Monday, December 31, 2012

Last of 2012 and a beginning of fresh Happy New Year

Some people predicted that 2012 is an end of the world. Rumors spread far and wide instilling unnecessary fear in the hearts of many people. And of all these, I was saddened to find my mother in-law in distressful state too couple of weeks ago. If world should really end, it should end within mid-night today, otherwise 2013 begins from there.

While this rumor went on, I had an undisturbed 2012 and a very successful year with my paintings and drawings (I should say) - from graphite pencils to colour pencils to water colour; of portraits and caricatures; of landscapes and illustrations. Though not very significant financially, I've had all the opportunities to hone my artistic skills that helps me boost my passion. I'm happy to declare that I've improved...and almost there to becoming an artist.

Here are some of my last paintings for the year 2012:
Gyencha Yu da Juru: A Bhutanese (women) costume
normally worn during festive occasions  
Bhutanese Gathering: This is what one will observe at the Bhutanese doors.
It means a Bhutanese family has a get-together.
Weeping willow
Left: Grapes and Right: Dressing up

Giving it an appropriate frame makes it even more beautiful
 ...and with this I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year ahead.

Follow KinsArt @ for more arts and drawings from me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

If our children should like my art...then this is yet another character for my own story

And...when it is finally done!

Whether it's rewarding or not, if children should like it... I don't mind sparing my time and effort and sacrificing any resources for that matter - for the benefit of our successors.

This might probably become a lead character for my own hunter story...Lingshing Rongme 
...and Lingshing Rongme looks like this in colour

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

She walks up the heels in greens

Water colour on A4 paper...

She walks-up the heels in greens...spotted elsewhere in Thimphu. People not so familiar would think that she is showing off her matching under garments. Even I thought it so. She wears matching slacks  with that of her heels and kira and wonju. This is not just trend. This is the beauty of how people learn to appreciate things. She looked beautiful in greens.

To walk up-hill with edges of kira fully down is just so uncomfortable. That's how I perceived finally.
Keep up the trend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

When things don't go right!

Early October 2012, I was on an official tour to Dagana Dzongkhag. There were senior officials as there were juniors in the group. The group seemed perfect with courteous leader leading us. It could have been my sheer reserved nature that I knew only few members in the group. But somehow through exchange of few words, few people got listed in my "known list" after this trip.

Whatsoever, this is not something I want to talk here.

It is about not so rare - a blunder, that I'm used to. People tend to hide one's own weaknesses and mistakes. I see no reason in doing that mainly because of two reasons - firstly, other people already know your weaknesses or somehow get to know that; and secondly, your weakness in one area doesn't mean that you are bad everywhere. Remember, each person is gifted with one unique talent each that only needs to be explored.

I sing but I'm not a good singer. I do croak at times. Similarly, I dance but not a fine dancer either.

A young gentleman - a dzongkhag official lead the circle with his powerful and pleasing voice. Everyone of us danced along providing vocal supports wherever possible. Then there was young lady from our group, who could sing and dance breathlessly. I appreciate their talents.

The dance around the fire went on. I took a brief break out of the circle for a khamdo of Doma. Ata Chedup, our driver and I stood watching while we shared appreciations of these two talented people. Then there was a pause after the song. At that moment, one senior official murmured, 'Lhuendrup Tsei Dzongchhen' and sought help to lead the song from members among the circle. Someone from the group proposed to know that - a Boedra version of it. Unfortunately it was not the one he wanted.

'Um...' I thought. I worked there for last many years. I mean Lhuentse. During that many years, I've had many chances to sing and dance that song on many occasions. I know that song. I immediately got into the circle and proposed, 'Is it the zhungdra version that you are looking for la?'

'Yes' he said. And I lead the song.

