about giving importance to farmers, and the farming, I still feel that having a good education and not having to work in the farm is much better. So I told her that she must study well.


And then I have this quiet, curious, nephew. He simply stares and doesn’t speak much. He looks so different from all of us. But my sister tells me that he talks a lot. When he sees old people, he wants to know if he doesn’t have grandparents. And if there is something I have sent to him, he wants to know where I am. The inquisitiveness of children burns thus.


Later that evening, we all got together at Karma’s house, dined to the night and we had the loveliest get-together ever. Sitting beside the bukhuri, sipping tea, eating the best home-cooked food, and hearing no one else but the familiar voices of my relatives, I thought heaven could be just that. What would I want more? I really want to go back again with more time. And maybe then, I will decide to stay forever.