Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Letter to My Mother

Dear Ama,
My  mother(on my left side): mother in-law on the right.

I owe you immense sense of gratitude for enduring seamless pain in my upbringing. You were alone in your stance and on  your path to raise, cuddle and mold me. You held your self esteem high when it bogged you down with. You stood up and leaped forward when challenges made you to kneel down in utter despair.

Many a times, I sensed your tears dripping down, but you never meddled us in the pool of your tragedy. You traversed a journey to combat a lone battle.

The agony of raising a pair of fatherless children would have gnawed hard on your bones when you have had already walked in the same shoes yourself.

I had a narrow death escape when I wriggled about out into the fireplace and have had my left limb burnt. The scar tells it all.

Perhaps that is only the second escape. The first one terrifies me utterly as it did tune its terrific fingers once at you.  I was greeted with rigid stone slabs instead of cozy blankets when I first entered this world. Who would have endured the pain seeping down each orifice of your heart when your first child lands head over the stone slab;  your fingers to caress only at the motionless child?

Ama, you faced all these; all alone. With none to hold your hand; none to share the tiniest bit of agony consuming you at such critical time leaves me awe-struck. I  understand your stance very clearly. Yet you moved forward.

Ama, you invested remarkable amount of your energy in building our family house. This routes down to the fact that I was left on my own in a wooden trough. I dwelled secluded in the trough, used for bathing me, as long as you fought hard with sores  resulting from the hard labor at the construction site. That was also the time when I was left to explore on my own, within the trough.

You beautifully narrated me the cuteness with which I smeared my own shit on my thump; relishing each jubilant suck. Perhaps that was only the thing that I found. Perhaps, we didn't have enough to keep my digestive glands satiated. However, circumstances didn't favor you to dwell in the house that you have  contributed enormous physical labor for.

I was hit hard on a day when I came over for vacation from school. The roofing over  our hut, lying in the vicinity of our previous house was frayed. Rain splashes came spluttering over our head.

Ama, what would have crossed your mind when fate didn't scribble a line to bestow you with a piece of land to erect a dwelling of your own? I boldly declared, "Ama, don't worry. Let me complete my studies first. I will be in a position to take care you and my siblings. A roof over our head and enough to feed ourselves; I bet you this". I noticed you casting your skeptical eyes on me but I was sure of what I was saying.

We borrowed a piece of land (of our relative) and constructed a small one-storied house. She(relative) was generous enough to lend the land at a meager amount.

Ama, I still remember the glow in your eyes, reflective of the utmost joy a couple of years ago. I stripped myself of my six-months stipend and concealed it in the khadar my grandpa gave me when I departed for my further studies. With the amount, I bought all the requirements (wires; sockets; bulbs; plugs and other miscellaneous items) for the set up of electricity line at our new home. With light at our home came glow on your face. That was the least I could do for showering me with boundless love.

Ama, stream of memories greet me but one in particular is still intact. You reminisced that an astrologer foretold that you are going to lose me during infancy; that my upbringing will be difficult. But you succeeded in clinging onto the narrow ray of hope and raised me with all difficulties. I am going to let you dwell in the reality of being extremely useful child as has been predicted.

My Ama, I know of the times when you didn't own a penny. However, you assured me that you are going to give me the amount, if needed during my schooling years even if you have to go begging, borrowing or whatever. My ama, you were handing me a few thousand notes as a refund for the payment incurred for your pilgrim trip and the Indian Currency exchange. Today, I reciprocate that love of yours with the same dialogue. I am not going to take a single penny from you now. I am going to do this small favor to you even if I have to borrow from others.

This is the testimony of my unfaltering love  and gratitude to you, Ama. Words are not enough to thank you.

Today, you said that I kept my words. As I drove you to Dechenphug lhakhang before you left this morning for your pilgrim trip to Bodhgaya, you expressed how grateful you are to me. You disclosed, " Everything we have back at home is an outcome of your hard work; from the electrical appliances,  clothing, food, cash in hand,  electrical milk churner to every item visible at our house reminds me of you". I seriously think that is what every parent raises their children for. If this foremost step of gratifying ones parents is nullified, I don't think there is any better way to serve others.

