Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bound by Transiency

For death is unfathomable,
Let’s have no time to brood over the past,
Nor fret for future, but live the present.
For it’s certain to take its toll one day.

For it’s a mystery inevitable,
Let’s be prepared and welcome it.
Rather than lamenting,
“Alas! I haven’t lived a life yet."

For life is like a journey
To the exquisite garden of earth.
Let’s make this journey,
Though brief, a memorable one.

For we are bound by transiency,
Let’s not let our wrath
Take control of our senses,
For we have so brisk a moment for elation.

For we are bound by impermanence,
Let’s lead a life of a mediocre.
For however swanky and opulent we may be,
Nothing can accompany when the mystery befall us.

For nothing is eternal,
Let not the words of poison sting other’s heart.
For lest something bad fell from our lips,
The whole situation would be in peril.

For our act of atrocity is nothing but our foe,
Let’s keep avarice and vengeance at bay.
Let not our savage instincts break within us,
For we have so short a time for exuberance.

Monday, September 10, 2012


If your love is an ocean,
I won’t mind being drowned in it.

If your love is a blazing fire,
I won’t mind being turned into ashes.

If your love is a thorn,
I won’t mind being pricked and bruised.

If your love is a devil,
I won’t mind being casted an evil spell.

If your love is a trap,
I won’t mind being trapped in it.

If your love is a poison,
I won’t mind being intoxicated.

If your love is an epidemic,
I won’t mind plagued by it.

If your love is a thread,
I won’t mind being entangled in it.

If your love is a mystery,
I won’t mind living in it.

If your love is a war,
I won’t mind shedding blood.

And if loving you is a crime,
I won’t mind being imprisoned for a lifetime.
Because your love is worth everything.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Tale of Life (Part I)

Holidays are the most sought after days. Everyone’s heart would swirl and they would swing and whirl to the blissful tunes that their heart have initiated. But it wasn’t the same for a poor girl. When everyone would be happy at home with their lovely parents, she would be far from her home, the dwellers of whom she hardly knew. Others would be taking rest after hectic school days while she would be lending a helping hand to someone. She would be in the field harvesting potatoes or carrying farmyard manure to their field or help them cook and do other household chores. But why can’t she do the same back at her home?

Neither does she find charm in laughing at jokes created by her friends nor comment on it. She liked being alone and isolated more than being in a group. Only does she become the hungriest shark when it comes to learning. She does group study or discussion only if necessary. Otherwise, she would rather be out in the corridor, the terrace, the meeting hall or any other place where she could find solitude and peace of mind. She was accustomed to it and she liked it. She would rather plug in her earphone than to be plagued by envy and depression on hearing her friends talk about how much their parents love, care and sacrifice for them.

Nevertheless, she used to appreciate as well as envy those Indian girls for having a father who accompanies them everywhere like a bodyguard and the intimate bond they share. Her heart wept every time she witnessed such incidences. She said to herself, “How fortunate of them to have parents who insist them to eat, to study, to sleep, to wake them up in the morning, tell them the dos and don’ts, usher them good values of life and act as an inspirational force behind their child’s every step”. But she had none.

A laughter or smile could be hardly induced in her and even if she did, it wasn’t from her heart. She would hardly involve in a gossip or a conversation unless a necessary intervention was required. Her face would be marked by sternness or seriousness, the reason here to be foretold. The wall of endurance and patience that she built around herself for decades trembled down when she could no longer hold herself from penning down her emotional cries and let the world realize what a life she had been through. No one would have endured a life like hers and no one would understand her as much as she does herself.

The way the mother earth welcomed her to the world of being was in itself a harsh start. Instead of the cozy blanket and bed, she landed with her head down on a stepping stone near the door step while her mother tried to get hold of the wooden pillar erected there. Though in utmost pain, her mother reached her gentle hands but only to pick her motionless baby girl. Her helpless mother shed tears of agony for the loss she have had incurred. But the twist of faith came when the baby she was holding sprang back to life with a sudden jerk and gave her first and the heartiest cry. Her mother’s face glowed and glistened even through the tears.

Her mother's happiness was obscured by sadness on the other side of the coin. Her mother was abruptly flabbergasted when her father walked away from them. He walked out of the house, barefoot with a bamboo basket on his back and his only hand woven woolen blanket in it. They barely exchanged a glance and neither of them uttered a single word. But he left her when she was just three days old, when she could barely open her eyes.

