Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Monday, June 13, 2016
Calling all artists/photographers.
This is a working cover for "Ballad of a Minor Man in a Major Chord- Butterpillar Songs & Catterfly Cries"
Besides the poetry, I hope to have as many artists and photographers published as possible. The idea being there's beauty in everything. Hopefully the art will enhance the poems and vice-versa.
If you think you have a piece of artwork/photography; inbox me your attachments with a caption detailing your name/studio/gallery etc.
That was his name. Acid. Yet there was nothing acerbic about Acid. Someone came out with the moniker to find a befitting name to his ‘coolness’. Acid was the best we could come up with. It stuck. And somehow even elevated that sense of ‘cool’ he was oozing with. Most naturally.
This was Thimphu in the mid-eighties. The parking lot below the Swiss Bakery used to be smaller. And in the foreground was a patch of green. In that patch stood a big tree and some smaller trees. I don’t remember what kind, but the little green patch and the trees were a refuge from those dull and hot summer days.
When Acid would saunter into the little grove, the branches on the trees would ‘bend’ and give him a little ‘bow’. And a lotta shade. The breeze would then sway in. As if they’d been waiting for ‘his coolness’.
Acid would sit on his little spot of brown and green; fish out the pre-rolled joint from behind his ear, light the fucker up, and inhaling it deeply, let out those deep marijuana fumes. He would chase that ‘high’ with a cigarette.
A faint smile would pucker up his boyish face. And he would proceed- watching the wheels plying by the main traffic. Main Junction was the honeycomb. And traffic was literally waiting for the next car.
In a town of wanna-bees, and hungry experimentations, Acid was already 'made'. He never did any hardcore drugs. Never touched a needle, a tab, a pill, the juice or even the booze. The weed was his deed. And his meditation. The most we saw him pissed was a lightly furrowed pair of gentle eyebrows. Which would vanish with the next joint he lit.
He didn’t talk much either. And was an enigma even to his closest pals. With his get-up of army-boots, army-pants and army-jackets, he was wrapped up pretty mysterious. He played a bit of hoop, and would show up to play ball in the same get-up.
Maybe he’d take off the beret, and the jacket. But that was it. And that done, he’d be back, every day, every evening; hanging out with his trees watching the wheels go by; smoking his pot. Sitting in his little patch of heaven. Watching the world.
Never hurried. Never worried. Just being. Giving you a wave if you were someone who belonged within the Clan of the Polar Bears. With that light smile upon his boyish face.
Acid died when he was barely in his twenties. A freak accident. The little grove he used to hang out in is now a parking lot. The trees are also gone. And along with it, a lot of ‘cool’.
Stony came by Saturday. He hardly ever does. Not that he’s asocial. Or a recluse. He’s raising up his daughters. All three. And they’re all at tender numbers. The age of innocence. The time of their lives. So he’s taken up on what matters. Leaving out what does not. Like the parties. The late nights. The bars. Cafes. And well, just hanging out. But last Saturday he dropped in. Like this morning’s summer sunshine. Last night’s monsoon downpour. (After going AWOL like the spring. I hope he hangs around like the last winter).
But seasonal misgivings aside, we caught up. Where he played the bangtar- a guitar shaped like a banjo. He’s still got the old chops. The riffs. Albeit a tad on the rusty side. But like Jamie O handling onions on a cutting board, he still chops them slick. We sing. Old tracks from the chug-chug railroads. Loud Reed. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Some blues. Most of these chaps are gone. The songs are here though. Along with the flashbacks.
Playing ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ always leads to Snake. A buddy long gone. We’d been on an evening walkabout around town. We run into Snake. All style from the crown of his raven head down to the tips of Mickey Rourke boots. The lonesome Harley-Davidson man (with a few Marlboro mates). He might not have had the motorcycle but he had the looks. The jackets. The jeans. The belt-buckles. And more swag than all the local chaps could muster. And in this town, that was enough.
We meet at the main traffic junction. He tells us he’s just come out with an inspired composition. Stony and I get curious. We can’t wait to hear the crap he’s gonna dish out. And man when it starts crapping we are both shit-struck.
