Saturday, March 31, 2012

Greeting without kabney!

One of the first local Tshechus commenced yesterday, the Bula Tshechu. There was  Mewang(fire blessing?) in the evening supposedly attended by 100s of people, notably the young folks. But i missed it delibrately. Not that i have become old with arthritis but because i have my early-warning systems which i respect much. Last year, after the Mewang two groups of youth impishly indulged into into fights which later came to be known as "Gang fight". I thought that could have been a tough fight whatever.
Well, losers do gang up and form associations. Valiant fight alone. Gandhiji fought alone in his early years, Mandela fought 26 full years , alone from the prison in Robben island. Closer at hand, i have been fighting peptic ulcer for almost a decade now..just alone! No worries! One fine day, it would recover and i would be munching on fibers of international strength! For the timebeing i survive and depend for my calories from the cheap potatoes that choden prepares with all her heart. I defy the dictum from medics against eating chillies for ulcer patients since i admire chillies for their "hotness"!:)
Honestly, i have reduced my Doma supply. It is almost time for me to advance my life with robust health. Less Doma, less drinks, less chilli, less hurry,less worry and ofcourse a good curry. In one of the lectures, years ago, we were taught how hurry,worry and curry aggravates stomach disorders. Ever since i have tried to handle my stomach with care!
Well, i hinted you about the Drilam Namzha sessions in my school, didnt i? So yesterday, we were trying to learn about how to greet our king and Royal family, Lyonpos,  MPs,Dashos, Drungpas etc.
Mind you,Without kabney! In a sacred place like ours, you cant simply run after the MPs and ask for their autographs. That stupid act of yours might land you in the District prison for a week!
Greetings first!
What if you suddenly had to greet the HM and you didnt have your kabney? Please dont imagine that i knew all these trifles without schooling. And again, i did borrow a book on Driglam Namzha from a lopen and memorised all those steps before i taught them.:).
"Your right leg to the front followed by your left leg and bend yourself with your arms in the front. Bend as much as you can till your fingers and your ankles are at par!" I demonstrate to them. That looks like simple kungfu training. Lol.
 "Dont bend your knees! Dont stare up!", i correct few of them. Now mock session.
I line them in a single file and tell them to imagine that Lyonpo SY(that is me... he he) visited their school. So i march: head held high, hands swinging more than a shiny pendulum, and with steps dutiful and  hopeful for the next vote!
They all fall in for the greet( in Dzongkha). I take a pause. They are all standing in front of the legend and with heads bowed as low as possible. That is like a good drilam namzha!
 "Leshom bey ra yoed ka?", i ask them in Lyonpo Thakur-like tone! "Yoed la", they whisper back bowing thier heads more than ever. "Pro...blem mey ga?!".
 "Med la", they respond back in sanctity! Hmm..that is all, i thought. No problems at all.

"About turn", i yell at them. "Disperse!!".

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sitting Gracefully!

Yesterday,as usual, after the second period, it was the Driglam Namzha session. I lead a group of boys from two sections(Eigth standard).  As a brief recapitulation of our last session, i asked all of them to turn around and show how they wore Ghos. Well, i have consciously chosen a place near the wall so that i dont have to turn around and show them how they should wear their ghos by showing my sample! Choden does all the magic with my Gho while i just need to maintain my optimum shape around my buttock. Ha ha.
"Good", i announce them loudly. "Today we are going to learn how to sit!".
Ahem, sitting a Bhutanese way is tricky. Risky too. With Ghos as high as knee length, it is all about delicate tactics to sit gracefully without having to flaunt one's faded halfpants/boxers. Imagine how passionately our forefathers carried out this simple art of sitting while they had nothing underneath except their Ghos that rose way above thier shapeless knees! A trifle mistake could risk you an embarrassing moment of accidently showing off your male organ! Hats off! lol.
"It is easy to sit in our tradition", i tell my students boastfully. I nervously ask them to observe at they way i sit.  "This is a time to be careful, boy", i tell myself. I utter my mantra.(I got mantras for trauma management!).
 By that time,few girls and lady teachers had curiously gathered near our team to observe my demonstration. I might melt anytime now, i thought to myself. But you know, i am a tough teacher! I march dandily right in the centre of semi-circle that the students had formed and nothing but SIT!
I let it go so natural...walk, walk, walk,,, right feet crosses the left, my right hand presses the Gho at the junction of my two thighs, forms a merciful blockade and sit down! "Did you see anything??", i ask them. Peels of laughter. By then,Ladies turned around and minded thier own business.:). I bow down to my team's claps. "Now it is your turn to demonstrate it one by one", i announce them. We complete the session after an hour or so but with much satisfaction.
Coming up next on Driglam Namzha is how to eat in our tradition. Not a easy thing! But that is next saturday.(Folks,I would try to update it here).
Well, that is why we are Drukpas. We have unique ways for everything. The way we dress, the hats we wear, the way we talk, think , do .....
Seriously, if you got an opportunity to wear your Gho and walk around NY city, the Americans might alert their intelligence services for a possible tribal ambush against Mr. President! he he he.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Solving problems..

