Monday, December 27, 2010

Last week I took my very last three days ‘Casual Leave’ for the year (Wow! It was worth saving out of ten!). After two solid years I had gone to my village (Shershong) in Gelephu to perform one-day Lochhoe. Lochhoe is an annual festival conducted mostly by the western region in the country and is an integral part of our folklore. It is with the belief that the end of the year is the right time to start afresh with renewed hope for a prosperous new year in terms of health, wealth, crop yield, success, etc. It is the time to pay our reverence to God for his benevolence, everlasting care and divine company for the year that just passed by. It is also the only occasion wherein all family members, relatives, friends and neighbours gather together and rejoice unconditionally.

The day is preceded by morning Thub (porridge) which is my favorite part of the course meal for the day. We would set everything ready from the previous night only. People who practice this ritual in some part of the country have started to abstain from non-vegetarian food for this particular day which is a noble initiative taken by them. We are hoping that the rest of the cohort members will follow the suit as well in near future. The host would invite all the fellow villagers within and make them eat everything, literally a ceremonial meal! From morning Thup & breakfast to afternoon refreshment & Soew (lunch) to evening Shamdrey (fried rice) & tea to Tsho (dinner) with of course Beer & Ara (this thing they call it distilled water). Surprising my Aunt this time added a variety of wine like Santa Barbara, Wedding bells, Zinzy, Figueira in the shopping list (she said that her guest friends now preferred these brands of wine over beer).   

As the ritual comes to an end, the family members are asked to come inside the altar room where the Lama and other monks are reciting various mantras. This time, my mother, my niece and I went inside and sat listening to them praying for my family. As they continued praying, we were asked to keep a bowl each in front of the altar. We then threw the rice grains in the air, few grains happened to get inside the bowl filled with ara. They say that, more the number of grains inside the bowl, more happiness will be in stored for you for the New Year. As these are honest revelation, you can’t help but accept them. I’m happy that my bowl contained lots of rice grains than I expected. Moment of Bliss! It is one of those glorious experience that you get it once every year, people having faith in those citations of religious mantras, offerings to God, your fellow villagers and the God himself.

Now wandering away from it, as I headed off to sleep I spent some time to think about how beautiful the world must have looked in the west with lights all around as they celebrated the biggest holiday - Christmas (though people have started to celebrate this part of the world too. If I may, I would like to call it the influx of western cultures. Bhutanese today celebrate almost every international occasion for whatever reasons). “Christmas is just weird. What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree in your house and eat candy out of your socks?” Wait, that wasn’t me at all. I just quoted from the Funny-One-Liners which I happened to come across on twitter.

The whole picture of Christmas dominated around a jolly red-white-suited and white-bearded Santa Claus flying on his red-nosed reindeer, slithering down the chimneys (every December) with a huge bag filled with attractively wrapped Christmas presents when I was young and innocent. Even Santa Claus had the right thought of visiting people once a year like our annual Lochhoe which brings together the whole family and the community. God knows who introduced this ‘ho-ho-ho-jolly-man’ version of God to me then. It always kept me wondering how he could make our wish come true. How on world did he handle the never ending wishes of ours? I was told that he would grant wishes if only you have been a good person throughout the year. Well now there is something to contemplate, is it bad for us to believe in it with an unbridled faith, if this turns us to a better being? If it scares us of indulging ourselves in wrong deeds? If it motivates us to do good work? I hope Santa was good to you. I hope Santa brought you everything that you ever wanted, that you so well deserve. Anyone get anything good? Well your answer explains if you have been naughty or nice throughout the year. So you better behave well next year on if your wish depends on Santa.

