Skip to main content

Drumnyen (སྒྲ་སྙན) Drill

Drumnyen is a seven-stringed traditional Bhutanese musical instrument. And although it is used less frequently today Drumnyens were very popular when we were young. We would watch with rapt attention filled with envy as our older friends strummed the instrument and sang along. Those days still linger in my memory. 

Recently, I was gifted a small Drumnyen by an acquaintance and I started learning to play the instrument. But as I was trying to fine tune the strings, one of the strings gave way to my strong stupidity. And without the shortest string on my Drumnyen, it was unable to produce some critical notes. The search for string took more time than getting the Drumnyen to my house. 

I literally scanned the whole Thimphu City to look out for a string replacement. From one shop to another, I hopped with my wife following me patiently without complaining. I am thankful for her admiral patience. After sometime I was running out of my supposedly calculated patience. But I kept on getting directions to a shop that might sell the strings only to be redirected to another and another and another. 

Ap Dawpel's Dramnyen: bhutanmusic.blogspot.com
The strings that are used by Drumnyen are the same strings that are used as the fishing-lines. And at every shop I had to ask if they have fishing-line. Everywhere people thought I was bound for some kind of fishing excursion. At a grocery store (that's where I was directed from another shop), a lady shopkeeper thought I was trying to make fun of her and casually responded, without even looking at me, "རོག་ན་ཆོས་འབད་ས་ལུ་་་་ཉ་གཟུང་ནི་གི་བློ་སླབ་དེ།," (roughly something like "where we practice Buddha Dharma, you are talking of fishing). Only when I said I needed the string for my Drumnyen, she looked up at me and politely said she does not deal with the strings. Then I thought I need to change my tactics and instead decided to ask for guitar strings only to realize that I needed fishing-lines and not the actual guitar strings. 

It was an embarrassing shopping moment in Thimphu! 

And I found the string when I was about to give up - at an unexpected shop! But now I know where to get them without all these hassles and embarrassment!

P.S: I have no serious issues to post today and I am posting this one for the sheer laughter's sake. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Our throw-it-away culture

Like all grandparents, my late grandma would call food 'tsampa rimpoche' and any fuss made about it would invite everyone's sneer and scoldings. Food is always treated with respect and is never wasted. "If you waste food in any manner," she would admonish us. "One day food will discard you and you will go hungry." 
What remained from the previous meal would be turned either into porridge or sometimes leftover rice would be dried in the sun. The dried rice would then be fried into puffed rice and consumed with cups of suja. When there was so much food left, especially during big events, leftover rice or kharang would be mixed with a small amount of yeast and brewed into ara.  
The only thing that I can vividly recollect from my primary school days is how we would be hungry most of the time. Food we were served was hardly enough to tickle our throats. We would be sent home only once a week on Saturdays and that was our opportunity to replenish our popcorn s…

Utpal Academy - Bhutan's first All-girls High School

Welcome to Bhutan’s first all-girls school. Isn’t that wonderful news to all our parents? Certainly, as a parent of a one-year old daughter I am excited about the coming of a school exclusively dedicated to the needs of girls. Our girls need special treatment, which we can for sure entrust the responsibility to Utal Academy, Paro.
I really like the name – Utpal – in Buddhist world, Utpal is another name for lotus flower, which is believed to grow from mud and yet blossoms into a beautiful and majestic flower. It stands for purity and many deities are depicted holding flower Utpal, more prominently Jestusn Dolma, the Goddess Tara. Symbolically, it also stands for the transformation of our girls. What an apt name for the school!
The Principal’s message posted on the academy’s website promises providing our young women an “opportunity to participate fully in a wide range of extracurricular activities to develop skills and qualities that will lead to successful and fulfilling life.” That’s…

The Story Thief

When we were growing up in a small village in the central Bhutan, we would gather around our grandparents every evening in a room that would be dimly lit with a kerosene lamp. Our grandparents or the elderly members of the family would then take turns to entertain us (siblings and cousins who lived under the same roof) with their stories. Such was the only form of entertainment we had had then.  
Our grandparents would start their stories, which they probably would have heard them from their grandparents. A young poor boy becomes a successful farmer by a turn of luck, a man fights a bear, a poor boy accidentally marries a rich man's beautiful daughter, a lame monkey helps a boy find great wealth, a rooster regrets his action after he mistakenly accuses his wife and young men go on business trips to buy cattle, among many others. We grew up listening to many such stories. Sometimes, the storyteller would narrate the same story again and again, and yet every time it sounded more magi…