Thursday, December 24, 2015

Little Ball of Fur

I asked Lilly, who is here for her winter break, if she wants to come to the town and she said, "It's OK. I will stay home...with Lolo." How I wish I had that choice!

Every morning, Lolo asks me, "Office ma dhe la? (Office not going?)". 

"Dhe lay (I am)."

"Ma dhe lay (don't go)." And often she tells me I should stay home weaving (Lolo has been excited with the new kira I am weaving for her. She is going through something like, "Wow...I-can't-wait moment!")

Thankfully, she is not that nagging type. Every morning, she waves me 'bye' and reminds me to bring her some gifts from work. So, I go with toffee, chips, chocolates, jelly, cakes, momos, biscuits...anything I can think of. She isn't demanding either, she just needs something as "tang (gift)".

One Saturday, I went to drop my parents to my sister's place and the girls to their schools. KP was home with Lolo. While she was watching YouTube on Papa's mobile phone, he apparently went outside to put the clothes. As he says, Lolo kept her fingers running on the mobile and checking into each room looking for someone! Her relief came in her words upon seeing Papa enter the house, "Where is everyone? I was afraid for sometimes." You see, she is this cute.

I am closely monitoring her growth and the way she tackles situations. Yes yes, I am glad she has a bit of OCD - Obsessive Control Disease, if not more. I see in the way she arranges her toys, the way she makes sure color sorting, or the way she ensures proper placing of things. One evening, she stood near me while I cooked. She placed the bottle cap under the filter and opened the filter. Technically, the cap was not strategically placed. Before I could comprehend how she would manage, she picks the cap and puts it right where the drops of water fell. Marvellous! She does this so instinctively. 

When we go for social gatherings, she is really that out-of-the-group kind. By virtue of growing up in a household of adults, I see my daughter has aged faster than her peers. She is OK to be alone, aloof and independent. What she needs, she asks straight away, and she has a varied tastes that she enjoys everything on her plate. Give her some toys and she won't bother anyone. No, she doesn't cry or jump around or tear down things. She is gentle.

On one hand, I am happy with her maturity. But it worries me as well. I worry if she will make any good friends in schools, or if her independence is way too much at this age. After a long thought, I am decided to send her to a daycare.

For that, Lolo picks up her "Elsa" bag and declares, "I am going to KOOL." Sorry folks, she is yet to get that 's' or 'r' phonetic. So,

School = Kool.
Spoon = Poons.
Smurfs = S...murfs.
Crocodile = CoCo dile
Grapes = Gapes

and so on.

Oh goodness, I love these children who make our lives just so much beautiful. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

A Stranger's Wisdom

"Be nice to people on your way up, you may meet him on your way down!" I have always lived by this belief. I am [still] reading the The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin which convinces me more that happiness comes in acknowledging the small things in life (which I have always believed it to be!).

What I am going to narrate here is a short story, a real-time story which happened within 25 kms of car drive, dated December 2, 2015.

KP, Lolo and I were returning from Phuntsholing after dropping our parents who were enroute to Samdrup Jongkhar and further onward to Wamrong. We stopped the car at Rinchending (Karpandi) for entry. Just as KP got back into the car, a soldier - a lopon Pelpon asked for lift till Kamji. A  quick glance and we said OK.

Our Lopon Pelpon, as he shall be named hence was apparently going to Kamji to seek boarding admission for two of his children. He said he is at temporary posting at Phuntsholing from Tala, and that he would be seeking resignation soon.

In that less than 25 kms, here are few snippets of wisdom we learnt from him:

"Irrespective, we need to head back to our villages upon retirement - from where we came. By then, we are devoid of any strength or energy to work. Neither do we have enough savings to run our lives nor energy to till the fields. Hence, I have decided to return to the roots when I am still able, and may be work hard to retire in old age."

He had such perfect command over Dzongkha that his wisdom spoke in words like, "Rhe chhe sa lay chhe, dho bom sa lay bom, (the ridges would have broken, the stones would have grown)."

He plans to start cultivating cardamon. When KP remarked that he would be a wealthy man in three years, he replied with a tinge of smile, "Sir, that is my plan for now. But I can't assure what 'Kenchosum' has in store for me. We may be alive today and gone tomorrow. Life is uncertain. Yet, we need to keep hoping for the future."

Funniest was, when he said, "Few years ago, when we civil servants visited our villages, we were given grand welcome. We were invited for tea, and the villagers expected something in return. Today - you go to the village, no one notices us. I am afraid they CAN'T differentiate whether it's the wild animals or public servants who have come to the villages!" (Ha ha ha!)

Amoiiii :)

And he added on, "Then, our village folks didn't even have a good house to stay. Their huts had no fence...no support," and again in his eloquent Dzongkha, "Lung-ma na lay phun, pha lay theeen. Pha lay phun, naa lay theeen," meaning to amplify the state of discomfort (and I am deliberately not translating in fear of distorting its essence). But today - today, he says, "They have at least a two-storied concrete house." More to that, "They are collectively paving roads for their business."

I wanted to faint right there!!!

"I joined the army at a mere salary of Nu. 700. All right, I earn close to Nu. 10,000 today but look at the price of our commodities. Even a bar of soap costs thrice the amount today. My children's demands have also doubled. Nowadays, Nu. 5 is not the baseline - they ask for minimum of Nu. 10/ Nu. 20 - every morning!"

We approached Kamji. Our Lopon Pelpon hopped off with a soldierly salute. 

Minutes later, we realized that in that trance of mesmerisation we forgot to ask his name. Whoever he may be, he fuelled our conversation for the rest of our journey. And his passionate eloquence in our national language made us shameful.

Note: Dear Lopon Pelpon - we wish you all the good luck for your endeavour. This article is written in memory of the wisdom you instilled in us. Until we meet again! 


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Where is the "NOSE"?