“Sometimes I feel so happy;
Sometimes I feel so sad;
Sometimes I feel so happy;
But mostly you just make me mad;
Baby you just;
Make me mad;
Your pale blue eyes”
That did it. We lost our mojo right there on the bloody curb, next to Osang Video Parlor. Sickened to our guts with this thunder and lightning, we left broken. In pieces. The rest of that wretched evening was a rut. Bogged down by the ingenious composition of Snake, the evening passed in worthless self-psychosis. Boy- there’s more to Snake than the skins he keeps shedding and growing. The guy is polished. The more he rises in our heads, the lower our tails tug and coil.
The evening is ruinous. We change plans and head over to my brother’s. Cing is home. Buoyant as ever. Almost boisterous. We don’t know what he’s been up to, but he’s always up to something cool. He tells us if we’ve heard Lou Reed? Of the Velvet Underground? We’ve heard of Snake we wanna tell him but keep mum. He tells us we must listen to this particular track. We do. Still downbeat. The music plays. It’s got a catchy intro. It plucks. Builds. Hardens and softens. It’s sentimental with the middle-finger raised up. And these familiar words come taunting us.
Hounding us. “Sometimes I feel so happy…”
The bastard! Stony wants to stone snake. I wanna club him with rocks. But with the seething disbelief is an enormous sense of relief. Suddenly we are upbeat! Man we wanna hug the guy for not composing the damn ditty. And man we are glad that our chum Snake isn’t the genius we thought he might be.
And in being such a regular bloke, with such Hollywoodish élan; he was always one cool cat. Snake died before Lou Reed. And some 25+ years later; here we were- two old dogs going anecdotal on both the composer and the performer. After all these years, it does seem strange, and fated, that Reed and Snake were one, after all; in their own pale blue and brown eyes.
That done; we head down to Benez.
I know these dreams that keep showing themselves off to me every night. That keep revealing their shapes and sizes. That keep showing me the outlines. The Silhouettes. Voluptuously. And the knotty maze. Yes. The maze. It’s an aerial view. The kind that makes you believe you are seeing everything. A bird’s eye-view. And here’s the crux. The details are always absent. And I don’t really care. Not anymore.
One tires of such hope.
And it’s a hopeless sight.
That does not really show anything.
And I’ll tell you why. I’ll tell you the secret. I’ll share with you this peep. Through the keyhole. The dream is a chaff. Its dust. Pretending to be stalk. Pretending to be substance. Solid. Pretending to be cake. Sweet. It’s not even edible. It’s not even flavored. It has no scent. No odor.
It’s a mere mannequin. A frightened scarecrow.
It’s the fake Kohinoor. Make-believe. On a window. Dressed as a gift. You can never buy it. Not even if you stole all the money. It’s always placed in a box. In open view.
That is the point. It’s here to titillate. To seduce. To prompt. Give you a hard-on. Get you all excited. To have you come-over. And come-on.
So that it can disappoint you. Depress you. Deflate you. Flatten you out. Suck the air. And the life out of you.
Leaving you dazed. And confused. Perplexed. Walking about shooting darts in the sky. Wondering why they never hit. And stay-put.
The dream succeeds. And now you reside on Logic Street. In Rational Boulevard. Chasing your tail. From your head. Scratching your thinning hair. Scalping your sagging skin. Which is beginning to wrinkle. Rot and fester.
You should know this.
You’ve been dreaming far too long
It's time you woke up.
And stopped dipping your fingers into those grainy-dreams.
After all- the dream is not a rice-cooker.
Those dreams are best left uncooked.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
I’m with creatures of the wing. Winged creatures. What are these beings? From the fruit-fly floating dead in my glass of ara last night to the ones dancing in the lawn right now. They are all here. In small sizes. I was told last night moths shine their little eyes a glowing ember red. If you look carefully. Like a drunk I know who has got the same raging red shine when he’s had one too many. Takes me back to a time when we had gone to Paro to usher in the Bhutanese New Year- Losar. And a mutual mate had put those red eyes into context. Like the moth’s. Saying, “Don’t he remind you of a thirsty vampire having a bad, bad night?”
