The future is here – Reconnecting with former classmates

Group photo with my class 12 mates at Jigme Sherubling High School in Khaling. Photo taken in the year 2000

With the evolution of social media, the world we live in has become very small today. Just at the click of a mouse or the swiping of a finger, we can easily connect with friends and families. It’s really amazing how social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WeChat have transformed our way of interacting with people around us. More importantly, social media has helped us reconnect with even the lost generation of friends and relatives who have been separated by time and space. A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a WeChat group forum called “Jigsher 2000” which was created by some of my former classmates to reunite us at least on social media. For the first time in 17 years, I could hear the voices of my former classmates with whom I had studied together in the year 2000. It was very exciting for all of us to talk to each other and relive the memories we had created together 17 years ago in Khaling. Many of us had not met even once after we completed class 12 but thanks to social media, I feel we are together again.

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What should I do if I ever get a chance to see the world for a week?

The people with eyesight seem to see so little that they often fail to recognize what is around them. Whenever I hear about people falling off the cliff or bumping into objects on the way, I just wonder why they have not been able to make full use of their eyes. My wife occasionally goes out to attend public functions and celebrations, but always comes back to say that she did not see anything. I have many friends who have been in the woods but have not seen anything special there.

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A letter from my old friend

I must be really grateful to social media for connecting us to various people who matter to us regardless of where we live. After almost ten long years, one of my old college friends Mr. Anis Alam finally managed to trace me out on Facebook and I was literarily replete with joy when his message popped out on my timeline two days back. When I was studying BA English at PSG College of Arts and Science (PSG CAS) in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu in India from 2002-2005, Anis was studying BSC Micro Biology and he was one year junior to me. He is from Manipur, North-East India and probably due to our similar skin colour and cultural difference with Tamilians, he soon became close with Bhutanese students and we began to interact more. Eventually he became my immediate neighbour in the hostel by the time I reached my final year and he became one of my best friends. So I was really delighted to receive a long message from him after such a long gap. His message has indeed taken me more than ten years back to relive the sweet memories we had together in Coimbatore. I have copied his message below.

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Memories from Chennai, India

Photo of Bhutanese delegates in Chennai, India

“We had the first-hand experience of flying through the cyclone today and I hope you might have enjoyed it” the pilot announced as soon as we touched down at Chennai International Airport, probably in an effort to comfort the worried passengers. We all burst into laughter when the pilot made that announcement. The weather conditions in Chennai on Sunday, 15th November 2015 were really wild with heavy rains and strong cyclone. We took off from Bakdokra at 4:30 pm and after a short stop at Kolkata, we continued to Chennai in the same flight. But as we approached Chennai International Airport, the aircraft began to tremble wildly as we flew through the oncoming cyclone and heavy rains that had been flooding Chennai and the neighboring areas over the past five days or so. As the pilot announced, it was really a scary and dangerous flight. I had never been nervous and anxious like that before. I kept on praying as the aircraft struggled to cut its way through such a strong and wild rainstorm. But due to God’s grace and the kind wishes of our friends, we could safely land at Chennai at around 8:30 pm as scheduled.

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The first leg of my official trip to India

Six years after my first official trip to Bangkok in 2009, I am thankful to my boss for letting me join her team to visit a youth center in Chennai in India. When I was told that I have been nominated for the study visit a couple of weeks ago, I accepted the offer with gratitude for two main reasons. Firstly, the activity is part of the project I look after and somehow I had a feeling that I deserve this opportunity after being involved in planning and implementing numerous activities under the project over the past two years. Secondly, it has been a very long time since I had got my first official trip outside the country. So, I thought it would be an opportunity for me to refresh mentally for a while. It has been really a long gap. My wife was 6-month pregnant with my youngest son when I first got to officially fly to Bangkok in September 2009 for a week-long training and now he is six-years-old when I have got this second opportunity. However, my first official trip was a true blessing for me because although I could not officially fly out of the country thereafter, I got the opportunity to travel abroad once every year privately either upon the invitation of external agencies or through scholarships. I think that those blessings are over now and here comes the second official trip. I once again hope that this official trip would also bring me another bunch of blessings for the next couple of years. LoL!

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My visual memories of Phuntsholing town

I think I was aged 7 or 8 when I first came to Phuntsholing town. That was the biggest city I had ever seen in my life. After having grown up in a remote community of Dipujhora (Damzhagsa) under Chengmari Gewog in Samtse, the scene of Phuntsholing town was something I had not even imagined in my dreams. I was so excited to see so many beautifully painted buildings, different cars and bikes running in different directions weaving a beautiful tapestry of daily life, and numerous shops lined up along the roads. The good thing was that I was still able to see at that time and I had the full privilege of enjoying the real beauty of the entire town with my own eyes.
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My first gift for a girl

Since 1991, the integrated education policy was introduced in Khaling to help the visually impaired children cope with sighted people in the same learning environment. This was initiated to enable the blind children to develop relevant skills and abilities to live an independent life by interacting with sighted children. As a result of this policy, we were required to attend classes in regular schools at least three days a week. I was studying in grade II when this policy came into effect. So, I went to Khaling Primary School thrice a week to study with other sighted children. It was during this time when I first met a girl called Sonam Dema. We soon became close friends as she happened to be a relative of one of my senior friends. We soon came to the end of the academic year but once again met in grade III in the following year.
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Old is gold: a reminder of my past memories

Photo of my tape-player. Photo curtesy: my wife

On 7th September 2014, I was very glad to have my old Sony tape-player come back to life after having been out of service for six years. Thanks to my friend, Mr. Padam Lal Tamang who fixed it. It went dead in 2009 and since then I had been just waiting for somebody who could fix it for me.
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