Friday, March 23, 2018

Inside Bhutan Issue I

Editor’s Note
‘Inside Bhutan’, is an online weekly magazine formed by, of and for the Bhutanese youths; providing platform for youths to share their opinions taking advantage of the popular social networking connectivity, in the form of interviews, story, essay and poetry. Considering the rising number of youths forming musical bands in our country, the first issue takes opportunity to interact with Tandin Wangchuk, who is the lead singer and composer of Misty Terrace, one of the famous and oldest bands in Bhutan. Chimi Wangmo from Sherubtse college voices out the rising suicide cases in Bhutan with a story, depicting one of the reasons causing suicides. Choice of streams, be it science, arts or commerce; Sujana Rai urges youths to make an informed decision through her essay. This issue cannot ignore the spring romance which is in air, thus Shiv Nepal sends his message in the form of a poem to his princess.
Happy Reading

Interview: Inside Bhutan takes opportunity to interact with Mr. Tandin Wangchuk, the lead singer of the band, Misty Terrace.
By Phurpa Dorji
Civil Engineer, Private Construction
Gelephu, Bhutan
Inside Bhutan: A short intro about the band, Misty Terrace?
Tandin Wangchuk: We are an alternative rock music band in Thimphu. In the last four years, we have experimented with a wide variety of original music, sometimes fun and danceable, sometimes stirring and intense, exploring various genres.
Inside Bhutan: Why is the band named, 'Misty Terrace’?
Tandin Wangchuk: It’s reflective of our music and indicates the feelings of our songs and music. It comes from an imagination where (yes, please close your eyes) you are standing on the terrace of an apartment, and you feel and see those clouds and mists/fog coming around you and trying to lift you higher. It’s dull red and purple, and only those melodies (clouds) can lift you and take you to a completely new world that your heart can rest upon and feel more. We believe our songs do that to us, and may be to every listener.
Inside Bhutan: How was the status of the band when started and how is it now?
Tandin Wangchuk: Due to the YouTube and internet revolution, we made it swift and easy to who we are today. Thanks to our amazing fan base. We started as YouTube artist and that’s who we are today, and that’s all is needed. We don’t belong to any associations nor groups, and this independence allows us to bend the rules, which is necessary when it comes to art.

Inside Bhutan: What do you think of the youngsters and the rising band formation culture in Bhutan?
Tandin Wangchuk: We see a huge rise in musicians, singers and such groups. It’s an indication that youths have found a better option than choosing drugs or other shitty ways of the world. It’s a new sign that, art and music are now more appreciated and respected. Isn’t that great? I think Bhutan is ready!
Inside Bhutan: Why are you not singing for movie playbacks?
Tandin Wangchuk: Actually, we have sung and sold a few of our songs to movies in the recent past. But for now, we only want to release it through our own production window, sticking it with the story and visuals we have in our minds.
Inside Bhutan: What are the biggest achievements of the band as of now?
Tandin Wangchuk: We have a lot, can’t name one. Everything has been the biggest, because it involves our heart and love in everything we do. From a crowd chanting our name to a tearful audience supporting my every breath on the stage, I think we had hundreds of such special moments. But to name one that stands out from all, is the moment we sang Yonphula for His Majesty The King and Queen on His Majesty’s Birthday last February. It was unreal!
Inside Bhutan: What are the future plans of the band?
Tandin Wangchuk: We will continue with our original songs, we have a lot in our box to last a lifetime of production.
Inside Bhutan: Any final words to your fan and readers?
Tandin Wangchuk: I thank everyone who has stood by us and supported us and loved us. We are here today, because of you, and we will need you again for this long beautiful journey ahead into our dreams.

