Monday, 29 September 2014


Last time when I gave few words of assurance and support to a friend, who was going through certain crisis in his marital life, I could visibly see the affect.  I could not miss the tears welling up in his eyes. His stoic pretensions of carrying on with his life without any effect of malicious back-biting going on in the town melted.

I understood his folly of leaving his wife and a child for another woman who also had kids of her own. I reasoned with him to avoid getting involved in an affair of the kind because the stakes are high. There were troubles and difficulties ahead. And many more obviously in the offing. But, when the decision has been made of no turning back on his relationship against mounting odds, little moral support was what I thought he needed and, I was not wrong.

He said, he was in love with the woman and the fact that although, they both had their families but did not matter to their new relationship was something strangely bizarre. And he added that, from the moment they met for the first time they felt an unexplained bond of a proportion like never before. This, he thinks has something to do with their past karma.

“This is something that cannot be easily explained. People will disapprove of our relation obviously. We know, this is not an ideal relationship but, both of us wanted to take it one step further,” he said.

He said that there were ample evidences of gossip mongering going on behind his back and, although it hurt him, he pretended not being aware of it.

I thought over this and concluded that, however wrong the relation may be in the first place, on the hindsight; it is love story that is best understood by the couple themselves. Yes, hearts have been broken, trusts and confidence breached and, ethics and morals questioned on one hand. On the other, I have a feeling that, the reason the couple stood against all these odds was a triumph of love in the end. We all see what is bad in carrying forward a relationship like this but, what we fail to realize is looking at their relationship through their eyes. Love can be crazy but, do we need to be reminded that this craze was what drove human to leave behind spectacles like Taj Mahal or epics like that of Paris-Helen, Layla-Majnu or Singye-Galem.

Here is another story; about two years back a lay monk in his fifties lost his wife and, with his children living separately he felt lonely. He went places but ultimately had to return back to his village. This was where he belonged to. As night fell, the emptiness of his humble hut gave him heartaches and his health deteriorated.

In the same village, a woman, past her prime was also facing a similar situation having lost her husband to tuberculosis three years earlier. Her son, in his twenties was, an alcoholic and instead of caring for his mother became abusive and violent under the influence of alcohol. She was epileptic too and, the prospect of something disastrous happening was always looming like a dark cloud.

And what happened next was abhorring to others but beautiful to these two individuals who shared similarities of their lives that brought them together. After a short period of courting they got married and their life was back on the track. Relatives from both the families stood against the relationship. No matter how much they tried to dissuade the couple to end their relationship, they stood firmly together and saw off all those who despised them. They were happy again.

When I met the couple early one morning during my regular morning walk, I was surprised to see how happy they looked together. Both of them have regained their health and there was visible glow even on their wrinkled faces. It was obvious to me how wonderful they were feeling in their new found love.

They acted like any other teenagers in love.The couple could not stop exchanging passing glances intermittently. Their eyes would meet and understand what is in their mind. I felt happy for the couple. I understood what must have gone through them initially but, they are triumphant and happy finally and that is what mattered to them. They deserve to live happily and, their love will certainly take them through the rest of their lives.

What do you say of these two love stories? It may not look acceptable. Ideally, a straight forward normal run of the mill kind of love stories culminating into marriage may look appropriate. This is what happens with the most but, in the two stories I mentioned, however worst it may look initially, it was a happy ending with love triumphing over all odds in the end. Often, we look at such things through our own myopic lens and see them as unacceptable but, what matters more is the happiness of the individuals concerned in the end.

What I wish for these love two stories, is an ending many many years down the line which will say……………and they lived happily ever after.

Happy reading. Until next time take care and may god bless you.

Gyembo Namgyal
September 30, 2014.


Children are the best part of human being. They are innocent in their thoughts, pure in heart and hold the key to our future and the future of humanity. They have the potentials to achieve even the highest and ultimate aspirations a human can aspire for in life; to become enlightened beings.

Here are some pictures of children. Their actions shows innocence at their best. Have a look!!!
                                           an old ball as a hat and was the other half a mask?

                                          ah, Druk Gi Nya Goed.......

                                          caught in the act?

                                          pure innocence..........melts your heart.

                                          Boys knows how to cock-fight!

                                          future body builders flexing their muscles......

                                           friends in arms..........

                                          look on.......

                                          the future is ours.............


                                           perfect Drukpa............

                                          lamas in the making.............

I hope, these pictures reminded you, of your own childhood days. May be you even wish you did not grow at all. But, we all grow and so will they. Each one of these innocent looking children will grow on to become someone in life.

