Friday, December 16, 2016

Introspection...After a long time

I am struggling with the last assignment for the semester and this is the perfect mood to blog, which is understandable because such "student" moments allow one to reflect upon whys of life - Why am I struggling? Why am I here? Why this? Why that? Why why

Let me start by admitting this - crowd doesn't fascinate me anymore. I get tired easily (and look out for spaces to enjoy a quiet moment). What others brand as "indoor person", I think I am getting introverted! No, if you think "age" is catching up with me, you are not even close. The only time I felt "old" was when a student gasped, "You go to college? You are too old for college!" Thank you, how insightful. Other than that, I still have the legs to wear dresses.
View from my room

When I was born in the mountains, the gene to withstand the cold was purposefully excluded. I don't know what it is called (haven't read Biology since my high school) but I know I don't have that even to this day. This explains why snow scares me, more so the snow storm predicted tonight. I am staying in, by all reasons. The fifth day of the third snowfall in Minnesota looks too tempting for a hot cup of coffee and less for a stroll down the road. I am exercising my creativity by taking pictures from my bedroom window. 

Saying so, it makes me sad [sometimes] to be this far away from home, from family and friends, and from work. I woke up to a skype call with Lolo, who by now knows I won't be home for sometimes. She has ceased to ask about my return. Instead, she focuses on what she has learned in my absence - nursery rhymes, songs, dances, new words, and new tricks. She is smart - a blessing that is helping both of us cope with the distance.

I should mention my husband KP as well, a man who has earned his credibility of being a good father. The few times we talk on skype (we are distanced not only by the miles in between but also by the time zone. 12 hours is half a day, right?) KP reassures nothing to worry about. His emails are always signed off with, "All good here. All is well." On return and for a long time, I promise no fights. [Ha]. On a serious note, yes, we have reached that level of maturity in our relationship that we understand each other pretty well.

Family is a given source of joy and I am thankful for my big fat (literally) family. I couldn't have asked more. Big family is big help. My brothers and sister are around to fill in, especially this time when I am not home. Such big help. I am grateful. More so for taking such great care of our parents and my Lolo. 

All right. That was quite a lot of introspection. 

My assignment is still due. 
Time is ticking. 
Sun is setting. 
Snow is not melting. 
I am going for a coffee break. 
Until next time.



Friday, September 16, 2016

A Love Story ...in a long time

There she stood, looking out of the window...like, this is her first car trip. I could measure the contours of her face in the rear-mirror. Come on now, she is a stranger I picked by the roadside, I can't be thinking what I am thinking!

What a lovely Sunday! Early morning, I got this urge to take my old buddy for a ride. My friends think it's time I changed my car and got myself a woman, both I am not lucky with. No money means no new car and obviously no wom(a/e)n. I can barely feed myself. At best, I can fuel my car once a month and today is the day I can take it for a ride. When I decided to move to Paro, my father gave me his old car, "Son, you will need this." I am most thankful.

I walked out of my rented house, with an unusual mood. I like such feelings - they always mean something.

I was driving at an snail's pace - all I wanted for the day was a day out in the lovely Sunday sun, and then I saw this woman by the roadside. She had a bag on her feet, a look that seemed to say nothing, I mean a lost look. I stopped and asked, "Are you OK?" She smiled. Nodded. "I need a ride to Thimphu."

The next moment, I was driving her to Thimphu. W.H.A.T? 

She didn't speak much, kept smiling at herself. We didn't speak much either. I wanted to kick myself at my stupidity. Did I really have a plan to come to Thimphu? But I was so unusually happy, so I smiled at myself. I said, "There you go, silly man. You are smiling."

She enjoyed the breeze as we passed by the riverside. She enjoyed the mountains. And the trees. She waved at the children by the roadside. She kept smiling. Yes, she kept smiling. I smiled at myself - for no good reason, but for this feeling of so-good.

In the rear mirror, I caught her smiling. Her smile, that smile. 

Note: I still have the old car. I still struggle to fuel it. But my heart - my heart is blushing. I have my wife, my Lhasen. What a Sunday that was, three years ago. By the way, her name is Lhasen. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

She Shows me the Way

Few hours from now, I will skype with Lolo. Officially, we have been away for a month. By the way, this is my first blog from the U.S. where I have come to avail a fellowship. As I write, the time is past midnight (my folks back home must be preparing midday meal). A siren just passed by, otherwise the night has taken its calmness.

On our first skype three weeks ago (thanks to my conventional husband who is worse with technology than me - for not opening a skype account until then, no social media connection and worst, our bad timings), Lolo said, "Mummy, come to take me." I reasoned with all my patience that I will be back after completing my course. A moment later, she said she understood, and went back to her coloring keeping the camera focussed on her work, "Mummy has to see my work."

Second skype, she was her usual cheerful self. When I said I will be back soon, Lolo comforted me, "Come when you are done."

