Monday, 31 January 2011

A Casual Talk with my Friend.

He was my village companion, our parents shared the same pasture land, my cousins know him well, yet two of us were strangers to each other until one day I received a message from him while chatting on facebook. Through facebooking I came to acquaint him properly. I came to learn that he was studying in Kolkata, a night journey from my college.

“It’s near, why don’t you make a visit out here during your weekends “he welcomed wholeheartedly.
“Indeed it’s a great pleasure for me. I will try if time permits" I responded him.

He gives me his number and I gave him mine. We talked and shared the happenings back home, the health and soundness of our relatives, and indeed those thrilling experiences which we experienced over the peaks, though not together.

Often we use to have casual talks.

“Hey bro,” he called me. “How u doing.”
“I am doing good bro; let me hear your status"
“I am fine as well, ahh bro; our exams got postponed, so with this shit, I will be free for another month.”
“Oh this things happens everywhere, our last semester exam was delayed by a week and that of the third semester by almost a month. Such things really infuriate.” I paused for a while. I never thought that such things happen most of the colleges in India.

“But with the exams postponed, you will get another month to prepare for it right,” I continued laughingly.

“That’s for sure but this hampers our itinerary, we cannot always be in the college our life, we will have search for the un-lost thing called job, make a living and then of course many others,”

“Yeah, you are right brother but there is nothing we can do when the administrative system out here in our colleges are not that good. I appreciate the way the colleges in our country functions.”

As such we talked and talked. It’s cheap to make calls in India; one rupee can talk for two STD minutes, unlike the expensive call rates with each minute costing more than one Ngultrum back home.

Again a couple of days ago, I chatted with a friend of mine in Kolkata.
“Hi.., how u doing man?” I typed.
“Hello, I am doing good. How r u?” was his reply.
“I am fine as well. So how about your class today?”
“Yeah I went....normal as usual.”

He is now in his final semester and within a month or two, he will be done with the formalities required for completing the degree.

“So how is your progress for the year?” I asked him

“Yeah ...almost touching the summit of my college days... few more days to go now.” Was his reply.

As anticipated he asked me about mine. But I didn’t have good news to share with him.
It has been more than two weeks now that the non-teaching staffs called a strike with regards to their pay. It’s human nature to be greedy, not necessarily all. Classes were suspended completely during the first week of strike. On the following week, the college authorities said that the college will be open and classes will resume as the professors are not on strike this time. We went to the college to attend classes but to our utter disgust, classes remained locked and found professors, standing by the shield of their cars. No, classes didn’t happen. Our semester exams are just few weeks away and by now, we should be doing our practicals, but they are all impeded. We are left with no alternatives but simply to wait and see as the strike is uncertain. If their demands are met, then it can be called off now and then. But looking at the nature the higher authorities are functioning and hearing from fellow students, it seems that it will continue for another week or two. with this most probably our exams are going to be delayed by at least one week. 

Is this a characteristic of democracy? If so, then let not such events happen in colleges of our tiny Bhutan.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Winter and Forest Fires.

Among the notable things about fire is that it also requires oxygen to burn – exactly like its enemy, life.  Thereby are life and flames so often compared.  ~Otto Weininger

Earth, water, fire and air are the four natural elements which form the pristine earth, yet each of these elements brings lots of destruction to the mother earth. There are instances where thousands of lives lost due to the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes elsewhere in the world as well as in our own country. Tsunami, cyclone aila, and floods etc.., have made thousands homeless and starve. The cyclones and hurricanes blow away thousands of hamlets and towns yearly and fire is not an exception. Thus all such natural forces without which the earth would have formed, once again become the forces which lead to the devastation of the beautiful earth itself. 