He did. As did the moth. But the moth was different. He aroused curiosity. And wonder. Of the kind that makes me share solidarity with the winged. Even fruit, and houseflies. Those little buzzards. They can be good company. In small numbers it must be said. These guys man! They start the bloody day singing! Jamming! Breaking into tunes. Songs. Choruses. Are they taking the piss? Unbeknownst to us of the legged, limbed variety? Trying to limber on?
Here butterflies take the floor. They have panache. These butterflies. Nectar. Ambrosia. Better than the sweet sugary stuff we binge on. Ah! But to be a butterfly! Maybe a meal for the birds but man there’s a hundred bad ways a man can die. And die every day. And night.
The bullets. The shrapnel. The knives. The rope. The dungeons. The torture. The mayhem. The betrayal. The angst. The suicide. The murder.
A butterfly dies a beautiful death.
A bird of prey swoops in.
And puckered by a sharp pair of beaks; she’s gone.
Becoming another winged creature of flight.
A bird is a beautiful being.
It maybe chained to the skies; but it sings. Spreads its wings, and until it dies, it flies.
Ani Choying Drolma jumpstarts the day
Melting my hardened heart
When I can’t take it anymore
I switch over to Lightnin’ Hopkins
Riding the blues
And over to Robert Johnson
The devil himself
So they said
Now smoking a cigarette on the porch
With a rosary around my neck
I sit and wonder
‘What the heck?’
It’s a bluesman and a nun
Doing what they’re good at
And doing it with a lotta fun
Softening the chest
And making it heave without a gun
A nun and a bluesman
Mellowing the breast
Tender by tender turn
They make old turtles gasp and run
I’m back at the park. Tarayana Park. Its Pedestrian Day. So I walked. I wore a Gho- a Pantsey. Checkered black and ironed-rust on white. Good fabric. A gift from the Bro-in-Law. For boots I got a wicked pair. Midnight black. Another gift from a brother. From another mother. Matter of fact he gifted me two. The dingo rests. I look at these boots and the song rings in my head. These boots were made for walking.
Thus dressed I strolled. First to the capital temple- Changangkha. Where Dharma plays the host in saffron-yellow and ruby-red. And Karma comes to visit in varied colors. In quite a haste. Carrying yet more gifts. Offerings made. Presented. Prayer wheels spin. Rosaries counted. And selfies finish the take.
We walked down the hill. Towards town. The main streets are empty. The fringes are traffic-ky. She heads off to a birthday-bash. Where I hope nobody gets beaten. I walk Norzin Lam. It’s bereft of cars. Kids stray the streets. Playing football. Running amok. Having fun. Childish. Pure. Innocent.
I hop in at Ambient Café. Get an Americano to-go. I walk some more. I buy a packet of Wills. Clandestine. Smoke sheepishly at the corner of Junction Bookstore. The guilt pleasurable. Then I spill the coffee on the Pantsey. Panic. I look for water. There’s a dumped bottle. It’s got half a fill. I pour it over the stains. Roll it into a knot. Squeeze it with a fist.
Now I look like I peed into my Gho.
Then I walk some more. The downtown street leading towards VAST Gallery is also empty. What a spacious delight. To be walking right in the middle of the road. The cars plying the Vegetable Market Road looks rude. Sounds rude. Almost beastly. But what’s that? Someone’s dropped some money on the road. I pick it up. Look around. There’s no-one. Must be mine now. It’s enough for a 150/- phone voucher. I pray the one who lost it multiplies his good merits. And drops some more.
There’s my table at the park. But there’s a lonesome girl playing with her phone. Two more on the other side. And a couple down the stone-steps leading to the Wangchhu. I walk down to the river. Haltingly. And wash the coffee-stains some more. Man I’m already getting attached. I think. And shudder at the thought.
I come back up. The table’s empty. The girls on the other bench are also gone. The place is all mine. Now the road to my right hounds with wheels. And the river to my left roars in peace.
