Saturday, December 24, 2011

CALL FROM THE COFFIN


Google image


In the bead of sweat running down his skin
Saw his past fading in him
Thick silver light of moon turned so thin
As the darkness prevailed in
It was lonely night and so terrific
Only his shadow’s there to lean

But a tender voice came in
As he was walking down the fen
It was nothing else
But call from the coffin

Clamor of dread grew in him
Pleaded courage stammering
His heart and soul lost restrain
As the darkness prevailed in
Neither his deeds nor heaven’s blessing
Only his terrible fate was keen

Again a tender voice came in
As he was wailing over his sin
It was nothing else
But call for the coffin



(Its a song i wrote for a local rock band ‘EPITAPH’ while I was doing my studies in ST. Joseph’s College, North Point, Darjeeling)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On The Eve Of My Departure....

School  Captain presenting a gift to me.
  Caption not required!


 (Me in the center)Sharing some good old memories

A woman delivering Thanks giving speech on behalf on the community

Gifts from the community!
 I had the longest hugging session in my life..Aums, grandpas and grandmas were having tough time holding tears from their eyes.....few couldn't hold it... i shall never forget them in my life....God Bless Them All...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Aacho Karma Dorji



My name is Karma Dorji. I am 26 years old and I am married. I have two lovely daughters. Sonam Yangchen is my youngest daughter. She is just 1 year and 5 months old. And her sister Ngawang Tenzin Lhamo is barely 4 and half. Norbu Lhamo is my only wife. She is just 24.

Comparatively my family is the smallest one in the village and the youngest too. My wife is a simple woman. She is a good home maker. My elder daughter Ngawang Tenzin Lhamo imitates me a lot. She talks like me and also gets angry the way I do. Very recently Sonam Yangchen, her sister, started to move her tiny body throwing her hands in the air whenever i play some Bhutanese songs on my mobile. She has also started to bubble few words. She can perfectly pronounce the word ‘apa’ (daddy) which only resonate more love and care in me for my family. She also kisses me and waves her tender hands to say goodbye when I leave for work in the morning. Collectively this is our story but mostly this is My Story.

Sonam Yangchen busy munching a head of maize
Five months back we were staying at my mother’s house. Unlike in other countries, it is customary here that female eventually inherits the family house. My mother died three years ago so now the immediate inheritor is my elder sister Tashi Peday. We were all happy then. Her inheriting the house didn’t bother me much but things slowly started to change the day my sister got married. She got married with much younger lad who is from another village.

The fireside conversations often started to get more heated. There were more disagreements among us and bitter feelings for each other began to invade our hearts. With not much delay I made up my mind to live separately before things get worse. On my request my father summoned few senior villagers and village heads to be the witness and to bring fairness in dividing family property.

Blankets/mattresses and kitchen utensils were divided equally but the law of the land gave her the house, cattle and much of the fertile lands.

With nothing heavy to carry on my back I went to Meymay Dorji to ask him to allow us to stay at his old and unoccupied house for a period of six months. Within that period i informed him that I would build a small house and vacant immediately. Meymay agreed!

Four months were passed in the new house when I received a call from my elder brother Kuenzang Namgyel. He had left for Thimphu two years back in search of a decent job. Unlike other calls to inquire about us in the village this particular call was different. He requested me to send him a sum of Nu: 1, 50,000(one Lakh Fifty Thousand). Why? He has been asked that sum of money by someone in Thimphu in order to get a job in Dubai.
Dubai: progressivetimes.wordpress.com
My brother Kuenzang Namgyel told me that the country he will be visiting is a rich country. Tall buildings, sight of an ocean and he will be taking his lunch when I return home tired from my day’s work. He also shared with me that he will be flying in an Aero-plane from Paro International Airport to Dubai via the Indian Capital city. He informed me that the job he would be offered there is a lucrative one. So without any hesitation I immediately rushed to the BOB (Bank of Bhutan) office here in Trashiyangtse and credited a loan in my name and sent it to him in the same day.

In the village the news got spread! The people got extremely happy as if my bother will come back one day and take them all to that far away country.

Back home, things are getting pretty uneasy now. I have barely two months to live in meymay Dorji’s house free of cost and my kitchen stock has already kissed the floor. Getting work here is hard. I make some money from cutting wood chips and selling it to the agents here. I also earn an amount by helping lamas perform rituals in my village.