Hope readers enjoyed these pictures for  change. Have a good night.

Gyembo Namgyal
September 29, 2014

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


I am not a movie buff any more. As a young boy, movie fascinated me but, those were the times when we did not have computers and televisions. So, it was understandable why watching movies on big screen was the most popular entertainment for the whole population then. I adored Bollywood movie stars during my younger days and like any others of my age, I remember collecting postcards of movie stars that decorated book covers.

Then came video followed by television that killed the big-screen movie watching pastimes. With it, the attractions of movie also fizzled out to a great extent because there was a large choice. I must confess that, I seldom watch movies now even when varied choices available. Even Bhutanese movies with our own local talents showcasing their acting prowess do not entice me into watching movies regularly to rekindle my lost love of movie watching.

But, that does not mean I hate movies either. I must admit that I have watched few good movies lately on the recommendation of my friends. They are all English movies and I must admit that, I have enjoyed them too. I watched “Hatchiko,” a movie about a faithful Japanese Akita dog and also a movie titled “Patch Adams.” Both are based on true stories and I found both inspiring.

And yes, I watched “A Walk to Remember,” a romantic movie based on the book by the same title by Nicholas Sparks and another movie titled “If Only.” Both these movies are emotionally stirring love stories portrayed beautifully.

I read the book, “A Walk to Remember.” It is a beautifully gripping love story that I read it in one night and expected the movie to be equally entertaining. And it did not disappoint me. I am sure anyone who read the book or watched the movie would agree with me and probably been moved to tears.

I did not know what to expect from the movie “If Only.”  To my surprise, it was of similar genre, a heart wrenching love story with beautiful songs akin to Bhutanese or Hindi movies where songs offer beautiful transition and interludes. Both these movies have some good sentimental numbers that blended beautifully with movie themes.

Although, I believe most of the people must have read the book “A Walk to Remember” or watched the movie based on its popularity; here is a short synopsis of what it is all about for those who haven’t done so far. This is a love story revolving around a terminally ill girl student played by Mandy Moore, who, upon discovering her incurable illness of leukemia tries to live a normal school life wearing simple dress and without any make-up unlike other children attracting ridicule from all quarters. She has a beautiful heart and equally mesmerizing voice. She sings in choir in a local church where her father is a pastor.

The turning point in her life comes when, the school authorities decides to stage a play where the girl is to act opposite the school’s most popular boy played by Shane West. The boy initially hates her and makes her the subject of ridicule along with his friends. However, during the course of the play rehearsal, he begins to understand her and slowly develops a liking for her. And the unthinkable happens when the boy falls in love with her after realizing just how beautiful she is in fact with proper make up. The boy follows her, but she avoids him deliberately to prevent him from the heartbreak of knowing   her terminal condition. The boy persists and she finally tells him the truth of her condition.

The truth only deepens the affections with the boy resolving to give her all the happiness during her last days. While the girl lay stricken in her bed, he proposes to her and they get married in a church. On the day of their marriage, the boy waits inside the church waiting for her. The scene of the girl bride, frail but beautiful, walking down the church aisle holding her father was the walk to remember. They get married and not long after, she dies.

“If Only,” was also a tragic love story of a couple. The movie also has some good songs sung by the lead actress, Jennifer Love Hewitt who plays an orchestra singer. It is a story of a strange premonition that the lead male actor Paul Nicholls, playing husband to Jennifer have in his dreams. He experiences a sequence of déjà-vu becoming reality and taking place in his life. And one of this is a strange premonition of the death of his wife taking place in a car accident.

In order to escape this from happening, he takes his wife to a secluded mountain far away from their hometown. After spending some time, the couple decides to return back to their place and work. And the unthinkable happens, just like in his premonition, he finds himself in exactly the same spot, in the same cab driven by the same man. However, it was not his wife, but he himself facing the reality of his premonition, his own death when a lorry ploughs the car he is in with his wife who he protects at the cost of his own life. This is also a must watch beautiful love story that I don’t hesitate to recommend.

Watch these movies; I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.  But, take plenty of tissue paper. I am sure even the toughest of the tough are going to shed bucket of tears watching them. I think it is good to be sometimes stirred emotionally and yes tears are good for eyes, let it fall and flow down like a river, they are not bad after all. I am sorry for the poor review though.

Till we meet next time on this page, enjoy watching these movies.

Happy Reading and Take care.

Gyembo Namgyal
September 25, 2014

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time,” said Winston Churchill on why democracy is the best form of government. While this argument may sound true, people had to struggle and make sacrifices to overthrow tyrannical and despotic leaders to usher in democracy. It is the opposite here in Bhutan. Democracy in Bhutan was the greatest gift to the people from the golden throne with His Majesty, the fourth Druk Gyalpo as the architect of instituting democracy in the country.

