Contrasts in Life

I am but a humble Bhutanese. I was born Bhutanese and nothing is going to change the fact that I am Bhutanese. Among the three ethnics of Bhutanese; Ngalops, Lhotshampa and Sharchokps, I belong to the last one. It is known that sharchokps are the descendants of Desi Tshanmga, one of the princess of Thrisong Detsen of Tibet. And that anecdote, makes my appearance more like Tibetan and Chinese. In the congress in Istanbul during introduction, it is hard to  convince that i am from Bhutan. " Are you Chinese"  is the recycling cliche that i heard every time i introduced myself.  When i explained them that i am from Bhutan, one of them asked me, "Is Bhutan one among many nations which is getting independence lately ?". I said "No", and calmly explained them Bhutan's sovereignty for centuries even withstanding the strong British rule of 18th century.

Well, another contrast. i was with a Bhutanese friend who belong to second ethnic group of Bhutan. We walked together among the delegates and when we introduced ourselves being from Bhutan, the delegates were shocked. He asked my friend if he has any Indian or Pakistani blood within him. There was long awaited silence and before i could explain our countries ethnicity, my friend convinced him saying that he is from southern part of Bhutan. We out for dinner together and during eating we explained clearly about Bhutan,  its ethnicity and the geographical areas. However the case maybe, they kept on thinking that i am Chinese and my friend an Indian or Pakistani. I  do not mean to discredit any chines or Indian but, being a Bhutanese i didn't want to  fake my identity. 

How can we fake our identity?, we were paid for travel fare, pocket money and every necessary arrangements. we told them that we were being paid everything for coming to the congress, and they were shocked. One exclaimed, "What an organized government". That exact statement gave us the triumph of being Bhutanese. I explained them about the unique developmental path the Bhutanese government follows, Gross National Happiness. They were more interested on the subject and  I went on explaining even in our rooms drawing almost all people  in my group and staying about GNH has late as 3 am.  Many of them were so interested and wanted to visit Bhutan until they knew that the tariff was $250 a night. I  told them i would invite and we made a pact to attain many our weddings.

Istanbul is a big city. Every night, you can hear the traffic out your window. The constant honking, the screeching of tire brakes and the Morning Prayer call at 5 am(Muslims), give you less sleep.Nevertheless, I have been transitioned to a completely new lifestyle. However, the vegetarian food was a horror. Let me tell you – I was Vegetarian, and because the Turkish eat meat in every meal I had to take meat.  Another scenario they take french fries for BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER at Yildiz Technical University.  I thought that I would die of high cholesterol or something along those lines of post-Congress. Eventually it got to the point where we just had to go for action projects. And the food in Afyon was so much better than in Istanbul. Afyon is the place where my group went for action projects. It is nine hours drive from Istanbul. Afyon was better in climatic conditions too. Unlike Istanbul it was a cool weather though a day is not so different.

Now, I am in Bhutan and it’s a vast change. Each day I have home-cooked feasts. I have   had emadhatse, Phakshasikkam, shakam ezzey and all things delicious. After dinner, I have freshly picked apples and of course, I have had Bhutanese red rice. My stomach is expanding like bread rising. I am again sharing my life with 39 people in a class plucking the most charming flower for biology practical.
Life,  i suppose is all about finding equilibrium, there are contrasts  at every turn we take , isn't it ??


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