This letter to my ama is also in response to the numerous birthday wishes and blessings that I received on my birthday. I rather took it as a day to pay homage to my mother; my creator for sculpting me into the person I am. I also took it as a day to spring my thoughts  back to where I came from; not to forget my background no matter how high I may soar in life. It was also a day for me to reflect on my deeds; what extra advantage I can be to the universe for my creation. The emotional outcry reflected herein isn't a note to dwell on the hurdles of the past but to learn from it and then stroll further.

With this note, I also wish everyone a Happy New Year. Sieve the current year's experiences; leave the debris; take the clear filtrate of good deeds and thoughts in continual swing to the new year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Enchanted Land of Tuva; A review on The Tale of Tuvian Prince

In the first place, I would like to applaud the writer, James M. Brady, in maintaining a consistent dose of simplicity in his writing from start to the end. The book, enriched with a true tale of romance and values of life is worth letting your eyes steal a consistent gaze.It won't fail to be a page turner.

I equally rejoice in the fact that the writer is able to swing back to a normal life after a fatal accident that robbed him of his stunning wife; leaving him emotionally plagued for the rest of his life. To fill up the hollow dent in his heart and the family, he embarks on a journey that will steer his life in yet unheard direction.

The tale exclusively features the writer's romantic accomplice, Alima. The writer, in his dire quest to breach the gap lands up adopting children from the Republic of Tuva, facilitated by a student exchange programme.

No sooner, the two finds themselves bound by the magnetic power of love. Theirs was a pure test of love;  unyielding to the vastness of age gap between the two. It was a manifestation of romance set crossing over the formidable barrier of religion and custom poles apart.

The name Alima keeps on recurring so often to me. As much as the writer finds it an utterly exigent task to erode the name from his memory lane, it has established quite a prominent place in my brain too. A few lines for the writer in conjunction to his tale shall I unveil herewith;

Dear Mr. James; the Tuvian Prince,

I really appreciate your kind gesture in every endeavor you undertake. Your charitable work has touched the hearts of many and I hope the same trend will follow in the times to come. Fate might have robbed you of the most important person in your life but it didn't tune its cruelty fingers at your heart to rob you of its richness.

Beyond a tinge of doubt, I would regard that to the fact that the heavenly abode might have regretted immensely for having exercised their power of fate in making you half-death for they will be crippled by the loss of a wonderful person.

I can't even imagine the fact that the fatal catastrophe had left your right leg broken at thirteen places. The reality that your face has implants of a metal plate and four screws above your right eye and again two metal plates & six screws below your right eye is something that I cannot ingest; but an unadulterated fact.

However, had you not been through the critical journey of your life, perhaps the idea of writing might not have dawned on you. The series of events ensuing the mishap might have created a dent on your life, and accordingly triggered your sensory stimuli in spontaneously pouring down your feelings in black and white. Perhaps, the book that you have gifted to this world is the silver lining to the dark tumultuous cloud of the misfortune. You have left your legacy to the world in the form of Book embedded with values.

The greatest asset I discovered going through this book was the writer's unwavering faith in leaping forward in life. He, despite hurdles of colossal impact, clings onto the ray of hope and proceeds on with his life. Life may not present us with the  leveled glossy path for all the times. At times, one might have to tread over the thorny; the rugged; the hazardous path and so forth. No matter how treacherous a path you have had walked, there is no time in lamenting over it at the end of the journey. You ought to let the wounds heal, revive yourself to normalcy and start leaping forward.

I have had my heart sunk in the pool of sadness at the end of the story. As tragic as the tale begins, it ends with not much of deviation from the tangent of melancholy. Nevertheless, I was reverted back to my comfort zone with the lesson it bequeathed on me. I take pride in sharing it with you all;

People may enter your life; create a massive impression; perhaps leaving irreparable dent on your heart, and may leave your for eternity without prior notice. But we cannot afford to desolate ourselves in the secluded realm of misery & grief. Life got to move on and we shall be the change agent in the move. Our chance to clutch on the physical realm may seem as imaginary/virtual as the transitory dew drops. We shall not fail, however, to clutch firmly and then cherish the very moments of life.

Life is as good as an iridescent rainbow. A fine moment where the mighty rays converge with the heavenly shower would it loom its flawless colour. Many a spectator would have their fingers pointed in its direction; casting their unflinching gaze in awe admiration. But the very next instant, it will be gone; dispelled by time and conditions. The true reality of our life runs in parallel to the nature of rainbow.The tale of Tuvian Prince is a perfect embodiment of this principle of life.