Saturday, 31 December 2011

Hello 2012.


Hello 2012,


To end is to begin so as we bid adieu to the bygone year of 2011, we are to welcome the new dawn of 2012, a year of health and happiness, wealth and wisdom, peace and prosperity. Years ago, when I first heard that 2012 marks the end of world, I felt there is no point in proceeding the life ahead with multiple goals and objectives, which indeed was my thought of stupidity. But having welcomed the warmth of the golden rays of a once much feared year with delight, horror of doomsdays no more impede the progress of my life, rather I made my mind to make 2012 one of the best episodes in my life.

I heard the phrase “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” many times since years ago, a book by Robin Sharma, one of the worlds highly respected leadership expert as it say, but never knew what it is all about. So out of curiosity to discover the real secrets contained in it because it say the novel is a fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny, I bought a copy of it and could finish it a few days ago.  As I read line by line and flipped pages one after another, I am really moved by the wonderful secrets and timeless virtues for living an enlightened life.

While I do not aspire to get enlightened like Julian, the monk who sold his Ferrari and went into the oasis of Himalayas, where he met with Yogi Raman who taught him the timeless virtues to transform himself in to a young, healthy and enlightened monk by practicing the preaching from the sages of Sivana, Like John I wish to get rid of some bad habits which I have accumulated and adopt some new ones for my own betterment. So the with the start of new dawn, it is a good omen to follow the inspiring thoughts from the last book I read.

2012 has to be taken seriously for this is the year I have been counting down since my first day in India back in August 2008. For the successful completion of my degree on time, I need to master my mind and set up goals for the year. So one goal is to defeat the flexibilities of the university is providing a late degree and of course the other major one being BSCE if I get a timely degree.

So I need to follow the purpose of my life because “purpose of life is life of purpose” for which I need to live my life with discipline and respect my precious time. According to Julian, one of the personal development goal is to wake up at 5:00 a.m and go for run around the park. Julian further stress  that it should be carried out be it during the swarm summer day or chilly winter morning with positive attitude because “positive always overcomes negative”. So I need to master my mind and delete away the lately accumulated negative habits of sleeping late and waking up late, and devote my time on studies, reading books and other refreshing activities.

Julian further says that the “quality of your life ultimately comes down to the quality of your contribution,” so lending a helping hand to my neighbours when needed will help me live in close intimacy with my neighbours and friends. “A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives the rose.”

And most importantly I need to live the present rather than dreaming bizarre dreams which in the course of time losses my own track towards my purpose, and have to stop crying foul over the spilled milk which cannot be refilled. “We are here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become architect of future.”

If our mind is a palace, thoughts are king and our body is a mere subject. It is only under the leadership of good king that nation prosper and subjects tranquil. Whether to rein our palace with a devil king or divine king is purely in our own consensus. “Quality of life is quality of your thoughts.”

source:passudiary
Note: the sentences marked in italic are quoted from the same book mentioned.

Friday, 30 December 2011

2011- The Year Just Gone By.

So, the year 2011 also has finally come to an end and our final destiny is one step closer. Looking back to the bygone year of 2011, my life was the same monotonous mundane but it all began with a visit to a friend in Kolkata who happens to be from my own village with whom I never met before if not for the connectivity offered by facebook. Since then meeting new friends and strengthening the old ties kept my days moving and life turned out to be so vivacious with wonderful memories. Yet there might be few instances where I offended some good friends of mine and made them angry. It’s all an error if ever happened so forgive me for my errs.

As months switched by, my mind like a  fluffy feather in hasty breeze, it toured the wildest of universe, and my soul, it drenched into thirst of temptation the curse of which I was not aware before. That was a rueful incident, which made me more aware of consequences of unhealthy thoughts, and reminded me of the real goals of my life. And no worries, the April shower filled me with spiritual glory.


When repeated strikes in the college left our classes suspended and when most of the fellow students leave for their home, my life seemed derelict and dejected. In such times, I had to draw inspiration from the surrounding nature. This made me shift my habit of writing simple verses taking muse from the beauty of nature with each changing months and consequently the seasons. It is never too late to start something new and to begin any endeavour/ task, or better late than never.