I thought I could sing that. I thought I knew that song very well. That evening was a big flop. My voice did not function well. People started staring at each-others faces as a sign of mild mockery while a senior official of that dzongkhag mimicked my voice to a greater mockery. What a shame, I could hear the judge of Bhutan Star speaking to me, "Choedgi scale atsi chig metubay."

That senior official, the one who proposed that song looked totally pissed off. I let him down I know, but that was suppose to be an informal program wherein we let ourselves at ease with a bit of fun. And things don't go right all the time. I croak sometimes and that was the evening I croaked. Sorry officer you'll not hear me croak again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Character development...a challenge to beginners like me

My friend has a story - "Three friends". She describes it clearly how each of them look like. As I read along, I start to think it's a simple story...I mean a simple story to start-up illustration abruptly. But it's not. While my wife was busy doing her household chores, I sat down with my pencil and paper in our living room. Great! my children were asleep too. This means few hours of peaceful and undisturbed time in the house.

Not knowing where to begin, I randomly let my hand over the paper to give out few curves. I wasn't even getting closer. Saying, "No" I crumpled the paper and slid it under the table. I stood up and  headed towards kitchen.

"Hung-ya omla?" (What happened now?) my wife blurted out, "You were supposed to be drawing?"

"Ja thur jamey lamma," (I've got an urge for a cup of tea.) I picked up my cup and poured in some hot water.

And then, sat down...and stood up again.

After about few rounds of sitting and standing, I could finally come up with the figure shown here. This looks nice, at least to me, but this is not enough. I have to maintain it's sequence. It is a challenge to me. But such challenges have only taught me lessons and by the time I complete this story, I'm sure, I would have already moved another level - higher.

Friday, September 7, 2012

She changed the course of my footsteps

“Boy, you ought to study seriously, these fields aren’t promising for your future,” his grandma would have surely thought, when surprisingly, her thirteen year old grandchild knocked the door that evening.

It was a peak summer time of the year. The thirteen year old boy chose to bunk his school risking thick jungles towards home.

In the village, fields around were loaded with maize, bearing heavy corncobs on its jointed sturdy stems. Except for the rustles of the leaves and occasional chirping of hens from their roosting cage hung nearby, village otherwise seemed dead.  Then there was some familiar smells of evening smokes giving some life to this village.

However dead it may have been, the boy had every reason to rejoice and celebrate – because he is home safe and sound; he is closer to his grandma’s love and care; he would get to stroll the forests with Lajen – his favorite cow; his teachers can no longer reach him with their sticks; he would not have to face any bullies from the classmates; and then, more importantly, he would get to drink “ara” occasionally.

To the south-west, at a day long distance stood his school facing the village. As the twilight took over the daylight, he could see starry light bulbs glow at his school and the town. Trying to figure out his dormitory within that, he gets lost in the reveries of his school days. Whenever he got time, he would stare at his village for so long and assume his grandma working in the garden below her house. At night, he would stand by the hostel window and imagine his grandma chanting Mani in her bed, while her eyes remained focused over those distant glittering electric bulbs from her bedroom window.

“Now that I’m here, there won’t be anyone staring at this village from the school, nor is there any need for my grandma to strain her old eyes with those glittering bulbs,” the boy thought. But his thoughts were not to last long. And, when his grandmother decides to put him back to the school – the very next day, he had no other option then to follow her. Trampling over his own footsteps of the previous day, he landed up again in the school, only to continue learning as long as it takes.

Fifteen years later, tears rolled down his cheek uncontrollably as his name was called out to receive his academic credentials. It was a graduation day and when everyone was in festive mood, vivid memories of grandma reversing his footsteps takes hold of him. “She had changed the course of my footsteps…, maybe she knew the value of education then,” he thought. After few seconds of contemplation over this, he jubilantly lifted high his graduation cap; shouted, “Thank you Grandma,” and disappeared among the crowd.
Today that boy has grown up to become a “happy ME”. Happy, because I’ve a degree that earns me my bread and butter; I’ve got a reliable job in the government; and more importantly, I’m living on my own. And this is what, most of us want at the end of the day.

