Monday, August 16, 2010
From the Archives: The Fabric of our Festivities
It is spring time. Dressed in flowering greens, the season of rejuvenation is back. The days are warming up to its call; the sun shines on a little longer and the birds get melodious. Looking back at the past couple of days, the brief stillness that followed the election rapture seems like a masquerade, waiting in the wings to prepare for the ongoing grand flights of festivities.
The festivities were without any hint of coincidence, auspiciously heralded on a bright spring day by His Majesty the King himself. He invited, in what was a defining moment, the elected members of the parliament from the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and the People’s Democratic Party, along with the elected members of the Upper House and his own eminent appointees, to the Garden Palace for a day of gaiety.
The spirited gathering not only seals the political deal but also pays respect to the 20 Dzongkhags and the 47 Constituencies that partook in the elections, in no small measure at that. The timing of the occasion under the graceful vestige and aegis of His Majesty the King also puts to rest any perceived or imagined inconsistency.
It has given life, breath and legitimacy to the festivities now going on. The word festive is not misleading, for that is the vibe being felt. It is perhaps deceptive in the sense that these occasions actually penetrate deeper than meets the eye. A society that is small and culturally as sensitive as ours necessitates these occasions. The inter-dependence of things in general and ours in particular not only facilitates these gatherings, but rather reinforces them.
The mood might differ from occasion to occasion.
A funeral is inherently not a wedding, nor an endorsement. But in the grand scheme of things, it is the personal and professional bonds that matter, as much as the gravity or the lightness of the situation does. This simple yet intricate fabric of our expression is in-built, with psychological layers and fibers. There are rituals involved in a cemetery, a monastery, a home or in an office. We invoke and invite the gods, along with our families, well wishers, friends and colleagues alike. Shaded and aided by a traditional tent, we repair and continue our broken communication, get involved in fresh new starters, exchange numbers and plant seeds for future yields.
The personal is invariably woven in tight with the professional. It is little wonder business tycoons are finding the greener drives of a golf fairway far more conducive to business deals. We have been doing that for centuries on archery grounds!
I looked at the photographs of His Majesty the King, sharing a day of arrows and darts with the people’s representatives, smiles writ large on their faces. If a monarch demonstrates such wisdom and humility, we should be reassured.
This is what makes us who we are; we are all weavers by nature, but to have the human bond woven into our consciousness is priceless.
Gazing out, I saw the entourage of the Lyonchen heading towards Semtokha after the ceremony in Tashichho Dzong, as I am certain thousands did. He does not need to know we watched in hope; as long as he knows the whole nation does.The entourage that followed him is also our representative, for outside the confines of the vehicles that carried the chosen ones are our sickle and spade brothers and sisters. The streets and fields that came alive on that destined day of ballots and polls still populate the landscape of our country. Their hardened mindscapes cultivated with belief, patience and optimism.
In all the festivities honouring the new entrants to a brand new chapter in our country’s democratic pages, the memories of the hamlets trekked and hiked upon should stay as solid as one of Guru Rinpoche’s footprints.
The gatherings thus become more than mere gatherings. The bonds that are forged, be they at a personal or professional level, should bear fruits at the altar of good governance.
Someone mentioned how good and auspicious these occasions were, how pragmatic and proper the tradition was. And then came the jolt, “what about the interim government and the ministers that held the fort while the political battles were being waged?”
In our frantic rush to usher in the new, we do seem to overlook the old. The old must make way for the new but forgetting the old vanguard completely is perhaps a genuine concern. We do not forget our parents when we sire our own. We do not abandon our villages when we adopt a town.
In the end, we all go back to our origins. It is a yearning, not a dictum. This sentiment is what brings people back from their forays abroad and from their rebellion underground. It is also the same yearning that makes us better human beings, families, communities and as a country.
Once the party is over, one has to remember, contemplate and act upon what made it possible in the first place. You will find the answer has been staring at you in the face. It is here, there and everywhere, imprinted upon the land and its inhabitants.
Then the idea of spring time festivities sounds appropriate.