This has been a season for family and friends to come together and be jolly. Lochhoe in a way lets us return back to the society where we truly belong and rejoice in what we have been practicing for yonks. Christmas has been the time to give not only gifts but joy and happiness wholeheartedly. There is this beauty of Christmas in making us still hope for our wishes to come true this year, if not next year and in the coming years. It is the best part of the year with such festive spirit in the air and the whole family and community coming together beautifully to celebrate the occasions.  While everyone is busy making plans to welcome the new year, I’m heading to enjoy the last day of the season of giving, thanking God for the love, laughter, happiness and my holiday here. Indeed a lot of reasons to be happy. So continue extending happiness  and keep smiling. Until next year!

Festive JC

PS. Happy Lochhoe to those observing the ceremony in coming days! And Merry Christmas again to those celebrating! Have a fun and safe holiday!
Jingle all the way!! The Santa me (it was shot in 2008)


Monday, December 20, 2010


On 17.12.2010 with much splendor and solemnity, we observed the ‘103th National Day’ celebrations in Punakha. The solemnization started with the hoisting of our National flag and singing of our National Anthem filling us with pride and connecting us to our roots. Almost every Bhutanese, the old and young were beyond impatient to watch and listen to the live broadcast of His Majesty the King’s National Day address on BBS tv/radio. The day was celebrated with various cultural dances and sports event.

Hoisting of our National flag, Lekithang, Punakha (17.12.2010)

Calm and safely guarded till ‘Tashi Lebay’ movements started to end the celebrations, it left me with an abrupt moment to pause and reflect. It was then I tried to go back to the past and look into the future. 103 National Days of peace and stability, is a great number of years to reach. As a student I remember studying about this significant day in my history lessons during my high school days. I wasn’t good in remembering the historical timelines but I was pretty interested learning about the times of yore. I still love history. I have lots of historic figures that I admire and celebrate (more on that some other day). And today with a dogged persistence I recall few of those-boring-history-classes to instigate as I compose about the observance of this important event.

Our history dates back to Eighth century with the visit of Guru Rimpoche from India who brought Tantric Buddhism in Bhutan. Another important event in the timeline was the arrival of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel from Tibet in 1616. We still remember and credit him for the construction of most distinct Dzongs, unifying the country and leaving us the Bhutanese National Identity. It was Zhabdrung, supposedly the first ruler of Bhutan who established the dual system of government with a spiritual leader and an administrator leader which still exist to this day. Bhutan emerged as a country having its own share of occasional Tibetan invasions, numerous civil wars and ungracious encounters & Treaties with the British. But there is this singular distinction in the ‘History of Bhutan’, we were never colonized (yes, we were never colonized!) and its one thing that we Bhutanese are proud of and swank about.

The hereditary monarchy was instituted in Bhutan with Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuk as the first king of Bhutan. It was Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck who gained control and ended many years of civil war, and marked the beginning of unprecedented peace, unity, progress and prosperity in the country. On December 17, 1907, sir Ugyen Wangchuk was unanimously enthroned as the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan inside Punakha Dzong (It’s a proud thing for me to be working in this historic place with one of the most memorable landmarks in Bhutanese history. Somehow I can’t stop getting obsessed of this magnificent monument). They really couldn’t have made a befitting decision. This day is celebrated as National Day of Bhutan.

Every nation celebrates National Day under many other symbolic titles for instance Independence Day or Republic Day expressing pride, identity, sovereignty, independence and freedom. It undoubtedly holds a special significance of commemorating the birth of an independent nation. As a Bhutanese we honor it every year with almost everyone partaking in this national event all across the nation. What comes to your heart when you think of December 17? What flashes inside your mind when you think of December 17? What does the National Day mean to you? What does National Day connote in your world? What’s the significance of National Day in your life? I’m supposed to get the answers before I even complete my questions (I hope you could provide me with when you read them).

Statue of His Majesty the fifth King brought in for the procession.

