Wednesday, 28 March 2018
“There is no point in interviewing me as I won’t make any sensational headlines,” I said listening care freely to her introduction. It was an early morning. She knocked the door and chased away my sleep. She wore gloomy and tired mask deserving empathy to her proposal even from the great public figure and from me, I thought should at any cost be positive. The extra pounds borne in her belly displayed her dedication in her profession. The protruded abdomen gained more sympathy from me as if I had painful pregnancy experience.
“I couldn’t make an appointment earlier and I thought you might have gone back. Everything was an abrupt. My husband wanted me to interview you and he assures the significance of your message in the Kuensel. I requested column for it to our designer.”
She gave me smile which cannot be read as fake smile thought to be available in journalistic trend. She was determined and taken pain to find me. She narrated me number of motels she enquired. Finally, she found me in Hotel AB, room no. 32. I was amazed to see beautiful like her making into my room early morning. I was rather encouraged to be gentle. She got ample trust in her eyes.
What if somebody lecherous had been in my shoe? Had not he forced himself to have his heartiest breakfast for she was so beautiful promising all the nourishment for lustrous man? Had he not be published as criminal rather than an interviewee? My lunatic imagination and senseless thoughts were ceased when she started taking out the weapons of her profession. She took out digital voice recorder, notepad and pen.
“So, I am assuming you are ready to respond me,” she said arranging her equipments.
Sometimes, I feel the God is on my side. The night before she approached me was tedious and even facebook didn’t play role to wipe out the boredom. I logged out from the site and started googling randomly. I don’t know how I googled the art of good interviewee and interviewer. There was an article titled ‘Student Media’ by North Carolina State University. The idea they shared was overwhelming. I read the vital ingredients required to be an interviewee and an interviewer. Of course, to be an interviewee for news papers demand less preparation and are comfortable to manage.
“Okay, this is my first interview and moreover, I feel like this is dream. For your insistence, I’m at your service,’ I said trying to be confident. Internally my heart started throbbing for unknown reason. The body temperature seemed increasing. I started feeling thud in my chest. For me being in feminine atmosphere other than my mom is the most difficult thing. I took long breath and adjusted myself on the bed. She was sitting on the chair in front of me.
“Let us start then, it’s okay and take your own time and inform me if you need break in between,” she said softly and readied herself with pen and notepad.
She clicked button in digital voice recorder. That was the day I had to return back to my resident after a week-long conference in Thimphu.
THE INTERVIEW BEGUN:
She: What do you think that made MoA (Ministry of Agriculture) invite you in the Annual Agriculture Conference this year?
Me: It has been all time difficult for me to say what might have made another factor so. But as you are giving me an open ended question, let me assume few things what might have brought me here. Perhaps, MoA might have felt that I am the first person in Bhutan operating farming company. Perhaps, they might have expected me to state problems and future aspects of agriculture in Bhutan as I am the full time farmer. (I didn’t know how far I convinced her but I tried)
She: You have completed class twelve with good aggregates and yet you have chosen to be a farmer which is very uncommon in our youth today. How can you interpret your status being different from general trend of students in Bhutan?
Me: I am not sure how I am different in this sense. Yet the profession I am in is what I have chosen and I don’t have other factors either to be blamed or praised. I have decided this in the winter while I was waiting for the result of my 12th standard. Many of my mates were busy praying to invisible God for His mercy and all their prayers centered for their good result, jobs and higher studies. On other side, I was reading statics of agriculture in Bhutan and was astonished to see our production level. All we consume almost are imported from India. How long this trend shall extend if we fail to work into it? When will we proudly call ourselves as self-reliant citizens if we depend on our farmers whose idea is not more than subsistence farming? All these made me to study situation and tried making my own job.
She: As you have reported in the conference that your company ‘Tashi Farming Enterprise’ generates about ngultrum 6 million per year, what in your opinion do you think makes you one of the top most earner in Agriculture sectors in Bhutan?
