Monday, August 4, 2014
We set out on our journey to Paro Airport. It was still before dawn and all dark. That’s the thing when we’ve to catch early morning flight. Actually I was accompanying my friend Sonam till the airport as he was leaving for studies.
It was raining considerably in Thimphu. Sonam was driving and I sat in the front seat and was feeling pretty woozy. In fact, we were traveling in a stark silence. I tried talking to him but I’ve nothing to say, so I kept quiet.
But it was Sonam who broke the silence, “Hey Riku, get married. When I return from my studies after three years I want to see you complete. Settled down.”
I knew he was pushing on me, jokingly though. So I just smiled at him.
But he was quick to react on his own statement, “But you know what? Marriage is all we wanted in our life. That’s what everybody wanted out of you.”
He pulled down the window glass and the deep chill air gushed into the car. This is exactly what happened to me when people inquired me about marriage – a deep chill runs through my nerve.
“But you’re different, my friend. You are taking your own time. Marriage is not everything. If you think you don’t want it, stay single. That’s also life,” so he comforted me.
In fact, that’s got to be the nicest thing anybody’s said to me in recent time. Then he played on his stereo. Well, it was Bon Jovi and his track You had me from hello. It went on,
At the mirror you fix your hand and put your makeup on
You're insecure about what clothes to wear
An' I can't see nothin' wrong
To me you look so beautiful, when you can't make up your mind
Meanwhile Sonam began singing to the song. As he sang, he strummed his hands on the steering wheel and shook his head to the melody his eyes focused on the road. Now and then, for a brief moment, he glanced and smiled at me in an excited way.
The rain kept pouring down. I watched the nonstop drops of rain tapping on the windshield and how the wiper pushed them away. At the same time, Bon Jovi kept on singing from the stereo; but this time I too hummed it and together we sang it loud,
The first time I saw you, it felt like coming home
If I never told you, and just want you to know
You had me from hello.
We rode through the road on and on. Sometimes bumpy and muddy, other times foggy and dark, but most of the time it was a smooth ride. Our friendship too has been suffused with a bittersweet passage of time. We had highs and lows but often did it sail smoothly.
When we reached Paro Airport the rain stopped and dark sky gradually opened up for a beautiful morning. After bidding Sonam farewell at the airport, I began my journey back home.
As I drove, I played on that song again. I rolled down the glass and the deep chill air gushed in the car, but this time it felt different – very pleasant and comfortable.
I spread my hand out the window and craned my head too - receiving the air full on my face. Oh, it felt simply amazing. That is it. I needed to open the closed window of my mind and break out to embrace change in my life.
Eventually, the morning sunlight gently flooded the entire valley. It’s a fresh morning and new day. For me it’s new take on life; hopefully marriage and having my own family.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
So as always, I change my clothes, freshen up and cook tea. This evening too I’ve come outside my house and sit in my veranda to relax and refresh my tired heart. This is what I do - love to do - in the evening, in my veranda, when it is just me and my home after a long and hard slog in the office.
Today’s evening is quiet and absolutely peaceful. People nearby have already retreated to their rooms; perhaps it has been raining lightly since this early afternoon. The usual monsoon rain though.
It’s a real treat to sit here and sip on my tea and at the same time, listen to the thin and glassy sound of rain thrumming against the roof and ground. I don’t see the rain but I can feel the freshly-rain-washed air on my skin. It’s chilling, breezy. To tell you, it helps me so much to release my stress baggage.
I kept on sipping on my tea. Meanwhile, I start reading some blogs that I love on my phone – as always, it’s hugely inspiring. Then my next-door neighbor comes out in her veranda to hang out her clothes. She is a young woman, extremely gorgeous. When her eyes meet mine, as usual, she smiles at me with slightest curl of her lip. She goes back to her room. That’s all; we never talk.
For the next stretch of evening time, I remain wordlessly looking at the green valley of Thimphu and then at the cloudy sky which is being slowly engulfed into nightfall. And one after another, streetlamps come into light illuminating the streets. The rain stops.
