December 30, 2009

Happy Birthday…

I have been married for the last thirteen years and I have never been more in love with my husband than I am now. Today is his birthday and I and my kids had planned a small surprise for him but as luck would have it, he had to leave very early pertaining to his official work and he didn’t even had time to glance at the card which was carefully chosen by our daughter especially for him on the occasion. She had written wishes for her dad and waited for him to go to bed last night and placed the card underneath his cell phone because she knew that he would leave early and would not return until very late at night.

The first thing she asked when she got up was whether her dad had seen her card before he left for his work and I did not have a heart to spoil her day so I simply lied. I quickly called him to let him know about it and I could feel that he was sorry for hasting for his work without seeing the card. I know he is very busy with his work and sometimes I wish that he was just a simple teacher he used to be not the busy man he had become. But what ever he had become, we all love him even more and we are all waiting for him to return from his work to surprise him… HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR….

December 21, 2009

Me and my brothers

I was the fourth child in a big family. I don’t remember spending my early childhood with my two elder sisters mostly because they were away in the boarding school while I was learning to walk and talk. When they came on winter holidays, I remember looking at them like an intruder, intruding the haven we had because my mother would focus all her attention to the two sisters who had been away from home for most of the year.

My younger brother was my best friend. He was two year younger to me but we were of same height and I always ended up getting beaten by him almost everyday. But he was very protective when someone tried to bully me. In the school he was way junior to me because he got detained to some classes.

My elder brother was more of a bookworm. He hardly went out to play. I don’t remember him being sporty or playing any games. He was usually seen with a book on his lap and a music player.

And my youngest brother was my dad’s favourite.  He would get the best of gifts amongst all yet he was very scared of dad. He could never face my father during meals. He would usually occupy the place furthest from my dad’s place.

Now, we have all grown up and settled in our own life. We hardly have time like those good old days. Those good old days are gone beyond recall!
 It had been many years since I talked to my elder brother because he is busy with his life and his three kids. My younger brother tries to come often to meet me since he takes care of our parental home. My youngest brother is still single and getting old.

Will she ever find her happiness?

She looked at her baby on her lap and could not help the tears welling up. She just could not believe that anyone would shun the angle on her lap. The baby was sleeping peacefully not knowing the strain it had caused in the life of his mother. She thought that the birth of the baby would make her husband change his ways.

She had led a sheltered life until she was a teenager. Her mother and sisters were always there to protect her from all the evils and she had her way for everything she wanted. And she had her way when she met the man whom she thought as her knight in shining armor. If only she had listened to her mother and her sisters… Her family was against her marriage from the very beginning but she wanted to prove to them that she had made the right decision on marrying the man she wanted.

Her family could see that she was doomed for disaster but she was so blinded by the illusion that she didn’t see the devil in the man she married. She conceived her first child when she was still a student. She left the baby at home with her mother and continued her education ultimately getting herself employed. Life wasn’t a bed of roses for her… she had to face many hardships and learned to live with her husbands many illicit relationships. After two children, he still didn’t change. And she was planning for a divorce when she learnt that she was pregnant with the third child. She was doomed to live with the man who was more of a stranger than a husband.

The birth of the third child seemed to send them further apart. He briskly came to see her in the hospital and left the following day to play an archery tournament. A week later she took her children and left for her mother’s house to get healed but would the wound that has grown in her heart ever heal? Would she ever get her share of happiness?

December 20, 2009

Getting settled in the boarder town…

I have recently shifted to the boarder town which I find is very noisy and dusty. I guess that’s because I was used to living in a quite countryside. Every day, I can hear the loud noise of the vehicles passing by and the commuters shouting on the road. I have to get used to that noise if I have to survive…hehe…There are so many things I have to learn here. For instance, I have to remember the water timing. I have to learn how to bargain with the local venders here since they tend to cheat the new faces.

The winter months are cool and my children are having lots of fun. They had made friends with the only neighbour we have (We reside in an enclosed cottage) for which I am grateful because they would have started nagging me about missing their old friends. And I have yet to learn where to shop. I haven’t had much time to go out since I got here but some of my old acquaintances have promised to take me out next week for orientation…

December 18, 2009

Of farewells and tears…

We all say that meeting and parting is the way of life, but when the reality strikes us, it still leaves us with a void feelings however prepared we are. I always shy away when it comes to biding farewell and I always wish for something to come up so that I could escape the farewell gathering. But I am not always lucky, I guess.