For an artist, the eyes add life to the portrait but to a face, the nose is really the feature that adds glamour to the beauty.

My Lolo is born with a bubbly nose, cute for now but a thing to be worried about as she grows up. She really has a cute little pout perched on her face.

When I ask her, "Where is your nose?" she puts her little finger on to that piece of flesh and says, "Aaa-tha (here it is)!"

Spot Lolo's cute nose!
I laugh out loud because what she really has is a piece of bunny flesh, rounded and hardly visible. As I said, it adds that cuteness on her face (for now).

During those nursing days, I made sure she wasn't pressed hard on my bosom going by the belief that it flattens the baby's nose. When possible, I would shovel it down gently hoping it will bring about a better shape. But as stubborn as Lolo herself, it stood there stuck to its original shape!

Once at the park, Lolo went face down on the ground. Instead of her nose hitting the ground, it was her forehead that bore a cut from the cemented ground. Well, her nose was well concealed between her plumply cheeks! My friends found it weird to believe.

Whatever may be the story, my Lolo certainly has one of the cutest bunny noses around.

Every morning I look at it and feel safe that should Lolo ever try stealing something and gets caught by the nose, as a story goes, she will make a great escape! Ha ha. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Is the "Tea" coming!

"The world of children is that of honesty, innocence and joy," I have read this statement somewhere when I was in High School. On the pamphlet were pictures of children playing wishfully in a beautiful garden.

Motherhood, if not anything, has helped me regain the beauty of the world. Everyday is a new day to cherish, and there is always something new I learn from Lolo. 

Last evening, we were at a neighbour's house. For the contrary personality she is, she loves outdoor visits, and her favourite in the neighbourhood is our regular visits to Ata Tenzin's place. I have noticed many times that Lolo is much at home when we visit Ata Tenzin's place, perhaps since her first year itself. 

When we reached there, we learnt that neither Ata Tenzin nor his wife were home, except their two daughters. After few minutes, Ata Tenzin walked in, and he asked his daughter Pelden, "Jaa chos cha mo? (Are you preparing tea?)"

Lolo reiterated, "Jaa chos cha?"

After few minutes, I said we should be going. Lolo replied, "Nong sho, jaa jam thaan dhe lay! (Wait, we will have tea and go!)" 

This is not the first time though.

Few months ago, we were at the same place. When the host took a bit unusual long time to serve tea, Lolo asked, "Jaa mala? (No tea?)"

Thankfully, our host was kind enough to reciprocate her innocence and said, "Phaan cha, phaan cha (it's coming, it's coming)." 

That's why, Lolo is super excited to be visiting Ata Tenzin's house where she likes to soak zow in the tea and enjoy them like she never had something called "tea" before (at home, she is no-no to tea and alike!).


Monday, November 23, 2015

My [New] Best Friend

"Mummy...ga... Zamin," Lolo whispers in her sleep, her little nostrils still puffing warm air into the void. I am so trilled and touched, while KP tries to hide his anguish. 

When I left Lolo at the age of 14 months for a week, she was absolutely OK. That was when we stopped nursing her, and she was even OK-ier. There after, it became a routine for us to be apart for a week or two once in a while. Lolo was just so OK. We greatly held her upright composure [at this age] that this girl is one of a kind and that I had nothing to worry about. 

Until my last trip.

Last month, I was away for two-weeks visiting Lilly at her school. Lolo is close to her 3rd birthday, which should have said how matured she is by now. With maturity comes her sense of surrounding, and obviously the presence and absence of anything or anyone around her, which she is so good to take note of.

It was the second night when we did concall. 

"Mummy, come back from office," she said. To her, I was still at work (and the reason why I try not to stay late at work or continue my work at home). When she realized I won't be home soon, she asserted, "Let me come to you," and pushed her head on the phone.

Worse still, when she refused to talk the next time we tried the call. Apparently, she is said to have fumed, "I won't talk to her!" when she saw me on the call. 

My return was a happy reunion. In two weeks, Lolo had matured ten months or more. She talked big, acted big and thought big. She would tell me unexpected things and behave so put fearing I may disappear. 

Since the night I returned, she likes to reassure that she is "Mummy ga zamin", more to reinstate her commitment to being Mummy's girl first. I am so so thankful to this little girl on whom my life is beginning to take a new color.

Lolo is so fascinating that everything she says or does is first-time. Best is when I go home and my mother stands at the door to update, "Lolo had this and this, and she said this and this, and she made us laugh by saying this..."

All right, time to get another update of the day. Before I leave, I wanted to show how Lolo and I are beginning to enjoy a new friendship meant to last a lifetime. She is my new Best Friend.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Reading Spree - So much on the HIKE!!!

I can't believe I am hunting the book-shelfs in every coffee stall we are trying out, and effortlessly making [easy] friends, and shamelessly borrowing books. Yes, I am doing that on almost a daily basis. Because I am so trapped by the good books lying there right in front of my eyes. How could I not read them?

My reading spree began with the good book Rima gifted me sometimes in May. Until I say Good-bye by Susan Spencer Wendel was the book that made me want to read everything about everyone, because the beautiful way with which she saw her last year touched me to the core. As an aspiring writer who wants to write only about beautiful things in life, I could probably start with something like this. 

From the same lot of books, I stole My Singaporean Lover by Judy Chapman for a quick read. That ended well, and said much about the [unknown] Singaporean life. 

On our way back from the eastern trip, I borrowed the book Test of my life by Yuvrag Singh from our host Pema Namgyel, whose list of must-read books got the rest of us envious. I promised to send him some of them, and I need to do it before the end of this year (a promise).

My friend Kunzang Thinley lend me three of his books, but unfortunately they don't fit into my genre, so I will have to return them unread (sorry KT if you are reading this. You understand, right? Thanks.)

