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!!!