When my friends knew that I was planning to leave, they had quickly arranged a lunch for me. It was ladies get together. All the friends from my work place came to the gathering and we had a great time unlike the formal gathering. My principal wanted a formal gathering for the three of us who were leaving on transfer and he wanted me to be back to the school on the result day. I agreed on that since I wanted to meet my students before I left. But as luck would have it, I couldn’t keep my promise due to some unavoidable circumstances. And since I firmly believe that “God is great, whatever he does must be the best”, I trust that, I was not meant to be there on that gathering. I know that my friends are mad at me for not making to that gathering but I am glad that I didn’t make it because I always tend to shed tears on such occasion which is sometimes very embarrassing…

December 11, 2009

The aftermath of the tale of a destitute

The disaster had claimed the lives of many in her village. She did not know what to do. Her life had been completely shattered and she had no one whom she could call her own. She was all alone in the whole world. That night she slept beside her mother’s lifeless body, feeling delirious due to cold and shock at the turn of the events of her life.

The following morning, some people from her village saw her in critical condition and shifted her to the nearby health centre. She was well taken care by the health workers but she did not show any sign of recovering. It was as if she had given up the hope and wished to join her mother and her two siblings who were fished out from the debris by the people on the day she was taken to the hospital.

The people from the government came to survey the damage caused by the natural disaster and they took care of all the funeral rites for which she was grateful. They felt sorry for her and the others who shared similar fate but how could they know about the void caused by the death of their near ones. The relief aid started pouring into the village and people started rebuilding their lives once again. Zangmo tried to do the same but her heart did not belong to the village anymore. She wanted to be away from that place, away from the haunting memories. She wanted to escape but she also knew that she had never ventured from her village.
One day she received a package from the village head which had been sent by some school children in the west. There was a message scribbled on the cover. She did not know how to read so she asked someone to read it for her. The message read “You are not alone in your hours of distress; we are all there for you.” The child had written his address and a phone number on the package. Zangmo felt an urge to contact the boy and got the help from some people and called this boy. She learned that the boy lived with her mother who worked in an organization. Talking to the boy brought back the memories of her brothers and filled her eyes with tears. She missed them very much. The boy said that he would get in contact with her soon. Days dragged by and she felt that her life was slipping. She lost the zest for life and she looked gaunt and pale every passing day. She never went out of her hut that the relief worker had built for her. She sat silently and prayed…

Then, she heard a knock; she thought she might be hallucinating because the people had learned to leave her alone. No one bothered her anymore. But the knock continued, she reluctantly went to the door and opened it. She saw a stranger outside her door. On closer look, she saw a small boy of about 10 years with the stranger. The boy extended his hand and said, “Hi, remember me?” Zangmo gave him a confusing look, when the boy burst into laughter and said, “I told you I would get in touch with you and I have come to get you out of here.” At once the memory of the phone call flooded her and she felt embarrassed to have forgotten the boy who had sent her that package. He pointed to the woman with him and said “Meet my mother. We have come here to take you home”…

December 10, 2009

The tale of a destitute

It was a cold winter evening, everyone wrapped in old blankets sat around the fire, consuming every single heat the wood could produce. It was Zangmo, her ailing mother and her two younger siblings. They were so poor and on top of that the harsh winter could not let Zangmo find something to feed her family. Though just 17, she had to shoulder the entire responsibility of her house, for now her mother had been bed ridden for three weeks. Not to mention about the medicines, her mother could not even get good diet and every single day she was failing. Every groan produced by her ailing mother brought tears in her eyes.

That night she prayed, if only they were well-heeled, if only her mother got alright, if only the winter was over, if only….she went on until her tired eyes closed.

Sometimes she had a little hope, thinking may be one day the sufferings would all come to an end if a man would come and marry her, and look after her family. Although there was no man she knew who would fulfill her dreams, this brought a little comfort to her.

The weather was not going to change and she had to do something because just sitting there and hoping for a miracle to happen wasn’t working at all. So the next day, she prepared a pot of steaming pumpkin porridge for her mother and siblings and set off to find something better to eat for the family. She made her mom promise that she will take care of herself until she returned. Icy wind blew on her face reddening her cheeks and nose, freezing every inch of her weather-beaten body but she moved on.

Hours later she reached a cottage and saw an old woman carrying a bundle of wood on her shoulder and entering the house. She ran towards her and offered to work for her for a day if she would give her some rice in return. The old woman let her in and listened to her story. In the evening she was given three “phitas’ of rice and she returned home. On her way back, she heard a cry as if her mother was calling her. She thought she had imagined it but walked faster. As she neared her house she could see nothing due to smog, but then she heard a cry…a very similar cry of her mother she heard a few minutes ago. She ran towards it and to her fright, she saw her house reduced to rubble and her two siblings lying still, covered in blood, her mother trying to breathe hard. She reached her mother and tried to pull her out from the shackles of wood but could not. Soon her mother breathed last. Zangmo was stunned, she regretted for leaving her family alone, for not being able to rescue her mother, for being at the old woman’s place for a whole day, for not being able to talk to her siblings in their last moment, and she thought, “if only……….”

(Please note that this is a fictitious tale)

The haunted place

I usually don’t go out at night; the reason, I am scared of the dark. I pretend to be brave in front of others but only I know the truth. Whenever I go out, I can’t help thinking of those scenes from the horror movie and then I start getting frightened. Every time I have to go out at night, I take someone with me.