Today, we are in the seventh year after the maiden parliamentary elections in 2008. The election results of the second parliament elections can be construed as how much root democracy had already taken in the country. This is a good indication and a sign that democracy, which was bestowed on the people by the monarch himself with faith in the abilities of Bhutanese people, is bound to succeed in the long run.

For the people, who always had benevolent monarchs for the last one hundred years, the uncertainties of what entails democracy was accepted with initial apprehensions. However, in the last seven years of the democracy in Bhutan, people not only enjoyed smooth transition of governance but have also enjoyed continued peace, stability and an accelerated pace of development in the country. Suddenly, there is real feeling among the people that, democracy is indeed good for the country.

In the aftermath of the first parliamentary elections, the pace of development accelerated and there was a visible sign of progress everywhere. Almost all the basic infrastructures were put in place within the five years.

And then it was time for the second parliament elections. People voted for change expecting the new government to achieve even higher grounds from the standard set by the previous government.

A good beginning has been made but, there are certain shortcomings in election rules, both for local and the parliament that people wish to see amended.

The delimitation for local government was one such area that left many people disgruntled in the last local government elections. While the fortune of small gewogs did not change, the large gewogs felt they were shortchanged. And rightly so, today, some chiwogs are bigger than some gewogs.

Functional literacy test (FLT) was another frivolous exercise for local elections. The FLT, if at all necessary must have been for an aspiring lay person to prove his basic functional literacy proficiency. The lack of clarity meant that even university graduates and seasoned civil servants had to attend the FLT if they aspire for local election, which is ridiculous.

And at the ground realities, it served little purpose in many instances. When the FLT became mandatory, many good people backed off. In some remote chiwogs, compromises had to be made to make some ineligible candidate eligible to participate in the election or risk not having a tshogkpa at all.

 At the national level while qualification requirement of a minimum of a degree to be a member of parliament is laudable, the question is whether educational qualification alone makes a candidate capable to be a leader? There are capable, outspoken and knowledgeable people but without degrees to their names who can make good leaders.

With deliberations in parliament in Dzongkha, some representatives from non-dzongkha speaking regions are stumped by their limitations in spoken dzongkha thus limiting their participation in important deliberations. How do we address this? Perhaps proficiency test in spoken Dzongkha may be necessary even for the educated people. The parliamentarians may be active behind the scene but, their active participation when the laws were being enacted and bills passed is what really matters.

Laws on merger of parties or defection of candidates must be clear or else we can save cost by going for one general multiparty election.  The shortcoming of the election law was obvious when candidates from one party joined the other in the last election.

People say that, one multiparty general election will allow electorates to choose capable candidates across party lines. Even one elected member in the parliament from one party can take a different stand while ensuring survival of that party until the next election. Some say that in two party elections, some political parties will never be able to progress beyond the primaries hence limiting choices.

Democracy is all about good governance and transparency. Transparency comes through openness and free flow of information. And information must be made available to the masses through media like radio, television and newspapers.

Supporting media and allowing them the freedom of expression will only strengthen democracy in our country. Government of the day must ensure vibrancy of free media to keep playing important role of informing the nation at all times. Media in Bhutan needs support to survive to be able to play its role. Vibrant media can only strengthen democracy and this is how our democracy will be assessed by the international community.

The stakes are high for our democracy to succeed. Since democracy in Bhutan is the gift from the throne, we must ensure that we don’t fail to live up to the expectations of Their Majesties the King and the beloved Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Democracy also has to live up to the aspirations of the people to ensure people’s confidence in elected government. People will expect politicians to deliver their promises. Anything less will be hard to accept and they will certainly express subtly through ballot.

Gyembo Namgyal

NB: This is an article contributed to Bhutan Observer’s BO Focus publication commemorating democracy day.

Monday, 15 September 2014


Today, we all live in a highly globalized world. Thanks to advancement of science and technology, the entire world is just a click of the button away. But, all these technological breakthroughs have not necessarily made the world a more habitable and better place to live in and, globalization has the potential to obliterate the very essence of civilization like unique culture, tradition and way of life.

 Life has become so much easier now even for us Bhutanese with rapid development bringing about material comfort. While this is a good thing to happen, there is also a real danger of unchecked materialism and globalization leading to the loss of our identity if we don’t know how to strike a balance.