Today, when I hear about my mother complaining about the backache; my sister shouting over neighbor’s cattle; when I see farmers tilling land in the sun and in the rain; and, when I read news coverage on “human-wildlife conflicts,” I only think of one thing, that, “If my grandma had not put me back to school that day…”

I read this story to the students of Yangchen Gatshel Lower Secondary School, Thimphu on 8th September, 2012 coinciding with International Literacy Day and the last day of the School's reading week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Illustrating stories: inching closer to my dreams

An illustration for one of my own stories
I don’t know when it clicked my mind – to become an illustrator. It could have been during my college days that I was increasingly getting tempted to doing illustrations. It was during one of my college days that I came across an international competition for children’s books’ illustrations.  For the first time in my life I tried out few illustrations for a simple story with my crude skills and had it posted abroad. My illustrations may not have been good but they did travel far and returned to me saying, “You still need to work harder”. Since then I always dreamt of becoming an illustrator one day…umm…a Writer Illustrator for children. Yeah I tried out several of them, but sadly they did not take off well. They were just too bad to take off I suppose. Sure they were! A mere drawing is no illustration at all. Now I understand, an illustration means more – it requires conveying the whole story at a glance and this is just so difficult a task for me and for any illustrator may be.

Sample illustration from my friend's story
But I’m already into it now. The moment I get free time in the office, I find myself with the characters of the story imagining their noses, eyes, mouths, facial expressions, their gestures and the kind of environment they are in. And when I get back home in the evening, I catch hold of my pencil and paper wherein I try to match them with my imaginations. This is interesting to keep myself engaged, for to get the desired results demands volumes of patience and commitment.

Last couple of weeks I had been working on one of the stories of my friend (it is now completed from my side) and the feedbacks I received from my friend and my own daughters had been overwhelmingly encouraging. Such illustrations require sequential arts to display story in picture. Therefore, it is not without difficulty for to maintain consistent characters throughout is yet another challenge. But somehow I’ve learnt to play around with it too.

It is my hope to display my works one day. And let’s look forward to that day – when your children and my children would go to bed holding the works of my “Lazy Fingers”.

***I would like to thank my friend for having rekindled my interests for picture illustrations.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Voices from the womb

“Sob…sob!” my Ama cried one day.
“You would never listen to me when I said not to drink,” she forcefully uttered in between her sobs.

“Yes you did Ama,” I would say.

Our neighbours came in, “Tshed ley gyeln dhug, sey mee dhilu ya madhem chig mindhug, Om choe ra sem dring dri bey dhoeni mey,” (The saying, ‘Too much of everything becomes poison,’ is never wrong; Please stay strong Om.) Ap Dorji consoled my mom with a soft pat on her shoulder.

Ama tried her best to correct Apa’s unusual drinking habit ever since I was three months old in her womb. He wouldn’t listen to her. Instead he kept tormenting her with kicks on her belly and slaps on her cheeks. “You bitch, don’t hold my hand,” he would shout at her when she tried to help him out. And then there was morning sickness which she had to fight almost every morning.

“Tenzang, please return sober in the evening,” Ama would see him off to his office every morning.
“I know,” that’s how Apa would normally respond huskily.

At home, Ama would keep herself busy over all those household chores. Carrying me all the time – with me growing inside her day by day – it has always been difficult for her. She gets tired easily when she is on some works. Sometimes I could feel her pant heavily, particularly when she had to do laundry and lift heavy things. She cooks food. She sweeps floors. She arranges things in the house. Being a housewife to an employed husband had been her greatest advantage that she didn’t have to face scorching sun or every rain drop of the day. But with extra load in her belly, how uncomfortable it would have been for her even to tidy up those in-house works is something unimaginable.