Well, this is not the first time she has given me more than her age. Closer to my leave, I made a point to remind her occasionally that I will be leaving soon, but for longer. She was completely understanding, evidenced by her words: "I will be fine," "I will go and stay with Ajang and Ane," "I will be a good girl." Funniest was, when she said, "Papa and I will enjoy."

Talking about Papa, I am most grateful for the man KP is, who is now both the father and the mother to our little girl. He says he is enjoying "every moment" with her, now that they are one-on-one. I can see how he is beginning to see the real Lolo, in absence of the competition that was inherent when I was around. He shares updates on varying topics - her creativity (instead of being called naughty), not to fool around her, and the fact that she comes home no matter where she is for the day. 

Having a big family helps. If not for one, there is always someone coming to meet her over the week. When she is in mood, she is at my brother's or sister's place. Since I left, she has gone to watch a 5D movie (and sworn she won't attempt another until she is big enough), went to the park, to a school concert, pizza treat, momo treat. She got new pairs of shoes, few shirts and clothes. She has new stationery sets for school. And her school gave them lesson on personal hygiene. You see, she has a busier day than mine.

I am back to school. Assignments. Presentations. Seminars. Visits. Programs. 

I miss her a lot, more so when I go to bed. I miss cuddling her in my arms, talking into sleep. I think of the moments she lightened our lives ever since, and in each I relive the laughter we created. Of all, she shows me the way to live life all over again, with her assurance that she is all good and not to be worried about.  

Another siren passed by. Must be time to sleep.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Our King - The King of the People

Last Saturday, my family and I went to offer our prayers at Dechenphug Lhakhang. The Lhakhang bore an unusual aura being beautifully adorned with dhars and scarves. For us, it was a normal day...even after hearing about the news on the damages brought by the torrential rain especially in the southern belt. We asked one of the monks there about the preparation. In brief, he said it was in preparation for His Royal Highness the Gyelsey's first visit to Dechenphug, which was called off as His Majesty prioritized his plans to be with the people who were effected by the monsoon plights. As we returned, we heard updates such as His Majesty traveling at 7:00 p.m. through the security tight areas no sooner than the news of the damages reached. 
His Majesty in Gelephu (Source: FB)


Later in the evening, as I checked for updates on FB, one picture stood above all. His Majesty was inspecting the flooded areas in Gelephu, knee deep in flood water. The picture vividly explained everything. It said everything about the King we are blessed with, the genuine concerns a leader has for His people, the sincerity of His thoughts and actions for His people, the best way to say "I-care-for-you", and the most appropriate way to show "I-know-how-you-feel". 

No one can defy the wrath of natural calamities, for sure. But to have the Highest level Himself lending a helping hand to the people and assuring them of His care is one of a kind - one that is beyond words. Thank you, Your Majesty. 

Most of us sit within the comforts of our home watching the news either on television or FB and sending silent prayers. We feel hapless, though (am sure we all want to help in some ways or the other). But seeing how His Majesty took onto Himself this responsibility to be with His people is a thought worth for all days. Your Majesty, you lead our ways.

Source: FB

As citizens to be blessed under such a benevolent King, it is our national duty to pray for the well-being of our King. And this article is dedicated for His Majesty's long reign, that nothing is stoppable for Your kindness and love. With deepest respects.

Needless to say, our people felt "safe with the grace of His Majesty's presence". What more should we ask?



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lolo's Predicts her next Birthday

My girl is an everyday miracle, for from her I learn that the world is beautiful no matter how ugly people try to paint its picture; for she shows to us, the adults, the beautiful world of an innocent soul.

She reminds us that none of her friends were ever invited for her birthday celebrations (I remain corrected that she started her pre-school this Spring and the friends she wants are probably the ones she has in her class). Lolo never fails to amuse us.

"Mummy, next birthday I want my friends to be invited," Lolo stated.
"Your birthday is in January and your school will be closed. Your friends won't be around," I replied.
"I want Zumsel and Tobdhen to come," she went on.
"But how will you know where they stay?"
"Zumsel stays in Olakha...we will go to Olakha and shout out: Zumsel...Zumsel! She will hear me and come out."

For her, nothing is impossible. She lives a life unaffected by the social barriers and fallacies, such as the next door neighbour who doesn't know who lives in the other flat or that crazy side of living in the capital. 

When in mood, she sings the birthday song for herself...adds a graceful attribute to make it go with her name: "Happy Birthday, Angel Lolo." She is ever graceful that she likes to be celebrated at any given occasion - like during my nephew's last birthday where we ordered two cakes for them. She reasoned, "Ata needs company to celebrate his birthday. I will give him company."

By her next birthday, my girl will be such a big girl. She already is - with her sensibility and independence. She diligently follows her routine in the morning readying for school - get up, potty, brush, freshen up, change undergarments, wear on the track, shoes and socks, quick breakfast, and her school bag - oh, her lunch box. 