There is a particular place that gives me creepy thoughts. People say that some people have seen some shadows roaming around that area at night. I too believe that because I know that a couple of people had been cremated there including one of my student. As luck would have it I have to pass by that place everyday to work and back home.

Last year, one Saturday evening, I was out with friends for a badminton match. I stayed longer than I was supposed to and some friends promised that they would accompany me but when they reached the market, they had to stay back and I had to drive alone. When I reached that place I chanted prayers so loudly, I didn’t even hear the music that I was playing. When I reached home, I was all socked in sweat and got a hard look from my husband….

The Trek - II

It was after 5 O'clock in the evening. We had just finished our session when my friend suggested that we visit a monastery near by. I thought it would be fun so I eagerly agreed. We got out cell phones, a small bag to carry the incenses and offerings and asked someone to show us the way to the monastery.

We briskly walked through the village and came to an opening where we saw some cows grazing on the bountiful lush grass. We thought of taking some rest but our guide said that it would be too dark for us on our return trip, so we moved on. The monastery looked quite near but as we walked we realized that was not as near as we thought it would be.
It was almost dark and we had walked for more than two hours without rest when we finally reached the courtyard of the monastery. We requested the audience of the lama which was permitted.  We were even offered some tea and snacks. We kindly refused the invitation to dinner because by that time it was almost 8 O'clock in the evening. We took leave of and walked downhill to the school. We bumped on some stones on the way back. By the time we reached our destination, it was 9.30 pm and the teacher participants were waiting for us for dinner.

We felt guilty of having made them wait so late into the night and asked for apologies. When I finally climbed into the bed, my body was aching from the two days walk and some bruise on my knees from bumping on the stones on the way back in the dark.

December 9, 2009

The trek I

During the younger years, I used to go for hike with a group of friends to the hills at Paro. We would always plan for a little hike every month and make sure that we visited the monasteries and sacred places there. We would get up early in the morning on the appointed date and proceed with our hike. The day would always end with laughter and talk on the day’s event. Then we finished our training period and got busy with our own work and lost that enthusiasm we had for trekking since most of us worked far apart.

I even forgot about all zest that I had for trek. And I guess I got lazy even to take along distance walk. Then in 2007, I was invited by the cluster coordinator to facilitate a workshop. I agreed to it but I was little worried because the venue was officially a day’s walk from the nearest road.

A day before the scheduled date, I and a friend started our journey from the nearest road at about 9 O’clock in the morning. We had a small bag each. I was carrying some materials for the workshop, so the principal of that school had sent a staff to collect our things. It was a very exhausting hike; we had to climb uphill, so we were finding it very difficult. We even teased each other relating our hike to the race of the hare and the tortoise in the fable we read as students.

In the mid way we were showered by the tormenting rain and as luck would have it, we had forgotten our umbrellas in the car. We were drenched from head to toe when we reached the Gewog office. We were offered tea and then resumed our journey. When we reached the place, some of the participants had already arrived. We were quite embarrassed since we were sopping wet but grateful that we reached our destination.

On reaching there, some of the lady teacher’s saw our condition and tried to make us feel at home. They even brought their dry clothes and heating appliances which we gratefully used.

Dreams of an innocent child…

I always ask my children what they want to be when they grow up. Initially their dreams were very minute, my son used to say that he would like to be an ice-cream seller so that he could taste all the flavours of ice-cream. We would all have a hearty laugh on hearing that.

Then as he came to understand the surrounding around him, his interest got diverted. He was more into watching cartoon networks and wanted to create a robot like that of his favourite cartoon character.

Now, his interest is getting diverted into books and he reads about life sciences. When I still ask the question, he says. “mmmm….. let me tell you at the right time”.

December 8, 2009

My first driving lesson

I was never interested in driving and didn’t bother to learn. I even sent my van to my in-law while my husband was on study abroad. My friends used to tease about it when I used taxi service to travel to Thimphu on weekends and holidays.

Then on December, 2004 my husband forced me to have a learner’s license which I agreed after much argument. But again, my interest was far from the driving, so I let my learner’s license collect the dust at the corner of my bookrack. I did not get it renewed when its validity expired. Then my brother-in-law got appointed to work abroad and he wanted us to keep his car for him. We had two cars parked in front of our house with just one person to drive.

After some months when my brother-in-law returned on holidays, he teased my husband on not teaching me driving who in turn told me so. I got irritated on constant remainder and I took the car key and started the car. My husband on hearing the engine roar rushed outside and got into the passenger seat. I was nervous but I wanted to show them that I could do it. Since I had been observing my husband driving every time, I tried to use that observation and started of, I drove slowly and my entire body was shaking but I put a calm face in front of my husband. He looked at me and told me to take it easy. I knew he was nervous too. I drove about two km when I stopped the car and got out. My husband was mystified and asked my reason for stopping the car. I said I had enough driving lesson for that day and wanted to continue the next day.

