Monday, 11 April 2022

Getting caught by the Virus

It's been more than two long years since the first detect of COVID-19 virus. Bhutan under the magnanimous guidance of his majesty the king and the government have kept it bay, despite several lockdowns; despite at the cost of many like economy in particular but ultimately it was never going to be forever up until the virus gained it's penetration. However the good thing was in two years time, Bhutan was able to administer three doses of vaccines for all eligible even for the children aged 5 which is but a huge achievement in itself.

Since 4th April, the government lifted all the restrictions within the country; in other words living with the virus was kinda concept the government adopted. Since then the cases in the community began to shoot up each day, although deaths due to the virus has been minimal. Since then for anyone to get caught by the virus has become inevitable and too easy which has exactly happened with me. Yes I have caught the virus and I have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

I started developing minor symptoms on the evening of 6th April. The initial symptoms were uneasiness at the throat, just like the onset of a common flu. On the same night, I started to have fever and headache and also joint pains. I didn't go for the check on the 7th expecting the symptoms to get severe. As a precaution, since 6th April, I also started isolating myself at home; inside the bedroom from other family members as well for I got an unvaccinated four years boy and a diabetic patient mother in-law at home. I had to be extra cautious. Since then it's have been so far so good. The virus hasn't penetrated among other family members as yet.

I decided to get tested on the 8th as I had symptoms and also I didn't want the risk of spreading the virus to other innocent people. As expected, I was positive and the clinical team at the testing center advised me the do and don'ts for the next one week. They also handed me vitamin c, paracetamol tablets and a paper with the guidelines of do and don'ts.

The onset symptoms were exactly like the common flu, a mild one at the beginning followed by fever and headache which was harsh to me personally. I couldn't even sleep on the first night due to fever and headache. The next day, the fever and headache subsided and then coughing began to surface. My nose got blocked and runny nose also set in. Fortunately I didn't lose the appetite. As the medical professional's advice is to take lots of fluids and vitamin C rich vegetables and fruits, I started resorting to that and it's been quite fine for now.

The larger picture that all people, especially the majority of Bhutanese seem to care less is the notion that the virus is equivalent to and no more than just the common flu. My personal experience has taught me that it isn't. I don't really know for how long the so-called long COVID effects will last. I can feel the weakness and it isn't normal at all. Our body made up of four elements is real fragile! It is never to be taken lightly; I don't know how the virus caught me. I was always masked in the office, carried sanitizer in the car and in the uniform jacket pocket and also washed hands frequently, being mindful not to tough my face. Yet despite all this precautions and protocols, I nevertheless caught the virus. Therefore what I personally feel is perhaps particular immunity also determines how easily one catches the virus. My friends whom I have contacted still haven't developed symptoms yet. It was on 5th April, when a colleague of mine was tested positive with whom we are frequently engaged with due to nature of work. I was thinking myself that if he is positive, the next would surely be me and I wonder if the psychological strength also plays a role here in getting the virus. This is just my wild opinion.

Anyways the toughest challenge for me was to keep the virus to myself and not at all give to other members of the family. My four year son also understood despite at such a tender age, but I felt terrible for abandoning him when he needed as his mother is also away just when I was tested positive. Nevertheless I am hoping to come over trumphiant despite all these setbacks.

My only message is take good care of yourself because it's something that's totally under your control. It's always better to not get contacted for there are many invisible prices we pray after we are caught. Prevention surely is better than cure!!

Take care!

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Remembering Primary school days


A Facebook friend from where I come from  shared the latest pictures of the primary school that I attended in late nineties. Just seeing it brought me back all the good (and bad memories) that I had during seven years of my early and initial school life. Though it has changed and evolved with new structures over the time, I still feel it the same, the memories suddenly pops in. It was at this school that has all the beginnings of my life- education and life as a whole.