Often, I look at her and get a sad feeling that she is actually growing up. With each birthday, Lolo is taking steps closer to becoming a big big girl. And soon she will join our world of ups and downs. 

Then, even birthday celebrations will be a big deal...like a new pair of Nike shoes, or dinner with friends in a restaurant, or an expensive bag. No more balloons. No more crackers. No more glitters. 

~~~Sigh~~~

Whatever may be the course of time, I would want Lolo to retain her incredible sense of humour and restlessness. One birthday after another, she may become big and bigger, but she will forever be Mama's little girl.

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Husband's First Daughter

Almost on a frequent basis, I am asked "if I get along with my husband's first daughter," or "if I treat her well." What do I say? I can't claim perfect of a human being, or lest a good (new) mother. Let me try telling it this way.

Lekshey and I have lived together for the past seven years; I had met her when she was barely ten years old. But she was the first person I heard about when I was introduced to KP. Our common friend who took into his heart the stake of our relation said, "Karma has a seven year old daughter. I thought you must know this."

As I put down the phone, my first thoughts were not about "who" this Karma-guy was, but about his daughter. It was obvious that should I meet him, and if at all our rendezvous materialized, I may want to play honest from the beginning itself. 

Here is what I thought: How is it possible that the daughter is with him? (Usual side of the story is the child/ern stick with the mother. Seven years? How is he taking care of her? At that time, although single, I had three kids under my care - my two nieces and nephew (who was little over one year). Hence my thought, "I have my nieces and nephew under my care even with their parents around the corner. But that girl..."

She was all smiles when I met her. Later she added, "I was so happy when I heard about you."

Lekshey's life story is little different from many stories. She stood the test of time, walked tough and came thus far. I can't say her life got any better after I took charge but we are doing fine. We sort out our differences, if any, and look ahead. As such, we haven't had our "clashing moment" so far - may be because we respect our spaces. My children are still with me - and not for a single moment have I thought/ treated her any different. She gets nothing extra, nothing less but the same treatment just like the rest. She is one of them.

I am sure people expected me to change after having a child of my mine (thanks to some gruelling stories). I suspected that, too. But no, nothing happened. In fact, Lolo is all the more blessed to have a bigger sister and calls out for her "Ana Lek-say" as a priority choice in any event. When Lolo is of the age to know the truth, we will tell her. This is to say Lekshey and I don't deny facts and truths, and this keeps us intact. 

Back to the curiosity "if I treat her well", I say, "Nothing extra, nothing less." I don't have to feign my feelings just as much as she doesn't have to do it with hers. Lekshay will be an adult soon, so her choices are right in her hands. If one day she chooses to walk out of my life, she can. But as long as we are together, we will thread on in good faith of life. There is not going to be another side of the story. I can completely trust myself to see her as a human being, worthy of living a good life, and if I can be an agent, why not?

For that reason, I never call her my step-daughter, I rather say she is my Husband's first daughter. I take no offence when someone asks about us - if that person has patience to listen, I tell him/her exactly what I have written here. To that extend, I am mentally preparing to babysit all of my children, including those from Lekshey.

Would it be fair to love the father, but not his daughter? I am only human.

And I am not sure if she is happy or not, but Lekshey certainly has a home.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wild Thoughts about Death

With eerie thoughts running in my mind right now, especially after reading a FB post shared by a friend about losing one of her relatives, I am penning down what I exactly fear about "death".

I must have been less than six years (for I hadn't started schooling then) the first time I remember confronting death. There was this neighbour boy in the army family line where we grew up, who used to play with us. One day he fell sick and soon the news of his demise held us. I faintly remember going for his funeral rites with my mother to offer our prayers and condolences. That was it...for sometimes.

The hardest blow was when we lost our eldest brother to a fatal accident in December, 1990. His death shook the world out of us. Even as I child, I feared if I would live long enough to remember those days, alongside the fear of living with uncertainty. I have witnessed how a family struggles to ignore memories, puts on smiles of unknown and pretends to live like there is nothing different. My family, over the years, has tried to overcome any excuses of not standing firm, and when asked about that incident, we push it aside like it never happened. But deep within, the wound is still afresh, the pain is still intense and the tears ain't dried. 

All the way, the memories have helped me to prepare for the fears, while, you know, not the best preparation. At some points in my life, I wanted to pursue spiritualism and shy away from the mundane world. I was so scared of leaving the beautiful world and all the fascinations of the wonders. Some kind of craziness creeped in me.

Fast forward. I got webbed in the every day routine. Completed college, got a job, started a family and now...now dead worried about the future of my children. In fact, to the extend of drawing a mental plan of baby-sitting my grandchildren [crazy]!

