Saturday, September 29, 2012

Phuntsholing Bus Terminus: Mighty yet Meager.


I have great reverence for Phuntsholing Town-Not just because I completed my high school there but most importantly it has been serving as a commercial hub for the entire country since ages. It also has a transformation system in place that covers almost half of our country in a single day. Commuters now can travel faster like never before. But, with utmost reverence come deep feelings to care about it more - a strong urge to help keep its reputation up. The following article is pen down with my caring heart so the reverence I have for the town in my heart is not marked forever.
 Phuntsholing Bus Terminus...stands tall but weak.
The lavishly built Bus Terminus of the commercial Capital of our country is not so commuter friendly! How? Few basic facilities like toilet and a waiting area with chairs are still needed to be put in so that passengers and commuters paying the ever increasing fare on availing the transport serve is justified.
The Only Toilet Available..Far and apart.
The Mighty Terminus doesn’t have a toilet for the convenience of few hundreds of travelers arriving to and leaving from the station each day. Unlike in Thimphu, the commuters there have to walk approximately 50 meters out of the station to use a toilet. This toilet doesn’t belong to the station too. It stood before the terminus was built.

Big enough Space to move but No place to sit.
But they have enough cash to pay for the
electricity bill(it was 10 am when i took this Pic-the lights were still on) 
The Mighty does have big enough space within the terminus for travelers to move in and out but no chairs for them to seat and wait for their bus to arrive. An Officer at one of the ticket counters said that the chairs have been removed since last year when they found few chairs laying there in bad condition. Since then, the commuters have been using the stair cases and platforms to wait for their bus to arrive at the station.

A mother feeds her sick baby on the stair-case. 


Commuters seen seated on the staircase and on the floor
The Mighty Terminus is also often covered by litters and pot holes are plenty to see on the court yard of the terminus. The corners are littered with doma spits and the walls have cracks on them. The ceiling of the Mighty terminus desperately needs a repair (the damage is visible on the above Photograph). Delay in departure of the buses seem OK to everyone and Private number vehicles can rush in and out to drop and pick up passengers on their own wit and wish. This practice is actually restricted in the terminus for the safety of the passengers but its viral now.
The Panoramic View of the Mighty Terminus
Concerned agencies must be doing their best day in day out to serve the people but on those two particular days when I arrived a week ago and then left from the station yesterday things were pretty unlikely. It appeared as if the terminus was left on itself to function.

To take care of Public and state property is every individual’s fundamental duty and appealing and questioning the concern authorities for the betterment of a society is every individual’s fundamental right. Phuntsholing residents need to exercise their rights and save the reputation of their own Town.  

I wish nothing but good for the town and comfortable for the commuters coming to Phuntsholing who will actually take the impression of the town back to their home. And what could be more shameful for Phuntsholing Community than to showcase the condition of the terminus from where commuters set forth their first steps of their visit to the town. Its too big a risk that people of Phuntsholing helplessly take each day!

I wish the Mighty remains as the mightier but the Mighty is bit meager these days to keep its own reputation. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sunday Mart of Samtse

If there was ever an honoring award for a Sunday market in our country, it has to be Sunday Mart of Samtse which would win the award unanimously.

The Mart brings in range of products and services under the sheds built in the heart of the stagnated township of Samtse every Sunday.

On the previous day of the Mart, merchants from as far as Tendu (72 KM from Samtse) and farmers along the sipsoo- samtse High way come to samtse and especially the farmers of Doroka come down from their hamlets to the market sheds with fresh vegetables and fruits in their bamboo/cane buckets to cater to the consumers on the following day.

Some farmers still bring their farm products on horseback from Doroka walking down under the scorching heat of southern sun while others use vehicles to bring their goods.

 A large number of shopkeepers at the mart arrive in mini-trucks on the early morning of the day from the Indian bordering towns.  Mainly the Indian shopkeepers come from Chamurchi, Banarhat and Binnaguri with their goods and services that are not commonly found in Bhutanese Sunday Markets. Together, they make Sunday Mart of Samtse uniquely different- An Award winning of sort.  

