Sunday, November 24, 2013

A piece of heaven

Somehow, someway, it was a lovely moment. A bunch of caring and thoughtful lads made my afternoon all so wonderful today. And that’s what got me writing this blog post now. 
They were seven, out in an open ground, playing together. They merrily tussled and tangled, making spontaneous laughter, like little chipmunks. And I could see smoke coming out from their mouths. That’s how cold it’s in Thimphu.

I sat in one corner and watched them. The way they play, tangle and converse reminded me of what was my childhood. I wanted to relive it, my childhood. Instantaneously, I joined them.

In no time at all, we became good friends. As the deep chill breeze stirred the bushes nearby, we kept on playing different games. Rope Swing in the beginning. Later on, seesaw. And finally a soccer game.
While playing the games, with these lads, sometimes I too acted like a kid. I became defiant. Fighting. And when we turned a little sour, we disagreed, becoming slightly bitter. However, these lads taught me that even if you become an adult (30s in my case), there’s still child-like nature in you. 

After our playtime, we talked intently, huddled together. I asked them about their dreams and ambitions. And it’s simply wonderful to enjoy the joy of sharing jokes and laughter with our future teacher, dasho, engineer and footballer. No one wanted to become writer, by the way.    

I bought them some snacks. “Thank you, Acho!” they expressed gratitude to me, grateful smile on their faces. In actuality, what I gave them was so little, yet for them, it meant lots.

Finally, we took a photo together. I kneeled down, hugged them. And quite shockingly, I felt their arms clasped my neck and back and they pulled me tight. It buoyed me. That is a piece of heaven for me.
I departed from them; however, I promised them that I will return next weekend. And as I walked back home I found myself hoping, Let their wishes be fulfilled.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Going nuts

I couldn’t write anything for the last ten days. Even to do serious thinking and write for a minute would give me a strong headache. The reason was that I caught fever. On top of that, headache added on. However, guys, I am alright now. And I start here blogging again with the pictures of nuts, fruits, grains (I don’t know) that I took this autumn. They are lovely, aren’t they? 

Saturday, November 9, 2013


This afternoon, I just broke into a restricted VIP area in Thimphu. The reason was simple – to take pictures inside that area. Coz I couldn’t stop myself from taking the pictures of those beautiful roads, apple orchards and maples in it.

So I jumped over the gate, run-rounded and took countless shots. Eh, I was scared of dogs, so I remained all vigilant. If dogs come, I would climb on this tree, I prepared myself, looking at a low tree.

But it was the policeman, oh god. He summoned me and interrogated why I got in the area. I gave him my statement and showed him the pictures I took in my camera.

“From next time, lopoen, don’t enter this area. It is restricted place,” the policeman cautioned me. I came out of there, saying, “Laso la, laso la.”

However, I was lucky that he didn’t ask me to delete the pictures. So here I offer you the pictures. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A gift of time, a gift of hope

He offered me a wooden stool next to his bed. I dragged it gently, and sat on it. As usual, Jigme Pelden was lying down on his bed in his room.

“I just finished my prayer,” he started the conversation, with a bright smile. Meanwhile, he folded his prayer beads and pushed it under his pillow.

The room was warm, heated with electric heaters. Four other elderly patients also shared the room. And in this room of the Patients Guest House of JDWNR Hospital, Jigme Pelden has been staying for the past two years. Always lying on the bed, and taking medications.  

On the window, adjacent to his bed, was his small space for praying – a few kupar (religious portraits) affixed and incense sticks burning. Right below it, on a cardboard box, there was a stack of notebooks and a few Dzongkha novels.
“Have you completed writing your book?” I asked him, rather curiously. By the way, Jigme Pelden was writing a book. And I visited him, this time, particularly to know about his book.   

“Yes, I completed it. Finally,” he replied me. A gleeful smile instantly surfaced on his face. “The book is all about my life. An autobiography,” Jigme continued, his smile ever growing.

“There are only few people who have lived and are enduring the kind of life that I live. I hope that this book of mine would help other people understand our lives and support us,” he explained to me.

In 2010, when Jigme Pelden was only 34, he met with a dreadful accident in Phuentsholing which has completely changed the course of his life. That time, as a craftsman, he was painting a building when he suddenly fell down. Half of his body (below abdomen) remained paralyzed, and he never lived a normal life.
Jigme's daily chore, weaving rachu
Worst of all, after this fateful incident, he was divorced from his wife and he had to look after his two children even in such condition.   

“Sometimes, everything was just not fair. God is unfair. Life is unfair. But yet, we learn to accept of what simply is,” Jigme shared his opinion, as I stared at him, marveling at the way he was speaking. He speaks with a great passion. And he is, undeniably, a wise person.    

Then, we stood in silence. Even though I wanted to continue our conversation, I have no idea what to say or how to say it, so I just gazed outside, beyond the window. Out in the open - everyone looked happy. They were walking, running and laughing. Free.

It pained to see Jigme lying in the room, chained to his bed. For how long, I don’t know. And my inquiring mind frequently wanted me to ask him how it feels to see other normal people outside or what it’s like being a paralyzed person. But I realized it’s a terrible thing to ask, and I shut it up in my mind.

In a while, Jigme took out a pair of notebooks in which he wrote his book. He has never attended any schools; however, he learned Dzongkha at home. The book is written in Dzongkha, and one of his supporters has been helping him translate it into English.   

The gentle afternoon sunlight flooded the room. Jigme began reading out for me a small paragraph from his book,
“Sometimes I feel that the only cure to my suffering is writing on. Because for a person like me, writing is transformative, healing. And I write this book to tell you exactly.”
As he reads out, he smiled and fumed at the melody of the words. I was amazed by the way he has built the words and crafted sentences in his book. They are just gorgeous, overwhelming.

More exciting, the book contains many beautiful poems and heartbreaking lyrics that he had composed when he was young man back in his village, Khoma, Kurtoe. And he has woven all that together beautifully in the book.

Oh, how wonderful it’s to sit next to a brilliant writer and listening to his book all afternoon. Like this. 

“You know what? It takes commitment to write a book. All cannot do it. Only those people who have discovered purpose in their life can write,” this aspiring young writer told me. I agreed with him, genuinely impressed.    
The sundown was approaching, and the daylight has already grown weak. Outside, it started to rain. It was a typical Fall day. Intermittent rains. Cold.

I stood up, leaned over and gave him a hug, a little tighter than usual. “Please visit again,” he whispered. I nodded. He offered me an umbrella. I took it.

On my way out of his room, he shouted at me, “And thank you for the books and pens.” 

I waved at him, becoming teary. And I walked out of his room; I walked way back my home. The rain was pouring down. And deep down, my heart glowed, hugely inspired and awed. I assured, reassured to myself, again and again, “I will be the first person to buy, read and review your book, Jigme Pelden.”