Thud! 

This explains (from FB)
Well, I am still thinking about death. It is there in my everyday thought, and controls the way I live. I often dream about it - and the fear is just the same, even in the dreams. I wake up to be thankful for another day. Life is going on as it is.

All I know is while I live, I live. Should I do any day, I want no scores left to be settled. I smile at the thought that I have been one happy-go-lucky all these years. Work is fantastic, family is even more fantastic and my world a beautiful globe. Except that...I will feel sad, the way I feel sad when I hear about a dead. 

To say, I am cherishing the "GAP" between birth and death.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lessons from Singapore - The Red Dot

I am close to completing the book "Up Close with Lee Kuan Yew Insights from colleagues and friends"; the book was gifted to my husband by the team of Singaporeans who visited Bhutan last March. I am very much enjoying the book and getting to know, in bits and pieces, the person Mr. Lee was.

The first time I ever heard about Singapore or Mr. Lee was not very long ago (pardon the 'other' world I was living in then!). 

This is what I had heard: 
1) You can't chew chewing gum in Singapore or be prepared to go to prison (sounded so absurd...and wondered where in the world this place is); 
2) The leader of Singapore (must have been Mr. Lee) built a nation with the conviction that "rich must get rich so that they can bring along the poorer section of the society". I guess I was too naive to find out more than what I heard...until...

I visited Singapore, for the first time, in March, 2015 for a week long program. The visit was good enough to get a glance into the much hyped about city/ country in Asia. I was able to meet my friend Rima and her family - even got to visit her house in Punggol. I returned being fascinated by quite a lot of things in Singapore.

In October the same year, I was able to attend a Singaporean Cooperation Programme's training. This time around, the program included good mix of cultural exposure, history and "amazing facts about Singapore". I returned even more fascinated - to know that a small country can exist itself so prominent and well advanced. What I liked most was, no matter which ethnic person you met, each spoke as "we Singaporeans" or "our Singapore".

The Book. When my husband showed me the book, I jumped at it. I wanted to know the Iron Man who built Singapore to the current form; for some reasons Singapore continues to hit my favourite list of countries - more for the discipline and honesty of people. Oh yes, safety is another attribute. So, the man behind the story.

The insights shared by his colleagues and friends are evidences to the best efforts asserted by Mr. Lee in bringing up a country from (almost) scratch. Following are the top THREE "insights" I have gathered as I read the stories in the Book:

1) Mr. Lee's commitment and discipline, besides his vision for Singapore made him work tirelessly. His leadership skills are world-class - as much as people feared working for/ with him, they learnt life-long lessons from him. Especially the interesting testimonies from his Principal Private Secretaries (PSSs) bear facts to substantiate the leader in Mr. Lee.

2) After reading this book, I have begun to assess my relation with my husband from a different angel - indeed, a positive one. Here was this man who gave his cent out of cent to the development of the country - primarily because he had a "wife" in Mrs. Lee. How sweetly the writers refer to Mrs. Lee as a comfort, describing her gentle ways and motherly nature. I quite like the way she is said to sit in a corner in Mr. Lee's office knitting or reading. How sweet :)

I have asked myself, "When Mrs. Lee could stand by her husband for all the good causes, why shouldn't I be able to support KP in the few endeavours he takes on?" It makes me want to feel young and all enthusiastic about relationship.

3) A man's legacy is not only the greatness he exhibited but the parts of himself he left with each person who crossed his path. Mr. Lee was certainly that man. A true legacy. Each story had a part of him in the writer - something the person had learnt from Mr. Lee, be it a pleasantry exchange or policy matter or family concern. Salute!

And in all, the line "Singapore doesn't owe its existence to anyone" made total sense. Singapore - the red dot. Very much the real dot.




Monday, March 28, 2016

Three Stories, Three Books, Three Personalities

Since the beginning of the year, I have been reading one story after another. March and I am happy to have completed three great books:

1. Mr. Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom

- My world was truly small then. I must have heard about Mr. Nelson when I was in high school, when he was at the peak of his walk. All I knew was that he was (then) the President of South Africa, a country who stood in the world map during the geography classes. 

The book. Written with so much of hopes and dreams. It tells the rest of the world what it means to stand for your dreams. More than the political insights, I was mesmerized by the way the African stories are narrated. The roots. The beauty of ones roots. The attachment. The pride. Such are the stories of great leaders who don't lose grounds in the face of their political lives. 

2. Malala Yousafzai's I am Malala
- Who can argue with what a person can achieve, small or big? Who will question the potential of a dream? Who dare judge someone by his/ her size? 

Her story is beautiful that her parents dare dream along with her. I saluted the way her parents, especially her father who stood what it takes to dream different. Obstacles may be many, but they keep strong. 

(Here again, I envied the stories around her Swat valley. Described some heavenly.)


3. Mr. Obama's Dreams from my father