It was never easy to thrive in a soil when small misunderstandings prevail between the native fellows and me. Life seems paused and the quest for knowledge confronts with aching strain. Retrospection, reminiscence and remorseful thoughts of the phenomenon of pain, pleasure and prejudices, they conquer my spirits, and I sought reckless nerves as neither cries nor tears could help me seek secure auspices, but the sense of being Bhutanese make me feel lucky and fortunate.  


Came the months of September and yet again I experienced a sense of idiocy which is why I filled my blog with silly poems in sequel which finally ended with the hope as ultimate solace when the circle remained incomplete. But such changes are inevitable in life. Yet I could not make out what is wrong with my fate or I don’t know whether I am dreaming so expensively. Visiting home for the jubilation of historic royal wedding was not so blissful for me for my heart experienced the stain, which I never felt before.


I then devoted my time on reading some novels and focussed attentively on my semester obligations of raising quality planting materials and its marketing. The seeds that I have sown in the month of August finally sprouted its lush green leaves and as the semester nears its completion in the next few weeks time, I became busier preparing the semester reports. For almost two months now, I have been out of touch with facebook and I am missing my valuable friends who have always kept my idle and lonely life out here more dynamic.



Now the new year of 2012 is near, but our hostel is getting deserted with only few heads living in. Since before the Christmas, students started bunking one after another to enjoy the New Year with their loved ones at home. Today on the 365th days of 2011, we are just three in the hostel, and we have no special plan for the New Years Eve, but I wish to start my new year afresh tomorrow to fill up down the 366 pages of 2012 successfully.


downeps.com

Happy New Year of 2012 to Every One.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Don 2: The King is Back.

The winter is chilly and with the celebration of Christmas and then new year around the corners, home seems to be the sweetest destiny, which is why we are left with just a handful of students in the hostel. Distance is a bar to reach home for me, so I made my mind to visit the cinema and experience the thrill of Shah Rukh Khans Don2, as a part of chilly celebration. Directed by Farhan Akhtar, the director of prequel Don:The Chase Begins Now, it is a worth watching film, and here I present the summary of the film.

The King is Back! This time to rob a bank in Berlin. With a start of thrilling action to topple the enemies back in Thailand, (supposedly those of the prequel Don, where he was involved in drug trade) Don (Shah Rukh Khan) somehow entangles himself in the hands of an Inspector Malik (Om Puri)and Roma (Priyanka Chopra) to get himself locked in a jail in Malaysia where one of his old enemies, Vardhaan, is also locked. Well, it is not the failure on the part of don to be caught by the inspector in Malaysia and get himself thrown as inmates but it is a tactic used by don to achieve his own goal. After all, to catch a don is not a difficult task but an impossible one.

To befriend a person who is an enemy once will always instill a fear in oneself, but then don tactfully convince his old enemy and break out of prison in a joint plan by feeding the fellow inmates with poison to fled to Zurich in order to retrieve the content of the locker which only Vardhaan (Boman Irani) can access. But why Don wants to retrieve the content of locker? Well, there lies an interesting story behind and its simple. All the high ranked officers are corrupt. Diwan (Aly Khan), the vice president of Euro printing bank bribed someone to kill his opponent, but heaven has saved the video clip containing the info about his bribing, which Don will use to blackmail him to get the information about the currency printing plates, Dons ultimate goal.

To add more sequels to the action, Don gets cheated when Diwan provide him with the fake blueprints and arranges an assassin to kill Don, but Don loves to live than die. Don then bring under his control the assassins and they form a team, and Diwan is left with only two options, i.e. either go to jail or help don but who wish to get oneself defamed.

Well don is not a free bird in Berlin. After learning that don has landed in Zurich, the detective and Roma traces dons path creating a thrilling and heartbreaking run and chase scene amid heavy traffic of Berlin. A spectacular scene that gives an adrenaline rush is when Don makes a 300 feet jump from a skyscraper to escape the bullet of his follower, who is just few meters away.

While in the act of robbing the bank, Don seeks the intelligence of Sameer (Kunal Kapoor), a computer mastermind together with other associates Vardhaan et al. but after getting the plates, Vardhaan and his team mates betray Don and get the plates at gun point. Don was helpless and had to surrender only to get caught by the police. In the building Vardhaan and his team has taken hostages and demands an immediate helicopter to get themselves fled and hostage freed. But only don can be at rescue so police had to cooperate with don for which don demands his immunity papers.

