Monday, September 24, 2012

Rules are meant to be broken so are promises! – Vegetable Friends (Version 2)

Occasional get-together(s) remain incomplete if there’s no beer on the menu.  This comes as no surprise because in Bhutan we have a culture of letting alcohol take precedence over any undertaking.  I am not sure whether anybody has heard of ‘the beer festival’. Well I certainly have and blessed rainy day coincides with the international beer festival. This year it’s being celebrated and observed in Munich, Germany. Gallons and gallons of beer will be drunk this week by millions of people in and around Germany. Can you imagine, this week alone?

The troupe but not everyone is pictured
Our Blessed Rainy Day troupe cannot afford gallons but at least by our standards, we made ourselves proud. We bet that we can leave ‘chilips’ awestruck with our ability. Try us and you too will be amazed. You will be surprised if I disclosed the boxes of beer we managed to gobble down in 2 nights and 3 days. Coming back to our tiny circle of friends during the blessed rainy day, it was one of our friends Tharaz who told me to write the Version 2 of Vegetable friends (My earlier post). 

This years’ bash came during the blessed rainy day. It took away some serious planning and preparation. The big day approached as we were all set in. All friends (except two) made it to the said event. We took four cars and lots of edibles along with pots and pans. We were told to bring some fire wood as every blade of grass was wet. 

Getting things ready for the night tested our patience. All tents were pitched and there was one in particular which nobody could fix it. It ate up our evening time into the dusk. After much trial and error we managed to keep it shaped. Then we went for dinner at the fireplace. It was me and sexy-bona fide sharchops in the group. The curry reminded that we were sharchops. Draks prepared the curry but the potatoes were all swimming in the curry. I told them, “Today you reminded me that I belong to the east”, “Thank you Draks”. Everybody shared a heads-out laugh and then Draks, “naba ley, tshoem choe zo may” which gave us another moment of heads off laugh.  

Singing went well into the night. After getting high on beer, it was Kinley and Acho Bom who instigated me to take a ride to the nearest town. The rest of the troupe was sleeping. After much hustle, we secretly took the car out and then disaster! The eldest in out troupe, Acho came out of his tent and declared, “Choe gara nga ley za woong mey, me nyey ga”-All of you will get beaten up, why don’t you sleep? Then in instant, every one jumped into their respective tents and silence followed. Some giggled of course. Then sleep took us to the next morning. 

Our Cool recess in the stream nearby
It was blessed rainy day the next morning and we started the day with porridge cooked in beef bones. No sooner did we finish drinking porridge than we started to grab the bottles. Everyone had a task at hand. Dishwashing, cutting veggies and other greens and I got to do everything with the fish. I can cook pretty well. After getting everything ready for the midday feast, we went to the nearest stream and gave ourselves a refreshingly cold treat. All of us then went for a game of basket ball. We had dinner already, the left over from the lunch. And into the night, it was my turn to get crazy. I had drunk more that what my body was supposed to handle then, the ejection of what I took as my dinner. All that I put in my belly for dinner had to be forced out….eeeeehhhhhh! In the midst of I moving sideways with no balance, Tharaz was busy singing to the karaoke, yes singing to because, the music was after his lyrics-he was singing off beat. 

The Camp Site
Then I hastily went into the tent, took out my pillow, quilt and computer. Got into the back seat of my car and then called the night off. I was told that, it rained during the night and rain sipped into the tent. My friends had miserable time draining water out but for me I was fast asleep in the car.
The next morning, we did the same chores all over again. Everyone got one task at hand and one was expected to complete it. Enter Sexy. He is a little slow and he was supposed to prepare egg curry for us. Ashim had already finished with her share of the curry. Acho, by now told Sexy and me, “In the next season two of you will be out” and to this everybody laughed their heads off. Whether be it funny, embarrassing, annoying or enjoying, we were never short of three things-Handycam-ing, photography and beer. 

We ate our lunch that afternoon and packed everything that came with us into our cars. Even the left over curry was packed. We drove towards our homes and on the way we halted thrice for some beer and fried fish. Sexy and I think that we will be in for the next season, as Acho mentioned of us. Whether be rules or promises, it is meant to be broken.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thank you for the music

If music be the food of soul, play on…… generation of people who grew up studying Shakespeare will instantly recognize this line. It’s the lure, the beauty and its power to provoke thought. It forms the very basis of what we undertake be it chores or on some errands. Music defines the person and his time and also attributes in character building (on what is happening to youngsters these days). A well written song is a good poem. Song-writers are masters of this poetic expression. 

