Monday, November 23, 2015

A suitcase or I am not going to school! A Chadom might do the work as well…

My baby girl wasn’t sleeping and it was late into the night. My cousin Yeshey accidentally bumped into ZEE Classic and you can imagine the classic movies they air on this particular channel. On an unattended glace I saw the ‘Keta’ in a ‘Dhoti’ with a metal box singing and walking along the walkway with vintage cars in the background. I could identify a Ford T-model. The song was in Black and White, if you know what I mean. This was last night.

The Literal
Now the thing that caught my imagination was the metal box. We called it the ‘Chadom’ while I attended high school in the late 90’s. And owning a suitcase back then was a luxury. Only the wealthy and those belonging to the wealthy owned one. I could make out by the bedding and the baggage people possessed- who’s wealthy or not? I owned one ‘Chadom’. This Chadom came to me when my mommy paid 250/- Rupees to a merchant in our very familiar ‘Jaigaon’. I considered it hip to own one. I remember the bargain she underwent to pay 250/- Rupees for that Chadom, vividly.

But owning a Chadom, came at a price and I owned one where one could latch on three locks-supposedly to safe keep one’s belonging from the hostel looters. We had lots of unidentified robbers among us. We had pickle looters, ‘Lagay’ looters, sock looters, plate looters, soap looters and believe it or not, on Sundays we had underwear looters.  I rushed for the ‘Kharang’ served during breakfast because the next two meals would definitely be potatoes. I also had an added advantage of eating the coveted breakfast for being one of the defense players in the school’s basketball team. The players were served chick peas with a boiled egg for breakfast. I attended a school where life in the hostel was troublesome.  And I wouldn’t dare to mention the name of the school because the current principal of that school is a friend of mine.
The inferred 

This is yet another generational up-beat story of mine because I am used to seeing my lesser known cousins and relatives, all young, nagging their parents for some happening and in-fashion suit cases and bags. Would today’s pupils hitch a ride with a supposed Chadom and bedding on their back just to get to school?

Coming to my civil service days, I was introduced to yet another Chadom. This time the Chadom was an automobile. The Maruti Van! My dad owned one and I have a lot to write about it….the supposed Maruti Van days. One of the Dzongkha Lopens owned a van and it became known as Chadom. We would ask him if he would give us a ride in his Chadom. – “Apha kay nang wai, choe ghi chadom na”. (Take me till there in your Maruti Van). This was in my previous school. Now, I have a senior teacher friend who owns a Chadom. He is funny but a great human being.

At this juncture, and particularly when I see people with metal boxes even today, I consider myself lucky that I was once a part of the beginning that made what Bhutan has evolved into. Children and kids today….don’t know what an inferred Chadom is apart from the literal Chadom. This is another anecdote from the nostalgia down memory lane…

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How could I keep my calm?

I hope this update of mine greets you in the best of your health and I am very sure that you all must be keeping fine. 

All the updates that I have given until now is because of something that ignited in me and led to these writings. My update today is sheer out of frustration. Like many a Thimphu-ite I reside in one of the buildings that populate Thimphu. It is always a hassle to find an apartment, pay the advances and then move the furniture. After moving in, you find out there’s no TV cable, there’s no water heating facility, sun doesn’t shine into your apartment etc… etc… After months when you realize that you are now settled, the water runs dry. How could I keep my calm?

Water was the very reason why I chose to move into a new apartment. It was ok that the water flowed from the taps until now. It has been twice and almost a week that there is no water in the taps. I am having the most horrible time of the year. How could I keep my calm?

Mr. Landlord rings my door bell without fail every month for the rent. Even if he is out of station he makes sure there is some crony of his to collect the rents. Now the tenants where I reside are frustrated. There’s no water flowing into his building and he is nowhere in sight. People just care about money and nothing else. How could I keep my calm?

Imagine the plight of families who has no running taps for weeks at length. I hear many buildings have two inlets. One from the municipality and a private one. If water from the city (municipality) runs out, there is another inlet to keep the water flowing. My owner has a private inlet only for the vegetable garden he has maintained. It is not connected to the building. And during the ripe-time for the veggies he has grown, it is stolen. He is clam though!

I have seen my previous owner who tirelessly works to keep the water running and I am seeing the current one who is bother less. This is the second incident in this month. I fetched buckets after buckets to keep my people going and that reservoir too is out now. How could I keep my calm?

Another one! I don’t know whether Diwali has gone or is yet to come but nights in my vicinity is disturbing. The RBP put a ban on sale of fire crackers but there are hooligans, who I don’t know must  not be having a home to sleep. They shout, drunk mostly and throw light firecrackers wherever they please. I have seen a Community police centre here and I am not sure if men in blue have turned literally deaf. How could I keep my calm?

Given the perennial problems like the stinks, clogged drains, and power outages with rising bills every month... 

How could I keep my calm folks?