I was put into boarder life from class II, aged 7 and was beginning of the start of real experiences and characters that often stays with you; you get to pick up a lot of habits most of which are to do with the survival instincts for having to deal everything with your self, decide for yourself starting from as simple as wearing ghos yourself and lacing your shoes to managing money for yourself. I don't remember all the details of boarder life, but memories of good and some real bad and tough ones still stays with you or are triggered and rings the bell when you see or something related to it occurs. It sometimes make me sad to rewind those times; but it also gives me that extra cushion of hope and the strength to get on with the life. I never thought I would one day put these into words but, it actually feels good writing this which is being experienced by people like me, people of my generation specially from remote parts of the country. We all had this similar kinda of experience in schools. I consider the people of my generation the luckiest and one of the last standing ones as we got to experience not only that older and typical rural culture and traditions before the modern amenities came and extinct it all; but also the latest and modern amenities after  road and electricity came and these technological advances in the form of modern gadgets and so on.

My parents were (are) simple farmers sustaining through subsistence farming but they never let me feel it was something of a disadvantage or an obstruction that would block me from getting the modern education; as the first child to be enrolled to modern school from the family, I had their full support and perhaps because if it, out of sheer love they put me to boarder life to be able to learn to stand on yourself. Also the distance between my house and school was bit long ( took more than hour to reach by foot). Everyday I had to walk more than two hours (to and fro) which is hard for the young kids.

Boarder life was a tough, it is tough for every one. The most vivid memory is about always being hungry. The food served at the school was never sufficient, I would always go hungry. I don't know why? Despite the second shares and bonus beaten maize and the puffed soya beans that my mom sent to supplement; I was always yearning for more and would go hungry most of the time. That's not to say that the school didn't provide enough. I thank and am really grateful for the school mess system - school feeding program arranged and provided by the government, the World Food Programme (WFP). Were it not the FREE systems I wonder where I would be right now? I wonder where anyone from those remote village such as ours would be? The school feeding programme included tinned fish from Japan and Norway amongst many other items. It's silly and even embarrassing to remember incidents where by some of the fellow friends would fall into those big empty pots of the school while rushing in to get second share during meal times. 

Boarder life also taught us to live through and survive through thick and thin. Sleeping on the plastic Indian carpet which was a centimeter thick and blanket woven from the wool by my mother and using lamp made from half Bottle Rum filled with kerosene to study ( afterwards lantern came) and revise at night was the real highlight. Also often getting lashed up by the so-called captains if one was late even by a second on their call. Captains of the primary school were really powerful those days. I don't know if the situation is same in today's boarder school? And we had so many captains I remember. Apart from usual school, respective house and class captains, we had prayer captain to conduct and organise evening prayers and coordinate annual school rimdos; then we had firewood captain who would measure the amount of firewood class II and above were required to collect every Saturday. If you are short of the mark set between two poles, you had to go back and get the remaining. Then we had the Games captain who had his own power specially during the morning Physical Training (PT). The captain would stay with the belt on the door(the hostel was a large common room with just one door) and If you were late even by second at the ground for physical exercises, you would get lashes there as well. 

I wasn't mischievous like others and not too bad in studies as well; but still, I remember getting lot of lashes from the captains in that six years of boarder life. That was the longest duration and period that I have of the memories that had somehow shaped my life. The above  narrations are but the facts and not in any way criticism to the system that were in place those times. In fact I am proud to have been able to experience such a thing in my life; some of the valuable lessons of life has been learnt and picked up from the these experiences in that school. 

How was your primary school days like?

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Lockdown for how long and how effective is it?

Bhutan went under lockdown  yet again due to Omicron on the 16th January 2022. First 72 hours were announced as the blackout whereby the government was said to be assessing the spread of the virus; of the community transmission at low risk area wangduephodrang, Riruchu.