One evening when I was about to retire to my bed I again received a call from my bother. He informed me that he had to return from New Delhi because the prospective job has been postponed and he needs some more money to sustain in Thimphu.
Acho Karma and I sharing a moment together
(Although he is two years younger than me I call him Acho(elder brother) because he is shouldering a lot of responsibilities. He has two kids and a wife to look after, he wants to educate his younger brother so he doesn’t have to struggle like him, the huge loan is credited to his name and he also have to build a house for his own family.  I salute his courage)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meymay Dorji: An Ex-Indian Army and a True GNH Citizen.


One cold evening Meymay Dorji, his wife Aum Zangmo and I were sitting near a small fire in his Thubtshang (Kitchen). Aum Zangmo had prepared butter tea for us. Taking a sip of hot butter tea and munching a fist full of Thangma( maize goody) the usual discussion of an Indian college graduate-turn-school Teacher and an ex-Indian Army  begins in a remote village  somewhere in Trashiyangtse.
The Kitchen where brain works more than mouth/stomach.

Meymay and my conversation always revolve within the malpractices and politics of India and Bhutan, five HMKs of Bhutan, his gone by stories as an Army man and about the burning issues of his community. May be my place of study and his association with India just clicked! Our mode of conversation?  Ekdum Paaka Hindi.

He and Aum Zangmo shared an incident related to the war between china and India of 1961. They were young then. They saw Indian Army withdrawing back from the war zone some 30 km from here. They saw them scavenge on leftovers in their food containers and saw few chewing grasses nearby. The Army men were exhausted and few badly wounded. Meymay says that many of the community people had already packed their basic necessities and were ready to leave towards south for safety. But they didn’t have to move as the war soon came to an end.

The recent issues of Gorkha Land and his visit to Gangtok in 1978 as a young Army man and the road accident that almost killed him then when he was driving a shantimaan which fell some 200 ft down the road crops at least once during our fire side conversations. He talks about another event which he loves to share with me is the golden Temple incident of Punjab where the Indian Army launched the Operation Blue Star. He tapped on my back when I connected the incident with the assassination of former Prime Minister of India Shrimati Indira Gandhi. She was murdered by her own body guard who happened to be a diehard Panjabi. Luknow, Assam, Ladhak, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu Kashmir, siliguri to name a few are places that I get a free trip to visit through Maymey’s often delightful conversations. 
The valley of Trashiyangtse

Recently Meymay candidly shares with me that the valley of Trashiyangtse could be the best spot to ambush enemies. How? He shares pointing to the surrounding hills that they could make an excellent place to make bunkers for Army. He then nods his head and clicks his tongue just to say ‘sir ji yea ekdum baria place hey’.

He is still an army like. Disciplined, tough and talking no nonsense. He is master of time management; he has to complete any task that has been scheduled for the day. He reminds me the famous quotation of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru whenever I postpone any work at hand; ‘Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ub Pal Mein Pralaya Hoyegi, Bahuri Karoge Kub’. And when he finds me being late for school by few minutes he would remind me at our fire side conversation how crucial is time and rules to be followed when one has worn the uniform.

Talking about uniform, he has great respect for our national dress. He praises me in Hindi when I have worn my chupha neatly. But when it is out of order he would sneak up on me and arrange my chupha. ‘Paina hai tho gaurub say paino’ he would say me to show his frustration on seeing people disrespecting our national dress.

He has a conviction that the best part of Bhutanese Democracy has been its feature as a ‘democratic constitutional Monarch’. If both the heads of Government and the state were bestowed on the hands of commoners, who get elected as Prime Minister and President, where the King has no part in decision making, he believes our country will never prosper. His only wish is to see future Kings having the same veto power in making all the momentous decisions for the country. And please dare not to speak anything bad regarding any of the HMKs of Bhutan in front of him; you will be trashed with all the Punjabi vulgar words that i think I don’t have to mention here. You know them!  I heard him use it when he was talking about a drunkard man who lives on his wife's earning.

He believes there is an illegal logging going on in his community. He is concern that the illegal and extensive logging will further damage the only road which has been already marred by heavy summer rain. As of him, he reaffirms that in future he would also use timber to build new houses for his children but he would ask the permission of the concern authority if the tree doesn’t belong to him and he would use the timbers in his land in a sustainable manner.