I put on Bob Dylan.
And I type.
The thing is this: the person I love still lives in my head. She's the one laughing over me as I lay dead. Forgetting she’s also dying. But I’d like to ask, "What happened to you?" You see, I was always around offering a hug and a help. But I guess you grew. Whether up or down you grew. The past is a throwaway. Which you threw. And now it’s a tad too late. Let's rephrase that and wipe clean the black slate. And in milk white overtures chalk down the words-
‘It’s Too Late’
Love shouldn't transform into hate. Apathy. Or an indifferent gate. But it does. And dies a thousand little deaths. Before the final break. There are no retakes.
Because now it’s too late. Let's not blame associated Karmas or Dharmas. Or the bent hooks. Not even those wriggling worms with which we bait. Not even fate. Shit happens. There are no rehearsals. Not on this floor. No tap-dances inside this door. No tango. Not in this shake. No ripples upon this lake. You take it on the chin or throw it in the bin.
I chose the former. It’s no sin.
You’ve made your choice. So have I. You’re now fired from my head.That's why I say it’s now too late.
Monday, June 6, 2016
This is the vacuum. This continuum. Where I’ve my head stuck up in an eternalist hole. My tail coiled around a nihilistic pole. In-between the body lying languid. Ignorant. Stretched to the limbs. Wrinkled in a fold. If it be told. The head egging me to be bold. Scrambled, fried or sunny-sided. The tail tugging unto the hold. This barricade. This wall. This fence. This division-cell. Begging to be put on sale. To be sold.
From whence I break out. Marked in accidental bruise. Driving. Trying to cruise. Singing forgotten songs. Meeting up mates who’re daddies. Who must govern their kids. The haywire traps laid-out by an unforgiving world. They must take-care. Every parent wants to raise good people. And good-people start out as little-kids.
I understand. But the void is deep. A bottomless pit. Scary at first. Until you hear Sadhguru speak. Where he says, “Jump in!” – A bottomless pit is spacious flight; you fly. You hover. You soar. You delight. Because there’s no fall.
It’s the bottomed-pit that kills you. Not the bottomless-pit. Or the free-fall. It’s the hard-lands. Crash-lands. Knelling the sound of death. Of this reality. Hardened. Unwilling to mush it out.
But not here. Not in this vacuum. This continuum.
Because. It. Is. A. bottom. Less. Pit.
Now won’t you jump in?
From the Tarayana Park, next to VAST. The mountain south of Thimphu sits content. There’s a majesty about it today. Maybe it was the brief showers. There’s a cleansing feeling about its look. A refreshing attitude. The sky behind it is as shiny. Almost translucent. As if happy for the mountain. As if playing mirror to the mountain’s evening clarity. The irresistible lure of the mountain has magnetized a big ball of puffy cloud. Puffy without being fluffy.
In fact for a cloud it looks rather tight. And solidly-light. A 100% pure cotton-dragon. And the dragon flies still. And slow. Coiling the majestic mountain. Unwilling to let it go.
Up north the evening sunset’s liquid gold light’s been caught by another cloud. This one is haywire. An anarchist floater. It may not have found the southern mountain but it’s managed to catch the golden hue. Streaking back the refracted light in a polished gold. Glowing in it. In tits and bits. Enjoying the brilliance.
I’m on the banks of the Wang Chhu. It’s gotten louder by the day. Fed by the monsoon kiss and hug; the river is no more a stream. The gurgle a dripping memory. Now it pours in delight. And sings a river’s roar.
The valley itself is renewed. The grass is wet. The trees are green. The birds perch. And I’m quite ready for a cup of black coffee.
In the fading dusk light
The outline of Thimphu’s southern mountain is a delight
It stands out in the dark
Its silhouette sharp and bright
As raw and as naked as a newborn babe, the truth cries-out. Painfully. And we milk it. Then snuff it out. Pacifying it. There’s nowhere to hide. But newborn babes grow-up, and learn to smile, smirk and play. The childlike games go by. Passing out. And adult brinkmanship comes to stay. Until. Things take a sudden U-turn. And they wanna go back to those games of innocence. But played out with a knowing deceit. Self-deception, walking as honesty. If there’s such a thing. Kundera’s Laughable Loves grins. And Alan Watts giggles some more. At the gooey wiggles and the wiggly goo. Of the things now at display. Waving frantically. Insubstantially. Screaming ‘look at me!’
