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Showing posts from September, 2009

Fighting RCSCE-phobia

Now that the orientation is over, graduates all over Bhutan would be hunting for information and scratching through all our history books. And in absence of readily available information, it is going to be so frustrating for many. There are are aspirants like Tashi.P Ganzinwho are already seeking divine intervention- whether to appear or not to. 

This is the biggest moment in a graduate’s life – it’s time to learn and relearn so many things about the home and the world. And they need good attention from their parents and relatives, guidance and advice from elders. I am sure all 1300 graduates who attended the NGOP may not appear RCSC Common examination, but we need to inspire and encourage those that brave the odds.
Many of my friends are waiting to take the exam of their life – their future will either be made or broken when RCSC declares the results. And my full prayers and support are with them. They are terribly afraid of it to say the least.
I heard while there are no problems in …

Technology and us

Obviously 21st Century man is bestowed with the best of modern technologies and fancy gadgets. And definitely our lives have become much easier and yet much more complex. By the same token, we have become so dependent on technologies that we are almost handicapped without them. We are victims of time and changing technologies. The following are some evidence that prove our dependence:
I cannot remember a single contact number without my mobile phone-bookWithout a calculator to wait for me, I panic even with a simple addition Today life without electricity is unthinkable: Computers will be useless
The art of blogging will die
Fans will stop
Vegetables will rot in the fridges
Trip to lhakhang or goempa is near impossible without the roadPower tillers have replaced oxen on the village farmsToday our farmers use chainsaws to fell tree because they find using axes too tiringLPG cylinders have replaced our warm hearths Rice cookers have easily …

Our own Prometheus

In Greek mythology, Prometheus is the one who steals fire from heaven and gives it back to the world. Humans are said to have possessed fire initially, but the Greek myth tells us that Zeus, the king of gods had hidden it from people when he was insulted by them. 

This is an interesting story. Prometheus presents Zeus two sacrificial offerings to choose: a carcass of an ox stuffed with all beef and collection of bull’s bones smeared with fat.But Zeus mistakenly chooses bones. And that’s why humans started the trend of burning bones mixed with fat as an offering to gods while humans enjoy the meat. Zeus feels insulted; so, he hides fire altogether. And this is when Prometheus comes into picture.
As a punishment, Zeus binds Prometheus onto a rock where an eagle is said to be eating his liver, which grows again only to be eaten the next day, and so on. Poor Prometheus!
These days from the archery ground to swimming pool to taxi-parking to offices, people are talking about the latest devel…

Eponymous Confusion

Yes that’s another term for people bearing the same name and all that confusions resulting thereof. In Bhutan, most of us are named in the similar fashion. And when two people in an office share the same name, it’s heluva confusion. You don’t know who is being talked of, who is called or who is blamed, who is being gossiped about, who is appreciated and all that. There are three or four people I am forced to share my first name in the organization, two being in the same office and by coincidence all of us are known by our first names. 

Every time someone utters my name, my involuntary muscles make me look in the caller’s direction. Most of the time, the person in question is not me. But that makes me alert anyways.
But at least I am in a better position. We have an office assistant called Cheat Bahadur. And the boss constantly calls him to her table. The way she calls his name and the accent makes me feel uncomfortable, especially hearing the sound. For an honest person like him, I don…

BOB Net Banking - Comfort Banking

Coinciding with its 41st Foundation Day, Bank of Bhutan launched Internet Banking. With the introduction of this facility, the customers have the option of banking from their homes without having to wait in long queues in crowded branches. As of 31st August 2009, there are 2567 registered customers availing the facilities.
What can I do with Internet Banking? With Internet Banking, you have control over your money in the bank 24X7. You can:
1. Search statements Search your statements by date, amount or payment typeDownload statements
2. Real time balances Check your balance online
Keep track of the money going in and out of your accountsView your balances for your local and foreign currency accounts (BOB account holders) 3. Make and receive payment online Make immediate transfers between your accounts or from your accounts to any other accounts within BOBMake payments of a total of Nu. 100,000 a daySave details of payment or other beneficiaries to make repeat payments 4. Cheque Payment Order…

And she is still waiting

It is been a year since she has been waiting. And knowing that he won’t come, she still waits. Somehow she cannot get off the feeling that he would come and save her. How easily could someone who promised her moon and stars change? How could he be so heartless to let her undergo a series of pains and heartaches? Today she misses her absent mother and the dead father more than ever. Phuentsholing is a strange place. And survival threw her into different places and people, working for an Indian jewelry shop to waiter at a small hotel to a parking fee collection.As far as her memory goes back, she has been working for one family or another. And the family she had been working for a year ago was by far the best people. After the death of her father, her mother remarried and ran away with a man. When she thought she was learning to forget the absence of her mother, this man came along and promised her a colorful life. She decided even if she has nothing to eat, if there was someone who tr…

Unlucky eight Lucky Signs

In Bhutan eight lucky signs are considered auspicious. We find them everywhere and we wouldn't be surprised if some of them find their place in public defecation centers. And believed to have been offered by the Gods to the Gautama Buddha after he attained his enlightenment, these eight symbols represent good fortune.


