Sunday, September 6, 2009

What I know of LOVE

What I Know of Love:

It is one abused word for sure- Love. Its interpretation correlates to an individual’s taste of it. Some savour it while others stomach the bitter flavour. And thus there are epics, poems, songs, novels and movies portraying different manifestations of love. Everyone has their version of it.

I for one fancied the idea of love. It had only one problem- it was perfect as an idea. When it transpired, it was nowhere near it.

First time I got introduced to love, it was only the want in me in getting to know that person. Turns out the person is just another soul in search of his own understanding of love. We parted ways in search of our so-called love. Then came along a self-acclaimed “love-expert” who started preaching about love and its rules. I was thoroughly monitored to adhering it. I had to escape before his syllables of love choked me.

One fine day and I thought I found it. For once, it even came close to my idea of love. Irony is too obvious a word but I was definitely not his interpretation of Love. He had all the right to see me “just as a friend”. So I compromised with the friendship, once more induced to renounce the existence of love.

Despite of all the attempts to give up the pursuit, it trailed along. Today, I am confronting it yet again. I have given up the endeavour to evaluate it with the idea I have. I am simply letting it trickle. For the first time, I am consenting to what is being presented to me. I am amazed at the positive tenor “we” have achieved. I cannot force him with my idea of love just because he lets me be “me”. I am letting my idea elapse, swallowing hard to let it die. It will take long i know but it will gradually fade away.

Will this work for long is the question. More so, is it love is the bigger interrogation that needs to be answered. Should this be my interpretation of love? Does love in its real sense even exist? Oh the much exploited word!

Photo courtesy: Google image

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The night with the old man

June, 2009: Sydney

The night with the old man

I hate waiting. Every sensible person does but the odium I have for waiting is unusually at its crest.

That night, I had to do just that- wait for my bus to arrive. It is usually on time. What more, it isn’t this cold and freezing either.

Remember how Murphy stressed that law of his on things that can go wrong “will go wrong”? Well I never argued his point but hey, I didn’t need to be convinced either. Having to fight biting cold out in the dark, on a day I chose to wear just a tee, hungry and tired, waiting for the bus that never arrived. Murphy!!!!!!!!!!

My watch beamed past midnight. The Central station was deserted and why not? It was time for normal people to go to bed. As for me, the gracious act of procrastination I embraced left me with my assignments until the eleventh hour. And so I exited my university late. I shot over hundred glances at the bend far end, hopeful a bus would appear anytime soon.

Well it never did. Instead, after what seemed like decades, an old man carrying a rucksack came into view. He sauntered around before taking a spot near me. I quickly animated a smile and turned back, dodging any possibility of having a conversation with him.

From his fluffy grey hair, tanned and wrinkled face I deduced he must have crossed 50. His shoes and pants were soiled so he must be working for a construction. Breaking the silence after every interval, he coughed. Must be smoking, I told myself.

As my hair stood in an attempt to defy cold, forming goose bumps, I clutched myself hard. I gritted restlessly, more so because of cold. May be I should just give up the wait. So I geared to look for a cab. A rustle beside me stopped me from picking up my bag.

I looked up and the old man loomed in front of me. He was much older than I thought. While I was trying to find my voice to ask what he wanted, confronted by this abrupt encroachment, he slipped his coat off him and lifted it in front of my face.

“This will keep you warm until the bus comes,” a strong native accent echoed in my head.
It caught me off guard but I was quick to refuse, sounding very nervous. After an awkward silence, I managed to thank him for his gesture. For another minute he kept insisting on taking the coat and I kept refusing it. Inside my mind, guilt spawned remembering the shameless self-sympathy and hostility I displayed.

After the man put on his coat back, he took his spot, and coughed. I was dazed by the thought of a stranger offering his coat and not minding the piercing breeze himself. I was touched.

I couldn’t help but start a conversation thanking him all over again. In next 15 minutes, I learned the man lived a hard life, deprived of family and love, surviving on a minimum. He had never been to a school, did not have bank account on his name, and lived in hundred different places trying to make ends meet.

“Life is what you live out of what you have so I never felt poor,” he said, flashing a yellow teethed grin towards me. A lump formed in my throat and was too choked to say anything.

At that instant, a bus came roaring in and screeched stop in front of us. Before boarding the bus, I turned back to the man and thanked him for the last time. He smiled back. As the bus started moving, I was asking myself, is that what people call the “heart of gold?”

I don’t mind waiting anymore. Who knows what might happen?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love Happens!

I was consoling myself for having to be alone on a Valentine’s Day. I boarded the train with a weighty feeling, having walked past numerous flower shops and countless lovers cherishing the day. You can say I was envious. Had it not been for my flat mate, I wouldn’t have stepped outside my room.

As I watched out the window of the train, cursing the operator for being unusually slow on this particular day, a young couple stood across, bidding farewell to each-other. Oh, the day meant so much for them. I could sense it. No exaggeration but I could even feel the warmth of their affection.

As the announcement was made to shut the door, the lovers parted. Interestingly, the girl took the seat in front of me. She clutched the bunch of red rose close to her. The boy bent against the window and waved goodbye until the train moved. It couldn’t get more romantic. I was glaring at the entire act, without a tinge of guilt.

I was about to go back to my self-sympathy thoughts when I noticed something that sent shivers down my spine. The girl was crying! She gripped the roses even closer to her and shed tears on it. For all the reason in the world, I knew it was “love”. It does exist. How fortunate the girl was to be in love. To feel its beautiful pain. To be so sentimental about someone that it was intolerable to part from him. Love actually happened.