When my girls Leksh and Lucy gifted me the book: Rena's Promise last September, I got totally enthralled to the history of WW2, and sad about the holocaust that came about. Days after reading the book, I went online to research a little more on the facts and figures, that to this day I continue to include each of them in my everyday prayers. 

Attending the Mountain Echoes last August and having attended the session where the Singaporean writer Ms. Josephine Chia talked about her childhood and her journey to becoming one of the most promising writers, I badly wanted to read her books. In stock for me are her books - My Mother-In-Law's Son and Frog Under a Coconut Shell

Back to the present, I am reading Mr. Mitch Albom's for one more Day which I borrowed from the coffee-shop (N.Kee 37.5) and in parallel flipped few pages of Jan Goodwin's Price of Honour, again borrowed from the consultancy office where my niece Lilly is seeking help for her college. 

I also picked up The Happiness Project by Ms. Gretchen Rubin from the airport bookstore. 

So, you see...I am on a hike. I am addicted like never before. 

Please feel free to share good books if you have them. Usually, I read and pass on. Haven't planned storing them for good, but some of them are worth for keepsake. And also, I make sure to return the borrowed books. You can trust me completely!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My [Witty] Niece Lucy

Lucy is my 13 year old niece, who to me is a funny creature. Funny because she has always been the witty member of the family with her sharp and snappy responses, often unprocessed but very natural. On the downsize, she is also the 'naughty' member, sly and cunning that she gets her way through somehow.

Here, I would like to share some of the tit-bits she entertains us with, with the hope that one day she will read them and relish her childhood days:

Chicken-garden:
We are blessed with active and kind neighbours who flourish us with green organic vegetables all through the season. Saag is one kind, almost on daily supply from different sources.

One evening I commented, "Looks like our neighbours plant half of their gardens as our share."
Lucy's quick remarks, "Next season, they should plant Chicken!"

Note: She loves chicken curry next to herself.


Money-grows-on-trees:
We were driving home after office. I asked Lucy what she did with the money I gave her that morning in case if she had to take the cab home. She pretended not hearing. I asserted once more, and made the lame comment, "Lucy, money doesn't grown on trees."

She responded, "Money is made of papers, and papers are made from trees. So, money grows on trees!"


Needs-and-Wants:
(This is what I put up as my FB status few days ago.)
We went to a fancy decor shop to buy a cloth-brush. Lucy was so awestruck with the beautiful things available in the shop, specifically decors with Eiffel Tower prints. I heard her going "wow", "ewww", and "OMG'.
So, I asked, "Is there anything you need?"
She said, "Alu, these are not needs but all WANTS!"

Note: Sometimes, these kids remind you lessons such as this.


Not-my-own-editor:
Over the Tshechu holidays, her class has been asked to undertake a small research project. Closer to the weekend, she asked me to edit and help her with it. Of the components she hasn't completed, I asked her to do it herself.

As I was downstairs washing the car, she shouted from the window, "Who will write the contents, acknowledgment and conclusion for my project?"

I shouted back that she should do it herself and that I will only assist with the editorial. Few hours later, she came with a draft. When I asked her to reframe her sentences, she said, "How can I edit my own sentences?" 

Yes, I ended up framing the sentences for her.


Pin-in-the-butt:
When she was younger, Lucy was just so restless that every evening, I awaited some kind of complain from her school. Principal Ma'am Carolyn is said to have asked if she had a pin-in-her-butt. 

One PTA session, my Husband was asked by Lucy's teacher if Lucy had a younger brother. Apparently, she has been telling her teacher that her homework get torn by her 'little brother' - a good excuse for NOT submitting her homework.


Note: Given that she will work a little harder, Lucy has all the potential unearthed as yet.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

An Open Letter to My Lolo

Dear Lolo,

When was the last time I wrote you a letter? 

When I left for work this morning, you were still in your sleep...your head rested on your little left arm. I planted a soft kiss on your cheek and whispered "I love you Darling". If you were awake, you would have responded, "I lou you.

I am writing this letter to let you know my feelings tonight. In my dreams, I had given birth to a baby girl, probably the aftermath of the discussion the other day in the office circling about the second round. Most of my colleagues feel I am at the right time to plan for a younger child now that you are nearing three. I may have other reasons as well (we always have many reasons), but the primary one is that I will fear divided attention for you.

Honestly, my fears of being a working mother were all proven wrong by your goodness. Till date, touchwood - you have been the most amazing child ever! You gave me freedom in my thoughts, actions, and movements alike. You were never the nagging child (may be for few times). We are so blessed with you Lolo.

Everyone thinks you will need a friend to grow up with. I look around and you have a houseful! Your elder siblings are ready to die for you, needless to say how much we love you. You have three families after your well-being and three generations of parents. Going by your nature, you will have the world at your feet, because you are capable of it.

In you I enjoy the most beautiful moments and you still have years to entertain us. You leave us with no choice but to be in awe of everything you do, including the new flat screen you broke with the stick. You are amazing Lolo!

Anyway, I meant to tell you that a dream is best kept as a dream... ha ha. Am I trying to impose my decision disguised as your excuse? I think I am. All right, to put it straight - you are every child I had dreamt of, and unless I get tired with you (which is next to impossible), I will not think of anything else.

When I woke up from the dream,  you hit me with your hand and I caught you smiling in your sleep. You hit me a second time before hiding your smile. If you were in pretext, I will get you back Lolo. Otherwise, we both shall wake up the beauties of your existence.

You are truly beautiful my Lolo.

Signed,
Mama





Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Why I missed the (last) Blogger Conference

It was until Rekha and Jambay Dorji asking me my absence during the last blogger's conference on Sunday, 30 August 2015 that I felt the moral obligation to justify the sudden change in plan.