Story: Ending life to end Problems
By Chimi Wangmo
B.A Economics and Geography
Sherubtse College
How unlucky can someone be when she cannot hear, what people are saying to her?  Yes, I was deaf. Not born but I became one, when I was in eighth grade.  I was shattered when I could no longer hear what people were saying to each other and when they no longer talked with me because I can’t hear them. My world was in misery but it became worst when my father died leaving behind my poor mother and me, all by ourselves. My mother was facing difficulties to put up with me when she remarried. Deeper, I sank in the ocean of misery, when I came to know that my stepfather was a pervert. He used to sexually harass me and I did try my best to tell my mother about him but she turned deaf ears to my words.
I was breaking down from the inside but no one seemed to care about me or wanted me ever. My mother who should had supported me instead ignored my complaints about the stepfather and warned me not to utter a single word about him, otherwise she would throw me out from the house. I cried as there was no one who loved and cared about me because I was deaf.  I was about to fall asleep when a dark figure crawled upon me. It was my stepfather. I tried to scream but he closed my mouth with his huge hand. I was helpless. He raped me not once or twice but every night. I could not complain to my mother because of her warnings. Keeping my pains inside me, I was dying from the inside every single day.
I wished I was never born. My sufferings did not stop instead it kept on adding more and more. Worst of all, I became pregnant. I started experiencing morning sickness. Noticing the change in my body, my mother started questioning about the father of the child.  I told her it was the stepfather. She instantly slapped and asked me to leave. I begged but ignoring my words; my mother dragged me outside and slammed the door shut. I had no place to go, so I stood under a tree by the roadside thinking about how miserable my life was.
After spending two nights in the forest iced by the misery of my life, I finally decided to take my life. I knew, I was going to take two souls by ending my life but even if I decided to give birth there was no way that I could keep the child happy since my life was in dilemma and I didn’t want my child to suffer like me. My last words were:
“I am so sorry my child for not bringing you to this world. Your mother can’t afford to give you happiness.  I am not worthy of your birth, being deaf. I cannot imagine the situation, when I cannot even hear your voice. In addition, you don’t have a father and seeing only your deaf mother will be a disgrace. You might curse me later, for having a miserable life because of me, so I can’t let that happen to you. Therefore, I am ending my life to end all the problems.”
Author’s Note: Suicide cases are increasing in our country whereby many people try to take their own lives for various reasons. As a human being, it is our sole responsibility to help those who are in need of help. Most of the people consider suicide as the final solution to the problems but actually, it’s just beginning of all problems. As mentioned in the religious texts, ‘You may end your life now but even in next life, you will face the same problem.’ It’s always better to deal with problems rather than taking life. Life is tough but you need to be strong by finding solutions to all problems. Life is testing you with all sort of problems thus you need to face every obstacle boldly and strategically, as it’s better to be a lion for a day than sheep forever. 
A few tips to prevent suicide:
1.     Whenever you feel depressed or you are in need of someone to talk to or you are overwhelmed with unprecedented problems; do inform your close friends; even just sharing might chase your sorrows away.
2.     Even if talking to a friend does not help you, do inform your parents or consult counsellors, if you are a student.
3.     Parents need to be sensitive to a child’s needs and behavior as Bhutan being a society where children fear parents and keep things secret being afraid of beating and scolding. Parenting needs to be changed to cope up with modern youths, whereby they are looking for parents who are open and understanding rather than being so-called ‘strict.”
4.     Whenever you meet a person with problems or seeking help from you, don’t ignore instead try to lend your help or seek help from others to help that person.

Essay: Should the choice of stream from class XI be based on passion or aptitude?
By Sujana Rai
Phuntsholing, Bhutan
The blueprints of our lives are drawn by the choice of courses in colleges, which, in turn, is affected by the choice of stream from class XI. Interest and innate ability play vital roles when it comes to the choice of stream. Both the factors are the dazzling ladders in making your future bright and successful, but aptitude paves a golden carpet for one’s future.
Selection of stream according to our interest definitely leads to a successful life but it must be square with aptitude. Walt Disney followed his passion and became a successful animation producer but he also had a natural ability in drawing cartoons. The ladder of success crumbles down if passion is not being supported by aptitude.
Unlike passion, aptitude is a golden ladder because it alone can guarantee a successful career. Aptitude is a component which does not require additional passion because it generates passion of its own. 'Divergent' actress, Shailene Woodley is personally interested in making her own lotions and toothpaste but skilled in acting thus pursuing her skill, acting became her passion.
Parents and advisors counsel students to choose streams according to their interest but if the interest isn't credited with ability, then the whole career life becomes a nightmare. If asked, everyone is interested to become pilot, doctor and engineers but their abilities decide their future and career.
Therefore, selection of stream according to aptitude complemented by passion, is essential for making our future bright and successful by pursuing a career, in which you have ability to deliver the service dutifully and passionately.
A few tips to make the correct choice of stream:
1.     Know yourself well. What are your strengths and weakness? Are you good in science, arts or commerce subjects?
2.     List down the professions you are interested in.
3.     Evaluate your class X marks
4.     Consult your parents.
5.     Make the decision by considering your aptitude, passion and future scope.
6.     Never make a choice under pressure from parents or because of your class X marks, as you are the one who is going to study not parents
7.     Make an informed decision

Poetry: Few things left unsaid
By Shiv Nepal
Third Year, Civil Engineering
College of Science and Technology

Had my tears given you heartstrings
The ocean wasn’t any water
But unimpeachable feelings
That couldn’t quench your thirst.
Oh love! Your eyes,
 An alluring work of art
  Those that Picasso painted
In the fortress of his love,
Have I drowned in them??
Oh love! Feel in me,
The love that connects your soul
Hidden, true and passionate;
Impetuous as the raging waves,
Dazzling dreams of midnight star.
My feelings are the woven brocade
But it has been like filthy trash,
That daubed your vibrant heart.
Nor did cupids arrow,
Brought me in limelight
To intoxicate you in fragrance
 of love at first sight.
Oh love! In dreams you are here,
Holding me in the warmth of yours
 My eyes reflect like mirrors,
              As I open them to stare at yours.
Oh love! Hold me and sit next to me,
Let us talk heart to heart
For there are few things left unsaid.

