Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A COWBOY IN A BOONDOCK

In a bush covered lonesome moorland,
A lonely old-timer watches his cattle grazing
From a mossy rock that is a vantage point.
He beams sending furrows deeper on his wizened face,
A bamboo hat on his head, a machete hangs on his hip,
A flute to serenade is tugged under the belt,
The belt that holds his threadbare Gho well above his knees,
And he shouts barrage of habitual commands to cattle in the meadow.

In the distance is a small hamlet,
Dark houses sprawl on the slope,
Till the place where no longer a home can stand.
Eerily silent the hamlet looked from afar,
Hardly is it different when you are closing near.

Dark are the houses and some in ramshackle state,
All bear sooty looks from ageless use,
Of ceaseless burning of woods in their hearth.
Though they stand as testimony of habitation,
There is no sign some are in use anon,
And the cowboy says half are empty and half on the verge.

This is the place where many herded cattle,
For generations and as long as he can remember,
Where they played traditional games in midday,
And in groups shared some of their rowdy jokes in rain,
Of their muscular heroics and tryst with fairer sex,
But it is he alone who come to the same place now.

His bones are aching from arthritic joints,
His muscles are wasting and eyesight failing.
One day he will no longer herd his cattle here,
And that will be the death of a tradition, his infatuation.

His heart laments on his emptying village,
The old are passing and young are schooling,
Learning how and why not come back to old ways,
The agile are drifting looking for greener-grasses,
People are becoming heartless like any other races.

But he leaves a message-what you are looking for is here,
He know it’s all futile and no one will lend ears,
No one is made to listen but to be egocentric,
He cries inside of what he is witnessing,
This village now is a far cry from what it used to be,
But, he must be subservient to the fate he is consigned,
To the day he is able; he will come back and herd his cattle here,
Until he is no more able or no more are his body and soul together.

Gyembo Namgyal
December 24, 2014
9:30 PM





Thursday, 18 December 2014

BREAK THE CORRUPTION CHAIN

Picture source: Google
Attitude of indifference-dangerous
“Break the Corruption Chain,” is this year’s theme for the International Corruption Day marked on December 9. The theme cannot be more appropriate because if the fight on corruption is to be won, there is a need to break the chain. Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) also declared December 10 to 17 as National Anti Corruption Week.

The last day of the weeklong commemoration fell on December 17, our National Day. The timing could not have been more appropriate because His Majesty’s this year’s National Day Speech carried a loud and clear message on corruption and the dangers of Bhutanese indifferent attitude towards corruptions.

This attitude is dangerous because corruption can then become deeply entrenched in the system and if it does, rooting out will require herculean task. It is important that corruption is not allowed to take root in the first place. With His Majesty, calling upon the nation to change our attitude, it is expected to give a shot in the arm on the fight against corruption.



 His Majesty’s speech also made one thing clear that there is no such thing as big and small corruption. His Majesty said that perpetrators must be dealt firmly no matter how high or powerful someone is. This dispels the notion of people who are beginning to think that it is only those ordinary citizens upon whom laws are applied while the rich and the powerful remain untouched.

 Anti Corruption Commission under its capable leader in Dasho Neten Zangmo is doing a commendable job despite challenges. Bhutanese must appreciate what ACC is doing and offer support to make our society free of this scourge of corruption.

Despite efforts of ACC and stringent laws, there is a feeling among general people that corruption is on the rise and in more sophisticated form. This is a cause of concern for all the right thinking people. The irony is that, some people in positions could be exploiting loopholes in the systems to carryout acts of corruption. And when such a thing takes place, it becomes all the more difficult to detect corruption. They do it by bending laws and hijacking the authority they wield.

Corruption could be taking place in various government agencies and organizations but, it is thought to be rampant in construction industry. Nepotism, cost escalations, additional works, pending bills, awarding works without bidding, limited inquiries, etc all provide rooms for corruption and people are thought to be exploiting these loopholes rampantly. Corruption could also be taking place many other areas and our indifferent attitude is allowing it to take different dimensions.

After a series of high profile corruption cases in the past, people now eagerly follow the Lhakhang Karpo corruption case. People heard of this case but after the indefinite lull in the talk, people thought the matter must have been closed until mainstream media wrote of the Office of Attorney General (OAG) preparing prosecution.

There was a similar case in Yongla Gonpa re-constructions which the ACC investigated and the OAG prosecuted some engineers. What was surprising was that, the guilty accepted the charges and agreed to repay the embezzled amount. He was back in his job and in same position. People still asks, how this is even possible.

In the corporate world, the recent deliberation in the National Council on exponential raise of salaries and Bhutanese individuals owning fleet of trucks for transportation under Indian registration are new dimensions of corruptions and these may just be the tip of an iceberg.

