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Friday, August 30, 2013


Dear God,

I often ask myself why my life turned out the way it did.
What I fail to ask is why it did the way it didn't
Sorry for all the moments I took you for granted (I still do)
And I apologize for blaming you
When my own heart carried me away on its whims
I am also sorry that I forget to count my blessings
And share the riches you have gifted me
Love, laughter and life
I owe you one for all the rubs I got
Otherwise as Rumi said, how would I be polished?
I know I have hardened my heart against love
And I ask you to melt away my unforgiving disposition
Cultivated from the little hurts of life
I have forgotten to look at the rainbow in awe
And be inspired
Oh, I need your forgiveness for looking away
When love was all was needed and a little compassion
To aid my fellow brothers and sisters!
And for being a snivelling hypocrite 
Full of self pity while expressing outwardly courage!
But now I determine Lord
To make a difference
For from one begins many and more
Help me not to let my disappointments and triumphs
Disillusion or delude me
And make me an instrument in this world,
Your beautiful creation
To make life even more joyful and worth living!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Dear Brother,
And I mean “dear” because you have always been a loving figure and personality to me – someone with whom I bicker a lot but at the same time treasure and deem precious.
Of course, I get absolutely annoyed with some of your habits…like making up excuses for being overweight when you should be taking up the challenge of leading a healthier lifestyle ( I mean you are not bad looking but losing those extra pounds would add oodles of charm!) and being too dependent on family to sustain yourself instead of being enterprising and dynamic.
But then I know you are such a good human being at heart.
You don’t mind whenever I ask for a cup of tea from bed.
You share whatever little resources you have.
You are good with kids (something that never came naturally to me).
You keep in touch with kith and kin unlike me.
You don’t mind doing a bit of the dishes.
You keep me in splits with your wit and humour.
You are warm and big-hearted.
I have often been insensitive to you but the fact is when I was a baby you held my hand and taught me to write the alphabet.
We used to share packets of “Wai-Wai” over Tinkle comics.
You beat up the bully who tormented my best friend in school.
You have got artistic skills that I am proud of.
You have protected me always.
There will always be arguments but we share a special bond and I pray that we will continue to cherish one another as siblings held together by blood, emotions and the same God.
You mean a lot to me and I mean it J

