Monday, June 17, 2019

"Listening Radio..."

On 20th of April my friends and I were interviewed by a reporter of Bhutan Broadcasting Service Radio for lhotsamkha programme. This reminded me of my childhood days, how I grew up listening to radio programme. 

Monk and Sanyasi from BBS Radio in the making of program

During my childhood days, radio used to be my friend. I can truly say that I grew up listening to the one and only national radio station in our country BBS radio.  Currently, we have few other entertaining private radio stations, which pleases me. They are Kuzoo FM, Radio Valley 99.9 FM & Yiga Radio 94.7 FM (although the latter two do not have overall coverage like BBS). When I was younger, radio was a very valuable part of our everyday lives. Because we did not have social networking unlike today. Let me share my fond memories with BBS Radio beginning during my early teenage years.

We never noticed when our mother would be awake in the morning but we definitely  knew once she tuned in the radio. And that's how wonderfully our day would begin, hearing Buddhist prayers and teachings given by eminent rinpoche's, masters, scholars & other important figures. She kept her radio ON throughout the day until she went to bed at night. Otherwise she might switch off only if she is concerned about radio getting overheat. One may have heard repetitive news broadcast and ads if you have happened to visit us those days. I developed some kind of attachment to radio broadcasts just like my mother! I loved listening to radio in all the languages they broadcasted during the scheduled times. Perhaps that could be the reason why I am good, at least I consider that I'm good, in Dzongkha, English and Lhotsamkha. Having said that, I would also love to boast that I know some other dialects too: local and international dialects. I've always loved listening to songs and I would sing along when they were played on the radio. Best of all, I really enjoyed live call-in shows because the chances of listening to super hit songs was very high.  Being a regular listener, I'd be the one hoping and even expecting people to select the songs that I enjoyed. When I was disappointed with their song selection I couldn’t help but badmouth the situation.

Those days new & hit songs would be played on radio while people who could afford tape would listen on the cassettes. Cassette tapes were used very often to listen to stories and comedies. A poor yet passionate listener like myself had to borrow tapes from friends. You would not believe how much some of us shed our tears listening to Rangdol and Yangden, local romantic stories. I will always remember the numerous times that I spent rewinding cassettes to listen over and over and over to my favourite songs. 

Later, Kuzoo FM even came up with a great idea of creating groups among interested callers. Regular callers would be the stars of the shows and known by all the regular listeners. I still remember those radio stars, some living far behind the snow flaked mountains, some in the deep valley and some in the deepest forest and enthusiastically they all connected themselves through Kuzoo family. Kuzoo family is a group of interested callers with unique  group’s name and  member’s having a nickname, they dedicate songs and pass message to each other through radio. People throughout Bhutan became like family through these radio groups.

It was a platform to share their personal problems. People were able to get help from others and benefit by sharing information within a large group of radio listeners. Social connections with radio was effective and efficient.  Although it wasn’t perfect it was very good for connecting people with solutions to people in difficult situations.

Unlike today, music producers and businesses had a tough time marketing their products when I was growing up since there were limited means of reaching the consumers. Radio was the most popular way to reach customers in every corner of the country.

My many past memories of listening to the radio come to my mind as I enjoy listening to radio today.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Dear Mother

I don't want to exaggerate and prolong what I feel at the moment.  Incompetent in expressing, I am having a difficulty on how should I go about thanking. All of us know the crucial role mothers play in bringing up her offspring. 
As a young kid, I loved her more than anything else, yes anything. It would be half asleep in her absence, delicious food wouldn't taste and even toy were use less. The moment I reach back home from school, first thing would be to check her presence. When I do not notice her presence, I would simply find a secret place and sob, than neighbours would notice to tell me where she has gone. As soon as I wake-up, I would give a thorough stare & make sure to see her. Nothing was equally important than mother! 
Though she & I are same mother and son, we do not share the same intensity of care. Lots of biological hormones and societal expectations regulates our relation. I cannot nap in your lap like I used to when things were not like what it is today. Chewing food in your mouth, putting into my mouth, making it easy for my digestion, maybe unhealthy according to modern health experts, but I was a healthy boy then.  Now I ain't managing even a time to chew food in my mouth. Mom, your illiterate and unprepared guidance indeed was authentic humanity's love. I miss that. 