Development is good and it is necessary for people to live quality life but, the pursuit of quality life through materialism is what will drag us all in pursuit of endless wants and be the cause of our sufferings. Today, we must consider ourselves lucky to have been born in a land blessed by Guru Rimpoche and other luminaries including our successive monarchs. We have to consider ourselves lucky to have inherited largely intact environment, culture and traditions not by freak accident but by the blessings of these great saints and our collective good karma. The onus now lies with us, the present generation to pass on these invaluable assets to our future generations. Whether we can do that remains a question.

I think, we have all the aggregates necessary to become a perfect place that can be called a true Shangrila if we are prepared to make small adjustments in life. Because, we opened up relatively late to the outside world, the bad influences of modernization are late to arrive in the country to have caused larger impact. But this is changing rapidly and the indications are that, we are becoming no different from any race when it comes to materialism.

The good thing is that, we have a sound development guiding principle based of Gross National Happiness (GNH) that will hopefully curb those mindless pursuits even at individual level. Secondly, as a predominantly Buddhist country, individuals are always governed by its principles and thus help us in being reminded of the importance of living in moderation.

But, the ideals can change with generational transition and this is what we must all be worried about. Already the outside influences are visible in our urban centres and are making inroads into the villages. Our youth are fascinated by Korean styles and try and emulate them through weird hairdos and dressing styles which are alien to our own standards. How deep these external influences are in our society is a matter for us to introspect? And I think, oblivious to us, dramatic changes are apparently taking place that must worry us.

A non-resident Bhutanese, returning back to Bhutan after a gap of about five years was little shocked to see children in the streets mimicking the so called Korean styles. He said, what worried him was whether Bhutanese parents are making any effort at all to educate their children on making informed choices because these children will carry with them these residual impact of their present lives into their adulthood. Another interesting observation he made and shared is quite damning for those affluent living in the cities where there are increasingly less Bhutanese in their lives.

An interesting mention was made on how he felt he was entering a home of a Bollywood star and not a Bhutanese home, when he was invited to a get-together. Except for the curved designs of the windows and an altar (Choesham) in one room, there is nothing that can merit that home to be called a Bhutanese home. He said he not only felt sad but was worried with the kind of a culture alienation taking place in the towns. He also shared how living in a foreign land has made him endear and realize just how precious our own culture and values are. These values have molded Bhutanese to become humane human beings and the world needs that, according to him.

This incidence of a chance meeting with the non-resident Bhutanese opened up a poignant issue on where our society is moving in the face of rapid development and globalization. There is a real danger of the generation next from those parents living in towns and cities to appreciate less about our own culture and tradition as they get influenced more by cosmetic attractions of foreign culture and way of life.

It is sad too that, the affluence brought about in the first place by education has the potential to be the main cause for the dwindling appreciation of our own culture and tradition and that the uneducated rural folks have to once again lead the way in the preservation and appreciation of the Bhutanese culture. I think educated people have lot of introspection to do.

His Holiness Gyalwang Drukchen speaking to Bhutanese delegate in one of the Annual Drukpa Council said, “Nothing is as important in life as your identity.” I think, this is even more important for us, Bhutanese because we can easily be overwhelmed and swallowed up. We need more than just the ability to wear ghos and kiras to be a Bhutanese. We need Bhutanese essence in everyday life.

I may be wrong but, try giving deeper thoughts on anything we do with our children and see how much of them are in tandem with our culture and tradition. One day, they will also become parents and will have the onus to pass on these values to their children too and, we want them to do it the Bhutanese way.

We are walking the tight rope; we must know how to balance ourselves first.

Wishing all the readers health and happiness. Take care until my next post. I am extremely sorry for the long post, I promise, it will be shorter next time. I am really bad at keeping things short.

Gyembo Namgyal
September 15, 2014

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


There lives an old man in my neighbourhood. He is 82, his body is frail and his back bent but, his eyes are sharp and there is no hearing impairment. He is one of the few remaining elderly in the village. He is an interesting character that, despite his advance age he is fiercely independent and lives on his own.

Every few days, he will come to our place with his back bent, and on each passing visits I can see it aggravating. We know the reason of his coming. He comes to our place when his thirst for a glass of strong local brews ara forces him out of his house defying the physical frailties. He knows well where to go when thirst overtakes him and ours is one house where he feels assured even though It is customary for almost every households in the east to keep some local brew ara for various reasons.

And each time, he will tell that he came to buy a glass of ara to quench his thirst. It is customary for him to go for the inner fold of his gho and fish out an old Nu 10 note. We would not take it and he too knows it but it is a formality that has been embedded in him.

