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Be Different

Being an adult is, perhaps, the hardest thing to do. Early days on, you are titled as the man who is going to eradicate the term “Poverty” from the family. From the day we are born, expectations are stacked on our shoulder. Mothers say, “He will be a doctor.” Fathers say, “He will be an engineer.” Before we even speak our first word, we are called by names like “junior engineer” or “doctor Dawa”, as my mother used to call me. Parents are the people who wants the absolute best for their children, irrespective of how poor they are. To have dreams and hopes, it doesn’t require a PhD. It is autonomous. But, sometimes, amidst all these expectations and dreams, we forget to live our lives with the aspiration we have of our own.

As soon as we start going to school, we are taught to excel and be highly regarded people like doctors or engineers. Back then, others would laugh at us if we shared an ambition beyond these two. The mockery would have come even from the academically inclined people like our own teachers if we were to say we wanted to become an artist or an entrepreneur. Government jobs were the only stature that was regarded as the god-level post back then. 

Brainwashed, I looked forward to become either a doctor or an engineer. Despite lacking zeal in science or Mathematics, I forced myself to study Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Arithmetic, integration and Pythagorean Theorem were perplexing for me. I wanted to quit my studies. It didn’t matter how hard I tried. I could understand very little of what I was taught.

I always wanted to be an animation artist. I wanted to make aesthetic and conventional 3-D animations. Neither did we have such facilities nor the technical assets to create one back then. I thought my dreams were far fetched and gave up on it. I strove for the dreams which was never mine to begin with.

Between achieving the dreams our parents and society sets for us, we forget to venture for our own dreams. We rather become a coward. Our parents wants the best for us. That is undeniable. But, it is futile if we are striving for something we have no passion for. No one asks us what we want to become. They just assume it is best for us and we should pursue it. Be brave in the decisions you make. Your entire life could be something else if you just dare to take a different step.

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Childhood Scars

The season has changed. One can see dense dew on the suburbs early in the morning. It can be like a mountain of a task to get out of the bed and go for work. Hot coffee’s and warm toasts have become the customary breakfast. Even the season’s reminded Max of his cold life. Even to this day, every blink of his eyes flashed back the time he was stuck in a deep, dark predicament he faced for years.

Ever since he could walk, he was shouldered with responsibility. The responsibilities were not something one could carry being a child. His parents were below middle class. He wore torn socks and defect ridden zipped school bag. His mates made fun of him but he knew, beyond his age, what his parents couldn’t afford. He didn’t cry around and demand these privileges that his classmates had.

In spite of the shame he felt for being the least privileged student, he kept his head high. The only reason for that was his academic inclination. Max brought exceptional grades everytime. Seeing this, his poverty-struck parents also had hopes for times to come. They would always say, “My son will break the chain of our poverty.” This created fear in his heart, for if he failed to do that, he would fail as a son his parents expected of him.

He would walk for an hour everyday to get to his school. It got particularly difficult in summer. Shoes with holes and torn socks were a bad combination on a rainy day. The students were prohibited from wearing slippers back then. Even if it wasn’t disallowed, he would have had to wear worn out Eva slippers, which would slide and reach up to his thigh while through the wet paths.

He, however, had one aim, to not be a son his parents expected of him but a son they deserved. Rain, hail, or snow, Max couldn’t afford to skip his classes. One time he was severely ill. He had a severe fever and huge bruised ankle, which he suffered during his weekend work at the roadside. Yes, he worked as a labourer on the road side in the weekends to pay for his schooling. Despite the physical ailment, his mental health was far from ill. He still went to school.

To be continued….

Depressive Couple in God’s Palm

I vividly remeber, we had this conversation about our future. She told me that the things between us were not working out as we had imagined. I kept silent. I kept listening to what she had to say. How could I have said anything? For I had kep her waiting for years. I kept saying, “Things will work out.” for more than a few years. The conversation wa short and deep, but what transpired withing the talk was like eons for me.

I had planned a happy future for us. I would wake up every morning to see the golden rays of the sun touching her cheeks. I would slide her hair to the back of her ears and kiss her on the lips. I would wake up and make brealfast for her. Everything I had planned seemed so beautiful but when it came to face the reality, those plans dropped down on me like the monsoon rainfall.

