Friday, October 24, 2014

May I trust fireflies

“This year too, son, I am very happy. You have come to meet us,” my father told me as he pulled his chair and sat next to me.

We were sitting in the porch of our house in my village, Chuzagang, Gelephu. It is attached right in front of the house and has been my favorite place to be especially in the evening like this. But before, during my childhood, I used sit here with textbooks and read; sometimes, do painting.
As my father and I talked, the daylight gradually started to grow weaker and weaker. And as usual, the most spectacular thing happened - the sun turned golden, so were the sky and plain. This is the best thing that my village offers and as always, I watched it, awestruck.  

In a while, my mother came with tea for us. As she placed the tea cups in our table, she too pulled a chair and sat with us. So the evening breeze started blowing gently exuding the fragrance of flowers that my mother planted around the porch, we continued talking about farmland and rice cultivation.

My mother agreed with father, “We are expecting better harvest this year. Despite untimely monsoon rain, the paddy so far bearing grains well.”    

Our conversation has been momentarily distracted by my two nephews who ran in and around the porch chasing fireflies following its trailing light. To tell you that so much of my nephews reminds me of childhood because this is exactly what I used to do when young.

So to add more, the evening came alive with so many activities; it is the most happening time of the day. The farmers returning homes from their work. Loud music blaring from radios. The last meal of the day cooking. Cattle and chicken retreating to their shelters.  

Amidst all this, I was simply enjoying this beautiful moment of sitting together and being part of my parents’ life and talking long about their works and life. The more I listened to them did I hear their aspirations, brave hearts and sacrifices. It brought my parents so close to my heart, and the joy that I get from this particular closeness is truly blessing.

However, deep inside me, that moment, something very strange started to prick me hard and I nearly cried. It’s guilt – the guilt that I didn’t put enough effort to visit my parents in the past and spend time with them. My excuse was that I was busy with my works in Thimphu; in fact, I was always charging forward and constantly looking for a life that I wanted. 

So fast, like in minutes, the evening turned into complete darkness.

“Ah, the winter is finally here. It’s getting dark very fast and the days becoming shorter, colder,” my mother reckoned the season, holding her hands.

My father looked at her and nodded. Then he turned his gaze at me. I smiled at him; then he smiled too. Instantly, my mother’s face glowed in all smile in reassurance.
The darkness engulfed the entire village, and the number of fireflies increased significantly. They streamed around, their fire glowing mesmerizingly. My nephews were still chasing the fireflies and collecting in bottles. I joined them, my heart glowing with sheer joy and contentment like the fireflies after a long sleep.

I know, with utter certainty, the fireflies will go back to sleep the next sunrise. Oh, may I trust the fireflies? I mustn’t. This glow, this light and this warmth in my heart will remain for my parents, for ever.

Dear readers, have a wonderful diwali!

Courtesy: 2nd picture from google

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Photographs - Haa Mela

It’s quite strange experience to be in Haa during the Mela. Thousands of people both Indians and Bhutanese gathered at the two-day long IMTRAT’s Raising Day last weekend to celebrate the close friendship we share. Para-jumps, motorbike stunts and cultural programme were presented to the spectators. However, it was food, games and garment stalls that attracted the crowd the most. And here I share with you all some of the pictures I took.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My village, through digital lens

I’m very happy to be back in my village Chuzagang in Gelephu. My goodness, it’s still hot here, extremely, during daytime. Yes, even in October. But that doesn’t mean this visit of mine is adverse. It’s really joyful.

After all, it’s my own village, the place where my parents live, the community where I was born and brought up. Being here means being reconnected to my footing and root; and as always, my heart revels in a sheer joy.       

However, I’ve decided to see this beautiful village of mine through different perspective, through my digital lens. This time too I took over thousand pictures of it; some posted on Instagram already. In fact, it’s a kind of photo journal of things I love to do.