If you visit Phuentsholing, don’t forget to pay homage to these eight lucky signs displayed along the wall that divides Phuentsholing from Jaigaon. Dantak people have taken good
initiatives of painting them, but today they stare us from the specks of mosses and accumulated dust. There are too too many even to notice.



Heavy holy change nyagchang

There was a heavy downpour towards evening yesterday. Maybe the Gods and goddesses in heaven thought that our bodily ‘dirt’ and souly ‘misdeed’ accumulated over the past two years deserved more than a regular drizzle. Today, for the first time, I feel more leansed. But too sad, just a day before they could actually take this holy bath many people lost their lives to unpredictable calamities. How uncertain can our lives get? All our prayers go to all those that were the victims of September 21 earthquake. May their souls rest in peace!Two years’ ago, our government decided to write off Thrue Bab from the government holiday’s list. And when they did that they completely broke one of the pillars of GNH – preservation of culture and traditions. Now they realized the significance to call back the day to its former glory. It is a great relief to us all provided another government does not decide to slash it off again. A few days ago news of simplifying Dzongkha flooded Bhutanese media. I r…

A(cute) Shortage

Phuentsholing has an (a)cute housing shortage. And I won't be surprised if 7 out of 10 people I meet on the street say they are looking for house. Some of the house owners demand three or four months' advance rent payment, which doesn't at all make sense. Why would someone pay before he/she uses the house? But if they have something over their heads, they don't mind paying.

One of our friends is transferred, which means a house will be vacated soon. And when I requested if he could give me the house (which does not belong to him) he says he has already given it to someone who is willing to even pay his last month's rent. That's amazing and truly a wonderful bargain of course.

And every time I walk down to my uncle's house near KMT Press, above the sewerage tanks, I get all sorts of haunted feelings. About 10 or 11 one-storied buildings greet me from their dilapidated state. No one in the locality exactly knows when they are vacated and why. If they were to…

Give it or take it

It is something everyone likes to give everyone if there are enough ears listening. And it is what you preach others something you never practice. For instance, a smoker would like to tell others, how smoking is bad and injurious to one’s health. It is like a drunkard lecturing on the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. I advise my brother to read books like he is been punished to do so, books after books. I tell him how exciting and helpful a habit reading is. But in past few months, it is as if I have taken leave from reading. That’s sad. And my friends ask me to help them improve their writings. What can I say? I know I need to say something for they expect me say something. Yes, of course. I end up saying what thousand of writers across the world would tell them exactly. It has become some form of template. Many writers’ advice is packed in the similar fashion. So, I advise them: write something every day for the only way to learn how to write is by writing… et al The other af…

Farming interest and debt

One of my uncles landed in a huge debt years ago because he borrowed some money from his neighbor to pay his children’s education. As per the village norms the monthly interest rate was extremely high and compounded too. But for a poor farmer that’s the only way to educate his sons and daughters. It may be quite expensive to borrow from a rich money lender but what is the only option? What banks charge is a peanut compared to what our farmers in the villages pay. I heard compounded interest is illegal in our country. And that’s great news; we need such policies to protect our poor farmers from such exploitation. But the situation is different. It is the farmers who direly need money far more than the rich people’s need to lend them.For instances people in my village use strange interest calculation method and the rate is 5% per month, which means it is 60% per annum. Now if you can afford to lend some money, you will be rich overnight. But at the same time we must look at the risk inv…

Chair Tour and Tour tour

We believe that when a person dies his soul has to revisit all the places he had been to when he was alive. My mother told me that the dead person’s soul has to collect all the footsteps in all the places he had visited. Now isn’t that belief wonderful? Many of us in Bhutan may not have to go far to collect our footsteps unlike high officials. How many footsteps will they have to gather from USA, Europe and Australia? Some of us of course might have left a few footprints in Jaigaon, India. But sometimes I wonder what if we cannot collect all the footprints in a given deadline? What if some of us have not much to gather? The point is some people would have recorded far more places in their office record than they might have actually visited. In such cases, what will the mighty Lord of the Dead tell them? And there are some of us who have actually travelled far although some high officials think they are not worth recording in the book of accounts. What the Lord would tell us is pretty…