After few sips, he would begin talking and it is just interesting listening to what he has to say. Having been a cowherd all his life, there is nothing heroics that happened in his life to share but, whatever little he has, he takes pride in sharing as dramatically as he possibly can.

“Khotsa, meme kakter gila na.” (Young man, I was a doughty man once) he keeps telling during his visits. I would then pester him on what made him that stubborn and he has nothing convincing to tell. But, it feels good to see a glint in his eyes when he says that. This is a typical example of the old man living up to our adage which says that even as our bodies age, our emotions don’t.

The old man’s wife died few years ago and so did two of his grown up children but, there is a daughter and another son living nearby. Often the old man use to confide that whenever his son in-law visits him, he opens everything and rummages through the contents much to his dislike.

“I don’t like this and I had to confront him. This act of him and my daughter depriving me to have even a glass of local brew is what I hate the most to live with them,” he keeps saying every time.

He will reason, why he should not drink and indulge in what he likes to, at this age. And perhaps he is right to some extent. What has he got to refrain from this rare indulgence that is available for a man of his age?

Few more sips and the few remnants of his lifetime of herding cattle come to the fore. “I have enough money to buy a good jersey cow. Tell me if there is anyone willing to sell,” he would say. This cannot stop anyone from smiling, listening to him realizing the reality. At his age, he is barely fit enough to look after himself, let alone rear a cattle. He feels offended by our smile and with seriousness creeping into his wrinkled face he would insist that he in fact has enough money hidden from the prying eyes of his two children, enough to buy a good cow.

One day when he said he has some money safely hidden, a local leader and I tried to make him reveal where it was hidden knowing well, he will never confide this top secret of his. And yes, instead of responding to our question, he cleverly diverts the conversation elsewhere. We prod the old man and each time he would change the topic. The old man was known to be a thrifty man all his life, selling whatever there is to be sold and keeping the proceeds safely hidden. It is also a well known fact that, in the aftermath of his wife’s death, whatever the old man saved was taken by his two children for him to possess anything substantial.

Finally, after much prodding, the old man reveals a part of his secret. He said whatever he has are safely secured under a lock and key in one of his many boxes and that the key was buried underground. We tell him, if that is a wise decision because if a thief knows he has the money inside one of the boxes, the boxes can be broken without needing the key.

“Ah yes…yes, this is possible but, I did not realize it. I will have to device another safe keeping plan,” he said with a resigned look. And we all burst into laughter.

And soon after he left, his back bent and his frail legs little wobbly. Any offer to help him reach his home will be rejected saying that, a glass of local brew cannot down him and that in his youth a palang of strong ara (a standard bamboo and wooden wine container) never sufficed to intoxicate him. What he, doesn't realize is that, the equations have long changed and that, a small glass of the local brew is what it takes to have its effect on the old body, but we decide to respect his dispositions to let him walk like a strong man at least to his young soul in the old body.

Keep well until we meet again on the same page.

Gyembo Namgyal
September 10, 2014

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Dark was the night and the silence was eerie,
 The hands of clock crawls to three in the morn.
The stars are twinkling in the dark firmament outside,
Only half have disappeared in the silence of the night.

The cold outside was crisp and I sat covered in gooseflesh,
The western skyline barely visible with a blanket of darkness,
But, in eastern sky a hazy light creeps and spread reluctantly,
And It’s a sign of the dawn dawning of a brand new day.

Crow of a rooster broke the silence of the night,
And from a distance another responds longer than the first.
The rest began crowing and the first light in the village began burning,
It’s a wake-up call that the dawn is here for those still in hibernation.

The light in the eastern horizon infiltrated the darkness,
And stars began disappearing en mass from the cosmic skyline.
The warmth of the blanket was ever enticing for the battered body,
But there is no time to sleep for the peasant’s day has begun in earnest.

Phew, it was a busy week starting from maniac Monday. I had obligations everywhere and as old habits seldom die, it holds so true with me. Try how many times; I have never been able to get over this devil called procrastination.

And I also realize that, I haven’t posted anything on my blog for the last few days, so I had to do something quick. I was thinking what to write about and I remembered a friend who commented on my facebook update some months back. I wrote some lines on dusk and the friend wrote what about dawn? Now, that is not a bad topic to write about when you are already behind.

Sorry for the crude attempt at poetry, I hope it gives my readers a good laugh and yes there is nothing wrong in laughing. We all need to laugh sometimes and laugh our heart out because laughter is good for health and I want readers to be healthy at all times.

Meanwhile keep well until we meet again here on the same page but at a different time!!!

Gyembo Namgyal ©
September 03, 2014