Monday, December 17, 2012

Celebrating the 105th National Day

The "National Day of Bhutan" has always remained a special day for all the Bhutanese; young and old alike to commemorate the coronation of the first monarch of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck and for remaining as a sovereign state thus far. Apart from the main celebrations held at Changlingmethang, this day is celebrated even in the remotest part of the country. As every Bhutanese knows, it was on the 17th December 1907 that the country was unified and the first hereditary monarch crowned. Ever since then, Bhutan, the land of the thunder dragon has always remained an independent and a sovereign kingdom ruled by wise and farsighted monarchs. The national day celebrations have come a long way and has only become more colorful and vibrant over the years. It is also on this day that the most serving and deserving citizens are awarded the highest award from His Majesty the King.

Today, it was yet another moment of joy for all the Bhutanese to come together and take part in this 105th National Day celebrations. Owing to my nature of work, which calls for uninterrupted supply of power, especially on such a day, I had to stay back at the station as always. My remaining back has also directly deprived my family to partake in such events. Thanks to the BBS, there was a live coverage from Changlingmethang and it was indeed nice to watch it at my own leisure and will. It was also a proud moment for we the employees of the power sector as two of our leaders were recognized for their service to the Tsa-wa-sum. The Director General of Hydropower and Power Systems, Yeshi Wangdi and the Joint Managing Director of Punatsangchu Hydropower Project Authority, Phuntsho Norbu were conferred the title of Dasho and Red scarf by His Majesty. Congratulation Dashos!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Did I Insure With RICB To Be Sure?

Today, me and my wife went to Wangdue to renew the vehicle insurance, road worthiness certificate and the registration booklet(a.k.a bluebook though it is green now). These renewals come with a golden price tag and often have to bear the brunt of the officials.

(Photo source: RICB website)

The first in sequence was to renew the insurance which I thought would not dig down deep into my pocket, this time. Instead, I was quite taken aback to find that the insurance premium of my car had increased significantly instead of decreasing. When asked how that could be possible, the official at the desk said it is because of the increase in the value of my car (sum insured) and thus the resultant increase in premium. He proclaimed that the valuation was done from their head office in Phuntsholing and he played a "nice guy" by giving me a 10% discount on the "price tag". I could not hold but laugh, as car being a depreciating asset, the increase in its value was quite a contradiction to the general norm. How do they value my car without even inspecting its condition? A 10% discount was just a cover-up abatement to please their clients, as i think. He further made me ill-disposed with the idea of insurance as he indicated that the premium would not go down henceforth. I had to immediately ask myself, am I being too risk averse? In all fairness to the strategies of the RICB, this comprehensive insurance has been a financial blackhole to me personally. And as i write this, i reflect on this rhetorical question; Insure with RICB to be sure - Am i sure?

Whatsoever be the matter, my car is worth journeying on the road for a year from now, and until this time next year, I'll not have to bother about any of the compliances.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Doomsday- NASA Says It Is Not

The much talked about topic- the doomsday, which falls on the 21st December 2012 has brought about uncontrolled rage and frenzy in different segments of the society across the globe. This has all started due to the ending of the Mayan calendar on this very date, which has been translated by some influential people as the end of the World. To take advantage of the hype, the filmmakers have even produced a film titled "2012" centering around the end of the world. Whatever be the motive, I truly enjoyed the film as it had a certain element of thrill unlike other thrillers. Scores of websites have come up cooking up stories about how the world would end on this particular day. Millions of Doomsday preppers have organized events at different locations and the countdown has already begun. Panic buying of candles and essentials has accelerated not only in China and Russia, but there has been a simultaneous explosion in the sale of survival equipment, food, fuel and emergency shelters in America in preparation for the Mayan calendar's long count deadline: December 21st 2012, the reports.

Photo source: google
Despite all these hearsays, NASA has a different story to tell. It says there is no evidence that the world would end. NASA says the planet Nibiru does not exists, and rumours it could be hiding behind the sun are totally unfounded. The space agency has also rejected apocalyptic theories about unusual alignments of the planets, or that the Earth's magnetic poles could suddenly "flip" to cause calamity. The only thing that is known to happen is the winter solstice which occurs every year on this date. However, conspiracy theorists contend that the American space agency is involved in an elaborate cover up to prevent panic. Back here in Bhutan, not many are concerned with the end of the world story as the Buddhist astrologers also disapproves the untimely end of the era. Thirteen days to go and this Doomsday will be lost with time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Back into the World of Blogs and Bloggers

For the last three months, I have been so dormant without any updates in my blog. I might argue that I was busy for these many months but this dormancy is mostly attributable to my laziness. As a matter of fact, I had forgotten my user credentials for this blog and had to shed sweat and blood for a week to recover it. In the meanwhile, many things have happened in this span of time; completion of studies, change of place, change of post (no post), death of a co-worker and so on - not in sequence though. Now that the year is drawing to an end, me and my team are even more busier trying to accomplish the performance targets, completing the budget write-ups and fulfilling various compliances. More or less, I have just spent my days navigating between the two places - Home and Office.

(Source: Google)

I am afraid that if I dwell only in this two stations, the coming days might get monotonous. I will have to devise a strategy to make my life more interesting and worth cherishing in later days. Infact, i am already on my way into compiling a list of new year resolutions.

