Monday, 29 November 2010

Status Updates of friends on Facebook.

  Every morning as I log into my facebook account and first page I see is my home page. My home page consists of friends with their likes, their new friends, their tags, and their status updates etc... This is not something unusual as the home page either reveals the latest updates of the friends or the top stories. But what makes the home page unusual these days is that there is something in common in most of the status. Unlike the normal days when friends share their daily happenings, of love, philosophical, quotations, these days it’s of exams. Following are some of the status of my friends on facebook;

‘Exams starting…Aal is well…’

‘All the best, Do your exams well…’

The exams are yet to start so they convey their best wishes to their friends. With access to internet facilities, we remain connected all the time with our friends through social networks like facebook, hi5, tagged, twitter, orkut and so on so it saves time and money in buying wishing cards and posting long distances. We receive wishing and warm regards from friends living far and near, home and abroad, and in turn we can sent them our regards.

‘Busy exam days…’

‘The exams in full swing….half to go…’

The exam has already started and it seems its running smoothly. For those who are aware that they have to write the exams to prove their worth in the end, they prepare for it from the beginning and when it’s time for writing the exams, they are free of tension; rather they are ready to give their best performance. As a saying goes “slow and steady wins the race” we should prepare ourselves before hand to rather than cramming at books at the last moment.

‘Lots to study… not prepared at all…’

‘Spoiled the papers…damn it???...’

‘Syllabus…. Vast….Confusing…’

Enjoying the whole year totally forgetting their presence in the institution, they are left with lots to study. Just imagine, what would happen if we fill the balloon with the pressure with a hydraulic pressure in full speed? It will definitely get burst. But if we fill it with regular blow with the help of our mouth, we can maintain the required size of the balloon and will serve a good toy for our toddlers. It only adds pressure in our mind and we cannot concentrate well if we are to burn our midnight oil to prepare for our exams at the eleventh hour.

‘Exams are over…it’s time to relax….’

‘Done with the exams finally… excited to go home…’

Now having done with their exams, they are more or less happy. We don’t bother much about the results. It’s time for them to have fun and joy. While some enjoy with friends in the bar, there are others who neatly maintain their belongings, collect their reading materials, pack their belongings and plan for heading home to help their parents.

‘Happy break to all of my friends la…enjoy the vacation… and see you next year happily….with bearing beautiful smiles on your faces la… happy journey..’

Now they are at the verge of dispersing for their homes. Vacation has started and they bid farewell to each other. While some might be completing their studies and starting their new venture, others would be coming back to resume their studies. But for now they are heading for their vacation.

Unfortunately for me my vacation seems to be so far. My exams will commence only in February. What could be my status that time???

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Need of Conservation for Development

   Developmental activities has picked up its full pace in our country particularly during the 10th Five Year Plan. As mega projects like the commencement of biggest hydroelectric projects like the Punatsangchhu I and II, Mangdechhu and of course the upcoming 4,060 MW Sankosh project, estimated to cost more than Nu 210B, not only Bhutan’s target of harnessing 10,000 MW power by 2020 would be fulfilled but also there will be a creation of many jobs, thus reducing the unemployment rate. The government would be generating millions of revenue and the rural livelihood would also be greatly enhanced, thus achieving the Gross National Happiness.
   But the other side of the coin is that by commencing such mega projects, not only the local populations dwelling by the sites are affected by the dislocation of their homes and abandonment of their age old practiced farm lands but also there is a great threat to the depletion of forest resources. Somehow the local populations get compensated either in terms of cash or kind but the diversity of species threatened by such move left uncompensated.
   Just for an instance the construction of Sankosh project would be affecting one-third of Dagana’s population (9,356 people out of about 25,070) living in eight gewogs. Besides around 5,900.70 hectares of forest land would be submerged which will pose threats to 250 species of plants and trees, including 58 species of medicinal plants and four rare species of plants. Fourteen species of mammals, such as Assamese macaque and evidence of Asian elephants, sambar, sloth bear and golden langur, 86 species of butterflies, and 21 species of fish were also found by the site during the study. This would mean there would be great threat to the biodiversity if precautious measures are not undertaken.
   Biodiversity loss is one of the world’s most pressing crises with many species declining to critical levels. If not taken care there are great chances of extinction of endemic species of plants and animals which are affected by the developmental activities in our country as well. Once the species shift its risk level from one category to another (near threatened to vulnerable, vulnerable to endangered, and so on) their risk of extinction become higher.
   Biodiversity remains the visible and invisible basis for human existence. All human beings are dependent on biodiversity for their wellbeing. Their material, social and cultural well-being is founded on the rich biodiversity of our nation. The belief that unseen spirits live everywhere- in earth and on trees, skies and water, rocks, forests and valleys and even in the ground under our feet, has indeed helped in conservation of our biodiversity by the local populations. Moreover people are entirely dependent on the natural forest for all the basic necessities and have always sustained the resources so loss in biodiversity means population living in poor economic conditions are particularly vulnerable as they depend on primary food and fuel sources for their livelihoods.
    Therefore before the commencement of such developmental activities there is a need to adopt the conservation measures for our rich biodiversity so as to maintain our nation as one of the biological hotspots throughout the years to come. This could be achieved by strictly adhering to our already implemented national legislations and multi-lateral environmental agreements. This would mean the meeting of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation thus representing the new synthesis of economic development and environmental protection.
Data source: Kuensel article- A finishing touch to Sankosh, 23 November, 2010