That night I went to bed with an overwhelming sensation. So what if I didn’t have a Valentine. This time it happened to someone else, some other time it will be me. Some other time I will get to feel it. And I closed my eyes to dream on…
(NOTE: I wrote the article two days later but felt hesitant to post it. Maybe it will just be a dream. But again, who can stop me from dreaming…)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A letter to a daughter

For Tashi Choden. Age-9.

Dear Daughter,
I want to thank you so much for coming into my life.
Thank you for showing me the real beauty - the fact that it is hidden in small details of life.
Thank you for helping me set out the priorities of life before it was too late.
For making me understand the values of innocence and purity.
Thank you so much for being such a wonderful teacher.
For teaching me the language of adversity and the wisdom that came along.
Of welcoming the wisdom and adorning it to the armour that would shield us in difficult times.
For lessons on enduring the hardship and emerging as a winner.
For enlightening me on the essence of living. Of acknowledging relationships and cherishing it.
Thank you so much for making me realise what being a mother meant- a manifestation of kindness and compassion
Of all, thank you so much for giving me a new life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Grand Entrance!

January 3, 2009. I left my family and ventured in pursuit of knowledge and experience.

I remember my mother watching me, her eyes wet with tears. My father didn’t say a word but his stern face carried traces of sadness. My eight year old daughter stood gazing. The moment lives as vivid in my mind today.

More than once I thought life was too short to stay away from them.

Yet human greed beseech everyone in crave of something. Mine was to explore and learn. I was off to Sydney.

Lhakey and Tashey, two people i have grown to trust, volunteered to drive me to the airport. My younger sister, Sangay, whose patience countered my restlessness well, accompanied us.

The one hour journey was all about reminiscing of gone days. My parents never denied my endless demands, never said no to my ideas. I encountered many good people in my life and some proved their friendship beyond doubt. My family and friends became my strength.

Separation from them, churned with excitement of entering a different world created a different feeling in my heart.
I reached the airport only to find that my travel agent had messed up with my tickets and I had to wait for two more days for my flight.

The idea of staying back, even if it was for a short moment, only encouraged me to welcome the blunder of the travel agent but at the same time, the thought of catching a connecting flight to Sydney from Bangkok exactly two days later made my stomach flip.

While the three escorts waited in the car, a tall lady ushered me to her office and asked me to wait while she checked the possibility of rescheduling the flight. She returned soon to tell me that the flight was full. I waited in vain hope to arrange a ticket for the next day.

I could hear the ground staffs running around, preparing the aircraft bound to take off soon. The flight I thought I was supposed to fly in.

A slightly younger looking woman sat next to me and started counting the boarding passes. The phone on the table rang. I easily understood the phone was from the in-flight crew, crosschecking the final details. I waited on and the lady who shepherd me inside kept assuring that she would lend a helping hand as soon as she was done with the current flight.

I overheard officials conversing and the flight was all set to fly. The clock on the wall had already ticked passed the takeoff time.

I was lost in confusion and a bit of worry when a phone ring jerked me to the present. The woman picked it up, uttered several words and look at me. I felt uncomfortable. She hung up the phone and said, “We had counted an infant for a seat by mistake. Would you like to go in this flight?” Before I could answer, she exclaimed, “hurry!”

In a split of second, I called my friends to get my luggage up till the entrance and bid them quick goodbye. The airport was empty. The scanner machines were being restarted. The lady was running after me with forms, asking me to fill up the details while at the same time she inquired for immigration officials.

While I hurried for the security formalities, she completed my boarding procedures. Both of us were running. When I finally exited the airport and ran towards to aircraft, I heard her say “good luck”.

From down below I could see the aircraft opening its door for me. I climbed the stairs and was greeted by a smiling steward on the door followed by over hundred pairs of eyes staring at me. Believe me, I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger emerging from thick smoke in the background in slow motion.

The moment I got seated, the pilot announced for the flight to “finally take off”. A realisation that I was finally going away hit me hard and I couldn’t stop the tears flowing from my eyes.

P.S. You have heard of people making busses and trains wait for them. I had an aircraft waiting for me. If I ever get to meet the lady again, I would like to thank her - for making the start of my journey very special.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I would like to thank those who invented computer and Internet.

Being a female and therefore biologically designed to get excited about every little incident, I developed the practice of putting my experiences into words. Keeping a diary was the best way to do it. High school and college day activities went down into those pages becoming a recorded memoir- of my own.

After graduation I made the only right decision in my life by becoming a print journalist. Being a journalist in Bhutan entails traveling long distances to hunt for stories. As such, a genuine writing interest, an unfaltering determination and good alcohol consumption capacity are crucial requirements. I am definitely good at the last one.

Writing for the newspaper and writing my personal accounts emerged as two different tasks. One I wrote for my readers, the other I wrote for myself. Over the period of three years as a journalist, in chase of articles, I have visited best and worst places, walked for days, met people of all sort, slept in sheds, laughed and cried with my interviewees.

Every day was a new day. Living overwhelming experiences and meeting inspiring people set me into new level of realisation. I learned to appreciate and find goodness in simple facts of life. All these kept my fondness for writing alive.

I love carrying a pen and a note book wherever I go. It not only makes others take me seriously, it has helped me earn my bread and butter. It still does. Having befriended for so long, I cannot imagine the idea of thrusting it aside. Yet, I have to act timely.

Therefore, here I am maintaining a blog of my own. And realising how computer and Internet facilities have augmented the convenience of writing and documenting write-ups, I couldn’t help thanking those who invented it.