He is also bothered by the issue of young girls getting pregnant without a legitimate father. He is very concern of the image of his village. He just can’t stand with such practices that tarnish the name of the village.

Maymey makes extra earning beside his pension by selling Dhapa (wooden plates). Meymay is as business minded as he is culturally and religiously inclined. He conducts annual rituals at his house with all the norms. He never compromises with anything till the puja is completed.

There you have it. A man I wish every village in our country be blessed with. People respect him with utmost sincerity here and he equally cares and loves them all. The best part of Maymey that I like the most is that he calls his Aum(wife) as ‘Mam Shab’ when he addresses her to me.   

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pema Lhamo and Mr.Gurung’s story “Curse of the gift of Child”.

brooktownphoto.com


Pema Lhamo is a young girl of 23. Her face is fair and plump just the way I wish to have in my life partner. She is soft spoken and has a long silky hair dangling down her curvaceous body. She is indeed blessed with a beautiful face but as luck would have it she wears scars deeply engraved inside.

Two years back when everything was fine in her life she got pregnant. It would have been a happy moment for a married couple to share the good news but for Pema it was certainly not a joyous occasion. Unable to pinpoint the culprit she soon gave birth to a baby boy. She belongs to a family who just manages to bring food on the table- raising an infant and an extra mouth to feed brought more challenges. Soon a meeting was held and after much debate in the community one of the accused was asked to pay Ngultrum 15, 000 as compensation. On which the destitute family agreed without a hitch.

On his first birthday, Pema Lhamo along with her infant boy went to Thimphu in search of a job. Like any other mother she was driven by the urge to provide all the comfort to her child. She would be putting up at her relative’s place for the time being.

Back home, a young married couple from central Bhutan got transferred in the community. His name is Gurung. They have been married for five years now.

I often found Mr. Gurung spent his days drinking 11000 beer from my landlord’s multi-purpose shop and he keeps requesting me to join him whenever he sees me passing by. For which I have invariably decline his request. Then he would call friends listed in his mobile phone and talk for hours and hours. Sometimes losing his temper over the phone and lashing someone with all adult words under the sun and at times he would cajole and praise someone else. Had I knew the reasons behind the nuisance he created I won’t have slandered him by calling him a drunkard.

I could figure out all the good reasons for him to lead a good and happy life. He is a permanent Government employee, has a tall and attractive wife and a handsome salary gets into his saving account in nearby BOB bank at the end of every month. But I was blind to his most horrendous truth.

Mr. Gurung and his wife have been married for last five good years but they have been denied the gift of child in their lives. Unable to face the truth he has been pouring himself bottles after bottles of beer. He kept on drinking until one day when he heard that Pema Lhamo is on her way back home. It’s not uncommon here in the east that any news bad or good launches at rocket’s speed and spreads like a wild fire. The coming of Pema Lhamo brought smile on his face and he had already planned out an idea to extend a helping hand but Pema’s family is equally saddened and angry with her. It has been almost a year since her last departure.

Why on earth is her family saddened and angry with her?

Pema Lhamo is eight month pregnant again and this time she doesn’t know whom to accuse! Her family members were reluctant to help her. But she was however allowed to stay at their own house.
 Mr. Gurung shared his idea of adopting the unborn child with the ashamed Pema upon which she agreed easily. He thought the baby could bring the long awaited happiness in their lives. His wife was equally eager and excited for she will soon hear the crying of the infant and have the baby nestle on her laps. But they had to wait for one more month.

Pema Lhamo gave birth to another healthy baby boy. But the angry and saddened relatives of her didn’t withdraw from giving the necessary support and assistance during and after the birth. They happily welcomed the new member into their family.

At Mr. Gurung’s house, he is thrilled to hear that it’s a baby boy. He has been preparing for this day. He had stopped drinking. He has been giving more time to his wife and not to mention they both must have also been dreaming silently about the day when the boy would enter their lives with some much joy for them.

What do you think will happen next?

The bothers of Pema Lhamo were not reluctant enough to give away their new nephew. They promised Pema Lhamo that they would look after them as their own children.

As for Mr. Gurung, his life has changed for better after the incident. I guess he found some other meaning in life apart from the joy of having a baby, looking after him/her, schooling and helping him/her in getting a job and finally arranging a life partner. These are the simple reasons people link with their duty to survive. I haven’t seen him drinking for a long long time now. God Bless Him.