What separates and distinguishes this national event from others is the fact that almost everyone recognizes the significance of the day.  It provides us with a pleasant opportunity to remember the past that took a step into such a future (not to forget the implausible transfer of powers). It is indeed the day for us to pay our homage and tribute to our forefathers, Zhabdrung, the first king and the successive benevolent monarchs thereafter for guarding our sovereignty. It endows us the platform to apparently ‘renew ownership of the nation’. Essentially it is the day for every Bhutanese to celebrate and evoke the patriot within us and be responsible to protect and safeguard the peace, sovereignty and security of our country.

I’m blessed to have born in this blessed kingdom under the leadership of inspiring monarchs. I’m proud to have gotten the domination to write Bhutanese (every time) against the blank box of Nationality option in those obligatory forms. May the ‘sun of happiness’ as they label continue to shine for years to come. As we close this door of a fine Bhutanese history and open yet another door to a new era, let us re-affirm our commitment to serve the “Gyeb, Gyelkhab and Meser”, the Tsa-Wa-Sum on this day. Hope we can free ourselves from corruption as we contribute in shaping the nation, be the country Zhabdrung and the monarchs of Bhutan aspired for and pass a happier Bhutan to the Gen Next.

I read somewhere that “No matter how much you do for your country, it pales in comparison to what you take from her”. So wave your flag and never get tired of being a Bhutanese. Happy 103rd National Day Bhutan! May we enjoy another gazillion years of peace, shine, prosperity, growth and happiness!

Palden Drukpa Gyalo!

A Proud Bhutanese, JC

PS. We have come a long way, enjoy the freedom, stand up & take responsibility for the state of our country today and in years from now.


Monday, December 6, 2010


For all this while, I was wondering how I would pen down my thoughts in writing. I must say it took a while for me to write this one. I always wanted to tell the story of us, about how we met and how time flew by instantly. Flash rewind and the story starts. It was one beautiful summer where I had it all. You were right beside me and things couldn’t be perfect than that. We were taking on the world together for a day. Less did I know then that someday I would relish it like I do now, with so much of doting. It was like the best thing that’s ever been mine.

I had talked with him for less than one minute in library back in college. Perhaps we had passed by each other every time we visited library. We shared the passion of reading books. It was only after our graduation that we accidently met on an official meeting. We became friends since then but we hardly met. And one day on his supposedly birthday, he had sent a handwritten note asking me ‘will you be my date?’ I was like ‘did he lose his marbles?’, but then I thought ‘ok, I could suffice that for his birthday gift’. He wasn’t a bad idea after all.

After breakfast, he picked me from my place which was actually one hour drive from his place. The date actually began officially at 10:00AM. I had a beautiful card waiting on the passenger’s seat of his car. It had the name of my favorite place. He had played all my favorite songs throughout the entire ride. We talked about our life, family, friends, interests, future plans, everything like it was the first time we had met on Earth (maybe it was). We cut my favorite cake to start off with our eating binge. The food was too good (took me by surprise that he had taken into account that I was a vegetarian). For the first time in life, I could savor the real taste of wine.

After lunch, there was another card waiting me on my seat. It had the name of his favorite person that we were about to visit - his grandpa. I had never imagined he would want me to meet someone else on our date. After few hours of drive, we reached his village. It brought tears in my eyes to meet his 93 years old grandpa who blessed me with all promising good wishes (my marriage included). We cooked dinner together. As we were about to leave the place, I was taken aback to see his grandpa hand over a card to me. This time it was my favorite thing waiting for us. We went to karaoke and sang all the songs we possibly could. Later I was expecting another card after he walked me home. But to my disappointment there wasn’t any last card. Annoyed yet smiling!

I had never felt so happy being with a GUY-guy ever. Close enough to what I was hoping, when I got home, he had emailed me saying “I had the best day of my life with you, today”. Wishful thinking but ain’t I the ‘lucky one’ here?