Gradually, the Mart comes in live as consumers from the vicinity of Samtse town turn up to buy the products and take benefit of the services available in the Mart.

Here, it becomes so easy if you wish to mend your broken umbrellas, to give your shoes a real polish or to stitch your torn clothes. You can buy a roll of yeast to prepare alcohol; a dash of fresh tea leafs to brew strong tea and best of authors like Robin Sharma and Paulo Coelho to read.

You can also find all kind of knives to cut and slice or religious artifacts to worship and idolize. You have a choice to buy Shoes, slippers and jewelries to wear, buy a roll of nylon thread for your fishing rod or chew betel nut from a small walking pan-shop. You can buy green vegetables, ripe fruits or eat momo in an open air.

Unlike in other markets, you can buy a fist of garlic or ginger here. The shopkeepers weigh squash and pumpkins with their bare hands. You can find shopkeepers using primitive beam balance (a beam balance with only one pot and is balanced by a wooden log on the other end) to weigh their products. Most amazing sight is to see shopkeepers squatted on the ground displaying their few items on a sheet of plastic or cross-legged under a tree waiting for his share of costumer.

For me the shopping experience with my parents today was one of a kind. It was emotional though. I felt like I was thrown into a time machine and travel led some 15 years reverse when things were utterly different. I felt sorry for those squatted and cross-legged shopkeepers. And my living in the Capital Thimphu where I see only foreign products in the shops and shopkeepers seated on comfortable chairs made me realize one Big Thing….. We live so far away from our own folks.

How you deal with this disparity and re-act will depend on your morality but the Award I discussed earlier goes unquestionably to the Sunday Mart of Samtse. 

For now, enjoy the following images that reveals the facets of this wonderful Sunday Market.   
Come and buy Balloons of all shape and size

The best of authors sleeping on a dusty ground

My Mom bargains......My Dad waits

On cheap tables he laid expensive jewelries for sale

The over-view of the Mart

The choice is yours....they sale every kind of knives
The stall where your old shoes shine again

Farmers displaying their vegetables on  small plastic

Bring your  clothes here that need stitches


My Mom wants to try some fresh tea leaves

Religious items for sale

My Mom buying squash from a shopkeeper seated under the big tree

The corner where your umbrella gets repaired for next rainy season


Shopkeepers still use primitive beam balance to weigh things
written on Sunday, 23rd Sept, 2012.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This is it - An anecdote of my city.


My city Thimphu is apparently beautiful and the night view of the city from Kuenselphodrang Park resembles a heavenly place-The tapestry of beauty.
Thimphu City at Night

The streets in the daylight are spick and span. The window panes, glass doors and tile floors of shops across the city shimmers with glow. The shiny expensive cars zoom in and zoom out, people wear trendy clothes and apply fancy perfumes and warm their feet with branded shoes. Yes, Thimphu is beautiful but as they say, beauty is only skin deep. I wish it weren’t the way it is. But…..This is it!
Street of Thimphu

We do a lot of things in Thimphu...But for few things we do don’t have personal reasons, of many we don't care whether it really serves own our purpose and then a large amount of things we do is done for the sake of the society so we r welcomed and accepted willingly as a part of it.

The Three Es- Ego, Embarrassment and Envy; the Engine parts that run this city re-write our character and life the day we start living in this place- often for good but in many cases for worse.

The following is the change seen in a man’s life. These events don’t restrict itself to Pelden’s life only. It inspires to depict the way we change as we continue to live here.

Pelden Chodra has been living in Thimphu since January, 2012. His otherwise dogmatic nature to respect and to preserve our Bhutanese culture and tradition has started to lose its ground. His personality started to change drastically. He is no more the self-proclaimed savior of our rich cultural and traditional ethos that is on the verge of vanishing. He felt alienated in upholding it and decided to change for self-good in the face of the fast changing community.