As I write this, the chilly winter breeze is giving its icy effect on my bare legs, the toes are dead numb and pale. It's just about time to start heating up the room or, do I wait to hear some complaints from my kids? - afterall, the more you save on the consumption of energy the more the country can export - easing the INR crunch. The fact is that, the 3000 W panel heater, which at the moment is nicely packed, will make the energy meter spin like hell if used and as a result my family might go into budget crunch :). For the moment, my kids are busy watching cartoon and there is no sign of any complaint.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Curiosity Landing on Mars- Countdown Has Begun

I have always been fascinated by the images of rockets and space-shuttles - which to an extent is attributable to my science background. It is hard to comprehend that this world that we live in - the Earth, is just a part of our solar system in the milky way galaxy, and that, this universe has billions of worlds in billion more galaxies. Scientists have proven this complexity by not only showing the images and footages but also by sending numerous missions to other planets.

With regard to this particular mission, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is aiming to find out whether life forms can survive on Mars. The rocket bearing the 1-ton rover named Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on November 26, 2011. It will finally land on mars on August 6, 2012. The vehicle, loaded with the most-sophisticated instruments ever used has costed NASA $2.5 billion. The mission, if successful, will bring back loads of information and data on the possibility of life forms on Mars.

Animation of how Curiosity will land on Mars.

(Source: Youtube)

You can also watch live stream of the Curiosity landing on Mars on August 6, 2012 (BST: 11:30 hours) on the Ustream embedded below.

If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On

Long before I realized that music can be a food of love, Shakespeare reminded in his "Twelfth Night" that "If music be the food of love, Play on". Music is such a wonderful creation of humankind that it transcends all geographical and cultural barriers. I for one listen to any music/song from any part of the world so long as it soothes my eardrums and resonates my feelings. I hope that the songs which I have embedded below will lighten up your heart and remind you of your dearest ones.

Happy Listening!

Song: Nam-hoem, Dzongkha(Source:SoundCloud)

Song: Emptiness, English-Hindi(Source:SoundCloud)

Song: Tensem, Monpa(Source:Youtube)

Song: Shambalai Bumo, Tibetan(Source:Youtube)

Song: Aakash Bata, Nepali(Source:SoundCloud)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kudos to Gelong Lhawang Dorji Tamang

(Photo Source: Kuensel)
The news article on Kuensel, the national newspaper featured "From academia to monkhood" where a recent Sherubtse graduate, one Mr. Lhawang Dorji Tamang formerly joined the monkhood at Thubten Choekhoring Shedra in Kanglung Zangdo Pelri. When rest of his mates took another step in this worldly life, weary of the job-hunt, he had nothing to worry about.

His decision to join the monkhood was neither due to his inability to graduate nor as a result of some external pressure. He infact graduated with a double degree in bachelors of environmental science and English. I was so moved by his decision and his unperturbed determination to join the monkhood. When the reporter asked why he took all these years, he said he had always wanted to become a monk, but his parents wanted him to complete his studies. “So to fulfill my parents’ wish I completed my studies,” he said. “I’m happy that I’ve fulfilled my parents’ wish as well as mine.” It took him all these years to get to a win-win situation with his parents.

He has remarkably set an unprecedented example in the country by forgoing whatever the world has to offer him and rather opt for a simple life. It is truly an exemplar of determination as he was not an inch persuaded into believing of a fanciful life with the job he would have gotten. I am confident that he will do well as a monk and the knowledge he obtained all these years would benefit his Sangha community. I pray and hope he will be a source of inspiration to all of us, and that, he will continue to work for the wellbeing of all sentient beings.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Awe-inspiring Quotes

I am putting up a collection of highly motivating and inspiring pictorial-quotes. Spend some time on each of the quotes to think and reflect before you proceed to next. They speak a lot.

I hope this leaves you all with enough food for thought. Good day ahead.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Consciousness Teaser

You have to find the red dot in each picture. The game starts out easy but it gets harder as it goes along. Each time, the dot gets smaller and more difficult to find. Try it out and see if you can complete the game. Not many people have completed.

Sorry if it freaked the hell out of you. The matter would have been even worse if you had kept you pc on full volume like I did. It is a consciousness test, isn't it? :D

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Trip That Was

The annual maintenance for the year 2009-10 of Basochhu Hydropower Plant (BHP) was completed. Everyone was tired,dusted and greased. It was then that I decided to organize an industrial tour cum vacation for my staff members(upon approval from the management). It was aimed at rejuvenating the energy levels (physical, mental and emotional energy) of the team and to keep everyone motivated. It was also a befitting moment to provide exposure to the maintenance team by visiting different hydropower plants both within Bhutan and the neighboring states of India.

The travel plan was approved and a week long tour starting from 09 May 2010 till 16 May 2010 was scheduled and finalized. The official travel plan marked visits to two major hydropower plants in Bhutan and two in Sikkim, and some major substations along the way. Unofficially we tweaked the travel plan to include visits to Gangtok and Kalimpong without compromising on the major visits. The journey was set with full of joyful and cheerful guys (only) packed in a hiace bus cracking jokes, causing commotion in the name of singing, pulling legs and doing all the crazy things . Upon reaching Phuntsholing, the first thing we did was, packed our bags with enough booze to last for a week and also to gift our unknown hosts.

The places we visited(in order):
.Teesta V HPP(510 MW)
.Rangit Hydropower Station (60 MW)
.Gangtok (Sightseeing)
.Kalimpong (Sightseeing)
.Siliguri (Shopping)
.Tala Hydropower Plant (1020 MW)
.Chukha Hydropower Plant (336 MW)

The start of the journey. All smileys. Fuzzy picture, the cameraman was laughing as well.