December 7, 2009

The other side of unfulfilled dreams

I still remember the day when I first saw her. She wasn’t beautiful and she wasn’t bright but she had a captivating smile. She casually smiled as she passed by me. I knew she was the girl and I really wanted to make her mine. After that day, I always waited on the came place to have a look at her. The feeling that I had for her was pure and I dreamed of getting old withsome day.  I shared my feelings to her friend who was my classmate. Her friend suggested that needed to wait for the right time. The right time seemed very far away and I was loosing control of my life. My assignments were always left pending and I even got summoned to the principal’s office on that.

The precise time came; her birthday. I got a small present and wished her and then we got to talk. And with time, we shared our feelings to each other and we grew inseparable. The friends called us Romeo and Juliet.

Her parents got the wind of our affairs and came to see her. (She was from a well of family). They took her away and got her admitted in another college. They threatened me not to even look at their daughter. I tried to get in tough with her but she was grounded and whenever she went out, there was always someone with her which made it impossible for me to meet her.

Later, I heard that she was sent to some college in India and I lost contact with her. Though I was disheartened, I concentrated on my studies and never lost the hope of seeing her again. Years passed and I finished my studies. I tried to find her, but her parents had sold their house and moved to another place. There was not a trace of her.

During that time, my parents found a girl for me and I married her since I could not refuse the wish of my dying mother. With time, I became a proud father of two beautiful daughters. They started going to school and the memory of my first love started fading away. I thought she might have also settled with another man.

By then, fifteen years had passed and I got transferred to another place. I went to the school to seek the admission of my daughters, when I saw her again. She was the principal of the school. She looked the same at first glance but on closer observation, I was saddened to see the painful eyes, which had seen much suffering. But she managed the smile that had me bewitched fifteen years ago. I stood at the door speechless. It took me some time to gather my nerves and say a feeble “hello”. I never muttered my courage to ask about her family life.

Later I came to know that she remained unmarried and had been waiting for me all those years. The guilt of not having faith in my love became a burden to may ailing heart.
I die everyday from my guilt while she dies everyday due to my betrayal...

Unfulfilled dreams

She was surrounded by the children of all age and there was laughter everywhere. She kept smiling to every one. But behind that smile lived a lonely soul. After her hours with the children, she always went back to her lonely den where she lived. She dreaded entering the house because it told the tale of unfulfilled dreams and she could feel the air of loneliness creep through the door along with her. She would be forty next week but she did not even look forward to her birthday. In fact her birthday always reminded her of another time when she was the happiest girl in the whole world.

She was eighteen then. Her parents had sent her a birthday cake in the school and her friends had planned a secret birthday party away from the watchful eyes of their matron. She was elated when her friends surprised her and they had a mid night party in the hostel. Her eighteenth birthday had some other surprises in store for her. She met the man of her dreams that day. They were made for each other and they became the talk in the campus.

Then on day, her parents came to know about them and took her away to another college. They were not allowed to meet and she was never allowed to go anywhere without a chaperon. When she finished her studies and started looking for her soul mate, she could not find a trace of him. He had just vanished.

Her parents tried to wed her to another man from their town, but she did not heed to their wish. She waited for her man. The wait took her another fifteen years to find out that he was already married and had 2 daughters. She came to know about that when he came to admit his daughters to her school. Her wait had been futile. Here she was waiting for him while he already belonged to some one else.

None of her new friends knew her story and she never shared to anyone. From that time, she dedicated her life to bringing smile to others while she died within everyday.

December 6, 2009

The day when everything went wrong

The second chance

She was bright. She was successful and she was everything a man would dream of in his woman. She earned her salary in six figures and worked as an international consultant.

She judged the values of a human being not by the size of their heart and the strength of their character but by the size of their wallet and the content of their bank account. She was destined to reach the pinnacle of success in her career. She was busy striving that, she missed out living.

She had three small children at home whom she hardly saw because she would be mostly out and when she returned home late at night on some weekends, the children would look at her as if she was a stranger. But she would reason out that when they grew bigger, she would find time to be with them. She didn't realize the distance that was mounting between her and her family.

One evening she was returning home from another town, when the car she was travelling went off the road. In that split of second, she thought of her family, her husband and her three children. She prayed that if she survived, she would fulfill the duties of a mother and a wife. She realized how much she had missed in life. If only she was given a second chance. Then everything went blank.

When she came to her sense, she saw herself in a hospital with her children and her husband around. She was grateful for the second chance and now she looks forward to being with her family and to live a new life.

The aftermath of winter’s tale

December 1, 2009

My friend and her determination

I have a friend who is very cheerful and fun loving. She is funny and has every amusing answer possible for everything we talk about. Everyone around her thinks that she is the happiest and the luckiest person. Even I felt so, until one evening while having a cup of drink, she disclosed all her history to three of us. I think she drank a bit too much that day.