- Close to Mr. Obama's second Presidential term, I read his first book, but nonetheless never late. As I flipped the last page last night, I slept with a 'whoa' factoring all through my dreams. Here again, more than the political inclinations, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about his father's side of family - much for a man who had met his father just once. 

The self-analysis I did the few minutes before drifting to sleep gave me justice to the title of his book - how his father's dreams would come to shape him. 


Conclusion
In their respective capacities, the books carried with them the power of hopes, dreams and standing for what you feel is right. They weren't born with silver spoons, not at least the way they share their downside stories, yet they went on to become world leaders. 

I enjoyed their stories because they spoke for the commons. They spoke for what we all covet that we work for the common good. Thank you, good books. And here I jump on to the next...

Friday, March 25, 2016

## Happy and Proud Mummy ###

I drove back to work full of smiles; what a lovely way to begin the day. I dropped Lolo to her daycare, and what her Ma'am had to say made me smile like a real "happy and proud Mummy".

Three weeks and our fears were proven wrong. My daughter is known for her stern nature, and at home she is the terror. Terror meaning the most restless, the most active, the most stubborn. So, when she began her pre-school, we all feared for the worst that she would come home with complains - almost on a daily basis, from her school. When I had shared about Lucy's last year's result, my brother had said, "Lolo will be worse...ha ha. We will remain prepared."

The first day of her school, I took leave from work and waited outside her school. I hallucinated Lolo screaming out of the school gate, and I - the saviour would run for her. Fume me, for I was totally wrong. 10 minutes (suddenly a new environment and new faces made her feel different!) was all Lolo needed to adjust. Yes, she did come out after all - but at the end of the day. Ma'am Sonam said, "She did well on day-1!"

And her excitement was loud. She recited "School chuma na (school is done)" till we reached home. From there on, she has always shown excitement to go to school. 

Last afternoon, as Papa picked her from school, Lolo was heard saying, "I need to take a stick tomorrow, my friends are being naughty ('tama-tashi' as she says)." I later inquired about it. "Yes, they scream and shout. I told them 'shame shame'."

I shared this conversation with her teacher this morning. Ma'am Sonam had more details:

"Lolo is ever the obedient child. I heard her cautioning a boy who was on the table that he shouldn't do this, and that they eat their lunches on the table. If she sees her friends dropping their things, she asks them to put them back on the shelf."

I just couldn't hold my pride. I gave her a big "GOOD" on her little nose as she entered the gate with a broad smile. 

Yes, she is that child - sensible, put and obedient. I pray that she grows up with the same traits and leads the world with her charisma. Like my mother says, "Your daughter is so strict." Ha-ha. I can imagine you, Lolo, for from you we learn about life all over again.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Same old Luzee in same old clothes

Whenever I deviate from my normal routine, be it my dressing sense, eating habits, make-up, or shoes, Lucy is often the first one to take note.

Last weekend, after a good bath, I pulled out a fairly new pair of corduroy pants and sweatshirts for home-wear. Lucy asked, "Going somewhere?" I said no. She asked further, "Why dressed in jeans?" Then, I laughed out.

I am not someone who buys too many clothes; some of which I have been wearing since 2009 (when back from my studies, my closet had to get a face-lift and since then...same face!). This also comes to saying I seem to have maintained the same physique since then, which is a real consolation for any change would mean the disastrous task of changing my closet's content.

And then, you get bored with the same old clothes. Part of you doesn't want to discard them (still in good shape) whilst season after season, wearing the same makes you want to experiment style, colors and fashion. So so, just about a month ago, I decided against all odds that I would discard half my casual wears, but not find excuses for replacement so soon.

KP noticed a carton of not-so-old clothes packed to be given away. Going by my usual craze, he asked to reaffirm, "Giving them away?" "Yes." "But why, they are still wearable." "That's why I am giving them away. Why discard if they ain't wearable?" and with a long sigh, "I am just so tired in them. Been almost three years... and still counting!"

Bye, bye. Carton box.

That explains why I wear jeans at home :) The only pair of track pants I retained needs some rest...lol!

This also explains why I don't buy clothes, unlike my colleagues, the few times we got out. I carry with me a long list (must-buy-gifts) for my family, friends and colleagues. I try admitting that I need to invest in kiras, tegos and wonjus in the name of wearing them 5 days a week. For the weekend, jump into the old pair of jeans and there you go!

Well, I may be mistreating myself if even Lolo can notice this: Mummy, you seem to be wearing the same pair of shoes everyday (March 17, 2016).

Honestly. 




Monday, February 29, 2016

Choose your words...with your Children!

I like to be positive, think positive and act positive when with Lolo. I am criticized for trying to bring her up with distorted realities - meaning painting only about the "good things" around her. Well, she is just three - won't she imbibe the realities as she grows up? Right now, I feel she needs to be feel special and see special. 

But at three, she knows the difference between "good" and "bad".