Monday, April 1, 2013


Sometimes I get frustrated.
That pull-your-hair and shout-into-the-pillow kind of frustration when I see things that I should be doing, saying and seeing but am NOT doing, saying and seeing.
When I have made a resolution to read three books a month and barely manage to go through one.
When I determine to write more yet end up getting writer’s block with no substantial body of work behind me.
When I know I should be honing my skills and whatever little brains I have and on the contrary find myself in a state of physical and mental inertia.
When I know I should be emerging stronger from my past and find myself retrogressing into emotional trauma.
When I look into the mirror and the image that looks back at me shows a badly tucked in tummy and signs of premature ageing.
When I know I should be saving for rainy days but my purse is perpetually empty.
Why I ask myself should I be so weak, so average, so mediocre, so shunned by fortune?
But then something tells me I am lucky to even live this life, breathe in the fresh green air, feel the summer breeze on my face, take in the mellow sunlight and laugh it out with friends and family.
Something tells me that hope is there yet because I also give hope to others like my ageing parents and close circle of friends.
If only I could be a little less depressed the world would be a little happier place to live in or should I say?
Wisdom whispers in my ears not to be too harsh on myself because just as I have taken, my time to give has  arrived and I have to give unconditionally – that’s the law of life.
Faith, Hope and Love – these are the greatest elements in life, according to the Bible.
I hope because I have faith. I have faith because I am loved and have the privilege to love :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Well, I knew this was coming.
I knew this day was inevitable.
My “emptying”.
I have lost almost everything I once had and cherished.
I lost my vanity (pride in my so-called “cute” appearance). People used to find me “cute” but the compliments stopped coming my way after a particularly bad and drastic hair-cut and the fact that at present my skin is full of spots. My once-always-laden stock of expensive cosmetics has significantly diminished (All this may be temporary but I still take it as a lesson).
I have lost all my money. My savings and recurring accounts are both depleted. I closed the latter a long time back (prematurely) in face of a financial crunch.
I lost my job as project director in an upcoming film production company due to cost-cutting.
Once a happening name in the media fraternity as reporter, copy-editor and editor, I am nowhere on the scene right now. I am a “has-been”.
I lost (in fact never got) the men I loved. And my last and only “love-affair” ended after I attempted suicide (I downed a glass of floor cleaner but survived after I puked the poison).
Well, why am I sharing all this with you? Ask me and I have an answer. Despite me losing everything, being “emptied” of everything I ever possessed, I am at peace…in fact a tad too relaxed and happy. Why?
Because I believe God has taken them all away so that he can teach me to trust in His provision every step of the way. Teach me how not to trust in man, money or myself; how to give myself to him completely, how to ask him to guide me with every little or big decision and how to realize that He and only He counts in life.
God has slowly and steadily peeled away every superficial layer that existed in me; demolished every one of my idols one at a time. He is teaching me to practice simplicity in the most unexpected areas. Painful it was, yes…when everything I believed in collapsed. I was left with an overwhelming feeling of desolation and the question: “Why God? Why me?”
But then from the impenetrable shroud of silence, the answer came: “MY grace is sufficient for you.” And trust me; his grace has been sustaining me through all my broken dreams and supposed scarcity. I have a home over my head, sufficient groceries to feed me and clothes that I find are good enough to wear anywhere.
I thank God I have been through all this…it has taught me so much…I have grown as a Christian, as a human being and as an individual.
Pain is that purifying fire that refines you and it teaches you the one and only truth – when everything else fails, God remains… The only thing I have now is family and friends who care for me but I believe even if my dear ones fail me God will be there.
I have faith in God that sustains me through the most evil and trying times, and the driest spells.
In fact, I am rich; abundantly rich and blessed in the knowledge that there is an unfailing Supreme Being who loves and cares for me!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Well, it was not much really.
Just an accident on the zebra crossing at the Thimphu hospital resulting in a fractured pelvic bone and some cuts and bruises on my body.
Luckily I was not wearing glasses (hail contact lenses!)
Jokes apart, I had quite a serious accident with a cab in September 2010.
The cab driver didn't see me and I was too absent minded to look around.
The cab hit me and I was thrown a few feet away, unconscious.
Luckily, passersby and my dad's driver took me immediately to the emergency ward.
I was discharged after the wound on my arm was swabbed and I was given an injection plus after I underwent x-rays and an ultrasound examination.
"You are ok," said the examining doctor, " Just let the fracture heal through bed rest."
I thank the "bed rest" and good food (read eggs, butter, milk)  for gaining extra pounds which I haven't been able to shed till today.
But every event that occurs in your life is a learning experience.
And I learned from the accident, too.
For example, I learnt how lucky people who can pee in the bathroom are.
I learnt to be patient and not get fidgety while on bed for a whole month.
I learnt to walk on crutches.
I learnt to enjoy a back massage.
I learnt to wash my face with a bowl of water.
I learnt to enjoy a book as dark as "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D Salinger.
I learnt to savor Kahlil Gibran's poetry.
I learnt to cherish fresh air and green.
I learnt to long for company.
I learnt to edit stories for the newspapers I was working for.
But best of all, I learnt that so many people are there who care for me.
I learnt that in moments like this, the sight of a loved one uplifts you beyond anything else.
And I learnt that though you are just mortal, you can make life better for others by showing just an iota of compassion.
It surely was an affair (accident) to remember!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Can Bhutanese writers wield the pen? (An article published in The Journalist)