Taking a (pee)break before crossing the bakpool bridge.

520 MW Teesta IV project under construction.

On the way to Rangit HPP. Another (pee)break.

Having lunch at the highest peak. What was the name?

A far view of Teesta V project. That was one amazing plant.

Pretending to be all good boys at Gangtok (Deorali Goemba)

Trying out the famous ropeway in Gangtok.

All in all, the industrial trip was really refreshing and fulfilling. The trip to Kalimpong was awesome as my old college friend arranged the sightseeing and set the night on the booze. What a night it was.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wangdue Dzong - Gone With the Wind

The 24th of June 2012 is yet another tragic day in the history of Bhutan. The 17th century gigantic fortress - the Wangdue Dzong, built by our founding father Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal was razed to the ground within couple of hours by the raging inferno.

(Photo source: facebook)

As i was about to logout from the facebook, a post appeared from the Hon'ble Opposition Leader informing about the fire disaster.

At first, I could not believe it yet I could visualize the vulnerability of the structure of the Dzong. Moments later stream of comments followed with some people even liking the post. I wonder what they mean to convey when they hit the "like" button of the post. Does it mean they like the news or they like the information? Whatever it is, it's not a matter of concern at the moment. The fortress always stood magnificently overlooking the valley and stood as a test of time. Not only did it add on to the aesthetics of the valley, it was also a priceless possession of the country.

Brief History:
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel met a young boy named Wangdi playing in the sand and therefore named the dzong as Wangdi Phodrang (Wangdi's Palace). The dzong was built in 1638 by the Zhabdrung with the artisans as far as from Cooch Bihar. It was Bhutan's second capital until Trongsa was founded in 1644. The dzong was a dramatic example of Bhutanese architecture. The structure followed the contours of a ridge at the confluence of Punatsangchu and Dangchu. The Penlop of Wangdue Phodrang was the third most powerful ruler in the country. The cactus on the slope were planted to prevent invaders from climbing up to the dzong. The dzong was repaired after a fire in 1837 and an earthquake in 1897.
Who could believe that it would, on this day, be razed to rubble within few hours. Wangdue Dzong is gone with the wind.

(Video Source: Facebook)

There are couple of questions i ask myself. It is said that by the time the fire was noticed, it was already late to contain it. Why was the country's priceless monument not equipped with smoke and fire detectors? Isn't the country in dire need of an emergency/firefighting chopper given the number of fire outbreaks and accidents? The nation has learned a lesson but at a huge cost. Shame on this generation. We totally failed to preserve what our forefathers did for more than three centuries.

BHP-automated as it was then, and endured as it is now

This is a reproduction of my article from the inaugural release of the Druk Green Newsletter.

Thanks to the good and standing relationship between the Royal Government of Bhutan and the Government of the Republic of Austria for giving birth to the Basochhu Hydropower Plant - as DGPC calls it today. Not only did it add another 64 Mega Watts to the country’s power chart then, but it also, to this day, stands as an archetypical icon of the state-of-the-art technology in Bhutan. Added to this, it is also by far, the only plant in the country to have ever been managed, operated and maintained completely by a team of young Bhutanese novices then, right from the first day of its commercial operation - that was almost a decade back. Working in such a set-up, makes us more than apprehensive for the fear of losing the status quo of a good system.

The hydropower scheme as you may call it, the two sister plants of BHP; Upper Stage and Lower Stage are both automated alike, and to their designed extent, obediently responds to a single click of a mouse. It also responds abruptly to the actions of a living mouse.

So long as the system is in track, the people working in operation and maintenance in particular are mostly happy and have little or absolutely nothing to worry about, to say the least. People come to their duty stations smartly dressed with their TigerSteel safety shoes shining at its best, for which it has become the envy of our colleagues in other plants. An activity that calls for scores of workforce in a conventional plant is, however effectively achieved by a mere tapping of the operator’s forefinger on the mouse. Needless to say, but automation can do wonders- not the mouse though. As a case in point, there goes off the deafening noise of the disgorging water followed by the roaring of the turbine-generator set, as loud as it can, which is just but seconds after the silent click of a start button. Many a time, we find difficulty in holding back our giggles when the sudden noise and the ghostly operations make our serious guests frightened and taken aback.
In the recent time, BHP has however, successfully unmanned the Upper Stage plant and the 220/66 kV Switchyard, which we cannot just hide but rather take pride in our achievement. Thanks to the stringent PLIS target, it was so arduous a task yet fulfilling at the end. Today the Basochhu and the Rurichhu intakes, the Upper Stage, the 66 kV Upper Stage switchyard, the pondage, the 220/66 KV Switchyard and the Lower Stage is all at the command and will of one operator stationed with few others at the control room of Lower Stage. Lower Stage control room serves as our central control station for BHP’s entire electro-mechanical installations. MicroSCADA is our gateway and a platform through which we see and control things that are miles apart. No matter how far the intakes are – it is almost a day’s walk from the plant, but it is hardly inches spaced out in the window of our workstation.