Note: If you are interested to contribute your articles for the next issue, please do mail me your articles
Thanking You
Phurpa Dorji
Inside Bhutan

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Phone Me

As her feet touch the cold concrete below, her mind says that she is ready but not her body. She feels the shiver rushing up and down her spine. Stepping into the sitting room out from her room, Dema looks around. No one is in here. Her mother is in the kitchen. She sees neither her little brother nor father. Going to the dining table, dragging a chair, she sits down waiting for breakfast. Finally, as expected her mother shouts, “Breakfast is ready.”
Pulling her body up, Dema walks towards to the kitchen as her brother Lotay rushes in to the room. Finally, her father joins the family for breakfast. Having taken a few spoonful of rice, Dema stops eating and looks at her father, to which her father says, “What is it Dema? You want to say something?”
She shakes her head and keeps eating. Her mother stops eating and asks, “What is it?”
Dema cannot say the words, so she stays silent. Finally, looking at her father, Lotay says, “Ashim wants a phone for her birthday as we know that her birthday is tomorrow.”
Her mother stops eating and gets furious, “What? Phone. Phone is for adults. In addition, being a ten grader, it would be better if you stop talking about the phone. Concentrate on studies.”
Dema does not know what to say. She knew that this would happen. Lotay finishes his food and rushes outside. In the meantime, her father keeps eating without saying a word.
Her mother stares at her saying, “I am saying this for your own good. Look at our neighbor’s daughter who got spoilt because of a phone. Please understand, Dema. You know that, we are a poor family and we cannot afford a phone as Apa has to pay his earnings for the new taxi loan.”
Dema nods. Standing up, she walks towards kitchen with the plate in hand.
Meanwhile, at Rinchending Lhakhang, a few kilometers away from Phuntsholing town, Dema’s friends, Zam and Wangmo are waiting for her. Zam looks at Wangmo and says, “I have something to show you.”
Wangmo takes her eyes off the phone and looks at Zam, “What is it?”
Taking a new phone out of her bag, Zam shows it to Wangmo, “A birthday gift.”
Wangmo takes the phone in her hand and takes a careful look saying, “Wow! Your parents are so kind. Iphone 7?”
Facing brimming with happiness, Zam says, “Tonight, my parents are organizing a grand party. You are heartily welcomed.”
Wangmo says excitedly, “So sweet. Ahh, where is Dema? She is supposed to be here by now. It’s very irritating, to call her; she does not even have a phone. Not even black and white when we are drowned in the ocean of IPhones. She is such a pity.”
“Let’s wait for a while. She would be coming. I told her yesterday,” says Zam calmly ignoring Wangmo’s words.
“Actually, it looks like her parents didn’t let her come here. I heard her mother is very strict,” says Wangmo with her angry eyes on the road, expecting Dema from the road curve.
Soon, as a taxi appears winding up from the curve, Zam says, “There she comes.” The taxi stops in front of them and Dema gets out. Having paid the fare, she walks towards her friends wearing an apologetic face. On seeing her, Wangmo shouts, “You are late.”
Faking a warm smile, Dema replies, “I am sorry. Where are we going?”
“Milarepa Lhakhang,” says Zam showing her new phone to Dema.
“Wow! A new phone? Happy Birthday Zam,” says Dema hugging her, hiding her moody face.
“Your birthday is tomorrow right?”
Wangmo asks Dema with her creepy eyes.
 “Yeah!” says Dema composing herself, not telling them about the morning breakfast.
“Did you ask your parents to buy you a smartphone? Come on, Dema. Studies is important but social networking is also equally important,” says Wangmo when Zam stands there without saying a word.
Dema does not know what to say. Finally, she lies, “They agreed to gift me a phone tomorrow.”
Jumping excitedly, Wangmo hugs Dema saying, “Dema, welcome to the family. Now we can click selfies and tag you. Boys will go crazy seeing you online. Likes. Comments. Shares. It will be fun.”
Zam interrupts, “Can we go now?”
In the evening, after a day long walk trip to Milarepa Lhakhang, they walk back till Kharbandi check post and now they are waiting for taxi. Finally, a car approaches towards the junction. Slowing down in front of them; a man lowers the window pane down and looks at them hanging his head outside. Looking particularly at Dema, he says, “Waiting for somebody?”
Knowing that he is the Uncle next door, face reddened by shyness, Dema responds, “Nope, Uncle.”
Wangmo says, “Uncle, can we go with you? My legs are aching.”
“Okay, get in!”
The man waits as the girls take the backseat. Then, he speeds the car down to Phuntsholing. On the way, Wangmo says, “It was a great day, but I am very hungry.”