Let me put it this way:

As a working mother of a toddler, I am often battled with the hardest decisions to prioritise my obligations. Of course, I don't mean to portray as a very obsessed mother which I am not, rather I must be one of the most casual mothers around who wants to see her child grow up within her own likes and dislikes. But this doesn't again justify my priority which for now is my daughter, because she is not even three and she will not understand the only two days of the seven that she gets to spend with her mother. That's why, she passionately calls her as "Mummy ga Zaa-min" literally translated as  "I am my mother's daughter"!

Until 9:30 a.m. that Sunday, I was determined to attend. I had already informed my husband that I would be attending the conference and he offered to baby-sit Lolo. And yes, the weekends are also the only breaks for my old parents (both in early seventies) who devote their weekdays to babysit Lolo. 

When I called Kuenza few minutes past 9:30 a.m. Lolo was half-way through her breakfast, and still nagging. Kuenza and I had planned to attend together, something like I will call her when I start from home and we meet somewhere to barge in together (as usual). 

On the other end, Kuenza expressed similar opinions stating that she was alone with Dechen, with her mother and husband gone to Yusipang for personal errands. My opinion went something like I get the don't-go feeling because of the various obligations laid for the day. Lolo halfway through her breakfast while planning her day like go to the vegetable market to buy Olaf the carrot! Then visit Amchi's place in Dechencholing, my sister's place. This is one social event she parks for the weekend which gives her the freedom to explore her Amchi's place. She also wanted to have iii-ceam (ice-cream) and zee-lly (jelly). And she said, "Mummy ma dhe na (don't go Mummy)", her marble eyes flickering for (positive) response.

Lolo enchanted by the tiara
[Note: We did have a fulfilling Sunday. In addition to her plans, we also made this tiara out of the cosmos flowers blooming outside my sister's place.]

My husband saw me around even after 10:00 a.m. and was like, "You didn't go?" Between us, I said his never-ending prayer session held me back (but honestly, that was not the reason).

The reason is: Weekend is the only time I get to spend quality time with my daughter. Monday to Friday, I leave office before 8:00 a.m. when often Lolo would be buzzing in her sleep, and reach home not before 6:00 p.m. The few hours into the night, I run around the house with a peck and a pat as and when I bump into Lolo who is also equally busy with her movements. So, weekend is really the only time Lolo and I spend time going for shopping, going to the park, or visiting relatives and friends. 

When I state this, some may be tempted to question what about the times I leave her for my official duties like trips and travels. 

When I knew I was carrying, I almost immediately charted out my priorities. I said for the first year when I would be nursing my child, I will not leave the house even for a night, unless my child accompanied me. This explains why I missed the Europe trip when Lolo was 9-months old. I proudly state this to show the pride I wore then, and even now. After I weaned and Lolo started her solids, surprisingly she exhibited total independence in her routine in terms of no-problem-eating, no-problem-sleeping, besides not being a cry-baby. She paved this flexibility for me to leave her for durations as long as two-weeks without a single complain upon return. For these kinds of situation, she knows I am NOT home and won't be back until the return date.

When I am around and it is weekend, she knows it very well. 

From the 1st Blogger Conference, Aug 30, 2015
Lastly, on a closer look at the attendees of the blogger conference, correct me but I noticed most of the attendees were either parents of grown-up children, or aspiring parents, or should I say "fathers" (don't drag me into confrontation here, please!). All I want to share is that I couldn't attend because I had plans with my daughter that Sunday, and right now my role as a mother demands much more commitment than my interests and passions.

I sincerely hope I can attend the future meets. 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Greener Way Shows the Way

It been almost half a year since the waste segregation has been initiated by now the vendor for waste collection and disposal, Greener Way, and I am just so happy for this education which has helped educate people of all ages. Personally, this would have been a keen area of interest for me, just that I couldn't influence a huge lot like it does now.

Every weekend I go for vegetable shopping, I refuse to accept any polythene bag from the vendor because I carry my own, mostly reused bags. Where I can, I carry the stuffs in my hands and transfer them to the car. Shopkeepers and vendors alike insist that I take the bags, and my denial is funny because everyone wants a bag for every single thing they buy. It makes me wonder what happened to the ban we had few years ago? Today, you see the plastic and polythene bags are lavishly used, irrespective. 

What a message!
One day, I came upon this bag (on the left) and it intrigued me completely. In the least, it said there are people like me who worry about things we can do to save our environment. In my own capacity, I believe in the THREE Rs - Reuse, Recycle and Reduce

So, back to Greener Way. 

The waste segregation effort has educated a family. We now have two bins - one for degradable and the other for non. The latter obviously gets collected on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Unlike earlier times where we used to mix everything into one single bin, today the vegetable waste go into the kitchen gardens of our neighbours. If next season they have better harvest of their kitchen garden, we know where to turn for gratitude.

The other week, we didn't have their service for about a week and the waste started piling up (just can't believe how much waste we produce in a week!). Desperate and so used to their diligent service, I browsed through their Facebook page - Greener Way and dialled their toll-free number 1213. A woman answered on the other end, and in her most convincing voice she assured the service would be resumed that Tuesday. Apparently, the collection vehicle had broken down the previous week. In few hours, I heard the truck coming!

With such service around, we are assured of the initiatives undertaken to respect and restore our environment. Also, because of this initiative I read that numerous other initiatives have come up, like the manufacturing of manures and egg-trays. I am WOW for all these!

Way to go Greener Way, and through this article I want to congratulate you for all your kind efforts. We are with you.

Additional Note: Last June during my short trip to India, I was so surprised that now no leading shops in India give you free polythene bags like before. You are charged additional cost ranging from Nu. 10 - 20/ bag. I appreciated this.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Who is Solly Baba?

I was barely five years old, an end to being the youngest sibling. I faintly remember the birth of my brother - a tiny chicken-like baby boy with frail limbs announcing his arrival with screams. This was long, long time ago. 

Today, my brother is Solly Baba.

Who is Solly Baba?