To those who have just joined BHP, alpha-counter(not meant for counting the first letter of the Greek alphabet), echo-killers(nothing to do with either the sound or the brutality), contrans ( not the crunchy korntroos chips), bamboo ( tallest grass it is definitely not), matrix (not the sci-fi movie), RTU(not an acronym for Ready To Use), frontend (the end in the front?), etc are some of the technical jargons that they will often get to hear. In fact, these are the must-have components in an automated system like BHP, which unfortunately, often seize to function and if not remedied right away, makes any operation of the intakes’ components a day’s work, almost instantly.

The flipside of the story is however a little disenchanting, if not so more. The common misconception of the people holds it that, those working in an automated plant like BHP have got virtually nothing to do with the chances of breakdown being very minimal. All said and done, yes it is, if all is well. But the famous Murphy’s Law holds true everywhere, anywhere!. It is even so more surprising to learn that many of us in the DGPC think in a parallel fashion.
Bill Gates has rightly pointed out, as “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency”.

With hundreds of surge vulnerable components and bundles of wire criss-crossing the plant structures, it is just at the mercy of the rodents scurrying everywhere and the sudden spike in electro-static energy. Rectifying the control circuitry and modifying the logics to meet our requirement has always been a brain-racking process. Come the monsoon, there starts another hitch in the turbine-generator set. Much to the dismay, an array of exigencies follows next - misfortunes do not come singly. It is very hard an ordeal.

Despite the seemingly idle atmosphere at BHP, it is of the essence to note that, every individual takes his or her share of the effort in ensuring that the system is up and running at all times. Endurance of the technological set-up for so long has never been so easy and we consider it as the biggest thing in itself.
Whatsoever it is, we can only do our best, to sustain and endure as the way it is. Be that as it may, we are all doing for one single most cause – to contribute to the nation.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Art and Science of Photography

The recent addition to my list of gadgets is the Nikon D3100 DSLR camera. I made up my mind to upgrade it from Olympus VR310 digital camera so that I could capture the beautiful aspects of this life and living as crisp and sharp as i could get. To my standard of income, this DSLR camera did cost me a fortune but I am sure it will be worth the investment. As of now, I have got two cameras in hand. I know our human wants are unlimited and i also know that a picture is worth a thousand words. I wanted good pictures to express thousands of words and also to give spark of flashbacks in my later days. Anyways, knowing nothing about the abc's of photography, i de-boxed the newly acquired camera and read through the manual.

Within the next couple of days, i was theoretically well informed about the concepts of photography. I learned a great deal about the science of photography - the aperture size, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, white balance, metering and so on. With a brand new camera hung on my neck and the theory of photography in my head, i went out to try my hand in capturing the scenic beauty of a seaside. A click here and a click there - I was all over the place. I reached back and as eager as one could get, i downloaded the pictures on my laptop only to give me a frown. The pictures were all fuzzy and blurred. My simple digital camera could have given me better pictures than this sophisticated camera. Keeping my hopes high, I did some indoor trials working out with all the settings and went again to try out. This time the pictures were much better than before yet below the pro-standards.

(Pictures taken from my Nikon D3100)

After all these hunt for the "best fit", I learned that photography involves both art and science and the two must find a balance to capture the best shot. I hope with every next shot, my pictures get more crisp and clearer.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Solution to Elephant Raids

Farming in Bhutan has always been a challenge for various reasons. The geographical terrain, inaccessibility to mechanized farming tools, unfavourable factors of production (land, labour, capital) and raid from the wild animals are the main reasons that i know of, which deters farmers from their mainstream profession. Of all the raids from the wild animals, the raid from a herd of elephants is the worst of all. They not only destroy a large area of crop-field, but also is a threat to human life. I often hear in the Bhutanese media about reports on elephant attacks in the southern fertile foothills of Bhutan. The recent advent- the solar fencing only proved to be ineffective and expensive like any other methods. Villagers are left at the mercy of these wild beasts which mostly attack their crops at night. Well, that was just a background.

Way forward- My concern for our farmers made me to seek ways and means for this problem. From the little and quick research i carried out on the effective ways of deterring the elephants, I found a few which could prove to be effective with the wild elephants in Bhutan as well.

1. It is to be noted that elephants are afraid of bees and the buzzing of bees makes them go insane. In africa, elephants are known to avoid acacia trees occupied by honey bees. This has led to the invention of the “bee hive fence”— a regular fence strung with beehives made out of hollow logs. If an elephant tries to push through the fence, the hive swings, the bees become agitated, and the elephant flees.

2.The other thing that elephants do not like is the smell and taste of chillies. One of the instant remedies to deter elephants would be to burn the chillies/chilli powder as they approach the field. A proactive solution would be to grow chillies and gingers along with other crops which has also proven as an efficient means of deterring elephants.

In Karnataka, India, people tested by making a chilli-tobacco rope barrier. A jute or a cotton rope was smeared with a mixture of used engine oil, chilli powder and tobacco powder and then the rope was run around the field at a height of around 2 meters. The test was proven to be a success and these methodology was soon adopted in different parts of the state.

For those who read this post, I request you to spread the word-of-mouth to our folks living in villages as it might save their life and fortune from these small but effective measures.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Laughter is Really the Best Medicine

I received a mail from one Ms Christine Seivers of medical billing and coding in relation to my earlier blog on "Laughter- The Best Medicine". She has put up an elegant post on laughter and its health benefit titled "11 Reasons Laughter Really May Be the Best Medicine of All". I strongly recommend all the readers to go through the insights of her justification. Her mail is posted below as it is.