Yesterday I meet Pema Lhamo and her two brothers. They had gone to market to do some shopping to conduct a ritual at their house for the wellbeing of their new member. I went closer to Pema Lhamo and looked at the face of her child. He was asleep and nestling in his own mother’s torso.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Long Long Goodbye!


The villagers here have already planned out a grand party for me even before my colleagues. The spot has been decided. It’s on a hill top nearby. But sadly it will be the last gathering for me with the people who adored me the most. It’s my farewell. I am leaving soon after serving them as a teacher in their community for last two years.

 I have exactly 20 days more to stay here. And I have already started to feel uneasy about it. The feeling to leave them robs my serenity. The same feeling is elsewhere too. Whenever I number the days to stay here, grandpas, grandmas and aums click their tongue, hold my hand and vehemently says in their limited Dzongkha, ‘Oye deybay masung…. lopon, ngacha……. sam ……..megha lopon….. mewa chan…aaii’ stammering and filling gaps in between with words from their own dialect.

You may only lament but I have seen it on their innocent eyes, heard it in their voice and felt it all in my heart. The generosity shown and the warmth of their kindness will shell me against any storm. I have been honored, applauded, respected, looked upon and praised to the length that I have become ever stronger. They have asked for a private meeting with me to offer me hand- beaten tangma (maize goody) as gift to my parents and to pour me some butter tea in the eve of my departure because they know that I love those stuffs extremely.
Two year old Sonam Yangchen munching on a maize head.
For more Pictures-http://gayatribhandari.blogspot.com/2011/11/faces-of-people-and-place-i-live-in.html
Our football team; Pls don't look at our physique but understand the spirit.

The husbands and boys too wish to have a Lopen like me when I leave from here. For I have been there for them in many occasions. I played, drank, laughed and sang along with them. I have attended all the Local festivals, graced their marriage ceremonies with my presence, helped in arranging cakes, candles and balloons for enthusiastic parents on their children’s birthday. Most of them are lay monks and they also love to play football. We once teamed up to play a match with teachers of TrashiYangtse Middle Secondary School in TrashiYangtse town. Though we lost the match but it only further cemented the friendship we share.

I have composed the following song in praise of them. It is in their dialect (spoken by upper T/yangtse dwellers) and is translated for your pleasure. I wish to sing it to them in the farewell party if only my heavy heart would.


Oka hongsa gala sindey
(I felt happy coming here)

Nga ku Khim ma graindey
(I didn’t miss my home)

E  biki kantu sinday
(You loved me like your baby)

Purarang sam libu basa new
(Everybody is kind hearted)



Abu, achea, shomo, shokpo
(Elder sister, elder brother, sister and brother)

Nga satharang new
(Are same like mine)

Ama, ai, apa nga pura sindey
(Grandma, mother and father I love you all)

E nga ku phama plikira new
(You all are like my parents)



Sacha singpa nala santi broma sindey
(I like roaming in this beautiful place)

Plang zongnarang  nam tshonarang,
(In a sunny or in a rainy day)

Kheray, asham, thang dev ku dumra
(Millet, maize and paddy field)

Chang, thangma, suja, I pura sindey.
(Wine, maize goody, butter tea I like them all)




Nogor nga bro du show, Nga dozorang thap rai
(I am leaving tomorrow, I will come soon)

Nga dangsarang zoodey gabonayang
(I will miss you so much when I am away)

Nga ku noksam thongma ku rawa new
(Hope you will miss me too)

Nga chum thaku botka leebu baysay zeega
(Till then, live well)



                                                          GOD BLESS THEM A LONG LIVE.
                                    I WISH ALL PEOPLE HAVE A HEART TO LOVE AND A MIND 
                                                      TO CARE LIKE I HAVE FOUND HERE!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mother Earth

   Message: Earth will not give birth, lets protect our Mother Earth
                        

Note: Sketched and painted on June 5th, 2010 observing World Environment Day at my School.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My speech on the 'Impression' of the Orientation programm


The following is the ‘speech on impression’ that I delivered on 8th April, 2010- the day when the orientation for Light Drukyul Teachers (third batch) concluded. Venue- Auditorium of Centenary Youth Center,Thimphu.



Image:mrsec.com



“What will the child that you once were think of the adult that you have become?”