Her father was a civil servant earning a good salary and she has 2 siblings but they had never enough to eat, owing to her parent’s addiction to alcohol. Her parents drank too much and her father lost his job when she was in class II. It resulted in selling everything in the house including the furniture. She told us that she could still remember the scene as clearly as it was just yesterday, she was coming home from school when she saw some people carrying away all the furniture from their house.

A few years later both her parent died. She described how she used to work for dinner at a neighbour’s place after the school and shared the food among the three of them. They were all very young to support themselves and an elderly relative took them in who was in no better condition then them. Her bother decided to find a job and join in police and her sister got married, a minor. But she did not give up.

She had a few good friends who supported her with the stationery and clothes in school and she got herself enrolled in a boarding school after she finished her primary school. She said that she used to spend her holidays in her friend’s house because she never had a home of her own.

After she finished her high school, she joined NIE and became a teacher. She also met her husband there. But couple of years ago she lost her husband to some disease that the doctor’s were not able to diagnose. She has two school going children.

Her story is a tale of suffering and her determination to over come it. She had all the three of us sobbing throughout her story.

If anyone sees her today, no one would believe what she went through as a child. I am glad that she could endure all the hardships and become what she is today.

How Khidung became Pemagatshel (A brief history)

Originally the present site of Pemagatshel Dzong was known as khoidung, meaning the “village of cuckoos” as the region was once said to be full of this species of bird, but the people mispronounced as Khidung.

In 1969, Lam Sonam Zangpo of Yongla Gonpa invited His Holiness Chabji Dudjum Rimpoche to bless and teach “Rinchen Terzoe Wangling” to the present site of Pemagatshel MSS. Right after this, a Mr. Ugyen Tshering of Nangkhor village requested Rimpoche for a name to replace Khidung. Rimpoche renamed it Pemagatshel meaning “Blissful land of Lotus” after analyzing the shape and landscape of the place that resembles lotus flower.

Pemagatshel was under Dungsam Dosum area of the erstwhile Zhonggar Dzong. Hence, Dungsam was prefixed to Pemagatshel and thus today it is popularly known as Dungsam Pemagatshel. (This information is extracted from the Magazine titled ‘PASAM’ – the Dzongkhag Education Magazine produced as a tribute to coronation and centenary celebration-2008 )

November 27, 2009

Winter’s Tale

The weather was cold and gloomy. I could hear the sound of wind blowing through the Cyprus trees on my backyard and it gave me a spooky feeling like the scene of a horror movie. I was all alone since the rest of the folks have gone to the town for dinner. They wanted me to go but I refused with an excuse of headache. If only they knew the truth. The truth that I had hidden from them for the last two months and will remain within me till my dying day.

I was feeling a little giddy and had gone to see the doctor who was a good friend of mine. He suggested that I undergo some medical examination and I agreed. I was asked to get the report the following day.

I had completed my work in the office and just as I was going out when my cell rang. The caller was the doctor and he wanted to see me immediately. The call had me all worried so I drove to the hospital which was five minutes away. On reaching there I learned that I had just three months to live. I thought that my doctor was kidding but I also knew that doctors don’t kid about death. I don’t remember how but when I came to my sense, I was walking near the Memorial Chorten, my car forgotten in the parking lot. I just remember mumbling to my friend that the truth should not be revealed to anyone, not even a single member of my family. My friend was kind enough to comply with my request and drove me back to my office. That evening, I stayed long hours in the office on the pretext of some work.

The sound of the approaching car brought me back to me present world. Two months have passed since that day. I have swings in mood which sometimes frightens everyone around me. They sometimes wonder what’s wrong with me. Of course everything is wrong with me but I would never reveal that. I don’t want their sympathy and I don’t want them to suffer worrying over me.

I wish I hadn’t known what I knew. I wish I hadn’t gone for that medical checkup. If I hadn't gone to the hospital that day,  my life would have been different and I would have died peacefully unknowingly.

But fate has different ways of bidding us farewell! I now understand that it gave me time to prepare myself for my last days. I see each day differently now and I have just one more month to live. I am constantly under medication, but no one knows the truth except for my doctor. Everyone thinks that the medicines that are prescribed for me is for minor ailment. If only they knew about the tumor in my brain that is killing me everyday taking me closer to death and in a month time they will only have my memories nothing more.  

(This is a fictitious tale based on the writer’s imagination)

November 25, 2009

Of violence and alcohol

I was thinking of what I should write about as I was driving to work this morning. I wanted to write but on what? The question lingered on my mind.

Then, as I passed the market area, I saw a big banner which read “STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN – International day for the elimination of violence against women – 25th November 2009” And again as I entered the gate to the place where I work, I was again greeted by posters of the same kind.

I was especially touched by the poster of a small boy holding the drawing which read “Don’t Hit Mom” – when there is violence at home; it is true that the child suffers most. I have seen such things happening in our locality.