Hi Karma,

My name is Christine, and I work with I’m writing because we recently published an article,“11 Reasons Laughter Really May Be the Best Medicine of All”, that we think clicks with tone of your site and the passions of your readers. Here’s the link: (

If you agree, it’s our hope that you share the article with your audience. Either way, I’m glad to have come across your blog. Let me know if you have any questions, and keep up the great content!

Christine Seivers

Friday, May 25, 2012

My take on Rupee Crunch

Over the last couple of months, the Bhutanese print media has been flooded with nothing but reports on the rupee crunch also known as rupee crisis. This is the second wave of information-flood in Bhutanese newspapers, the first being an extensive coverage on the first democratic elections of Bhutan in 2008. This crisis has been scrutinized by various academic scholars, financial analysts, economists, politicians, reporters and their findings reported in the media and blogs. Since an indepth explanation of "how" and "why" has been thoroughly covered, I thought i would skip my part and let the wave settle by itself with time. However, weighing the gravity of the situation, it would rather be an injustice for me not to make a mention in my blog. The fact that I as a business student having studied macroeconomics in depth, makes all the while more persuasive to poke at this topic.

There have been many school of thoughts hypothesizing so called foreign currency crunch, in our case being the Indian Rupee (INR). Many a time,one could see blame-games being played by our politicians on the television. Nobody was responsible and yet everybody was responsible. Initially, people neglected this news overlooking it as something which would bother only the government and the central bank. Eventually, as the darkness creeped in, the effect of this "financial tsunami" was felt even by a farmer living in the remotest part of the country. The lifeline of the Bhutanese people were slowly being squeezed with the Ngultrum getting valueless across the border. The prices of the commodities sky-rocketed overnight and the private constructions brought to a standstill. The situation has still not been tackled despite the very many proposals.

For those who still ask "What the heck is this Rupee crisis?", let me explain it in simple terms without using the concepts like balance of payment, trade deficits, fiscal and monetary policy, etc. Bhutan's largest trading partner is India where imports far exceed the exports. Although we as end customers pay for the products in ngultrum, the dealers and distributors pay in INR to import the products from India. With increasing consumption(includes everything) over the years, the demand for INR increased year after another until such time when the credit limit reached the maximum. Bhutan can borrow a maximum of 3 billion INR from the government of India and a maximum of 10 billion on overdraft(OD) from the State Bank of India with 10% interest payment. These are called Lines of Credit. The total INR that Bhutan can borrow is 13 billion. The crisis was slowly building up in silence until it could not hold any further and the first mayday was announced when the ceiling of 3 billion(max limit) was hit. As of now the total borrowings have already reached 12 billion (9 billion on overdraft).

The central bank/RMA sold USD 200 million for INR from the foreign currency reserve as a speed breaker to this crisis but the forces of crisis was still too strong. The goverment of Bhutan has also appealed the government of India to raise the borrowing limits to 10 billion but the deal is still not finalized. However, these are all short and medium term remedies even if the approval comes along.

How can we as a citizen avoid the crisis? It is difficult, yet simple if each and every one of us act responsibly and consciously. Along the lines of Sogyal Rinpoche "If you cannot help others, atleast harm them not" which when applied to this case "If you cannot export, atleast reduce the import". Let me skip the remedial actions on macroscopic level and instead come to an individual level. The best way to reduce the import is by resorting to our indigenous products as a substitute to the imported goods. We could burn less fuel, avoid junk foods, save electricity so that we can export more, maintain backyard gardens,develop an entrepreneurial mindset and so on. If each one of us do that, one day we can say "Bye Bye INR". Last but not the least, be happy with what you have.

P.S: The above explanation on Rupee crunch is just my point of view and might not necessarily concur with the rest.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weird-ish Workplace

PhotobucketThe melodious ringtone of my cellphone goes off with intermittent vibration on the bedside table. As i remain dead to the cyclical ringing of the phone, i hear my son crying, possibly due to sleep-disturbance. Almost immediately, i wake up from my deep sleep, pick up the phone and say "heelllooooo" in my half-sleep tone. The phone is still ringing, i haven't pressed the receive button. As i press the green button, i learn that it's a call from the shift operator of Upper stage, Basochhu Hydropower Plant.I look up at the wall clock, the time is half past two in the morning.
I hear the panicky voice of Tashi Tobgay(HR guy)on the other end of the wire and he goes on "Sir!, we have a problem. All the machines have tripped because of grid failure and we have received instructions from the minister to start in island operation. The unit circuit breaker seems to have a problem. I thought I wouldn't disturb your sleep but we are left with no other option". I tell him "No problem, I will be right there. Meanwhile, could you inform my maintenance guys". He responds "Sure. I will inform your guys" and hangs up the phone. But why is HR doing the shift, I wonder?

It is raining heavily and i can hear the eerie sound of the wind forcing through the cracks of the dried bamboo prayer flag as it flutters rigorously in the dark windy night. I jump into track pants and collect the car key lying atop the humming refrigerator. As i open the front door, i see Karma Wangdi( maintenance guy) and Jamba Tenzin(plumber) waiting impatiently outside. I mumble something like "Why has the machine to trip at night?" to which i get no response from them, possibly because they are also in half asleep state. I drive the car to Upper stage zooming past tall buildings and old architectural monuments. Moments later we reach the plant and find lots of people gathered in the machine hall like a paparazzi gathered for some event. Heavy-bellied Dawa(parop Dawa) is shouting at the peak of his voice, warning others to stay away from the crane as he maneuvers over the machine. They have already removed the generator bearings and are in the process of removing the turbine. Tobgay and Raju(drivers) are hitting hard on the bolt-head simultaneously with a heavy hammer so as to remove the runner. Tobgay regretfully exclaims "One of the runner bolt got broken in the process of removing it". Oh! no, what a mess, I grumble.