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Wind of Fate

We simply understand wind as a gush of air, flowing in a certain direction bringing sensation of touch on our body though invisible. The trembling of leaves, shuddering of branches, fluttering of prayer flags, quivering of hair, and so on.., these are the effects of wind, which meteorologically is an element of climate caused by the variation of pressure. Heating and cooling of the air in contact with the earth cause rising of the heated air mass to be replaced by the cooler mass creating a movement of air which is known as wind, and are known by different names such as seasonal winds, constant winds, and occasional winds.
While winds have lots of favourable effects, the harmful effects are even devastating. Cyclones and anticyclones cause damage to life and properties; hurricanes causes wreckage of ships in ocean, typhoons destroys the crops and uproots the natural vegetations. These are what actually happen in the physical world in which we live.
In our life too, the winds do blow, The Wind of Fate. In our life we have summers of hope and winters of aspire, we will have ups, we will have downs, we dream, we aspect but ultimately our desire is to be happy and free ourselves from the miseries. Here the wind of fate plays an important role. Like the meteorological wind, the wind of fate brings joy and ecstasy. It too brings misery and cause devastation in our life. It is invisible. We don’t see from where it is blowing but we experience the consequences. There are lovers who enjoy romancing in their favourite places, but there are others who get betrayed by their loved ones. There are poor who become millionaire overnight and millionaires becoming bankrupt within a short span of time. These are the consequences due to swing of fate and quirk of luck though our laborious deeds have also a role to play.
In the novel Q & A (2005) of Vikas Swarup which turned a bestselling novel and latter a blockbuster on screens under the directorship of Danny Boyle, Slum Dog Millionaire, a poor orphan boy from the slums of Mumbai won one billion rupees as he contested a quiz, titled ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’. Having passed through the darkest of corners, deepest of dungeons, toughest of hardship in leading a life of simple human, the poor Ram Mohamad Thomas, whose name by virtue is a combination of three religions, when appeared in the quiz contest, was able to answer all the questions and take a billion rupee. Not because he is a great educationist, not because he was a mastermind in general knowledge, not because of sympathy for he being an orphan and a slum dweller, but only because of the wind of fate. In some cases, he was sure of the right answer, in other cases he was confident of the wrong options, and of course the lifelines, but ultimately all his answers were correct. Novel is after all a product of renowned writer and proper editing. The movie is the product of a script, which is well edited and then directed. It just shows the chances of such happenings in the real life.
Kaun Banega Crorepati, a biggest blockbuster reality show on Sony Entertainment has been hosted the acclaimed Big B, Amitabh Bachchan. It has been almost one month after its first broadcasting on 11th October 2010. Every evening we use to sit closely to the TV and watch the show. We see contestants from different walks of life, the bureaucrats, the peasants, the young students, the teachers, the highly educated personnel’s, the housewives, the riches, the poors, and in every episode we see the drama under the direction of what we call Fate. The cash they won were never below 3,20,000 but the ways they win were amazing. Some simply give up when they are not really sure of the answer, while some try their luck and win big sums. Some on the other hand, checks whether their fate favours or not and unfortunately fall to a mere 3,20,000 after winning one crore.
The first crorepati woman of season 4 with Mr. Bachchan

