Monday, October 31, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
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.
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.
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 10:38 PM
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Aum Dechen Choden, 29, who lives in a small wooden house just below my one roomed apartment, is a beautiful woman. I often flirtingly call her Aum Jarim. Is not that I call every women I meet as Aum Jarim, every nanny I talk to as Angay Jarim and every spinster who tickles my fancy as Boom Jarim. But a lot of consideration goes in naming them. It wasn’t to impress them though but to uphold the beauty of women.
|Aum Jarim (Dechen Choden) at work.|
Boom Jarim(Ugyen Lhamo, 27) is a spinster who lives in a hamlet just 20 minutes walk from my place with whom the villagers lovingly tease me and cajole me to marry her...they usually hyperlink the story of the Bhutanese blockbuster Seday in which a school teacher falls in love with a village girl. And Angay Jarim( Chorten zam, 68) is a grandmother who lives in another hamlet which is 40 minutes walk. These three ladies share qualities that I adore the most in a woman. They are shy, disciplined, considered, strong and awesomely beautiful. And interestingly, they don’t drink too unlike other ladies here. This makes my heart to adore them even more.
Aum Dechen Choden is such a woman whom I admire the most among my Jarims. Now don’t adulterate the former line. I just adore her for the way she has been carrying herself before and after her husband’s death. I have found her being shy on occasions when village elders share some dirty talks with her. And I have seen her not at all enjoying it, like some do, and leaving the scene without saying a word. She talks less and she doesn’t have an eye on me or any other man.
|The night their father left them.|
( That night Karma was constantly asking about her father to her bereaved mother)
She has two wonderful daughters and a handsome son. Her son Tshering Gyeltshen is in class Three, the elder daughter Sonam Deki is in class One and their younger sister Karma Yangchen is in class PP.
Her husband Sonam Tshering, the poor soul, was tall and muscular man. I was told by my house-owner’s wife Aum Tshedrup Wangmo that he had spent most of his marriage life in Thimphu enjoying the city life there than with his wife and children at home here. She added that he used to pay a short visit but it has been more than three years since his last departure. Apart from sending a few thousand Ngultrums a year he couldn’t do anything else. He was also unavailable at the time when she gave birth to their third child. What else can be so heartbreaking for a wife than to realize that her husband is far away unknown and bother less of her giving birth to their own baby? He was a man who nobody wanted as a husband. He didn’t even have a regular job. Whatever amount he earned to live his otherwise poise life in the most expensive city was by setting up stalls and selling plastic goodies on festivals especially tsechus held across the country. He was basically a small merchant who was homeless as well as heartless.
I first saw Sonam Tshering on February of this year. He was here after three long years. He was standing in front of a small bamboo hut where his wife and children use to live. I wondered how they had spent their nights for so many years in that small hut. Because the walls were so thin that chilly wind easily got in. Her children didn’t have warmer clothes to wear. They didn’t have enough blankets to cover themselves and so they all had to warm themselves sitting around a fire before they retire to their beds. My visit to her place had been always filled with sad memories.
But things started to change drastically after the father’s “holy” return to his house. Few days after his arrival he and his father in- law started to build their present house. The house is much warmer and spacious compared to their old bamboo hut. The kitchen utensils and blankets also increased in number. New cotton/woolen clothes for kids and a warm coat for his beautiful wife. Imported Rice cooker, water boiler and curry cooker which were considered luxury before soon occupied the shelves in their new house. A gas cylinder and a stove were also bought by her husband. The life of Aum Jarim and her three children soon became more comfortable. Aum Jarim happily once said that the gasoline stove has helped her make tea faster for occasional visitors like me.
|The Father helped build this wooden house. (Backdrop: The old bamboo hut)|
Gradually the cheap and bad reputation of the father soon begins to fade away. Frequent Kow kow (local word for gossip) among elderly women regarding him proved that he has won the hearts and respect of the community.
But the goodness was too good to last long. On his last journey as a shopkeeper in the recent Yunphula Tsechu he was taken to Trashigang hospital by his friends where he took his last breath.
What I learnt from this story is that Sonam Tshering’s soul knew he was going to die soon. So he came back to his house, to his wife, to his children just to provide them with all necessary things before he depart for his heavenly HOME.