Despite all the ensuing commotions about the "crunch", it snowed quite a lot in Bumthang."This is a sign for good harvest", i have told Choden saintly. Atleast, the seeds that we lovingly sowed in our garden to supplement our diet look promising than the bleak rupee crunch. Simply put in my own terms, this is a time to go more into farming than shopping! We have small realisation how self-sufficient we are!
 I called my Mom few days back and i was surprised that they(father and mother) were presently in Gelephu Tsha chu to treat their old bones! Oh, that surely sounds like a good vacation. Holydaying at this time,eh?! That could be the last option to plan when commotions are high in the air! Just as a matter of fact, i asked if she knew about those hypes with Indian rupees. She couldnt understand it. She hadnt seen any needs with Indian currency except during her Neykhor to Dorjidhen."Things look alarming this year", i warned her as a dutiful son. She said not to worry too much about things and told me that this Dragon year, i would bounce back with good health. I checked my pulses around my wrist. Yes, nothing is bad with me except my looks! Lol.
Before i hung up the phone, for formality's sake, i said i would be happy to oblige if she needed anything to send from Bumthang. "Tiru lhammm bey yoed ga?", i had blurted out without even realising how could i spare few 1000 bucks for them when things are tough in my own backyard! "Yoed yoed,". Yes!! That is a good luck for me.:)
It has been ages since i last gave them or sent them money. Honestly, i  have never felt the need since Apa do get his non taxable pension(!) at the end of every month while, every little salary i earn monthly is largely taxed. I guess he understands it!
So this is a time to once again think green. Walk offices instead of drive. Go for green tea. Milk free! Cut down holidays. Reduce gambling. Take bath once a week, wash your clothes once a month! Reduce fried curries, it might worry you laters! Take plenty of Dhal instead of meat.Hold on till New Year discount schemes to buy your clothes. Roll your sleeves and dig your kitchen gardens. Use candles to reduce your electricity bills! He he.
Well that is all for today.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Silly wits!!

I went to an ATM today and withdrew the last of my few thousands to contain our daily necessities while the financial institutions around the nation were busy taking measures to "rein in Indian rupee spending". As wont to, Choden had asked me if that meant problem for us."I dont know", i replied as a matter of fact. There is nothing as much volatile than market instability but personally, i have triumphed over all of them. Not that we are rich but because we have limited wants. And also,limited means. It is easy: when i go to the shop that we get our credits, i pay them half the money that we owed in the last month. I take double the worth of my paid cash and level the credit at the same point! They say it is "Rolling"! Despite in a small community like ours, business works much on personal trust than on monthly salary.:)
However,we have one of the best policies at hand: the GNH! With its 9 domains and 72 indicators, as rich as the Epic of Kesar(i presume it has 72 volumes?) , i am still nervous. I have always been paranoid visiting an ATM. "What if the pay didnt get updated in my account?". So whenever i enter into that ATM chamber, i broaden my shoulder, and keep as small distance as possible to avoid others seeing my balance. Afterall, it is too risky.
Perhaps, most of us are poor. But again, you are as poor as your spiritual deficits! Most of the times, i consider myself rich in thoughts and wholesome in actions. I bet by the law of GNH, monks and nuns would be the most happiest people for they crave for nothing but spiritual awakening. I was surprised when Nima(the elder of the twins), hinted at the need of a Mobile at such a premature age. "You are in a Dratshang, why do you need mobile?", i countered him unwillingly. "All others have it!", he blurted out."Despite, i need to talk to Mom, and Dawa and Cera sometimes". Yeah, i got it. He wouldnt mention that he misses talking to me during his monk days! "Not this time!", i announce it. He sulked for a whole day! So when he parted with us to his monastic school to some 300 km from here(Chargarey, Samtse it is!), few days ago, i suggested Choden to pack our small family album for him. "Whenever you miss us, go through the album", i advised him saintly!
At the back of my mind, i have always regretted Nima going to a Dratshang at 10 years old but it was his Grandma's idea. Life is hard for him too as is for me. But that is a different story.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Time to dig gardens not noses!