In between her works she would often manage some free time. During which she would either turn on her transistor radio and listen to old Bhutanese melodies or sit in front of her television set watching Hindi serials. Music always soothed my ears; I would patiently listen to those Bhutanese folk songs and sentimental background music of Hindi serials. Ama would then sit calm and quiet, maybe she felt peaceful and relaxed too like I do inside her by the music. While serials went on she would often chuckle herself. Her occasional chuckles would send a wave of happiness in me, for to see her happy has become almost a rare phenomenon. I would indicate my happiness with slight movement of my legs and hands although these might have only caused further discomfort to my mother.

In the evening when the sun tilts over the west, Ama would gently stroll towards the kitchen to do the cooking. Once dinner is cooked, she would again sit down to watch TV programs. Chanting Mani she would wait for Apa to return from his office. She would wait for her husband to eat the dinner together. But Apa would always return late at night in a totally drunken state. Often when he returned he would pick up brawls with Ama and then go to bed without dinner. I don’t know why? He would always target her belly. Once he hit her on the left of her belly with tremendous force. It was so hard that it sent Ama flat on the floor making her breathless for a moment. As for me, it was fortunate that my legs happened to be on her left. “Why does he have to drink to such an insatiable desire? Why is he treating Ama like an animal?” I would often ask myself.

“He is soon going to be a father and he is old enough. Does he not know the risks of excessive drinking?” I used to think. I just can’t imagine its dreaded effects. I haven’t seen it myself but I do get to taste it when my Ama takes it occasionally. I would feel dizzy and would fall asleep.

Last night, Apa returned late and drunk as usual but he did not shout or pick up any quarrel with Ama. Instead he appeared dumb. He only replied to Ama in few soft words. And for the first time they had dinner together. I was happy to see sudden change in Apa’s nature and this made me so eager to see his face. Once in the bed, Apa asked, “Are you sure this child you are carrying now is mine?”
“Yes Tenzang, I promise Kenchog Sum,” assured my mother.
“Then I’m quitting liquor right away,” and both went to sleep peacefully.

“Tenzang have feka, this might help you overcome last night’s hangover,” Ama was trying to wake up Apa the next morning.
There was no reply.
“Tenzang, you got only few minutes before office time,” she persisted again in vain.
“Tenzang!” my mother cried out at the top of her voice and then bending over his shoulder she wept and wept.

In the next room, I could hear our neighbours gossip –
“It is sad to see such a good man get ruined by the liquor,” said one.
“Yeah…alcohol is a killer! Remember that son of Ap Taupo who died few months back, he died in a similar way,” said the other.

In few days I’ll be out of my mother’s womb. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see my dad. He is no more now. He let himself get consumed by that toxic liquor. And the liquor did its job exactly, for he is dead now. This day onwards, he is not going to traumatize my mom and me anymore. But the end of one situation has only given rise to another situation, which isn’t any better. When that constant torment comes to an end, my mom is only struck with a lump of sadness, misery and helplessness. And when I enter this world, I’ll not have my father waiting happily outside the labour room to receive me. I’ll be deprived of my father’s love. Like any other child would want it, I would need his love and care too for my growth. I think I’ll only see and experience sadness for I’m growing up in the pool of my mother’s tears since the day I was conceived.

But have faith in me Ama, I’ll one day restore our happiness when I grow up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Pacifier

“Beep beep,” my mobile phone blinked. It said “One new message,” and I scrolled through to read that SMS message.
And when I finally opened it, it said;
Hi Keypa, I’ve com to meet u J
m at Clock Tower can you make it here
I’ll wait for u J

Before I could think of anything else, my right thumb had already entered a reply to it:
Hi, alrite Tshering
i’ll be there right away
see u thereJ

I pulled out my leather jacket and I was heading out in a hurry. I checked for my wallet in the jacket. It was there. I remember to have left around hundred fifty bucks in it after yesterday’s grocery shopping.