There may be various reasons for such violence but I felt that alcohol is one of the key factors contributing to such violence. In our society, alcohol is socially accepted and it is readily available.

No occasion is complete without a cup of ara. The autumn is a festive occasion in Bhutan. It is the time for Lochey /Lhasey (annual puja). The drinks are available in abundance thus we see the increase in violence against women and children.

I appreciate the effort of RENEW to create awareness on violence against women but it is an enormous task and they need the support of every one of us. Let’s all join our hands together and stop violence against women.

(This writing is based on the observation made by the writer and bear no malice to anyone. Just my personal perception)

November 23, 2009

On leaving Pemagatshel

I have been living here for the last 5 years. When I first came here in the autumn of 2004, I was a total stranger here. I still remember the first day that I got here. I had gone to the market which consists of a line of small shops. The people were basking in the sun and staring at us as if we were aliens. I felt very uncomfortable and tugged my husband’s jacket urging him to move faster towards our waiting car.

The quarter arranged for us was in the hospital colony. On the first night, we found that there was no power connection in our quarter but a friendly neighbour (who became a good friend of mine) came with lamps and candles.

The next day I went to report to the office and found out that there weren’t a single soul whom I knew. I got my children admitted in the school and got a week leave to settle down. During the one week, lots of neighbours turned up to help me and I got acquainted with them.

Then the following year I shifted to a private quarter since the health staff were increasing in number and we needed to make room for them.

Later I got my son admitted in the school and the time just flew.

Now after more than five years, I am preparing to bid farewell to the place that I have grown fond of,  and to venture into the life that awaits me in a new place.  We are all looking forward to it but we will miss this place. The place which gave me many memorable moments.

November 22, 2009

The ride on a truck……………

I had been out of station for sometime and was returning home to my kids. My husband and his driver came to reach me when the vehicle we were travelling in broke down. We were stranded on the highway with the dust all around due to the widening of the road. It was quite embarrassing because the travelers were peeping through the windows.

I had already called my kids telling them that I was on my way and they were expecting me home by lunch time. I tired to get lift from some passing vehicle but in vain. After a long wait I saw a truck coming. I wanted to reach my kids at any cost but my husband was reluctant to send me by the truck. At last I won the argument and got into the truck.

I was travelling in a truck after more than a decade. I could not help remembering those truck and bus rides of the bygone days of the 90s when I used to travel to the school with friends.

I have come a long way from those bumpy truck and bus rides to the present day. Of late I hardly remember when I travelled last on a bus. But it is a good experience to take a ride on truck and to recollect those good old days….....

November 13, 2009

My little angles

For the past nine months, I have been engaged with a group of children aged from five to nine. They all come from various socio-economic background and culture. But they have many things in common, their zest to learn, their innocence, their laughter and so on.

The moment I enter the class, they all start with their complaints, “Teacher……….. took my pencil” “Teacher…………… didn’t do his homework”.The list is never ending. But every day I look forward to being with them.

Seeing them makes me forget my headache, stress and worries.Their innocent face and smile brightens up my day.

Now that the year is drawing to an end, I am really going to miss them all.

November 7, 2009


David Frost in Independent(9/16/89) said that “Having one child makes you a parent; having two you are a referee.” But I have three at hand. My days are always occupied being a mediator for my kids. Right from the morning till I get into bed.

My son is mild tempered and does not make much fuss about anything and my daughter takes charge of me whenever I am busy. But I have a 5 year old nephew with me who constantly need my attention. I have to keep an eye on him or else he would end up tearing the books, littering around and doing what not.

He has to do everything my son does. If I ask him what he wants while we were in the shop, we would say, “Ata puskin………….”  This imitation sometimes irritates my son very much these days. looking at them makes me wonder how my parents bore all of us (we are eight children), our tantrums and all.

November 5, 2009

Tale of anguish

I had a happy childhood, the best one anyone could wish for. I was the eldest of the three children and an only daughter and the apple of my dad’s eye. Life was just great. But then it took a u-turn when I grew up and met someone of my dreams. We met socially at first and my parents were unaware of it. We belonged to different faith and were aware that our parents would never consent on our relationship. But when u r in love nothing matters. So we decided to elope and we did just that.

My dad was heartbroken when he learned that and pronounced me dead to the family but of course I knew that in time he would forgive me.

In a mean time a daughter was born to me but she survived just a few months. She was born with birth defect. I lost my first born to the cruel hands of the death. I was shattered but life must go on and my husband was a great companion during that time. I slowly forgot the pain of the death of my first born.

In time I had two sons and life was back to normal. My sons were enrolled in a reputed private school and my dad had called me back home. I was forgiven for what I did and they all accepted my husband in the family. Life was good once again. I believed that my share of sorrows was over but the call that fateful afternoon changed everything once again.