Misuse of professional and positional authority to carry out acts of nepotism, bypassing existing laws also happen potentially for unknown kickbacks. A mining can be in the guise of land development. Quarrying can be in the name of surface collection. Local concerns can be superseded, so on and so forth, the list can become long.

picture: Google
How do we deal with this kind of corruption? I am sure; people who misuse their authorities and indulge in corruption must have listened to what His Majesty said during the 107th National Day. Hello there, you on the cozy chair, His Majesty was speaking to people like you out there.


Finally, let’s all make this pledge not to be corrupt and also shed this attitude of indifference because we all care for our country. If we care, we must dare and because we care we should dare too.

Thank you.
Gyembo Namgyal
December 18, 2014

07:30 PM


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A MEMORABLE 107TH NATIONAL DAY

picture courtesy: BBS
“His Majesty, the Drukgyal Zhipa, the father of nation is a true manifestation of Rigsum Goenpo. In the firmness and decisiveness, His Majesty is the manifestation of Chhana Dorji. In compassionate form, His Majesty is like Chenrigzi, the god of compassion and in his wisdom and farsightedness, His Majesty is like Jampelyang, the god of wisdom,” said His Majesty, the King in his awe inspiring speech to the people of six eastern dzongkhag in particular and nation as whole during the 107th National Day celebration in Kanglung in Trashigang.

This year’s National Day was a special one for the country. It was for the first time, the National Day was held outside the capital in many years. It was a special occasion for the people of Trashigang and the five districts in eastern Bhutan to be a part of this historic event. The huge crowd that spilled out of the Sherubtse College ground braving the cold and overcast weather from early morning indicated the enthusiasm of people.

There were many entertainment programme for the day but, the highlight of the day as always was His Majesty’s speech. The highlight of this year’s speech was on the danger of corruption derailing the very foundation of the nation. His Majesty said that, there are no degrees in corruption such as insignificant ones or grave corruption. “Corruption is evil”, His Majesty said. “We must deal with corruption firmly with no fear or favour irrespective of how high or well connected the perpetrators are.”

His Majesty said, that there is even a graver issue to deal with than the corruption itself and that is the attitude of indifference and lack of concern our people have towards corrupt practices that will be even more devastating. This will have huge impact on the moral of those who are dedicated and honest people. His Majesty also spoke on the importance and the need to identify such people and bring them at the forefront and recognize them.

His Majesty explained on how exponentially each five year plan outlays are increasing and the challenges of corruptions confronting the nation. The importance of good governance in utilizing the limited resources available for equitable development based on transparency and accountability was also emphasized in no uncertain terms. His Majesty said that, there is nothing we cannot do. It is whether we have the will to do them that matter the most. His Majesty reiterated his resolve to dedicate his life in the service of the country and people once more.

Another important highlight of the speech was on meeting national goals and priorities with special reference on the need and importance of achieving food self sufficiency. His concern of migration and land fragmentation was also clear. His Majesty highlighted on the progress of ongoing welfare (Kidu) on land distribution and said that, the kidu programme that is ongoing right now is just the first phase and different phases of this welfare scheme will continue in the years to come.

His Majesty also facilitated different sections of the society with medals and awards during the day. They include farmers, teachers, and former civil servants along with other meritorious awards to distinguished individuals. He also informed people on His Majesty instituting some more awards for next year in fields like extraordinary services, innovations and creativity and, in the field of efficiency and cost saving.

This year’s national day must have been an experience of a life time for those who could attend in person. The disturbance of the broadcast was irksome at times for people watching TV who are eager to have a rare glimpse of His Majesty, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo who people miss so much since his abdication some nine-years ago. The 107th National Day in Kanglung was certainly a watershed moment for the people of eastern Bhutan that will live in memories for a long long time.

Long live His Majesty the King and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

 Palden Drukpa Lhagyello.

Gyembo Namgyal
December 17, 2014
10:00pm




Saturday, 13 December 2014

TALK TO STRANGERS, IT’S WORTH IT

picture source: Google
“I have been working in project DANTAK for the last 35 years as a daily wage worker. And the last decade or so has been quite lonely as I am on my own,” said an unknown labourer working on the road widening works near Narphung with whom I struck up a conversation.

I was heading to Dewathang to bring home my son from school after he wrote his last exam on December 13. I had to wait for the road to open for traffic at an ongoing road widening work site. It was cold, and the overcast weather isn’t doing any better for the labourer working on the shaded side of the mountain. I took out some pieces of Doma-Paan and offered the labourer who accepted it gratefully.

It was a brief talk but, talking to him just reminded me on how lucky even those Bhutanese who consider themselves as poor are. Even the so called poor in Bhutan have a roof over their head and also own a plot of land. We are not poor at all.