The most recent contestant who came to the hot sit with Big B was a humble housewife from a small village, Mrs Rahat Taslim. Though she had a BA degree she didn’t have a job to support her family. She sew cloths and earn a monthly sum of rupees 2,000. Her husband who works in a corporate earns only 6,000 rupees per month, has to feed his wife and two children. But after playing the game KBC, their life has changed over night. She had played a wonderful game. She was confident of all the answers. When she won a sum of 3,20,000 rupees, she exclaimed “I have never in my life handled such a huge sum, oh God! I couldn’t believe this. But incidentally she has won 50 lakhs. Answering the 12th question means she would be a millionaire or simply crorepati. The twelveth question splashes on the computer screen.
“Which was the first African nation to elect woman as president” and the options are
a. Ethiopia
b. Liberia
c. Kenya
d. Nigeria
Mrs Rahat was confused. She was not sure of the correct answer. Luckily she had still two life lines with her, phone or friend and double dip.
“Give the correct answer, you win 10 million. Wrong answer and you will drop to 3, 20,000 rupees”. Mr Bachchan alerts her to play cautiously.
Though not sure with the answer, who would give up so easily when we have got two life lines for a single question. So she chooses phone or friend option. She made a call to one of her friend, who was a chartered accountant but so sad, he couldn’t help her win one crore. Now she rely upon her fate, “if fate favours then I will win.” That was her response so she gambles her 50 lakh rupees to win a crore. “Double dip!!! First option is C,” so sad, wrong answer. “Ok now I will go with B, Liberia.”
There is a crescendo of drums. The correct answer flashes.
“Absolutely correct. You have now won one billion rupees!” declares Mr Bachchan, “you have played a good game, and you have the ability to win this sum so you are the first person on this show to have won crore rupees. Congratulations!!!” The shower of flowers filled the hall. The audience stands up and cheers. The lady who have never handled a sum of 3 lakhs will have to handle one crore rupees, which she will deposit in her account which was opened just a few days prior to her turning up for the show. The humble housewife has now become a greatest celebrity. This is how the wind of fate influences our life.
The winds of destiny that blows when we least expect them in the world that we seldom understand. Sometimes they squall with furry of hurricanes, sometimes they barely caress our cheek and whisper to our ears. But the wind cannot be denied, bringing as they often do a future that is impossible to ignore. The wind that which we did not anticipate gust more strongly than we imagined. In times it leads our path towards the destiny. When we silently listen to such whisper of the wind, caressing our ears, thus leaving the spirit of happiness behind.
Let the wind of fate bring no misery. Let the wind of fate direct us towards our destiny.
Photo courtesy: googles

Saturday, 13 November 2010

One Morning in the Winter.

   Though the summer months of April, May and June are excessively hot with the thermometer sticking as high as 50̇̊̊C but as winter approaches the temperature gradually drops to a minimum of 5̊C. This is the variation of temperature in the subtropical region situated at an elevation of 629metres. Its chilling cold to wake up at 5:30 am in the morning and set foot on the lush green lawn all covered with crystal droplets of dew. Indeed we are to attend the physical training class which is mandatory by rules for the successful completion of our course. Though the dawn cracked and the sparrows and koelbirds started chirping, it is still dim with the sun far behind the horizon. The morning air from the mist is refreshing and the chirping of birds from the nearby woodland is pleasing to the ears but, I still remain drowsy. I feel like running back to my room and wrapping up in the warm duvet but will have to wait until the PT master grants permission.

Meanwhile memories of my past back at home haunt me. People call it a flashback and thats what exactly I am experiencing at the present. I was deeply obsessed by worries regarding the situation back at home during this season. Situated at an elevation of more than 2500metres above mean sea level, winter in my village it is severely cold. The clear moonlit night of the previous day would leave the ground with a thick layer of frost, the water tapes would be jammed by the ice within, if we fail to let the water run throughout the night. It’s really cold but my parents don’t have the privilege to sleep cozily in their warm blankets. My sister will have to wake up as early as the first call of dawn by the rooster, prepare tea for the family and set out to collect straws from the pasture lands to keep the cows warm. My brother will have to take a sip of tea and with his axe on his shoulder and rope around his waist, will have go to the nearby woods to collect the billets of firewood. My mom on the other hand, will have to wake up as early as my sister and begin her chores in the kitchen. My little nephew will have to get himself ready for school which is an hours walk from my village. Thus they will have to really fight the bitterness of the early morning breeze before the first ray of sun strikes the valley at around 6:30 am.

 Had I left my school seven years ago, I would have never got the opportunity to escape the harsh winter of my village; I would have never got a chance to get myself exposed to different communities; I would have never got the possibility to set my foot beyond my village boundary. Rather my face would be filled with sun burns, my lips cracked out of the chilly frosts, my hands full of blisters, and my clothes with stitches and dirts all over, I would be struggling back at home.

Only then I thought that I should be enjoying here. My parents endure lots of pain in the torrential rain, scorching sun, and the cold bitter winters. But their sufferings are not meant for their own happiness rather for my goodness. Then I realized my presence here. I have lots to achieve. I should get myself employed, I will have to repay to my government in terms of dedication and loyalty, I will have to repay to my gracious parents for their sacrifices made for me.

“Life is like waves of the ocean. Without the crest and trough in their movement it will never sweep the sands from the shores. Therefore we should be prepared to accept the ups and downs of our lives before accepting the fruits of our toil.”