Me: It’s the record in the country as of now but it’s not guarantee to remain as the best income if our young generation comes up with better ideas in Agriculture. There are greater chances for people who feel pity on themselves. Parents, elders and I, in particular, feel pity upon seeing young people carrying their worthless results and certificates in neat files and paying bootless visits to offices looking for job. Why job should all the time form government? Why can’t they be boss of one’s own chosen path? Why are they indulging themselves in mischievous acts putting job and its difficulty in obtaining blame?
After making that statement, I doubted myself whether I observed the ethics of an interviewee I read last night. The bold remark in the ‘Student Media’ appeared before me. ‘Tailor the news to suit your audience.’ I wasn’t sure of its suitability. I feared I might have tailored my message in a way that it may further add fuel to frustrations of thousand job seekers. Yet that was not the thing I should have cared. After all, I was making the right statement as per my heart and little thoughts beyond horizons. I thought I wouldn’t be hurt to see 99% of people against me if my message could make changes in the minds of another 1%.
She: ‘Self-reliant’ is one of the important goals in Bhutan. In your view, how do you think Bhutan can be self reliant country?
Me: I don’t have adequate knowledge on economical areas. Let me share my views on agricultural self reliant. Today, with our farmer practicing subsistence farming are able to produce for themselves and seldom little more to sell. On other hand, over the decades we have seen and we are still seeing people migrating from rural to urban areas. The people in cities are increasing at an alarming rate and we need to produce sufficient to feed this growing population. The trucks importing tones of vegetables from border towns to feed this population is creating dismal scene for those who wanted our nation to be agriculturally independent. Those vegetables are often chemically raised that poses many health hazards. The nutritive values are often lost when perishable vegetables are transported for long days. They often use chemicals in order to increase shelf life of otherwise fast perishing vegetables which are hazardous.
So, in my view I feel, to stand ourselves agriculturally self-reliant, we need:
a) Young educated people to take up farming. They are trusted to improve our products in all sectors.
b) Farmers must be supported as usual by government.
c) Government should come up with pragmatic decisions and programs and…….
Ek ErK….Ek….it was cold morning and I started hiccupping. She promptly pressed button in her recorder and I had grabbed water bottle instantly.
‘Oh, you must be cold.’ She said and gently pulled quilt over me. Her soft touch over my back gave the feeling of mother, sister, friends or whatever you say’s touch. It was only my mom who must have patted me at back out of love. Other than that I don’t have many occasions to recollect the touch by woman. That felt like I had been waiting for such touch since long time ago. To say about gentleness, she had the gentlest hands. To describe her kindness, it may not be wrong to say that I found her very kind hearted at first instant.
“Do you need some time to rest?” she consoled my ill time hiccup.
“No. It’s okay. I can proceed further,” I responded with the feelings that said me not to stop looking at her lips when she asks me questions. Another part said me that she is married and soon will be mom. That evoked my thoughts to be positive.
She seemed familiar to me. She had eyes I felt I had watched without blinking for an hour. On other hand, she was acting like she knew me. I tried recollecting somebody I lost long time back.
‘Let’s continue,” she interrupted my thoughts. I gave her normal nod without a word. Later I realized that nodding wasn’t suitable for somebody who is learned journalist.
“I think you shared almost all I need and moreover, I read about your story in the paper. So I shall conclude with last question.” She said. I was partly interviewed last time by one of the reporters of Kuensel. He had my detail through my comrades and my dedicated workers of the company.
“It’s up to you ma’m. I wouldn’t mind if you go further also,” I wanted to give her confident to approach me at any place and time. I was afraid that she might read my romantic feelings and stop seeing me in future if she had to. My feelings were something I wanted to stop in front of her and also was something that I couldn’t stop it. It came to me uninvited. She wasn’t dressed up so hot igniting me. It wasn’t sort of sexual desire but it was a feeling hard to explain. It had no proper beginning and I was afraid that it may not have concrete ending either.
She: “Finally, please leave messages for thousands of youngsters like you who are perplexed and confused of what to do for their living.”
Her last question from one angle was sweetest added by her soft tone. But from another angle, I thought it to be the hardest. Am I eligible to keep messages for those youngsters whom majority was brought up in techno savvy society? When I found mobile for the first time, they knew how to compose messages. When I heard the miracle of internet, they had accounts in facebook, hi5, penpalworld, person.com and so on.