Without mother's presence I've learned to adjust but I have always missed her lesson. Mama, world is cruel when I've to face it myself. I never thought it would be this tough. I am feeling every step you've taken as all parents does; your austere food is much delicious than a sumptuous food I am served today. Given a chance, I would choose to sleep in your arm for a minute in place of any luxury mattresses. 

Ama la, I love you very much. This is not a love that used to be when I was a kid. It's a matured love; a love that is refined after going through lots of hardship in life. I love you not because you're my biological mother, not even because I owe you but because I've a thousand other reasons. 
when it is time let me wish, I may not get this golden opportunity to thank mothers; mothers of my past, present and future.

'Happy Mothers Day' 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My saved Memory: introducing MTV

Jack of all trades, master of none. 

I do not have many good memories in my life. Maybe I was not best as well as worst in anything? I think so.  Because good stories are mostly a memories told and retold only if that's worth sharing. My childhood memories are not that interesting, both from good and bad point of view. As I disclosed earlier, average guys are not easily recognized and that is a fact which is undeniable per-sé. However maybe, memories fades away in due course of time. My little interesting memories too lost during this path of unknown journey. I had to search my memories. That sounds funny right? But it is true, folks. 

I found my memories not only in my head, illusionary disk. It was saved, indeed. You won't believe me if I told you I have a Music Television (of course not professional). You won't believe me if I told you I acted myself. This sounds more of a bragging to myself but I ain't. With change in time memories captured in photo can now be availed in motion. Not new for our generation though. We are familiar with it. Aren't we? More crazy stuffs will come and help us store our memories in an advanced level with different experiences. Wonderful? Not necessarily.

In this video, I didn't take practice. Frankly it was shot to learn editing those days when computers were gradually replacing manual task. It was fun to see oneself in the screen. The director and producer as in film industry term, Mr. Jigme Rinzin upgraded himself from editing miscellaneous videos to more complicated and applaud deserving videos during the Award function. One such, as per my own perception, rewarding night was screening of this MTV. During our time at Jakar school there used to be highlights of the year basically screening pictures. Some of us might feel lucky if our pictures are shown, with some quotes written over it.  This highlighting of memories would be kept in between the prizes. (That night, somehow, fortunately, I also received a prize for the ‘Best Speaker' in English Extempore Speech: my only literary participation throughout school days.  Sometimes, I wonder if that's a coincidence.)

The reaction from my friends were mixed but mostly they were shocked. I wasn't extrovert kind of a guy those days (now I consider myself) and seeing in the screen definitely was a surprise for my group friends too let alone teachers. 

Do watch my video here. Comments will be positively taken, whatsoever.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Jakar School-take a moment to reflect

Jakar has it's meaning deeply rooted in our history. Lam Ngagi Wangchuk, great-grand father of eminent bhutanese leader Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, one day he saw a white bird flying where the present Dzong stands overlooking Chamkhar valley. Taking it as a good omen he left the old site which was under construction, and started where bird has nested. The name ‘jakar’ literally means ‘white bird’ derived from the incident aforementioned. Jakar school takes its name from the nearby Jakar Dzong. On 25th September, 1961 the school was founded as a Government Secondary School. In 1983 it was upgraded to a Junior High School. In 1995 the Education Department further upgraded this school into a High School. In 2002 it was upgraded to a Higher Secondary School offering Arts and Commerce streams. Science was introduced in 2004. In 2014, the school was among the 19 schools to be granted the autonomous status. Since then many have passed from this school with excellent performance not only academically but also in their personal life. Some worked in best and prestigious position while some are still in the making. I feel proud to be part of this school and tell others that once I was a student there. 

Old academic block 
In 2008, I became a part of Jakar family. Majority of my friends were native Bumthap and I was one among few who belong to other districts. For the first few weeks I had a bumpy ride but I managed to adjust with Bumthap Doro’s. Though Bumthap’s language is completely different from my mother tongue, It was not new for me since I knew Khengkha which has a similarity. This gave me an advantage to adopt fast with their culture. I think knowing a language always carries plus point wherever one travels. Oftentimes I was teased for my Tshanglakha’s accent which couldn't completely get off me, even now. Despite all those ups and downs for three years, Jakar school always remains close in my heart. 