Solly Baba - the name almost infamous in the town is a boy very unlike the brother I grew up with. As a young boy (and up till his first few years of teenage) his dream was to become a monk, because "life is so uncertain and I want to help sick people" was his spirit. Quite the bully he is even today, I was most ambushed with his demands, wants and needs - more because I give in easily to his ways. 

In the eyes of normal dwellers like our parents, he is a useless guy. Useless as in - no 9X5 job like their other children, no intention of a family life (much to my relief), no seriousness about future (OK to survive on one meal a day) and no future whatsoever. I think this is also how I define him whenever people ask about my younger brother. 

But wait.

During the few moments of breathe (if I am lucky like this moment I am writing this article), I run through his life and some sort of envy erupts. 

Solly with his dog Lassi
I envy him because he is the master of his own life. Get up when you want. Sleep when you want. Eat if you have. Don't eat if you don't have. Party with the last hundred you have. If no money, stay home and watch movies. Adopt a stray dog and give her a new name, a new life. Travel like crazy with no proper plan. No worries about anything but a camera for which a little saving may be required. Or I can borrow. Give me Nu. 25 to take the taxi to Thimphu. A good cheese fry meal-of-the-day at home. Oh yes, pick me up if you are passing by. And drop me if you don't mind (well, do I have a choice?)

Whereas I, a normal very routine person - considered competent and successful officer, am a robot to many many things. I get up at the tick-tock of the alarm clock. Every movement is timed and written down. I can't deviate a little in fear of distorting the routine, or my day will come crashing down. I make plans in weeks ahead and attend to every detail. A vacation is one luxury in years because I am so busy with work and family - and even then, vacation means work on phone and Net and family in the car and hotel rooms. I worry for the future I am not certain about. I compromise my needs because I still have the loan for the SUV. A new pair of shoes? Oh no, I rather buy a new toy for Lolo. Or say some school stationeries for the girls. Pizza treat? Let me cook a nice egg-curry at home! Sunday dinner? Goodness, Monday is next day and I have office plus schools for the girls. 

You see, my life is prescribed. 

We come from the same parents but like rose and thorns on the same stem, we are different. At this moment, I can't say who is the rose and otherwise. But we are completely different individuals with different destinies. 

Solly Baba lives a sanyasi life. I live a worrisome materialistic life. But at the end of the day, both of us are proud of our lives. And we are positive too. I learn through the various struggles while he lives through his casual outlook. 

Who is Solly Baba? Solly Baba is the kind of life I would love to live, but can't. Solly Baba is a new definition of a fantasy that will not work for me. But it works good on Solly Baba itself. 

And with his dreads, thankfully, he looks older than me.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Potty Training - As easy as it should be!

Being an environmentalist in my own little ways (give me some days, I intend to write an article on this), I am less guilty these days. Lolo has reduced her diaper consumption to just one in a day, meaning only seven in a week! This is like 70% reduction compared to few weeks ago.

My whole idea of her upbringing is natural flow in time. I have less influence in her food habits, dressing choices and her wildness in the house. In my opinion, a child has to grow up sensing his/ her own existence and in the environment that best fits him/her. And this understanding has full agreement from my parents and family members alike. 

One common concern, the potty-training claim. 

The pressure would mount each time I heard a friend's child being potty trained, some way younger than Lolo. The tips came ample - like hard core training through abuse and threats. Oh no, I won't want to impose that on Lolo. My mother's words stand insightful, "I never really potty trained any of my children, you all learnt when you can." By the way, she raised seven children of her own and now the fourth grandchild named Lolo.

Few months ago, I read this eye-opening article:Why NOT to Potty-train when NOT ready
which made me feel like I won the argument. I vowed to myself that Lolo will take her own time and when she is ready, she will.

Yes!

Independence starts early in life
For the past few weeks, my daughter has been attending to her nature's call. She diligently runs to her potty or when the mood sinks in, to the bathroom. Then the flush...fffffllllluuuuussssshhhhh! At better times she cleans her potty. And her tiny hands. 

This milestone has nothing to do about our coercive measures. My only credit would be buying those potties - one to be used on the toilet pot and other the regular one. Lolo uses both.

Thank you Lolo. You make my life easier than thought. Keep giving me happiness after happiness.

And here is another article on potty training which has some helpful tips.

P.S: As I update this article (12/08/15), Lolo is fully trained and master of her body.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Beautiful Truth ~~~ of Love

"Mama, you don't love me enough," Lolo makes a blunt statement at dot midnight (21/07/2015) just as I was thinking of retiring for the day. I was engrossed reading the book Until I say Good Bye by one Susan who writes about her last year as a normal person before being completely diagnosed with ALS. Lolo had already drifted into a deep slumber an hour ago. 

I abruptly closed the book.

"Mama ge phang-pu mala dang? (Mama doesn't love you?)" I rephrased her statement.

"Mala," and Lolo drifted back to sleep.

Of course, this is not true! I know, she knows and everyone knows. 

I will let this statement pass. Lolo may be a smart child but I will let it pass on the assumption that she is too young for such a strong deduction. Or may be she had a dream wherein I was ignoring her (this is a better consolation).

My Lolo is the most beautiful child for all the judgement I can pass. And I shall rest the case here. 


Following are some of the snippets I want to share from the everyday first-time acts portrayed by Lolo:

1) My friend Rima was at our place for sleepover. Lolo was excited beyond heaps and bounds. While I was in the kitchen preparing her milk, I heard Lolo conversing in Dzongkha fearing Rima didn't understand her Sharchhop :)

2) My mother has been trying her best wits to hide the pair of scissors, especially after Lolo cut her hair for the THIRD time. Last afternoon, Lolo came looking for the same. When Ama said she doesn't know where it is, Lolo was heard accusing, "Nan so dhu ma yekchho...khong may na (Don't you dare lie, I will punish you)." She was loud enough for the neighbours to hear.