To warm ourselves from the menancing cold of Bumthang, Choden suggested gardening. I am much into outdoor activities but not this. I wanted to shirk but as a responsible human, i thought it is embarrassing to send my wife and children to dig the garden while i remained indoors. So there we were: four of us fully armed not with ammunitions but with agricultural tools to dig our garden. Half the size of the basketball court, i bet the best vegetables that we can harvest from it is some Peas that might have interested Gregor Mendel who first started genetics through garden peas! Nothing much grows in Bumthang even if you gave the best of organic farming techniques except for potatoes.Personally, my taste buds ve never been in good terms with this solanaceae but my kids love it. They wont eat a meal without potato curry! No wonder, the better half of it(Sweet Potato) has been ranked numero uno in nutrition by some nutritionists in America. That doesnt tempt me either. I am more into pork as i told you earlier:). On a cold day like this, if you had a plate of Sikkam rice, i bet that is the best orgasmic climax in your mouth.Lol.
With potatoes, the exquisite dish that can ever come out is Alu Dum which might stick to all your finner palates like some outdated painkillers. Kewa Datsi might come next. Shakam kewa? Whatever you mix your potato with, it does some justice.
So, i utter some old traditional mantra as i sow potatoes in my garden. My kids look at me amused. I remember how my mother stored food grains for the first time after the harvests. As she poured the grains into the big wooden container, she said something that is not even audible.I realised much later that those are nothings but a simple thankful wishes! Truly, in our tradition, we have prayers or rituals for everything. We have signs all around us. We cant construct on inauspicious days, we cant travel during certain dates in our calender, we cant cut hair or clip our nails randomly, we cant erect prayer flags as we like it, we cant eat meat during holy days blah blah...well this time around it is not even wise to indulge into unholy acts like sexual intercourse!:).  Be careful now. He he.

The New Session.

The new Dragon year commenced with tempestuous start. Although it snowed beautifully in my place, the stormy rains at lower altitudes was much unexpected. A good snowfall signify a bountiful harvest later but as you  might have heard by now, all seems not well according to the Bhutanese astrologers. I have already booked a date with Ap Tshampa to perform a small ritual in order to ward off any offences from astrology. Honestly, i do not believe much in theoritical sayings but when it comes to yourself, it is like "what if i do get sick?". If you go by astrology, your future is as bleak as any cancerous patients even if you were as healthy as an Italian stallion!
Well,things have started peeling off at its natural speed in my school now. I got promoted to Exam Secretary this year.:) I am only keeping my fingers crossed that the conduct of examinations goes well which is like hoping against hope. I just introduced my lessons in the classes that i am supposed to teach. Nothing new. I give them same introduction every year."Comparing to last year, this year we have more promising students", i tell them hiding all my nonsense and i have been repeating those praises every year!Lol.
I volunteered a new club this year: Nature Club. Not that i am too keen into nature but because one of my freinds suggested my name in my absence.
Motto of the club: Nurture nature, nature nurtures!
Activities:1. To maintain flower gardens around the school campus. 2. To create a botanical garden in a specific area. 3. To plant saplings 4. To make GREEN school.(i do not know it myself!).
Sure enough, students thought it was more of work than fun in Nature club. Three students turned up to get themselves enrolled in Nature club. I asked them if they were really interested. At the back of my mind, i have included some fieldtrips to some hilltops and river banks to study and explore natural habitats which i tactfully left out to advertise so as to minimise the number of students. It is hard to manage a club when you get more members. If you really do not want to get yourself burdened with club activities, just make your action plans dull. Few students would turn up at you! Yahoo!....hmmm this is all for today.