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

What they Call the Festival Of Lights.

   It’s my third year in India and every year as the winter months approaches, the fellow students of my college are more or less thinking about the holidays. The season is indeed festive and every single month starting September has at least one important festival to celebrate, a different god to worship and of course a different pray for our multifarious desire, which is something not uncommon. Religions are diverse and so are the Gods and Goddesses, but I felt that the ultimate creator of this universe would be only one God, The God of All Gods.
   This November, the first festival to be celebrated was Deepawali ( Diwali), an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. For Hindus, it is one of the important festivals where the families unite together and celebrate by performing traditional activities. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. Like we Bhutanese during the time of celebrating tsechu, they wear new cloths and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. It is said that Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. To me it reminds me of the Descending Day of Lord Buddha, who after savouring her mother from the ephemeral world suffering in Lhayul to the Dewachen-ge-zhingkham, the eternal world of peace and tranquillity, on 22nd day of the Ninth month in lunar calendar.

They have all gone. Only a handful of students were left in the three storeyed hostel. Unlike the normal days, I could sense the real peace and amity, without any whistles and screams. In one way, it also seemed to be a haunted house, abandoned by all. This year fifth November is the particular day when diwali is celebrated. During the day time, people follow their regular customaries. Nothing unusual was done but as dusk draw nearer, the lights glow brighter. The little chawk at the college gate has got a different look that day. Unlike other days where the rags shattered everywhere, the men urinating beside the walls, the road so dusty and stinking from every corner, it was neatly maintained. There was fragrance from every corner and a beautiful temple was temporarily statured for the worship of god Rama. The shops were beautifully decorated with lights glowing in different colour and it blinks following a systemic rhythm. Sweets are something which is not uncommon during festivals. The shopkeepers offered us sweets and wished “Happy Deepawali”.

  Slowly there were sounds of crackers bursting, bombs blasting and as night darkened, the sound grew louder and louder. The dark sky gradually got replaced with light of bursting crackers. It seems the stars were falling, the world seemed full of lights and peace but suddenly it reminded me of the recent hazardous fire of Chamkhar, which grazed the entire town into ground on the fateful morning of 26 October, 2010. My heart was then suddenly filled with grief and woe. I closed my eyes and prayed for the steady recovery of the victims of the worst calamity back at home. I too prayed for non recurrence of such incidents in the future. I too was worried what if the festival of light that night engulfed the entire city, but it was clear in my mind that such disaster wouldn’t ensue due to the blessings of god Rama, to whom millions were praying that day. The fellow students in our hostel also started blasting the tiny bombs and bursting the crackers high in the air. Candles were lit all over the verandas and roofs. They call it the “Festival of Light” but if precautions are not taken, it’s also a “Festival of Fright.”

Photo courtesy: google

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Threshold of My Future.

    I passed my class twelve in 2007. I was a Science student. My dream was nothing big but simply to get a job in the field of my interest, serve to the Tsa-Wa-Sum to the best of my ability, pay back to my gracious parents and lead a happy life. While in school my performance in exams were never bad. I cant say that I am the best. I knew that how much we struggle, we will will be rewarded in the same proportion. So i follow the principle, "Slow and Steady WINS the RACE". I started studying since the first day of the academic session. The way i studied is very simple. I simply follow the norms of the school. I never misused the study hours as i was in boarder school.
    Days passed into weeks, and weeks into months. The co-curricular activities though full of fun and bliss, in times it makes my routine so hectic. The expeditions for learning, trekking with the Canadian students, excursion for photography with the Koreans, cultural tour with the fellow office bearers, the year 2007 was indeed one of the memorable academic years in my life. December month calls for the BHSEC. It is the turning point in the life of student. You do it, or die, but for we have been preparing for it since 20th of February, there shouldn't be much to worry. We should be prepared to face the exams and prove our worth. The exams were over and the school closed for its winter vacation.
    It was in the mid of February when our results were declared. I was anxious as well as excited. I was in Wangdue. It was in one of the chilly evenings, the date which I have forgotten. I visited the web site of Bhutan Telecom, and typed my index number on the tag which blinks " BHSEC RESULT". I was more than glad. My aggregate of English plus best three was not bad. Since then I thought that i would be able to achieve my dream. In the month of March we had orientation programme for those who qualified for studying abroad. My rank was not bad in a merit rank. I was somewhere in twenties..., and when  I was called for the selection of my course in the chamber of BCCI,  I without giving a second thought said, " I will go for B.Sc. Forestry". some of the members of the selection committee pointed out to me that, I have got good options in the field of engineering too. But I was adamant to change my first thought.
    If I am to give a second thought also, my course of study wouldn't have changed. So from that day the threshold of my future has forwarded the first step.