Lowering down the music, the man asks excitedly, “Hungry? Shall we eat something?”
“Nope, Uncle,” says Zam calmly.
Looking back at Wangmo, Zam says, “Wangmo, let’s eat at my party. My mom says birthday party is ready.”
Turning his head back, the man asks, “Party?”
Wangmo shouts, “Yeah! Zam is fifteen today.”
Smiling at Zam, the man says, “Happy Birthday, Zam.”
Wangmo interrupts, “Tomorrow is Dema’s birthday. For our surprise, her parents agreed to gift her a phone.”
On hearing these words, the man slows down the car suddenly, throwing the girls off the seat for a while, “Finally, Dema is going to have a phone?”
Dema says no words. Finally, they are at Phuntsholing town. Zam requests Uncle to stop the car in front of a building. As they get out, Wangmo says, “Thank you, Uncle.” Looking at Dema in the backseat, she says, “I am very excited about your new phone. Catch you tomorrow.”
Driving past the border gate into the Jaigon, he looks back at Dema, “Dema, is your father buying you a new phone?”
Dema replies, “Nope, I just lied.”
Without saying more words, the man pulls over his car in front of a phone shop.
Later in the night, pushing the door slowly, Dema enters the room, when her mother notices her. Lowering the TV volume down, she asks, “Where have you been?”
 “Ummm, I was at Zam’s birthday party. I informed Apa.”
Saying these words, Dema walks towards her bedroom ignoring her mother’s stare. Getting inside the room, she checks her watch and it’s 10PM. Without changing, she jumps on her bed and unwraps a plastic bag. Taking a new box out from the plastic bag, she stays amazed looking at the shiny Samsung phone in the box. Smiling broadly, she presses the power button. As the phone screen brightens, she downloads and installs Facebook and Wechat immediately. Happiness throbbing against her heart, finally she creates a Wechat account. Then, she receives a new message on Wechat. It’s from the Uncle next door. After chatting for a while, he writes, “I am missing you already.”
She gets frightened and replies, “Uncle, please don’t joke.”
There comes a beep, “I mean it. Can you please come here?”
“Come here, please?”
Another message beeps again.
Frightened by these messages, finally, she sends him, “Stop joking, Uncle. I am going to tell my parents.”
There comes no reply but Dema waits. Finally, the phone beeps again. It is a video. As she downloads the video, a message beeps, “If you don’t come here instantly, I am going to forward this video to your parents and other Wechat Users.”
Finally, Dema plays the video. Tears clouding her eyes, she smashes the phone up against the wall shattering into pieces. Luckily, her mother has not heard the noise. She wants to scream out loudly but she cannot. Covering her mouth with hand, she cries leaning her head against the wall. This evening, stopping his car in front of a phone shop, Uncle said, “If your friends know that you have lied about the phone gift, they will abandon you. Others will start calling you, ‘liar’. What do you think?”
Dema didn’t speak though his words were making sense. She thought, if they leave her, others will not befriend her.
He looked at her eyes saying, “But I want to help you?”
Dema asked, “Help me?”
“Yeah, but on one condition,” said Uncle seriously.
“What condition?”
Getting out of the car, sitting next to her in the backseat, he said, “You know, what I mean, right?”
His hand playing her hair, looking into her eyes, he said, “Choice is yours. Be a liar or save yourself.” Then, he took her to a hotel and without knowledge of her, he had made a recording.
The next morning, holding a wrapped box, standing in front of Dema’s door, Dema’s mother, Yetsho, shouts, “Apala, come here.” Lotay joins his parents. Before knocking, Yetsho counts, “1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .” Then, standing beside Yetsho, Dema’s father knocks. There comes no response. He knocks again. Finally, keeping the birthday cake on the dining table, Apala breaks the door. As the door swings wide open, there is Dema lying on her bed, facing away from the door. Apala rushes towards the bed shouting, “Dema?”
Holding her in his arms, he checks her pulse. No pulse. She has slit her wrist, soaking the mattress with blood. Standing at the door, Dema’s mother falls down on the floor, with a new brand Samsung phone jumping off her hand and slides under the bed, with a sticker written pasted on it, “Happy Birthday, Dema.”
In a note beside her pillow, Dema has written:
“Dear Parents,
I have been a very lucky girl. I am grateful for whatever you have done to me till now. I am so sorry for letting you down. I promise that I will be a good daughter in the next life.
With love,

Story by: Phurpa Dorji (PJIKKS)
Cover Model: Rigzin Dema
(To read more stories, follow Facebook Page ‘Phurpa’s Writing Cave.’