Last Sunday morning, past 8:00 a.m. we were still in bed, the only morning I get to laze with her in bed now that schools have begun, and so also my schedule. Lolo is an early riser; irrespective of what time she goes to bed, she is up before 7:00 a.m. The mornings we get to gaze the ceiling with our funny conversations, she knows I am off from work...and she is most happy ("Mummy, opis ma dhe la?)

So, last Sunday morning.

She asked for Papa's phone to fiddle YouTube, an art she has grown expert in. We fussed over the subject of interest. In a moment of protest against her adamancy, we exchanged:

Mama: Lolo good girl mang-ge kala (Lolo is not a good girl).
Lolo: Mang gen che ne (Let me be).
Mama: Lolo bad girl geka la (Lolo is a bad girl).

The next thing was the splash of a hard slap across my face, with "Ya ne la...bad girl ge ne la. (Here it is, if I am a bad girl)."

Uh!

To her, "bad" literally meant the ferocious side of her, which of course is not often unless ignited. Obviously, she doesn't like to be rated anything below "good", like she says "I am Moo-yap (I am pretty)" if we tease her otherwise.  

Often, we hold long discussions within our parents' forum how best to deal with our children. We share experiences and stories, some are worthy enough to be references. Among many, we generally agree that instilling the positive energy in your child(ren) and valuing their self esteems are core motivations as they grow up to face the competitive world. 

Thus, says my niece Lilly when I shared the incident with her, "We better be careful with the words we speak to Lolo."

Certainly. I learnt the hard way. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

TENDREL...and the Day

The first call of the day was from my sister who exclaimed, "Gyeltsun has given birth to Gyelsey...it's on BBS." In my PJ, I ran for the remote control. What a splendid day!

We had plans for go for nyekhor today for reasons, and the news only meant greater reason. I woke up my girls to the news. Lolo's innocent reaction was, "Mummy, we will go and see the Gyelsey, right?"

We began our day with Lungtenphug Lhakhang where we offered very sincere prayers. I particularly offered a simple prayer that we may progress morally, professionally, spiritually and materially with the continuation of our 'Wangchuck Dynasty', under whose rule as my father puts in, "Without a King, what are we subjects?", we Bhutanese enjoy the utmost joys of living. 

Onward, we went to Changangkha Lhakhang, where rigorous kurim was going on. The atmosphere had an unusual aura and love enchanting the environment.

Then, to Dechenphug Lhakhang where again the chants from the monastery welcomed everyone with that single love: the happiness of the happiest news of the time.

Soon after lunch at my sister's place, we dropped by the RBG Chorten where 'Bazaguru Dungdrup' is on-going. My girls and I offered our prayers and wishes. [With each visit, our prayers got only stronger.]

Up the hill, we went to visit KP's Maymay Lama to offer our Losar wishes to him. As we left his hut, he came out with a spectacular gift for us. For Maymay to spare that on this day, it only meant "Tendrel".

Tendrel...it was as we crossed Jungshina when a pilot pulled up and we were blessed by His Majesty's entourage. I exclaimed, "Tendrel lay-ye, Tendrel zang-ye." I couldn't help smiling.

Of course. As a Bhutanese, what bigger happiness than the love and respects for our Monarchs. As a mother, what bigger news than the motherly happiness of a new life. Either way, the most awaited moment has arrived. Therefore, I pray I live long enough to take pride in serving under THREE Kings!

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Happiness Indicators

I walked into the kitchen
The water filter had functioned overnight
I felt so elated.

Then, I said I must define my happiness indicators, which are by far the simplest of all.

I never forget my roots, by all means. Both my parents are illiterate but they accorded education upon all of us. From as early as I can remember, they worked extra-hard to feed a family of six children. When I look back, those memories enrich my perception to life, and I am most grateful that they taught me to beauty side of everything. 

Therefore, my happiness indicators, on an everyday basis are:

Clean and neat kitchen
When I unbolt the kitchen door to prepare breakfast, I am most happy if the dishes are all gone, gas stove wiped to a shine and floor free of any dirt. I love the smell of a nice clean kitchen.

Water filter functioning
It's been few weeks since our filter water functioned properly. It's not that old either and we diligently clean it on a regular basis. Last afternoon, tired of seeing KP near the bukhari, I had asked him to take a look at it. If it failed to work this time, I said I would replace it. This morning, perhaps threatened by my wrath, it has worked. And this brought me happiness.

Laundry all done
I have sensed for a long time that when the laundry is done and clean clothes back to their places, I am most happy. For someone whose cupboard hasn't grown in the last many years, this commitment helps to remain clothed. 

"Where they should be, they should be."
If given a choice, I would want to live in an empty house, with the basic things. But it's not possible with many heads around, for each one requires almost the same number of things. In my Husband's words, "Your entire interest is to dismantle, give-away or remove things."In that case, I like when the things are where they should be, in proper places. Clothes (folded) in the cupboards. Shoes on the racks. Books on the shelves.

Shiny floor
This is the only indicator I am not able to feel achieved about. Our flooring is entirely planks, and over the years with coats of polishing, they look so unhealthy. I spent a great deal of income to get a better look, which unfortunately doesn't include the amount of frustration I invest in them. [A seemingly carpenter even robbed me of some money for the work he didn't do...all because I was carried by his promise to make the flooring look better!]. So, here my indicator is minus.