‘Fire is a good servant but a bad master.’ This is an age-old adage which has been passed down from generations. Life would be dreary without a light of fire, so cold without its heat during the extreme winters and what not, we cannot have our meals raw as the nature bequeaths. This is how the fire serves us at home. But the misuse of fire might raze down the entire house within a fraction of hours, creating lots of devastation, unimaginable, thus governing the entire elements by its fierce, ferocious and deadly flames. The fateful night of 26/11/2010 when the fire razed the entire Chamkahr Town is an example to be cited.
Forest fire in Thimphu. source: kuensel

Winter is month of dryness, of parchedness, and aridness. That’s why we call it season of emptiness. But it is in this particular season that most of our nations great asset, the forests get engulfed by the fierce flames of fire. Yearly, thousands of acres of forest land are gutted down by fire in Bhutan, which results in enormous economic losses because of destroyed timber, burnt housing, high costs of fire suppression, damage to environmental, recreational and amenity values and loss of life and livelihoods. Be it caused due to negligence of the common people by not putting off the flames after burning the farm debris, be it caused by the innocent children’s playing with the fire crackers and match sticks, be it due to mere incidents of electric short circuit, be it due to recklessness and carelessness of those who throw the burning cigarette bud after smoking, or be it caused intentionally by the local people to gain the minor benefit of self interest like grazing of livestock, but the ultimate result is the loss of the age-old preserved pristine forest resource of our country.

Fire once outbreak, it’s very difficult to contain in our country, mainly because Bhutan being a mountainous country with forests covering the steep terrains. Boulders begin sliding down, drilling fear into the team of firefighters due to loosened forest soil. The fallen leaves are very dry, fissured barks of the tree catch fire in ease, and the dry undergrowth becomes the best fuel. Moreover, whenever the fire starts, it is fanned by strong winds, thus spreading over a vast area and thereby charring the beauteous nature into ashes within a short span of time. Besides, in winter the water is a scarce resource, which we consider fires enemy, so containment become a big problem. 
Fire Triangle.

Fire by nature is a chemical reaction which involves three components, fuel, heat (temperature), and oxygen (air). To have a fire in any combustible substance, each one of these components must be present to help each other. So in order to prevent or control the fire, we will have to break the link between any of these three components.  Making fire lines in the forest can break such links and stop a fire from spreading to adjacent forest but our country being mountainous, it’s seldom achievable. So the best remedy is to prevent it from the beginning, for prevention is better than cure.

Every year, countless acres of forests are burned because of human carelessness. The winter of 2010 alone saw more than 40,000 acres of forest area gutted by fire in Bhutan. It would also be crucial if instead of Forest official’s spending money and resources in investigating the cause of fire, if they spent it on creating awareness to the general public before the onset of fire outbreak season.
Although fire has been the primary agent of forest degradation, as a natural process it serves an important function in maintaining the health of certain ecosystems. The conventional view of fire as a destructive agent requiring immediate suppression has given way to the view that fire can and should be used to meet land management goals under given ecological conditions. However it has limited application in our country as of now.

Lets preserve our forest and sustain it for our future generations as well, as this will be one of the means of achieving Gross National Happiness.

“Prevention is the most important strategy and it is everyone’s responsibility,

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Like the Flowing River

I first posted this creation of mine on WAB, on 18th December 2010, but I feel its worthy repeating the same post here.

Like the flowing river,
With its source high in the pristine mountains.
The journey of our life,
Commences from the purity of mother’s womb.

With the striking of golden rays,
The pristine peaks melt giving its way.
And with a new dawn, we pace our first step,
Toward the unknown destiny of lifelong quest.
Unlike the river descending from high cliffs,
With sparkling droplets from split splashes,
We ascend every stair, listening to our rhythmic heart;
Though without bliss, but with glowing hopes.

Like the river rushing through the rugged terrains,
Life pierces through the odds of challenges.
With every single step we take,
The roughness of obstacles plays its part.
And amid the valleys, the river meanders,
Retaining its beauty and exhibiting its selflessness.
Life now breaks the toughest of barrier,
Thus sensing the glitters of long longed triumph.
Finally pours its water into infinite ocean,
Where waves caress the shores like an ardent lover.
And there the destiny awaits our deserved win
With colourful bouquets; thus fate pays our toil.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Journey Amid The Chilly Night- Way back from Kolkata.
The stretch of platform covers the entire plain, the tracks compresses the whole earth, the mighty roof shelters the vast concrete base, and people from all walks of life gathers beneath it, hurrying towards their respective platform with their belongings, though they eye on the happenings by their surrounding as well. Thousands they were scattered here and there, trains bearing different number come and go and so does the crowd, heading towards diverse destination, thus their journey of thousand miles begins from the common point. Yet the hustle and bustle never ceased within the Howrah Station. I was one among the many, this time heading back towards my college.