“Who can live without it,
I ask in all honesty,
what would life be,
without a song or a dance, What are we?
So I say thank you for the music,
for giving it to me”

These lines are from the song, “Thank you for the music” by ABBA. Now, the word ABBA would be an alien for today’s youngsters instead they prefer the modern ones which I am unfamiliar to. These lines speak volumes about the presence and the magic of music. It has the power to move emotions and instill a sense of being in a fairyland. The choice of music one prefers to listen is directly proportional to the person one is. That it tells so much about the reasoning of the individual. Such is the power of music. 

One of my friends remarked, “Lobzang, mo tero gari ma kailey pos dhe na, toh khali English music sun tsha” (I will never get in your car, you always listen to English songs) and this friend of mine prefers Dzongkha songs instead. My friend grew up herding cows while attending school. The songs he grew up with were what the radio stations played. I would have been him if it was not for the Jesuits that taught us the ‘hymns’. I got introduction in to the world of western music very early. We were supposed to speak in English and thus, this is how I ended up listening and understanding to English songs. The bands of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s lured me and I still listen to the numbers from these times. “Learn to be still” by the Eagles hits the top list in my favorite numbers. 

Whether one loves to listen to traditional, western, bollywood, Nepali, Zhungdra etcetera doesn’t really matter but what matters is the love for listening to music. Music binds us together irrespective of regions and the differences we have. The power of music enchants us. For some, it would be the lion share of time they spent till now listening to music. 

My generation grew up with ‘walkmans’ and cassette players. The pride of owning one would be a moment of ‘Eureka’. The thought of forwarding or rewinding songs in a walkman would mean a quarrel with friends as the batteries needed to be saved for longer listening. It would be considered ‘hip’ to own one. Now, the sight of a man listening from a ‘walkman’ would be something hilarious. And now still, the gadgets and gizmos provide efficient listening. The internet is now the medium of all music. Perhaps my cousin was right when he opined, “Google is god, it answers everything” years back. 

Whether one listens to a Sufi song, Ghazal, Rock, Hip Hop, RnB etc. is primary when thought of simply loving music is on a higher degree. Whether in Gaza or Gasa, Tingtibi or Timbuktu, Zhemgang or Zimbabwe, Arekha or Arizona, Bumthang or Buenos Aires we all love listening to music. And it is this love that will continue to enchant us until the very concept of music becomes obsolete. And I on behalf of all the human civilization would like to repeat what ABBA wrote 5 decades ago, “Thank you for the music”. Folks, what are you listening to lately?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vegetable Friends

Friendship is the most coveted commodity if it wasn’t for a concept. Had it been a vegetable, it would be the most expensive vegetable ever that you and I could afford. Friends that I keep and they keep me for that matter are worth a scribble, at least for now. I have an unusual circle of friends with unusual behaviors that which makes every evening an evening like never before. Just last night I thought of penning it down. I will let you know through this personalized narrative. Happy reading!

First comes the eldest, let me name him brother. Then I am in the line. Tharaz next, Wuurz is another one, we have someone called sexy. Then comes Kinley, Then we have the Jags, other called Draks. Then we have Acho Bom and Wuurz bainey. Finally we have Ashim-Brother’s other half. 

We make quite a good bunch of friends. Although we differ in every speck of our character but one common thing binds us together is the love for beer. Sometimes we gather even before reaching home and this happens in a secret bar known to us only. 

We are a group of individuals with our own share of problems. Whether be emotional, social or personal, all of us have some degree of problems not with each other but with the outlook.  Let me be fair, I too have host of problems and too many to name. I claim that I have the most problems in our circle. So, I get the most advices, supposedly for being the 3rd eldest in the group (LOL) initiated by our brother. 

The only difference is brother, I and Acho Bom don’t smoke, and I do occasionally when I am high on beer. Here’s one nagging thing about this circle of friends. When we sit down together for some beer (Mostly at Acho Bom’s place) all of our buddies will stand up in the mid of our beer session and jointly cry out “Tamka” and they all will get out for some fag leaving me, brother and Acho Bom. Three of us left behind would touch our heads and say this to each other, “Shekpa ra jaan jaan”. Then on their return after the fag, one of us inside would say, “tankhu zha si” and quick comes the reply from wuurz, “Pa tey zo tha bey”. As a matter of fact, we would chat on things that happened during the day and we’d mostly make fun and crack jokes.  