A young girl was stranded in the middle of an isolated island for more than a decade. She survived alone on the island because she had the life-skills. She knew how to fish, light a bonfire and swim. Many passing ships tried to rescue her but she was a good runner and knew all the hiding places on the forbidden land. Whenever the travelers left disappointed, she would be on a cliff waving at them. Then one fine day, a group of determined sailors decided they had to take her back to civilization by any means. They formed a band and started a search operation, combing the whole area. At last, by a stroke of luck, one of them found her, sitting by a cliff, humming to herself and swinging her hands. He reached up to her silently and touched her shoulder. What was the girl’s reaction? Did she jump, scream, run away or catch hold of the man? No. She silently motioned for the man to take a seat and prepared a meal for him. What was happening here? The castaway girl was catering to one of the most basic needs of a human being. Even she knew and felt that. “And that is what a writer is supposed to do,” ended Kim Stafford, a writer and teacher from Lewis & Clark College in Oregon, USA who along with team members from Poland and Alaska, conducted a writers’ retreat at VAST, Thimphu on January 25, 2011.
Writers are supposed to be a gifted lot. They gift their creations to the world. And in turn, they themselves are rewarded with the gifts of personal expression and realization. Kim Stafford, the son of the American poet William Stafford who has authored more than 2,000 volumes, said that even Bhutan is a rich breeding ground for potential writers.
“The people I have met in Bhutan are filled with stories from their lives and from their country. Having a strong story to tell, and clear affection for the human community - these are the foundation for being a writer. So, yes, of course, Bhutan is filled with people who could do important writing,” he told The Journalist.
He believes that Bhutan needs writers and their stories in order to develop its full identity.
According to him, democracy is not just counting votes but real democracy is a society where many voices can be heard - young, old, beginner, advanced and “each writer's voice can make a crucial contribution to this process”.
 “The world needs to learn how to behave in better ways, and I believe writers in Bhutan can help us all to better understand our responsibilities and joys as human beings,” he added.
Azhi Kunzang Choden, a popular Bhutanese writer who has books like “The Circle of Karma,” “Chilli and Cheese: Food and Society in Bhutan,” “Tales in Colors and other Stories,” besides several articles, to her credit feels that Bhutanese writers need to keep on growing by challenging themselves constantly to become better writers.
According to her, there is a market anywhere for good, inspired, well written stories but Bhutanese writers have yet to prove themselves in the international arena. The test, she said, is for Bhutanese works to be accepted for publication by an international publisher.
But Tashi Gyeltshen, an independent filmmaker who also dabbles in photography and creative writing, said that research one of the most important elements that goes into a piece of superb writing is sorely missing in the Bhutanese writing culture.
He feels that creativity depends on the freedom that culture/society gives to an artist including a writer. “Creativity means you should have discipline, passion, skills, and the willingness to take risks,” he said.
According to him, the potential of a writer depends on how the society can promote and nurture it but that the creative culture cannot be changed overnight such as poor reading habits, growing up with orthodox views which constrict creativity and  expression, etc.
What inspires Tashi Gyeltshen is personal expression. He said that when you want to say something, or have a story to tell the world, it motivates you to create. For most people, he feels, writing is a form of self indulgence but for works of art to have that magical quality, it must be authentic and rooted in one’s own practices, of course, not without having a universal quality to it which the global community can relate to.
And “passion”, he says is “the grease that keeps the machine running”.
“Otherwise talent breaks down. When we talk about writers, it is not about good language but creativity.”
Some of the Bhutanese writers The Journalist talked to agreed that the publishing world in Bhutan also has to develop. And no amount of publicity will work if the product is not up to the mark.
A critic however said that readers do not exist in Bhutan and the few that do are “show-offs” trying to fit into the elite intellectual society. “Books here are meant to be published, not read,” he observed, “And there is no such formula by which a Bhutanese writer can touch the pulse of readers in our society.”
It is not an unknown fact that Bhutanese representation in the international literary circles is almost nil and an observer who agreed said that this is because there is no platform for nurturing creative talent in Bhutan.
“Because of the non-existence of an enabling environment, the Bhutanese have very little belief in themselves. Nobody will say they want to become a writer, photographer or film-maker. Everybody will vouch on becoming a doctor or engineer,” he said.
Tandin Wangchuk, an upcoming young writer who has already published three books, agrees that there is almost no market for books written by Bhutanese writers as compared to foreign authors.
“The books written in English are too expensive and only a few buy books in Dzongkha which is a sad thing.”
However, not to lose hope, is Azhi Kunzang Choden’s mantra. “Each one of us is a unique individual, so write as individuals, as you see, understand and interpret your world. You do not have to try to be somebody else by using their thoughts and their language. Write simple sentences,” she suggests.
And like Kim Stafford advised writers against discouragement, “Writing, like any spiritual practice, requires the long view. You are on a journey, and if you can learn to give yourself to the journey and enjoy the process of creation, we will meet in the land of success together as writers.”

Saturday, June 30, 2012


Nu 1,500……that was all I had in my purse when I set out for a two-week hiatus to the east on June 13, 2012 with a close friend.
I knew I was not carrying enough money but I did not have more and I believed that God would provide for me.
For lack of money my friend bought direct tickets from Thimphu to Bumthang  
The journey from Bumthang to Mongar the next day we spent juggling our time between sitting at the back seat and an upturned bucket because we could not get tickets. However, we did not complain.
God provided us a Toyota hilux for free the next day from Mongar to Kanglung, Trashigang.
We stopped at Yadi for tea and snacks which we got for free, too because we accidentally stumbled upon a believer’s restaurant. We prayed for the family and felt blessed in return.
Once we reached Sherubste (that was where our friend plus sister is staying with her husband who is a lecturer and her two small daughters), we made ourselves comfortable.
We stayed six days at her place and observed a seven-day fast starting the very next day we arrived. I observed it for spiritual renewal and renewed I was.
I learnt about being a woman (babysitting, folding diapers, baking cakes, making momos and a whole lot more....maybe God was "preparing" me!), about generosity and hospitality (from our hosts in Trashiyangste where we also spent two days), about delivering a sermon to a crowd and leading prayer service.
We had hitch-hiked to Trashiyangtse because we were short of money but when I returned with my friend after our revitalizing and rejuvenating stay in the two dzongkhags, I had Nu 2,500 in my pocket. God’s providence.
The poorest (in the worldly sense) people did not withdraw from giving to us.
This was a lesson in large-heartedness.
I am not a very wise spender but I had decided that I would trust in God to provide for me and my friend. He did not let us down.
It is not only in plenty that God blesses us. He is pleased to bless us when we put our trust in him during scarcity, too.
Great lesson learnt.