3) When Lolo refused to listen, my father seemingly threatened that he will go out without her. So, he walked to the door, pulled the door knob and slammed it, hoping Lolo would come running after him. He was wrong - instead of following him, Lolo was seen looking down from the window waiting for Apa to appear outside :)

4) I am to go home with some TANGS (gifts) for her or Lolo won't let me in. One such time, I had taken two jellies. Just as Lucy was handing them to her, she asked for some. When Lucy said she couldn't find more, Lolo pushed her asking, "Goth-cho om-chhang la mo (See if there are some more)". By the way, her Sharchhop is the cutest, and with typical accent from my mother.

5) And our ritual before bed - she opens my mobile phone and orders me to play Monster Zuma. Thanks to her, I now know some tricks around that game. Anything the boss says, I comply :)

P.S: What is there NOT to love about this little munchkin?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Divine Interpretation of Our/ My Beliefs

Just back from an enlightening pilgrimage cum tour from the east where I and my fellow travellers had the privilege of visiting many many sacred places in Bumthang, Lhuntse and TrashiYangtse, I am compelled to write this wrenching article based on a conversation that took place few weeks ago.

Over lunch table, couple of us were brewing the excitement of a holiday the following Friday - the Birth Anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. 

"When is Guru's death anniversary?" asked the only foreigner on the table.

"Guru didn't die, he is still alive," defended a friend.

"He was born miraculously and he never died. We can see him if we really believe in him," said I, with a tinge of pride. 

A loud burst of laughter followed, more on the lighter note. In the midst of this, our Chilip mate commented, "Why do you all make mockery of the beliefs you all believe so much in?" 

Silence!

"Not really. But this is how we believe in. We believe through these light notes although we may doubt some of the myths," I clarified with dignity and strong belief. 

Silence again.

Anyway, to continue - the pilgrim sites that my team visited in Bumthang, Lhuntse and TranshiYangtse (Bumthang: Kuje Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Mebar Tsho and Shingkhar Dechenling in Shingkhar, Ura; Lhuntse - Bakha Lhakhang and Guru Statue at Takila; and Yangtse - Gom Kora and Chorten Kora) are full of astonishing stories and with evidences. When faced with such realities, who can deny the facts?
Guru Nangsa Zhillion, Takila, Lhuntse

With folded palms and genuine prayers, I stood in front of Guru Nangsa Zhillion statue in Takila, Lhuntse and asked myself if I really believed in my faith. A gentle breeze washed across my heart, a feeling so heavenly and beyond human, that it made me look up to the sky for answers. As if I was being talked back, I had no space for any doubts. The same feeling was felt in almost every site we visited. It was like I badly needed this pilgrimage to light the candle of my faith, the candle that never exhausts but burns with more and more beliefs. 

I do not want to refute anyone's belief here in respect of what each one believes in. As for me, being born in a country that has rich culture and history, I am more than fortunate. More so the opportunities that I get to visit the sites of great history and from them the peace I bring in my heart. And this gives me the tone of my happiness.

By the way, I don't mock my beliefs; I only believe in them just the way they should be believed. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

We Didn't Lose - Team Bhutan

I am not a foot-ball buff at all; all I understand from this game is that there are 11 players in each team and a goalie, and one side attempts to take the ball to the other side (this is as far as I can explain to my mother whose knowledge on the game is next to confusion). I see my Hubby watching the game on TV almost every night, sometimes up till midnight, and this only aggravates my wonder what keeps him glued to the game.

Last evening, I joined the rest of the world in the excitement of our Team Bhutan playing against China, and the huge roar of the crowd at Changlingmithang. I was home with my family, in front of the television. 
The spirit of the game (Source: FB)

I think we all knew that we won't stand a chance against the Chinese team for whatever valid/ invalid reasons we can think of. Comments and assumptions were already on the media sites days before. As a novice watcher, it didn't make much sense to argue. From whatever I could rationalise my thoughts on, these are few I deduced:

a. Fore-mostly, thank you Dragon Boys for bringing jubilance in the town. I really haven't seen a more excited crowd than this before. You managed to convey one message that we may be small but our hearts are beyond space.

b. You didn't lose, I mean we didn't lose. Even in another 50 years or so, we will not stand equal to most of the countries owing to the pace at which we adopted this game. Our boys showed us how far we can go given the chance to prove our worth. We love you for that.

c. The whole nation united as one to support the game. This will be an inspiration that no matter what, we will always cherish the beauty of our existence.

I am not sure if I will ever gain further insights of the game, but as you play the remaining games, I shall continue to pray for you all. And in total solidarity, I bought two jerseys in support of the team. I  wish we could support you in every way possible.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

"How We Met?"

In the ninth year of our relation, and still going strong, even today people ask me "how we met". Rather in a fishy way, I sense the other part of the question "why we met".

OK. Mine and KP's relation is nothing unusual. In the truest sense, he is a man and I a woman and our matrimonial relationship which began as strangers to friendship to dating to marriage to family, I think we are completely insane. But if you delve a little deeper into the details of our personalities, there you are - we are two completely opposite people, with our varied tastes and characters. What they say "like chalk and cheese" is what we are. Perhaps, Newton's law of opposite things attract each other defends us best.

Our history will be quite boring if I describe from the day we met. Rather, let me reiterate what we thought when we met way back in 2007:

KP seemed to have concluded on our first meet, "Goodness, this girl will be out of hands to handle," and I concluded, "Uh...what a quiet reserved man." But God had other plans for us, for He kept meeting us and here we are today!

Whenever I am asked how we met, I feel like I am asked why we met. The thought is funny, because even today we haven't dug out the sole reason of our union. At our best times, we feel fated and otherwise I (at least) feel our differences destined us to make good of our survival. 