MPH at the back
It is human psychology that if you want to be known by others, either you should have done something best or either worst. It is sad that I was in neither of the category. Average students like me/us are not easily recognized and known in the schools. I know some of them personally and some of them knows me personally for remaining average through out schooling days. Can that be foreshadowing our average life later? Maybe or may not be. I can't assure. Because, for me, nothing is difficult than understanding life and to predict future based on current way of living, it still is not my cup of tea. After all destiny keeps on changing. But most interesting fact is everyone of us got to share our own story whether it is good or bad or whatever you may call. And I too have my memories which I'll cherished in a years to come in my life. 

Walking around the campus area alone with cell phone, taking pictures, I vividly remember my past days. I have tried to narrate some of my incidents below. 

Class XII block those days
When I was in tenth grade in 2008, I used to be quite a shy guy but not as shy as you may think after reading this. I chose to stay inside the classroom instead of mingling and going from classroom to classroom like some of my mates did.  Teachers who did not knew me personally perceived that I was a good guy but my subject teachers complained that I annoyed them often. And yet there were some staffs who knew me beyond classroom and they showered their parental kind of care (I still visit them). I mean they loved me for being me.  Also back then I used to wear spectacle similar to that of a great Mahatma Gandhi and therefore I was teased. I had to change my spectacle frame the very next year. Not because I didn't like Gandhi but because I hated being teased.

way to boys hostel
Just in front of computer lab I have a fond memory of frog jumping right after the morning assembly. Almost 90% of us did frog jumping for misbehaving. I think, um, it was attitude problem with us. The previous afternoon, we had a basketball match between two classes and all were mandated to witness. I was also watching with my friends, of course the one I acquainted recently. When many of our seniors started jeering, referee who happened to be a tough teacher, paused the match and scolded spectators in general. I was disheartened for getting scolding for the thing that I did not cause. Slowly many started vanishing from the event and I too followed them. The punishment was for not attending the match till end. Remembering, I laughed to myself. 

My final year at Jakar is most memorable to me. I think that year was also spiritually connected to me. It was that year when I got an opportunity to recite vajra mantra at Kharchu for ten days. His Holiness Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche visited Jakar school for the first time and blessed us. That was also a year when I performed a tape dance for the first time in my school life. The song is close to me. With well choreographed by my friend, Hinghi Meto became a must talked topic. I think we were received well even during Youth Festival held at Wangdichholing school. One of the Bhutan Broadcast in Service reporters shot our Music Television (MTV) but in a different song which never got released due to some issues. I even lost the copy of that video clip. It was shot in Bumthang at different sites. However I might be known for my another MTV which was screened during ‘Annual Awards Night 2010’. Some of you got me right? Sorry for the poor performance though. Initially it was shot to learn editing but somehow it went viral within school campus. I could have done better than that eh! Not now. 
New assembly ground & basketball court

Today the campus has changed drastically. There are many buildings. Our potato farm has turned into a library room but the old basketball court behind the academy block is still alive hosting unorganized futsal game. I could see lots of improvement in the school but nothing helped me bring my wonderful memories back. If there is one thing that didn't change, it is school uniform and my uniform: both are red.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Monk travelled; wrong journey, right lesson

I have travelled to three A categorised town but I'm going to narrate only Gelephu-Phuntsholing journey. I'm somehow obliged to share here this journey for I've gone through such adventurous. Some may call it unlucky day. Whatever you may call, I've been through hardship and this has never happened to me before.

Before I begin my narration, let me tell you that this is not intended to any people or organisations. Everything that I express is from my own point of view. It is a higgledy-piggledy diary.

I reached my home town, Gelephu, eight days before I cancelled my journey to Trongsa on 28th January 2019. Although it takes only half an hour from Trongsa to Bumthang, I was desiring much better transport service and also conscious about unseen risks especially vehicle related. I paid a sum of Nu.250/- for the ticket. It all started from my desire to explore self by travelling. One day before I cancelled my journey, a friend from Phuntsholing had sent me a voice message in Wechat. He has dropped me a message asking my route while returning Bumthang. Immediately I planned to go from Phuntsholing to Bumthang. So I insisted him to book a ticket and he did as per my insistence. I was told that he booked Phuntsholing to Mongar since there wasn't Phuntsholing to Bumthang bus. I felt happy since the bus would pass Phuntsholing-Thimphu-Wangdue-Trongsa-Bumthang before reaching Mongar. Gladly, I waited to go Phuntsholing on 29th and reach Bumthang directly.

