Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I confess I have been a selfish humanbeing

The thought that I am a bit more selfish than I would like to admit to myself occurred to me a few times, but each time, I warded it off saying that it is not the case. But last Sunday, I peeled off all layers of ego, and told myself that I am still a bit more selfish than I would like to admit.

I must confess too that I feel I am way too considerate of others and it inconveniences me sometimes.

Last Sunday, my family and I attended a Bhuddhist Ceremony of offering a religious hat to His Holiness Lopen Thegchog in Paro. So many people had gathered and the hall was so packed. My three year old daughter Dechen and I were squeezed in a corner in the last row. Because there was a small space next to me where my daughter sat (but currently left empty as she sat on my lap), people eyed it and took it up. So we were even more squeezed. She got so restless after a few minutes and she had least interest in the ceremony. When my ideas of keeping her engaged got exhausted, I told her that it was okay for her to go out. She went out twice – stepping on people’s laps because there was just no space at all. Both times, she came back shortly (I later noticed that there were people sitting crowded even at the doorstep and stairs). A nun sat in front of me and because Dechen touched her shamthab, a woman sitting next to me made a comment that she is anim nyenzey ( a celibate nun) in Sikkim. After a while, the same woman told me that there is a shed outside where we could sit. She meant to tell me that we should leave the hall. So taking all the hints from frowning faces, we left. But when we got outside, she saw a pair of sandals she liked and she didn’t want to wear her own sandals. She had been forced to stay inside for way beyond her patience and her mood being not well, she sat on the ground, in the dust, telling me that she was not going to wear her slippers. I let her sit there and taking command, I told her that if she was not going to wear them, she was going to walk barefoot! When a young boy helped her up, I told him that he could let her soil.

I must have been both angry and embarrassed because I don’t really remember whether I carried her or she walked barefoot to the meadow where we sat down to eat lunch. She must have been hungry. She finished her lunch (which is not usual). I was already feeling empathetic and wanted to hold her so much, but I told myself that I had to be tough. So I still held command. After a while she came to me saying that she hurt her feet and she was going to put on her slippers (the way children tell you that they were wrong is very gentle and genuine, and cute).

After lunch we did not go back inside the hall. We roamed around, played in the stream nearby and then we met a woman I know who also has a daughter her age. Though both of us seemed to have forgotten the bad afternoon, I was still feeling very uncomfortable inside. The way something is lodged inside your throat and you could neighther swallow, nor cough it out. It didn’t go until the next afternoon.

So all the while, I have been thinking over the incident and I realized that when we lose our temper with children, it is almost always because of ourselves and not because of them. We correct them way too much, we see fault too often – when we are not in our best mood. That day too, I think I was more angry with the way people looked at us in disapproving glances than at her restlessness. It was also because I didn’t want them to think badly about my daughter and the way I took care of her. We also tend to take on them when we want to shout at someone. This realisation makes me feel bad, but honestly, I think we often scold them, or spank them when we want to get off the foul mood we are in. And it is never because we genuinely think correcting them is going to make them grow up to be a good person (though that thought is there too). When we genuinely care about them, we find a gentler alternative to correct them.

This thought that I am taking on her because I know she is helpless and she cannot hurt me back gave me a very awful feeling. I feel it even as I write this article. There could be some of you who disagree, but that is okay. I heard that there was a teacher in Bhutan who fought that there should be no corporal punishments in schools because when teachers beat their students, it is never out of genuine care for the students, but out of their own anger. I am with him.

Next time you want to spank your children, or scream at them because they did something wrong, please hold yourself. When you were their age, you made mistakes too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy first day school!

11th March, 2014

Dear Dechen,

You started your school from yesterday. You were excited by the school having swings, see-saw and playhouse. You thought it was a park. Once you were inside, when your carer took out the toys, you asked her, ‘oothu sho hang ya?’ (what is this?) picking up one toy after another. You were lucky that she spoke Sharchop.

I scribbled a small letter to you as soon as I got home, wishing that you would have the spirit of Masha, our favourite character. And really darling, I hope you will learn all the good things and I believe you have now begun the journey to shaping yourself for the world that is. I don’t want to force you into choosing anything that you don’t want to – and I really, really want to give you a chance to grasp what you like, and become what you want to be, building up on your own inherent talent, instead of forcing my beliefs on you. But that doesn’t mean I would love to see you growing up to be an immoral, dishonest, or insincere person. Though, the definitions of all these will depend on individual perceptions and beliefs, there does exist a stable, common basis of what is good and bad and I do hope that you will come to see them without too much difference from me.

You have repeatedly told us (your daddy and me) that you would like to go to school and yesterday was the day finally! As of now, you do seem to like it. Hopefully, you will not get tired of it. My earnest hope is that, it will be a school that will educate you in the best sense.

When I picked you up from school yesterday afternoon, it suddenly felt like you have grown up so much. It gave me a mixed feeling and I for a moment wished things stood still! But of course, we must all grow up!

I love you, and may you go far!
Love, Mum

Friday, February 28, 2014

Family and imperfection

I cannot tell you how fun it is to be a mother. But, I also cannot tell you how frustrating it is sometimes. If you are laughing your heart out with your toddler this moment, next moment you are fighting your heart out in how not to shout at him/her. Once you are a mother, each moment of your life is a mixture of different emotions. But on a positive note, the positive emotions almost always win the negative ones.

