Sunday, June 28, 2015

A pilgrimage, photo excursion

On the Birth Anniversary of Guru Rimpoche, my wife and I went to visit the Wangditse Dzong in Thimphu. The purpose of the visit was basically to pray for the wellbeing of ourselves and all the sentient beings on the religious day. However, on the day, I landed up taking lots of pictures that I am going to share with you here. Have a lovely rainy Sunday! 


Thimphu Valley

Takin Zoo

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Story of a stink bug

About a year ago, my friend Chencho Thinley narrated this story to me. When I heard it, I absolutely loved it and since then this beautiful tale has left me hugely inspired. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to my friend; moreover, I can’t wait any longer to share it with you. So here it goes.

Once upon a time, there was an insect by the name of Stink Bug. He lived in a tree with his fellow bugs. But he was never happy because he was very stubborn and pompous. He prided himself for being very smart and clean.

He had a belief that everything and everybody around him was erroneous and tainted. Indeed, he felt sick of everything. One day he decided to leave the wood and his friends. After flying for quite a length of distance, he came across an attractive tree in a forest. He was quite happy to start his life new in this fresh tree.

However, after sometime, he started feeling foul smell in the tree. He veered around and in noisy jerks he stamped his legs on the wood, angrily. More intense pungent smell came; the breeze further spread it. Out of disgust, he cursed the tree for bearing such a foul smell. He left the tree and went on searching another.

This time he spotted new tree, more attractive one. The pest resided in the tree joyfully. After a few days, it started bothering him again. For, he encountered the same noxious smell from this tree. It put him in a foul mood and he cursed this tree too. And as was his habit, he departed from it too in search of another wood.

Likewise, he looked for and resided in handful, dozens and hundreds of trees. He had problem with all of them; the putrid smell was always there, in all trees. At the end, he came to an impression that every tree is bad, stinks.

All his life, the bug landed up being unhappy and cursing the trees for being very smelly and obnoxious. However, the truth is that it was his own smell that was the source of constant disgust and unhappiness for him.

So this is it, the story of a stink bug!

Since I first heard it, the story took me inside of me that I hardly go and has forced me to rethink some of my own prejudices and pride. Indeed, it truly helped me understand and realign my perspectives and life’s sojourn.
I have met many people, some very close to me, who keep hopping on different jobs. Never satisfied, they always blamed the organizations and people that they have worked with. It is a terrible thing to say, but true.

Also, there are people who are unhappy with their relationships, so they change frequently. So I do see those people who are never happy in one place.

But I admit here, I too have been like the bug. I was not happy with what I have and what I was doing. Of course, I did blame the people and circumstance around me and tried looking for new avenue.

The truth is that we tend to shape things to suit our own situations, perspectives, opinions and beliefs. The greater truth is our ego and arrogance will not permit us to become happy and enjoy the beauty of life.
Yay! It's this simple. Put down your prejudices like the clouds here and you can enjoy the beauty across the landscape

So as I end this post here, I leave you a few questions to mull over this evening. How often do you look into your own perceptions, intentions and feelings? Are you aware of it? Are you working towards correcting your prejudices and perspectives? 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To my man, my Father

I am reposting this story today; yes, again to mark the Father’s Day. This particular post, written in 2012, means a lot for me. Here it is.  
With my Father
Today, 17 years later, I still remember that incident; in fact, with profound gratitude and a sense of homage for my Father. And what had happened that day has irrevocably bound us together.   

It happened when I was 14-year old, on a weekend afternoon. Winter? Spring? I don’t remember it precisely. My Father wanted to fell a tree next to our rice field for firewood. He wanted me to go along to help him cut it.

That noon, my Mother cooked fried rice and an omelet each for us. After having the lunch, as my Father hung his long saw over his shoulder, I received the axe in one hand and tea kettle other.

After reaching the spot, my Father scaled the tree, making a round and briskly measured its size. It’s double my size and about 30 feet tall. He, then, asked me to hang at one end of the saw as he started pulling it from other end.

The afternoon sun was heavy on our backs, and we kept moving the saw backwards and forwards. It seeped deeper and deeper into the tree trunk.

We sweated profusely. My body exhausted, my back ached. But I remained determined and continued cutting the tree.   

Suddenly, a loud hectoring sound of the tree rumbled like lightning over us, deafening too. In a flick of second, the tree fell down, right on us. All hell was breaking loose, I felt. My body turned cold with fear, my heart chilled to ice, my mind went blank.
I stood there, baffled, caught between turmoil and confusion. At that point, I thought both of us - father and son - were mauled to death. Oh, I was stunningly safe! Only a tiny branch of the tree hit me, slightly scratching my right hand. I wondered about such a miracle.

Meanwhile, I had realized that my Father was nowhere to be seen around. That moment, I thought I had lost my Father to the hurtling tree. Tears streamed down my cheeks, and I cried loudly.  

But to my surprise, oh thank god, my Father spectacularly rose from beneath the felled tree. He had been hurt real bad. I could see his hands and legs bruised, fresh blood oozing too. But without least bother to his wounds and pain, he darted towards me.  

He held me, instantaneously, to ensure his son was ok. I read “Are you ok, son?” expression on his face. As he checked my hands, legs, and head, he burst into tears and finally put his arms around me for a hug. He hugged me, all apologies. So he heaved a sigh of relief.

Immediately after that incident, we returned home. That afternoon, we didn’t bring home firewood. But, certainly, I took an understanding about my Father - his selfless care, unconditional love, and affection and protection for me.