Hostages released, plates surrendered, Vardhaan and his associates arrested, and don escapes with his immunity paper but the plate, which is under Diwans care finishes in a car explosion pre-set by Don, which only appears to be a fake one. Don is not only free of police charges but also owns the original plates and becomes the king of under world. Well, a scene of sensuality is exhibited by Dons sweet heart Ayesha (Lara Dutta), who also plays an important role in achieving the impossible missions of Don. But one thing, chemistry has evolved between the Don and Roma, which might be revealed in Don3.?.

Thus, King Khan is once again back on screen this year with his new genre of films, Action-thriller. When Ra.One was released in September, I took a chance to watch it in cinemas than watching half audible, blurred, pirated copies. The film produced with a budget of some 175 crore rupees, though it had a record breaking box office, it seems that it really didn’t suit the Indian audience. It is deeply criticized and not little appreciation was given for its stunning graphics and changes that brought to bollywood. The audience simply love romantic fantasies and real life drama of Indian politics and society. However Don 2 has already received a warm gesture and the trauma brought by Ra.One should be over in King Khan, the King of Romance, who now shifts to action-thrillers as he ages. 



Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas.

Does not necessarily mean we should be follower of Jesus, but then as the friends around us celebrate their auspicious day, we by default tend to become a part of them. Standing together as they thank their lord for the wonderful life he bequeathed, appreciating Santa for the gifts he sent for their children, and of course paying homage to Jesus for providing then a reason for gathering. Such moments integrates all odds, for some moments religions like Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Buddhism become a part of Christianity. 
A message is being conveyed during the Christmas gathering here in the hostel where I stay just before my fellow mates disintegrated to leave for home for family celebration. And as such religion is universal because all religion follows the same principle.

Christmas is finally Here,

May it bring for us Good Wishes and Warm Cheers,

May the warmth and glow of this Christmas candle fill our day with peace and happiness,

May the Lord grant us with love, care and intimacy this holy season and throughout our lives,

May the splendour of season surround us with joy and ecstasy.


Wishing you all a
Merry Christmas
And a very happy, prosperous
New Year!



Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Stipend Increase for Bhutanese Scholars in India.


Exactly a year ago, there once appeared in Business Bhutan newspaper that the stipends for Bhutanese students studying India will be increased from Nu. 3600 to Nu. 9000 per month. However, the talk never received the concentration it owed to get and had remained the poorest topic ever discussed. Days passed into months and there wasn’t any indication that the increase in the stipend is going to be materialized. Whenever I received the yellow DHL envelope, I use to open it excitedly with an expectation of increased stipend, but the sum never increased from the same Rs. 21,600, which was last revised in 2005. The sum though at a glance seems to be a good one, by the time, I complete my five-month long semester, I had to dig deep into my parents’ pocket, which seems to be an irony. Having received the stipend for my final semester a couple of weeks ago, I lost all hope in the stipend raise and thought that the officials working in the Scholarship and Student Support Division of DAHE under Education Ministry are least bothered about their students studying in India.

The scholarship students in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are getting a monthly stipend of Nu 16,875, which is nearly five times that of those studying in India considering the similar living standard. A meagre sum of Rs. 3600 per months can hardly meet our needs of having a proper food in the mess and buying the necessary academic accessories, let alone thinking for an adventurous trip during the holidays. And as the days passed by, the prices of every commodity keeps escalating; for the cup of tea we take from the tea vendors, for a kilometre ride on the auto rickshaws, for a tablet of Paracetamol  from the pharmacy shop. Forget about those living in the metro cities, the pinch of bankruptcy is felt by we students studying in the suburban’s as well.

The financial crises faced by the students soon caused a ripple with some complains and debates on online forums, as the students poured out their frustration for governments lack of concern. The students discussed their range of problems on social networking sites like facebook by creating a groups (I could not recall the name) so now it seems that the problems of our scholarship students studying in Indian Universities and colleges have reached the ultimate ears. It was a pleasant surprise when I received an e-mail from our Offtg. Chief Program Officer, Scholarship and Student Support Division, which says, “just wanted to share this good news with you all. The stipend revision for students in India is finally through.”
gonna be lil heavy lol.