The Man, who never took off his chupa in his entire life suddenly started to wear tight jeans, changed his hair style to some latest Korean hairdo and takes immense pride in putting on a pair of cow boy boots.  

He stopped listening to neoclassical Bhutanese music-the sentimental tune of flute, the soothing effects of yangchen and the endless melody of dranang. No wonder! He is now into heavy metal and occasionally seen humming country songs to exhibit classy side of him to his friends and colleagues.

Bars and Night clubs are now a haven for him. Ara and bangchang (local alcohol) are nowhere to be seen in his menu. Bhutanese ‘Special courier’, K5 or some foreign brandy would only quench his thirst. He loves to swing his hips and roll his eyes hearing a saxophone play and he does a lot of head banging when drum and electric guitar starts to play.

He never wanted to go to this extend but he didn’t like to be a-part from everyone else too. What on earth could he do now? So, he concentrates in doing what is easy for him yet appealing for others and not necessarily for his own happiness.

When he wants to drink he won't dare pick up cheap drinks and when he is hungry he would unwillingly munch hamburgers, pizzas and sandwiches to belong and to taste Thimphu’s neo- lifestyle.

He has already purchased a ticket to Bangkok and has well-planned out a weeklong vacation there. He has made a long shopping list and places to visit.  In fact,  he could have arranged a visit to Phuentsholing, a bordering town in the south, to shop but it would make him seemingly cheap to his friends and neighbors in Thimphu as everyone here visits Bangkok, a foreign land, though for the same purpose.
DrukAir flying to Bangkok

He has filed some documents to avail loan so he could buy a car soon. In the beginning, Pelden use to walk to his office but slowly it started to embarrass him when he realized that he is the only one walking. And his Ego got badly hurt when he was offered a lift or two.

Pelden Chodra was the man who did forgive the culprits who stole all his belongings while returning from his grandmother’s funeral. But now, he has lost his righteousness to forgive. He has bought a new radical belief in him that says ‘revenge is the only option to forgive others’. He has also become difficult at office when people come to avail services. He thinks that being able to work in Thimphu qualifies him for more dignity, respect and politeness on the part of the customers coming to him.

His renewed Ego and the sense of heightened Embarrassment now doesn't allow him to stand and wait in the long queues at JDWNRH to meet doctors. He has figured it out for this too. He envy people who goes to the Private health clinics in the city so he makes an appointment for himself to simply feel as elites.

The place has made him look rich but his soul has already degraded. He often finds himself unhappy and confused. He somehow keeps the tempo of his present life in tune with others. He needs to appear rich, modern and yet classy for that only matters the most in the city he lives in.

Surprisingly, the only best thing that happened to Pelden Choden after his remarkable metamorphosis is his long lost affair getting hot again with Syelden Rewa Wangchuck. This time around she gets thrilled to find a new Pelden Chodra in him. The glitters that shines on Pelden Chodra now made him appear more like a gold. The glow of whatever that glitters on Pelden Chodra made Syelden instantly fall for him. Pelden also had received a lot of marriage proposals but decides to hold Syelden’s hand at least for now.

No blames to her for not accepting him earlier. The faded and dull things often get neglected here. This is it! In the big picture where everything shimmers, it’s obvious a pinch of dust will be puffed out soon-either out of love for the picture or hatred towards the dust.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

‘Teacher’s Day Out’ on International Day of Democracy.

YDH Hall jam packed with Teachers


The Thimphu Thromdey education section organized a special day out for teachers of 29 schools under Thimphu Thromdey yesterday afternoon. The day was officially known as ‘Lopen Khamsang’-Teachers day out. The banner on the stage proudly stated ‘Thromdey Education Section celebrating Serig Century taking 1000 teachers out at Coronation Park on 15th September, 2012’. The participating schools presented songs and dances to observe the day. The occasion was graced by the Education Minister Lyenpo Thakur S. Powdyel.