At the Kalabazar junction, I looked around. There was a taxi returning from the Buddha point. Luckily it didn’t have any passenger in it. “To Clock Tower, please,” I got in. Probably it must be returning after dropping some young lovers like me at the Buddha Point I thought as if these taxis had no other jobs then to drop lovers here and there in the town.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Portrait drawing isn't any easy task

Latest sketch
I've been trying out hard, really hard to get exact sketches of human portraits for last many years. Often it has been frustrating to see different results. But over the years, I do see a lot of improvements going on with it. But sad to note that I've still not been able to crack that secret code to perfect sketching techniques of drawing human faces. That's why I get little bit hesitant when I get requests from my friends to draw their faces, because I always get the feeling that what is good to my eyes may not be same to their eyes.

Of all the faces in the world, I still find difficult to draw my own face. But the faces of beautiful women and girls, I believe is never a problem to me...LOL. Well this may not be true! Given below is one of my own face that I tried very recently. When I finally decided it as complete I started finding lots of distortions in it. Eyes - looks like the sketch has been done right after a boxing match.

But I'll never get disheartened with that result when it comes to art of drawing. I'll only believe that I need some more practice. Practice, practice, practice and one day I'll get a perfect sketch of my own face.

Below is a sketch of a women, a renowned singer I guess. I'm not really a fan but I do get to listen to her voice while driving my car. If you are a fan of her's I'm sure you could make out who she is. Whatsoever, for me quality of sketch is important and here it has come out really nice.

My elder daughter below, stylish as always...

I prefer to call it "early rays"...a young child (early age) at the window side as the rays of early morning sun finds its way in...

Sometimes I do get finer portraits...
Friend's daughter

My cousin's youngest son

Monday, April 16, 2012

My weekend with Gomphu Kora and a Rose

This weekend, to describe it as fruitful would be an exaggeration but it definitely didn't go any waste. Working on the sketches of Gomphu Kora and a Rose was little bit more tiresome and boring. But with patience and perseverance I was able to get these two presentable works. Here they are...
Gomphu Kora, Trashiyangtse

To draw a human face is difficult, but drawing this rose wasn't any easy task...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

growing fonder with pencils

Normally at this time of the year, I find myself falling in love with doing pencil sketches. I don't know what Spring season has got to do with my mood it just sets me into doing pencil sketches...and it is really fun. Last year at this time of the year I did quite a few pencil sketches and some paintings too. I did it again this year - couple of sketches and I only see improvements in it although to become or to be called a Master remains a distant dream. Following are some of the sketches from this year's collections:
Goddess Tara 

...and the Spring must not go unnoticed 

My second daughter resting on my chest one early morning

My elder daughter

Buddha Point

Beautiful daughters of my friend

In appreciation of a pencil

A bit of figure drawing practice

A landscape sketch

 Expect some more in the days to interest is only increasing for more sketches!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My love story

Honestly, I did not know anything about love until I found a woman of my choice.

I made myself clear to my parents from the very beginning that I’ll find my life partner myself. It was a bold proclamation that I ever made when in some parts of the world parents still take a lead role in such matrimonial issues, even today. But this does not mean being disobedient or having no respects to my parents. Given the chance, I know my parents would want me to marry one of my cousins. I just hate the idea of marriage among first cousins, not because I hate my cousins or their families. My reasons are simple - I’ve seen some families, if not many breakdown and become hostile due to some problems in their internal marriages; and scientifically, marriage among same blood relationship is not at all recommended nor is it any appropriate in its truest sense.

In schools and in colleges, I saw my friends getting paired-up as girlfriends and boyfriends. I saw them cry, I saw them quarrel and I saw them share inseparable intimacy. This did not impress me at all nor do their manifestations of perfect romance lure me into such an entanglement. I strongly believed it was an uncertain affair. True indeed, because not many couples got into same flat once they got into jobs while many couples from schools got separated upon changing their schools and colleges. I see only few that have endured the test of time – maintaining the true spirit of love. They have displayed the real essence of love. That’s how it should be – the meaning of true love. I’ve my deepest respects for those successful couples; although there may be some, to whom I may have had an infatuated crush on them (silently).