At the first glance, it produced a radiance of smile on my face, but instantly I thought that those who are in the final year of their degree won’t be the beneficiaries. But going deeper, the mail says that the revision will be effective from 1st of July 2011, which means we would also be availing the rise. “You will get balance as arrears for July to Dec, 2011 and Jan-June 2012 semesters (we paid your stipend for these two semesters on the old rate earlier).” It further says so getting the news really exalted me.

However, the rise is not from Rs. 3600 to Rs. 9000 as it was mentioned last year. But the monthly stipend is increased by Rs. 900 making it Rs.4500 per month, and an additional Rs. 4500/annum as Contingency grant, which is new. I was not aware that students are getting House Rent Allowance as well, but since I stay in the hostel, I may not be the beneficiary of that. It is good to learn that house rent allowance is also increased to Rs.3500 in metro cities and Rs.3000 in other parts of India (per month) from Rs.3000 and Rs.2400 (per month) respectively. Though there is not a substantial increase in the stipend and the stipend though it is very minimal comparing to those studying other countries, this might somehow eases the financial crises faced by our laborious students, who are mostly from the families of farming background. 

“I hope that this increase makes your lives a little more comfortable than what it is today. You should note that even with this increase there is a huge financial implication on the government, given the huge size of students in India.” Mentioned Tashi Dawa sir, Offtg. Chief Program Officer. It is quite obvious but if we look from the best corner, such initiatives by the government would produce best Human Resource for the country’s near future. So if we look from the other side, if not for the additional contingency grant, its for the sake of revision.
Hoping to get the arrears at the earliest possible now! J   

Friday, 16 December 2011

On the 104th National Day of Bhutan.


Within the folds of Eastern Himalayas, lies the tiny nation, with a unique history to share. As far as my knowledge is concerned, it is unknown how humans evolved and civilized in Bhutan but it is said that stone tools, weapons, elephants and remnants of large stone structures provide evidence that Bhutan was inhabited as early as 2000 BC.
source: linked
More vividly, history of Bhutan reveals Five major landmarks in her path towards modernity.
  1.  The visit of Guru Padma Sambhava and the advent of Buddhism in the 8th century A.D (746 A.D).
  2. The establishment of Drukpa Kagyud sect by Phajo Drugom Zhipo in the thirteenth century A.D (1220 A.D).
  3.  The unification of Bhutan under one central authority (Choe-dsid Nyeden or "Dual System of Government" which split control between a civil administrative leader, the Druk Desi, or "Deb Raja" and a religious leader, the Je Khenpo) by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namygal in the 17th century A.D (1616 A).
  4. The establishment of a hereditary monarchy with the enthronement of first king, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck in 20th century A.D (1907 A.D).
  5. And finally the establishment of Constitutional Monarchy giving way to democracy in the 21st century (2008) becoming the youngest democracy in the world.


Though split into small regions headed by the petty leaders, Bhutan has maintained her sovereignty intact while facing the external threats and invasions. The country being torn by the worthless disputes among the petty rulers, there wasn’t a dynamic leader to settle the clash until the undisputed Trongsa Penlop Ugyen Wangchuck intervened the battle of Chaglimithang (1885), and thus putting an end to the political turmoil in the land of Drukyul. 17th December 1907 was the day when the entire nation came towards one goal of “Having a Peaceful and Prosperous Living”. Thus on that day the body of monks, Penlops, Dzongpoens of different districts, and peoples representatives unanimously enthroned the Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk as the first hereditary king of Bhutan in the sacred chamber of Punakha Dzong by signing the Oath of Allegiance. The man of vision and seasoned diplomat, the successfully restored peace and tranquillity in our country, and initiated the progress towards development.

Since then a lots have been done by our kings for the welfare of we people so it’s time for us to contribute little of our own efforts, for our mother nation. There is nothing great we should achieve but simply dedicate ourselves to the service of king, country and people. Loyalty should be our inherent thought throughout our life and prepared we should be to face every challenge that impacts the economic development, the security of nation and of course the peace and prosperity among the fellow citizens. As the root of democracy has already taken, we should further strengthen it by playing fair in every endeavour. As stated by his majesty the fifth king, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, corruption cannot be tolerated because it would jeopardise the very success of Bhutan’s effort. 

