Let’s face it. Don’t we seem to be quite obsessed with the ‘first’ tag – the first person/company/nation to do this, the person/company/nation to do that? What is it inspired by, the fifty first dates? And for that matter, here’s another first for us – Aum Lilly to be the (note!) first woman president of a political party i.e. Druk Chirwang Tshogpa.

This particularly reminds me of having read/heard a news piece a year or two back, featuring a debate between Lilly Wangchuk and Shobha De, the Indian writer and columnist, during a literature festival in Thimphu. What astounded me then was Lilly’s stance that there should be quota for women participation in the parliament. This was opposed by Shobha De who opined that women should be elected purely by the merit of their capability and not because of their gender. This did not sound quite right then. After all, Lilly Wangchuk is a woman borne in a free society with the freedom to become any person that you will to be, irrespective of your gender and background. We do not need quota system for our lot to get a chance. Ours maybe a democracy in infancy and women, in the politics maybe a rarity but given some time, Bhutanese women too will catch up with their menfolk as we have done in almost all profession. And it is a shame that Shobha De had said the exact words that should have been spoken by our representative – given that Shobha De comes from a nation where women are marginalised and women participation in politics are often based on quota system.

Lilly Wangchuk is deemed by many, as a capable woman...even inspiring. And here’s hoping that the ‘first’ tag with a touch of feminism did nothing to lure her into that position and that her winning traits will shine through to make her a wise leader.
The world’s a scary place to dwell in
Overwhelming human kindness tagged with self purpose
They are either the sheep or the wolf in sheep’s clothing
The sheep boasts of their honesty and the wolf, their intellect

From the dumps to the dive, my ama wanted of me
“Commit-o-phobes are fools and you ain’t no fool” she said
She lent me her words of wisdom, descending from her roots
And gave me a tall order of straightening up

“Sorry ama, I couldn’t be your son
I am me; a free soul in a free flight to anywhere
But where you want me.
I am your son and yet not your son!

I looked blankly at a person, smiling and waving at me from some distance. “Heyyyyy!!! Long time, how are you?” he chimed in.

Recognition hit me like a wave as I reciprocated the friendly wave and replied him. Later as I caught up with him, I told him he looked like he underwent a total change of appearance. He seemed leaner, taller with a beard on and more manly than I remember him to be.

“What happened to you?”, I asked inquisitively. Knowingly, he grinned massively that split his face into two.

She blossoms,
My good, little one,
like a flower..
Day by day
 moment by moment
since the day I held her
Pink and pretty
 Her eyes so untainted
By the vileness of the world
There’s a need..to climb a mountain, to be marooned on an island...to be somewhere in isolation. Yes, I think it will take such a measure to clear the clouds shrouding forever in my head and it has grown into something of a monument lately. I have begun to ask questions and it always starts with a WHY?

Why do we have to the puppets filling the roles created by destiny and written by Gods? Aren’t we such fools, to think we are in complete control of our lives when all the events in our lives are predetermined and that the fact is, everything in our lives is a sequence of events, one causing the other and we merely assume the authority over them but in fact, we are just innocent but live actors, filling up on duties that are required of us but honestly, that which we often loathe.

Maldives, in my mind, has always been a mystical paradise of sorts. And to my delight, I met two Maldivians in 2001 in Delhi. Of course, we were all teenagers then but they seemed well bred, well spoken and smart – that only added points to the impression I had about them.

Internet is not the only thing that transcends borders and boundaries. People from all around the world are rapidly transfusing and societies are going all the more multicultural. In the wake of this cultural mishmash are its own little troubles that plague the minds of the lesser ones – the lesser ones in this context are the ones hailing from less developed countries, like us for instance and one such trouble is the thing of racism.

Two years ago, Private Bradley Manning, a US army intelligence analyst was arrested for supposedly leaking the materials on “Collateral Murder” to WikiLeaks. This video features the airstrike that killed around a dozen civilians and two of the Reuters journalists. The cameras that these journalists were carrying were mistaken for guns which cost them their lives. Two children who arrived in a van to collect the dead bodies were shot along and the pilots had jested and laughed over what they had done. What Whistleblower Bradley Manning committed was treason to the US military but in eyes of the rest of the world, he is hailed a hero.

***This article was written for the Students' Digest Magazine

The advent of democracy in Bhutan caused a serious rift amongst people. The otherwise peace loving, god fearing and the romantic lot were enforced to wear business suits to evaluate which party would be more conductive than manipulative. But let’s admit it – democracy couldn’t have come at a more apt timing than it did. Let’s also admit it that our first democratic torch bearers are all snowed at the temple and almost bent at the knees. This too is only proper for we need wise elders to be the models so the young may know how to tread the road often not taken.

I am assuming there are close to 300 Bhutanese in Perth; there were around 200 when I arrived and many more landed this year. Every year, Perth fetches the maximum number of Bhutanese followed by Canberra. So there you see, nothing fuels a man more than money does. It turns a man from a van to a Ferrari. It spunks up the weary, wakes the dead and make men adapt to a culture that is otherwise suitable only to ants. OK so money does not buy you happiness (Gee I am so tired of this line!!) but going by the trend, nobody wants happiness... they all want MONEY and happiness can go deep six its ass!!! 

Look what Steve Jobs has done. I hope a day will come by when the the computers will ask us what we would like for dinner, figure out the recipe, go shopping, cook and serve us to our liking.

It makes me think of it like a sportsman readying for the run, heaving his breaths in and out, his pulses on the verge of explosion and with all his energy garnered and ready to surge. It travelled some distance before it rose and fell, the waves of the sea.  Bare chested men and bikini clad women dotted the shores. The young ones playfully splashed, surfed, dived and did all other things meant for young ones to too.  The parents and the toddlers walked the length of the shore and the old ones were not to be seen. From a distance from where I sat with my daughter, wrapped in a blanket, I could see my husband and his friend and the friend’s wife play with the waves. Sometimes they jumped, and the waves took them higher but sometimes, they got dunked underneath and were fed saline water of the sea. 

Then I began to think about the formation of the sea – how all the glaciers melted and ran through the gorges and brooks into the river and into the seas and the oceans, cutting through the rocks and the soil, gathering minerals and how it changed from one form to another as it travelled the world. If only they could speak of the adventures enroute to their destination, half of our imaginations would be left buried in peace. And then I think of Al Gore and his causes and wonder if it has made so much of a difference to the ways of the human beings and their quest for comfort.  Will he delay the end of the world or were all those dramas for nothing?