My elder son was hit by a car on his way home. The driver, who was driving the car lost control of his wheels and my unfortunate son was the victim. I just heard the word accident and blacked out. I don’t know for how long, but when I came to my sense, there wasn’t even a trace of him, except in my memories.

I was in shock for months and I am still under medication. I am now very scared to let my only surviving son out of my sight. I am wondering whether my life will ever be normal again, whether the fate has many more sorrows in store for me. Is my suffering due to the unhappiness that I had caused to my parents?

(Please note that this is a fictitious tale)

October 26, 2009

On being what I am today

I always wanted to be anything but a teacher.

When I was in high school in the early 90s, I did not have much knowledge about the career options. The subject like career education was alien to us. The only career we were aware of was… teacher, doctor, and engineer. And while in school, we never bothered to ask our teachers and elders.

When I finished my high school, I was grateful that I was free, free from the burden of studies. My parents wanted me to continue my studies but I wasn't interested. I said I had enough of my studies and wanted to work against the wishes of my parents.

I had ample job opportunities and I joined my group of friends to attend the interview in the capital. We did attend the many interviews…… for NRTI, RIHS, NIE and so on…… and even got selected in almost all. But when the time came for us to join the training, the majority of my friends opted for teaching and I just followed them. I did my 2 years course at TTC, Paro, got a certificate on teaching and have been teaching since.

Reflecting on what I decided, I know that I did not become a teacher by choice. It just happened and now I believe that I was destined to be one – to bring little changes in the life of many learners.

With the passage of time, teaching has become very satisfying and fruitful. profession for me. I try my best to bring little changes in the life of the learners in my own small ways.

And now wherever I travel, I meet my students serving the country in various organizations at their own capacity and it is indeed very gratifying to see them all leading a successful and satisfying life.


October 24, 2009

Why I decided to live….

I was alone in the house because I wanted to be, to recollect my thoughts and take a decision. I wanted to, because life has been messy since the time I remember.

I had no friends in the school because I did not want anyone to know what was happening in my house and my life. To the others, I and my family were perfect – an ideal family. Both my mom and dad were working and we had everything we could wish for. But only I and my brother knew the truth. The truth, that happened every night between the four walls of our home.

There wasn’t a single night that I had slept peacefully when dad was home. Every night was spent in fear. The fear that I might hear the screams and bangs from the next room. Most of the time, we would cover our heads under the blankets to muffle away the sounds.

Every morning, my mom would cover the bruises with her makeup kit and pretend nothing happened. But I knew! But what could a ten year old girl do? All I could do was wish that all these were dream.

Then one day, everyone was out. My mom was at work and my brother was at a friend’s place and dad... he had left us. He said that he wanted to be separate from his wife. My mom, she said that she had had enough and wanted to be happy. But what about us? His children! Did we do anything to cause their breakup? I had no answer. No one seemed to care anymore. I had nothing to live for. I just wanted to die and I was preparing for it.

As I prepared to bid farewell to the world, I could visualize my mom kneeling beside my lifeless body and screaming my name.
And as I closed my eyes and said my final prayers aloud, I began to feel dizzy and fell to the floor. My entire body began to shake and I was experiencing a massive seizure which continued like eternity. And as I lay on the ground I saw the picture of my brother staring at me. It was as if the picture was pleading me to live. I then asked myself,“what am I doing?” Am I being fair to my brother who looks up to me for everything? What would he do if I am no longer around? Will he be able to cope up with the separation of another family member? I then decided that no matter what happened I would stand by my brother and try to live everyday for his sake.

After that I began to open up and made friends. My friends helped me ease my stress. And at home I am in better terms with my mom. I, no longer blame her for dad’s leaving. I just try to make life easier for my brother who is everything to me now and I am much happier than I was.

(This is fictitious work conceived with the ideas collected during the gossip with the friends)

October 19, 2009

The New Tandin of the family.

There is a large family with eight siblings out of which five of them are female.

It so happened that the eldest born of the first sister was named Tandin, the name given from Changangkhag Lhakhang. Incidentally the first born of the second sister was also named Tandin by a lam. The two Tandins wanted the third sister’s first born to be Tandin so the baby was named Tandin.

And then the fourth sister gave birth to a girl child and she was also named Tandin but to avoid confusion they all have different second name. The four elder Tandins are girls.

Recently the youngest sister gave birth to a son and he is not spared. After a much thought the baby is now named Rinsel Tandin Dorji. He became the newest Tandin of the family.

Thus all the first born of the sisters are named Tandin.


A New Year Gift!

‘……………………….. I have never come across such a fine fellow like Dorji in my life and never will.’ I thought as I moved on through that maddening crowd in Phuentsholing town.

It was a snowy morning at the capital in the mid 90s. The people were busy moving in and around the bus station, waiting for the buses to reach at their destination.
I was on winter vacation heading towards Phuentsholing. I felt so cold, so old in the dazzling snow near the standing bus. Thinking who would be next to my seat I got in. The passengers were in, except for the one who, was to be next to me was missing. I sat quietly near the window, watching at the sight of lovely snowfall over the naked apple trees.