Active members
I come from a family where 'rest' is when you sit down with knitting or prayer beads in your hands. Sadly, our third generation hasn't inherited this at all, despite the many citations we narrate to provoke them. For them, watching TV is a birth-right that they must do with greater concentration that studying or reading a book. Or sleeping till midday is the best form of vacation. My patience has tremendously improved of late, and I vow not to fall behind until I give them the mantra. 

Creativity
For someone who learnt the art of weaving, this passion certainly adds to my happiness level. Every time I am able to generate a new product, a new pattern, you won't believe how productive I feel! There is no end to one's imagination and the ability to be unique. Life becomes colorful with the magics of the colors. And happiness is a by-product.

You see, how grateful I am to life for giving me those everyday blessings. Blessed with kind parents. Blessed with a nice family. Blessed with beautiful children. Blessed with the ability to find happiness in every step. Blessed to be happy. 

Thank you, Water Filter for igniting this thought. You scored 10/10 in indicating my happiness for the day.

Addendum: 
Mini-FCB
"You can patch your clothes but not your tummy," my mother often reminded us if we spent too much on the clothes. Going by her wisdom, as soon as the SMS from Mr. BoB comes, bringing that ounce of happiness declaring the remittance of salary, the following weekend I shop basic grocery to last a month: Salt, sugar, cheese, oil, noodles and rice. I feel so happy and high when the mini-FCB [store] is loaded.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Wealthy Side of Children

The story goes: Once upon a time, there were two families living close by - one totally childless but wealthy, while the other poor and with large number of mouths to feed. One evening, the wealthy couple laid out their wealth to display. They constantly looked down on the other family citing their poor condition. However, every evening they could hear the house resonating with laughter. Curious as to how they could be happier than them, the wealthy couple sneak peak through the cracks of the hut. What they saw tied the knots of their hearts, for the family sat around their children relishing their every move.

I have heard this story a thousand times and still counting. I have felt the punch each time Lolo brings smiles on our lips. 

When I heard the following testimonies from our neighbours, I was enthralled and contentment became a possession knowing how much Lolo has enriched the environment:

"Just as the silence of the day haunts the serene environment, Lolo's shrill voice cracks through the walls...and I feel company at best," says our next door neighbour who is often alone at home during the day. 

Worried if the noise bothers them too much, we often confront our downstairs neighbours to bear with us. "Not at all. Every evening, I wait to hear Lolo's thumping footsteps before I drift to sleep," refutes Aunty, who is ever gentle with Lolo. 

"Ana Lay-shay [Lekshay] ga bo-fen [boyfriend] Justin Be-ba ga dance," and Lolo swings her cute little butt imitating Justin Beiber's moves. Gracious, such enchanting moments. And we ask for more, and more, and more....until she feels demanded.

That's the thing at home. It's always Lolo, and more Lolo. 

So, the story goes... No man is poor if he has children at home. True. For someone who has five children, each of varied nature and personality, I feel so warm at heart and rich in wealth. 


Friday, January 22, 2016

Walk the Road Taken Together...Walk Walk Walk

"It is not about finding the perfect person, it is more about being the perfect one."

I know, it is easier said than done when it comes to marriage where two [entirely] different persons come together to walk a common path... I am not a marriage counsellor but being married (to the same man) for almost a decade now, I feel honest enough to share my own thoughts. 

If I look at my own journey, I can comfortably state what it means to come to a common understanding.

Yes, I was like any other girl who dreamt of marrying a 'tall, dark and handsome' man who would sweep me off my feet with flowers, chocolates and gifts. I wanted to live a fairytale-like life - with the Prince of my dreams. 

I was lucky enough to meet a man, who may not be 'the Prince I dreamt' but who in every way is a man worth defining. Wait on...our click wasn't destined, but created. The first few years of our marriage was like what they say "hell broken loose". When I narrate few incidents such as 'I tore off few of his T-shirts' or 'I used to wail with undue sympathy', everyone thinks I am cooking up stories. I am not. Then (feels like long time ago), both KP and I were immature in our relation. He had his set of expectations and me mine. Neither of us wanted to owe up our faults but waited for the other to break the virtues. 

Lolo entered our world and we became 'mutually respectable and understanding' overnight.

Until recent times, I continued my expectations (lesser though) from KP. If he sat on the dewan watching TV, I wished he would brush off the cobwebs. If he basked in the sun reading a book, I wished he would rather level the firewood pile outside. Likewise, I always had wild thoughts running in my mind hoping he would read them somehow. And if he didn't, I felt bad... he wouldn't know, so it was "I" always. 

Slowly, I convinced myself to think straight.

