Friday, January 29, 2016


Some pictures of ema I took in the recent years. One of my favorites, especially dried one. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Role of women in Monu's book, his life

Almost a year ago, Monu Tamang had visited me in my office in Thimphu. That particular day, surprisingly enough, he brought a girl along with him.

“Sir, she is my girlfriend,” he introduced the girl to me, feeling uncomfortable.

It left me astounded. For, never before he had talked about girls in front of me. A shy boy, as far as I knew, this young writer was not a kind of boy who dares to take his girlfriend around and introduce to everyone. 

When he told me her name, I almost jumped out of my chair in shock. In fact, this young physiotherapy student had already shared the first draft of his book, ‘Chronicle of a Love Foretold’, with me. This girl completely resembles Namsa Lhazin of the book.

His girlfriend was fair, slim, and she got “bright smile, her sweet voice…beautiful eyes, and her long silky hair…” (Pg. 106, ‘Chronicle of a Love Foretold’). By the looks of her, a well-to-do family had brought her up. Thus, Monu had all the reasons to fall for her.

Then I asked the girl jokingly, “Oh, you’re the heroine of Monu’s new book?”

She blushed. Monu blushed.

Moreover, this young writer admitted and openly stated on BBS TV that “women” had inspired him to write this book. Initially, he had started writing the book particularly for his girlfriend, and that is the depth of his love for her.

After spending quite a lot of time with the author, I came to know many characters, incidences and events of the book are arguably real and had happened to the author. Kinga Lhendup, the protagonist of the book, largely resembles Monu himself - “cool”, “social worker”, “determined”, and “Good boy” (Pg. 69, 90, 94 and 104).

There are several other important plots in the book, which the writer must have created to spice up his story. I must say, ‘Chronicle of a Love Foretold’ is a fiction novel inspired by the author’s own story and the real people. It is a beautiful novel about love and loss and finding way back into love. The narration is graceful, the expression so genuine and every word is brutally honest.

However, the sad reality is that Monu broke up from his girlfriend soon after they made their visit to me, and it means they had split before the author could complete his project. After that, the author made a few changes to his first draft and added some elements of heartbreak, loneliness, depression and suicidal attempts (Prologue, pg. 7-9).

I still wonder how the book would turn out if the couple were still together. It might have a different storyline, or Monu would not publish it at all. There came a time when the author decided putting the book online as he did not have money to print it.

Indeed, it was the breakup and the wound in his heart that had always encouraged him to push on realizing his dream. In a blog post, the author wrote,  
Novel writing is such a tedious and long process that even your girlfriend leaves you before it is published. It is funny, yet true. But I must be strong enough to shoulder it on my own as it is almost done and I have blessings and good wishes of many. It was my promise and I will fulfill it by hook or crook.
Finally, it's not by hook or by crook, but by the love and blessing from another woman of his life - his own mother - that provided him courage and a sense of direction to accomplishment. 
His mother launched the book along with former Sherig Lyonpo Thakur S. Powdyel. The moment was simply beautiful. Monu’s mother looks exactly like the mother of Kinga: “high cheekbones…tanned and smiling cheerfully” (Pg.14). Also, the chapter 20 is entirely dedicated to his “Mother’s dream”.

The influence of the two women - girlfriend and mother - is dominantly apparent throughout the book. They were like two important currents of Kinga’s (Monu) life running side by side like soul and life respectively. 

Without soul, the book wouldn’t be born. Without life, the book wouldn’t be nurtured, published. One woman gifted him the story; another woman nurtured it. One woman broke his heart; another healed it.       
Pic: The writer with his mother
Additional note: Nawang Phuntsho, who edited the book, also played equally an important role by helping the author print and market the book. The book became an instant hit.   

Thursday, December 31, 2015

End is a new beginning

I’ve thought long on what to write for today. For, you know it, it’s New Year and this post should be special. As it was our belief, so was I wanted this year ends with a perfect post.   
Once and for all, 2015 had been an important year to me. Like you, I had started the year with a new frame of mind, loud and with conviction. Three ambitious resolutions were asserted; however, I could fulfill only one, marriage. To study abroad and to write a book are still due, huh.

Which is why, I learned to rest my expectations sometimes. It feels good to kick start the year ambitiously. Yet, it’s important to release our imperfections and turn our attentions to what is right and true. Because what we do really is never enough; nothing is. Same with this post, I can never make it perfect. Same with the year, it can be never perfect.

