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Friday, July 2, 2010


Beauty is a force to reckon with.

A powerful, and to many an irresistible force, maybe even a miracle- the way it works. It transforms brutes into men, refines those who already have the capacity to feel and of course it turns the lover of art and women into a hopeless romantic.

Recently while travelling via Wangdue, I saw a group of tourists peering through binoculars at the landscape below the road. What were they gazing at so intently? I turned my own eyes to their direction. What did I see? Vast stretches of golden fields. On the slopes of varying shades of green, the millet was ripe for harvest- bright yellow, a rich burst of mellow sunshine in sharp contrast to the green surrounding it. Nothing spectacular for the Bhutanese people but for these people from a foreign land it was an amazing sight. Magical.

Beauty of form- one of the tangible manifestations of a wondrous phenomenon can be found abundantly in common-place things. We only need to see and feel it. Forgive me for sounding hedonistic but I feel that the enjoyment of beauty is one of life’s greatest pleasures, more so because it comes free. You only need to develop an aesthetic awareness and grasp each opportunity to enjoy it- as it comes.

But this, I feel, we have forgotten to do. We are so caught up with our lives and daily pursuits that we have become oblivious to the beauty we can find around us, vainly searching to fill a void which only a keen perception of it can bring.

Fortunately we are born in a country where Nature’s beauty abounds. Just a stroll by the road, a journey on a bus, and you will come across sights which will overwhelm you and elevate your soul to spiritual heights which hitherto you never could reach because you were blind and deaf to beauty- surrounding you, smiling at you, beckoning you into its warm generous embrace.

Join me on a mid- October ride now, from Gezamchu, just before approaching the mountainous pass of Thrumsingla to the rolling slopes of Lingmethang - let us keep our eyes open and together explore the colourful canvas set before us to experience the joys its beauty offers.

The road winds up over dangerous looking ravines. The car I am travelling in is not exactly gliding but the ride is smooth enough and I roll down the window to breathe in the crisp chilly mountain air, letting the surroundings seep into my senses, transporting me to the land where the Muses sang and of which poets dreamt.

Do you see it? Beauty, where I do? Come, look through my eyes.

I see beauty in the warm sunlight lighting up little brown cones hanging from cypress branches with their golden and green needles.

I see beauty in the dry brown fern leaves curled up by the roadside.

I see beauty in the stately fir trees with sea-green feathery lichen swaying from their branches.

I see beauty in the bare pointed tree trunks rising up from the cliffs into the sky, sombre and still as if in prayer.

I see beauty in the weather- beaten culverts and the yellow capped milestones, lonely and desolate.

I see beauty in the roughly cut rocks and dry dust enveloping them, the shiny particles comprising them catching the sunlight and glistening like minute mirrors.

I see beauty in a solitary prayer flag with its worn out prayer cloth fluttering at the slightest hint of breeze.

I see beauty in a little crystal stream of water trickling down a flat plank of wood- an improvised water source for villagers and weary travelers to take a sip from.

I see beauty in a lone red sign board with yellow letters nailed to a tree, obscure, forgotten except when glanced at occasionally by a passerby.

I see beauty in the sudden glimpse of the red-tipped feathers of a wild fowl disappearing beneath a canopy of bushes.

I see beauty in the numerous brick-red, dark-blue and bright yellow “tormas” secretly peeping out from rock crevices, an offering to the deities of yore.

I see beauty in the dull moss covered rocks, a cluster of lively blue flowers- enough to revive fallen spirits, and plants with fleshy white stalks forming a snowy carpet by the slopes.

I see beauty in sturdy trees lined up on the mountain tops like a battalion of soldiers gearing up for the call of conquest.

The ride has come to an end. You see, now? Beauty is a spiritual retreat. You come out of it feeling revitalized, rejuvenated and it tunes you to the cosmic language- the song of Creation. Ecstatic abandon.

Beauty is a soul-to-soul connection between you and your Creator. You are closest to Him when you are to Beauty. Join me in celebrating this bond. Don’t let Beauty die.

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