On 29th morning, my mother woke up early as usual and also woke me. Since there was preaching by Sangay Ngenpa Rinpoche at Gelephu public ground, many people travelled by bus and attended the sacred teaching everyday. I too adjusted in that 6:30 a.m. bus & travelled with them till bus station where I luckily managed to get bus of 8:30 a.m. to Phuntsholing. I was one hour ahead of departure but patiently waited. The driver and other passenger have already got inside the bus when I noticed. Bus looked appealing but smaller in size than other buses I've seen. I didn't (and don't) know if it has any name but never bothered to ask anyone. I too went inside. Our bus driver ignited the engine. As is the trend nowadays, I too sent text to my close friends informing that I was moving. They wished me happy journey and I wished them happy stay. Unlike other buses, it was much more comfortable. Somehow my mind was uncomfortable with the bus but I did not took it seriously. I started doubting whether the bus would manage to reach our destiny because there was uncomfortable feeling. As expected bus stopped after traveling for about 1 hour from the station. I felt it to be a planned drive to sell tickets; in the first driver was talking to his friend about hand-break malfunction and later we saw the plastic of the roof rack was not tied tightly as it required proper arrangement just after about 35 minutes drive. Our bus driver who was dressed like a (Nepali) Kollywood villain slowly went outside with two hands put into his front jeans pocket. I heard people murmur outside bus about the broken spring while some were cursing that they shouldn't have booked the ticket. Few minutes later some passenger started taking their luggage from the rack and went into another bus which was parked behind ours. After that driver also confirmed rest of us to adjust in that bus till Shyamthaibhari and adjust in Samdrup Jongkhar bus after that. All except one remained to come in 10:00 a.m. bus. I haven't travelled in crowded Indian buses and trains but realised in that bus after travelling for one and half hour standing with assamese friends till Shyamthaibhari. We reached at exact junction where Bhutanese buses stops for the lunch at Hotel Druk and it was 11:40 a.m. by then. I ate rice with dhal because there were many passengers and the orders were not heard. I told waiters to give me any vegetarian curry. Everyone that I told nodded their head but never returned with my curry. Only I could hear was non veg items repeatedly announcing from table to table “shi-ken, phak-sha, pork, maa-sh-li, .......nga.....nga....shi-kan,.......”
Hotel Druk
The voice faded away and started again and again. I did not heard even a single person asking veg curry though a man in the counter was repeatedly telling to some of the pretty young girls, though only once, the list of veg items.
I doubted whether they were really vegetarian or were literally trying to draw attention but resorted to chicken curry after sitting in the last corner table without anybody's notice? Believe me I wasn't noticing them, it was what I heard and started to imagine when I did not get curry for myself. At least there should have been, “Sholo........ema-da-shi, mixed veg, alu sabji.......” and so on if there were vegetarian other than me. Any ways I paid a sum of Nu.50/- only and told him that I didn't get any veg curry. He felt sorry for me. If there's next time I'm going to taste Bhutanese curry from Indians kitchen. The moment I came outside from the hotel, another bus, I suppose from Samdrup Jongkhar or Nganglam  was also parked in front of hotel.
Bus that I travelled
Since I don't have mechanical background it is difficult to point out faulty machine but bus driver was waiting for the experienced local mechanics. Just next to it was another bus with punctured tyre until I went close enough and identified it was ours. Almost every bus I saw were not in good condition, if that's the right term to describe. After that some of the standing passengers from our bus were moved to other buses. We were few of us standing! After standing for almost 3 hours continuously, my legs started to ache, my shin too was giving me a different pain. I even felt sleepy. Still I had no choice but to stand and pretend with smile. Fake smile, isn't it? The bus stopped in one of the jungle area for us to go and do private things. I couldn't step properly after standing long hours. Few minutes later, second bus from Samdrup Jongkhar parked behind us and offered interested one's to move towards his bus. I enquired about the empty seat but he told me that there was a seat on engine box. What do I need more than this? I thought. I went and sat on the engine box along with one woman and her little son. It was relaxing moment for rest one hour journey till bus station. That's how I changed three bus in one journey.
Other bus 
Most interesting story is here. I went to my friend's house near Midpoint Hotel which is a few minutes drive only. He is Pema Dorji to whom we call Nalex, who was also responsible for booking a ticket and is a friend since college days. Though he never fails to pick-up me,  that afternoon due to unavoidable situation I had to use taxi. He greeted me and instantly handed a ticket because he has a habit of forgetting things quickly. I asked him, “North or south?” he looked at me quizzically and said, “What?” I read ticket and nodded myself. “What if the bus travel from Samdrup Jongkhar to Mongar?” The moment I said, I started to doubt too. Even he wasn't sure. He looked around and told his wife once more the same thing I told him. She responded that it would go from Bumthang to Mongar. Bus fare was Nu.575/- and departure time was 5:30 a.m. with thirty minutes reporting time before departing. I set an alarm and slept around 11:00 p.m. I even asked one of my friends, Jamyang Tashi Yangki, to woke me (by calling) as I couldn't trust my alarm.

