Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Circle of Karma.

Do you believe in Karma? Everything that happens to us is the result of our Karma. Karma according to Buddhist philosophy is not predestination or fate, but it is the infallible law of cause and effect that governs our life and for that matter the universe. World is a physical entity formed by intricately interrelated phenomenon just like the dynamics of ecosystem. Whatever we do by our body, speech, or mind will have a corresponding effect/result. Thus, we dwell in a Circle of Karma.

Renowned writer Kunzang Choden, portraying a roller coaster of events that happens in Tsomo’s life, the protagonist of her first novel, best exemplifies this Circle of Karma.

When Tsomo was a young girl, she asks her mother, ‘Where is the furthest I can travel?’
‘Where?’ her mother responds, ‘I don’t know. Where can a girl travel to?’ but sadly she can’t survive long to see that her daughter will prove her wrong.

Tsomo as a young girl aspired to learn literature and practice religion, but then in the medieval Bhutan, girls were obligated to excel into household chores and field works. Her mother advice her to become a good woman while her father being a faithful gomchen teaches the boys and his sons, to become good gomchen. Tshomo’s childhood life passes observing the rich ritualistic life in the Bhutanese village; the gender difference between a boy and girl, the culture of teasing and night hunting, the humiliation and pain of conceiving illegitimate child, the beauty and joy of consensual courtship and marriages, to mention few. In this way, before she turned 15, she has excelled in the mundane customaries and became a good homemaker, which earned her praise from her beloved mother and neighbours.
A Typical Bhutanese Girl.

Unfortunately, her mother dies during a complicated delivery, which made her shoulder all the responsibilities of her mother in the house to cater the needs of her little siblings and their father. Sadly, her father married again before her mother’s first death anniversary, so this makes her travel to Trongsa to offer prayers for her mother’s soul, thus beginning the journey of Tshomo’s life away from home. Destiny had it that she fall in love with a fellow traveller Wangchen, who happens to be a married man already but they get married and stay together. The consequences of Karma starts in her life when she became pregnant and could not deliver a breathing baby. Besides her bosom borne a swollen illness which never subsided. It was during such times that Wangchen and her younger sister Kezang betrayed her.

 ‘Why don’t you look after your husband better?’ Kesang would yell at Tsomo when talked about the matter. This makes her think about the pains that Wangchens first wife and children would have endured when Wangchen left them and came to her home. What a Circle of Karma.

Sometimes filled with anger and resentment, sometimes with envy and vengeance, and often her mind was obsessed by malicious thoughts but she chose to move away from them, and one night she fled her home, leaving nothing but tears of empathy for her father little brothers, and taking nothing but some valuable items that her mother inherited her.

With her swollen stomach, she moves to Thimphu, works like a coolie on the sites where Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway is constructed, and through the journey up and down, finally she reaches Kalimpong in India, accompanied by a girl of similar fate Dechen Choki. The difference is that Dechen left home because she hated a man, and Tsomo left home because she loved a man and suffered because they are women.

Though Thsomo’s mind was constantly obsessed by hurtful sentiments as she reminisces the events back home, her sense of devotion towards religion pays her all the merits. Her strong faith in religion takes her pilgrimage to BodhGaya, Katmandu and then Tso Pema in Himachal. Her karma had it that she once again was entangled in the mundane of marriage with a laggard guy but with his companion and under the directive of a Tibetan Rinpoche based in Himachal, she could finally get rid of the swollen illness after visiting a hospital. They then shifted to Delhi from where her karma compels to move back to Kalimpong, only to untie her husband’s unfaithful know with her when he leaves for a younger woman.

By now, Tsomo has grown into an old lady but its better late than never. She finally fulfils her childhood wish to practice religion, though she cannot read or write when the Rinpoche ordained her to become a nun. Shaving the hairs off and wearing a maroon dress, she finally chose divinity leaving behind all remorseful mundane. Cherishing the momentary joys she experienced, remembering her karmic encounter with lamas and their blessings, she finally choose Thimphu to spent her remaining life circumambulating the National Memorial Chorten and chanting prayers to discover the eternal joy and happiness. And The Circle of Karma once again brings her to the home of her ex-husband Wangchen and sister Kesang who have now become grandparents, with a smile of unity.