It’s out on the streets. This paranoia. Parading as purpose. It’s in the cars. Driven as useful-success. It’s in their looks. Pretentious as moral-parity. It’s everywhere present as absence. It’s on the Worldwide Web. Entrapped. It’s on Social Networks. Hanging by a plea. Lost in a map. As the world goes by.
It’s on Facebook. A shifting status. A shadowy-symbol. An abstract-reality. A bit-idea. A longing-solitude. A dejected-desire. Masquerading as the real thing. Not knowing how to be. It’s tragicomedy. And the actors are unaware. Of their roles. The play. The drama. The curtains. The jesters. And the joke. The punch-lines are airy. But the black-eyes keep posting their wounds. The injuries are a pride. The hide becomes reality. And reality hides.
And the numb audience applauds. In automation.
It wouldn’t matter. If it wasn’t misunderstood. But the finger has long become the moon. And the moon a mere reflection. In a digital-pond. Where raw and naked babes are taught to swim. Learning to flaunt. Learning a mode. In a showcase. Cat walking. Falling on their heels. And then blaming it all on wolf-whistles.
Declaring, ‘don’t they know I’m an innocent babe drowning in my own good intentions?’
We do. We do. Now get-out and stay-off that pool. Learn to swim. And then go afloat. And wave-off everything. Remember; you’re also the ocean, waving.
She was in it. The dream. In a dockyard. Where we were running towards a ship. Could it be the Titanic? Bodes badly. That behemoth sunk. Froze. But now it’s the cabins. A sort of a classroom scene. Chairs and tables. A feeling of some examination. What! Dilly Ding! Dilly Dong! Emperor Claudio. Ranieri! What’s he doing here? He headmasters. A tad sad.
My Leicester City blues stretches even after they have done the Premiership. And seeps into my nether-world.
There she’s again! It’s another woman. There have been enough ‘loves’ to make enough ‘loafs’ to feed enough ‘bellies’. Now that I mention it, it sounds awful. But what are they doing in my dreams? There she is again. Someone whispers an accusation in my ear. That she’s seeing an old man.
Is embedded with an old, old man.
I see the man. So what? We’re all getting older by the second. It means nothing. Just as the dream means nothing. I used to dream pretty lucid. So lucid I could get up momentarily. Take a piss. And roll back right into the dream. Wake up the morning after. And write it all down. It didn’t stop there. I used to trace the dreamlike events through the day’s happenings. Lucid. And Rancid.
Draw some connection. Make the lucid-dreaming stronger. It all went naught after the drug-binge. The hang-over killed the residue. The last dream died that night.
I’ve not dreamt in years. And the non-dreaming was the best-dream I ever dreamed. Now they re-appear. The difference is;
I don’t really care. Not anymore.
The dream-dust rise
Sticking to the mirror’s face
Hoping there’ll be a reckoning
Or a fall
I’m afraid the mirror’s long stopped reflecting
No-one looks into it anymore
There’s nothing to mirror
And seeing that
The mirror cracks
Where nothing can ever settle down
Saying ‘I’m the one who haunts you’
The mirror has finally ceased
Be warned. This is pure drivel. Be warned again. There’s no driven snow within these pages. Or flowery meadows. There’s not a snowflake. Or a petal. Forget the flowers. Don’t even dare dream of meadows. The snowy peaks are far, far away.
Here there’re just bugs. And imaginary conjoined insects. With imaginary names. But first. There’s the caterpillar. As we all know. And there’s also the butterfly. As we all know. Some say the caterpillar does all the work, and that the butterfly takes all the glory. Perhaps true from the point of view of beauty and flight. But if we dare to go there, then we are denying the caterpillar his own labor of love.
Any comparisons seems needless. Fruitless. And ultimately futile.