One day, I reached home from my office to find that the carpet in the sitting room had three big holes and the heater was all burned out and black. I was to learn that my three year old daughter, Dechen, burned the candle (a big rectangle shaped candle) on the heater. She imitated cooking food. She told me that she burned a cup, but I could not really figure out. I didn’t understand that there would be no trace left of it. Her words were, “I put a cup on the heater. Now there is no cup to cook food in”. When I asked my 71 year old mother who looks after her in my absence during office hours, she didn’t think it was a cup. But she also didn’t know that it was the candle that was burnt.

My mother was washing her clothes (which she does despite our repeated request not to). When it started producing so much smoke, Dechen went to her grandma saying, “heater is producing so much smoke”, (heater gai mugu shona, is what she said as my mother later narrated to me).

Imagining that moment of chaos and fear of them had me turned upside down. My heart leapt at the thought of what it would have been like if Dechen put her hands into the hot, melting candle, or worse yet, causing a fire on the house. But we have been lucky so far. You always have such near escape of heart attacks and accidents with children.

The need to sweep the floor more than five times a day, or the delay that is caused in your schedule because just when you are about to leave, he/she has something you want to do for them is needless to speak. Or when you have got into the bed and he/she is about to fall asleep, you will have to wake up because there is just something that he/she needs.

But let me tell you, it is all okay, because at the end of day, as you watch him/her sleeping peacefully next to you, there is nothing you would want to change. It is at that moment that you see all your frustrations falling apart, all your anger forgotten, and all mischiefs forgiven. If you ask me, “if you had the chance, what would you change in your life,” I would say, there is none. I would want my life to be exactly the way it is now. I know it is imperfect, but that is the beauty of it.

Note* The motivation for this article came from the link Tashi Lhamo shared on facebook about a story contest on the theme, ‘family and imperfection’. Between the  office works, I took a frail attempt to at least update my blog.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Interesting video - dialogue in Sharchop

I am posting this video here on my blog so that I will have a record of it and don't have to go fiddling back on facebook.

The dialogue recorded in Sharchop sounds very interesting and genuine.

>This is an
interesting video posted in a facebook group.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

21st January 2014

Dear Dechen,

You might feel I didn’t write to you for a long time. I have scribbled short letters to you on my phone and I have not transferred them to my laptop yet. We went to Bartsham, our village on December 17th 2013 and stayed there till January 10 2014. You, your abi and I went to Bartsham to receive teaching from Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, which went on for three weeks. We directly went to Bikhar, your father’s village and on 19th December 2013 we received blessing from Je Khenpo at the inauguration of a new Zangdo Pelri constructed by Gup Sonam Dukpa. In the evening after the inauguration of the Zangdo Pelri and Wang concluded, we went to Bartsham and your father came back to Thimphu.

Anyway, our days there were very fruitful. Ana Pem Zangmo was on break and she volunteered to stay with you when I wen to the lhakhang everyday to receive teaching. If you didn’t get restless, I would have loved to take you along. You went to the lhakhang only towards the evening to receive wang. That was blessing enough and I prayed that the ability for you to be there to receive those wangs will accumumate merits to further help you grow to be a good human being – by which I mean, someone who believes in dharma, and cause and effect. I have no doubt you will.

In our absence, our home was moved to Pension Colony. When we were back, it was still all in disarray and the home was very cold. Anyway, we slowly got settled and you said you like the new home. Abi and you now can go out any time. Sun rays do not come in our rooms but there is a pretty good space outside to play and we are on the ground floor. As I write this, you must be playing with your abi.

Last Sunday (19th January 2014), we were home and we were drawing something on your iPad. I mimicked Masha (a character on your iPad movie) drawing a bear. I think you picked up from it. Later you drew a person: you said, ‘circle eyes’ and made two small circles. Then made a big circle as head. Then drew legs and hands. I was surprised. It just had me mesmerised. I took a picture of it which is produced below.

Really darling, you are growing very fast. I can’t believe that you can process images inside your brain that way and then express them. 

You have become increasingly fussy after going to Bartsham, mostly picking up habits from my nieces’s daugther, but that is okay. I am sure you will forget them soon and you will be your normal self.

I want to pamper you to the extent I want but darling, you must know that mummy got works and obligations. Oh when I say this I remember of something you said. You were asking if I have to go to office. I told you that I have to. Then you asked if daddy has to go too. I said, daddy and I have to both go to office because if we don’t, we will not have any money. My exact words were, ‘if we don’t work, we will not get any money’. And your response was, ‘ji la lai mawa nyong pe ne. Uncle gai money ge yek thhan, mummy ga bi le’. (I can get money without working. I will ask money from uncle and give you.) It is sweet of you. Once someone asked you, ‘are you daddy’s daughter?’ You replied, ‘no.’I wondered what you were going to say, when she asked, ‘ebi ga’. You said, ‘mummy ga daughter gila.’ Your abi worries that I am pampering you too much, and troubling myself because as a result, you want to be with me all the time and you nag me to give you attention all the time. Anyway, let us not worry about that. Despite everyone’s worry that you are being pampered way beyond the acceptable norm, I want to prove that a child can grow up to be a fine person without the need to spank.

I love you.