I am totally wild, full-of-life and socially motivated person; whereas my better half is more of an introvert, down-to-earth-and-to-himself and quiet person. How he manages to sit with a mani-lakhor (hand prayer wheel) in his hand watching TV for not less than three hours every evening still amazes me, even after all these years! In those three hours, I would have done everything to everything and still yearning for more energy until I collapse on the bed.

Of course, we have our common factors as well. Like we both believe in humanity and prayers; we sincerely say our prayers without fail; we have decided to grow old holding hands; we don't believe in material wealth and fight our adversaries with the basic survival kits; we love our lives, and we enjoy a good dinner.

May be these commonalities keep us strong despite of the many differences between us. He may continue to taunt me when I wear slacks to the town and I will continue barking at his messy cupboard. For all days to come, KP and I will nudge our significances in each other's lives, and give more rooms for people to ask how we met or why we met; former one gets a heads-up and latter one - well, another day to reason out.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My THREE Wishes

The ten minutes before I drift off to sleep are the most productive time of my day, for these ten minutes give me the only privacy for my thoughts. On one such night, I for no good reason filtered down the THREE wishes I should be granted, had a Genie stood before me.

I imagined the scene unfolding this way:

"Whoa-la! I am the Genie and I am here to grant you your most wishful thoughts...the THREE wishes of your life!"

I think I should pretend being a little surprised or altogether surprised. So, I shriek a bit, scream a little longer and flip my eyelids without a word.

"You have no wish?" Genie ought to pester me a bit.

"I do, I do," and I prolong my surprise.

The Genie smiles broadly and awaits with its folded arms.

"First - grant me a nice voice! You won't believe how envious I am of those voices who pierce my heart each time I listen to their songs. Say Ugyen Pandey's - he has just the most amazing husky voice and can sing anything his way. Think of Pema Deki's - hers is so melodious that I feel melted. There is Minzung's - so soft and heart wrenching. Likewise, I can go on for a long list!"

The Genie asks me to pause. "What makes you want a nice voice?"

"I will sing songs of love - win hearts of everyone. 
I will sing praises of The Enlightened. 
My prayers will go stronger as I recite them, deep from my heart. 
I will compose wonderful lyrics and sing them for everyone. 
I will exploit sociability even more and generate more happiness."

The Genie is pleased and grants me the wish...BOOM!

"Second - make my skin resilient to the sun, heat and allergy. Have you seen how I become frog-skin every spring, summer and autumn? Winter is because I am fully covered. Let my skin go sun-baked!"

BOOM!

"Lastly, grant me the miracle to uplift the lives of those trodden people I see everywhere. 
When I see an old man, give us the strength to provide him a painless aging. 
When I see a homeless child, give me the prayer that will provide a home for the child. 
When I see a sick person, give me the miracle to cure him immediately. 
When I read about wars, give me the power to stop them. 
When I watch about hedious crimes, give me the ability to correct them.
I have too many wishes Genie, to make this world a better place!"

The Genie puts a hard poker face and says, "Write about this incident and make everyone read it. If they feel what you feel, your wish is granted."

And I drifted to sleep with the same croaking voice, the same allergic skin but with the wishful heart.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What IF I had a Mother-in-Law?

Last evening as I was doing the dishes, this very abrupt thought crossed my mind, "What if I had a mother-in-law?" Yes, "a mother-in-law" because I never had the fortune to have one.

Life would have been different, not only for me but also for my husband and our family. I guess the most for my Husband who would have then enjoyed every happiness of having his mother around him; whose misfortune began the day his mother is said to have passed away when he was little over a year old. Then on, his maternal grandparents (may peace be with their souls) had taken great care of him to bring him up.

What he or we have now are few pictures of his late mother, two of which are standing tall on the walls, neatly framed and erected. Last month, during our ritual mass clean-up, KP took down the frames for dust-off. Just then, Lolo passed by and she remarked, "Mama, Lolo." Her innocence revolves only in the present and it will be sometimes before she realises the truth that she never got to  see her paternal grandma, and that picture is everything she has about her.

My Husband KP has lived all his life accepting the fact about not having his mother around. How he passed through the ordeals is a different story altogether, and like I said, his maternal grands raised him within their best efforts. With their passing aways in consecutive years, KP's life only became dimmer.

As for me, this abrupt thought of having a proper in-law family often craves, for the mere fact that my Husband's life would have been the most different. And when I think of Leksh and Lolo who never really got to know any of their paternal grands, I feel even sadder. My parents are around today to take care of our children, and had we had KP's mother also around, I can imagine a totally different life.

Like last week when KP held the only artefact that belonged to his mother, which came into his possession only few years ago, the look on his face said what thought crossed his mind. In such moments, I don't say anything. On contrary, I still have my parents around and life is just about perfect, so any comment from my side would not suffice his situation. Therefore, I remain silent.

What may come, I think I will continue to wish I had a chance to know KP's mother. The wish comes stronger when I think of our girls, that they by all means deserve to have two sets of grandparents. When time comes, I will pass down the story to my Lolo. Leksh, in due course of time have come to understand the absence and thence accepted the voidness. 

As for me, I think I will continue pondering for all times, with this distant memoir of conversation with my mother as a child:
"No mother will take you for a daughter-in-law", my mother would remark when I got stubborn.
"I will marry a man without a mother!" my answer always stood the same.
"No man comes without a mother," my mother would protest.
"You never know. I might meet one," and I met KP.

Sometimes, you predict the most uncertain life for yourself.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Gentle Little Lolo Shows the Way

Now that my Lolo has become a "little woman", time with her is so much fun. She says funny little things and makes funny little moves, and in my own words, she is so cute! 

I see a gentle side of my daughter as evident in her personality that I have been observing in the last few months. Unlike many other children of her age, Lolo is not at all jealous of other babies her age. She in facts asks me to fondle them while she caresses their cheeks, and even allows me to attend to them. 

