Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tips to Gear towards PE & BCSE

My dear young friends appearing for PE and BCSE this year, I know you all are ferrying on a worrisome journey in your attempt to pave your way towards a brighter future as I had my share to get myself filtered through the same net. With the hope that a few lines I unfold here might ease you from the net of tension, I opted to inscribe a few lines herewith;

1)     A simple and petty point that you will need to etch in your memory shelf that might not have even occurred to you would make a difference; is to print out several copies of the OMR sample mark sheet available online on RCSC website(or click on the link Also grab copies of the past question papers. To get yourself fully acquainted with shading; sit in a quiet place with the question paper laid and the mark sheet clutched, set a time and race yourself against time in shading the circles swiftly but neatly within the set time frame.

2)     Bear in your mind to practice shading the circles fairly dark enough; ensuring your shading doesn't encroach the area outside the boundary. Neither leave it half filled for the OMR reader might not recognize your answer if you commit to any of the aforementioned flaws.

3)     Keep on practicing this time and again until you are confident enough. This will also ensure that you don't panic and lay taken aback and deprived of clue as to how to proceed in the exam hall. I have heard of incidences where some spent their time rubbing and rectifying the circles rather than moving onto the next question which is why they ran out of time.

4)     Read the book, “The Secret of Life” by Rhonda Byrne. It is available as eBook or in pdf version. Suck the nectar that is in store in each page of the book and relish yourself with the very essence of it. To quote a few lines inscribed in this book, “The secret is the law of attraction! Everything that is coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it is attracted to you by virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you”.

5)     After all, everything can be summed up and encapsulated in this single line, ‘Thoughts become things’. So with your efforts as back up, envision regularly that you have already achieved what you aspire to achieve.

6)     Another thrilling book that would propel you higher in your life is the ‘Master Key System by Charles Haennel’. Read these two books and align yourself with its contents, and take pleasure in reaping the benefits.

7)    If you are striving towards improving your vocabulary, I would recommend the book, ‘Word Power Made Easy’ by Norman Lewis. It will also boost up your level of comprehension of each term you lope across. Simply knowing the meaning of a word isn’t enough because it is equally subjected to deletion from the RAM of your brain. So the known word(s) shall be reinforced by integrating and reproducing in your own sentences.

8)   Record your voice on important issues. For instance, I recorded my own voice on the articles of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan and listened to it until I had it encrypted well down my memory lane. I did the same on so many topics like the MDGs, GHN Pillars, Domains and Indicators and the like. Doing so, you can also notice and reflect on the flaws in your pronunciation or speaking skills. It can also be a different approach in learning instead of running your eyes over scripts again and again and straining it.

9)  Watch in YouTube on the topics which are difficult to understand from text and grasp the content presented in the most palatable form in the videos. The Polymerase Chain Reaction, which stipulated quite a hard effort from text, provided a different dimension and an easy methodology in YouTube.

10) Meditate as frequently as possible- cleansing and refreshing your mind; instilling in your subconscious mind the firm desire or objective to be achieved. Reaffirm in your subconscious mind the goal so that it manifests in reality to the world outside.

11) Never deceive or be on the pretext to mislead your friends. Often people have the tendency of telling, “I haven’t started to study yet/ why to struggle so much? / I don’t know or don’t have any information regarding this”. You are not going to benefit from this in any way. On the contrary, it is going to kill your moral and inner happiness because the guilt associated with it will do more harm to your intellectual well being than good. Rather, always encourage others to delve deeper and work harder. And find time to discuss and share on important topics with your friends.

12) It is always better to make your own notes; framing notes in a way that will suit your learning ability and habit. It will also do wonder in saving your time in revising. Arrange notes in a chronological order so that you have it staked in correct order in your brain for easy and faster retrieval when required. So make this habit of note making cling to your learning process like a shadow.

13) Take tutorial classes only if you feel the need to. Otherwise, it is not necessary especially youth outside Thimphu and the financially constrained ones. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to because I took neither of the PE and main examination tutorial classes. However, I am not ruling out the importance of taking one. Taking it and shedding your own sweat would be an extra boost to your performance.

14)  Nothing to be worried even if you are really weak, need tutorial assistance but don’t have anyone at Thimphu to base your stay. I know many of the graduates struggle to find an accommodation in the capital and they are deprived of some of the educational facilities that city-dwellers enjoy.

15)  If you find it extremely difficult to manage yourself with your distant relatives or village people, leap a step forward to visit the Department of Youth and Sports who will cater to your study needs and provide free accommodation in their hostels. You will also enjoy library facilities at the Harmony Youth Center (HYC), offering you reference books and compilation of past question papers. I spent most of my time at the HYC Library for it provided so congenial a place for me to study. So be a regular guest there if you are deprived of right environment at home and are situated in its vicinity.

16) In case you are having problem locating the HYC Library, please give a ring to this number 328098 for further directions. I hope the number hasn't changed for this was what Amrith sir gave me. It is located just below the YDF campus and above the Swimming Pool.