Yet, I thought to take a bull by its horn. She shouldn’t have asked me messages in national paper had I been of no use. Moreover, with lump in my throat, thoughts of another thousands youngsters brought up like me came to me swiftly. That made me bold. With that unreliable boldness, I kept the following messages:
Me:“Never believe that you are worthless. Don’t be disheartened if you fail in job interviews. Think that you are above the ground for the God knew and sent you to play your part to complete this world. Try to read every matter positively. Maintain good attitudes for it is the most precious ingredient of your career. Be somebody good.”
I gave nod signaling the conclusion of my message. She gave click to her voice recorder. Interview was over. I was interviewed for the first time in my life by a woman. I thought if an interviewer is like her I wouldn’t hesitate being interviewed in coming days.
“Madam, could I ask you one thing?” I said as she arranged her weapons to leave me which she never knew that sad gloomy darkness would fill my room. Anyhow, that wasn’t concern of her.
“Please go ahead,” she said with a yawn. I thought she must be hungry. Given the choice, I thought I would like to order hot sandwiches for us. But I sensed her haste.
“Why your husband assures the significance of my message in our national paper?”
Later I regretted over asking silly question. Who the hell says that wife should know what his husband thinks? No wife is wise enough to say what his husband thinks. Mentality of human was something hard to describe for all the psychologists and psychoanalysts of world and it shall be. However, that question brought gentle smile on her which made me feel the strength of silly questions sometimes is huge.
“Hmm… I am sorry I didn’t ask him either. Yet, he told me that you are somebody who can be treated as an example for our youth. I felt like he is fan of you. He used to always love hardworking people. May be that is what he wanted to be but couldn’t practically be.”
There she added her soft giggles for which even physicists would love to draw frequency graph.
Tring…..tring…..tring…..tring…..tring. My mobile started ringing. That infuriated me. Upon seeing the caller, it rather was fuel adding to my irritation. Singye, my loyal and dedicated marketing officer, who never takes risks used to call me in every mater. I thought of making it busy but she said me to go ahead. I got the feeling that she would spare little more time for me.
As the caller is my village mate, we spoke our native dialect, Sharchop. The matter wasn’t so serious. It was one of my transporting DCMs, punctured on the way to Thimphu. I asked him to arrange anyhow within shelf life of vegetables to reach the market. I asked him to maintain proper bills for reimbursements.
“I bet you are from Pemagatshel. Right?” she said as my talk over phone ended.
It has never been hard for rest of the Bhutanese to know our origin. We have particular tone and words which are unique. That has been our identification mark for so long. Even when my people speak Dzongkha, our national language, they put in our dialect’s tone and it ends up overall seeming like Sharchop only.
‘Aye Sam’ in my language can be literally translated as ‘three of us.’ But our people use ‘Aye Sam’ to describe any number of people. This is typical example in particular.
“Yeah, I am. I know, you made it out from my accent.” I gave hoarse and high frequented laugh resembling the bleats of an old goat.
“You know, my husband is also from Pemagatshel. Identifying Petshelpa is not big question for me.” We laughed in unison as if we were duet singers.
“Really?” I added.
“But he has nobody there and he never visited the place for long. His only father is now with us. He hardly may recognize a soul there by now as he came to Thimphu long time ago.”
That made me to google all people known to me. In my memory I found one matching all the story she narrated. Could he be my only friend back in our village? He must have known me but why was he not approaching me? Or why I am hesitating to look for him?
“Don’t tell me that your husband is Zangpo from Nagtsheri,” I said not with full assurance. The narration matched but Petshel isn’t bounded only to Nagtsheri. There must be so many others who had been so lucky to sleep with my interviewer. Given the choice, I would consider the luckiest man on this entire world as her husband.
“Oh, you are also from Nagtsheri. Wonderful! You must know my husband very well. Yeah, he is Zangpo. He currently works for Bhutan Football Association.”
The formation of lump started in my throat. My nasal cavity started secreting viscous fluid. I felt occurrence of thin fluid layer over my cornea blurring things around me, even the most beautiful thing in front of me.
