Blog moved to

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The good, the bad and the ugly.
Bhutanese society is increasingly churning out stereotypes.
And this applies most pertinently to women.
The fairer sex, the always un-understood or misunderstood enigma, the living mystery of all times.
But evolving times and situations have given rise to various breeds of females.
Or at least that is how society sees and tags them. Take a look, girls and see if you fit in into one of these:

1.The good girl: She won’t go to parties, discotheques or clubs. She will be the do-gooder – the mousy, shy introvert. She will probably have a history of being a studious student, maybe not too bright but obedient and no boy-friends for the record. Being a homebody enhances her image. Men usually term them “sweet” and “cute” (in other words NOT “hot”). Ninety nine percent possibility to hundred is that they will attract geeks or mama’s boys for husbands who want to “take a nice (unexciting) girl back home.”

2.The vamp: A party animal, she will be into boozing and smoking. Maybe a puff of marijuana would do no harm. Will have lived through a string of boyfriends, maybe live-in relationships by the dozen which did not see the light of day. Bitching and gossiping will be her forte. As she says, she just loves to “have a good time.” Usually attracts hot-blooded males who can’t see beyond the stilettoed legs. Moves around in her own circle of friends but is usually independent, can take bold decisions and fun to be with. However, a big “no-no” for conservative males. The “good girls” self-righteously snub this type.

3.The wonder woman: Will be known for her intellect and management (or lack of it) abilities. Men hate her guts. She can boss even over MCPs (Male chauvinistic pigs) and she has her subordinates shivering in their shoes: she can be termed a “bitch” for her over-bearing ways. She is enterprising, calculative and intelligent. Can be a single mother or a divorcee.

4.The house-wife: Will be fulfilling her duties as a wife (how cheerfully, would be doubtful) but there will be no end to her tale of woes which her close friends or neighbor will have to listen to (suffer). The baby puked, hubby gave his salary to his mother again, children are getting beaten up by the big bully/ teacher at school, the baby-sitter ran away and blah, blah…(Heaven save the husband!)

5.The socialite: Will have hooked in a husband with big bucks but who usually does not know she exists. Half of her life will be spent in kitty parties and a round or two of gambling. Leads an ostentatious superficial lifestyle. Usually drives around in a Prado with dark goggles. Nearing mid-life crisis but unable to age gracefully. Usually has a toy-boy in toy.

6.The career-woman: Perhaps the most common of the young, upcoming lot. Usually a graduate. Trying to balance home, work and relationships. Trying to come in to terms with reality. Harbors big-time ambitions to do better in life (for them owning a car is one dream fulfilled).

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY (The life of Bhutanese journalists as it is)

Journalists are an outspoken lot - that is what everyone believes.
Journalists are all over the place - that is what everyone says.
But what are the cardinal rules for journalists in Bhutan? Here are a few (there can be more):
1. Bhutanese journalists are always broke.
2. Bhutanese journalists are famous at infamous places like shady bars and raucous clubs.
3. Convention is unconventional for journalists.
4. Bhutanese journalists can shock prim people out of their wits, not only with their half-researched, half-baked (sometimes outrageous) stories but with their lack of propriety (in manner and attire) and loose lingo.
5. Whenever you call up a high level official, if you are lucky they will say they can’t talk to you over the phone. If you are not, they will slam down the phone to your face.
So what does a fresh out-of-college graduate, inexperienced, shy and unsure of herself do when she is suddenly thrown into the media world filled with un-proclaimed mavericks, self-proclaimed intellectuals and unabashed eccentrics? (Normalcy in the media fraternity is a virtue)
Recovering from culture shock takes a few months. Then comes the tricky part – learning the tricks of the trade. How do you do it? If the journalist is a female possessing physical charms and the person she is dealing with is a hot-blooded male, half of the way, she is guaranteed a good deal of attention. But at the end, aggression, assertiveness, writing and reporting skills (short of stealing official documents, eavesdropping and accessing secret information by other underhand means) go a long way in making you a known (notorious) journalist. Of course, not without the side effects - most bureaucrats who have to tolerate the journalist’s nosiness consider journalists a formidable foe (pest).
Meeting deadlines is another issue that is always an issue. Weeklies breed lethargy for half the week. Dailies set the adrenaline pumping.
Editors barking, reporters bunking, the hurried tapping of keyboards late evenings, hazy smoke-filled cubicles and messy rooms is the typical scenario in a Bhutanese newsroom. The trend runs amok in newsrooms, much like some unruly reporters.
The hunt for stories is an adventure to some while for others who get up from the wrong side of the bed, it is pure pain. Sources and contacts are a journalist’s livelihood, and if you can charm them over with a glass of drinks and some witty one-liners, you are guaranteed a lot more than story ideas.
Discipline is a much needed but absolutely rare quality. For most journalists, the day begins when half of the world is asleep. Late nights and drinks, gossip, blowing one’s trumpet about your so-called innate abilities though no one else seems to notice it, is part and parcel of a journalist’s social life.
But what keeps a journalist going? The craving for freedom, adventure and change. Journalists like to think of themselves as crusaders. They love to challenge beliefs. They know that what they write can change lives. It can change systems. It can bring down governments. When you write news, you become news yourself. And that all contributes to the bigger picture. That is what spurs a journalist on. That is what drives a journalist on despite mounting pressure and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. If a journalist has a family, it calls for a lot of sacrifice. Time and resources need to be divided between work and family. And often, call it the tragedy of a journalist’s life but work wins. Journalists can often turn into workaholics because they thrive on pressure and excitement which their profession provides in abundance. A journalist often appears to be an egoist, but as Ayn Rand puts it, the egoist is the most selfless creator because a whole literate society thrives on the works of a journalist who knows what to create and how to.