Friday, March 11, 2016

Folks, what is cool?

Note: This update is a lopsided opinion on what I felt and it is intended for pleasure reading only. It is in no way intended to defame, demoralize or bring down any individuals or offices. Happy Reading!

In the remote woods of Kheng, when I was first deployed as a teacher, there were hardly any working civil servants apart from the teachers ourselves and we would be less than five in count. I had to walk three hours to the nearest BHU, a day to reach the bank and even longer to reach the Dzongkhag office. There  I walked for all undertakings, ate organically grown food, played sports to spend time and occasionally organized gatherings among schools and staff. It was not much fun then but when I look back at those by gone years now, I feel I had lived an interesting life.

Here, every Tom, Dick and Harrry is a civil servant, a corporate employee, or a private company worker, etc…There is no dearth of working people. There is no dearth of urban nuisance as well. If water is out for a day or so, panic is the only appropriate adjective. If there is no electricity for a day, ‘server down’ is what you get in reply for public service delivery. And in most offices ‘Printer or the cartridge’ is out for printing as well as photocopying. Due to the sheer number of people moving in and out and going about their personal or professional lives, ‘CL Mindu’ is the official jargon. Traffic in the mornings and evenings, waiting in long snaking lines for kerosene, ATM’s and LPG cylinders, sounds of construction in every corner, rising living costs and food items. Meat is cheaper than vegetables and dairy products, and for the fruits, prices are exuberant.

On the Norzin Lam lane, looking at the road below from one of the famous restaurants window, I asked myself, where are these people heading? The cars, the people and never ending parked cars, the dogs (as I watched one, the dog used the zebra crossing to get to the other end). It only makes me question, is this development in a thought-out pattern? All things that make life easy is available or is being made available, for instance the outdoor gym for the elderly is frequented more by after school brats who instead of heading home swing themselves worrying their already waiting parents. Treatment is provided free at the ordeal of waiting in lines for hours and buying one’s own medicine from a private medical shop. Even children these days know what PCM is.

For any sports, firstly you don’t get an open play field and even if you get one, it is monetized. Necessities and comforts come at a cost. Back then I walked, I was fit physically. Here I drive and pay for fitness and I still am prone to so many lifestyle nuisances. People here mostly suffer from BP and Diabetes.

Tours with TA/DA doesn’t exist and even if you get one, you will have to undergo the mental torture of a psychiatric patient and the physical one of a TNA Pro-Wrestler. Bosses work you out and you give your best shot but you will always be underappreciated and labeled an underperformer. Office politics will mostly be about monetary benefits, cars, buildings and land. I am not against who owns all of these but saying it out is taboo in our societal set up. Here, the life you live is dictated either by ‘Power’ or by ‘Money’ you possess. Even if you are an underperformer, if you know how to woo people with feel-good talks, you are in their good books, if not you have to be wealthy.

People residing out of Thimphu thinks, “Zai, living in Thimphu is cool”. Except for the water running from the taps, for some ice cream shops, some AC ventilated offices and the river, everything about this place is not cool. People’s attitude is not cool, living expenses is not cool, and food prices aren’t cool so salary definitely  will not be cool, fuel expenses isn’t cool, health isn’t cool, pollution isn’t cool, robberies and burglaries isn’t cool, public service delivery isn’t cool, admission pressure isn’t cool, work load is not cool.  You just name it.

Folks, what is cool? 

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