17) The center also has Internet cafe, which offers youth and or students to use its internet facility at a comparatively cheaper rate. In addition, it offers photocopying facilities at a reasonable rate.

18) However, the Library doesn't lend you its guide books and past question papers as it has very limited copies. I took snap shots in my mobile and then practiced the questions according to my convenience. You can grab some guide books from book stores like DSB, Junction book store, etc. In this way, you will be able to perfectly orient yourself towards intensive studies and accordingly the desired result because you will reap what you have planted.

The statements stated herein aren't reflective of my association with the organisation (HYC) or any other. It is solely based on my past experiences, which I assumed would shed some light on others who are taking the same path. 

It is to be borne in the mind of every individual that success doesn’t come by default. It is a result of deliberate search and well-defined action. If you say success is luck, then I shall reiterate that luck is when preparation meets an opportunity. It is a blemish-free fruit borne by the tree well nurtured or nourished. It is not by chance but by choice. But during screening tests like the PE, it is important to use your analytical skills as well.

However, these techniques are not to be generalized for every individual will have their own technique or methodology of defining or targeting for success. I only intend to motivate others to define their own course of action for determining their success. Neither, these are comprehensive tips to help you score high. These are a reiteration of very generic tips that helped me to achieve the intended target. I shall be enlivened even if a single individual benefits from my course of action and the experiences I have had.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Unforeseen Expedition

Thuenzang was knocked out of his deep slumber when the old man in his adjacent seat mumbled, “Lha Gyelo!” (Let the God Win).  As he stretched his strained body and widened his eyelids, he realized that he reached Kyikyi La, meaning the Dog Pass.

The road thereafter winded and twisted amid the serene blue pine trees. The trees flung their placid swing to the tune of the gentle breeze and the hymn chirped by the birds fluttering about its lanky twigs.

As he shifted the gear of his neck from left to right and then back again in awe admiration, another beautiful scene loomed into his vision. The Chamkhar River meandered on its course towards the never ending voyage. It appeared reluctant a chap to start its journey, rather plagued by sadness to leave its beautiful valley.

To the right, the Kharchu Dratshang; the Celestial abode of the Namkhai Nyingpo bloomed and flourished with prayer flags knitted into a myriad of networks.

To the left, the magnificent Jakar Dzong; the epitome of all the administrative activities of the valley crested atop the hill overlooking the peaceful valley.

To the front, he gleaned a view of the Rudungla; a pass known for hiking and trekking. The pass lay posing with pride, showcasing the tinge of white snowy fleck at its summit and the exquisite conifers adorning it along its stretch.

At the bus terminus, he was lost in tracking down his memory lane the list of mesmerizing scenery encrypted therein. Never was he amazed by nature and natural scenery to such an extent.
When he realized, everyone has left. He shook his head slightly, regained his composure and entered the heart of Chamkhar town. He walked from hotel to hotel, only to get the same response every time, “Gom mathrel lopen”, meaning “Don’t mind sir”.

He lounged over a bench that lay in front of a shop. He stood there with his eyes fury as a flame, forehead constricted into a number of furrows and his body disheveled as a beggar.
Suddenly a man sat beside him after a careful and prolonged speculation of his stance. The man, whom he was introduced to as App Kencho, was considerate enough to take him to his home. It was a 15 minutes drive from the town.

Ap Kencho was residing in a single storied bungalow, neatly maintained and surrounded by a fresh organic garden.

As Ap Kencho summoned, a girl in her late teens, clad with thick woven kira, and a white scarf (usually worn by Bumthaps) bound loosely over her silky hair cascading its way over her shoulder, hurried towards the house. Her ankle-length kira stained with muddy clumps around its rim ushered him with a tacit understanding of her having been tooling around with her garden soil.

“Lemo (a pet name indicating deep affection), offer a cup of tea for our guest”. She waved a brisk node of consent and disappeared into the kitchen.

 The very first glance of her sent his blood racing at an accelerated rate. His heart beat reached the zenith of its pace.

She returned with two cups of tea before he could even visualize how the minutes ticked by after seeing her. In another bowl, she brought ‘Zow Magey’, roasted rice blended with butter and sugar. The suja, salted buttered tea and the zow magey was a perfect blend for him. However, he was totally oblivious of the fact as to whether to attribute the savory taste to the real flavor or to the exhilarated state that he was in.
More than the innocent look on her face, which was a manifestation of her impeccable youthful beauty, her behavior and respect with which she embraced her father’s words or instructions dragged him intellectually closer.

The moment she walked out of the house, he couldn’t stop wandering his glance through the window for her presence around.

He saw her saunter gently amid the linear rows of lush leafy vegetable beds and speculate which one to pluck. She returned with her face adorned with a placid smile, holding a stainless steel bowl crammed with fresh vegetables.