Therefore, I graduated as single and got inducted into supposedly coveted civil service as the most eligible bachelor. I was then posted in the far east of Bhutan. It was not just a posting to earn my living but it had something in store for me too. Something beautiful that was to change my life and it did change, as my love story began thus. That was the time I started to learn what love actually means, when its whole meaning was naturally unfolded before me. I fell in love finally – truly and madly. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Midnight phone calls...contd.

The next day, Deki got up early. She was preparing breakfast in the kitchen. The rays of morning sun hit directly on the face of Karjey that woke him up too. He straight away pulled his mobile phone from the corner and checked his call records. It did not show any records of last night’s mysterious calls.

“Hmm…was I dreaming then,” he could not believe this.
He got into the bathroom. Splashed handful of water on his face and looked on the mirror. His eyes have turned reddish probably due to a disturbed sleep last night.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TRIPLE FIVE - Year Two: False accusation compels change of school

As always I chose to sit at the back by the window side. My juniors became my classmates. From the window I could see my friends in the other classroom. Seeing them in different classroom only brought me regrets. “Had I been little bit careful in my studies, today I would be sitting with them,” I would think.

I would start every morning towards school by 8.00 am. The distance was about a kilometer and half. In the evening I would head back home soon after the 8th period. I was a day scholar then. Being day scholar, I missed most of the things that our school offered. I could not afford to take part in most of the extra-curricular activities. Of all these, I missed regular gossips in the evenings with my friends. Life went on as I gradually got myself accustomed to it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012's going to be FUN!!

Inspired by different poses of my younger daughter, I tried out few caricatures of her. This of course are done from the photographs. I think it's going to be FUN to draw cartoons. It looks nice...

Cinderela as drawn by Dechog
I think my child can draw better than me: Drawing of Dorimon, one of her favorite cartoon characters.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A letter to my Grandma

Dear Grandma,

When you sat on your death bed, leaning against the hard cushion fighting for your last breath, I could see your lips move. You tried hard to speak out something but then the icy hands of death had already caught you cruelly. So cruel, that you weren’t able to convey your last words. By looking at your state, my mother became blank and speechless. She sat beside you helplessly holding your hand. With her head drooping I could see her shed tears of pain and despair. I was a young school boy then who was on winter holidays and had only little knowledge about all these affairs. I didn’t know what to do. I sat near my mother and silently cried along. But deep inside me, one thing kept questioning me constantly, “What were you trying to say?”

This is my mom. My grandma looked no different from her.
And then you left us creating a hall of silence in that cozy room of the ground floor of our three storied ancestral home. It is in that silence that all sorts of thoughts propped up in our minds. I’m sure my mother was losing her consciousness frequently due to all these thoughts. My mother cried out, “Ama, as an only child to you, I’ve not been able to keep you happy. I’ve only caused you troubles. And now you are gone. How will I take on this family without you? Whom should I look unto for guidance and help? What am I going to do without you?” and with immense regrets she prayed, “Please come back as my grandchild for I remain indebted to you for the great love and affection you’ve showered upon me until now.”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Are we running short of LPG? How about electricity instead?

“Ting-ting! Tang-tong!” empty LPG cylinders fall in line one after another near Motithang BOD. There were men, women and children in casuals guiding their cylinders through the line. One person one cylinder became a norm ever since its supply turned out acute.  This has attracted whole family members in some cases to experience the early morning cold of January month.

“Ting-clang,” I placed my cylinder from behind. There were already fifty cylinders ahead of mine. Unlike Throm Wangs and other public gatherings, people behaved more civil here. Oh yes! Those heavy cylinders probably prevented such a wild rush. Thanks. The line moved unhindered.