I ask Tashi "Where are the maintenance guys" and he replies "There was a slight mis-communication and they have all headed towards intake". I immediately follow with my next question, who gave the instruction to carry on with this work, to which he replies "The asst. security officer gave them the instruction".
I, at once question myself - am i dead? Why are these wrong people working in the wrong place at the wrong time under a wrong instruction. With a deep chill of fear running down my spine, I anxiously look for my shadow to verify whether i m still alive or not for this could be the least of all possible things. Suddenly, the alarm clock beeps tring! tring! tring! only to wake me up from this weird dream. I remain disoriented on the bed until my conscience gradually brings me to the presence in time and place. I realize, I am not in Bhutan but in Denmark. It is seven o clock in the morning. The room is brightly lit by the sun's rays piercing through the window blinds. I get out of my bed still with a tinge of confusion.

The dream was no less than a horror-ish nightmare. Thank God! I am still alive, the shadow is still following me, and that, this dream may never turn into reality.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Of Chogos and Rimdros

Chogo is an annual event particularly marked by every household in the western part of Bhutan to appease the deities and gods for a good fortune and a bountiful harvest in the year that is to come. Rimdro is a lesser form of the appeasement which is generally adhoc in nature and often as a result of an oracle's prescription. This would classify as a spiritual bribery, isnt it? On a serious note, this is one moment where we pay homage and solidarity to the unseen forces for letting us share the four elements of nature. Sadly, at one point of time, this rituals also became a societal competition out of mere human ignorance. People simply looked upto those who hosted grandeur of foods and drinks. Thankfully, these days, people are resorting to vegetarian servings following a decree from the monastic body.

However, the story that i have for now is about one such event that i have my participation at a place called Hebesa under Wangdue district. I dont really remember the date..ahh...not even the month, but it was cold enough to make me wear my feather jacket. The Lam (religious head) of the village Goemba -monastery had generously invited the whole staff of the plant to his Chogo. With some decent contributions from each one of us attending the function- dont ask me how much we did - we headed straight to the house. The bus was full of cheerful and delighted people, jolting and cajoling all the way up to the destination. Happy they were, due to their very own reasons - some because of the abundance of ara (locally brewed liquor) to pour down the gutter and some expecting a promising courtship along side the festivity. The other reason was probably the presence of a young and a pretty girl in that house which nobody took a chance to miss the encounter. If these were not the reasons for making them cheerful, it was then that the rest were happy. Whatsoever it was, no sooner than we arrived, every nook and corner of the house was filled with people who never ceased to flock in continuously. By virtue of our good deeds in the past..ahem..we were led into the inner chamber which had the above-the-normal arrangement. Even more good was it, that, I got the privilege to sit on the carpet meant for the special guest, not that i was one of them but, nobody wanted to sit on it. I thought why not take a chance given the opportunity and there i was like a village head sitting on the thick carpet. Butter tea, milk tea, juice, etc were served one after another. For those who had an avid appetite for ara (do i consider one of them, besides the figures like Karma Wangdi and Pelden Nima?? could barely wait for the non-liquor servings to end. The shaky hands of one lady finally brought in the pot of ara. One could imagine the quantity that the pot contained and I could already visualize the state of the room after few more hours.

In one of my college days, a lady yelled at us saying "When the wine is in, wit is out", and yes truly it was. The room started getting louder, noisier and merrier, the GNH was starting to take its effect. Talks on random topics, mostly to pull the legs of each other was presented with some exaggeration. Some of our mates, who were less immune to ara were already in horizontal position meaning dead flat and snoring. Those of the new recruits who were keen and passionate about their just gotten jobs were all ears to my lecture on work and learning. Did I tell you that I have this terrible other-side of me wanting to speak out everything but secrets, when i am between tipsy and near-drunk. Nonetheless, they were eagerly listening to what ever i had to say, atleast it looked that way to my then drooping eyes. By then, most of the people had already called it a day and retired to their respective houses and there i was like the "last of the Mohicans" still taking some intermittent sips and blabbering out some fundamentals not bothering who i was speaking to. Gradually, the potful of ara was overpowering every mankind and most of the bachelors could not even stand upright or atleast pretended that way, so as to spend the night in that house for their good own reasons under this pretext. Even before i could realize that i thanked the owner and left the house, i was knocking at my very own door only to hear the yelling of my wife for being so drunk and late. There went on the never ending blah blah blah....until i realized that she had stopped only to start again, but this time waking me up for the breakfast. That moment was one of a kind, and for this, I live my life as the way I am and that I be invited to all the Chogos and Rimdros.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Leaders in the making

In what it seemed as a survival feat or the closest resemblance of the National Geographic's "Man Vs Wild", the 2012 batch of Full-Time MBA students of Copenhagen Business School, Denmark undertook an arduous journey in the woods of Sweden. The Leadership simulator or the LDP trip to Sweden has always been the much talked about topic in the whole course. It gained the highlight and the hype for it is about how the theory is put into practice.