I ask did you believe what you just read. Well, I say don’t believe everything you read. I guess the best way to describe it is…ummmm...it’s an untried piece that I attempted to write about the best first date I haven’t had yet. I’m neither dating anyone nor even in the beginning stages of dating anybody. I’m all by myself and I got this idea listening to Taylor Swift’s latest album “Speak Now”. I just figured out that I had to speak up too. I wrote it keeping in mind about a guy who I once had dreamt of. He was somebody I was just wonderstruck meeting. To this day, I have never met him. And he has no idea about our meeting either. It just all came together and I felt like I needed to write about. So here I’m trying to write as a, “Hey, this one’s actually for you to let you know that I’d like to obviously meet you soon”.  It's sort of the first open letter that I've written to anyone.

I have never been fascinated by what we call “date” but for a moment I wanted to be strangely awestruck by it. Most of the people fantasize about going on their ideal date. They either dream about a romantic walk along the river bank or a movie and a restaurant after; some even book a table in a flashy restaurant; rose and chocolates; best wine and favorite cuisine, making it exactly like what it takes in the movies. It’s not me saying that I would like to have my perfect date but I think sometimes its fun to write about it. For me, It was about a guy I never dated but I thought was decent and charming, and I never really got to talk to him much. Just being with him for a fleeting moment and watching him enchant me (still in my dreams) inspired me enough to put it in words.  I guess you don’t have to date with someone to have the best date ever. And sometimes it’s not about what you went through, it’s about what you wish you had.

Most of us are so diffident that we cannot even say the right thing at the right moment or for that matter the wrong thing at the wrong moment. Am I confusing you with these rights and wrongs? I mean there’s this moment of letting the moment pass without saying anything. There’s this enormous fear which holds us tightly. And later on we land up with a sense of regret looking back at the moments we didn’t speak up. Usually people like me write this kinda piece and then they usually don’t share it. I suppose by putting it on my blog I’m pushing the share button so that this dream guy would accidently get to read it one fine day.

Enchanted JC

PS. Speak now to whosoever you have something to say (might read it when you least expect them to).

Couldn't show the Enchanted face!


Monday, November 15, 2010


Hiya lovely people! Howdy! How did the weekend find you? How have I fared? There was a last minute call from work on my weekend. So today I started my day at six; was gleefully welcomed by the chilly morning. After running errands for my household chores I drove to this place called Limbukha for a meeting. It’s about forty five minutes drive from where I live. Here too I was welcomed by those chilly winds, this time a little stronger. These receptions on my weekend made me realize that it was time I set up for another season and be a good host by welcoming it warmly. As a Bhutanese we believe that Blessed rainy day sets the trend of welcoming the winter. But it’s now that winter is seriously taking its toll. I can guarantee with the chilly feel to my nerves and bones, a lot of good stuffs along.

As I prepare myself to blog right now, I’m laying on the cushion wearing a fleece sweater and wooly socks. I’m all warm and ready to write about the wintry cold. I’m so excited as well as so agitated about the winter. But still warm enough that I wanna take a couple of minutes and invite you to join me on to my winter mode.

I love this time of the season for the whole idea of wearing fluffy caps, colorful hand gloves and scarves, and warm boots on a cold day out. I’m not a fan of over coats but I love sweaters. There is something warmth about the coldness with the winter. When the whole populace of the town is glued to their fireplace, all you want to do is something cool. There is this crazy feeling where you want to take a walk when it’s literally cold outside. Sometimes rather than sticking to the fireplace there is this allure of going for a long walk. And I’m one of them who are so into taking that insane cold walk (would love an ice with it). It's one of those having a  'Bliss Moment' in your life.

As a child (till my graduation) I loved winter for the reason that we used to get holidays. I would always look forward to the winter breaks; a long stretch of holiday after anxious months in school. I used to love everything about this time of the year, mostly because it used to be the perfect time for me to be with the loved ones back home. As I push the present button nothing has changed except that it’s gotten colder. Each year the winter gets colder than what I expect. Could we blame on to the globally acknowledged Global Warming that’s showing its global power!