The other day, we made a gathering at sexy’s. There after almost three hours all of us were high. What next? No wonder the music is played high and the mood can never be better to shake and show some of our half-sleep-half-drunk dancing moves. Kinley, the youngest among us is fond of free style and he would showcase this extraordinary feat only during this time of the night when he’s drunk. 

Jaks is a silent personality with weird way of looking at things. The weirdness is, he shifted his apartment 2 or 3 times this year alone, and what do you expect a word of good wishes from this circle of friends? Na, it’s, “Gachi moh, Chim ya Bjili pou dhey po dhi”. And he would reply in his typical Dzongkha accent, “Laeun mey chegi”. 

Kinley and Tharaz put up together and we call the way they arrange their garments, as if you have reached a “Dhaka Sale”. If any one of them looks for pants or other particular garment, they would put the whole pile upside down just to look for one and “denting painting” thing is another story. From our circle, these two would score zero for punctuality. On one instant, all of us gathered at six and asked them to be there. Here’s what they did, despite repeated calls, they came at nine.

We frequently gather and have fun; perhaps all the ones that don’t smoke wouldn’t be surprised if others in our circle yell out ‘Tamka’ in the middle of our session. After all, we are here to stay and let there be ‘Tamka’ as long as we are friends. So they are my little vegetable friends!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Let me define what this word means, “When someone favors the person close to them for activities rather than those with skills and expertise”. Will the informal word ‘Cham-cha-giri’ fit anywhere near cronyism? Well that’s for you, readers to decide. One typical morning on my way to work, I had a chance encounter with this very word in action. This thought left a pretty good gray matter of mine scratched until I gathered all my nerve-inferno to pen it down here. 

Now let us reflect on how we landed up in the present job. Well most of us do come from humble backgrounds with the necessary qualification suited for our job but there are sections of working people who got their jobs through cronyism and these people still play a significant role in an office set up, after they get a job. For in my case, I underwent rigorous competition and I am here because of what I went through not to be a jobless graduate. Many an office will definitely see such people and these people are ‘special’. They know how to ‘manipulate’ the colleagues and ‘impress’ the boss. I put my thought straight-cronyism helped these people get a job. 

We choose to be what circumstances expect of us. I mean we get a job mostly because we don’t want to be jobless. Not that I wished to become what I am now since my childhood days. Come on folks, just be true to yourself! Did you wished to be what you are now? A million dollar thought perhaps. 

In a typical work place, most people work, most of us do. Well most of us do fall into the performing characters but there are a few exceptional ones. They are what I call ‘under-performers’ and the only thing they perform is the ancient art of deceiving people- gossip and lie to impress your boss. Practically the work done by such people are negligible but they create a good impression by ‘oiling the work through talks’. 

And society accepts these people by what they hold and not by what they mean, so they wish to maintain the status quo. Degeneration of profession! The very purpose of ‘towards a dynamic and efficient civil service’ is murdered brutally. My stand on this, if I get an exit, I would merrily walk out and be somebody in somebody else’s set up. And some of my senior colleagues tell me that such people shine professionally in life and they stand testimony to this fact. It’s not corruption but it definitely is something going terribly bad.
One must live through bad times and these bad times teach one to be refined. You stand witness to injustice in broad daylight and this still is cronyism. Let me steal a line from my former lecturer, “I once bit a stone in to the curry of my friends’ expression” and quick came the reply, “you shouldn’t say things (wrong doings) especially to colleagues” and yes it stirred a pretty good commotion at my work place. I shouldn’t say it! Agreed but I can bloody write it down and let the world know about it through the World Wide Web. That I can do and nobody dare stop me from doing that. 

And from this day forth, I will only write, not speak of such things. I promise my humble readers and those human beings who have some inclination for penning down thoughts.
So what for those cronies as of now? Professionally you are bound by your responsibilities and nothing can be done about it. I am beginning to be a cynical person from now on and I will hold on to what I am and not what I am told to be. After all, I know I stand right morally, ethically and professionally

All I can do is write about it now. This piece would remain a great deal longer than what is verbally shot. Our global community is waking up hard from the ‘economic recession’ and now we see ‘professional recession’. That too in a nation that left the world mesmerized with its GNH utopia. 

Food for thought: Cronyism is the poison of all-working-ethos