This man whose forefather migrated from Nepal must have struggled to get a legal status in India. Despite having been born in India, he hardly had time to stay at home. He had to find a source of income to support his family. And without education, the only way to find even a menial employment was as a road worker in DANTAK and that kept him separated from his family for a long time.

“My wife died long time back when my daughters were still kids. And despite the struggle, they have now all grown up and left me all alone,” he said ruefully.

I learnt from him that one of his daughters was married off to a man in Kathmandu, another in Gauhati and the last one stays in another place, the name of the place just trailed off as he scampered to attend a signal from one of his friend.

The brief interaction made me realize how unkind life has been for him. He is ageing and he does not even have a home to go or any social security from an organization he dedicated his life to. Even today, he is a daily wage worker. He is worried but the road ahead is just a blank…why?
Picture source: Google

Little ahead someone flagged me down. Another Indian man looking dignified asked for a ride. I agreed to take him if he is willing to go till Dewathang.  I begin talking in English to ignite conversation. He spoke few words and then asked me if I knew Hindi. We begin our talk in Hindi. I wondered if my Hindi was any better than his English.

I learnt that he is an engineer working on the road widening work. He is going to Gauhati to meet his family where they have made temporary home to enable him to work in Bhutan. He is from Uttarkhand. We talked about the tragedy of flood there and the beauty of mountains. The image of tragedy is still vivid in everyone’s mind.

We talk about Indo-Bhutan friendship. He is a fan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I think he will bring back all the black money and also root out corruption.” He mentioned some figure of black money but I have difficulty remembering figures.

I asked him what he thought of Bhutan. “Ah, this is a beautiful place, friendly people, clean environment and so peaceful,” he said. He added that Bhutan’s entire population of about seven lakhs can all become prosperous with abundant resources if the income is equitably distributed. I couldn’t agree more.
picture source: Google

He appreciated availability of organic vegetable for consumption and said that, there would be a niche market for Bhutanese organic fruits and vegetable in Gauhati as many affluent people are becoming more health conscious. This is what I always felt possible and if explored may provide our farmers a lucrative outlet for farm produce.

We would have talked a lot more but we reached our destinations. He said, it was first time he was travelling with a Bhutanese and it was an entirely different experience. “I thoroughly enjoyed this trip,” he said. And he asked me to drop at his place when I travel on this highway for a cup of tea. He asked my phone number and dialed a call back so that I can register his number.

Finally when I reached my destination little further from where I dropped my travelling mate, I checked my phone to see time and I saw a missed call. I called the number back thinking it must be important and the voice on the other end said, “Sir, hum haain…Sushil.”

Who Sushil? And then I remembered it was my travelling mate’s cell number and yeah, it is him Sushil, my new friend. I had to save embarrassment, so struck a short conversation.

“Haan Sushil…..gaari to milenga na?”
“Milenga sir,  zaroor milenga.”
“Aacha…tab to thrik haain.”
“Daaniya baad…thank you.”

It was an eventful day interacting with strangers. I urge, we need to talk more, break the ice and there is always something interesting to learn. Everyone has a story to tell like the labourer and Sushil, if you want to hear their stories, talk to strangers instead of shutting yourself closed inside invisible walls.
 
picture source: Google
Gyembo Namgyal
December 14, 2014
09:00 AM

Note: I am so sorry; my blogs are always becoming long. I know, you don’t have time to read them but, if you begin reading, I am sure you will read it to the end.

Happy weekend and HAPPY NATIONAL DAY on December 17.





Thursday, 11 December 2014

WINTER

picture source: Google

It is winter, when the wind blows strong,
Lashing on your face like you are wrong,
You cannot see it in any form,
But it is there like it is the norm.

It is winter, on the high mountains tops,
Or the low valley gully drops,
On the high mountains are snow white caps,
In the low valleys icicles form on water drops.

It is winter, deciduous trees are stark naked,
Not a leaf stand, on the boughs all crooked,
Fast withers blades of grasses en mass,
Until the wind blows them away all in mass.

It is winter, when the smoke rises,
From the chimneys of the plush high rises,
And the smokes also bellows in thick plumes,
From crevices and over ramshackle huts, it looms.

It is winter, it is cold,
In the mugs brews are bold,
Buttered tea, espresso coffee,
Yummy porridge, devour feeling no gaffe.

It is winter, it is cold,
Thick clothes in vogue are sold,
High boots, woolen jumpers, long stockings,
In the discos wearers do the rocking.

It is winter, it is cold, and people pour,
Out of discos in twos and fours,
All high, even mild are first tipsy,
And the bold all fall flat topsy-turvy.

It is winter, it is cold,
For those soul that are old,
Under the thick of warm blanket’s fold,
They snuggle like they found gold.


©Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel
11:30 PM

Haila….., it has been over a week. More than a week, perhaps over ten days to be precise since I last updated my blog. I am sorry, I was busy. Honestly busy. And the worse thing is that for the same period we had power outage during the days. I had to burn the late night candles to work on some deadlines and the updates had to wait.