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 4:48 AM
Thursday, October 20, 2011
It has always been an intriguing questions to me; “why do bad things happen to Good People? And why do good things happen to Bad People?” The questions inevitably gained more importance when i happen to realize that I fall in one of the extremes. The list of bad things was more under my belt than the good ones which says I am eligible to call myself a Good Person. But why was the question. It bothered me a lot in recent times. It had to be answered soon. So out of sheer curiosity to investigate the reasons I kind of did a brainstorming this afternoon. The reasons mentioned here may not be universal but it gave me a satisfactory feeling. My little brain worked more today and i could came up with the following reasons.
1: Values: Good People have values like; love contribution to society and relationships engraved in way up on their priority list. Even if they are right, they don’t indulge themselves in quarrel or debate of any sort that can break a relationship. They feel happy to be losers. For them an incredible sense of joy comes in to show such unconditional love to others.
The societal pressure and an urge to contribute bring more defeats. My rechargeable touch (a must have to any civil servant serving in a remote posting) and Bata slipper has not yet come home since their last dispatch on humanitarian ground. I gave my touch to a mid-aged couple on their way home and my slipper to a young man who was recently struck by a dart.
2: Believe in Interdependence: Good People have unweaving believe in the concept of ‘interdependent relationship’. The relationship with his neighbors, relatives, friends and colleagues are of great importance to him. They believe in the togetherness. For them co-operation, even at the expenses of themselves, is the order of the day. So to keep the relationships going they play it safely. They don’t want to reason nor do they want any argument to blow up.
3: Tolerant: Though Good People are emotional creatures they are master in tolerating the happenings in their life, especially bad incidents, in a closed manner. They don’t solve the issue at hand in the heat of the happening. What they best do is to resent and ponder over the incident and feel more resentful.
4: Soft Speech: Good people have a huge collection of vocabulary that sounds soft and kind to others. They don’t curse, bully or demoralize others. But the people in general take such gentleness as weak point of that person. So the person is taken for granted for his softer acts and in the return they hammer him with bulling and mockery.
5: Utmost Respect: Good People often pays a great respect to others no matter the creed, age or status. They respect other’s opinions and suggestions. This act of showing sincere respect is often taken as the sign of innocence and stupidity of the person in question. He is often made fun of and is considered a fool.
6: Question of Good Reputation: Bad things happen to Good People because they don’t readily change themselves. They love the way they are. They love the way people treat them. They are easily sold out to People’s flattery and cajolery talks. And sadly they cling to that reputation of being kind, innocent,soft spoken, loving, lesser egocentric ect. So in the process the Good People never change in the fear of losing that fabulous reputation and succinctly help to keep up the statement that says ‘bad things happen to good people’.
These are my reasons why do Bad things happen to Good People and if you want to read the reasons for why do Good things happen to Bad People let’s start to mention it in the spaces available below for comments. Thank you.
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 12:27 PM
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
|on my way to the main road where a taxi awaits...|
|Duksum: A business hub for villages uphill but deserted today|
| Vehicles were held at Pam 4 kms from main Town to avoid traffic|
jam..a smart initiative...
|The color of Marak and Sektan|
|Queue outside the Dzong|
|Town like a Hamlet but People like a City..|
|The Dzong i visited for Tshechus in early 90s was revisited .|
|The Three Special Things people from all walks of life came|
to see and to get blessed...
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 6:20 PM
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Its 4:00 am in this part of the world. It’s extremely cold outside. A few houses in the village have their lights on. Amm Tshedrup Zangmo, generous and kind woman and wife to my house-owner, is also awake to prepare a pack lunch for her large family. On the other side of the mountain, a large number of vehicles are streaming down along the Trashiyangtse-Trashigang high way. The only road that connects the Dzongkhag with rest of Bhutan is along the Big Kulung Chu. The shimmering lights of vehicles meandering down in high speed gathered a feeling in me of some mass evacuation operation being under taken. After brushing and sprinkling water on my face I updated my Facebook status; “ soon leaving on a religious visit to trashigang……to see the relics brought from Gaya….shall update this event with photos on my blog: www.gayatribhandari.blogspot.com.”
do visit again to see the photos.....
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 5:27 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2011
|Offerings to the Royal Couple|
|wishing cards prepared by the students|
|whole school involved in a patriotic song|
|Another Song of Praise|
|The item song of the Event : KoKo lay Ko( Favorite among the Locals)|
|Parents and Local community enjoying the event|
|Presenting a Folk song|
|Refreshment for the community (better tea, milk tea, Thartang Ma and Ara)|
|Me: Caught in the Action|
|Now its time for the feast!.....|
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 7:46 PM
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Can you fall in love with someone you have never met? I don’t know about you but I have been falling in love with few girls without even meeting them personally. It’s weird but true. Allow me to share two such romantic beginnings but sadly not so happy endings.