My two day stay in Kolkata was an enthralling one. Unlike the days which I spent idly in my room back in the college, having only a single companion from Bhutan, I was more socialized down there. Sharing the meals and laughter with doses of affection, it reminds me the days how I spent the days in boarding schools back home. And especially the New Year party, it was a moment to be cherished in my life. But my stay there was short as we are not having holidays, thus reverberating within my soul, the impermanence of our life. Meeting causes departure.

Our new friends there then reached us to the station at around 9:00pm on 2nd January 2011. Our train was to leave at 10:20pm so there was more than an hour to linger within the vicinity of the mighty station. Of course, the street kids and beggars are something which never miss.

Coincidently there were around five seniors of my college who had come to Kolkata for giving their competitive exams. They were also on their way back to their home state. So unlike the journey forward where two of us were alone amidst strangers, we were in a group, but within the train we were in separate bogies. This time we were to go by sleeper class. Ours was S2 and the bogie in which they were travelling was S8. So in between there were six bogies. 

It was very cold at the station. The cold breeze blowing from the river brought more chill, so as soon as the train arrived the station at 10:00pm, passengers rushed in to locate their respective seats. We also entered the train and found that our seats were in the middle couch. Exactly at 10:20pm, the train drifted slowly like the waves that caress the shores, before finally it picked up its full pace, leaving behind the dusty, noisy and crowded station.

Life itself is a journey filled with hardships, joy, laughter and finally the lessons. The path in which we travel is never smooth so in the journey of life different challenges test our courage and determination, albeit the experience teaches us to prepare ourselves for toughest of hardships. Our journey by sleeper class is going to be a hardship with lessons to learn.

In AC class, the couches are facilitated with heater and air-conditioner. Besides they provide us with quilt, pillow, bed sheets and towel which make our journey more comfortable. Though it is a service which they render in return for the extra sum we pay. We were not aware that blankets were not provided in sleeper class. In the winter night when the temperature dropped below 5degree Celsius, I couldn’t imagine the bitterness of cold breeze.

The windows were left open, a gush of wind trapped like a tides of oceans, making us shiver. Nearby the window was an elderly man. He then pulled up the slide and closed the window. There were youngsters seating by the adjacent berths. Seems they all went for giving the competitive exam. They were discussing about the questions, and as such the murmur of different passengers filled the train noisy. It was not as peaceful as in AC class. The noise never lowered, the movement of people never ceased, but gradually most of them started sleeping. They were all having thick blankets. They hide their shoes underneath their blankets. While in AC class, we leave our shoes beneath our beds. That itself is an indication that sleeper class is not safe.
‘How dare one would steal away others shoe.’

I and my friend were more or less like naked, in an icy cold night. We were to sleep on the upper berths. With only our casual dress, which we were wearing the whole day, I couldn’t imagine a sound nap. I didn’t put off my shoes also. By 12:30am, most of the passengers were asleep. With my bag as pillow, I covered my head with the jacket which I was wearing. Yet the air seeping by the pores of my cloths never let my eyes close. But somehow I managed to take a nap for two hours peacefully. 

When I was awake the time was 2:30am. It was bitter cold, my body was shivering. I found that my friend was also awake. On the other hand, people were in deep sleep, snoring as loud as honking train. Many could be enjoying in their dreams but our journey was a worst of experience. At 3:00am two of us then rushed towards S8 where our seniors would be sleeping. Reaching there we found that they were enjoying the night cozily. At first I hesitated to awake them but, as they told us in the evening before that at midnight we may come to their couch if we cannot sleep, so with those hearty words in mind, I awaken one of my seniors. He then called on another senior and two of them managed to sleep on the same bed. Having provided a blanket to me and my friend, two of us with a sigh of relief, slept on one bed, under their auspice. 

"Hey, wake up”. A voice awoke me. I opened my eyes; yawned and looked at my watch found that it was 7:30am. One of my seniors was standing by our side and said, “How was the night" 

“At least we should be prepared up to some extent to face the consequences in adversity.” I replied. "It was a bitter-sweet journey."