I know I have obligations to the small but valuable circle of my blog readers, so I had to do it today; crude and raw as it may be perpetually. So have little fun reading this poem that was inspired by what is going through me as I begin working my fingers on laptop keyboard. Cold has enveloped me. It has to because this is winter and it is all powerful right now. Just feel, even the glowing sun has to cull its heat intensity….and who am I to be defiant?

Have a good night guys and may god bless you and love you all!!!


GN


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A BEND IN THE COUNTRY ROAD CAN TAKE YOU HOME OR TO GRAVE

“Oooo……ooops,” we kept uttering in unison as the overgrown twigs and bushes rattled the sides and clumps of mud and rocks brushed the underbelly of the car intermittently. I and my friend Tashi were travelling to one gewog together and the experience was nothing short of a nightmare. It was an adrenalin rushing drive akin to those shown in Discovery channel with our SUV (small utility vehiche)-a maruti car. The car got the beating of a lifetime on that day as we ploughed our way through the thicket.

Half way into the journey, we were left in dilemma whether to push forward or return back and take a longer detour. We resolved to push on and after what seemed to protract on for hours we reach our destination-thankfully in one piece. It was a familiar place, but that day, we lost track of where we actually reached at any given point of time. All our attention was focused on the road throughout-excuse me, was that a road at all? Yes, it is a road and someone is even given the task to maintain this road but, how good will the road be, in the aftermath of the repair will depend on responsiveness of the contractor, integrity of the supervising engineer and some voices of beneficiaries too.


Over the last few weeks, I had to travel a lot into the villages and gewogs. It gave me ample idea of the road conditions in the villages. Some are good, some exceptionally good and some in pathetic conditions. I had experienced them all. This gives me the confidence to rate them and, also develop my own opinion-sans technical expertise, on why such a diverse condition exist of what is essentially the same thing called road.

In my personal opinion, the conditions of all these roads are the result of the following factors: planning, consultation with beneficiaries and other stakeholders, technical soundness of engineers involved in planning and designing of roads and commitment and professionalism of contractors. If we lack in any of these areas, the end result can be costly in the long run.

 The varying conditions of farm, feeder or dzongkhag roads depended primarily on these factors and that could be the reason why some roads are better than others. Some farm roads are as good as highways and others-road to hell. Some are comfortable to drive at an optimum speed while on others you just can crawl; one mistake or loss of concentration could be the difference between life and death. And some have the real threat of becoming ecological disasters.

When I say we need proper planning and consultation with stake holders I mean to say that, often beneficiaries are not taken into confidence by convincing them to plan road according to technical specifications. When one farmer on the fringe does not allow road to be taken through his farm land, the entire communities and villages remain deprived of a beneficial road network inside the village. Yes, individual farmers may have the right but that right should not be the barrier for a  many others in the community. This is the reason why in some instances villages are in one side while the road goes in the other side.

Consultations with various stake holders are as important. For example, two or more gewogs may need to collaborate and pool resources together to build a good road network than building many poor ones. This way, maintenance budget can also be pooled to keep it open at all times. This is possible. But why do such collaboration not take place?

Technical soundness of engineers designing the road is the primary reason and the most important determining factor for the overall condition of the road. Gradients of some roads are so bad that, they are fit for only off-road vehicles and, narrow hairpin bends confront you when you least expect. Poor gradients lead to fast deterioration of the overall condition. Spillage of rainwater on this kind of road can be devastating, leading to high maintenance cost. Professionalism and integrity of the engineers are the only way to correct this.

Commitments and soundness of contractor is yet another crucial factor for quality assurance. Honestly, some contractors are merely interested in making money and do not bother about the onus they have towards the society.  I wonder, why at first they are bent on making fast money through various means only to be donated later for religious causes. 

From what others say and from what I have experienced personally, professionalism of one contractor stands out from all others. I haven’t met him but, others say he is a simple unassuming man who can be mistaken for any other farmer. I was told he often wears a simple bata chappal (flip flop). Even his name is not a name at all. It is a combination of his village name and his gender-Tokshing Kota, in eastern dialect. His name is not a name; his name is a brand today. Why can’t others emulate him?

Please remember to be alert when you are on the road. You never know what is behind those bends on the road. They make take you to your destination or to your death bed and, you will never know some of these seeming life lines can also turn out to be death trap. Be alert when you are behind the wheel and don’t drink-drive. I am always reminded by this roadside sign somewhere which said, “A driver is safe when the road is dry and the road is safe when the driver is dry.” But on farm roads you need to be doubly alert because a driver may not be safe even when the road is dry and dusty.

Thank you readers and visitors take care and may god bless you all.