Quite interestingly, through the lens, through the Instagram filters, I see my beloved village way beautiful and stunning. If you don’t believe me, have a look here:
Rice field
Maokhola 
The Sunrise 
The Sunset

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Thrue blessing

Last Tuesday, we visited Lamgong in Paro, my friend Pema’s village. It was my first time; my friend Chencho’s too. As planned, this year’s blessed rainy day, we celebrated with Pema and his family in Paro. So there, we were.   
As was customary, we began the day having porridge Pema’s mother cooked for us. We sipped on the porridge, and we agreed with him, “Yes, your mother cooks very delicious porridge.”  

All the rooms were richly adorned with huge thangkas, large size photo frames and Buddhist altars. It’s intensely exquisite and comfortable; in no time at all, we felt we were part of the house and family.
“My mother, elder brother and sister live here,” Pema explained us.

Meanwhile, we walked outside and everything outside was simply stunning. The house stands splendidly amidst apple plants and tall prayer flags. A brook runs down freely right in front of the courtyard feeding the people, cattle, apples and vegetables.
All the more amazingly, the water current turns the wheels of mani dungkar and produces the melodious toll of bells. Oh it touched our hearts so deep; feeling blessed. We were, indeed, experiencing a piece of heaven.    
Then three of us, three friends, picked up khuru, darts and spent the entire noon playing the game under the scorching sun. We typically romped, teased each other and danced cheerfully when we hit or missed the targets.

Meanwhile, we sat down under the tree shade, took a break and drank arra.
Pema stated, “You know friends? Your action today on thruebab decides your life’s course rest of the year.”

After that we had lunch and then tea. It’s a real feast though. Rest of the day was spent on fun, laughter and gratefulness.
However, as the sun began pulling down its curtains on the valley, we returned to Thimphu. In fact, nobody knows that the way we spend thrue really decides the course of our life but we know for sure that we’ve created yet another beautiful episode of our life. And it will bubble in our hearts not for rest of the year, but for ever. Until we die, or even way beyond. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chasing cosmos

This has been my long overdue thought - to capture the fall-blooming cosmos.  Luckily though, last Tuesday, I took a day off from office particularly to give myself a break. In fact my plan was to take complete rest at home, but I couldn’t stop myself from picking up my camera and walked in and around Thimphu City to capture the cosmos. So these are the photographs; hope you would enjoy. Have a pleasant day!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just like a caretaker

I picked the bookmark, placed it between the pages and closed my book. It has been almost an hour that I was reading; I needed a break. Then I logged online - surfed my friends’ pictures on Instagram and checked messages on WeChat, Viber and Facebook.

Almost quite immediately, the Facebook chat bar popped out on my screen. As I touched on it, my friend Gyembo Namgyel from Pemagatshel was greeting me,

“Hello Riku. What you doing there?”

“I’m reading a book. But now taking a short break online here he-he,” I wrote back.

As usual, we jumped into talking about books we read and our writings and blogging. I congratulated him for having created his own blog recently. Gyembo is a former reporter with Bhutan Observer and he writes from his farmland in Pemagatshel.   

“Yeah, I love working in my farm. Now feeling good to see my avocados bearing fruits,” he answered me proudly when I asked him about his farming life.

Generously though, he said, “I enjoy going through your blog and I can see you have improved a lot. Your writing, your reads, your circle of friends; and your outlook of life is what I like most.”

That was too big praise about me and I was greatly astounded. I was sure that I really don’t deserve it. However, that’s what friends are for, aren’t they? So I’m lucky to have one.

For a little while, we chatted how it feels to live a humble life. We’ve agreed, together, it’s simply “beautiful and wonderful”. And then I wrote to him that I always wanted to live a humble life and now emphasizing on it even I stay in a City like Thimphu.

Gyembo responded, “I’m glad that you have found this important direction in life. Riku, always be like that. If we live like this, every moment of our life is just beautiful.”

I thought to myself that this is the key to a happy life on our short stay on earth; and most importantly, I hoped this is the right way to life. 

“Everything is just ephemeral, you know? Nothing tangible. Nothing actually belongs to us. We are just chowkidars (caretakers) of what little we have and have to pass on including this body,” he wrote to me.