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

My Journey to Kolkata.

source: google
There was a hustle and bustle of travelers in and around the station. The time was 8:30pm and there was still more than an hour for the train to go. I was just loitering around looking by the book stalls, the tea shops and other small vendors. This time I didn’t have any luggage to carry. Only thing I had was my small bag so I need not have to worry about the misplacement of my luggage which I usually do when I go for vacations. There were street kids begging, there were crippled humans struggling to live a life, there were others who sit and chat. Such things are not uncommon so I didn’t focus on such phenomenons. I was just hoping to reach my destination the next morning without any troubles on the way.

I checked my balance on my phone. There was only eight rupees. I walked around to recharge my phone but couldn't locate a single shop selling recharged coupons nearby.
“Oh! How shall I text New Year greetings to my friends near and far,” I was startled. “No I will wish them latter.”

Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine, indeed my village acquaintance called me to visit him down there in Kolkata where he studies. The first and last time I stepped in the city of Kolkata was three years ago when I first came to India. Since then I have never been there. I took the short route to reach my home during vacations, instead of going via Kolkata. This time I was having a break of around five days. Since the Christmas Eve most of the students living in our hostel has left for their home for celebrating the Christmas and then the New Year and as such we were just a handful of students in the hostel. So I made my mind to visit my friend down there.

"Hatia Howrah Express, train no 18616 will leave on platform number1 at 21 hours 40 minutes," came the announcement. There was hardly ten minutes so I made myself ready for the journey. I have reserved an AC Class and that cost me around Rupees 700, as I reserved the ticket just one day before my journey on tatkal reservation. Ok, money is not a matter. What we need is safety during journey and I find AC class safe without much influx of strangers and beggars. In the train, my seat was just near the exit point. People go and people came, thus opening the door time and again, inviting gust of wind, in the chilly winter night. There were other passengers seated by my side. I didn’t talk with a single of them though two of us (me and my only Bhutanese friend in my college) talked a little but we also didn’t chat much.

Outside, it was dark and nothing was visible. Through the windows, I couldn’t see the child playing by the meadow; man’s fishing by the ponds, trucks plying with heavy loads, paddy in full ripe, and vehicles in queue waiting for the passing train, which we normally see while traveling during the daytime. The people by our side, they talked, they dinned, and finally they were planning to sleep so I gave them way to sleep by climbing myself to the upper berth. It was already 12:00am, 1st January 2011, and thus my first day of the year was a journey.
"Is it an indication that my year will be full of Journey?" I thought. "Forget it, life itself is a journey," I condemned myself.

 I then wrapped myself tightly in the soft blanket provided, and then comfortably put myself in dreamland.
"2011, what will it bring for me??? No, it will bring a lot but I have to achieve them, else it will pass-by as did by the bygone 2010. Last year at this time, our college was on strike so we didn’t have a remarkable begin. The semester exams got postponed, the syllabi were not completed and I have tough time coping up with those adverse situations."
While I was gazing back to the bygone year, the person sleeping on the lower berth distracted me. He snored and snored. I tried to awaken him but I couldn’t. Nor could I sleep well. However the night has slowly given its way to the new dawn of 2011.

So in the morning at around seven I was in the large, noisy and crowded Howrah station. We were dropped on platform no 16. Two years ago, we boarded the train from platform no 24. It was almost midnight that time so I could not locate anything which seems familiar to my previous journey. I then called my unacquainted friend of Kolkata and told him about our arrival in the station. He then wholeheartedly told me that he will come to the station to catch us. Actually we could have boarded a taxi and made our own way to his place which is around 30 minute drive but somehow I felt apprehensive.
“What if the taxi driver drove us to another place and empties our purse (though I don’t have much)?"

My friend then called me. That time I had only three rupees on my balance. Each incoming minute deduced one rupee and before we could meet amid the crowd, my balance finished. My friend who was accompanying me on the other hand has finished his balance texting and calling his friends the night before so he was left with only with a fraction of rupee on his balance. Two phones couldn’t meet the requirement of a common interest. What an absurdity. I then rushed to the PCO but there wasn’t recharging facility. I then dialed his number from the telephone booth and asked his whereabouts but we couldn’t meet at the common place. We were standing by the terminal 1 and he was on the other side. I myself was confronted with myself and my friend at the other end might be infuriated by me. He then recharged my phone, and then we walked amid the crowd searching for one another. Finally we met at platform number one.