I promised to see the good side of my Husband, irrespective. I am happy that he doesn't go bar hopping or gambling. I am thankful that he cooks dinner and takes care of the children when I am out of the house, so much so my gratitude that he religiously washes his own la-gye every weekend. KP never misses his prayers, and I am thankful for this habit of his. He respects my independence (although at times he thinks I am overly independent) and never comments on my needs and wants. For certain, I know he will not betray me with infidelity (some friends caution me when I say this, but then if you don't begin with trust, you will never know what it means to be trusted).

So, instead of complaining for things he doesn't do as I want, I thank him for being the sober man. I remind myself that he also has his own space to move around, and where we are required to think and be like one, we will. Else, he and I are two different people with different likes and dislikes. Just as much as I won't let him influence my life, I will not allow the same with him. We are a couple, indeed, but we are T.W.O persons.

Thus, this is the same story I tell my friends when I hear them crib about their wives or husbands. We have chosen to walk the common path - walk if we must, but let's respect individuality at the end of the day.

To find perfection in another person, begin with defining the same in you. 

Note: For days, I have been talking about marriage, love and future with my friends and colleagues. With each passing day, I am beginning to relish life all the more again, and with it comes the beauty of being happily married.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Dressed for 'Tshechu'

I know I am not old, and I don't feel one either. Every morning, tirelessly, I dress up for work - kira, tego, wonju, sunscreen, face powder, eye liner...and shoes.

"You are going to watch tshechu (festival)?" Lucy won't escape any opportunity to remark if I am little over-dressed for work. For instance, the dangling earrings I am wearing today. Or the meto-kira. Or the new pair of heels. 

Ha-ha.

I am good at humours. Say, the evening I went to my sister's place and there I met my childhood friend. Actually, we were once 'teased' in primary school. We remained good friends for a long time but it was like almost a decade...until that evening, and I looked like I just got out of bed. Uncombed hair. No grooming. Pure me. Stale me. On a lighter side, I didn't want him to see me that way. I wanted him to see me (be it after a decade) slightly stylish and permed. Since then, I vowed I will not compromise with whatever feminine personality I have. 

I am a woman with rules and standards.

I don't come to work half-dressed. Any time of the year, you will see me fully clad with wonju and tego. Already, our attire has gone through so much of transformation that it pains me to see it being distorted. So, I hold on to the tradition of respecting however little I can. 

My hair. I don't make buns or color my hair. An office is a place of respect, not discotheque. Mind you, this is my perception and I don't enforce the same on others. So, take this comment as personal and not intended to any other. Oh yes, my hair. I keep it short because I feel smarter in short hair. I feel lighter, energy on the higher side. 

Shoes - bye bye heels, thanks to the 3rd floor office we are housed in. Multiple times up and down the stairs that by the end of the day, I feel like someone knocked my knees with iron rods. Am I sad? Perhaps not. I am happier with shorter heels, which gives me all the reasons to be this restless creature.

Come to the colors of my attire and I am always B.R.I.G.H.T. Oh, I love bright colors - they reinvent the energy in me. Anything I do is associated with energy and I look for positive energy - be it the books I read, or the people I talk to, or the movies I watch, or the things I possess. Energy. Bright energy.

A quick look at myself and hola...almost dressed for tshechu and my mood is so festive today!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Three Years of Love, Joy and Happiness


For January 08, 2016

My Dear Lolo,

So soon you are three years old!

Your Mummy is sitting in a room, far far away from you. Physically. In thoughts and love, you are always with me, in me. 

It’s almost 10:00 p.m. [January 07, 2016] as I write this letter to you. Around this time three years ago, I was heading to the hospital - half fearing the pain but all the more impatient to welcome you. Oh baby, the night was not so easy! You weren’t that easy to enter the world, you know. I tossed and turned for more than half a day…and finally when you yelled out, I cried. I cried with happiness. I cried with excitement. I cried with joy. 

Fast forward three years.

Look at you now - already a little lady. You won’t believe how elegant you are, in everything you do.  
You are the first sun of the day;
You are the last moon of the night;
You are the most beautiful flower in our garden;
You are the sunshine in our lives.

Frozen-cake from Yachna Bakes


If we look forward to every tomorrow with bigger excitement than the last, it’s because you give us bigger reasons to expect the unknown. 

If your Papa and Mama wear bigger smiles every single day, it’s because you have given us the reasons to feel beautiful.

If all others around you (Apa, Ama, Ajang Daddy, Ane, Amchi, Apchi, Azem, Anas, Ata R, Ajang Solly and Lassi) can’t stop pulling your chubby cheeks, it’s all because they can’t get enough of you.

You have the entire world sending you love from all around. 
Lolo with Amchi

This comes to saying how much you have bettered the world. You may a small bundle of a girl, but with the magic to conquer all the ugliness in the world. Thank you, Lolo.

As you celebrate this milestone, here is your Mummy wishing you the best of everything because you are better than the best. I miss you terribly. Yet you assure me you are in good control. Thank you, Lolo. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Happy Birthday. We love you very very much.

(Note: I wrote this note while in Hyderabad and without the Internet facility, couldn't post it. So, here it is...filled with the same excitement!)