If we all keep this question in our mind it will serve us to think better, do better and be better each day of our life.

Good morning to you all- Honorable Madam Secretary Heads of departments and my fellow colleagues.

 The one week long orientation program could be summed up in these three words ‘Attitude changing experience’.

Past few days we have been familiarized on varies teaching methodologies- skills and strategies. It included;
Orientation on curriculum
Year/Block/ Lesson planning
Teacher’s Roles and Responsibilities
Educating for GNH
Counseling and other relevant topics.

I shall now deal with the impression of this orientation program.

After having briefed on these topics there has been a shift in the way we understand the teaching profession. Before the orientation we only had the opinion that the profession of teaching is mere difficult and often tiresome. Now, it seems not only interesting but it also provides an opportunity to touch lives and ultimately create a legacy for ourselves by becoming a good teacher. That’s the change in attitude and understanding I have seen.

At the beginning of the orientation, one of my friend use to receive calls from the Employment Board and other Private Companies informing him of dates scheduled for job interviews that he had applied earlier. But, as days passed on, my friend began to press the Red button each time his mobile rang. And he would immediately concentrate on the lecture being presented. That’s the change in decision I have seen.

Two weeks back when we stood in a long queue for light Drukyul interview, which was conducted in the well furnished building on my left side- our prime focus was mainly on the monetary aspect of the job though it could only attract a small number of candidates. But now, our focus is mostly on the avenue or the scope to serve the needy communities in far flung corners of our country. And to help their sons and daughters live a decent life through education and in a broader sense, to serve the nation. That’s the change in desire I have seen.

At more personal level, after I completed my graduation in mid 2008, I worked with two private media organizations stationed in Thimphu. But, due to their financial difficulties I had to resign by the mid of 2009. Since then, I have been applying for a teaching post in almost all the private schools in the country. Having earned a degree in mass communication and journalism, I even pursued the principals by presenting them with a proposal to set up a Media club in the school, but to no avail.
Hopeless and dejected, I felt my dream of becoming an educationist is finished. But fortunately on mid of March someone from the Ministry of Education called to inform that I got selected for Light drukyul Project. I was excited because I was waiting for a call. And after attending this orientation I am hopeful like never before that my dream of becoming one of the finest teachers in the country is not so far away. That’s the change I have gone through.

Happy teaching to all of you!


Thank you and Trashi Delek!




My teaching contract will expire on 18th of December, 2011. Teaching, without any formal training, in a remote community school has been an educational journey for me too.

Note: Thanks giving to Ministry of Education and Royal Civil Service Commission via my blog is scheduled on April 8th, 2012. I have so much to share.. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s Sports Day in a remote community school.


Due to budget constrain this year we organized our Annual School sport’s day differently. Instead of organizing competition between individuals, which will considerably consume a huge amount of money in purchasing prizes, we decided to conduct competitions among groups. All the sporting events were Team orientated. A packet of sweet was kept as the prize and sadly the only team which secured first position in the competition got the prize. Felt sorry for the runner ups and the participants. However they showcased a fantastic sporting spirit despite some uneasiness. 

Managing events and programmes in a small school is indeed a monumental task as the school doesn’t have avenues to make extra funds. Whatever little the fund Government provides we have to divide smartly. This time around our smartness had to be employed in dividing the limited fund between Sport’s Day and School Picnic-cum-Farewell to class six. We are going for Picnic tomorrow.

As I am the games and sport’s coordinator of the school, I had to come up with a list of Team Oriented Games for the event. Following are the sporting events conducted a few days back. Hope you like it.

Dragon Tag: Extended version of pulling the tail
Stick Race

Musical Chair for our pre-primary Kids

Pole Race...My boys loved it but girls Hated the most!

Rally race

Find Your Own Shoe: Another Hit item among the Pre-primary kids



Friday, November 11, 2011

Unusual Strategies in Practice: From The teacher who don’t have a Degree in Education.


I am not an Educational Guru trying to teach something here. Nor do I have the required qualification. Through this article I just want to share the culture I practice in my school. I have developed these practices out of immense love for children and utmost passion to teach.

The following article is especially written for pre-primary and primary school teachers serving in remote community schools. I hope this article makes sense to them and help them as it has helped me. So the information here may not be useful to other educationists elsewhere and other professionals but what’s there in reading it once and dropping some comments. You never know, you might be having much effective and better strategies and practices. I know there are books written on skills and strategies to teach but let’s think out of the box. So leave some of yours to help folks like me to serve the nation better!