A little while later, the sky appears brilliant with the full moon. Featherlike clouds slowly float past it; and it seems to me that it’s the moon that walks so fast. As dark patches of clouds cover the moon, for a small moment all is dark. It’s magical and a little scary too.
Suddenly, it reminds me about the fleeting time. That the time sweeps by like the clouds floating over the moon, and for those hurried people, it sweeps by even faster. Just hold on; ah, 2014 is flying by. Can you believe that we are already entering the second half of this year?
This year’s summer days are fleeting, and the monsoon rain will stop one day. People come into your life and leave. However, the moon is still there. Time definitely sweeps by - whether we want it or not - like the clouds that pass by the moon.
Many years back, when I was young, I used to ask myself why we can’t stop the hands of time. And many such questions. When I couldn’t find the answers, I grew helpless and disinterested in mystical aspects of life.
Even today that question is humming in my heart. But now I’m learning to put questions down and in return I’m becoming closer to myself and feeling more love. With time, I understand how time changes us and how our mind and faith takes on different shapes.
Rest, everything is far above my mind, the human mind.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
“Come with me,' Mom says.
To the library.
Books and summertime
This is what Lisa Schroeder, a novelist, has to say about the summer. Much loved it, that it resonates my absolute longing, my heart.
And here, another author Jeannette Walls puts it all straight,
“One benefit of Summer was that each day we had more light to read by.”
Dear readers, enjoy your summertime! Your friends and family can really add more meaning to it. However, reading those books you love would do all the more the magic. Happy reading too!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
It was in July 2011 when we held the first Bloggers Meet of Bhutan in Thimphu. As ever, with thanks to Sogyel Tobgyel, the founder of Blogyul-Blogging Bhutan, who initiated the Meet, and Dorji Wangchuk, the then Director of Royal Media Office, who supported it.
More than 16 members were present in the Meet – mostly well acclaimed writers, filmmakers, journalists and bloggers. Often I had seen them on TV and read their stories in newspapers. Some I had followed on social media networking sites and also enjoyed their blogs. But never did I meet them in person, except few.
I was very new to blogging then; also I had just started my living in Thimphu. So I felt very awkward to be in the meet amongst those members, nervous too. To confess here, I hardly utter any words during the gathering.
However, after attending the Meet, I realized that blogging is not only limited to activities of digital buttons and screens - but way beyond that. What a great idea to meet other people who also maintain social media journals! It is simply wonderful thing to spend a small time in person chatting with our virtual friends who you have read and who have read about you for several years.
I have kept friendship with some of the bloggers there – wonderful souls, with great character – we otherwise never would have met. Today, at times, we swapped stories and exchanged advice. And it’s always enriching experience for me to hear different viewpoints, see and learn things, and experience the world through their eyes.
Several Meets were conducted in Thimphu since then, and I’m amongst the two who has attended all. Other one is Sogyel. We have our second Meet at Chew Restaurant in August 2013, third Meet in my office’s cafeteria in September 2013.
In each Meet, we always came across new bloggers. Always, it’s such a great treat to meet them and discover their blogs and follow instantaneously. And then, we chat as if we’ve been friends forever. Quite wondrously, today, my blog friends are among my closest friends.
On July 2, once again we met at Sinchula Cuisine in Thimphu. In this Bloggers Meet, we were just six, all male bloggers. It’s pretty sad. We can blame it on the meet’s short notice. But I was so glad and as always took part in it. Because there are, at least, few who could initiate and organize bloggers meet for us when we remained busy.
This Meet seemed like catching up with old friends. And you know what? Like minds make for a great conversation. We spent hours gabbing about our writing, blog, family, career, love and aspiration. So much change happened in all of us, and it is wonderful thing to discover, together.
Most importantly, this meet brought forth a concern related to those bloggers, mostly fresh and young, who hesitate to join us. For the good, all of us have agreed to work on towards involving them in the activities related to blogging in the future.
Hopefully, our paths cross soon!!!