There is something untoward about winter that I hate the most, especially when the winter seems to have truly set in. I detest the part where the cold days drag on and make me unbearable to take off my private jet to the other world (my dream land). My hands and feet are never warm. It takes me hours to fall asleep with my feet as cold as ice. I loathe the third and fourth month of the winter when I get sick of cold and wearing thick clothes. It’s kinda boring when you have to wake up with the foggy morning every other day. The sun frequently doesn’t show up (a smile lightens up when you get to see the feeble rays of the sun only to see it disappear behind those oversized clouds). And it starts to get dark early. I really start to hate the cold so much that I cosset myself on house arrest when I’m not at work. Once I’m inside my house, I don’t feel like stepping out only. I just feel like curling up in room and watch a marathon of movies or drama series, all warm and fuzzy.

But there is something else I still love about winter. I love the rare rains which pour to make winter months even colder. And as I write this blog I’m excited to share that it’s actually happening outside. Love the sound of the rain pattering on the window sill. There is something beautiful and profound about winter rains. As much as rare and inimitable it is, makes me wistful. It is so romantic and dreamy. When it does come, just feel like at that moment I could hold on to it tightly.

While we are still talking about winter, how can I not shower you with the cousin snow? Honestly, I have never got an opportunity to play with snow ever in my life. Say what with an exclamation (WHAT!) but don’t you dare giggle when I say this. I’ve always lived in places where there is no snow fall in winter. Consequently, I never got a chance to experience the whole adventure of playing in snow. I hope I do get to make snowman this winter. I have read about the snow-flakes that no two are alike. So I would like to know from you who have actually played with snow, is it?  

As I set myself for winter where the weather is wonderfully cold, you stay healthy and keep yourselves warm. Till the spring comes back to see off the winter, let’s reflect on what Camus realized:

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Cold yet warmly, JC

PS. My gut feeling says that I’ll get to experience the first ever snowfall in my life one of this chilly wintry day. Who’s joining me for a game of snow fight?

Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours."  ~Robert Byrne 


Monday, September 27, 2010


So what’s up with the world? How have you been? What's happening in the world? Anything new??? That’s would be a few simple questions that could be answered in a blink of an eye, eh? I have another question coming next that would lead you to pause and think. Have you ever have wondered, while you were enjoying the bliss of good health, how people someplace else in the world were? Questions galore!

For last two weeks, I have been visiting JDWNRH frequently. My fifty-two years old Mother Bhutan had broken two of her left leg bones after slipping inside the bath room. Like her, few others (be it as old as 60 year old woman or as young as 1 year old kid) shared her fate of not being able to walk. At first, it was very prickly for me to accept the fact that she was actually, in real, admitted in the hospital. I’m not used to this kind of situation, especially happening in my family. By the God’s grace things had always been a little finer until today. I’m not grousing though.

I have always been abhorrent towards visiting hospital my entire life (I’m due three months to visit the dentist). I don’t like people being sick. It’s something that makes me nervous, edgy and anxious. But it’s overwhelming to see these patients with positive mind force. I had never imagined or thought that these excruciating patients would have calm and peaceful reaction towards this fateful side of life. I was moved by how they consoled each other with sanguine reasons for their stay in the hospital. They were like one big family with six different enduring patients from different parts of the country hanging out together, ecstatic and happy. The room was filled with positive vibes. It reminded me of the story we read titled “The Window”, wherein the blind roommate beautifully describes to the other man about wonderful things occurring outside the only window in their room. “Indeed the blind man just wanted to encourage the other man”.

I have seen from the eldest and strongest one to the youngest and fragile one crying out of pain. It was agonizing to see how they survived each sting. I have also seen these heads with strong hearts teasing one another and adding joy into each other’s pain. At night when everyone had gone to their dream world, it led me to stay awake and reflect. May be it was a sign from God that these apparent patients needed to rest and not stress too much. That’s why they met at this juncture at the same time and became a family so that they could happily live a tiny part of their life with the strangers at one point. On the other hand, as an attendant we were also writing new-fangled memories yet into another chapter of our book. Even I made few friends while I was there. We would sneak a moment to go around the place and talk about our own lives. Some moments were emotive, especially when the old lady used to scold her two sons out of affection. In return both of them used to get on her nerves, again out of affection. And sometimes it was funny when the daddy dear used to leave his three year old unwell son alone for the love of television. This little one even used to sing song for the others when pain left his body for a brief moment.

