April 28, 2010

Am I not stealing???

 “Give a days work for a day’s pay. Anything less is stealing” – Nicholas Sparks. These words have been pricking my guilty conscience since I started working in my new place. I feel guilty of taking more than I deserve. It’s not because I don’t work nor is it because I don’t have the vibe or interest to work. I do my share of work assigned to me and I enjoy my work but at the end of the day, I fell that there is something lagging that does not give me the job satisfaction that I crave. Do such things happen to every body?

The place of work and the schedule of my work may be the factor affecting my thoughts. It may be because I have more time at my hand now than I had the previous year but what ever the reason may be, I can not help feeling guilty. The suggestion that some colleagues throw on the floor in the best interest of our clients (the students) are received with cold stare and low murmurs. Some colleagues feel that the place had done fairly well in the past and doesn’t feel the need for any changes. Isn’t it time that we shed the cocoon of limitations that has developed and prevented is from excellence?  

The final cut

It was a bizarre scene. Now that I reflect on it, I still cannot believe that it happened. It was a Tshechu time- the time for festivity. Everyone was decked in their best outfit and I had planned to be with my family for the occasion. I had my lunch packed and my children dressed in their best attire and got in my car to drive to the dzong. On the way I had planned to drop a gift I had friend whom I hadn’t meet for a couple of years.

As I neared her house, it looked deserted. The garden was over grown with the weeds and wild plants. I looked at my mother who was sitting beside me questioningly. She assured me that my friend was inside. I stopped the engine of the car and got out with the gift in my hand. I walked gingerly and knocked. I heard someone coughing. I pushed the door ajar which opened with a crack.

The interior looked like it had never seen the air. The place looked damp and dusty. Pieces of broken woods were laying every where. The smell of alcohol could be felt from the door. I called her name and walked inside leaving my footprint on the floor.  A tiny figure lay in the bed of shambles. The floor of the bed room was no better than the hall that I had passed. The empty bottles were scattered everywhere which spelt her addiction. She tried to get up from her bed and smiled meekly. I was shocked. The face I was seeing was that of a stranger. The familiarity and her knowing smile had disappeared replaced by the sad eyes which spoke volumes of her sorrow. Tears welled up in my eyes to see her wasting away her life and I broke down in front of her like a child. I forgot about my mother and children waiting in the car and just sat with her holding her hands and cried… (To be continued….)

April 21, 2010

Monsoon is here again

The much awaited rain came as a relief from the dust and heat that was becoming unbearable in the southern belt. It was a welcoming scene. I rushed outside to feel the first drops of rain on my face. Ah! It was refreshing. I called my kids outside for a walk in the rain. We carried our slippers in our hand and walked bare foot. We walked around the neighbourhood and I could see the children enjoying the first showers like us.
The rain had rejuvenated the earth and I could observe the green world with the promise of  bounty harvest this year.
The rain has also got the river near our school swollen and I cannot drive to my work. I have to park my car with the rest of other vehicle on the bank and walk through the suspension bridge. The walk on the suspension bridge with more than five hundred students is something to be experienced. The swinging of the bridge under the weight of the commuters had my knees go weak with fear on my first walk.
It is still raining and the bridge still swings under my weight but I am getting used to it now.

April 17, 2010

All smiles

My daughter had a great wish to shake her hands with His Majesty the 5th King some day. She was not happy last year when her friend got a hug from His Majesty while she did not.  I had to console her saying that everyone does not get such opportunities. She felt jealous when her friend bellowed about the incident.

A visit to our school on 16th April by His Majesty was a dream come true for my daughter. The students from the Middle Secondary School were also called to our school because our school has a big multi purpose hall.
His Majesty granted an audience with the students and asked the students to ask him any questions. The students stood dumbfounded. They had never had such opportunities and they were speechless upon the consideration shown by the young King. The second passed when a meek sound was heard from a girl. Every one turned around to see my daughter asking the first question to His majesty… His Majesty patiently answered her query. She was all smiles. She got lots of praise from her friends and the visitors. After a round of questions, she asked another question to the King. The king couldn’t help his smile and called her in front and hugged her. She couldn’t believe that she actually got her wish fulfilled. Her one dream came true.
In the evening I had to listen to her incident time and again. But the best part was that she was all smiles even when she went to bed.

April 13, 2010

Dreams come true

She dreamt of being some one beyond her means. Though born in poverty, she dared to dream. She dreamt of going to school like other girls of her age but her poor parents could not support her and instead she had to help her parents in sharing the responsibility of earning the bread for her family. That’s the plight of being the eldest in the poor family. Despite being poor and destitute, she never lost her hold of her dream. She helped in herding the cattle for the rich family in the village and for her service, she was given some food which she gladly took every evening to her ailing mother and her younger siblings.
The evening was her favourite time. It was the story time and she always liked the story which had the angles that came to the rescue of the unfortunate ones and wished she had some angles to help her from her plight. Her mother used to tell the stories and they would fall asleep listening to the story of the far away lands where the people always lived happily ever after. And she would always pray silently for an angle to save her from her present condition.