Fortunately, the weather favoured us with a bright and a clear sunshine. The travel time was about 6 hours by bus including the ferry from Denmark to Sweden. The "mission folder" was handed over to us during the journey so as to better prepare ourselves with the task. The 6 hour long journey brought us to a military camp, technically called as per the mission as a "drop zone". Each one of us were provided with a backpack, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, torch, rope, cup, plate, compass, knife, etc. With all these stuff added to personal cloths easily made it big and bulky to weigh around 25 kgs or so. Four teams were formed comprising of 10-11 people with an immediate appointment of general managers. During the rest of the course in the forest, each one of us had to take the roles of HR, Logistics manager, operations manager, assistant GM and general manager.

Day 1:
Still cheerful, the teams were dropped at different locations but had to find their way to the base camp using map and compass. It was already dark when our team reached the camp. We had no time to choose a proper camp site and had to settle for a sloppy area near the lake. The makeshift tents were immediately pitched, fire was lit and the packaged meal cooked. The first misfortune for the team came in when one of our team member had a knee injury. While he took rest, we took turns to guard the fire through out the night. Since the tent did not provide enough room for us, most of us had to sleep in the open space only to bear the freaking cold night.

Day 2:
We had to wake up at 6:00 am and set the journey of the day by picking up 10 ribbons on the way to the next camp. It took us half a day walking in the forest with the backpacks. The next destination was to reach an island for the night but before that we had to rappel down a cliff and use canoe to sail us across to the island. Everyone was low on energy and the cheerful faces just gave some light and forceful smiles at times. We lost our way several times even to the extent of crossing couple of hills. For most of us, the rappelling or the abseiling was a first time experience. I could literally feel my heart pounding so hard on my chest and the steep cliff gave me an adrenaline rush. It was already dark when we reached the island. Everyone was so tired and hungry that no body was in a mood to talk. Fish was all we had for dinner without any ingredients. The semi-cooked fish only tasted delicious to my hungry stomach and so did to the rest. This time we all managed to squeeze inside the tent for the night.

Day 3:
Woke up early morning and packed our things for yet another unknown destination. We had one loaf of bread for eleven of us for the whole day. I could already hear the grumbling of my stomach and the slice of bread did no good to it. We used the canoe to get back to the shore and prepare ourself for the final task. Fortunately or unfortunately, this task was so demanding and it was my turn to become the general manager. The task pushed me to a new limit and i felt i became a lot more wiser. We finally built a rope bridge and every one got transported to the other bank. Some preferred to swim across but it nearly took their life due to hypothermia. We walked for another couple of hours and at last reached the camp near the beach. Finally we had a good food and a real bed to sleep on. It was so relaxing after spending days and nights in the forest that even a five star hotel would not have provided that amount of comfort.

Day 4:
Had a morning session called "reflected teams" where we took turns to reflect and give feedbacks to one another in a style which was quite unique. We started our journey back to Copenhagen and reached back sometime around 7:00 PM. The much talked about leadership simulator had just been completed and I feel I became wiser and enlightened after several rounds of feedbacks and reflections. The three days in the forest taught me more than what i learned thus far in the course. I wish one day i could pass on this experience to my fellow mates back home.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Laughter: The best medicine

On a random surf in youtube, i found a clip featuring the famous mimicry artist and a singer in Bhutan, Jalap/Ulap Leki. He claims to have worked in the armed force before but his physique doesn't really convince me at all :). However, he is one guy who can mimic a bird, a dog, woman, old man, actor, politician, almost everything and everyone. He was also the winner of the "Druk Star", a singing competition held in the year 2011. Almost instantly, it drew me an interest towards searching more of his impromptu performance. Although i could not find many, i found few of the raw clips and I say it was really funny and hilarious to watch his acts. This guy is really a power pack filled with multiple talents.

So, enjoy the video clips and laugh till you fart. After all, laughter is the best medicine... ha ha ha.

(Video source: Youtube)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Holiday Trip

After a tiresome week, packed with endless submissions and exams, the completion of the Corporate Finance exam finally marked the onset of a week-long Easter holiday. With no concrete plans to travel around during this spring holiday, I decide to explore the Danish museums and country sides with friends from Arrhus School of Business. The remaining days would then be lots of eating and sleeping which I have been deprived thus far.

Visit to Elsinore Castle:
Before my lethargic plan of emulating a piggy lifestyle, we start our exploration with a visit to the legendary Kronborg Castle aka Elsinore Castle aka Hamlet's Castle. Elsinore Castle became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in year 2000.

Elsinore Castle is an elegant Renaissance castle and monumental military fortress, surrounded by major fortifications. Known all over the world from Shakespeare's Hamlet, it is also the most famous castle in Denmark.

An abstract from the Hamlet goes on as...."On a dark winter night outside Elsinore Castle in Denmark, an officer named Bernardo comes to relieve the watchman Francisco. In the heavy darkness, the men cannot see each other. Bernardo hears a footstep near him and cries, “Who’s there?” After both men ensure that the other is also a watchman, they relax."

The play reminds me of my days at Sherubtse College, Kanglung studying in the XII standard, studying Hamlet under the shadowy clock tower which to an extent resembled the imaginary tower in the play. Never did i expect that after more than a decade, my fate would bring me to the very castle described in the play. I doubt if i was a member of the Danish infantry in my previous life guarding the castle of Elsinore in the dark winter night. Whatever be it, the trip to the castle is very much a journey down the memory lane.