1:  Collect and Win: I ask students(class 2 and below) to collect garbage like plastic, paper, chocolate covers lying around the school campus and ask them to count in front of me before throwing it into the pit. And whoever manages to collect the highest number of garbage is rewarded with a ‘Big Laksho’ on their noisy nose (please don’t laugh on my subject).

Advantages: 1. School will be always clean.
                    2. A sense of competition is preserved.
                    3. A sense of cleanliness and hygiene is nurtured.
                    4. Revision on numbering and counting.
  
2: Picture Clue: I make a simple sketch of a student or a fellow teacher on the blackboard and ask the class to recognize it. My students love it. We laugh a lot whenever i am done with a sketch on the board.

Advantages: 1. Use their brain to co-relate the figure and the marks.
                    2. A great fun activity.
                    3.  Exercise to recall and know the names of teachers and schoolmates.

3: Drawing the opposite picture: I ask students to sketch or draw a picture drawn by senior students on the back of the same paper.  They immerse themselves to complete the drawing.


Advantages: 1. Use and develop their logical thinking.
                    2. Zero wastage of paper.
                    3. A sense of pride is fostered when students can draw the same picture.
                    4. Learn some drawing skills.

4: A visit to the library: when my students complete the assignments given to them on time I take them to our small library. Students love stories so I often read a story and narrate it to them. In other days I let them take their favorite books to read within that period.

Advantages: 1. Increase love for reading.
                   2. Mini vacation for the learners to the world outside (through books).
                   3. becomes more punctual in doing tasks for another visit to the library.


5: Running to the class: when students (class two and below) are found outside playing during the class hours I tell them that whoever gets inside the class first when i count to 3 would be rewarded with another Big Laksho!

Advantages: 1. Students get seated and get ready for the lesson to be taught before I enter the class.
                    2.   Enhance their ability to re-act quickly on greater challenges ahead.
                    3.  I don’t have to shout, scold them or get angry.
                    4. A great sense of competition is alive and happening which I think is good for them.  

6: Writing from the text: I ask students to copy a whole article from a textbook without any changes. They love this writing activity as much as they do with the Picture Clue.  
Advantages:  Students would be familiar with-
1.       Punctuation marks.
2.       spellings
3.       And their handwriting will also improve (a constant monitoring and a clear instruction is needed though).
                    4. Student’s level of concentration is increased.

7: Give away old text books: I often visit to our storeroom where a lot of out-dated and old textbooks lay unused. I give it to the students who pester me to have one.
Advantages: 1. The Books will help the learners be in touch with books even after the school is over- Fosters         learning in a private setting.
                    2. Desire to learn more.
                    3.  Will teach youngsters at their house.

8: warming up: Before I begin with a new topic I ask my students to clap their hands or stamp their feet, jump or do some running around the school. Wired isn’t it? But for me it has worked. The students love this activity too.

Advantages:  1. Students get energized.
                    2. There is more blood flowing throughout their body which means they are more alert.
                    3. A fresh mind to pour in a new lesson.

9: Classroom Language: I made a list of useful classroom Phrases like ‘Please can I go out sir’, ‘May I have a pen please’ etc and asked students to memorize the phrases and use it.

Advantage: 1. English speaking is slowing gaining its popularity in my school.
                         

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Faces of the people and the place i live in......

Chorten Kora...the attraction of Trashiyangtse 

The priceless view from my School....the town below is Trashiyangtse and
the snow capped Mountain Belongs to India.

The view from a Hotel window in the town..where i slept my first night in Trashiyangtse

Backdrop: The old Dzong of Yangtse.

A hamlet just above my one roomed apartment.
Me with my local boys...they r all lay monks....
we had team up to play a football match with teachers in the town...bad news- we lost!

Simple marriage ceremony in the village

An elderly woman helps to make Tar Thang Ma 

At a Local Festival Called CHE- KHOR

My three angels of Class One Trying to teach the World.....

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beautiful sketches of me....by my class one students..

Lichen Community Primary School, by Sonam Deki
By Sonam Deki

By Dorji

By Karma Wangchuck

By Ngawang Peldon

By Sonam Lhaden

By Ugyen Pelzang

By Sonam Penjor

By Pema Wangchuck

By any means these Photos won't win Awards but have won my heart.....thats more than anything! its priceless.. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Maymay Phodila and his new wife: A tale with a happy ending.