I’d like to think the caterpillar is the butterfly. Without the wings. And the butterfly is the caterpillar. With wings. The two can only be separated on a divisive scale. Which is an imbalanced tension, anyways.
One grounds, and the other skies. Both seem to touch heaven and earth. In a brief lifetime. Of change. Impermanence. And metamorphosis.
I’ve been trying to see the one within the other. Often at the cost of forgetfulness. Because that is what forgetfulness does; makes you take things for granted.
These poems are an effort to remember the forgetfulness, and see what lies hidden in there. In plain sight.
The attempt to grasp the ungraspable, no matter how feeble, is the expression itself. Using what we have. Words. Obviously using the mind.
In the end, there’s no such thing as a butterfly or a caterpillar, let alone the mishmash I’ve come up with; as in Butterpillars, and Caterflies. On a fantastical level, anything can come alive. Even Butterpillars and Caterflies.
So, what, then, is a Butterpillar or a Catterfly?
It is the presence of one in the other. Or the absence of each. My poetry is an attempt to paint the vagueness of it all. Using words as colors. Trying to capture the inscrutable nature of the very thing that’s beyond any deciphering. The inexpressible qualities of the very thing I’m trying to quantify, is the Butterpillar or the Catterfly.
Very badly unquantified.
In other words, this is a poem of traps; trying to entrap elusiveness.
Through poetry, about things that don’t exist, in a seemingly materially existing world. It’s a vainglorious attempt, made out of all the things that bind us and free us.
It has also been an ongoing process of endless conundrums; so magical, and yet so mundane; that really, there have more occasions than I care to remember, far too many to nitpick, where I’ve gone, ‘what’s the point of it all!?’
The resultant feeling has been one of exasperation and ecstasy. And as with all things, pointless. And that is the point. That in the end, all I’m trying to do with these words are to find some ways and means to see how best a man can describe that which throbs and beats within himself, and does so without; in the wider world.
The butterfly and the caterpillar, in that symbolic changing, and merging, seems to undergo a metamorphosis, after all. And in some imaginary way, to my mind, become this metaphysical Butterpillar, singing its songs; crying it's Catterfly cries, in a most relative world.
A perfect evening
Now marred by a willing observation
Flows down south with the Wang Chhu
Roaring with rains
This feeble infraction
Merging it with those bird songs
Coming from the river’s banks
Dusk has come
And with it
The day transforms
call it a day
close in their wings
rest their weary limbs
relax that needling tentacle
and go perch somewhere and sleep
do they look forward to some jolly sweet fruitful dreams?
Heart Attack & Fool-
The Universe is yours
(I hope you find it Spacious)
The Way you want it
(And the Skies too)
With everything it contains
(From above the Glittering Stars to the Diamonds buried below)
We've crossed the Line
But here’s a free tip for times gone by:
It’s better to Rip-Off a Man's Heart
Than to slice it and dice it
Piece by piece
You should know this
It’s the one that's beating in your chest
It's called a Heart for those who feel
And a Body Part for those who buy it with a Dollar Bill
(And just another bothersome Organ oft used as an emotional Slogan. Or a tool. The Fool)
The season is moist and wet but the poetry is dry and set
The rains cloud up and fall but the poetry does not hang around or call
The mist rise and hug Thimphu's mountains but the poems keep falling off in loose contents
The birds fly around and sing their songs but the poems keep quiet like some broken gongs
The trees green and fruit but the poems are graying in a suit
The flowers go vivid with their blooms but the poetry is bald without any plumes
There's more majesty in a turtle dove
Than in any poem on printed earth
There's more joy in a child's play
Than in all the words
In all the bard's plays
In the receptive silence of the earth
Dropping as rains
Quelling all doubts
Pouring its heart out
Letting the ground know
There never was any separation
And if there was
It was all in the mind
And now all the things he thought he beheld
As earth, vapor, mist, cloud, rain and sky
Vanished by and by
This was just the mind’s playful song
Have some more fun
Take some more care
In a moment we’ll all be gone
And none of us will really be here
But if we’re back
Then really no worries
All we gotta do
Is have yet more fun
And take yet more care
Until we’re done with it all
Chasing the fun and taking the care
Then we can finally rest
And restfully share
Giving back all the fun
And returning every care
|Lhakhang- Jampel Cheda|
In the garden
The laundry lines are bare
Where sparrows touch and go
And turtle doves meditate nice and slow
Like monks hooded in a feathered robe
They perch and they probe
Above the rainclouds are looming
A rainbow appears
Arcing the sun
Now merging with the sunshine
Now gone with the skyline
Here in the porch the wind is a breeze
Where butterflies glide in ease
And all the tree leaves in the garden jig and dance
Swaying in the summer sheen
Now don’t ask me about last night
When we have such a good morning
Sunday, June 5, 2016
|Art- Jampel Cheda|
Five years ago, she entered our consciousness. And keeps blooming in that pond of the thundering dragon; as the lotus, flawless. If His Majesty is the archetypical king; Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen is the archetypical queen. And our lives are all the richer for her earthy presence. This was divine couplet; writ in heaven. Big words indeed, made all the more grand by selfless deeds. But as they say, we must begin at the beginning.