Last weekend, we were over a friend's baby shower where I counted 1-10 heads of children below 5 years. It seemed like a zoo :) In such variety, it's evident how your child behaves. Even without being told, if another child asked for a toy in her hand, Lolo amiably gave it to him/ her, irrespective of the taker being elder or younger than her. I watched her like a proud mother and confided that this girl will be a gentle lady one day!

The joy of sharing is an inherent personality that I personally have found immense joys in. As a child, I grew up within limited capacities to share and I was often branded as a stingy person, well within my family itself. With time, as I began to loosen my grip on defiles, I began to enjoy life more in giving what little I had that to this day, I possess nothing so attached for me to fear giving up.

Also, let me narrate you this incident: Last week, I gave lift to two little primary boys from Semtokha to Lungtenphug. Their eloquence in speaking, at this age, impressed the rest of us in the car. The five minutes drive turned out to be conversational. As they jumped off from the car, I gave them Nu. 50 each and some good words to continue their spirit in being active young minds. The minute the car got back on wheels, I sensed a different air that compelled me to turn my head back. And in the rear mirrors, I saw these little boys giving high-five and dancing "balle-balle" in the middle of the road. That made my day and continue to do so :)

Likewise, the art of giving is a gentle gesture of being self-less, I believe! And my girl seems to know the joy so early in life. As her mother, this is a pride I can ride on for long. And my prayers that she thrive on this gentle side, only growing better with each day. Lolo gets me proud and smart for every little thing she does.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My New Lover

I snuggle close to her, and she crawls closer to me. Together we celebrate 25 months! Lolo, my new lover - such big love between us!

People at a glance awe if I am really a mother and with Lolo tagging beside me, they ask if "she is my daughter, really?" I can't blame if I look younger than my age (Ha-ha...modesty seldom follows the truth) but I tell you, motherhood is what completed me, and will, may be until I wait to join the "grandparent" generation, which is a long way for sometimes. 

My Full Moon of Everyday
Every day is a new blessing when you have a little one for whom miracles are countless. Lolo has come to an age where her mere thought, needless to say her presence is an entertaining smile. I can think of her endless times in a day when I sit in the office or even during meetings and discussions. I think of the funny little things she do, like one last evening when she portrayed how my father spanked her for trying to lick the walls. Isn't she cute?

In the family bed as they say, it's Lolo's "soft soft" hands that I hold when I drift to sleep. Sorry to mention but my Husband's presence has become a minority, much to do with his own busy schedule that I can't find him home when he is needed. Then, Lolo is there to keep us warm for the season. 

Thus, one late evening I wandered back to time when we (I and KP) were just a couple, when I was carrying Lolo, when Lolo was born and to this time when Lolo is the center of our survival. So much has changed - for good and so much has been blessed. May be my Husband also feels the lesser need of my presence just as much as I am OK if Lolo is around. She really is my new lover, my confidante and my best friend.

Oh yes, just a while ago she called asking me to bring her "cakes" when I return home :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tick...Tock!

Watching the animated movie "Frozen" almost every evening thanks to my little girl (and also the big girls plus my nephew plus myself), I can only hear the tick-tock sound of the clock! Alas, so much time has lapsed since my last update and suddenly Mr. Passu wakes me up with a blogger guilt! (Ha-ha! Passu - you had it guy!).

I am utterly ashamed for the excuse which I always claim is work and family. On a serious note, I am. Let's reiterate a day in my life:

I wake up the call of the winter morning, so compelled to move out of the bed. Every morning, there is only one thought in my mind - how can I pull myself out of bed, out of Lolo's soft paws? Lolo is one excuse why my mornings are late - she is too cute when asleep and I can look at her the entire day with her pouty little lips and tiny weeny nose.

After a hurried prayer, breakfast and make-up, I am out of the house. By then, it is either 9:00 a.m. a little past sometimes but never before than that. I console that I will make up by working over the lunch hour or even after office hours.

The day in the office is one helluva time but I enjoy my work so much so that I find little to complain about, even the when-is-the-lunch-time nostalgia. This comes close to saying why I remain underweight - because the amount of energy I burn in a day is more than what I consume. So, you see my trick is easy to achieve :)

Back home, Lolo intends making up for the time she missed during the day that she is around my neck until she passes out out of tiredness. In between, I get to brush-up for the night, say a little prayer, watch "Desperate Housewives" and honk - until next day. 


OK. So, who is going to pass a judgement to me now? Come on, someone tell me that I am absolutely sane. Too good for a joke but I assure this is the beginning of a now very vibrant update from me.

Until next Tick-Tock and Frozen for tonight, again!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Leaf - Welcoming 2015 in my Best Attire

This morning, although late from bed, I woke up with an unusual spirit to welcome the new year with a different perspective. I said I will look at life through the most magnificent lens - filled with gratitude, love and happiness.

To start with, I want to rejuvenate my passion for writing, which sadly I have kept dormant for no good reason. Hence the change in the title of my blog that I will strive to be a new leaf each passing day. Today, I am heaps better a person than what I was last year, last evening!

As the year unfolds, I will keep counting many reasons to be happy being born a human and granted with the wisdom to think twice. Few bucket list I lay for the year ahead:

1. Each morning, I will learn THREE new things/ facts.

2. I give up chewing "doma"; I was never a big fan of it anyway.

3. Green tea to keep me green and hale.

4. No gluttony after 8:00 p.m. Who doesn't need a good health?

5. Will write and write and write for the respects I  have in the power of words.

6. No bragging for things I can't change.

7. Forgive and move ahead. Life is bigger as you go deeper.

8. Hold on to my principles even if it means at the cost of life. Why compromise on your morals?

9. And the biggest of all - adore my darling Lolo for being the sun of the day and moon of the night. She is everything I can ask in life.

With these, I welcome thee, 2015. Give me the best and I will return you "better than the best".