"I believe every day your life speaks to you - through every experience, through the people you meet and even through pain, fear and self-doubt." Those avid readers will be familiar with this line by the renowned Oprah Winfrey herself in one of her issue of ‘The Oprah Magazine’. Past few days being in a hospice, undeniably a different world for me has proved it absolutely true. Despite the pain and distress, I was enthused to welcome every single day, eager to witness what unfolded next in that common room. It made me wonder after we go our own ways from here, if we’ll ever meet again at another place. I’m sure when you get to read this, everyone are feeling better than ever. I can only pray and wish they get healthier and happier each day.

Now let me get back to another question. Do you ever think while something is happening, about what’s happening someplace else? You never know what might happen, right? As the bed gets empty, someone out there must be bracing to fracture his/her leg to fill in the empty bed. So take care of yourself. Be healthy. Take some time to rest and relax, time to time.

Attendant, JC

PS. Please be careful next time you visit your loo. Unfortunately or providentially you might be the one filling in the empty bed. 


Monday, September 20, 2010


Caution: I’m not preparing on writing a travel journal here. It’s another thing that I share the passion of backpacking, trekking and writing on the colossal experiences gained while taking each walk. However, today I’m on an attempt to share my recent experience walking on a virtuous march. It was a straightforward suggestion one of my friend who is currently working as an ICT officer in the same office recommended me to pen down my experience in writing. So I thought maybe I could actually write my first one apart from my regular official tour report.

The nature of my job demands lots of travelling at this stage of my career ladder. More of village tours which requires pretty much of energy to hike and rare ex-country tours (But I’m not complaining!).

On the 14th of September 2010, work kicked right after breakfast at around eight in the morning. A team of three including myself, Aue Wangchuck and Dimpoen Chandra Lal Limbu was all set for site verification of Aazha Thinley’s house evidently attacked by a bear at Yobo. Little did I know that we would be also making a trip to Goensephu (more on this later).

It’s about an hour drive from Khuruthang towards Gasa to the road point (the place is known as Tshorimo) from which the walk starts, after descending down to cross the female river (Mo Chhu) over the longstanding suspension bridge. Thereafter, it is a steep climb upwards to the destination: Yobo village. I was told that it usually took about two and a half hours to reach Goensephu Monastery. No, I wasn’t discouraged by the hours that I had to walk. I have learned and believed that at the end of the day, I would ultimately get the immense satisfaction unknown at that point of time. I was sure that I would be able to witness the worth of my breathless moments upon reaching my destination.

The background score for the entire hike was titled “natural” by various artist viz., river, wind, brook, birds, leaves and insects. For the whole day, I was away from Gaga, Maya, Perry, Lovato, Heap, JaySean, Cruz, Rihanna, Guetta, Scherzinger, Timbaland, Cyrus (my-comrades-when-alone), yet I didn’t feel like I missed them. I must say I didn’t miss my favorite playlist, not even for a moment. The weather God favored us by not playing the big boss, to not let it rain. It led me inanely wondering if this was going to be effortless. Everything was so perfect minus my short breaths and frequent urge for respite. We were welcomed by Aazha Thinley with tea and zoaw at Phaenga Pokto, supposed to be the resting point. We were quite proud of the progress we had made. It took us almost two hours from the road head till Chakazhing (a village before reaching proper Yobo) where we had our early lunch at Aazha Thinley’s newly constructed house. We were full of vigor again; all set to finish off the march.