The year is 2011. The month of May. It’s a generous summer’s day. The skies are blue. Balls of white cotton dot the air; floating about in a relaxed atmosphere. The capital runs about its business. From the looks of it, everything is routine.
The seventh session of parliament will commence. And as far as parliamentary sessions go, somber seriousness is the call of the day. The humdrum business of bills and grills and some scattered thrills and frills. There’s the usual political anticipation of sabotage and subterfuge.
But then again maybe not. For His Majesty is going to grace the opening. So we sit. Tuning in to the telly. Eager to hear the King’s Speech. Ready to jot down telling notes. See where it will lead. And lead it did.
It came like the thunderbolt. And the lightning. And then it rained flower petals. The seventh session of parliament was going to be a bright engagement, after all. This was when the kingdom first heard the name ‘Jetsun Pema’. It was a day of beautiful bud. Already sprouting.
But we did not know that yet. His Majesty broke the news towards the end of the speech. Good news come late. But with all the timing and finesse we associate with His Majesty. With a gentle smile, a firm resolve, and in the most tender of words; he shared this most personal of milestones. “As King, it is now time for me to marry. As my queen, I have found such a person and her name is Jetsun Pema. While she is young, she is warm and kind in heart and character. These qualities together with the wisdom that will come with age and experience will make her a great servant to the nation."
It was both heavenly and grounded.
The expectations of an anxious populace well-anticipated, His Majesty assured us-
"Now, many will have their own idea of what a Queen should be like; that she should be uniquely beautiful, intelligent and graceful. I think with experience and time, one can grow into a dynamic person in any walk of life with the right effort. For the Queen, what is most important is that at all times, as an individual she must be a good human being, and as Queen, she must be unwavering in her commitment to serve the People and Country.”
Needless to say, all eyes and ears were on a beautiful young girl, of twenty-one. A couple of months later, on October 13th, the Royal Wedding took place at the sacred Punakha Dzong. The King bestowed the Crown of the Druk Gyaltsuen, formally proclaiming Jetsun Pema as the, “Queen of the Kingdom of Bhutan”.
Life has never been the same. For the better. In the years that have flown by, we have gotten to know The Gyaltshuen; in all her aspects, and in the many manifestations of a woman, and specifically that of a woman who is also The Queen. And in the most enriching of ways. The birth of the Precious Druk Gyalsey on February 5th, 2016, has made this bond all the more familial, and unshakeable.
She is now mother to the Druk Gyalsey, Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
With hindsight, it seems everything His Majesty assured us about The Gyaltsuen was done so with a willing acumen and a knowing foresight. The Gyaltsuen has become, and continues to be, a queen most admired, respected and genuinely loved. She has been the first mate, companion, confidante, and the unshakeable pillar of support, to His Majesty the King. And together with that indefatigable role, has taken on the living image of the archetypical Bhutanese feminine, with aspects everyone can relate to.