Since then the 72 hours blackout was turned to lockdown for a week and which again got extended to the two weeks( till 31st January). I don't know how effective the lockdown is and for how long it will go on as the strange thing is that despite complete lockdown, we continue to get increasing number of affected ones in each places and also in places like thimphu where the community spread was detected only after a week of lockdown. What does this indicate? Now Paro dzongkhag which is yellow zone as designated by the government is also on high alert after a driver, the primary contact of the affected one at chukka has been detected positive. I am sure the lockdown is here to stay; but for how long? Is it the only solution? There are more questions than answers! Usually with the lockdown in effect, should the number of positive cases be not decreasing? 

However on our parts, as a law abiding citizen, it's not important to answer those questions, what we must do is abide by the government directives for we fully trust in the wisdom of the government. We ought to follow the protocols put in place by the government and think what we can do to help the government so we can all get through this havoc. But then again the question is for how long? Hard times like this okie for those getting salary at the end of each month, but what about those who depend upon the daily wages? What about those laid off by the companies? Is the lockdown only solution? Perhaps it's time to live with it, the new normal? The questions go on...

Whatsoever, let's be patient and cooperate with the government; for together we can and I am sure there is light at the end of this tunnel. Although there are more questions than answers, what we definitely require for now is to fight against this invisible virus together.

With this I would also like to thank the frontliners who are working day in and day out to keep others like is safe and sound, while they beat the sleepless  chilly winter nights. Thank you health professionals for your tireless effort in combating this virus and. Thank you everyone!  May this pandemic end soon! 

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Being part of Druk Thuksey Award

Its almost nine years since I first joined Drukair corporation Ltd. Yes, there has been some hiccups in between, some disappointments on the personal level; but it has also been a great learning experience; a joyous ride; being part of an organization that's the gate way to the outside world. Even though from that shadow of the wheels; in rains and in sun, I have got to experience some of the most unimaginable and valuable experiences and lessons one can ever get in life.  Life isn't always about the good days and memories, it's the other side also, the scars, the least imagined moments that often stays with you and when you look back, it's like how did you get through that and something that brings smile to your face! 

Drukair as a company has been flying high with number one priority as the safety; safety for the aircraft and the safety for the people for the last glorious forty years with no major accidents or incidents. Safety is and should be the priority for the Drukair for it will automatically bring in the other two "Ss" as his majesty the king often stresses: Safety, Standard and Service. COVID 19 pandemic did wreck the whole aviation industry world wide, Drukair being no exception; yet Drukair has been fortunate enough to have been able to to carry out its sacred duty. As a national flag carrier, Drukair has been able to operate minimal flights ( repatriation and Cargo -  mainly the medical supplies for government) in such rough and tough times thanks to the magnanimous guidance from the throne, the government's relentless effort to keep it at bay. Drukair has been able fulfill its mandate despite the wreckage left by the pandemic. Aviation industries are still running on losses due to pandemic and are yet to recover now that the new variant "Omicron" has come up. 

And in the midst of it all its such an honor when his majesty the king, our very savior, our godly compassionate guiding star  awards the company with one of the highest award- Druk Thuksey award along with other organizations: RHBSL, UNDP and BEAR. Its great to be part of the organization that receives it. It gives an immense sense of joy and an extra energy to rededicate  and improve our service. 

My personal take on this award is that it is an indication of not only recognition of the tremendous service performed by the organization in the last forty years as a national flag carrier that opened the gate to the people outside; for the showcase of "brand" Bhutan- the last Shangri-la to the outside world, thereby promoting  national sovereignty but also shouldering us and wishing us to do and be more. It is the Royal's hope to work even more harder, smarter and most importantly the royal's fervent wish to get up and get through the hard times that the organization is going through right now particularly due to the impact of pandemic. This cannot be the excuse for our failure. For us, as part of it, for the employee and colleagues, it's an extra responsibility to keep up with the royal wishes; to mind our own business and continue fulfilling our sacred mandate- discharge our services, as humble service providers.