While my feet walloped audaciously over the mucky mule track, about half a score of the determined leeches climbed up my mud-soaked boots. Fortunately Dimpoen Limbu chivalrously plucked them off for me. The climbing and plucking session went about for an hour which brought us to Yobo, our primary purpose for the visit. (I would like to skip the official agenda).

With Aazha Thinley in front of his house in Yobo

As soon as we finished off our site verification, spirits still high, we planned on visiting Goensephu monastery. All through my stay here in Punakha elders have spoken reverently of the place. I had always wanted to visit the place since then; it was just that I didn’t get an opportunity to. Time was the factor that always decided my plan. And today when we got the chance after coming this far, we didn’t want to return back not visiting this sacred place. Another hour’s walk of yet again plodding through the mud brings us to Goensephu.

“And there, ahead of you, is the holy Goensephu”, Aue Wangchuk said with a sweaty yet glowed face. It started to drizzle after that. “When it rains, it’s considered as an auspicious sign”, said Aazha Thinley teasing me that being the only female in the group, I must have carried the good luck (Oh! How I wish I did). With each rain drop falling on our head and auguring propitious omens, we were feeling content and blessed. We couldn’t have wished more than that. Today as I write in some incomprehensible way, I feel as if Goensephu had done this just to welcome us. I bowed my head and made my prayers. It was great to see Guru sitting happily at home. It’s amazing how our culture is so rich and of course inexplicable in its own ways serving as a source of inspiration to many like me.


It is said about the Place that, while Guru Rinpochoe (Padmasambhava) was meditating in Maratika Cave (in Nepal), Khandum Yeshey Tshogyel’s requested him to visit the place. Upon Khandum’s request, he is said to have visited the place in some eighth century where he mediated for two months in a cave (the present monastery site) and blessed the place with spring water (Drubchu) for long life. The legend has it, the caves of Maratika and Goensephu is said to be incomparable in terms of the blessings. The caves are a venerated site of pilgrimage associated with Guru Rinpochoe, Khandum Yeshey Tshogyel’s and longevity. Many pilgrims visit this site in the quest for long life.

Tshe Yi Bumpa

Inside the cave, there is a stone shaped like Bumpa (Tshe Yi Bumpa), the Ambrosia water from which is supposed to bestow long life upon whoever drinks it. Inside the monastery, there are about twelve books of scriptures for long life (Tshe Yi Paychha). When you climb a big rock above the cave, you get to see Guru Rinpochoe’s hearth (Thap). Disappointingly it was so slippery I couldn’t climb up the rock to see myself this time. Inside the cave, you can also see twenty one seats of White Tara (Jetsun Dolma), also known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity. Outside the Monastery, on a big rock you can see the Aah born naturally (Aah Rangjung). I hope my pictures speaks a thousands words too.

Aah Rangjung, can you see it?

After paying our homage to all these important sites, I bid farewell to the Khenyger and Anims. I’m still content and more than happy to have tripped this holy site. With the remaining verve, we walked down the track. Until I saw it from a distance, I quietly turned back and made a prayer to come back soon and this time with you.
With the Host

I love visiting religious places. There’s always this encompassing peace, positivity and serenity about them in disparity with our avaricious world. You see, like I mentioned in the beginning, for every footstep that we took, for every time we ran out of breath, for every sweat that dropped, for every moment that we felt like giving up, for every discomfort we endured the entire day, the walk was worth. I consider myself lucky when work can make you feel this way: truly happy. I’m counting my blessings! Clearly a day off was not on the cards the next day, however, I could only wish for an unwinding night that evening while returning tired back home.

I’m planning to visit the Monastery again to see Guru Rinpochoe’s Thap before I get posted somewhere else. Till then, muster up the energy to walk with me. What say? I say let’s WALK ON!

Climber, JC

PS. Next time we walk that road together, I mean TOGETHER, you and me!!!