As she caroled into the kitchen, she hummed a soothing tune; a tone that rendered him calm and relaxed. The whooshing sound of the pressure cooker and the sharp relishing odor that greeted his nose was indicative of something special being cooked.

In the mid of his consistent internal struggle as to whether to peep into the kitchen and say hi to her or would it lead to any undesirable consequence, someone halted at the doorstep. A tall man probably in his late twenties, masked with dark complexion aggravated by a firm patch of moustache stood at the door. As he bent to remove his knee-length gum boot clad with mud, Ap kencho exclaimed, “Get in faster Nado. It’s freezing outside”.

Nado stared at the stranger with an unflinching gaze as if to say ‘Who the hell are you here?’ He could feel a chilly tremor creeping along the length of his spine as Nado’s gaze became intensively woven with curiosity and suspicion.

His conclusion that Nado is none other than Lemo’s husband or would-be-husband plunged his heart into the deepest of agony. He felt his muscles twitch out of sheer insecurity and despair. He was numb for a moment.

Lemo wailed from the kitchen door, “Apa, the dinner is ready”. All of them orbited themselves around the bukhari( Iron structure with a hollow space to accommodate burning firewood used as heater). Lemo uncovered the lids of the mouth-watering dishes and served them.

He, being the guest in their house was the first to get Lemo’s warm serving. A plate full of red rice with sizzled pork and beef blended with long strands of dried chilli alighted in his hand. In another cup, she scooped a few ladles of Ema Datshi( green chilli blended with cheese and garlic) and a cupful of Daw( skimmed milk or the remaining extract after cheese is extracted out).

She spread two loafs of sweet buckwheat bread (locally called Khuley) in her father’s bangchung,a round-bottomed bowl made of bamboo shreds. The father chuckled to say, “I prefer this to rice”.
When everyone was engaged in gliding down what laid before them through their gullet, he managed to steal a brisk glance at her over the bukhari on the other side. He noted another important point that besides all, she was terribly an excellent cook.

After dinner, nothing much was left than to move to their respective beds. He was ushered into a room. A bed was arranged with the blankets neatly laid and coiled back into folds. Nado entered and started laying his bed beside him. No longer able to hide his curiosity, he inquired,”Aren’t you Lemo’s husband?”
“Yalama Lopon(Oh my God!, sir), I am just a worker here”.

Was he to believe this or not but the response he got brightened his face with unprecedented happiness.
Just then, the door hinges creaked as Lemo stepped inside.

“Lopen, zimchang zhey”, said Lemo with a timid grin. It was a tradition that many of the local people cling to where ara or locally brewed wine is offered before bed as zimchang for inducing sound sleep.
Though drinking was completely out of the list of his habits, a kind offer made by the girl he was irresistibly drawn to was simply undeniable. He gulped it down and accepted yet another cup. He could feel the liquor seeping down, its effect radiating to every part of his body.

Nado was laughing incessantly at him. All he could perceive was Nado’s palm tapping on his shoulder and a blurred motion of his lips in intermittent giggling and mumbling.

“Please take me to Lemo’s room. I won’t be able to sleep if I miss the chance of talking to her. Please Nado!” groaned he in his companion’s lap.
“Shsssh! Be quiet or else her father will bash you out”, flew the response that knocked him down.
“Please Nado, I am clasping my two hands into one. Help me please!” wailed he in utter desperation.
‘Well, I am certain that you won’t get to see Lemo. She is too young to counter such venture with you for now. If you really want, I will take you somewhere not far from here”.
“Really? But where Nado?”

“Zip your mouth for a moment and follow me”, was all that Nado uttered.
Both of them slid off their blankets, pushed the door aside cautiously and slipped their way out into the freezing midnight breeze.
“It is extremely cold outside Nado”.
“Don’t worry Lopon, it won’t be the same inside”.
He pursued all the instructions showered upon him by his guide and so did he make a victorious journey. He succeeded in sprawling, clinging and leaping over a two storied traditional Bhutanese house.

Positioning himself near the window, he called out, “Yangki, open the window. Please let me in”.
After several attempts to lure her being turned topsy-turvy, he lost his control and baffled out loudly, “Open the window or I’m going to break it”. He tapped harder and harder until the window opened to his delight.

He was greeted with a jug of chilly water being splashed against his face. Another bucket of cold water over him drenched him to freezing. He lost his grip as a whip hit his hand fierce-fully with a simultaneous hoarse voice of a woman that pierced right through his ears,”Yaa Tae-nyen choe”. The phrase says, ‘you deserve this, you notorious creature’.

The next morning, Ap kencho’s summon dragged him out of his fantasy world. “Lopen, you ought to get ready. You have to be at the bus terminal by 6:30 am”.

He felt an excruciating pain as he tried to stretch his legs. When he got out of his bed, he found himself limping. He was astonished to hear the whole account of the story from Nado. All that he could recollect was Lemo standing aside his bed and pouring him the wine.