It's a precarious road ahead for the aviation industry world wide, though it's slowly recovering. For a tiny airline like Drukair, it is even more harder and a challenge. Yet like I said before, by the grace of koenchog sum, summed up by the gracious royal guidance, Drukair has sailed thus far without having to lay off any employees unlike other airlines. Its such a wonderful time to reflect upon ourselves about the tremendous responsibilities that comes with huge recognition such as this and work towards keeping it up and maintaining that bar set up by the award such as this. It is the perfect time to leap bound and bounce back stronger. 

For a small airline like Drukair, we may not have luxuries and resources like others, but we have their majesties, our beacon of hope. The most important thing is to keep in mind the three "Ss" as our priority; our guiding principle like i said before and work towards upholding and promoting it. 

As the new year has already knocked on our doors, I resolute my self to once again to rededicate, commit and put on extra effort in my everyday work and be mindful of the his majesty's golden address on the 114th national day.

Friday, 31 December 2021

Reflecting on the 114th Royal Speech and New Year

 I hope everyone is reflecting over the very strong and poignant speech of his majesty the king on 114th national day and are ready to implement it now that the brand new year 2022 is almost up on the horizon. The personal message I took from his majesty's speech was about reflecting on our own conscience. we ought to keep always in our mind the sacred duty that we all have an individual, as a humble citizen and as common service provider being the public servants. I remembered instantly what my boss used to say the first time I joined the world of world - RAA (not Royal Audit Authority by the way). RAA stands for Responsibility, Accountability and Authority. As a law abiding citizen, we ought to keep this three in mind, but the sad thing is that most of us want and vie only for  the last A- Authority. 

The highlight of his majesty the king's speech was about the accountability and to reinvigorate the 'Nga' in one's daily discharge of the duties. If we have the accountability, the other two are surely taken care of and as his majesty pointed out, that's what is lacking in the Bhutanese conscience. The so-called "Nga" is so much needed in our conscience. It's high time that each one of us give a thought about it and take appropriate action. One doesn't have to do anything great; but we can surely do our OWN thing in great ways and that's what matters after all. 

On the individual level, what one can do is to mind our own business, do the work diligently and smartly; being mindful about ourselves. We have to put in extra effort and develop a "Nga" for if one does on the individual level, all can be done. The sad thing about the royal speeches is that we tend to forget with time until the next one comes without any concrete results. If that is so,  for how many times his majesty has to remind? For how long will this go on?

Most of the systems are too stagnant, too rigid and sometimes even chokes us which is why we are still struggling to get to the end of tunnel. We are still inside that maze of a system that act as a stumbling blocks rather than the stepping stones. The question is how to and who will take one out of that maze that's being created by ourselves? The answer is each one of us, every individual. If each one of us can clean our own door steps, the world will be  clean as mother Teresa said and that's what exactly will happen in the world of work too. If each one of us put in little extra effort without having one to remind or make/force us do it. We ought be consciously clear and clean with what ever we do.

So for me His majesty's speech was a fervent call for all to act, to act fast and get the results for which each one of us has that sacred duty to fulfill. There are no rooms and excuses for the failure, for the complacency and for the corruption.  As I welcome the new year, I also resolve my self to do and give my best both in the world of work and on the personal level too; to become a better and productive individual so as to fulfill his majesty's wish.

Happy New Year !!


Tuesday, 14 December 2021

The ugly side of so-called Donation

 

Bhutan is the last Himalayan kingdom, perhaps the last Shangri-La so to say where the Buddha dharma is flourishing like never before. Of course it is an individual’s choice to which religion you opt to practice and get acquainted with; Buddha dharma is progressing in the small country and have become a kinda safe haven.

Recently the Kuensel, the national newspaper of Bhutan covered an article titled “what makes little boys become monks?’ which showcased the unseen and unheard but obvious reality of the institutions catering to Buddhist education. All in all, the story is same for all the institutions. “Many young monks are from the broken families or economically disadvantaged groups, who feels becoming monk is the best choice” states the article. This is the basis from which the word “Donation” comes from.