At 4:14 a.m. Yangki called me. Upon reaching a bus station I could see only big buses not even a single coaster bus. I started to doubt that the bus ticket that I bought might travel from south, I mean Indian highways. So I enquired one of the passenger and got confirmation about the route I'll have to take with the ticket I'd in my hand. I smiled but couldn't laughed out loud in such situation. I looked at Nalex grinning. Then two of us tried to sell tickets but in vain. With tickets in my hand, I was helpless passenger for the first time. Isn't that silly? Of course it was silly. More than that it may sound foolish to some. But I've learned so many through this little journey. It gave me experience.

If there is purpose in this journey, it would be to narrate story with you all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Chasing happiness

Circumambulating at Jambay Lhakhang 

What is happiness? This is one of the toughest question. I do not know how to define this subject. When I was a child getting toy was happiness. But I realised that happiness lasted for a short moment and then that happiness is a culprit breeding unhappiness. Similarly when I do not get what I want, unhappiness is there but it fades away slowly. In case I'm confusing, just understand that nothing lasts at the end. But it is best in living a happy life. How do I get happiness? Confusing! I was told that happiness is a choice. How do I go about choosing happiness? Someone even reassured that happiness is acceptance. What should I accept in life? Life is easy to think but not when one has to tackle practically and individually. I love life as dear as you all love yours. To be honest, I haven't found a thing called happiness so far, not at all, wherever I've reached in this life. Or shall I wait till I'm old? 

Monday, January 7, 2019

I will change the old me

I do not know how to begin and from where to begin. Today is the seventh of 365 days and I'm still confused about my new resolution. Many of us were excited and many have adopted at least some kind of changes with new year. On the other hand there shall be a group of people who might be still in 2018, just like I am. 

Confused! But I think every moment is new and deserves new changes. I am also sure there is change, consistently occurring, every moment of our life. 

Nevertheless let me reflect seven days back and see how things have changed before I preplan my future for which I'll also be guilty, because of impermanence, if I do not get chance to execute. 

I rewind my memory, sadly not time, 7 days back from present. I can hardly recollect those gone moments. Those moments of wondrous in my little yet self-acclaimed bigger life. Of course last year began with same kind of celebration with an expectation that everything will be fine. To tell you: everything wasn't fine, it was just perfect in its own way. Like some of you, I was busy trying to escape any harmful situation. Even tried to avoid a little scratch on MY body. Hid everything dark and exposed a bright side, even if it was not worthy. With red robe, It was a perfect tool to help me hide my true self. No need of artificial help to fake kindness, love, generosity, compassion & so on when I'd a red robe. Ordained as monk, wearing red robe, I am socially categorised into a being who've sacrificed for sentient beings. And I was literally taking a refuge in such a treatment, enjoying ill-gotten-gains. Ups and downs life passes fast. At the end of a day what is counted? 

I am good at borrowing things 'coz there is nothing I own it myself. Nothing. Whether Socrates said it or not, as is my habit, today too, I would like to borrow a beautiful line "don't talk of peace and love when you have a dead animal on your plate". Relating to quote thereof, ‘let me not talk of adopting a new changes when I've a bunches of undone and uncleaned old in me.’
If ever I need to change, it is not by bringing in new but by sorting out old dirty habits. For me that is a change too.


"Listening Radio..."

On 20th of April my friends and I were interviewed by a reporter of Bhutan Broadcasting Service Radio for  lhotsamkha programme. This remi...