Wednesday, 26 November 2014


“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


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


(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


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
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!!!