Throughout, I enjoyed all the rich cultural details and many humorous incidents which I could apprehend easily and they often takes me back to the village and reminds me of the incidents that my mother use to narrate to me. For everything is due to our karma, let’s see next what it means When Loss is Gain.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

When Mind Matters.

Man is a product of his thoughts.

The great Indian Master Nagarjuna, in his letter to his friend has said that it is the nature of human mind to get tempted to the materials of this world, which actually are all insignificant and mere illusions. Such a wealth if accumulated and not used for the wellbeing of all sentient beings is an accumulation of suffering and at the end, an irreversible sin that will drag our soul in the realms of hell.

At one point, his eminence Phakpa Ludrup had said that our mind should be compared to inscriptions on three elements of nature; the water, the soil and the rock. He stressed that when we are to follow a karmic virtue, we should absorb such essence like the imprints left on the rock and for the sinful deeds, we should ignore and forget it like the drawings on the water.
Such in-depth of preaching from great master made me realise that it is not at all advisable to put water on the rocks and draw images on the water when situation tends to repel from us for such a deed would benefit us in achieving nothing but it is just wastage of time and resource. Flow with the free flow of river.

Living in the society filled with socialized people, we humans should develop an instinct of understanding the needs and problems of our counterparts but then the situation seems to be just the reverse. When we look at the mirror with a smile, we never expect our image to frown at us. Though all sounds don’t echo instantly, it is a regrettable action when the expected echo is never heard. After all, everything in this world is interconnected and is a resultant of continued cause and effect.

As such, life is nothing but a complexity of intricate mazes, whose doors of happiness is difficult to trace. Yet it is advisable to climb uphill to have a clear view of the valley beneath.

“Those which originate from cause,
Without that (cause), they donot exist;
So why would you uphold
That clearly they’re just like reflections!”
-         Master Nagarjuna.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

People’s Reaction to Price Hike in Petrol.

The Bhutanese economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. Therefore, every fluctuation in the Indian economy have its direct implication on the Bhutanese economy. Since 70 percent of our imports are from India, the rise and fall of price for the goods first begins in India, then the news shifts to Bhutan before the facing the proportionate consequences.

The recent price hike in Petrol is one such example and people in the two countries react differently. 

While Inidans were busy protesting against the hike,
Our Bhutanese were trying to save some by refilling the tank before hike.

More disgusting when, effigy of the Head of Govt is burnt...,

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Radio Shangri-la.

Which is your favourite radio station in Bhutan? Well, my village being located in a far flung corner, the transmission of many newly stationed radios in the capital is not reached, so as long as I can remember, I was grown up tuning to the national radio station, the BBS. But few years ago, when Kuzoo FM was established, wherever I go, I found people tuning to kuzoo (Dzongkha most of the time) and I came to learn that a network of relationship was also formed known as Kuzoo Family with many people dedicating songs and well wishes to those unseen, mysterious family members.

So this radio station according to Lisa Napoli is “Radio Shangri-La”. Until reading this book, I didn’t knew that Kuzoo FM is project initiated by His Majesty the King, (then Crown Prince) Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. It was established on 1st September, 2006 and was officially launched on 28th September, 2006.

Lisa Napoli, a radio journalist based in America was in the grip of crisis and was unsatisfied with her life which is why she started attending a workshop positive psychology. Strangely, she met with a man named Sebastian for merely twenty minutes during a party and that was enough to divert her towards Bhutan, often described by her as “the Happiest Kingdom on Earth” in January 2007.

Her purpose of visit was not as tourist but as a volunteer at the then juvenile Kuzoo Fm that aired its transmission from an old kitchen. Kuzoo is the country’s first radio station for the youth of Bhutan. Her visit was just a year prior to historic transition where a constitutional monarchy was set up and new king was crowned. As she narrates her stay with the kuzoo family, she digs into the history and culture of Bhutan and presents to the readers a vivid fact about the country; the history, dress code, the Bhutanese cuisine, the games, Bhutan being a poor country coping up with rest of the world very lately, and of course the Bhutan’s developmental philosophy of Gross National Happiness.  Most importantly, she also observed the dawn of democracy in Bhutan.
Taktsang Monastry- Priceless Asset of Bhutan.

