Monday, September 26, 2011

A delicious disgusting word

I am never at ease each time I utter this word. A Dzongkha word, unfortunately. Don’t be surprised! Je khenpo is the word I am talking about. In short, supposedly, we called it Je. Don’t laugh! I can anticipate your predictable reaction. For I know you would be giggling there. 

Je Khenpo or Je is the Head Abbot in Bhutan. But an unavoidable shame clinches me, uncomfortably though, because the thing (dirty) of men is explicitly reminded to me each time I utter or hear this word. Say you Je. Once more, say it out loud. Ermmm! Didn’t it remind you about that thing? Now you trust me I’m not a bluff. 

Am I blaspheming here? However, as our belief would have it, now I’d be dragged into an unpardonable sin for ridiculing this spiritual word. If you’re a staunch Buddhist, you can throw a swift punch on my face…spoil the geography and bring me back to consciousness. Enough said, right?

But you’re wrong if you’re thinking that I am an atheist or anti-Buddhist. I believe in an ideology of “impermanence”, “life after death”, “compassionate and responsible living”. But this word, Je, is the sexiest Dzongkha term for me and today nothing is stopping me from sharing this post with you. 

Suffice it to say, these two words have different spellings in the Dzongkha Dictionary, but both sound no different and they carry the same intonation to me. Guess what? When I have to say or talk about Je khenpo, I am always stuck in a dilemmatic situation. But listen here; I have a trick to fool my listeners. I always utter Je very swiftly, so that Khenpo can overtake it immediately. Like this, J’ Khenpo. Ha-ha!   

I blame myself for not taking genuine interest in learning Dzongkha language, but I can reason out that the language also do the justice to attract us. Much as I hated to admit it that Dzongkha lacks vocabulary, and we’re worrying the slow demise of our national language. Perhaps more tellingly, another word would duly assist my argument here. Again I have to sacrifice my principles. As you’d be anticipating, Jedha is the word that would justify your apprehensions. And I will tell you how Dzongkha lacks vocabulary through this word.

This is the most commonly used word by the people of all walks of life in Bhutan. I don’t know exactly what it means literally as no teacher or syllabus taught us about this word in the schools, but undoubtedly it carries almost identical connotation of an English word “Fuck”. In Dzongkha, jedha is used to express negative emotions. It is the only word to show our anger, pain, disappointment and frustration. In good old days perhaps our ancestors were never frustrated, angry or disappointed. So there’s no need of discovering words to describe these feelings.
 Now, unfortunately, jedha has to supplement all frustration, anger, hatred and depression that modernity has produced. Thanks to Jedha! 

Interestingly, it can be abbreviated as dha.   

This word is also used to greet friends, “Jedha! Nam hongyi tshey.” Also, we use this word to express surprise. A good example is here: “Jedha! Bum jarim dhu mey,” my friend would exclaim if I were dating a pretty girl. 

It can be also used as a “pause” word. “Khatsha, dha, nga, dha, taxi mathoba lakha tangyi, dha,” a boy would say to his friend when he has to explain that yesterday he had tough time finding a taxi.  

Very recently, I counted how many times I utter this word a day. Not surprisingly, huh, I uttered it 60 times. Once in the morning when I got up late from the bed, three times in my washroom, six times when I wear my gho, ten times when crossing traffics, 20 times to the Bhutan Telecom Ltd (slow internet and mobile network congestion), ten times to my bosses and ten times to my friends.  

My final observation, though bizarrely weird, has been that if jedha was a chanting mantra then every Bhutanese would accumulate enough merits and ascend to heaven. 

Apology: Say jedha to me if this post had terribly disgusted you!


  1. Dha...(I say it not that your post disgusted me but as a form of expression, as you mentioned) this is a nice article. I liked reading it sir, dha...haha.
    To add something, foreign friends also learn Jedha faster than any other word. In fact the first Dzongkha word they learn. :D

  2. dha, what a wonderful post! It also serves a word of appreciation no sir, haha. Really an interesting one sir. And yeah, such a words has now become a kind of mantra which we chant everywhere.
    Regarding Je khenpo, and other je, i feel there is a slight difference in pronunciation,

  3. love the way you write...thank you for sharing with us....

  4. The last question Bhagwan...I feel shocked when you use the word " Jedha!." What to do Sregamo?....Dha!!! your post reminds me of Osho speaking about the word "FUCK". Haha..nice post Riku sir. I like the way you present your ideas. Enjoyed reading.

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  6. jedha, it is interesting to see how you got interested in this interesting much sounded like OSHO's talk on FUCK...ha ha ha You make me uneasy in addressing Je Khenpo now...

  7. I have seen some women use the word so confidently even if they don't have that thing in them. I am too not a Dzongkha enthusiast but the language really rocks when it comes to 'Jedhaaaa'.

    Wonderful writeup!