Crime, bad and good News

Is Bhutan increasingly becoming violent? Or is our media coverage broadening? These are rational questions. Why because when the media is flooded with news of crimes, it gives observers an impression that the place we live in is unsafe. An outsider has reasons to doubt. Just the other day, BBS boldly broadcast news about a man who committed suicide in Pemagatshel. In fact this is not the first time we had to listen to such news. And somewhere someone dies after a snake bites her; somewhere a girl is being gang-raped, somewhere a teenager dumps her baby in a dustbin and somewhere a chorten is vandalized. And somewhere a man kills his brother-in-law. Wow! That’s too much for a small country like ours. I understand as the society grows more complex, bad people are bound to come by. And when such information is thrown at us at an increasing frequency, it gives us an impression of living atop a disturbed sea. If what media feed us is of any significance, then we have reasons to be al…

They Know Everything

Man, it is been a while again since I have written anything! But I am glad some works have been carried out with the company newsletter and hopefully management likes it. And since last week I was on training. Quite technical at that – moments as these are tough, especially when you have so many people who know so much more than you can even imagine. That makes you feel bad and ignorant. If they really know it or they seem to know it or pretend to know all, is the topic to be debated but for now let’s say these people are geniuses. Einstein in disguise! They are all-knowing-breed of people. They have this inflated pride and usually decorated by confidence at its highest. They laugh when someone makes a little mistake, they laugh at the way someone stands erect in the room, they make fun of someone who accidentally ends up saying a wrong answer and they act as if they have come up with a globally accepted economics theory when they can answer a question correctly. And when you encounter…

On this and that side of Marriage

I “My son, he deserves a good girl,” says the man. “No girl would ever deserve him, you old man,” says the woman, looking through the windows at a crow pecking another one atop a cypress tree. “This frequent rumor,” the man continues. “He must be looking for a lifelong partner now.” “Sources say, she is a Bumthap,” the woman says, still looking out, the two crows have shifted to a fig tree, a few steps away from the cypress. “I am worried, what kind of a trap his wife has set for him.” Dorji’s parents talk in a far away village of Trashigang. II “Our daughter has the beauty and qualification,” says a man in his late forties, his mouth stuffed with doma. “I am worried what kind of husband she has in store for her.” “If all those gossips carry any weight,” reciprocates his wife, you can sense nervousness in her tone. “She is staying with a Sharchokpa guy.” “Hopefully, this guy’s parents are nice,” wishes the man. “And I hope the boy’s marriage is not arranged during his childhood,” prays the w…

Our half hidden faces

As the girl walks away, Karma Tshering wishes if he could keep her for life. And his right hand involuntarily reaches his forehead. But this is god’s doing. The pain on his heart - there is this pain of losing the girl (he knows he will not see her again) and the pain of having to part with his most prized iPhone. Does the pleasant experience of a night spent together with this most beautiful woman compensate the loss? Guilt-ridden, Karma goes home that morning and as his wife stares at him with understanding eyes, his heart is shattered. Appreciation, of his hard work to make ends meet, having to stand on guard when others are asleep, is writ large on his wife’s face. His hearts immediately goes to his two children sleeping peacefully. After a hurried breakfast, he is on his way, guilt accompanying him like a dog. He has obviously turned his fantasy of sleeping with this woman into reality, but his conscience questions him if it wasn’t a selfish act. And he remembers what a hassle it…

Of active taste buds and obesity

I had a big and sumptuous lunch this afternoon. I feel guilty of having gone a little beyond my intake capacity even today. I think you understand this uneasy feeling you get once you have consumed a baby elephant’s share of food. When it comes to eating, I give a big fight to my friends, but last week one of my old friends proved me wrong. The waiters in the hotel were taken completely unaware. They might have thought here is a man whose appetite is unmatched. No person that I know could possibly challenge him, unless you are talking about a sumo wrestler. I was speechless. But you should have seen him physically also.

The moment the food was put in front of him, he started his task. And even before I was halfway through with the first serving, he already had his third share. When I uneasily went for my second serving, he was for his fourth. I thought he was gone crazy. But he claimed he was extremely hungry. One waiter had to be deployed just to serve him. And this waiter, to our ut…