With common goal, the goal towards achieving Gross National Happiness, united we should stand and pay our tribute to the motherland and fatherly Kings. On this joyous and solemn occasion of the 104th National Day, I pledge to uphold the sacred values of my country. I pray that our enlightened kings will continue to guide us into the future with the same wisdom and benevolence, so that the sun of everlasting peace and prosperity will shine in the tiny Druk Yul until eternity.

Pelden Drukpa Gyalo!

Monday, 12 December 2011

A Regular Thunder in the Sky.


Hearing a thunderous roar of helicopters flying over my village was a rare opportunity in the past. As soon as we hear the thunderous roar, as kids, we would shout “Namdru-Namdru” and holding our palm over the forehead, would stare in the blank sky to catch the glimpse of a bird like chopper, flying towards Bumthang from the west or their reverse journey. When it is during the time when our villagers slog in their fields, they would pause for a while until the helicopter crosses the other hill in the east and they use to tell us that aeroplane is a big vehicle with both wings and tyres.    When during the school days, on hearing the noise of the flying chopper overhead, we use to come out the class and shout with mispronounced term “Namdru Halecota” gazing up in the sky with full concentration and spontaneous delight. Hearing the story about aeroplane from our teacher adds more curiosity to see the plane and we use to make paper aeroplanes and play. It is once in a blue moon experience to see the helicopter flying over our villages and though of short duration, were the most fascinating and beautiful moments.

But, henceforth the villagers and school children of my village would hear the regular thunder from the sky above them. Indeed, they are already experiencing constant loud noises and soon, they would get accustomed to it with the commencement of Domestic Air Service, connecting the eastern and central Bhutan with Paro International Airport, whose maiden flights are scheduled on 17th December, coinciding with the historic National Day. This would instil in them, a curiosity to see the aeroplanes at near sight and of course to get into it and fly over the mountains and hills like birds.
Paro International Airport

Years ago, when my fellow villagers hear that some people known to them are travelling abroad, they use to get mesmerized and would say that it might be a euphoric experience to get in the stomach of white bird. Then they use to advice me to study well so that I can also avail such an opportunity to fly in an aeroplane. It was indeed encouraging.  For me, I along with fellow captains of our school got an opportunity to visit the Paro International Airport to see the landing and takeoff of the jet planes back in 2007. We also got inside the magnificent aircraft and interacted with the pilots and the crewmembers. Apart from that, flying in the air is still a dream for me though I study in India, away from home.
Drukair Landing on Bathpalathang Airport

The construction of domestic airports at Bathpalathang in Bumthang and maintenance of Yongphu La airport were commenced in 2009 and 2010. Since then, many Bhutanese who could not afford to travel abroad with an enthralling tour over the mighty Himalayas with image of Mount Everest too close to their eyes might have dreamt of travelling by air within our own land crossing the beautiful passes of Dochu la, Pele la, Thrumshing La etc in a short span of time.

After several delays and postponement of the scheduled date for inaugural of airports for maiden flights, test flights were conducted by Department of Civil Aviation at both the Domestic Airports of Bathpalathang in Bumthang and Yongphu La in Tashigang on 4th September 2011. Subsequently, Tashi Air’s Bhutan Airlines and Drukair had proven their test flights successfully. The third domestic airport at Gelephu in the south is under construction. It is a great milestone since the establishment of country’s first airlines in 1983, and it is an indication that our country is developing steadily with easy mode of transport and communication, thus bridging the gaps between east and west.
Tashi Air

But, with the sky-high fares, travelling by air would remain as an elusive dream for many Bhutanese. A one way trip from Paro to Bumthang would cost US$ 170 and to Yongphula US$ 215 by Drukair and that of Tashi Air would cost US$ 250 and US$ 350 respectively. Many Bhutanese peasants may not know the equivalent ngultrum that they have to pay. Our people are no tourist with pocket full of dollars, but they are mostly simple peasants who toil day and night in the field to earn a few thousand Ngultrums per annum, and many civil servants might be earning some 10 to 15 thousands per month.

