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Showing posts from December, 2012

The Elements of Fire and Healing Souls

It is just been over five days that my staff Karma Wangmo’s family lost their youngest member Tandin Gyeltshen to a tragic motor accident that happened just outside their home. When the Tsip (astrologer) told the family to arrange for wooden box to bury the deceased child in the water, I was angry for one moment and curious since then. Children who die below the age of eight are not cremated but buried in water. The astrologer was not sure about the reasons for water burial but I only assume that water cleansing is enough to purify children’s sin while fire is not enough to cleanse the adult. I hope the reason is justified enough for Karma’s family who will have to live with the fact that someone close to them is buried in cold water. Even as the loved one perished within moments, another life, that of the driver who ran over the truck on the innocent unsuspecting child lay begging for forgiveness. The wife and children of the driver endured equal, if not more test of water and fi


Just as I was leaving my house for very long wished yearend vacation trip, I get a call from my staff. She cries on the phone saying that her son was killed in a road accident. I rushed to the accident site and see that a careless driver had run the truck over a helpless child. The family members and all people who witnessed the accident are left in trauma. The family members of the truck driver are also caught in misfortune too. With their father and the only bread earner now muzzled up, there is a silent hoping that parents of the deceased child will show mercy and allow release with some “Negotiated Fine.” Life is priceless. There is only one cause of life and countless causes of death. Yet, it can be negotiated and haggled like any other things. When someone dies in a family of your own people, neighbours and friends, we show solidarity. This is where community spirit helps in sharing the emotional and other burdens. The death of four year old comes as a surprise to me becau

…..Going far away….that far away from Gross National Happiness

…when the concept of pension and social security were being implemented in Bhutan, most people were ignorant of the benefits and mistook it for old pension system where military personnel got paltry amount as pension. It was during such confusion that I met ex- Drimpon Kencho, who had come all the way from Tencholing just to seek information on the new pension scheme. When he returned to his base, he seemed to have made up his mind to be part of the new pension system and ever since then, he has been its beneficiary. Thanks to His Majesty the Fourth King, whose vision gave dignity of independent living after retirement to civil servants, corporate employees and service personnel. It prevented many many people from falling below poverty at old age. This I am sure actually contributes to Gross National Happiness( hahahahahahaha… assumption). Coming to ex- Drimpon Kencho....after he was retired from the service, he left for Tsirang on resettlement . As former service personnel and

The Gift Called Pashi

Sometimes in December 2009, I was on a month break from my University to work on my thesis related to social security system in Bhutan. It was during this time that I met Pak Choi Shi Tseou, a financial expert based in Hong Kong, who had come as a personal guest of my friend Sonam Tshomo on pilgrimage. She helped me understand the nuts and bolts of financial markets and made my work lot lot easier. Thanks to her, I graduated in time. And as a small token of deep appreciation, I renamed her as Pakshi. Later due to cold unforgiving Winter in Thimphu, the name saw contraction and became Pashi. Well, I think that was really very creative. Traditionally, only lamas give name to children and people and my guesses would be like Pema Selden, Karma Pelden, Meto Dema or something else. Should the village lama name her, she would have become Phurba Wangmo, Passang Dema or Chenga Lhamo. Couldn’t it be more creative? Well, this woman called Pashi became a privileged friend for me since then. A o