As she enjoys the carefree lifestyle in Bhutan and observes among Bhutanese, the intimate connections with peers and relatives, she was reminded of her life in America; where she was to stay all alone her family being miles away from her busy with their own schedule, she being raped at a tender age, her divorce with her husband, and other midlife crisis which has shaken her mental peace.

Her first arrival in Bhutan has  altered her attitude towards her life. She finds that the world is a beautiful and complicated place, and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is. She became more attached to kuzoo family and this compels her to visit Bhutan twice later. Intriguingly, she helps one of the radio jockey in Kuzoo to fulfill her dream of visiting America, not knowing the fact that Bhutanese aspires to adventure to America for a job to earn dollars.
For me, the book helped me recapitulate the history of Bhutan and of course taught me the lesson that life has deeper meaning, as we faces The Circle of Karma-coming up next.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Growing into Cricket Fan.

I hardly get a good time to watching favorite sport channels though I love watching football matches, only because I am living in a hostel where there is only a single TV in a common room shared many students of diverse interest. India is a cricket crazy country. Wherever we go, we can spot children and boys playing cricket in open grounds. In the university where I am studying also, I could see many boys playing bat and ball in an excessive sun, when I cant bear walking to my classes. So by virtue of the fact that majority of the students love watching cricket, I too join them and watch the game, therefore I don’t know what is happening in the world of football.

This time it is the Indian Premiere League season five which attract the fellow localites to the TV screen every evening. Cheering for their favourite team and praising their favourite cricketers, they often raise a hot debate filling the room with hot buzz.

Since the inaugural session on 4th April, I too have been following Kolkata Knight Riders and have been cheering for them whenever they played. Owned by Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood king, my inclination towards the team was more of the owners influence than the players. My team started with three consecutive losses but they proved their best when they won all the consecutive matches until recently they lost to Mumbai Indians and Team Chennai.  As the season is near ending, they were at the edge of falling but their last victory over Mumbai brought them back to track, so I am relieved.

Throughout the season, there is one man in the series a Caribbean giant known by name Christopher Henry Gayle. During the first three seasons, he played from Team Kolkata but due to his unsatisfactory performance, the team did not retain him during the last auction, which is why he landed in Team Bangalore. This season he is the only man, who played the most entertaining cricket by hitting massive sixes. The entire crowd everywhere enjoys his shorts and it seems the whole India has become his fan. Neither the strength of Dada, nor the fame of master blaster can suppress this huge man.

Of all the matches he played, his spectacular performance today against Delhi Daredevils was an amazing one. With 13 massive sixes and couple of boundaries, his unbeatable 128 of just 62 balls have won the admiration of cricket lovers and I am not an exception. Now they are defending their brilliant total of 215.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Like the Transient Clouds

Call it a journey or an adventure, 
But, often confronted with bitterness is our life.
So transient, as the flash of spring lightning,
Euphoric moments are too ephemeral,
Though people often says
Happiness and sadness are but a state of mind.

Mind like the untamed pet as it wanders; 
It ascends the crest and falls to trough.
Often through chaos and confusions
Inner strength is ragged with devastating blows,
When so ignorant and apathetic the environ seems,
Shattering the hopes of survival as the fittest.

Worldly phenomenon is a real roller-coaster,
Each changing with fleeting moments.
Words of past though it reverberates now,
It just remains like the echo from distant rocks
Without a genuine tone and liveliness. 
As mood swings, traversing a life is exhausting. 

Home, the embodiment of bliss is away
And to reach there, I lack a pony to ride.
The gracious parents are beyond hills
And here, I lack an affectionate host.
My mind, it longs for the temperate breeze,
Yet, into scorching sun of tropical plains, I drench.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

To My Golden Torch.

Through the ages of darkness, you lit my way
And helped me dispel the delusions away.
You helped me discover my inner strength,
When chaos and gullibility shrouded all my length.

When like a sluggish pupa, I struggled to move forward,
You helped me nurture a colourful wing to fly upward.
When due to bewilderment I paused for long,
Up the steep ladder, you pulled me along.

For me, you solved the puzzles from text books,
And cleared the blurs of distant looks.
You showered me with limitless values,
That helped me proceed towards wide avenues.

If not for your selfless acts so dynamic,
My life would have remained static.
With immense debt of gratitude,
Whole heartedly I thank you beyond amplitude.

Happy Teachers Day.