Her mother who was giving bath to her could not control but let her tears drop incessantly into the wooden tub beneath. She almost lost the control of her senses only to be brought back by the shrill cry from beneath in response to the water that has become as cold as the surrounding air.
 There was no malice intended in what he was doing but he was left with no choice than to proceed when her grandparents drove him away for so silly a reason. They ruthlessly said that he is unfit as their daughter’s husband but did they ever give a second thought for the child in between? Never! And they would never.

An astrologer predicted something about her to her mother, “You won’t be able to raise her or she won’t live long but if she does, she will be someone with merit and luck that you will be the luckiest to have her. Let me have her called as ‘Namgangmo’, corresponding to the tenth day of the Bhutanese calendar of this December month on which she was born”. A mixed feeling of chillness and thrill raced through her spines upon hearing so.

Once, her mother had to leave to a far flung village after having her entrusted to her grandmother. Her mother returned back to witness blisters all over her daughter’s leg. The catastrophe took its toll when her grandmother left her wrapped in a blanket nearby an oven. She moved and somehow fell into the vicinity of the fire. Her grandmother arrived back to extinguish the blazing fire when her entire left leg was burnt. She was destined to live though.

The pages of the calendar were wiped away by time and the time came for her to stroll to school. She was sent to study her pre-primary at Thinleygang with her uncle who worked there as a Health Assistant.
The following year, she was brought back to her village to pursue her primary schooling. It was one of the torturing moments she have had. Captains would beat her for not giving them papers, given 
they would collect bundles from the innocent ones and stitch it into books for themselves; a teacher slapped her in the assembly for her absence in the morning study in place of medicine for the toothache that plagued her the entire morning; a captain would beat her every time during meals for not accepting his proposal; the then headmaster had her head hit with the same wooden hammer that she is supposed to ring the bell for her failure to do so on time. She was required to ring the bell in every less than an hour or so as bell captain and she once failed when her sleep overtook her senses.

The situation wasn’t any different back at home. It would hardly be 5 a.m. in the morning and her grandmother would scare the hell out of her. “Hey... lazy pig! Would you come out of bed yourself or should you welcome me there?” Knowing the taste of the thin leather strap very well, she would jump out of her bed. Without even a cup of water, she would hurry towards the cattle shed and untie the ropes tethering each one of them to poles, before the next dose of poison stung her fragile heart.

“Can’t you take them little further where pasture is plenty?” comes the next order from the self-appointed boss. “Still, there she is, strolling like a tortoise; you won’t bear it when I give you some activation energy on your feet. Are you waiting for that?” With fire in her eyes, she would chase the cattle with the thought,” I am not following your order, mind you, but I want you out of my sight”.

When it was time to milk the cows, she would be terrified to see some of them missing and her grandmother blazed into the flame of anguish, “Didn’t I tell you to keep an eye on each one of them? Are you turning a deaf ear to me or have you become blind? Better go and find them now or else you will be deprived of breakfast today”. With tears welled up in her eyes and lumps choking her throat, she would go. A thought occurred to her, “Why didn’t she let me be engulfed by the fire that caught me once if she hated me so much. I wish I was dead there than to be treated so”.

“Eat less and work more” and with this comes the bang on her back. “I bet this girl is having a stomach of horse and food pipe of a bird; taking hours to finish breakfast”.
When she brought her lunch box, her grandmother would exaggerate, “Our neighborhood girl always goes to herd the cattle without lunch. Not even a bottle of water would she be carrying. But this bastard won’t spare”. Her mind would be fogged by the pain her grandmother had inflicted but none would be there to assuage the pain.

She would come to an abrupt halt to hear the devil shout again, “Do I need to remind you every time to carry the bamboo basket? How dare you could go empty handed without spindle and wool with only a dozen cattle to lay your eyes upon? I will evaluate you in the evening on how much yarn you have spun”.

In the evening, she would arrive with the cattle, firewood laden bamboo basket on her back; lunch bag and spindle clutched in each one of her hands. Beads of perspiration clung to her dreary forehead. The moment she came into sight, she would start receiving orders. “Drop that load of yours and start washing the plates and the utensils there in the kitchen. And after that, quickly start kneading dough for the dinner tonight”...