Then a day came when she came face to face with her angle. Her angle came in the form of a woman in her thirties looking for a companion for her four year daughter. The woman had travelled far and wide looking for a maid. When the woman heard about her, she came without wasting her time. The girl (cheche) was asked to get ready to leave for the capital. She was elated. At last her prayers were answered but she was also saddened to leave her family behind. Though poor, they were her only solace till then. But then she had knew that the money the lady would pay her parents for her service would help her family lead a better life. So with a mixed feeling she left to live with the strangers.
Her meeting with the four year girl was a unmemorable but as days went by, they became very close and the little girl followed cheche every where calling her “Ana…. Ana” Thus cheche became a member of the family. She worked hard and pleased every member of the family with her hard work and honesty. And everyone trusted her. Her zest for learning made her learn the language fast and she could understand the other dialect quite fluently.
A year after she came to live with the family, she was asked to attend the school with the little girl. She was overjoyed. She could see her dreams turning into reality. She shed tears when her foster father brought her a new set of uniform. She felt awkward to be starting her school when the girls her age were in class 5 and 6. But the kind words from the lady of the house let go all her doubt and fear. On the first day in the school she got her new name “Sonam”. Yes she like the new name better than the old one.
And she made a promise to herself that she would never let go the opportunity that was bestowed upon her and work hard to fulfill the dreams.

April 7, 2010

The struggle

The quest for the greener pasture had lured him away from her. She had always been supportive and respected his decision when he decided to go and work in the USA, the land of dreams. She supported him financially to secure a visa and a plane ticket to his destination. The process was not without huddles but she managed that with the support of her caring family and friends. It took her many travels to Delhi and much spent money but she put up with that all. After all her man was going to States to secure their future (that’s what he always said)

He left her when she was five month pregnant with his child. He promised to call her as soon as he reached there. Days passed into weeks and weeks changed into months. Seasons changed but she didn’t hear a word from her man. Her relatives asked her about her man but she had no information. She got worried and made a long distance call to a friend who said that she had seen her husband a few days earlier in a Bhutanese get together. The information gave her a relief and some hope.
In the mean time her baby entered the world. Holding her baby in her arms brought tears in her eyes. She wished her husband was there to share those tender moments.
Her days dragged by but with the help of her supportive relatives, she survived. When her baby started teething, she starting thinking about her life and began to restate her priorities in her life. She decided to find her a job and got herself enrolled in a training institute. She worked hard. She had to because she had to think about her little baby at home. She completed her course and had a secured job though it was just enough for them. Her mother came to live with her to help her with babysitting. She could sense lots of questions in her mother’s eyes but she ignored since she did not have answers for those.
She enrolled herself in continuing education and spent sleepless nights studying, working and managing home. In time her hard work paid off. She got her degree. Now her future was secure with a secure job and teenage daughter but there was no place for any man in her life. She did not trust any man because only she knew what she had gone through during those first years of her struggle when her so called husband left her never to return.

In a few months time she will be leaving for the states to pursue her masters degree. She just wishes that she doesn’t come across the pretender during her stay there

April 6, 2010

The realization

He had been abroad pursuing his masters degree and was looking forward to returning home in a couple of months. It was just about few months left for him to wind up his studies and he had already started packing to return home but did he have a home here? He made home in the various places he was placed during his tenure in the service but he never felt he had a home. Yes, he had a family but they stayed away from him because of his nature of work. Due to the distance, their relation suffered and he hadn't talked to his family for almost a year.  Not even to his children.
His friends urged him to make his marriage work and he tried but the gap created due to distance and miscommunication had grown beyond bridging and his studies abroad created even more gap. He was thinking of how his life would be once he returned when his cell rang. The voice at the other end made him nostalgic and he couldn't help the tears from flowing from his cheek. The caller was his daughter. She gave him an account of what was happening at home, the place he dreaded to visit. But talking to him brought back fresh memories of his happier times with his family.

Her call made him realize how much he missed his children and how much his children have grown in his absence. He asked himself whether he was a good father or a good human. He did not have answer to that. It was more than an hour after the phone got disconnected that he was still holding his cell phone and crying. He resolved to make up to all the time he had lost and return to his family and try to make his relation work for the sake of his children.

(A true story... The man in the story made a call to me wanted me write about this. I tried my best but I know I didnt do much justice to his emotions... may he be able to keep his resolution....m keeping my fingers crossed)