For the first time after a gap of more than three years two of us meet at a point where the journey begins. Then I introduced my friend to him, he did to us his friends, and for the first time in my college life, I was accompanying a folk Bhutanese in India.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The White Flakes

white Buddha ( Jan 2011); source: the journalist
Cumulus and the nimbus, the different clouds gather,
From near and far, the gusty winds bring them together,
And temperature drops down, lowest to its minimum,
Thus solidifies, the mists and moistures at higher datum.
It’s the fall of beautiful snow.

From the heavenly abode, it descends like a fairy angel,
Swinging and floating in air, dancing like songs of nightingale,
So tiny are its crystals, which we refer as white flake,
Reaching earth it covers all, irrespective of blue and black.
It’s the purity of almighty’s bless.

Though chilly and cold, still all awaits its arrival,
While in adversity, some creatures fight for survival.
The children with thick jackets, they sob in joy,
With their creations, and rolling down their whitish toy.
It’s the cheers for chill.

At home, the family gathers by the warmth of hearth,
Together they share the laughter and jokes around earth.
And with a delicious porridge, peeping through the windows,
Sees the white blanket shrouding all meadows.
It’s the warmth of silvery flakes.

Overcast are the sun and moon by the dominant clouds.
The snow adorns the leafless trees, and towns see no crowds.
Yet at passes the vehicles halt, and the travelers yell in agony
And frowns as cold drench the warmness of their body,
It’s the cold beauty of snow.

And the village folk believe in their old myth;
“Timely fall meant a bountiful year with lots of wealth,
Disease and ailments perish, and they get paid their toil
Consequently peace and prosperous prevail in their soil."
It’s brings faith in natures call.

As soft as the silky wool, yet as clear as the crystalline glass,
The snow in its purest form, afloat so silent yet never motionless.
It cleanses the world of misery and sorrow, the woe and sins,
Thus in rejoice, they eat and drink, all together the kith and kins.
It’s snow of health and happiness.

White Nirvana ( Jan 2011); source: google

Friday, 7 January 2011

2011- Wel Come Post

source: google
The year 2011 has already begun, the first week of the year has almost come to an end, and by now some might have accomplished as many as six projects and others might be trying their best to get their new year resolutions fulfilled, but poor me, I couldn't feed my blog with a single post ( though my writings are not sensible to the folks, its just my passion which I picked up at latter phase of my college life ). No, I was not busy as bees, neither I was in full race as ants, and nor I was so lazy and sluggish as swine, to pen down my thoughts, but only because I am not a good writer. Indeed I have lots to share; the pain of my distorted family, the agony of life's wreckage, the cries of my unexpected falls, the sickness of loneliness, the aches of embarrassment and humiliation, my death of cowardliness ( my deep felt but unexpressed love for somebody ), my thoughts and opinions on daily happenings, and of course my secrets of success and my overwhelmed joy of my achievements.

Many a times I tried to jot down few lines but the myriad feelings that linger in my thoughts compete among themselves to get them jotted first, and with many things to write, I couldn't make choice among the countless thoughts, of which to write first, for all seems equally sensible for me, and thus I enter the state of delima, and finally the sheet in front of me remain as plain as before, and discover that I have written nothing. Paulo Coelho, the great Brazilian philosopher has mentioned, " the vocabulary of the average man is made up of 3,000 words; a real writer never uses any of these, because there are another 1,89,000 in the dictionary, and he (writer) is not the average man." but my vocabulary is far below that of the average man's so whenever I try to write, I have the same words to express so I feel that what I write doesn't bring any sense, still then I enjoy my writings. The empty vassal of mine have nothing much to extract  I am not a writer as well but, " I ain't a writer but that doesn't stop me from writing" a sentence beautifully carved by Sogyel in his blog and the content in it, inspires me to write more and more.

So with this welcome post, I wish to pour down more and more informative, entertaining and sensible entries as the year progress by. Like the taste of every single drops of oceanic water, let my greed for writing become more and more extreme and one day, like the reflections of rays of crescent moon from the lime-ly wall, may my writings radiate more joy and euphoria within my soul.