I read the message, and reread it more carefully. Oh it penetrated me so deeply that it stirred every part of my body. For a moment I couldn’t digest the fact, this brutal truth.    

Then I turned away from my phone. I pulled up my window curtains, opened the glass and myriad of golden rays of the setting sun flooded into my room. As I craned my head out window, I felt delighted to see the sun shining stunningly through clouds and prayer flags.

I asked the mighty sun in wonder, Are we just caretakers of what little we have including this body? 

I waited for answer. But the sun sank beyond the mountain and horizon and beyond my grasp. I was again left with that vast question still echoing in my head.

However, wondrously, after a brief moment I started feeling deep sense of comfort dwelling in this question. Sometimes the depth of our thoughts is like the presence of sun that exists over the horizon, in the sky, which meant the light of life to us yet its existence is way beyond our grasp, logic.

Meanwhile I turned back in my room and picked up the phone. Instantaneously, I wrote back to Gyembo, “I’m glad I dropped at the right place to take this break from reading. This realization is beautiful. Thank you.”

And I continued reading. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Birthday celebration with words

This morning I got up at 7. The first thing that I did was I gladly thanked my God for this particular day and for having lived so long. After taking quick bath, I had my tea and breakfast. I put on my fresh gho and walked down office.  

Well, it’s beautiful sunny morning and the first fresh aroma of autumn was in the air. However, this walk was quite different that I felt myself smiling all along. As I walked, again, I contemplated on the day - today - the fourth of September.

It’s the day I was born in village of Chuzagang in Gelephu. Oh, I just can’t believe I’m 31 today and that I’ve already lived 30 plus years. Suddenly being 31 and how fast time flies has bothered me in a strange new way. It has kind of shaken me, feeling anxious than usual.

I was anxious because I’ve reached almost halfway to life; after all, it’s one life and there’s still so much to do and experience in life. Am I falling back in life? Have I experienced everything that life has to offer? Have I achieved enough? Did I live my life the way I always wanted? And where I’m heading to?

I asked these vast questions to myself as I walked to my office. Meanwhile, I watched around and saw some people walking in slow pace, others fast, and most were in hurry and driving fast. Immediately, I’ve lowered the pace of my walk; hopefully I could find answers. 

Sometimes, or most often, we need to take slow walk in life. For me, this slow walk helped me to enjoy the gift of a quiet time, to listen to the inklings of my heart and to realign my priorities.

Quite surprisingly, from last year I started to pull my beloved ones closer. I’ve always focused on my family and my friends, and my home. Also, I’ve equally emphasized on my blog and blogger friends, on my writing, and on the good books I read.

I know that I’m lagging behind in life in some aspects. I know that I haven’t yet experienced everything and I still have lots to do and achieve in life. But my beloved ones and this slowing down have helped me to put down all the questions and anxiousness buzzing in my head, and instead filled my life with more love and more intention.

Now, right now, as I sit in front of my computer and have just completed writing this post, I feel all blast and happy. By the way, I don’t celebrate my birthday with cake and party, but with words here on my blog.

And what a joy to participate in the Book Bucket Challenge on my birthday! I graciously thank Rupa Gurung, Dasho Lingi Jamtsho, Nawang Phuntsho, Sonam Tenzin and Langa Tenzin for nominating me in the challenge. So here’s a list 10 books that have hugely impacted my life and writing:

1. ‘Dear Seday’ - Ugyen Gyeltshen
2. ‘Then I saw her face’ – Nawang Phuntsho
3. ‘The Night Hunter’ – Lingi Jamtsho
4. ‘Angela’s Ashes’ – Frank McCourt
5. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ – J D Salinger
6. ‘The Mill on the Floss’ – George Eliot
7. ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Power’ – Ronda Byrne
8. ‘Life of Pi’ – Yann Martel
9. ‘The Kite Runner’ – Khaled Hosseini
10. ‘Norwegian Wood’ – Haruki Murakami