(to be continued in Part II)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Visit to Ramoji Film City

The chilly morning was greeted by an exquisite peacock. All my classmates yelled out of excitement. It stood on a distant rock with its longer than usual tail but that did not pose any hindrance in taking its flight. Rather it added to its profound beauty.
When we reached the much awaited destination, the Ramoji  Film City, the largest film city in the world and one of the wonders of the world as we have been told, most of us were stunned by the entrance fee. Rupees 600 was not so easy to manage in a life of a student. Moreover that being the very first day of our week long educational tour, majority of the group denied. And our excitement came to an abrupt end when the visit was cancelled.
I expressed my disappointment to our professor but in a proper way. This led to a quick discussion with the other professor accompanied by a serious discussion with the rest of the group. A heart thrilling and  witty conclusion sprang out and no sooner were we strolling through the entrance gate.
We were led in a bus and as the exciting scenes came into view, everyone’s mouth opened in the words of “Wows and Kevu…Kekas”, the latter being in Telugu which means the same.
The site and the landscape designs were simply impeccable. We were given a ride in groups of four through a cave like structure where animals of different kinds greeted with their own cries. People in various costumes and styles waved their humble gesture of welcoming a stranger  which overwhelmed us. The illusionary waves of ocean on the walls along with the gentle movement of whales drew our complete attention.
Then we hustled to the games station like swarms of bees. Even our professor didn’t fail to give his attendance there. The most terrifying yet the most exciting one was our moment in the Ranger. It rotated between its two supports. With each swing, its angle of rotation increased until we were swung upside down. For a moment, I wished I shouldn’t have come or else wished for it to come to a halt. We were swung forward and backward simultaneously and held upside down or in standing position alternatively when we reached the peak of its height. My thoughts of pendulum swung between elation and fear for several minutes later.
A man in his mid-twenties escorted us around in a bus. It seemed practically impossible to cover all aspects of the film city accommodated in an area of 674 hectares; nevertheless, the man’s amplified voice filled the bus in a view to convey all that he could. I could see that the pace of the movement of his lips were in accordance with the velocity of the bus. Our heads rotated on its axis from right to left and left to right to catch a glimpse of what he was saying. Though the narrations were in Telugu, my two years of mingling with Telugu people have somehow equipped me to understand, though not fully.
In fact, everything in the film city is 75 percent artificial which means only 25 percent accounts for original. The artistically built buildings lay without any dwellings; the hospitals where the actors are the doctors and treatment at free of cost but without assurance of recovery; the banks where only deposits is entertained and no withdrawals; various metallic structures meant for blasting and fighting scenes; the central jail for the villains to be locked up momentarily; the marriage ground with an accommodation capacity of 2500 people; the IGI Airport for only departures and no arrivals and our two minutes journey to the western world was so exhilarating. Clumps of small villages along with ordinary shops and several buildings especially designed for indoor shooting were also a common feature.
The film city has also vast stretches of lands designed for aesthetic purpose as well as for various shooting scenes. The fake Delhi-Mumbai highway and the road with dense coverage of forests on both sides where horrifying and kidnapping scenes were to be shot; a garden filled with cacti and succulents for emotional scenes and the suicide point were also a feature of display.
On top of that, it has the replica of the Taj Mahal, the Mughal gardens of Delhi, the Brindavine gardens of Mysore, the Japanese garden, each depicting their own style and unique feature.
The Butterfly Garden housing several of them showcased the extent of their intimacy with nature. Butterflies with varying shapes, sizes, colors and the peculiarity of designs on their wings were the very mark of their identification. Some would blissfully and irresistibly suck the nectar while a few would hover in the air for sometime in deciding which flower should they visit next.
Another wonder feature was the Bonsai, a garden with miniature form of trees which is in utter contradiction to their size in nature. Giant trees like the Banyan tree, Ficus and various fruit trees were maintained at a height of less than 50cm or so. In addition, various styles like Cascading, Clasp-to-stone, Upright and Ikadibuki styles were depicted.
 The ‘Garden of Colors’, with a riot of warm and cool colors brought yet another unprecedented heart thrilling moment. The flawless beauty mesmerized me and I was speechless and as still as a statue amid them.
The course of the sun was wiped away by time and as its glistening rays waved goodbye to the enlightened glory it has created during the day, I was there with a half- hearted elation. Though contended by the fabulous experience, a day was not enough to explore the whole lot of the film city. This tinged a part of my heart with dissatisfaction.
Very often, I found myself bouncing between the ornamental plants and our professor in an attempt to find out its unique name and have it crammed simultaneously into my cell’s memory card along with the shot I have taken. The real touch with nature and the sheer aesthetic value that it showers on us is so intense that it can bring unprecedented thrill and joy to our heart. Nature is wonderful and we have a role to play in it so that it continues to flourish and provide us our needs for times immemorial.