Actually I was overwhelmed at the way 2015 has treated me. I’ve blogged the year-round and continued to stay in tune writing. Finally, I’m realizing the impact of writing online.

I’ve read many books and some of them were so moving and heart-wrenching. They inspired me a lot - understood the power of words, books. To mention a few: Murakami’s ‘1Q84’, and Markus Zusak’s ‘The Book Thief’.   
With my niece
This year, I’ve focused more on my family, siblings, relatives and close friends mostly spending good time with them. The world is full of weird things and is fragile too. All we have is who we have, isn’t it? And I feel better and happier when I’m with my beloved ones.

Moreover, I’ve started to embrace the faith, understanding the role of holiness and blessings in my life. It took me close to God and goodness.   

Surprisingly though, 2015 hit me by a wave of change and grief, continuously limning through my life, throughout the year. Marriage happened early this year and then grief engulfed me. And then I had changed my workplace and another grief had hit me hard. I missed those life and comforts I used to enjoy. I missed my former office, colleagues, youth and their laughter there.

However, they taught me that anytime we move from stage of life to another. The way of life, it is. And there is grief ensuing us. Indeed, we can’t grab on to something new without letting go. But it’s this grief that propelled me forward in life.  
Today is New Year’s Eve. Oh goodness, how come? I ask again and again in disbelief and feeling a twinge of sadness. The wood female sheep year was so close to my heart and I want to hold on to it forever. I really don’t want to walk out of it.

Enough now though. This year’s experience of change and grief taught me a lot. I cannot walk a new road if I don’t let go of this one. I cannot step into the new year and live it, if I don’t let go this year. Indeed, end is a new beginning. And here I embrace you, 2016.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Being grateful, thanking footpath

The afternoon wore on bright with the sun. Still yet, it was frosty and brutal cold outside. Exactly when, I found a way to thank a footpath. Grabbing a sack from my home, I ran towards it. I was happy that I would be doing it eventually.
As soon as I reached the half a mile long footpath, I started collecting all kinds of waste littered around path. It surprised me, as there were a lot of non-degradable trashes such as plastics, pet bottles and rubbers thrown by the walkers.  

Why did I choose to clean this particular footpath? And why at this particular time? You must be wondering. Don’t you?

So to say, I had walked this footpath for the past five years. It is a route that had connected me between my home at Motithang and my previous office (Department of Youth and Sports) every day. However, since my transfer to MoIC last November, I knew that I won’t be setting my foot here anymore.

The humble path had served as a special place for me and it became a part of me. It had always embraced me with its beautiful colours of nature, fragrance and serenity. No matter how bad day I had in the office, walking through this path would always sooth my heart.

In fact, it had offered me an important small space and time to reflect on my life’s sojourn and renew my spirit. Every morning. Every evening. Walking here, I had learned to emphasize the importance of walking, to focus on the positive and seek out beauty in everyday life.  

In the past five years I had walked this footpath alone and accompanied, sad and happy, drunk and sober, adrift and purposeful. I had walked under the warm suns, in the darkness, under the torrential rains and in the snows.
Changangkha Lhakhang (Picture taken in autumn 2014)
This path reached me to the God. Every time I walked here the magnificent Changangkha lhakhang would greet me. At times I would drop by the monastery to pray. I felt more blessing avalanche poured in. I felt more holiness.   

To show my gratitude and to give back to the path which had offered me so much, I decided to clean it. I have collected a sack full of waste and dumped it in a safe place. Definitely I made the path very clean, beautiful.

Being grateful is all that matters. In fact, this is how I want to end this year and embrace 2016.  

Monday, December 21, 2015


I am just learning to take pictures at lowlight, which is the most difficult. Here, I am uploading some of them (pictures of Thimphu) I had shot in the recent time. Enjoy much, and a good day ahead.  
Thimphu Street
Thimphu Street
Memorial Chorten

The main traffic of Thimphu
Changangkha Lhakhang
Thimphu City at night
Memorial Chorten seen from Changangkha

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New job, new chapter of life

The title of this post says it all; yes, I am joining a new place of work. The Department of information and Media, MOIC, as it is called. So I am here and it is what it is. I embrace it.
Surrounded by new people in this new office, understandable anxieties aside, I expect to face new challenges. At the same time, I excitedly hope to learn new experience and skills.