Gyembo Namgyal

November 27, 12:30 AM


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

REFLECTIONS IN THE INNOCENT EYES

Perched On a precarious slope,
A hut stands hanging near collapse,
Inside the dwellers are as diverse,
From the grand old man to naive children.

As the old man watches the sun going down,
A sibling scurries between work and play,
The boy in old shorts; not been to school yet,
His sister in dress is a sign she is just back from learning.

She is home but she wears uniform,
A faded blue kira it was,
But the fringes are falling loose,
Will it make it to the yearend? It has to.

A careful tread inside the hut,
Brings about a tremor akin to a quake,
Fading light peeps through the rattling window sill,
But the years of soot have all and sundry painted in black.

The winter is approaching; the crisp air is a sign,
But the crevices are a plenty, and the cold will have no mercy,
Winter can be cruel if you are not wary,
But clothes are scanty and the family is in worry.

An old battered pot boils on the ancient oven,
With fire licking the soot insulated archaic bottom,
Even when the bright electricity illuminates the vicinity,
Wood still burns the hearth and warms the hut here.

As the mother boils a broth,
The children look on expectantly,
The eyes says it all without speaking,
That their stomach grumbles hungrily.

The girl squats near the door,
And watches the fire burn in the oven,
The boy inches closer the cackling embers,
Its warmth as enticing as the broth in the pot.

The eyes of the young girl sparkle beautifully,
As the fire in the oven mirrors in her glassy eyes,
She smiles a beautiful smile sheepishly,
To the snotty grin of her rowdy little brother.

The darkness envelops the lonely hut,
And the old man comes in; a stick in his scrawny hand,
The girl with her innocent eyes peep outside intermittently,
For her father has not yet returned from the forest.

Outside-the place is desolate,
Inside- the poverty is stark,
The house needs repair before falling,
So the father has to go lumbering.

There is helplessness in the grand old man’s face,
There is pain in the woman’s face although she tries to smile,
Those innocent looking eyes may not know why-who knows?
But it is the reason why the father toils alone past the dark night.

There is anguish in your heart at the cruelty of this world,
For some bask and indulge in the wealth and abundance,
From poverty some cannot find a path to escape,
And those innocent eyes keep you haunting, long after you are gone.


Gyembo Namgyal
November 19, 2014, 9:00 PM


Dear readers, it is painful whenever we see injustice in life. We want to do something but always lack the means and those who have the means are least bothered. Today, we in Bhutan have one of the highest per capita wealth in South Asia but, this does not mean we are prospering by any means. Some sections of the people are prospering but the majority is not. Some live in abject poverty right next to prospering lot. This is not fair. We are moving further away from the ideals of His Majesty the King and the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, of a country that should not have the extremes between haves and have nots.

This simple poem is dedicated to those two children and the children like them; so innocent and faultless and yet unaware what the future holds for them. May God Bless Them.




Tuesday, 11 November 2014

AN ODE TO HIS MAJESTY THE FOURTH DRUK GYALPO

PHOTO COURTESY: GOOGLE
(A humble expression of gratitude to Bhutan’s beloved  great king, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo on the occasion of His Majesty’s 60th birth anniversary on November 11, 2014.)

My king, O my destined king!
In the hidden land of Baeyul,
A prince was born in the dragon kingdom,
Under the auspicious signs and divination,
As propheciesed by Ugyen Guru Rimpoche.

My king, O my peerless king!
There was a limitless joy in the kingdom,
Upon the birth of you in this blessed land,
It marked the dawn of happiness,
And ensured the perpetuation of the royal lineage.

My king, O my enlightened king!
It was the most auspicious day and the year,
With constellations and stars all in harmony,
As the beloved king, the emanation of Avaloketeshwara,
Descends in a celestial palace in the wood sheep year.


My king, O selfless king!
You are born destined to take the helm of governance,
But, in the service of the nation you forfeited your youth,
And led the nation at the tender age of seventeen,
Amid the heartbreak in passing away of the nation’s father.

My king, O my wise king!
You became the youngest monarch in the world,
Your charm was matchless, sending hearts fluttering,
But it is your wisdom that held all others in awe,
The nation’s heartbreak soon healed in the confidence of your reign.

My king, O my great king!
You ushered in an era of peace and tranquility,
And the nation made wholesome strides, others can only wish,
There was smile on the faces; there was happiness in the land,
From your heart was born the ideals of Gross National Happiness.

My king, O my people’s king!
You are the father, the ruler and the guardian,
You are the precious inner jewel,
You are the outer wall, the nation’s protector,
And an indispensable national life-force.

My king, O my genius king!
It is in folk lore and legends that,
Kings have gone to war and led battlefields,
But you did it at the front-line flushing out guerrillas,
When others would have hidden under fortified bunkers.

