Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An awkward see-off

One early morning at the busy bus terminal of Thimphu city, I checked my wallet. My eyes peered through few green notes. My brown wallet made out of an elephant skin was probably under severe recession that time. 

Hmm… If I take out all, my wallet would go hungry the whole day and might continue until next few days when it’s refilled again with fresh notes from my monthly earnings. To see-off someone empty handed is not something that I would like to cherish. I miserly pinched out three of them. By then my sister in-law and her friend got settled on their seats. I looked at them with a grin. Both of them smiled back simultaneously. Two other girls stood on my left. I guess they were friends of my in-law and her friend, probably classmates in the college. The two had come to see them off. They didn’t have much talk to share but were waiting for the bus to take off. None of us dared to introduce each other and not even my sister in-law cared about it. But it was all the more better for me.

I hesitantly stretched my right hand through the window of the bus, “Ya… I do not have much to give, but this should buy you nice lunch on the way.” Her friend straightened her back rendering straight view of my in-law. Both seemed baffled by my poor gesture. After about few seconds, my in-law indicated “No” to it. My hand remained there desperately seeking anyone of them to relieve me off that three old green notes. “Come on don’t let me down!” I spoke to myself and dropped it on their laps. The blood of shame and disappointment rushed through my neck and over to my head. I could feel my head swell as I withdrew my hand. Thereafter, I don’t know if they even cared to pick it up or simply trampled it under their feet. It wasn't appreciated, I know.

Two girls on my left silently noticed all these happen. I did not dare to look directly on their faces but from their chuckles I could make out that they mocked at my modest gesture. This came like oil over a flame and the next thing I wished for was “Oh Driver, take this bus immediately” bringing an end to this awkward see-off.

“Alright! Next time around, don’t ever show such gestures in open,” that was the first thing that came to my mind as I drove back to my home. But as I ruminate more over this incident, it posed more questions than solutions: Where they shy to receive because the amount was too small? Is it because they knew my financial status at that point of time? Was it because they were going home and there was no need for any extra expenses? Or, even worse could be, did they think who is he to show such gesture? Or did they think why should they depend on a person like me? 

Whatever may be the answers to these questions, this incident finds a slot in my memory sheet as one of the most unforgettable and awkward see-offs of my life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I’ve a son

“Rigzin…he has a good name,” said my Acho (elder brother) as he extended his right arm to pinch the cheek of my younger child. “Yes he has,” seconded my sister in-law. I glanced at my wife. She was busy pulling up the stockings of our child. My brother and sister in-law have come at our place to meet us since we haven’t met for the last couple of months. Their conversations made me observe my child’s face once again. I stared on the face of my child not knowing how to clarify them.
“No wai, child is a girl,” not a polite way, I thought, this would only embarrass them.
“No Acho, child is a girl,” sounds decent but this would still put some sort of discomforts in them. I wondered for couple of minutes not knowing how to clarify them.
“Rigzin Yangzom,” I happened to call my child suddenly. It wasn’t my intention to clarify them like that, but it did the job even more awkwardly when my brother got alerted, “Is the child girl? I thought the child is a boy.”
I could see and feel the discomforts spread over his face as he leaned backward over the sofa with a smile. I said, “It’s okay Acho. Everyone calls her Kota at their first sight.” Kota means a boy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God's Will, Our Plights: the thin and the fat

“Aow…I’ve developed partial pressure now,” Dorji a co-worker enters the office.

“I walk every morning and still my weight never seems to shed. Oofs!” settles Dorji in his chair in complete dejection.

He raised his eyes from behind his computer and stared at Dorji as if to say something. He did not speak. Instead he wondered with a slight grin on his face, “Why this fat people are always talking about shedding their weights.” He was increasingly getting frustrated to hear all these weight loss programmes and talks. He saw some of his friends even opt smoking to lean themselves. Some tried out drinking while quite a few went for Doma. All of them did these for a single cause – to reduce extra pounds they had with them. He feels like laughing because he knew that around ninety percent of such efforts have failed. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome Spring

A watercolor painting of a Peach Flower (Close-up study). As Thimphu got adorned with these beautiful flowers I could not resist my strong desire to have them in my collections. So I painted this. Hope you would enjoy the same, like I do.

This is Dochula. I tried this painting from one of my photographs and added a fully bloomed cherry tree in front of this beautiful monument. My idea was to make it look even more beautiful with the rays of sun spreading from the branches and flowers of the cherry tree. But it did not happen. This is what happens, when our skills do not match our ideas. On the whole it came out nice. I'm happy with that.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Peng…pa Yurung

I’ve tried out a story based on the local belief, “Pengpa Yurung Bo Tshe, Koncho Towa Treto” in Kurmedkha. (Pengpa Yurung is name of a bird. In Dzongkha it’s known as Ser Juru) This belief is commonly shared in the localities of Tsamang region under Monggar dzongkhag. This local belief embodies in itself the prevalence of seasonal poverty in the locality. The bird, Pengpa Yurung sings at a time when seeds have gone to the grounds for next generation of crops. This is the time when farmers would have their granaries gone at its lowest, therefore facing acute shortage of grains until next generation crops fill their granaries to the brim. Now with development initiatives penetrating deeper at the grassroots level, this may no longer be relevant to many farmers but this painful situation had been a farmers’ part of life until mid 1980s or so.

Peng…pa yurung! Peng…pa yurung! a melancholic song of a bird comes from a distant forest as the morning sun hits the roof of Ap Pema’s traditional duplex house. Monsoon is at its peak, with sudden and unexpected showers. “Tik…tik, tik…tik,” last drops from the midnight’s rain dripped down from the edges of their bamboo roofing. Ap Pema was still in his bed lying sideways facing the window with his head rested on his left palm, lost in a deep thought. He wasn’t thinking about his day’s work or any of those sorts. Hearing the song of a bird, and recollecting the words of his elders, his heart ached, as with the songs of this bird tough days awaited him and his family.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My first journey to School

As I watched through the window, the willow tree adjacent to my house was in full bloom. Several bees hovered over it, their buzzing sounds collectively generating music of Dhungchhen blown at a distant place.

A blossom of willow is an alarm for school reopening like rooster is for the day break. It’s time for school children to leave behind their loved ones and head to schools to pursue learning. It was March 1981. In the kitchen Ai Boa (grandma with goiter) was busy cooking food. She was the main cook of the Drongmey family consisting of large joint family of four grandmas and their two generations of offspring. Ai Boa was tall and sturdy. At home she would hardly stay idle. Right after breakfast she would go and fetch firewood from nearby forests, and then water which used to be around half a kilometer away from our house. By the time other members of the family return home she would sit by the side of the oven chanting Mani with her dinner ready to be served. She had a sizable goiter on her neck due to which she earned her name as Ai Boa. We used to be very fond of her. Her presence would mean warmth and happiness in the house.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Snow fall

I tried out a portrait of my daughter in snow fall from a photograph taken at Dochula on 1st January, 2011. My family was going to Gelephu on Chunyip Losar break. That day my small car experienced several skids in the snow. To keep it short, the journey was nerve wrecking - never before experienced such.