Carpenter by profession, Maymay(grandfather) Phodila who is 63 was always happy and did his carpentry works with a wide smile on his innocent wrinkled face. He and his wife use to live in a two storied mud plastered house made of wood and stones. His children are all grown up and are serving the nation in different parts of the country. At this moment of his life he still had every reason to live; a work at hand, wife at home, children living a decent life on their own. But Maymay Phodila had his own fate to deal with.
Maymay Phodila
Recently his wife Aum Yangden died. She was suffering from some terminal illness. She died on her way to Mongar Regional Hospital where she was taken for treatment. Maymay was devastated. Smile never found their way to his innocent wrinkled face. He became silent like the cloud. He started to hate staying in his own house. The villagers waited for their favorite carpenter to come out of the tragedy to do the best thing he does. Because if anyone in the village wanted to make any furniture Maymay Phodila was to summon.  So by the constant counseling by his children and neighbors he began to work again.
It was during such visit to a nearby village that Maymay Phodila asked an elderly woman to give him the mobile number of Aum Nima Chezom, 42 years old widow. Her husband died five years ago. He died a cheap death because he was a drunkard.   
Aum Tshedrup wangmo, my house owner’s wife, says that Maymay was apprehensive at first to talk about marriage with Aum Chezom. He had the number, he had the reason but he felt he was much older than her. So he was reluctant to ask her hand right on her face. Maymay Phodila then made up his mind to first ask her over the phone whether she is interested in old lads like him. If she is then he would go to her house and pop up the question and tie the knot with her.   
Aum Nima Chezom
The news spread like wildfire. It is typical of the eastern Bhutan. Nothing stays secret here. However the villagers and his children were of the opinion that he should wait at least for a year because it has been only four months since his wife’s death. But Maymay was unputdownable.
Aum Nima Chezom has her own story to tell. She has four children to look after. The eldest is 17.  Thanks to free education that they all go to school. Dorji Wangchuck and his sister Tenzin Dema are in class six, Dechen Dorji is in class five and the youngest is in class Three. She has the most wrecked house in the locality. And she is also considered to be one of the poorest in the village.  Her children often don’t bring lunch to school. Although Dorji and Tenzin are enlisted as Kedu students but that monetary fund could only help them in the academic sphere.  At home Aum chezom has to toil on her own small field with her tender hands to grow some potatoes, maize and millet. She has to work in others field to earn some hard cash. With some money earned by selling potatoes she has managed to replace the wooden roof with CGI.
Aum Nima Chezom's House

One woman shared with me that she once gave her everything; from laundry soap, to sugar, rice to cooking oil. I heard that Aum Chezom had once said to the villagers that her and her children’s life has become more comfortable with the support of the community than the days when her husband was alive. It shows how irresponsible he was.
When Maymay mustered all his courage to make the call of his life Aum Nima chezom answered in a simple and a straight YES. Maymay Phodila said, ‘’ nga hong cho ga la?’’(Can I come) and Aum Chezom replied, ‘’jan jan la’’ (Welcome).
 The villagers are happy for them, Aum Nima Chezom is smiling, Maymay is thrilled and children delighted. I am told that the children are pestering Maymay to buy a Television set and Dechen Dorji, the second son, who loves to play football, wants a pair of boot from his new daddy. Aum Chezom is more than glad because she now can rely on Maymay and send her two elder children, who will graduate this December from the community school here, to a boarding school nearby. Had Maymay didn’t come at this juncture of her life she would have discontinued one of her children’s schooling. He came as the savior. A lot of comfort came with the entry of Maymay Phodila in her life.
Dechen Dorji playing football
 On his part Maymay has promised to build a small house near the old one. Maymay occasionally visits his old house but he is found mostly in his new house with his new and much younger wife. The smile which was lost due to the death of his wife comes out in ease when someone teases him saying that his carpentry skills has improved a lot after getting married to a younger woman.

I believe in the dictum that says ‘Obstacles are given to Ordinary people to make them Extra-Ordinary. And Maymay Phodila is such a man.

Funny yet wired dream!

The previous night I had a dream. It was funny yet wired dream. Let me narrate the dream in nutshell. I see an elderly woman standing ...