The organizer initially wanted to take the teachers out in an open air at Coronation Park, away from chalk sticks and green boards, chairs and tables, classroom walls and school campuses. They believed teachers hardly get time to gather outside their school gates. The organizer wished to observe the day in pure Bhutanese traditional way- Every one sitting on floor with legs crossed and fully engaged in cozy conversation of what all Bhutanese are famously known for. But due to heavy down pour the venue was changed (YDF Hall) at eleventh hour.

Never the less, the program moved on as outlined. The minister in his address said teachers are not cared of by the media unless found doing wrong. He offered his sincere gratitude and honor teachers for making our country more knowledgeable. He also reaffirmed the valuable role as teachers we each individual perform. The responsibility of making a difference in a learner’s life and the duty so profound that imparts the nation’s future. He said, ‘If Bhutan has to succeed as a nation it will be through education and if Bhutan as a nation fails it will be through education’.
Colleagues capturing moments to remember.

The huge gathering of 1160 teachers at YDF Hall was first of its kind. The gathering saw 1160 nation builders taking out some time to relax chit-chat and dine with new and old colleagues keeping aside the common challenges faced inside the classrooms each day of each month of each academic year.
Rush at stalls before the program had commenced
The teachers were provided with coupon of worth Nu: 200 to spend on food items from the stalls which were spread out in front of YDF Hall. The Teachers enjoyed eating their share in between the songs and dances performed on the stage.

Another stall with another group of teachers.
The time I had spend with my colleagues and fellow teachers pleased me but what struck me on my way home provoked me.  The Teachers Day Out or Lopen Khamsang coincidently shared the day with International Day of Democracy.

Was it just a coincident? No. The message is clear. By the virtue of being teachers and we being actively involved in the lives of youngsters the 'Day Out', in a subtle way, urges us (and teachers around the country) to think more about our young democracy. The future of our democracy lies in the head of our young population-the youth of our country. We need to share and discuss only the noble ideas of democracy. We need to make our children aware of the true nature of democracy and help young minds shape a positive perception of it. ‘Democracy education’ (Theme for this year) taught within the four walls of classroom today will usher a positive democratic mentality for tomorrow.

The ‘Day Out’ simply and symbolically ushers to be just another ‘Day In’ for the silent heroes of our country to pull up their sleeves and start moulding the minds of our youth for better and  ideal democracy  for future Bhutan!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A concert to celebrate the Cultural Splendour of SAARC Countries...

Inaugurating Concert with short speeches from the leaders of SAARC Countries

Afghanistan 

Bangladesh Dance
Dancing on our own Bhutanese Tune..


My name is James.......James Bond ( me with my Colleagues Miss Dechen and Mrs Anjana)

Bollyhood number ( India)

Maldives'  Dance

Crowning Miss Bhutan as Miss World

Folk Dance of Nepal

Dancing on a sufi number..(Pakistan)

Participants singing our school Anthem to end the Concert.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cultural Slpendour of Bhutan..a concert!


Yesterday afternoon the Lower Primary Students (PP-III) of Druk School staged their annual Concert in the YDF Hall, Thimphu. The theme ‘Cultural Splendor of Bhutan’ graced the stage with regional songs and dances. The concert brought in all contemporary songs and dances performed in our country on one stage sending out a powerful message of how rich our cultural heritage is. The concert also reiterated the unity of different culture prevalent in our small country- An absolute testimony of ONE NATION ONE PEOPLE philosophy envisioned by our forth King.

My program for the Concert was a simple one, no dance, no song. ‘The Amalgam’ was the name we gave to the program. It was all about the parent-child bonding, different languages and dialects we speak and the different costume we wear as BHUTANESE. The following is the synopsis for the item my students presented this afternoon.     