Photos: 1st and 2nd by Blogyul-Blogging Bhutan; 3rd by Nawang P; 4th by Kuenzang Thinley; 5th by Passang Tshering
Photos: 1st and 2nd by Blogyul-Blogging Bhutan; 3rd by Nawang P; 4th by Kuenzang Thinley; 5th by Passang Tshering
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Dear Thimphu people,
I’ve thought long on where to begin this chit. For this is the first time I’m ever doing so, that too for a painful reason. By the way, I’m pretty sure that you all know about me. I’m Buddha Dordenma of Kuensel Phodrang.
You know it better - very well - I was birthed here to commemorate the centennial of the Bhutanese monarchy and to bestow blessings, peace and happiness in the world. However, I daresay, you people have regrettably malformed Kuensel Phodrang or in your own term “Buddha Point” into a sinful place.
So to begin, after the dusk enfolds Thimphu valley, the road below Buddha Point rises up eerily. Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night, I see about 20 stalls emerging at roadside. These stalls, sparely lit, sell a lot of stuff - wine, whisky, beer, cigarette, tobacco, doma. Also, momo, thukpa and puri.
Surprisingly, the stall owners are very enterprising. Because the stalls have so many facilities like bonfire, chairs, disco lights and music blaring from car’s stereo. Moreover, it has got enough rituals to keep you up from midnight to early morning.
As I stand 169 feet tall, high up here, I’ve a clear view of all the activities down there. One after another, cars, both big and small, jerk to abrupt stop at this illegal market of Buddha Point. Almost instantly, hundreds of drunken post-party hoppers flock here. Indeed, I am quite surprised as I had expected the Buddhist devotees to come and pray here, not drunkards at odd hours. I meant no disrespect here.
Most visitors are dispirited youth, aimless and adrift. Adorned with give-no-damn receive-no-damn attitude, you have no faith in me, even in yourself too. Your prayer beads are those cigarette tucked in your fingers and your mantras those wine-instigated non-veg words. This makes me feel like crying for humanity.
Amidst the crowd, every time, I see a handful of old men, seemingly rich, fondling around with a dozen of strikingly attractive young girls, as young as 15, in sleazy dresses. As usual, you start flinging from one embrace to another, and brush your cheeks one another’s. It’s in English that everything happens here.
But for me, to tell you rather honestly and frustratingly, you are a bunch of pathetic people, pseudo modern Bhutanese who are lost in transition. Sorry though for I used crude terms.
It shocked me when I find there isn’t a single security personnel. This market is of its own, on its own – no laws, no authority, and no regulations. You do anything here. You talk dirty, foul, and fart loud shamelessly. You trade tobacco and drugs. At the same time, you have to smoke grass, inhale liquids and fill your tummy with countless bottles of alcohol.
You are so much cruel to me. Because of you, my mind doesn’t quiet, but grow restless. That’s why I don’t get enough time for meditation to pray for all the sentient beings and bestow peace and happiness around the world.
A group of angry and grudge-filled young men picks up fights and starts exchanging punches and then breaking one another’s cars. And there, those victims heave with sobs and howl and scream seeking justice from me. Actually I have given you everything needed to build a beautiful life, if you choose wisely. Remember, dear sentient beings, you have got only one life, you ought to do what’s right.
Then, up and down the road, couples make desperate love - your bodies mud-stained, bushes crushed, and condoms litter everywhere. Oh, I have to stay here blushing. Sometimes, it is too much that I’ve to bring down the lightning and rain rumbling low to chase you away.
I prophecy so much grave incidents are going to happen at this place sooner. However, these misfortunes can be prevented if all the relevant agencies of Thimphu take up immediate measures. Thus, I decree all the concerned agencies (BAFRA, MoEA, RBP, and MoHCA) to react to this issue immediately.
There is still more to say, but so little time. For I need to take a month-long meditation and to look after the welfare other sentient beings around the world.
Kuensel Phodrang, Thimphu
Some pictures of the stalls at Buddha Point below: