Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breaking the Code of Love

I lacked many things in my life, that I was only half a person

I wandered around seeking for my other half

And I found she, my other half

I saw in her the goodness, truth and beauty I have been looking for

My thirst for sincerity, sacredness has been fulfilled

When I found these qualities in her, I felt I didn’t lack anything

And I was less alone

I felt so peaceful, so happy, so content sitting by her.

Wherever I was I just wanted to be with her

I felt stronger, I felt powerful

I felt strong coz I have found a companion who can understand me

Yet, I felt all alone, in my own world

No one understood me and I understood no one

I was never happy with one person coz that happiness is so small, so delicate

A trivial crack in this fragile love brings an unlimited grief, so insecure

Limited love, temporary happiness!

Afterward, I wanted to love but not just one person

I wanted to love thousands of people and other living beings

I wanted to be associable with many people

I wanted to build a mind of great equality, wanted to build a responsible love

I discovered then, love could open up and become measureless

You are happy; your love is wholesome when you can relate to all people and sentient beings

That energy of love is pure, steady and everlasting

This wholesome love never hurts you, but grows stronger and become more protective

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Can Bhutan try Futsal?

Futsal (five-a-side soccer), locally known as Tiger-5, isn’t unpopular among our youth. Often we find young people playing futsal creating their own little spaces in basketball and volley ball courts. More excitingly, young people are seen playing futsal in the overcrowded streets, courtyards, parking lots and roads. This shows how enthusiast our young friends about playing the game. The hunger and thirst for this game is exponentially huge.
It is exciting game for children as well as adults. So when the children love playing this game it is important that the government of Bhutan should satisfy their hunger by constructing many futsal courts in the country.

Firstly the game is very economical and safe, simple and fun to play. Futsal is type of soccer that is played inside on hard-wood floor and outdoor on a concrete court (confined area) with a low bounce ball, 5 vs. 5 (including goalie), with 2m (high) and 3m (wide) goal posts. An outdoor futsal court can be constructed at very minimal cost.

Secondly this game suits the geographical feature of our country. Making a football field or stadium in our country is environmentally hazardous. It requires a huge area of land and leads to cutting down of numerous trees and bulldozing the hills. Originated in South American countries of Brazil and Uruguay during 1930’s, futsal is maximum of 42m (length) and 22m (width) long, half the size of the soccer field. Therefore, it is the best place to find this beautiful game in Bhutan.

Thirdly, it is a very beautiful game. It promotes showmanship. Individual talent is executed and creates moments of beautiful play that is the by-product of creativity, imagination, mastery of ball through handling ball in a confined area .
Fourthly and very importantly, futsal quickly develop skills required for soccer: - balance, motor ability, agility and co-ordination, ball mastery, accurate and quick passing and receiving, perception insight and awareness. That’s why in US, Japan, Spain, China and South America futsal is hugely popular among the soccerholics (youth). Many star soccer players worked on their skills on a futsal court. In brazil, Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Robinho may be the perfect examples of player who began to build up their technical abilities in futsal before going on to their successful careers on the soccer fields throughout the world.

Pele once said, “I developed my skills playing Futsal in my home town in Bauru.” Zico, another footballer acknowledged that “It’s the best start for kids.” Futsal courts offer a home to those who want to play a pick up game of soccer essential for players’ growth and development.

Bhutan needs to take this step to fulfill the desire and needs of our youth. Like in any other game, the government should provide regional and national level competition opportunities in futsal. This game is the foundation to promotion soccer in the country.

Playoff format:
1. The duration of preliminary games, quarters and semi-finals are 30 minutes of regulatory time, (two 15 minute halves)
2. The duration of all FINALS are 40 minutes of regulatory time, (two 20 minute halves)
In case of a tie-full 5 minute overtime-No sudden Death.
Still tied-FIFA PENALTY KICK Rules.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First night at the Peak of Learning

It’s 10:30 pm when the taxi we hired from Trashigang Town dropped off us in front of the college gate. I had my friend Karma all along. For us, everything was new, strange and difficult. It was in the mid March, 2005 when I first went to Sherubtse College in Kanglung after I qualified for BA in English Honours.
From right below the gate, a skinny boy in early 20s marched towards us in a ramp walk style. His pant, hanging at the edge of his buttock, revealed the underwear beneath. He had long hair and cigarette tucked in his fingers. As he approached near, a very strong smell of local brewed alcohol and marijuana exuded.

“Are you two fresher?” he inquired in accented English, eyeing at us in an arrogant superiority. A senior student, we sensed. We humbly bowed in respect and I replied, “Yes la Acho. First year la.La is a suffix commonly used by the Sherubtsean fresher to indicate respect for seniors. Acho and Ashim mean big brother and big sister respectively to show affection and respect for seniors.

He, then, inspected us-from top to bottom and shouted, “Where’s your gho?”  Seized with panic, we immediately apologized and assured him that we will wear it right away. As we began wearing gho, another cab arrived. He set off towards the cab to inquire about the fresher there.

After a minute, a crowd of seven drunken boys mobbed us. They distinguished us as fresher because in the campus only fresher wear gho late night. Glaring at us hostilely, they welcomed us but in an unbelievably rude manner, “Welcome to Hell!”

It was nearing midnight but there’s no one to guide us to our hostel room. We were patently in a hopeless situation, traumatized, lost. A pang of uncontrollable pain ran over my throat. I felt like returning home and tell my parents that I don’t want to study in the peak of learning and that Sherubtse College is very bad, for there lived only uncivilized beings, devils.

Gradually, like a swarm of locusts, drunken boys and couple hand-in-hand swelled in number and swirled around us. Every second of every minute was so terrifying and we continued waiting miserably and anxiously for the constant menace. This is the time when I spotted my old friend, Tshering, then a final year student. A sense of relief embraced me instantly. He took me to his hostel at Campus II, a self-catering room.

Two other inmates shared the room with him. After cooking dinner for us, Tshering left to attend a gathering which he told me, ‘patch-up party’. It was later I discovered that the ‘patch-up party’ is a party thrown by the newly paired up couple to their classmates or friends for their union.

His inmates told me later that Tshering was known in the campus by his nickname, Pussy. “Nobody knows him if you called him Tshering. Even his lecturers call him Pussy. Here everybody is known by their nicknames. Your name is necessary only on your documents, certificates and test papers,” one of the inmates told us. Even the Director of the college was known by his nickname. “His name is Jagar Dorji, but we called him India Dorji,” informed another inmate, laughing hysterically. Later on, I learned that the college union’s president was also nicknamed "Bill Gates" for all the college funds is directed to him and at the end of his tenure he can siphon enough funds to buy a new car.

It was midnight when Tshering’s two inmates also left to watch blux movies in the TV room. Blux is the campus slang for porn. Again two of us were left alone.

When we were about to sleep, a hard knock on the door disturbed us. I opened the door. Again a group of drunken boys broke into the room. “Fresher? Hmm…Take out 100 bucks each. Fast! But don’t ask the reason, why,” ordered us by a tall boy. My heart was chilled to ice. We took out Nu 100 each and gave away it instantly.

“Brother Abu, let’s go back to the DH-4. We didn’t collect from there,” said another member of the gang. And from him I knew that the boy who took money from us was also known by his nickname, Abu i.e. anus. Later I knew that this ruffian group was one of the most feared gangs of the college known as RBG (Rejected by Girls). Other gangs were the CGS (Corrupted Guys) and the Eagle gang. The eagle gang was formed in Kanglung after they consumed Eagle beer and fight with eagle beer bottles.

Despite the cruel suffering, a paradoxical feeling engulfed me. I was more amused and fascinated by the campus and its students than feeling victimized or ragged. I didn’t feel dishearten, but amused to take my stay here as a challenging adventure. Exceedingly tired, frightened yet amused, we slept in gho.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A letter of felicitation to Miss Bhutan 2010

Dear Retty,

Congrats for winning the Miss Bhutan 2010 crown! We're proud to have you representing the nation at the Miss World pageant in China.

However, changing times have brought different definitions of beauty. And today, the prestigious Miss Bhutan title asks for more than having a pretty face, perfect figure and winning the crown. It demands you to be beautiful from within too, and the position will give you a great opportunity to give back to your society.

I think you know that charity work is integral to the beauty pageant ethos. In each country the crowned queens volunteer their time or fundraise for charity. They involve in the humanitarian works, counterpart with non-governmental organizations and support conducting non-political events to collect contributions from the partners, sponsors and fellow supporters to support the underprivileged ones. Thus, the Miss Bhutan crown also asks a greater time and responsibilities from you. It sincerely asks for your self-effacing commitment and willingness to serve our society. Social, cultural, religious and charitable activities are the qualities that you should fulfill.

Let me tell you this. Some international beauty queens have raised money, clothing and books for those poor children in far-off areas which were highly recommended by the critics. Since 1998, each Miss USA has spent  days and months educating the public about breast and ovarian cancer. Due to her participation in the events like breast cancer walks, seminars and telethons, they could raise millions of dollars for research and treatments.

As Miss Bhutan, you can also bring smiles and happiness to the hundreds of the needy people all around our country. You can also contribute to our society by promoting our culture and tourism thereby propagating the real essence of GNH globally.

To begin your noble journey, you can visit the Patient Guests House at JDWNRH where more than 33 homeless people and kidney patients who are undergoing dialysis are housed. Work with the concerned NGOs organize events for fundraising or organ donations. You may also visit the Memorial Chorten and help those homeless senior citizens  building old age home for them. Even a plate of rice a day would be a luxurious meal for them.
Because 500 people (UNAIDS, 2006) are living with HIV/AIDS in Bhutan and the victims of this disease are innocent housewives (women) and children, you as Miss Bhutan have the job of working with the concerned NGOs and traveling the country to speak on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. By educating yourself about HIV/AIDS, lending a helping hand and making a donation, you too can help.

Because Bhutan has half the population of youth, because youth are unemployed and are into substance abuse or gang violence, you can advocate their issues to make them productive citizens.

Because about 23 percent of the Bhutanese still live under poverty line, because they live in absolute poverty six months a year, you can work towards alleviating hunger and malnutrition. You can start an advocacy initiative to raising the awareness, political will and funding necessary to eliminate poverty in the country.

Because domestic violence is prevalent in Bhutan (112 cases reported in 2006), because underprivileged women are the victims of the domestic violence, you can work with various NGOs to advocate the issues of women to capacity building and empowering them.
In your reign of two years, I and all the citizen of Bhutan heartily expect that you work to save lives, empower underprivileged people and ensure quality care for all.

Thank you,

All the best for your contest at Miss Earth pageant!

Yours well wisher.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Letter of Consolation to my Bachelor Friend

Dear friend!

I hope you're enjoying your new job in the eastern Bhutan. How's your health and your new home?

You know after you left for your job lots of things happened here in Thimphu. Our friend Dawala is recently paired up with a beautiful girl and he's planning to settle down after his girlfriend completes her post-graduation from India. Pemala, that most carefree friend among us, has married his long-time girlfriend, Yangki. They are happily settled down. Very sad, Chenda impregnated a girl when he was on teaching practice at a remote school and now he is married too.

I'm doing well and everything is perfect here. Wangmo, my girlfriend is also doing great and as always we're very happy and planning to marry very soon.

Are you still trying on to a woman about whom you told me last time?

Dear friend, don’t burden yourself thinking that you're still single and  that all your friends are married or paired up with their girlfriends. Be happy single. Don’t insist yourself into a relationship which will hurt you ultimately. Love, you can never force into it. It should happen. Just wait. Following are some ADVICES I would like you to think over seriously:

1. Ignore peer pressure: In a couple-driven society like ours, you come across people who wonder why you're “single”. For them, it looks as if the ultimate goal in life is to pair up with another human being and your life depends on him or her. They might even start thinking that something is really "wrong" with you if you're single. Gay? Or Impotent? Or Biological defects? Ignore these people. Just say "I prefer being single” when they ask you about being single.

2. Focus on friendship: Being single doesn't mean to stay lonely. When you're single, you've more time to do a variety of things like making new friends, practicing compassion and social activities.

3. Enjoy your freedom: You've a lot of opportunities to try on new things. You'll be deprived of all these chances if your partner doesn't like what you do.

4. Appreciate the absence of compromise: It's generally believed that compromise, sacrifices are essential to a healthy relationship. You've been in a relationship before, you realized how much stuff you had to give up in order to make that relationship work. A relationship can add many good things to your life, but it also adds some rigidity, frustration, so take the time to appreciate your current flexibility.

5. Cherish the excitement: When you're single, the future is completely open. Today you're at your desk, and a year from now you might be camping at Mt. Everest.

My dear friend, I hope you would take my advices seriously and work towards being optimistic and happy in your single life. Being married is a lifestyle choice, not a requirement. Therefore, being single is a lifestyle choice and not a default option.

It's also possible to choose to be single. There are advantages to being married just as there are disadvantages to being married. Similarly, there are advantages to being single as well as disadvantages. Whether one is married or single is nothing more than a lifestyle choice. Be happy.

With best wishes!

Yours friend, Mindu

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Poor show in a teacher-parent Meeting

Just a month ago, I attended a teacher-parents meeting at a school in Thimphu. I am not the parent of the student to whom I attended the meeting for. Rather, I was forced by my brother to attend the meeting for his son.

He told me he was busy with his other “urgent” works and his wife seemed too busy with her household chores. Although reluctant, I attended the meeting.

I was very shocked when I saw the number of parents attending the meeting. I scanned my nephew’s classroom (class 4). I counted the heads; there were only 11 parents for the 55-student-classroom. Rest of them, 44 parents, missed the meeting. A poor show from the parents’ side, I guessed then.

Another unfamiliarity situation caught my confused attention again. This time it was young group of parents who came for the meeting. Some of them are as young as the students of class four. Does it mean that they were also forced into attending the meeting like me? Or are they also proxy of the parents like me?

Today most of the parents are always busy with their ‘busyness’. They value their materialistic business over their children. They don’t give their time and support to their children.

Our parents should realize to give enough quality time to their children. Alongside their children, we have to manage, devise and pass on our skills and experience to them.

Supporting in children growth, we have to recognize their works and progress. Thus, we are unanimously acknowledging the importance of young people and their critical role they play in the community and the developments.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Spring Bathe

I grew weary of my situation. Every day appeared a long-drawn, arduous and painful event. Confined in a room, I recklessly spent entire day in a monotonous daily routine-wake up in the morning, read novels and newspapers, eat, roam town, read again, eat, watch TV and sleep. 

My brother and his wife, with whom I put up, leave for their office early. Their only pampered and notorious son also goes to his school very early to copy home works from his friends. My friends, who used to be around me, started busying themselves with their newer responsibilities. 
Alone and orphaned at home, it seemed I was living in a breathless boredom and I felt a great emptiness within me, which then fills with sullen madness. I was sorely in need of human company, comfort and sometimes my heart sank so fast with rage, despair and weariness. 

It was in the last spring. As the sun was beginning to set, I thought of going on a quick stroll above Babesa valley which seemed a perfect proposition to escape myself from this unpleasant loneliness and boredom. 

I thought of hiring a cab but I reasoned myself, “When my feet were still strong why I need a cab?” Immediately I moved out of my depression-breeding-space from Changzamtog. The sky was cloudless and warm.

As soon as I appeared on the road to Babesa, a massive jumbo truck horned with such a thunderstruck emitting a cloud of stinking smoke. Yuck, it nearly broke my ear dumb and affected my vision for some time. 

After half an hour I reached Changjiji where I met with a hurricane of dust blew by the wind. It powdered my body with sticky dust and my nose started burning. The pedestrian’s footpath was parked on and blocked by vehicles. The dusty highway was further disgusted by the high-speeding and honking vehicles. The footpath was also polluted with human waste overflowing from the monstrous buildings. These are beastly creation of man, I moaned. 

Half a mile away, the Olakha automobile workshop complex perched at the edge of Simtokha valley. The scenes were so absurdum and demoralizing with young boys as young as eight years working as a mechanic helper. I took a rest on a milestone near the complex, when a young couple arrived. The couple was rather a gloomy pair who looked as though they carried the whole burden of the world on their heads. In a lighter frame of mind, I had presumed they were married in haste, now repenting in leisure. 
I felt sick of giddiness and runny nose when I reached the IMTRAT canteen in Babesa. But without wasting a minute I vigorously climbed uphill from Babesa. After a dozen of minutes walk of nose touching hill, I reached a deep forest marked by a farm fence. The sun majestically stood atop the mountain in the west and bidding goodbye to the vale. 

Oh jeez! The vale was very beautiful and green and lush with new leaves and flowers that contained so much to admire. The aroma of spring was amazingly strong. 

I sat on a huge rock, my eyes feasted upon beautiful green trees and bushes. It was a wondrous spectacle to sit, view and cherish the green after long time. In a minute I vanished into the interior of the woods.

The woods sheltered birds, bees, insects, butterflies of any kind. There was not the least foreign matter-no vehicles, no buildings, no dust, no waste and no noise. There was no human, no vanity, no anxiety, no rich and poor, no hatred, no corruption, no slavery, no fraud and no crime. Nothing at all! Trees sprouting flowers and leaves and bushes growing green upon which cows fed so graciously. Flock of birds squeaking, chirping, twittering and swirling around.
In a fury of excitement I couldn’t stay still and ah, I started jumping and running up and down. So, in the spring, I bathe, allowing fresh fragrance to suffuse every particle of worldly dust that had stained me. It watered my deserted heart, soul and body. Oh God, my fear, frustration and suffering were forgotten. My pains and aches dissolved so automatically. It was a bathe in pure, clean, dust free nature.

In Search of His MP

I was standing in front of the MKTS building in Thimphu wonderstruck, still not believing where the crowd had disappeared. The otherwise very crowded Thimphu Street looked deserted with only a few shopkeepers pulling up the shutters of their shops and a bunch of street boys smoking in the building corners. The day being Zhabdrung Kuchoe and perhaps most Buddhists were on pilgrimage to temples and other sacred places, I reasoned. An unpleasant air of neither spring nor summer further drugged my mind into numbness. It was in the last May.
Suddenly, a gentle touch on my shoulder shuddered and awakened me from this disbelief. In a sheer embarrassment, I turned back and there was a boy in his 18 smiling simplistically at me. “Acho, where is MP Karma’s [name changed] office?” he asked me as he folded his fungid lagey over his tattered gho sleeves. His easy blush and rough accent proved me that he was probably a recent arrival to the city.

I showed him his MP’s office. He marched ahead of me speeding up his pace when I could spot his mud-stained black converse shoes and torn stockings.

After he reached a dozen steps ahead of me, he stopped abruptly. When I came closer to him, he asked me again, “Sorry la, today’s the national holiday and all the offices will be closed. Do you know where his resident is?” Nervousness clouded his rustic face as he asked me this time. May be he was guilty to ask me for the second time. I shook my head.

“But I heard from my cousin with whom I am putting up now that my MP resides in a big yellow building at Motithang. Where’s Motithang? I want to meet him personally,” he added rather in a hurry this time.

I just couldn’t stop laughing at him. “Ha-ha, ‘a big yellow building at Motithang,’?” I repeated it. “Lad, almost all the buildings in Thimphu are yellow and big,” I affirmed him.

However, a curiosity had strike me instantly. What’s that urgent for this lad to meet his MP? Hesitantly, I asked him about it. “It’s about the job,” he answered me, casually. Perhaps over a short period of time he found me pleasant and trustworthy in this otherwise deceitful street.

With an objectionable sarcasm yet confused, I asked him how his MP can guarantee him a job. Without any hesitation and rather with an air of pride he replied, “During the election campaign my family and I supported him. That time he had promised us any kind of kidu including the job.” A glow of confidence haloed on his otherwise nervous rustic face. It bemused me immensely and I just couldn’t help myself from asking him about his village. He told me that he was from a remote village from the southern Bhutan. Along with his wife and two kids, he had been putting up with his distant cousin who is a butcher in a meat shop in the Hongkong market. As promised by his MP, he sold his cattle and boarded the bus to the capital in a big expectation of getting a dignified job to start a new and better life with his family.

Now I just wanted to ask him why he left his village. Again he didn’t hesitate to answer me, “We were starving back at home. Wild animals rampage our crops before every harvest. Worst is that a herd of jumbos destroyed my house last month.”

This time I gazed at him with much interest and in a sheer amazement. “More importantly, my kids are growing old enough to be sent to school now. There’s no school back in my village,” he added, definitely grieving this time.

His predicaments pained me. I phoned my sister who knows the resident of the MP he was searching. I hired a cab for him and directed the cabbie to drop the lad at the MP’s resident at Motithang.

As I returned home; however, a concern and indeed an inerasable worry engulfed me. Will this lad meet his MP? Can his MP offer him a dignified job? What if his MP is away on tours or attending meetings somewhere in Europe, Japan or the States? And how many days or even weeks he has to keep on visiting the MP’s resident or office? Undeniably, how many days can his butcher cousin afford or tolerate extra mouths? But what concerned me most was, can he return home and till his farmland again? 

Photo: Googlesearch

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sex and the Youth

Every time I look at my niece who is just 10-year old, I wonder in grim awestruck. Although brought up in a strict family, she is into relationship-she has a boyfriend. Yes, even at that age!

In another case, I met a boy of 12-year old who told me that he feels inferior staying without a girlfriend because his classmates would persistently poke him for not having a girlfriend.
"When their friends explicitly indulge in sex talk and consider it as great fun they begin to feel the pressure within and relate it directly with self esteem," says my counselor colleague who is right now counseling the “disbanded” gang members at Department of Youth and Sports.

“They feel overwhelming pressure to do to what their friends are doing. They are compelled to do so because she or he wanted to be accepted as the hottest girl or good looking boy in their friend circle,” he added.

The trend to be in a relationship is now becoming an ‘image responsibility’ among our young friends.

Love or no love, everyone is doing it. It is the pitch for having sex. Virginity is “century”. One-night stands and no emotional baggage is “cool”. Live-in relationship is “modern” whereas marriages are just another boring ritual.

Pressure from friends, portrayal of western culture and media exposure has brought casual sex as a trend. Now there are condoms for twelve-year old boys. But is their mental and emotional aptitude to be forsaken? The situation can be a reverse if a girl gets pregnant or infected with incurable diseases. All of these can be exceedingly challenging on a her mental health.

Sense of morality differs with different people, but impressions at a young age can affect a person’s whole life.

In such cases often people may end up feeling depressed or guilty. There could be personality changes as emotional upheavals and panic attacks have tremendous impact on a person.

I definitely blame the narrow mindset of our parents who forbid talking about sex with their children.They want to cocoon their children away and suppress what nature intended to be perfectly natural. What parents need to understand is that sex education is important to teach youth a responsible sex. We need to consider casual sex as a part of lifestyle in teen years and it’s urgent that parents catch up with their children just in time and advise accordingly.

Our parents should say in open, “Use protection for sex,” rather than “I will beat you if I find you having a boyfriend” or "Sex is dirty" or "Sex is wrong".

Otherwise why are youth of the opinion that pre-marital sex is always good?