My king, O my people’s king!
There was peace, there was harmony,
There was progress, there was happiness,
But silently you engineered colossal transition,
And ushered in ground shaking reforms.

My king, O my visionary king!
When bloods were shed and lives lost,
In the world of power struggle and consolidation,
You ushered in the constitution, the mother of all laws,
And became the architect of power devolution.

My king, o my selfless king!
To people you handed back the reins of power
A century after people joined hands to enthrone the first king
And the nation’s heart broke when you decided to abdicate
As people stood stunned, with pleads of reconsideration all but futile.

My king, O my visionary king!
Heart break it was for us all but,
As the nation comes to the term,
We realize, how visionary your thoughts were,
You saw what we could not even fathom.

My king, O my beloved king!
We are blessed to be your subject,
We are not ruled but, served by an enlightened king,
No words can express our gratitude for your deeds,
We can only feel with our skin covered in goose bumps.

My king, O my compassionate king!
May your majesty live forever,
Like the sun that keeps shining each day,
You are like a snow lion as your name say,
That only traverses this earth once in an eon.

My king, o my dharma king!
May you live with health and happiness,
May the teaching of Buddha flourish,
May all your aspirations be fulfilled,
Only then will we be realizing your boundless vision.

My king, O my king!
“There never was a king like you before and
There never will be another like you in future”
Said His Majesty, the King Jigme Khesar,
And there never will be another king in the universe like Your Majesty indeed.


Gyembo Namgyal
November 11, 2014 3:00 PM





Sunday, 9 November 2014

AUTUMN SEASON

picture:courtesy Riku Dhan Subba
It’s a sign autumn is here,
When the rain is nowhere near,
And milder turns the weather,
With rolling clouds drifting like feather.

It is a sign of autumn’s advent,
When the sun has no heat to vent,
And farmers bask in its retreading shine,
To the evening’s bonfire of wine and dine.

Autumn is here when the breeze is cold,
And the leaves break from the boughs fold,
Under tree’s canopy they all gather,
And end up in farmlands all asunder.

Autumn is the happy season,
Smiles on the faces its reason,
It’s time to reap what was sown and cared,
And for months with vigilant eyes which were reared.

Autumn is the season farmlands transform into golden hue,
And the grain laden stalks sway lazily as harvest is due,
Sooner the farmers come with jubilation, sickle in their hands,
To take home merrily those golden grains abound.

Autumn is here when the ripe fruits adorn the trees,
Whose boughs bend low unmoved by blowing breeze,
Then people start picking, basket on their backs,
And to the market goes yellow mellow fruits in stacks.

Autumn is a season of festivities never ceasing,
Air in the valleys filled with melody so rousing,
Of songs and dances that keep on reverberating
An offering to god sends people celebrating.

Autumn is here when birds sing ad infinitum,
Rejoicing at the season of bounty’s continuum,
That ensures their young ones will not go hungry,
For the season of plenty is finally here in the country.

Gyembo Namgyal
Pemagatshel
November 9, 2014 2:10 PM


Dear esteemed reading friends, I am really sorry for not being able to update my blog post for the last couple of days. I am sure not many would have noticed it but, for those who take time to visit my blog, I have to inform here that, I was unusually busy and I could not update my blog with my crap of writing. I hope, all of you must have had some wonderful days with the blessings of the Triple Gem.

Meanwhile, take care and be happy always. It is always so much better to be happy with what you have (even if you don’t have anything- like me) than, being miserable with what we don’t have!

Happy Reading!!!

Kadrinchey.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

WHEN LOSS IS GAIN

(When is a loss gain? Find it out from Pavan’s book that begins in India, climaxes in Bhutan and sees a happy ending in India. It is spellbinding book. To find it more one must read it but, here is a synopsis of the book-poor though.)
source-google
Pavan Kumar Varma’s book ‘When Loss Is Gain’ is a beautiful fiction which will be loved by readers. There is no reason why this book should not become reader’s favourite because it contains beautiful plot that connects with the lives of many individuals.

The book has the main protagonist Anand, a lawyer by profession narrating the story in first person. It tells about the life of Anand who is happily married man working in his buddy Adi’s law firm. Unfortunately, the couple could not bear child of theirs and thus a rift develops in the marriage. Anand, devotes his time in is work and thus the last of the sparks in his marital life slowly wanes.

The protagonist also finds himself being ridiculed more often by his best friend as time went on and realizes his wife Tanu finding more time for Anand’s friend and employer Adi. On several occasion Anand finds Tanu unusually closer physically to Adi. This closeness raises suspicion but Anand brushes them aside believing what is going through in his mind cannot be true.

