A Glimpse of Drukyul

National flag of Bhutan. Image source: google.

On the lap of great Himalayas lies
Heavenly Drukyul with a magical charm in her eyes,
And on her shimmering face I can clearly see
A rich history interwoven with immense glee.
Let me now back into her past dive
And find out what has kept her so far alive!
O with great pride here she says
How could she survive throughout those crucial days: —
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Celebrating Diwali with cousin sisters for the first time

Photo of me and my wife receiving Tika from elder cousin sister

Today was a special day for me. I got the opportunity to receive Tika (a symbol of blessing) from my own cousin sisters for the first time in my life. Although we grew up together, we had never celebrated such festivals as Diwali or Dashain together because they were brought up in an orthodox Christian family. On my side, I have no biological siblings and hence, I had never got a chance to receive Tika from my own family-members since as long as I can remember. Only a few days back, I came to know that my cousin sister (my paternal uncle’s eldest daughter) who is married to a Buddhist celebrates Hindu festivals and I immediately decided to go to her place to receive Tika on this special occasion. It is still secret to her parents though.

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Celebrating Dashain with kids and relatives

Photo of Thukten, Rigden and Anju with Tika

As the Hindu communities across the world celebrated Dashain today, it has been a great pleasure for me and my wife to join the celebration with our kids in our own small way. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Ram killed Ravana on this very day and established peace in the region. Since then, this day has been celebrated as the day of victory of the good over evil, and we all observe the occasion by receiving blessings from elders and feast together with families and relatives. This year’s Dashain has been a special festival for us because we had missed the opportunity to be with our kids on this day over the past two years when we were abroad. So, it has been a big occasion for us today because due to God’s grace, we have been able to celebrate the day with our kids once again.
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On the other end of life’s journey

Photo of Thimphu crematorium. Image source: BBS.

Three days back, on 30th September 2014, I had gone to Thimphu cremation ground with my colleagues to attend the funeral rites of one of our senior colleague’s mother-in-law. As I entered the ground, I could sense the weight of gloom and sadness hanging in the atmosphere with families, relatives and friends mourning the departure of their loved ones. There were four bodies lined up to be cremated on that particular day. I offered prayers for all four departed souls. Among the four bodies, the 4th one in the row touched me the most. We were told that she was a 9-year-old girl who was sick only for three days. What a tragic moment for her family! I wondered how such a cheerful soul could vanish at such a tender age. I am sure she must have had a lot of beautiful dreams and aspirations before her. It was a huge loss for her family, community and the nation as a whole.
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