I wanted to shout at her, ‘you bitch! What more than me you know about Zangpo?’ but I didn’t want to make scene for our first meeting either. Whenever, I remember Zangpo, it reminds me of somebody who had been special for me.
“I was once the best friend of Zangpo. We went to school till class eight together. How is he doing? Where do you all live?” I spoke like I was out of breath.
When I heard Zangpo’s name, many pictures of our past started perplexing my brain. I started remembering our togetherness. A wave of nostalgia overcame my conscience dragging me to all the happy days I shared with Zangpo.
Posted by Chezang at 23:09
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
I do not want to weep.
I do not want to sob.
As I pass her red bag,
I lost hope in the time.
When she goes by a bus,
I do not want to control either.
I do not want to shout.
I do not want to rush.
Things came to me uninvited;
Like it was truly expected.
When she goes by a bus,
I do not want to be cool either.
I do not want to love.
I do not want to be loved.
As she sat in her seat;
I lost the pace of my beat.
When she goes by a bus,
I do not wanted to hold back either.
Do not want to imagine.
I do not want to hope.
As she tabs button in her cell,
She sent me literally to hell.
When she goes by a bus,
I do not want to stop dreaming either.
Posted by Chezang at 23:01
Monday, 3 November 2014
She came and took away my slumbering night
What can I say, she has the might.
She threw my feelings recklessly to afar
Like it meant bootlessly nothing at par
‘Creepy’ was what she seriously told at last.
Knew the fact, I, not deserving your emotions
Never knew I deserved that height of rejection.
You breathe you air and I shall mine
Surely, there is not a reason to whine.
‘Angel’ is not what I will say now.
Her heart believes my life as a plight,
Now I wonder; does she have a right?
Posted by Chezang at 21:52
Friday, 31 October 2014
Every week, Kuensel reports a case, or two, and sometimes even more of rape in Bhutan. Last year, one of my friends told me that he didn’t read the Times of India without a rape story and these days I am hearing his resounding comments while reading Kuensel. Sexual assault and rape cases are growing with an alarming progression.
What is happening? Where is the loophole? Who is responsible? Are our sisters safe in Bhutan? Is our judiciary not strong enough? These are intriguing questions that all the concerned Bhutanese must address given the current cases of rape.
Utopian society may be a dream, but the cases of rape at this frequency are not acceptable even in low-set societies. Our society, on other hand, is known to rest of the world as haloed ground of happiness which in reality now is a place where rape is becoming astounding fashion. We read prison terms for the culprit and medical status of the victim in every case of a rape. We are informed of a rape case in various locations. These are information we get from media. This mere information is not going to curb down the rape cases. The concerned authorities must come up with pragmatic preventive measures and awareness programs. It is high time that we reflect as happy society and mend our activities to make it so. More importantly, it is I and you at an individual level who needs to change. We must take rape seriously and say no to such a sickness. We must share what we know to our people so that rape may be one of the least cases in our country.
Finally, we are one people of Bhutan and increasing cases of rape is our common problem. Let us be united and act in the way to curb down these inhuman, lecherous and outrageous rape cases. Let woman and man be respected in Bhutan. May the soulless pedophilic rapists be brought to justice!
Posted by Chezang at 01:53
Friday, 28 February 2014
Greetings and happy Losar to all!
Recently, BBC covered Chinese New Year, which is believed to be a month of the highest mass migration of people. About 1.3 billion people migrate annually for the New Year celebration in China. Bhutanese New Year may not be known to the world yet, it is a joyous occasion for us.
My dad hardly cooks and when he does, everybody would savour items he prepared. Losar is one of the occasions he does. The day would start with my dad waking earlier than mom for the first time in a year. By the time he wakes us, we would be greeted by pepper-scented porridge. There would be two pots of porridge ready-to-serve categorizing each for vegans and non-vegetarians.
Every member would dress up to their best and sit together forming a circle of about 3 m dia. Our uncle and aunt would break the lists of guests we expect with their porridge and of course, Bangchang (locally brewed soft wine). The talk at our first gathering for the day would center about what one plans to do for the day. My dad always had tentative programs while brothers normally opted for either Khuru (traditional dart) or archery. Girls would prefer shouting with their friends playing Kolokpa (game played with large seeds of some perennial vines).