Bhutanese in general are all generous and kind by nature, they are willing to lend helping hand of any-cash and kind. They are willing to donate so to say and it’s really nice to see people doing anything they can with the genuine hope to gain good merits as a result. . Bhutanese believe in the law of karma, the cause and effect and perhaps that’s why year by year  people are reaping the benefits of it all and country prospering well as a whole.

Anyway the flipped side of this is that, somehow, these are unevenly distributed and like the old adage, there are rains where there is already water and this creates inequality where by the institutions that are genuinely in need of the basic amenities, genuine care and support aren’t reached particularly in remote areas.

I happened to be part of this thing and I am actually proud to say that we, a group of friends are able to be of some help (even if it is a meagre one) to dozens of young and budding monks who are studying at a secluded place. We intend to do more to help and uplift the lives of these young kids who were once on the verge of getting spoiled and wasted but got something to look up to; something to hang by. It’s such a joy to watch these innocent kids mostly from the broken and disadvantaged families finding a purpose to live. We are starting by providing food and clothing (dresses) for the year 2022.  The shelter for them is being sponsored by other generous group and we are grateful to them.

Despite our best and pure intentions, we do face criticisms and struggles on the way. We want the good merits gained, the sense of purpose and satisfaction, joy that comes from such noble works to be shared with others too and on the way seek the help from others, the donations from people alike ( friends and colleagues) which sometimes doesn’t end as intended. There is reluctance and arrogance which is actually fine as we take it positively.  Despite all the hardships and hiccups we are strong; we value and respect other’s perspective and their freedom of choice; we keep aside the reddened  face and we live with the positive attitude that we will strive harder instead if need be to fulfil not just the dreams and wishes of those innocent souls but also ours. Believe me the joy we derive from doing such work is too sacred to give away and far too exceeds the small setbacks and glitches that come on the way

If your intention is pure, there is nothing you can’t do and nothing wrong in doing what you love. But harder one must try.

In my next and following posts, I will share in details the realities of the monks, their life styles and about the monastery. If anyone wishes to donate, even a cent, it would be such an honor to be receive. No amount is small. Like we have the saying: “if your intention is pure, your path is clear and good”

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination

 Bhutanese are so lucky to have a king, people's king at the helm, who serves its citizens with all the love , compassion and care. As the world is been hit by COVID-19 pandemic, Bhutanese has been least affected. As a citizen being the recipient of all these, I have no words to thank. How fortunate and lucky are we to have such a boddisatva dharma king. Perhaps the best and only way is to do our own part of responsibilities and duties deligently. We have our own part to play and we must do that with utmost dedication and integrity.


As the whole world now are racing with emergency vaccination jabs, Bhutan also began its drive on 27the March 2021. It will continue till April 2. The uniqueness is that the government has chosen to do all the eligible people at the same time in one week's time. The monastic community did thier part of blessings and chosed the particular day, time and a candidate to be given the first shot. Today is the fourth day and so far, no serious complications have been reported. I did my jab on the third day. Seeing the number of people turning up to get the vaccine, I am overwhelmed that the public has understood it's importance, the government has done excellent work on awareness and importance. So Thank you my king and the government of day. Thank you doctors and the health professionals for your tireless work. Thank you Dessups for your excellent service. 


Regarding the side effects of the jab, it has been reported that some people had minor symptoms like mild fever, nausea, headache and pain and swell at the site. Some have even reported of their faces being swelled. I personally didn't experience all. I took my jab at around 4pm and by 1am midnight, I started to have a mild fever and as I write this, I am still having the symptoms. I hope it goes was soon. So as per my witness and experience, the real effect of the vaccine seem to come seven to eight hours after you took Jab. But not to worry, it's bearable. For the larger good, for the safety of yourself and others please get vaccine yourself.


Lots of gratitude  also to the government of India for providing us the vaccine despite sharp shoot up in the number of positive cases. May the whole world be normalised soon.  

Getting caught by the Virus

It's been more than two long years since the first detect of COVID-19 virus. Bhutan under the magnanimous guidance of his majesty the ki...