“As colorful are our festivals, as beautiful are our valleys, as majestic are our mountains, the different languages and dialects we speak in different pockets of our small country and the beautiful costume we wear with it do the icing on the cake. Good evening to you all. I Gelek Yangzom Tshering of Class II C is honored to present to you the amalgam of these languages, dialects and the beautiful costumes on this stage. I and my class mates have a special message to convey to our parents. We shall come in pairs to share it. Though we may sound different, but the messages only tell you how Thank full we are of the love and care you as parents have shown to us and we Promise to look after you in times of need. Like it, savor it and cherish it. Tashi Delek!”

Enjoy the glimpses of the concert:
 

Add caption




My Item...The Amalgam







Today afternoon the Upper Primary( class IV - VI) shall stage their concert entitled “Splendour of SAARC”.
Venue: YDF
Time: 2:30 pm
Ticket: 250-
Dress Code: The Costumes of SAARC Countries...
The money collected through tickets will go to the re-construction of Wangdue Phodrang dzong.




Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My friend ‘a New Cow Man’

New Cow getting in a line.....


Back in my school days I had a macho friend. He was a fair, stylish and muscular lad. The only problem with him was his height. He wasn’t that tall. But, for him that wasn’t a problem at all. The height didn’t bother him much as he was immensely celebrated by our school girls.

Our mutual girl friends in the school would often talk about the charm he possessed. The killing looks he had which made their world go blind and the magical touch of his fingers sending quiver of excitement throughout their body. He was one boy who all high school boys would envy his style and all girls would wish to go out for a date with him.

Girls at the school had all time under the sun to talk about him and would tirelessly ask everything regarding my A-list friend. One at a time they would come to my desk during free periods and recesses only to glorify my friend further. Some talk about his body, handful of them romanticize his way of glancing at them and few go crazy over the casual caresses my STAR friend would use to begin any conversation with them.

Argh! Felt sorry for them on occasions when I see them closing their eyes and endlessly praising my friend who hardly cares about them. He was one easy gay who didn’t have a heart for love and emotions but he happened to be a good friend of mine who would stand by me at all cost.

But one thing that amazed me most about my friend was his flair to start conversation with new girls without a slight hitch and immediately go out for dates with them leaving the old girls clam, satisfied and happy! He would meticulously aside the old girlfriends for new ones and never let them realize that they have been left forever. As far as I remember, he didn’t date the same girl twice. Once dated made that girl old for him, out-dated stuff that he didn’t bother to come back again. He wanted only new one! And believe it or not, he gets a new one in a snap of fingers.

As busy were girls in the school praising my friend, he use to describe me how well did each date unfolded. Like a gifted narrator he would narrate everything that happened in between HI and GOODBYE often mix matching the place of date with the names of his ladies.

I had been quite old timer those days. I believed in mingling with one girl and settle down with her too. The belief I had those days is still strong today. I didn’t have a long name list of girls dated like my macho friend who preserved the list with great pride and was so proud to show it to me. Unlike my friend, I would have been contended with a girl happy enough to share her life with me. My friend was flying high.

We were destined to come together for few years but we lived with absolutely different approaches to things in life. He wanted elegant body and I dreamt of a beautiful mind. Emotions made me where my friend was molded with passion. One would have been enough for me while he kept adding on his list. Miss x might have been the final destination for me but for my friend she would be just another stepping stone to his out-of-sight destination.

I wondered what was happening with my friend until recently I read about ‘New Cow Theory’ It comes from the book animal husbandry by Laura Zigman. It has just been made into a movie called someone like you starring Ashley Judd.
The new cow theory is based on that when a bull is shown a cow it will want to mate with it. But then it will no longer want that cow because it is now old cow and the bull wants new cow!

The theory applies this concept to men. It is why some men (the new cow men, like my macho friend) will go from woman to woman, while others (the old cow men, like me) will be happy to stay with one woman.
The question I have for you amidst this awesome piece of information is Are you an Old Cow Man or a New Cow Man? Huh?

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 ...