Lunch would gather us again. No matter in what financial situation my dad happened to be, he would prefer lavish cuisines for the day. Pork, beef, fish and chicken if possible, would make one of the best days of the year. Unfortunately, everybody used to be filled with sight rather than amount.
My brothers and I would visit our neighbours with a plate of our day’s items. We just have to hand over a plate and literally, they would find ‘this is ours and what’s your’ inscribed over our brows; uncovered with our smiles. They would unload and fill the same plate with their items. Way back to home often used to be slower for us; we would inspect what is different and appealing in their offer.
The archery ground right below our home used to host many ardent players and some oldies who used to be the champions of the game. Those oldies would instruct the archer; vicariously enjoying an archer’s hits and lamenting his misjudgments. Some workaholic men would change their status to alcoholic on that day; often acting something unexpected.
The most interesting part of the day is the evening. All boys and girls would gather and start dancing in every house (one could say a traditional jam session of our village). Clumsiness after visiting two to three houses on that day never used to drag criticism or rather advice; be it from parents. It is a day in 365.
Young people would be joined by some oldies (ones they could walk and spare sleep). My dad used to be oldest active member of the group. His endless songs would always keep us busy and often endangering us of cramps. By midnight, we would have visited almost half of the village and received what every household has in store for us. Bangchang usually used to rule our night. We would continue till morning and would disperse with sore throat yet, filled with joy.
This Losar shall be different one. My dad is alone at home for some reason and his day will be never be same and so is ours. I will be missing him and his tireless efforts to make this day memorable one for all of us. I would like to join rest of my brothers and sisters in wishing him a joyous day. A happy celebration to all my village folks and let us pray that we will celebrate together in future with all beautiful traditions of ours!
Posted by Chezang at 21:53
Sunday, 24 March 2013
Back in my country, Bhutan, uncle is the most abused title given to almost all elderly masculine folks. Especially, those brought up in urban areas have habit of calling uncle to almost all man with whiskers or not. Women are known for gentleness and in Bhutan; they use the word uncle as part of their courtesy. However, this may not be applicable to all, but I am sure about an abundance usage of the word. If we happen to be in Thimphu, you will see how Bhutanese use uncle lavishly.
“Uncle, Babesa,” calls a girl from Babesa to taxi driver.
“Uncle, Tashi is beating me,” complains Tashi’s playmate to his dad.
“Uncle, no discount?” asks a customer at shops.
“Uncle, doma?” approaches vendor at bus stations.
Similarly, in many occasions, uncle is an integral part of our everyday conversation. Owing to the dual materialistic nature of nature, aunty has been explored in same line. I know that words like ‘Acho’ and ‘Azhim’ do have good stand, but not to the extent of uncle and aunty.
It was on one of the Sundays where I happened to visit a shop in our local market. There were two girls visiting the same shop. As usual, those girls with their Bhutanese look already made my morning. North eastern part of India has girls of our look. They wanted to recharge their mobiles probably; they wanted to heat up their mobiles on that day calling whosoever.
“Uncle, Vodafone,” uttered the taller girl with recent made reddish hair. I could see how happy her hairs were to reflect gentle morning rays. While another one was busy taking out her pink purse. Her handbag was pink and when she took out her pink purse from it, it was beyond one’s doubt to deduce her favorite colour. She gave me pinkish smile which was something I liked about her conviviality.
“Bhaya, Airtel.” I said following them. The man instantly worked for me unexpectedly. Those girls were earlier than me. I pressed my number and as and when I passed back his old mobile, I saw some graffiti behind him on the sky-blue wall. “Don’t call Unkaal.” I smiled to myself. Unfortunate girls didn’t see his warning. As I was making way out of the shop, another man came with an utterance of “Bhaya, Airtel.”
After that day, I started being conscientious in addressing people. I was curious to learn the common trend in the area, so I started listening cautiously to the words people around me use.
“Hey, big bro.,” say students from African nations to their seniors and elders.
“Dah, kaho?” say friends from Nepal and Darjeeling.