Today, on this auspicious occasion of Father’s Day, I wish my Father all the lucks and good blessings. May you live long and keep protecting and inspiring me. A wonderful Father’s Day!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Miles to go

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

This particular stanza has always been my favourite from the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. First published in 1923, the story goes that Frost wrote it in a few minutes after he took a sunrise walk. Because of it, well, I am a great lover of poetry. 

I first heard this poem when I was studying in the primary school. My English teacher read out the poem, and I liked it instantly.

Ah, I still remember sitting quietly on a darkened window of my house and reciting the entire poem oblivious of noise outside. These lines used to sumptuously transport me to another realm. I used to feel dreamy, magical, and mysterious.

So did I fantasize that magic was found everywhere - in the dark woods, in every lake, behind the closed doors, under the grasses, and high up in the mountains. 

Such is that this literary composition had on me!

Later, in the 10th grade, I could get to study the poem as in the English literature textbook. And I have loved it even more. 

In several occasions, in front of young people and to my friends, I read and quoted this poem - particularly these lines - to inspire and to be inspired.   

Today, as an adult, I see these lines much differently. It is about duty, promises and commitments, sacrifices, and positivity. The journey ahead too. As I recite the poem now again, yes, it rings loud, all clear.
I turned 31 this year. It means that I have hit a biggest crossroad of my life and now just heading into a new direction. Just completed my first five years of service, and just started a fresh life of marriage.

In the recent time, I have thought a lot about “miles to go”, how I would spend the years ahead of me. But the universal truth is that this world is always “lovely, dark and deep”, filled with pleasures, pain, uncertainties and distractions - tugging at us all time.

It reminds me that “I have promises to keep” to make myself happy and fulfill the commitments towards my wife, parents, siblings and friends before I actually “sleep”, die. 
In fact, I am doing it all already. I have narrowed down my social activities so as to spend more time with my beloved ones. For, sacrifices are to be made for one’s own loved ones.

Now I have this poem hanging on my office wall. I read it when I am engrossed in the busyness of my daily life. 

Each time I go through it there, I think of making the best use of “miles to go” – duty yet to be done, commitments still to be undertaken, goals yet to achieve, and promises to be fulfilled.

I have so much to do before I eventually breathe my last. As I would fulfill it all, so I called it truly a life well lived. Oh, I have miles to before I sleep! 

Miles to go!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Daisy blooms

This week, I took some pictures of daisy in my office gardens. They are lovely, and so pleasurable to have captured in my digital lens. I hope you would enjoy looking at them. Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The first five years

Yes, you read it correct. It has been exactly five years. May 2010 was the time when I first joined the office of Department of Youth and Sports. It went by so fast; in fact, it was an intense, overwhelming period of time.
During my first office assignment
I started my career as a young gelled hair boy. Frankly speaking, it was purely for the sake of employment that I joined the office; I knew nothing about the office’s mandates and objectives before. But I began my service bursting with excitement, with real gusto.

In the first year, I could perform exceptionally well. My performance and initiatives had hugely impressed my colleagues and supervisors; they applauded me for my works. The truth was that I was young, energetic, passionate and obedient. I didn’t mind taking up extra responsibilities. I didn’t mind working extra time. 

That time, a senior staff told me, “Young man, Riku, a decade ago, I was like you. Passionate. Hardworking.”

Then he had listed down the initiatives he took and added, “My boss applauded me. I was super happy. Now see, I am a de-motivated person. The system killed me.”

I didn’t know what exactly he meant by that.

Gradually, I have realized that the bureaucratic system was insanely huge and the managements were cunningly unprofessional and unfair. Much of our time, we have been struggling with paperwork and administrative hurdles.

Oddly enough, most office managements lacked leadership, dynamism and vision. They still adopted the punitive approach where employees were taught work through abuse, scolding, daunting and controlling. It was really frustrating and demoralizing to work under such management and leadership.

As a fresh employee, in the beginning, I was thirsty to learn about the work and create impact as much as I can. But rather disappointingly, the system functioned in a complex manner that always tried to stop you from going forward and pulled you down morally.

Many times, I came into conflict with the system, with my supervisors. This affected me a lot, it made me nervous too. The passion and confidence had vanished in me. I became, in a word, de-motivated. And my senior’s words rang true; I understood what he had meant.

For the better or worse, some of my colleagues quit.

At one point, I requested for transfer which eventually didn’t happen. After that, many times, I contemplated on resigning from the service. For quite sometime, I have become like my senior – an indifferent disgruntled civil servant. I did not much work but often landed up complaining about the management and the bureaucratic system.

However, slowly I have realized that my reaction and attitude was wrong. In fact, my colleagues and friends gave me a word of encouragement and injected a renewed mood of optimism and positivity in me.

I worked on the communication. I rebuilt relationship with everybody around me. Likewise, I began to fit the broken pieces together one by one. And things started to become less complicated, less stressful, much more stable and more focused.
Meanwhile, I have developed an attitude that I was not only working for my boss and the system but for the wellbeing of youth too, thereby serving the tsa-wa-sum. And I felt that I am the future of my office, the future of Bhutanese bureaucracy.

The civil service rules and regulations can be amended; it can be improved prior to our own feedback and recommendations. Our bosses will retire one day, and if we (young gunners) become concerned, then in the future we can become effective and dynamic person to head any managements.

Above all, I have learned millions of things in the last five years, through my work. This July, I am expecting my first promotion; this is just a first stepping stone of my career.

Ah, I still have a long to to go!