To fashionistas, she is a style icon with an impeccable taste. To the cultured, the embodiment of beauty and elegance. To environmentalists, a patron of ecological conservation. To wildlife conservationists, a preserver of life in the woods. To the ill, a harbinger of health. To people with disabilities, a compassionate caretaker. To young women, enlightened beauty. To young men, the personification of the divine-feminine. To the elderly, the incarnation of a liberated goddess. And to Bhutanese everywhere, the ‘Queen of Hearts’, walking hand-in-hand with the ‘People’s King’. With a shared penchant and passion for the arts, sports, and flawless service for the good of the nation.
And may Your Majesty always remain so.
The Lotus Rises.
And Blossoms Open.
In the Dragon’s Pond”
On your most auspicious day of birth, we heartily sing-
‘Happy Twenty-Sixth Birthday Your Majesty’.
By Jurmi Chhowing (Op-Ed. Business Bhutan. 4. 6.16)
Thursday, May 26, 2016
a man looks at a mirror
and off he goes
and then a woman looks at a mirror
and then she looks at the mirror some more
and the man stops in in his tracks
looks at the woman looking in the mirror
and looks at her some more
the annoyance changing to admiration
and the man learns to become a man who knows how to look
at a woman
at a mirror
without creeping her out
yet keeping her in
the woman is still not done looking through the mirror
sitting smack in the midst
all the Other
there's so much Riding on this Day
just like Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
hangs on the laundry line
funny little suit pajamas
for funny little men
and funny little women
in the eyes
the room is his world
and he is
the centre of his universe
so he polishes his mighty limbs
so he grooms his important wings
buzzing his song
sounding his gong
in his housefly eyes
he is doing nothing wrong
we leave the little fire
as drizzles become droplets
hitting the tin sheet roof
the roof shelters us dry
the gutsy little abandoned fire
with a warm desire
we speak silent
each wondering where the other's words went
what they mean
what they mean
but we are not gonna quit
what are these birds?
that peck and worm.
sing for a living.
living a song.
and where do they get their songs?
songs that sweet.
songs that heart.
songs that gut.
salt. and weep.
plumes and colors!
and who paints their wings?
as if on cue...
hopping around these questions
and flies away to its nest full of secrets
this morning i looked at my clothes
and something eerie gave
the jacket looked at me
the jeans seemed
and the boots had gone hiding
i know what you're thinking
but i tell you the inner pants are fine
and until i get some new garment
there's nothing i can do but wear their torment!
i guess when your clothes talk you know why you wear
all the time
i say wear it off
a dry day in bhutan-
(a dry day)
it's the (bhutanese day) of (no booze)
where bar cum grocery shops keep the windows shut
and the doors open
which is enough
for a man who needs a shot
to wet his dryness
moisture his will
tongue his spit
(to wade through the dry land)
so you walk in as if you're there for a cabbage
and you point your finger at the bottle
and she pours you one in a mug
(in elegant practicality)
a wordless exchange
rife with meaning
wherever you look
there it is
wherever it is
there you look
if its not there
there's nothing to look
looking at nothing
there's that thing
wherever you look
there it hides
wherever it hides
there it looks
as you find it
you lose it
as you lose it
you find it
so goes my mind
my mind goes so
all you can do
is let it be so
smokes up the air
vanishes in the moonlit sky
but dogs bark
and men snore
rocky buddha sits atop chumphu mountain
in granite shawl
birds perch upon nightly nest
in quiet repose
i turn east
watching moonbeams rise
as vesak luna hides
behind zuri ridge
i wait with the copper mountain
on the shaded face
awaiting promised luminosity
and a full silver moon
now graciously lifting
and a valley
the polished marble floor
didn't take kindly to
the pretty young maiden's lovely high heels
the stilettos had given in\
and she'd slipped
on that cold marble floor
when we saw her she had passed
they took her to the doctors
fractures in the hips they said
poor girl i was thinking
she'll never trust those delicate heels again
and always distrust these cold hard marbles
she made a warm comeback
still in her marbled heels
flooring the marble
and everyone who saw her floored