“Arai, Bhaya,” say friends from India.
By then I realized how Bhutanese would annoy my young friends. They have very good coverage of hairs. The world of fraternity seemed more appealing to people around me.
Posted by Chezang at 23:43
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Mr. Penjore receives an epistle on one of the afternoons. It is hazy afternoon and the hectic lunch makes it somniferous. When their messenger comes in, he collects letter lethargically. The temperature is high and fans are dangling over head calling for the power. ‘BPC,’ utters Penjore spreading lapels of his gho. Afternoon office hour for him is drowsy. He keeps the letter casually on his lacquered desk not even daring to read. Penjore looks up to the fans, the source of relief against scalding heat. He leans back against the cushioned chair.
‘Hmm…the address is correct,’ hums Penjore to himself. Heavily, he stretches his dexterous left hand to pick up the letter and sees something scribbled at the back side of an envelope.
‘From your son?’ reads Penjore with an unusual frown. It enervates him instantly. There seems no comfort in leaning against thick cushion. Penjore tries hard to predict the sender. He thinks that it must be his friends trying to prank and make his dull noon lively. Penjore, father of three gorgeous daughters giggles and opens the letter conscientiously. With curiosity at its climax, he reads the letter with an utmost attention. It reads:
I am sorry if I ever don’t deserve to address you as father. It is how I was made to understand through all my road of education that parents, irrespective of their conduct, are still parents. With these instincts, I am quite confident that you wouldn't mind my reference you as father. Though you never fathered me, you are still my dad.
When I was in sixth grade, I knew the meaning of the word ‘Bastard’ (too young at my age to contemplate) when one of my seniors referred me as ‘the bastard.’ Thank you, you taught me words beyond my reach.
As per my birth certificate, I was born on 25th July, 1986 in small, remote village at Pemagatshel. My mom, Thukten Choden has brought me up to all this way. She had woven clothes (more than an ordinary woman can weave) for my education. I was brought up indifferently like those who have masculine earners. There were no genuine financial shortcomings in my schooling. I had all what school’s norm demanded and everything was smooth despite few unavoidable falls (which I believe happens to affluent children too). Through her strenuous effort and immortal determination, I got to learn many lessons. We educated thinktanks should not ever underestimate poor, uneducated, vulnerable to many lecherous masculine folks, and dull village woman. I got to learn that as much as opulent sections have their way of celebration, penury folks do.
When I was in 10th grade, there was an open essay competition in my district. The topic they selected was ‘the role model of my life.’ You know, I wrote about you. You were my role model for all these years. Sometimes, I wonder myself thinking the lessons I learnt without you. Had you been with me, I wouldn’t have learnt these things. You have been a great teacher and still you are. I wrote about how you taught me to be a man when it’s age to be a child. You taught me to be emotionally strong whenever I have to fill your name in CVs. People often called me ‘Golapo’s son’ and I trained myself to remain calm as I don’t actually become what they call me. Few friends, when they were angry, called me bastard. I swallowed the word and later it was easy to accept the word. Whenever I had shopping to do in faraway places, I used to go with my friend’s dad. Your absence taught me the alternative uses. Anyways, this is all I wanted you to know. I am doing fine and as news, I graduated recently and now I am a simple teacher. I convinced my mom to spend rest of her life with me and she does fine with me.
Lastly, you must know that I am not against what you have done. The society you grew must have added value over you. I would like to wish you success in every plan you draw. Under the grace of the God, may you have happy life!
P.S: I would be grateful if you could send your new ID photocopy to Punakha HSS.
Sweats trickling through his cheeks, Penjore folds letter exactly the same. The UPS under his desk beeps time and again. He kicks the UPS hard enough to disconnect. ‘Huh,’ says Penjore. He tries to recapitulate his moments of tour to a village in Pemagatshel 27 years ago. He thinks it is too old to be in his RAM, but it comes like it was just yesterday. He finds 10,000 he paid to Thukten is too less to bring up a boy. The light comes and he connects to his monitor. The screen warns him about his rough shutting down. He taps the enter button to start the computer normally and opens files randomly without an objective.
Posted by Chezang at 14:07