Then one day Anand gets hospitalized and later learns that he has pancreatic cancer. Under normal circumstances, the doctor takes second opinions from renowned colleagues but in Anand’s case, Tanu plays her part and insists on the doctor to not seek a second opinion and tell Anand the prognosis which shatters Anand. But the real pain was not from the realization of the looming death but that of his wife leaving him for his nemesis Adi right when he needed her the most.
 
source: google
However, after several months, the doctor who diagnosed Anand decides to take second opinion on his prognosis from two different specialists both of whom come out with the same result as not life threatening cancer but a treatable condition. Thus, Anand gets back a second chance to live which makes him appreciate every moment of his life and one day comes across a Bhutanese man who suggested he visit Bhutan for a change.

He flies to Bhutan and lives at Wangsisina between Paro and Thimphu during which he learns so many insights on life from his host. He becomes mesmerised about the country steeped in tradition and culture with deep respects accorded to environment. The stories of rocks having souls and the belief of even the inert materials having spirits not only intrigue Anand he falls in love with the place.

It is here that he comes across another Indian woman named Tara who was trying to get enrolled in a nunnery after her lover ditched her back in India. Anand and Tara meet regularly and fall in love with each other. In order to help the love grow fonder, the house owner arranges Anand and Tara’s visit to Punakha where they visit the dzong and even Chimi Lhakhang, founded by divine madman Drukpa Kunley. They return back after an eventful day.

After that eventful visit, Tara decides no to meet Anand in her preparation to become a nun. She did not want to fall in love again but she already does. Anand becomes frustrated and it is time he returns back to India. Anand’s lady landlord arranges one final meeting between the two by the riverside. On the fateful day, just when the couple were about to meet, the swollen river washes away Anand.

Tara manages to find the house owner who informs police and arranges the search party who had to return back not finding a trace of Anand and assumes him to be dead. Meanwhile Anand’s last visual were of the rocks bending down to save him. Twenty-four hours later Anand was found alive miraculously on a ledge that was way above the river line unconscious but very much alive.
He was then taken to hospital where he was found to be alright. It was there that Tara lets Anand know that she too loved him. The couple gets married in traditional Bhutanese style with the help of Anand’s host Chhimi and then one day returns back to India.

Back in Delhi, Anand learns of the plight of Adi who has become an alcoholic and how his law firm is in dire straits. Suddenly one day, Tanu arrives at Anand’s place and asked Tara about the nunnery where she intends to go and become a nun herself after what has gone through her life.

Anand meanwhile gets offer from a reputed law firm where he agrees to work four-days a week as consultant at double the salary Adi paid him earlier.

When Anand and Tara after the birth of their daughter Yashodhara returns back to Bhutan, they find Tanu no longer at the Wangsisina nunnery having moved further into the retreat.

When Loss is a Gain is indeed a gripping novel that also depicts the beauty and serendipity of Bhutan where people live simple lives in perfect harmony with nature even as 21st century roars on. It is a story of love, betrayal, desperation and the beauty of triumph in the end. It is a story of life making a full circle that has essence of Buddhist teaching and that of Ley Jumdrey, the truth of cause and effect.

I would certainly recommend this book to Bhutanese readers. I am sure readers will enjoy reading it like I did.

Meanwhile, keep reading and writing too. We will meet soon on the same page where we all likeminded people always do. Take care and God bless you all.

Gyembo Namgyal
October 30, 2014 9.0pm

NB: Pavan K Varma is the former Indian Ambassador to Bhutan. He is a distinguished diplomat, a well published author and a poet.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

YOUTH DELINQUENCY-PRIMARY FAILURE OF PARENTS

Last Friday afternoon, I had to make a visit to Pemagatshel town which is about 5 kilometres away from where I live. I had an important errand at the town. While at the town I dropped by to a friend’s place and one thing led to another and took quite sometime before I could finally head home. A contractor was in a desperate situation having been asked to provide rate analysis for a work where he bided unreasonably low. I was in a hurry but, he was virtually imploring me and my friend to help him out and the worst thing was it happened to be the deadline day for him.

Immediately after that, I headed home. I would have taken some more time at the market if I did not make a hasty retreat because some of my closest friends were found talking in one of the restaurant.

Back at the last shop, another friend, an official of a corporation was outside the shop talking with the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper invited us profusely for a cup of tea. I reluctantly accepted the invitation on the insistence of the other friend.

Outside the shop, there were many young men. One was visibly drunk. And he is, a school dropout son of a businessman in Pemagatshel. Although he stays with his parents at Pemagatshel market, he said he was heading to a village claiming to have got married there. Someone dropped him till the shop. He wanted to go with me till the point where I will be taking diversion. I agreed but, he found this official and wanted to go with him as he will be travelling further. The official also agreed to take him and asked him to wait for some time.

After the tea, we stepped outside to resume our journey home. Just then one of the young men stepped forward to inform me that the drunken boy had my car’s windshield broken. He was about take a hasty retreat by hopping in that officer’s car. I stopped him and confronted him.

