Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Second NC Poll Day

The relaxed....

The queued up.....

The seniors after my failure at an attempt to get them in front of the queue....

The day dawned bright and sunny after days of rain and being a superstitious fool I took that to be a good omen and assumed that everything was going to go smoothly today. Lucky for me my superstition held and everything indeed went well. Voters were lined up when I reached my first polling station and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people. Amongst the familiar faces I saw a lot of new faces that I didn’t recognize and assumed that these were the ones who took the trouble to drive in from other Dzongkhags.

Most people were relaxed and chatting away while waiting for their turn to vote and nobody appeared to be apprehensive or fretful. The only problem was that when I asked a few people who were ahead in the queue to let the old people go in front they wouldn’t listen which was not only rude but extremely sad to witness. I mean have they never heard of humanity or what!

By the time we got to the other polling stations at Yemina and Khachupangkha, the voters had already come and gone because of there being only 111 and 67 voters respectively. At least we were able to observe a few voters at Yemina but sadly none at Khachupangkha. It was extremely satisfying to observe that everything was going without a hitch (I knew the bright blue sky after days of rain meant something good :P)

After getting back home we had to wait eagerly for the results to be declared for hours and now that that has been done with I can finally go to sleep. I guess all that’s left to do is hope that I and all the other voters don’t have to shoot ourselves for the choices that we have made. So good luck to all of us who have voted and hope that all the elected NC candidates will try their hardest to make a difference in all of our lives. Cheers!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Countdown to Second NC Election

The view from in front of my house - gloomy!

It’s been a busy busy few weeks prior to the second NC elections with candidate selection Zomdues, coordination of the common forum campaigns, finalizing the e-rolls, monitoring the polling stations and what not. I have been receiving calls after another because someone needs to monitor the polling station construction, because someone cannot find the keys to some place, because someone’s phone is switched off and they really need to contact that person, etc., etc., etc. Now there’s just a day left for the actual election and am hoping that everything will go smoothly.

It has been raining nonstop for days now and I am really worried not only about the road conditions but also about the voter turnout if the weather continues this way. Preparation wise I think we are on schedule, hopefully (fingers crossed). I know we have the eyes of the whole world on us this year as we carry out the second parliamentary elections and how important it is for everything to be perfect.

There are three candidates contesting from Gasa, Sangay Khandu, the former NC candidate, Yeshi Dorj, a former teacher and Guide and Tenzin who was a GAO like me. There is a battle in opinion about who would be a better candidate between young candidates who are interested and wants to make a difference and experienced ones. Some say one is better and some say the other, you know how it goes! But who’s to say! I guess we will just have to wait and watch. And maybe shoot ourselves in case the candidate of our choice turns out to be completely useless :D.

Whatever said and done, everything is complete and all that’s left to say is, “May the best man win”.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

My Damji Friends

Norbu Choden
Kencho Lhamo
Yeshi Dema and Ugyen Lhamo

Woke up late today and did all the washing first thing in the morning because we are having some water shortage problems. The water supply was cut off even before I was finished with breakfast and I heard my neighbor friends complain about how they can’t get a thing done on Sundays because of that. Even I was a bit upset because I had just put Lhenkay’s school bags in the laundry. Its right after seven in the evening now and we only just got the water back.

After breakfast, Ugyen Lhamo, who works as a teacher in Bjishong MSS, and I went into the forest right above the class PP block to get some top soil for our flower pots. When we initially came to Damji in 2007, that place was filled with wonderful, rich top soil but today, after almost six years we had difficulty even filling two sacks each. The forest is also so much thinner now and I guess that is the impact or rather a sacrifice that we have to make for development to take place.

After we filled our sacks, we rolled, kicked and carried them back home in the scorching sun. It’s funny how when you stay inside it feels so cold and when you are working outside the sun suddenly seems too harsh. We labored in the sun some more, emptying the flower pots and filling them up with new soil. And since the soil that we had initially brought wasn’t enough we went back for more. After that I gave Lhenkay a bath, then took bath myself and cleaned the house.

Later we went for tea at Norbu Choden’s place with Yeshi(both of them are teachers in the same school also). We like to think that we talked about world peace, politics or the environment but we actually talked about our kids, their health, who’s eating and who’s not, who’s pooping and who’s constipated, who’s due for their health checkup, etc., etc., etc. And when we were bored with that, we went for a walk till the shop where we hoping to get some chili chops only to be disappointed. It was a typical Sunday in an ordinary person living in an ordinary place with extraordinary friends of which only Kencho Lhamo, again teacher, was missing because she was being a responsible woman and working on a Sunday afternoon. Hopefully, she will not abandon us next Sunday.

So this is a thank you for Norbu Choden, Ugyen Lhamo. Kencho Lhamo and Yeshi Dema. You guys are the only reason why being in Damji without Sonam is so bearable. Thank you for being such good friends.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Ahemdabad Visit

 My daughter and I had gone to India to visit my husband and I was supposed to write about my experience but it has been more than a month since we have been back and I still haven’t been able to write about it. I guess I’m just lazy so I am thinking it’s time to redefine my commitment to my blog. After all if I have decided to have a BlogSpot I should at least have the courtesy to pay it a visit from time to time.  So I am thinking, sorry no, not thinking, promising actually to write at least one blog in one week. Hopefully I will be able to be true to myself.

First things first, my experience in India, because I promised someone. Thank you Jean Paul for all your support.

The farthest I had been to India was Guwahati and that was also a long time back when we were in college and our father had taken us there for a brief visit. I should say I enjoyed the visit but it was too brief to make an impact on me. The thing that is most prominent in my mind from the visit is the traffic, both human and vehicles.  This time was an entirely different feeling, firstly because it was the first time I was in charge, of both myself and my daughter. It was intimidating because I had to manage everything even though it was not my first flight. Thankfully we reached Ahemdabad without much of an event.

My imaginations about Ahmedabad were what I had seen about India, and what I had seen about India was what I had seen extremely little about the west Bengal. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Firstly the place was absolutely huge. I was there for a month and every time we passed a street I could never recognize it even if we had gone through there numerous times. That could actually be blamed on my extremely poor sense of direction which was an advantage in the sense that every day was a new adventure to me. Lhenkay was actually better at it than me because at least she always knew when we were getting close to her favorite mall.

The people and places were as variant as the colors. There were people living in gorgeous houses to those to whom the streets were actually home, kids who spent entire days in malls to kids who went around the dangerous streets begging. We actually gave money to a kid and asked him to buy something to eat with it instead of wasting it because we thought he might do that. To be certain we asked him what he was going to buy with that money and he said, “Atta” which is flour in Hindi. And I felt stupid for my earlier thought because not only would that feed himself but his family as well.  We also saw men, women and children in deep slumber on the sidewalks at night and Sonam told me about how they would all be curled up under a tree during the monsoon seasons and still be sleeping well. People who have everything suffer from insomnia and it’s amazing that those who have to struggle to get the next meal should be able to sleep so soundly and in such conditions. 

If there were sky scrapers then there were slums, if there were places where no garbage was to be seen then there were places where the sidewalks were filled with them. People and places that were as different as black and white, as beautiful as pink and blue, sometimes mixed with shades of grey and all the colors in between. And so was my experience, short lived as it was.  I could write on and on but sometimes you have just got to know when to stop.