I kept telling myself, “Please dont let this be true, dont let this be true.” I thought she had give up on me. I was sure that I loved ber and that I wanted to spend my life time with her. The harsh reality, back then, was unforgiving. I had no job, no source of income and most importantly no future that could have given us hope.

Things were tough. Irrespective of the hardshops she was facing on her side, she kept motivating me. She was always there for me. Perhaps, she was there for me so much so that the depression I was handling, was creeping up on her. She is a strong lady but the times were so harsh that it even broken her and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Despite all the hardships, We had a hope. A hope that she and I will live together someday, happily. We fought the circumstances, we fought the odds and placed everything in the palm of the almighty. He paved the way for us. Our love stood sturdy. Our desire and pure love for eachother proved strong enough infront of the God’s test. Our destiny hasn’t been accomplished. But, to the chapters we had then, we can proudly say, we came, we saw, we conquered. GURU RINPOCHOE KHENO.

Depressive Couple

Depression can have a devastating effect on close relationships. Sometimes depressed people blame themselves for their pain, sometimes they blame their partners. It’s shocking to see them turn into cold and blaming strangers. After years of affection and intimacy, depressed souls suddenly declare that they don’t feel love, even worse, that they have never loved their partners at all. Depressed partners may refuse to face the inner pain that’s wrecking their lives. Rather than seeking for help, they believe that it’s the existing relationship that is ruining them. Their answer is often to leave and find happiness elsewhere.

The specific effects of depression will differ in every relationship. Talking about inner pain, it is an unbearable pain that demands an explanation and must be escaped as quickly as possible. Since depression is a condition that can vary from day to day, that active side of pain can be the driving motive. But there is another dimension of depression that can lead to the idea of escape as the answer.

It’s the one that causes depressed partners to say they’re no longer in love and have never loved their partner. For me, it was a kind of deadness. Rather than an excess of painful emotion, it was the lack of pain, the lack of feeling, that was the undercurrent of all the surface turmoil.

I believed that the relationship that I was holing on, was becoming uncontrollably toxic. Neither did I have a peace of mind nor I was letting my partner have hers. It was excruciating to see my love put forward a smile, hiding all her sufferings and pain.

The Next Gen

Hooliganism has become the new trend. Gangs are the new norm. It is disheartening to see all the next generations getting involved in street brawls and drugs. The time they should be investing in studying, is utilized in purchasing weapons and toxic chemicals. The system we have set up in our country currently, thriving in academics is the only alternative for employment.

The other day, at the City Bus parking, I came across a group of young boys. They were talking about fighting another group of boys. One of the boys took out a small sachet. I was perplexed to see the boy selling this small sachet, which looked like a small shampoo sachet, to a young girl. The girl handed him a Nu. 1000 note. I froze at the sight. By the look of their appearance, they must have been in their 5th or 6th grade. They were just kids.

It occured to me instantly that their parents must have sent their children to schools hoping for a bright future. It was saddening to realise the hopes their parents have had on them, may remain a hope.

Expectation and Fear

It was hard for me to cope up with my life for the last couple of years. My emotions got the better of me. Unemployment is an unforgiving consequence of an ignorant academic life. “Past is gone. Future hasn’t arrived. So, live the present. It won’t come back the second time.” This statement is wrong on so many levels. I learnt it the hard way. More precisely, it should be, “Learn from the past. Rectify in the present. Anticipate the future.”

For an ordinary, middle class graduate, every mistake is a costly act of carelessness. We have so many hopes stacked on our shoulders. Parents expect us to end the chain of poverty. Siblings expect financial aids. Friends expect parties day in and day out. These expectations creates fear. Expectations are directly proportional to fear. When expectations increase, fear rises as well.

From the lessons life has taught me, I have learnt that fear is another name for failure. Where there is fear, success comes by rarely. I lived in fear for 27 long years. Every interviews, every exams and every endeavours I took, I did it with fear. That just brought me rejections. The day I decided to bar my fears out, I got employed. The only thing I repent about is not bidding my fears goodbye sooner.

