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 )