There was guilt in his face but he refused to accept his doing. I was momentarily furious because of his denial and even dialed police number. The shopkeeper intervened and said it would make better sense talking to the boy’s parents or guardian. The boy’s brother-in-law responded and agreed to come to the scene of the crime. Meanwhile, the boy kept denying it was his cowardly act even in the face of at least half a dozen eyewitnesses who were all his friends.

The eye witnesses confided that, although the culprit was their friend, they have no choice but testify what they saw. Someone even admitted that although they contemplated making exit, they know that they will be called to record what they saw because I know them all and there was no escape.

The brother-in-law came after few minutes and witnesses told him what they saw with their eyes. I told the boy’s brother-in-law in no uncertain term that if he believes in the boy’s denial, police will have to be called. The boy’s brother-in-law accepted responsibility and assured to redeem the damages without the need of going through police after witnesses proved beyond a fickle of doubt about what happened. The boy acted despicably, he could hardly stand on his feet but kept denying the charges and began acting hysterically refusing to go back home along with his brother-in-law. Finally, the shopkeeper had to drive the car while the brother in-law kept hold of the drunken boy.

It was disappointing. Disappointing not because the way-ward boy sabotaged my car, there was no way he could deny it to escape redeeming the damage as there was enough eye witnesses. It was his attitude that was unbelievably disappointing that, despite so many eye witnesses he was in a state of denial. He also lacked manners and this was an ample evidence to show just how badly spoilt he proved to be.

I felt sad and worried that, people like him are becoming a nuisance in the society.  He is not spoiling his life which he already did after the last school he studied chucked him out for multiple reasons. He has become a liability to his family, society and the nation. But, of all the people, it is the parents who have failed in their primary responsibilities of parenthood.

That evening, he could be at the receiving end of everything. I had to exercise utmost restraint and thought it only sensible to call his guardian, fix responsibilities of his action and hand over the intemperate delinquent to his kith.

Dear readers do you agree with my action that evening? What would have been the most appropriate action? I thought he deserved another chance after his guardian took responsibilities of his action. Please share your thoughts in comments.

Wish my readers a good day ahead. Until next time take good care and be alert at all times!!!

Gyembo Namgyal
October 28, 2014 8.40 am





Wednesday, 22 October 2014

DEVOTION: A TIMELESS BHUTANESE QUALITY

It is time-honoured quality that is homogeneous in this land,
Of spiritual devotion that have withstood all human metamorphoses.
And arm in arm with modernity the spirituality blended like a perfect matrimonial match,
No less universal and no less profound and embedded in everyone’s heart.

Farmers leave behind their ploughs,
Businessmen forsakes their profits,
Office goers shuns their duties,
All flock to the place where the learned bestows blessings.

The grimes and filth are washed for the blessing’s sanctity,
The overly white cuffs on officers’ clothes are gone portraying simplicity.
The knee length ghos are lowered and even recalcitrant dons submissive looks,
And the white kaabneys are replaced by the red robes of sangha en mass.

People come walking, babies on their backs secured,
Children scamper, stumble and whimper-excitement on their faces.
Some ride in the rear of reckless rickety pickups,
All for a common goal of a liberating spiritual experience.

It’s the only time life springs back even in the silent hamlets in boondocks,
All abuzz boisterously with a sea of people from all walks,
And shapes and sizes as varied as one can imagine,
Donned In a sea of colours, that shimmers under the noon’s bright sunlight.

Like the waves of a sea the crowd sways,
As they converge to the epicenter of where the holy soul prays,
The sun may go down, and darkness takes place all over,
There are distances to cover and trails to traverse but not without being blessed.

Not a soul will leave without fulfilling their mission,
The mission of a glimpse of the precious teacher on the throne,
And receive his blessings that may just last a second but it is the essence,
Such is the devotion that is timelessly perpetual in this land of the fortunate.

For these devotees, devotion is unquestionable in their heart,
They see the teacher on the throne as the emanation of the enlightened Buddha,
The ground zero anywhere is as sacrosanct as the holy land of liberating Bodhgaya,
And all the people their spiritual family on the path to enlightenment guided by the peerless teacher.

Gyembo Namgyal
October 23, 2014 7.30 am


Dear readers, here is a poor description of the unquestionable faith Bhutanese have towards spiritual pursuit. This kind of universal faith among Bhutanese people have withstood test of time and this is something astounding. Influences like materialism haven’t been able to shake our devotion to spiritualism and the zest and zeal remains ever perpetual. We must be proud of this value which remains one of the guiding principles of our lives.

Thank you, dear readers for taking time to read this and other posts. Take care and have a good day. Meet you soon again on this page!!!

GN

Gho; Traditional Bhutanese knee length  dress worn by men.
Kaabney: A long white scarf worn by men over gho in formal ocassions.





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