Therefore, with such fares, the service would hardly benefit the general public and average civil servants. Considering the cost of operation and safety of travel, the fares might be reasonable for the operators but for our people, unless we are bureaucrats of highest position and business tycoons or heavy contractors, our dream of travelling by plane would remain as it is, just like hearing only the regular thunderous roars, without real sight of the dragon.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Getting Connected and Being Lighted.

Between the two snow capped mountains of Tsapeteng to the north and Wangchenteng to the south, lies a family of seven villages in Sephu under Wangdue Phodrang district. Flanked by the hills adorned with greenness of evergreen Junipers, Pines and Spruces, and drained by the raucous Nikka Chhu beneath, the villager for ages lived a life in the darkness without electricity and away from the masses without road connectivity. But no more! They have a reason to smile this chilly winter.
Clouds Mushrooming over the vale Sephu.

Located some 75 Kilometers away from the district headquarter, Sephu Gewog itself is one of the remotest gewog in the district, though other villages of the gewog are located by the sides of the East-West Highway. For the farmers of seven villages, their life gyrated in the mundane circle of rearing the domestic animals, cultivating their fields with the frost hardy cereals, and obtaining the best forest produces mainly the bamboos for knitting the bamboo crafts for sale in the market. Until the establishment of a community school in 1990, the parents never educated their children so the villages just have a handful of graduates and few educated lots. This might be the reason why the villages lacked in developmental activities comparing to the rest.
Perilous Bridge that connects Darilog with other Villages

Transportation of goods had been the biggest problem for them as the villages are located away from the highway. Their aspiration of getting a feeder road was never fulfilled and finally they resorted to constructing the own road to their village centre where the school was located. They took almost five years to make the road accessible to motor vehicles and still, they have to ferry goods for hours on pony or on their back to reach their homes. But a few years ago, their road was featured in the development plan and it was maintained. Besides almost all the villages got their own share of farm road linking with the village centre. The last road to be inaugurated was the Nakha farmroad of 9 kilometers on 21st November 2001 by the Minister of Agriculture and Forests Lyonpo (Dr.) Pema Gyamtsho. However, my hamlet of Darilog with 17 households remains isolated without the net work of farm roads, owing to a mighty river which isolate my village from the others. Facing the rising sun, with each new dawn the farmers hopes for a better cantilever bridge to connect with other villages.
The Shadow of Darkness now Dispelled. 

In the past people depended extensively on fuelwood for lighting and cooking. This has put an immense pressure on the nearby forests and of late people have to travel for hours to get a load of billets. They had to travel for hours to recharge their mobile phones, and the school and temples had to borrow generators for conducting important events and rituals but no more henceforth. When electric line transmission work was in full swing a year ago, villagers excitedly waited for the light to come and finally all the villages were electrified this winter. The farmers are exalted and they rejoiced the day of the inauguration on 6th December 2011. This would mean further improving the livelihood of the farmers as they can maintain proper sanitation thus reducing health hazards, reducing the burden of fetching excessive fire wood and of course saving the trees nearby their villages.

Besides, the Western Range Office of Wangchuck Centennial Park was also inaugurated few weeks ago near their community primary school so, this would help educating the villagers about the importance of natural resources and biodiversity. Wildlife ravaging the crops and preying on their domestic animals have been a menace to the people of these villages, so the farmers are now positive that the park officials would inspect the damages caused to them by wild animals in the future.

Yet, the farmers anticipate their community primary school to be upgraded to Lower Secondary School when the school marks its Silver Jubilee a few years later, and hope their wishes will get fulfilled under the blessings of almighty. 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Weird Dream.



What is that thing called illusion?
Within whose proximity, I lose my perception.
What is that thing called dreams?
Which obsesses my mind in fantasy’s realms.

When eye catches the beauty of blossom
White magic produces silhouette of bee in lonesome
Whizzing around the alyssum, with the tiny feathers
Weeping ceases no pain when the petal withers.

When from the world of fantasy I recover
Winsome reality also seems faded forever.
While shedding tears would bring no merry
Wishing a star to fall is a dim-witted reverie .

Woeful experiences leave a lasting scar
Whose taints, as painful as bloodsheds of war.
When one’s mind, it flutters like weightless floss,
Within webs of illusion, life degrades without a gloss.