First let me introduce the two angels in brief. Both of them were college students when my poor heart started to compose poems about them. One of them still studies in one of the colleges within Bhutan and the other studied in India. Both of them are Brahmin and belong to decent family of farmers. Incredibly, both of them are blessed with innocent but beautiful face.
Interestingly though, I first saw both of them on Facebook.com then they got downloaded to my heart and finally to my electronic devices. Don’t laugh please…..I know what you are thinking.. I am idiot. Ok?
The first one got downloaded to my mobile and served me as wallpaper for almost 6 months. She was there with me whenever I wanted to see here.
A Mutual friend of us had sms her mobile number and the journey of making Bhutan Telecom richer was commenced. I use to call her every day and the talking didn’t stop there. Whenever the mobile balance read -14.95 I immediately use to start a fresh conversation with her looking at her photo on my mobile screen. I was so much in love with her. Don’t laugh please….
The second angle was luckier. She got even bigger space and was in much more expensive device. Why? Because now I had bought a brand new Laptop and she use to flash right in front of my eyes whenever I had to use my Laptop. She was there on the screen of my 16’’Compaq CQ42 laptop for a month.
With not much delay let’s get started with the first Angel Miss Rainbow (name changed for my own safety..hahaha). Miss Rainbow is still studying in one of the colleges within Bhutan. The long telephonic conversations between us took a dramatic turn after just one month.
One fine day she asked me to talk with her father over the phone. Her father asked every possible question that any father of a daughter will ask to his to-be son-in-law. His queries were regarding my job, salary, my family and my caste. I was flabbergasted but happy that her parents now won’t be bothered by my frequent calls as her father has granted the permission to talk.
The talking went on for months. I knew names of her all the siblings and even of cows she had back home. I started to share with her my ideas of our life together. She too was excited and happy but this burning excitement was soon to be extinguished.
With no reason as such she stopped receiving my calls..and I thought that I shouldn’t sell myself cheaper than this so I had to stop there too.
Now let’s move to my second Angel Miss Victoria (name changed for my safety again). Miss Victoria didn’t have a clue that she was frequently missed and dreamt about until a friend of her told about my sincere admiration for her. I too talked about her with my mother. She was optimistic and happy but only for a short period.
Much can’t be talked about her because I didn’t even have her phone number. In addition to it I heard an engagement plan brewing within her family with someone else so I happily gave up.
Angels do have wings so I let them fly….if they didn’t I would have hold their hands! ha ha ha hah
I wish them happy and successful life….God Bless you both.
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 9:39 AM
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Today is 6th of October and an auspicious day for Hindus too. Today is Dashain. And the unusual October has just begun.
It is Unusual particularly for two reasons;
1: Royal wedding: Our king is getting married this month. It is indeed a historic and a joyous occasion for all the Bhutanese. It is even more heartwarming for both the Royal Couple. I wish them happiness and success in their lives.
Why Unusual for me?
Now, I am 28 years old lad. And to witness an event of such magnitude, I have to probably wait for another 30 years. The waiting will turn me to an old man of 58. And like any man, I am not sure to live that long. However the ‘Life Expectancy’ figures of Bhutan do flame a hope in me to witness the Royal Wedding of our future King (King Jigme Khaser Namgyel Wangchuck Jr.). My fingers are crossed.
2: The numbering factor: This month has 5 Sundays, 5 Saturdays and 5 mondays which happens only after 823 years. Speechless! I won’t be there to see that October sky again.
And what am I going to do to make this unusual October cherish-able at a personal level?
1: Learn to read and write Nepali: starting this month, I am totally engrossed in learning my own language. It is getting on quite well. My race will look down on me if I don’t. my learning will go a long in helping my kids learn the language. So it is of great importance.
2: Planning and budgeting my own marriage: while I am certainly not in a relationship (wish to) or in a mood to settle down but the month is so auspicious and unusual that I am drafting a master plan for my own marriage.
Funny it may sound but these are the things I am doing. WHAT ARE YOU DOING On THIS UNUSUAL MONTH?
# posted on an auspicious day so to get more hits and comments…hahahhaha….Happy Dashain to all.
Posted by gayatri bhandari at 10:12 PM