In a moment, I watched at my watch. It was exactly 7.AM. There was hardly 5 minutes left for the departure. I became a bit worried least my co-passenger may miss the bus. My eye surveyed recklessly over the station just to trace for the signal but it was all in vain.

The bus started to move then. ‘A passenger has not come yet’ I shouted at the top of my voice. ‘Who cares, we are getting late!’ there was chorus reply from the passengers. To which I felt disappointed and kept silent.

Just at the nick of time, I heard the deep sweet voice, ‘wait for me!’ I peeped hopefully through the half condensed glass window and. Saw a man running towards the bus. ‘He must be the one!’ I thought undoubtedly.

He came in and sat next to me. He breathed so heavily chewing Doma at the same time. He looked so simple and dignified in his faded Mentse Mathra Gho, with a neatly placed Gong and Lageys. I hadn’t chance to meet such a person on formal dress, in such freezing unfriendly weather. His simplicity and identity were what impressed me most at the very first sight.

He tool a few minutes to normalize his breathing. When he did it successfully he just gave me a bear welcoming smile and said, ‘HI!’ ‘Hello’ I replied strangely. I felt somewhat uncomfortable, so returned his smile.

Though we were completely strangers we became friend within a short range of time. I had never expected it would happen the way it happened. That was a strange thing, a strange way how I became so closed, so fast with that unknown person.

After sometime, we chatted casually, freely on varying topics, as if we were seasoned friends. There was a free flow of thoughts between us. A sense of apprehension developed with a little comprehension yet I did not bother it much.
Feasting our eyes at the snowfall outside and listening to the sweet music inside, we were deeply engrossed in our won deep thoughts when I broke the silence, ‘How many children do u have?’ ‘I have two’. He answered proudly. Without nay rhyme or reason I requested. ‘Tell me your love story’.

‘It’s a very simple one. It began just twenty one years back.’ He disclosed it gladly. ‘Dema my wife, came to my life like the first snowfall when, I first met her in one of the New Year celebrations. It was on 21st February 1975. I still remember that day, that first sunshine of the day of my life.’ He took out Doma from his Hemchu, offered me one, had himself another and continued his story’. You know, my feelings towards her began barely in the mist of uncertainty and, in an utter confusion. Of course, she was aware of it.

Consequently, I made an attempt to express my feelings personally and privately to her. When I had done it, she did respect and reciprocate my love, of and only if I love her only. Thereafter, we loved each other and reached at high height and got married….’

As he narrated his fond memories, I saw some indication of delights in his a pair of blue eyes. Equally I found passengers were listening attentively the conversation.

Motivated and urged by the story, I once more questioned, ‘what is your idea of love?’ to this he responded immediately adjusting the gong around his neck. ‘Love is tying happiness in happiness’. He whispered as if, it is a matter most important.
Then staring at my eyes he said, ‘What is your ides?’ ‘It is a sweet joy….. something that sort of thing.’ ‘Ha…….ha……..ha…he laughed in a tone of great appreciation.

How our time dragged on our moment we did not notice and realized where we had reached up to. The bus stopped. ‘It’s lunch time.’ Shouted one of the passengers from the back row. We went to hotel and had Red Rice and Ema Datsi. It was nice it met our appetite.

Subsequently, the bus moved on. Once more for the last time, I put another interrogation, ‘Did you give presents to your wife so far?’ I tried to criticize him. ‘so far t haven’t. I felt it but I failed. Until recently I had an idea. Am I going to do it soon’ he explained regretfully – a compunction indeed.’

‘this is the one’. He took out instantly from his Hemchu’. ‘What is it?’ I asked deliberately as I caught hold of it from his hand. He answered’ A New Year gift!’ this time his voice became a bit sentimental.

It was an envelope but something in it. ‘Must be very precious thing’. I imagined. ‘May I look at it?’ I asked intentionally. ‘Yes why not! He said without any hesitation.

Then I put my fingers inside the enclosed envelope and fumbled for sometime. To my madness, I found a piece of paper0 a locally made paper (Dheysho) in which he had written.

Dema my dear,
I have been waiting so long for this day just to remind, I love you only.
Your Dorji

Dorji critically observed my face when I returned it. Then he smiled sweetly adding another unexpected beauty of his face. At the same time, for him, it was a matter of pride and shame. Pride, because, it is a wonderful gift for his humane expression. Shame because, I have known it, be it a highest form of gift or a just simple one.
After all, gift was and is to be known.

I patted on his shoulder and remarked, ‘it is so appropriate. That is it….’ At this critical moment, the bus suddenly came to a grinding halt. We were already at bus stop. So we said goodbye to each other. It was a time- a time to be; on our own way, in our own place and at our own work.

(This story was a written by my husband as my New Year’s Gift during our first Anniversary. It was also published in the Kuensel many years ago. )