However, the reality is that I have joined the agency with a complete different mandate and work. I feel like a new nervous man in the town. And I believe that it will take some time for me to adapt here.

By the way, I chose to change my office not because that I didn’t love my previous work or the people there. The Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) was a fabulous organization with a wonderful group of staff.

Never did I imagine that I would leave it this soon. Sometimes our life is like a book that its chapter ultimately closes and we have to turn a new page to keep reading. Exactly why, the chapter of my life at DYS was all that. Closed. Done. At least for now. So here, I have just opened a fresh chapter of my life.
Today as I stepped into this new life, I am replaying the whole memory of the past five and half years. On May 10, 2010, I had first joined the office as a gelled-hair boy, young and raw. It was absolutely for the sake of employment and livelihood, I confess.

Oh goodness, instead of studying the office I started looking for beautiful girls. Strange, isn’t it? But gradually, surprisingly enough, my outlook towards work and life had changed, for the better. Making one small step at a time, I worked hard (sometimes forgoing normal office time).

I was not a typical yes-man civil servant. On several occasions, I failed to obey the orders from my bosses which ousted me out of their good book. It put me in a string of unsavory situations. But at the same time, I had learned to work through mutual understanding and respect. 

During my stay at DYS, there were hard times both in my personal and professional life where I felt uncertain, bruised and low. No matter what, my supportive colleagues close by had been always transformative. They are friends whom I met through work. The destiny brought us together, but now it is all in our hands to keep it.
Some of the programs I had conducted
I had learned a lot from the people at the department, more than the words can say. The DYS provided me a platform to serve the Tsa-wa-sum, particularly to bring positive change in the lives of youth. A few activities that I had initiated failed, but there are many activities that I am proud to say that I had carried out and some of them are:

1. Promotion of youth volunteerism: When I first joined the service, the awareness level on volunteerism among Bhutanese youth was very low. After I took over a youth group called Harmony Youth Volunteers in 2010, youth volunteerism had considerably picked up in Thimphu and other dzongkhags. My hard work and sacrifices paid when the group was institutionalized with proper guidelines and office bearers. Today, eight different Youth Centers have their own youth groups which totaled to 463 volunteers.
Strengths of youth volunteers in different years
2. Celebration of International Youth Day: The celebration of International Youth Day was one of the important projects of DYS and I had coordinated it from 2010 to 2014. During the time, the approach of the observation had been shifted to more intellectual from fun and cultural activities. Many important issues (youth migration, youth development and mental health) were highlighted during the observations through comprehensive studies/surveys making the national headlines. 
3. Sustainability of youth programs: Most of the programs/projects were funded by the donor agencies. And it was a serious concern. Realizing this, the Harmony Youth Volunteers was trained to be a self-sustaining and independent youth group. Also, some Youth Centers started conducting programs for youth mobilizing only the local resources. 

4. Publications: I had coordinated development of three important documents. These documents enhanced proper functioning of the office’s works and programs. They are:
                         i.  ‘Directory of Youth Services’ (2012)
                        ii.  ‘Operational Guidelines of Harmony Youth Volunteers’ (2014)
                       iii.  ‘Orientation Manual of Youth Center Managers’ (2015)
I knew that I blew my own trumpet loud, huh. In fact, I am doing it only to record my achievements (though small) on my blog. My supervisor and manager, my colleagues, and the participating stakeholders and youth - all of them deserved a huge share of praise too. Without their guidance, support and participation, I could do almost nothing.

The time spent at DYS was not quite long, but it was one of the most significant and memorable episodes of my life. Abraham Lincoln rightly said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

As have I joined my new office, I look forward to walking on next stage of my life, which I am sure will be full of great moments. Hopefully. And I am eager enough to write here on my blog about my new experience, new people and new life.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The year’s last smile - photographs

William Cullen Bryant says it right, Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” I just took a hurried walk around the Thimphu City last weekend, camera in my hand. Gosh, some pockets of the city were brilliantly burnt with autumn like a running flame over the trees and hill.

To me, it appeared like the last, loveliest smile of the nature. It is, though. It instantaneously brought a smile on my face.

I have captured some here in my lens. They are beautiful (at least to me). I hope you would like them too; I hope they would bring a lovely smile on your face too. Hopefully!