Judgemental Society

I boarded the city bus after work. In the bus, I met a student in his fourth grade going back home. I could see, his socks were slouched and he kept pulling it back up. Lagey, which should be as white as the winter snow, was murky green. His school uniforms were chaotic and stained. But the boy seemed matured enough to know how helpless he was.

“The boy must be notorious.”, whispered someone from the back of the bus. Others comically poked the boy with sarcastic comments. Finally a lady, who seemed to be in her fifties, asked the boy why he looked messy. The boy replied, “My father doesn’t give me money to buy new uniform and socks.” “He doesn’t come home when I am home”, he added. The same people whispered again, “Poor boy. He is just a kid. His father should be handed to the police.”

At that very instant, it occurred to me that people are judgemental. Irrespective of their knowledge on the matter at hand, their judgement will be rapid. The boy might have told a lie. The kids these days are very good at it. The father may have been looking out for his son but be financially unstable. The public presented their opinions based on the appearance they witnessed.

I was taken back to my unemployed days at Lingmethang in Mongar. It didn’t matter whether I tried or not. It was an impossible task to get a job residing in a place as small as Lingmethang. Owing to this, people there would look at me as though they wanted to say, “He finished college but still depends on his sister.”

They were, of course, not related to me in any ways. Judgement doesn’t require anyone to be acquainted to be passed. Judging someone is never okay. It doesn’t have a constructive aspect.

MY FATHER

Tenzin came from a poor family. If he had a meal in the morning, he would have to go on with the rest of the day empty stomach. He was misguided at a very young age. He was told that drinking alcohol beverages was a customary culture as a sharchop. Being a sharchop wasn’t easy back then. Irrespective of your desire to drink or not, one would have to abide by the norms of the village. The norms back then dictated that one should drink. This deterred his academic performances.

He left school when he was in the 2nd grade. Time went by with Tenzin working in the field. When he was 16, he realized that there are easier ways to sustain his life. He went for military training. However, he was rejected on the grounds of not meeting the weight requirement. The personnel incharge of the selection was generous enough to take Tenzin as a servant under the then Dasho.

He was taken from Tashi Yangtse to Trashigang by the Dasho. It was Tenzin’s first time travelling beyond the terrains of his village. Everything was new to him. It might not be a big deal today, but back in his days, it was comparable to travelling to another country. On reaching Trashigang, life got tougher. Tenzin, who only had knowledge on how to milk a cow or how to plough the paddy field, often found himself being beaten by the Dasho for dissatisfied services.

Yangzom, who was a milk seller, often visited the Dasho to sell the milk. That was when my father acquainted himself to Yangzom. Days went by and months passed on. Tenzin was living the same life he had been living from the day he came with the Dasho. He was in pain from the daily abuse. He couldn’t run away either, for if he did, he wouldn’t get to see Yangzom.

After an year, Yangzom and Tenzin became friends and soon, their friendship transitioned to love. Tenzin stuck with the Dasho for 2 years despite being slapped, kicked, and harshly treated. The Dasho, perhaps, finally felt remorseful for the hard years he gave Tenzin. He enrolled Tenzin in the Military Training Centre in Tencholing, Wagdue Phodrang.

After fee years of intense training, Tenzin married Yangzom. They had three children. The first born was a girl. The girl had two younger brothers.

Tenzin and Yangzom were two different worlds that came together and gave me and my siblings the lives that we have right now. My father came from an extremely remote place. To finally have a job in the capital of the country is something my father could have never expected. With all of my heart, I prostrate before my father for bringing me this far in life.

Personality Changes Induced by Mental Stress

At one time I didn’t want to stay still. I woke up early and had so many things to do starting from playing mobile games to doing physical works. Though tired, I felt content. So many things have changed over the last couple of years. I became what I thought was tragic when I saw someone like me then.

There were days when I couldn’t even get up. That was not because I was ill. That was entirely because I just didn’t want to. The changes crept in me and nested itself so deep in my soul, I couldn’t even tell if it was still the same person I was few years ago.

I played soccer, went out with friends, got drunk, did my assignments on time. If you knew me back then and if you look at me now, you would for sure feel like you are meeting a new, dead from inside kind of a stranger. I was once a confidently active person. I failed so many times that it changed me into a dark timid soul.

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