Monday, September 6, 2010


To: JC, Punakha

From: DC, Phuentsholing

This sure is snail mail. I received your letter on 23rd; almost a month since you wrote and you also received my mail very late. I had been expecting your reply and I have been checking the post box every other day.

A promise is a promise and if we don’t keep a promise we made, we rather not make it in the first place. I guess you will agree. Some people make promises just for the sake of it and they don’t know the value of a promise. Many people broke all the promises they made to me. It does hurt but I have learned to move on even if it is with the hurt.

There are times in life when life jolts us and we are surprised. Our wishes don’t get fulfilled often but there are times when they are. So this letter writing wish was one of the get-fulfilled kinda wish.

… … …

Of course we will see how long we will be able to go on with this letter writing wish of ours. Till next time. We should tell Bhutan Post to speed up. LOL.


That was a tiny fraction of a letter I last received on September 1, 2010 from my new pal who lives few miles away. I would have loved to share the whole letter but I’m sure my pal would not approbate to it and hence to protect the privacy, I’ve referred to us by initials only and the addresses are missing too.

LETTERS! I’ve always loved writing letters especially to my close friends (except in schools when we had to write for some English paper in a freezing examination hall). We would write all those stupid and nonsense in it. Fill the letter with every little detail possible of things going around us. Before when we didn’t have an email account, we would frequently write letters. It used to take me hours and hours to conclude one single letter. Somehow or the other, I could not stop writing once I began. There was so much to write and time was never a setback then. But now, with the busier schedule each day (at least I claim to be busy now and then), people hardly have time to write letters. It’s heartrending that people have actually given up writing mails. Instead Emails have replaced letters as a medium to at least keep in touch and share about each other’s happenstances. Now people are patiently waiting for one of us to email. But I’m still waiting for people to send me a hand written mail. There’s always this unusual charm of ‘hand written’ letters (however the handwritings may turn out). And in return, the least we can and need to do is graciously reply back.

Oh, I love reading letters too, a lot actually (except those with official seals on it). I can go on reading books with full of letters in it. I especially love reading all those love letters in movies and books. It leaves me all emotional. I’m in awe of how everything can get so romantic and at times heartbreaking. I like to collect those letters from books and movies. In fact I’ve a few collections of them. I like to read them whenever I get caught by my mood swings. I also have a collection of letters, I don’t know since when and I consider lucky enough for having received at least one letter in a year. Receiving them, it has so often made all the differences in more ways than they will ever know. And this takes me back to my new pal and how we got into writing to each other. We’ve been complaining of technology for making people discontinue writing letters but I should also acknowledge it for letting me pen down my thought in my facebook status. It was one fine afternoon on July 20, 2010 when I had mentioned about world that stopped writing letters. Thanks to my new comrade who helped me get what I wanted then. It’s not always that you get your wish fulfilled.

Letters make me go weak. I get back to my normal mood if I receive a letter during my woebegone moments. They have always absorbed me overpoweringly. It’s wonderful how that empty pages gets calligraphed beautifully with wide range of expressions. I can read the same letter again and again. No box is more exciting to open than one treasured with letters. The smell of the old letters with those pages containing meaningful words. Ah, so much so that makes it the most priceless assets one could own. Isn’t it so amazing?

So, fanatics who share my adoration of writing-reading letters let’s bring back the anticipation, keep the flame and carry on the passion for years to come. Give me your permission to hope for the same. I do hope amidst so much of activities in your life, you still continue to write in, especially to your loved ones living at the other end. Who knows you might find yourself fulfilling their long awaited wish along with yours like we found ours.

Until then, while I go and reply back to my new pal, why don’t you go, get hold of a letter pad and start writing too? You never know, you might get a great new adventure waiting for you to be read, the next time you check out your post box or pigeon hole. So, who’s joining me for a game of letter writing?

Mail-y, JC

PS. "What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call." - Liz Carpenter

PPS. Keep those letters coming (and going)!

One of my most prized possession: My LETTERS!!!