Visit to Rosenborg Castle:
The castle was originally built as a country summerhouse in 1606 and is an example of Christian IV's many architectural projects. It was built in the Dutch Renaissance style, typical of Danish buildings during this period, and has been expanded several times, finally evolving into its present condition by the year 1624.

Visit to Amalienborg Palace:
Amalienborg Palace is the winter home of the Danish royal family, and is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It consists of four identical classifying palace facades around an octagonal courtyard; in the centre of the square is a monumental equestrian statue of Amalienborg's founder, King Frederick V. Amalienborg was originally built for four noble families; however, when Christiansborg Palace burnt down on 26 February 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in. Over the years various kings and their families have resided in the four different palaces.

Visit to Carlsberg Museum:
The Carlsberg brewery was established in 1847 at Valby on the edge of Copenhagen and became one of the city’s largest industrial establishment. The earliest parts of the brewery (Gamle Carlsberg) have been restored as a museum, where visitors can see equipment used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The former home of Carl Jacobsen, founder of the company, adjoins the brewery, and forms part of the museum.

Nothing more was soothing than a gulp of chilled carlsberg beer right at the brewery after hours of walking down the museum hall with thirsty throat. And finally, as hinted earlier, i switch onto a semi-hibernation mode for about three days until we resume the fifth Term.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My son and I

Having completed an 18 page case write-up on Hyundai Motors in India as a part of the International Business course, i take a break and recline back with a long sigh of relief. Writing academic papers are always a long and a lengthy process unlike writing a blog. Applying theories and models into a real live case is not so easy, atleast to me. I was on a data mining spree for the last couple of days for this particular case. Now that it's completed, i close the document and decide to open it only for proof-reading once before the final submission.

In the mean while, i call my wife to check what's going on at the far end. She informs me that she had gone to Wangdue in the morning to buy the school uniform for our elder son who has just taken a step into the journey of education.

No sooner, i can hear my son shouting at the peak of his voice,as naughty as he could get. He tells me that he goes to school at 07:00 AM in white bus and comes back in the afternoon in yellow bus. Having been in the school for just three days,he hasn't picked much other than some random words for the morning prayer. He also tells me that "Alu tengey tsang tsha dhu school na" - all the kids are naughty at school, claiming himself to be the one of the few good kids. I simply laugh at his witty comments. He indeed appears to like the school so that he can join the flock of these naughty kids. He then goes on with his never ending list of wishes and tells me to send it at the earliest.To this i simply reiterate "ya ya" as a gesture of agreement. As a responsible father i try to advise him to keep away from these naughty kids at school and instead befriend the good ones. To this, he argues that there is nothing wrong to be friends with them as he would always remain a good kid.

I now agree with who ever has once said " By the time you realize your dad was right, you already have a son who thinks you are wrong". The cycle of life must go on.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's in a name?

Now that it’s my turn, I settle down to come up with a meaningful blog. Unfortunately, nothing of a substance pops up in my seemingly overloaded brain. The “I-was-born-intelligent-but-education-ruined-me” sort of feeling overshadows my otherwise calm mind, these days. The Corporate Finance owns half the credit for that. All I do for now is sit idle and stare blankly for a divine intervention with a topic.

Proving futile, as always, I look up only to find array of binders stacked on my bookshelf, not neatly as you may think. Moments later, I was reflecting deeply on what I have learned so far. It’s only been about six months into this MBA program, but the courses say that I have got what it takes to be a leader, at least in theory. What have we not learned? Almost everything under the sun – despite hardly seeing the sun in Denmark. It is not by chance that most of the course names are suffixed with the word “management.” There is some serious management stuff in the course. For instance, Marketing Management, Human Resource Management, Change Management, Operations Management and Strategic Management all have “management” proudly tagged in the title. Yet, the word management hasn’t found a place in MBA, literally. It would have been apt to call Master of Business Management, instead. I ask to myself, is management a part of administration or is it the other way round. After some thought, I decide not to spiral around yet another chicken-and-egg analogy. After all, what’s in a name?

William Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” The MBA by any other name would smell as sweet. If not for sweet, it would definitely smell sweaty, for we sweat a lot as a fulltime-MBA’ians. Not only has the title of the program, but the course also has some fuzzy names. Even before I could familiarize myself with the name of one course, the course was already gone and the binder had found a place on my shelf. It is none other than the Supply Chain Management a.k.a Multinational Operations a.k.a Operations Management. In Buddhism, the reincarnates come in three forms; mind, body and speech. This subject for sure has come in all of the three forms.

With the increasing popularity of the MBA worldwide, it has also been notoriously expanded by some as a “Master of Bad Activities,” “Most Bossy Attitude,” “Married But Available,” and so on. Behind the sheepish smiles, most people would agree on this, if not all. Whatsoever be it, the MBA is a globally sought-after degree and for this, we have all the more reason to be happy about being onboard. Come what may, in about six months from now, we shall all be graduating. It shall finally find a place in our CV’s. Theories and models would then be put into practice, a live test in essence.

However, when someone asked me sometime back, would you be able to implement in your career what you learned in MBA? I smiled and gave the smart MBA answer- “It depends”.
It surely depends.

P.S: This is a reproduction from my post in the CBS, MBA Dairy (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Exhibition on Bhutan

On the 12th of February 2012, I had the opportunity of going to Arhus, the second largest city in Denmark, a 3.5 hours journey by car from Copenhagen to see the exhibition on Bhutan. The exhibition is aptly titled "Thunder dragon on the move". The exhibition is organized by an anthropologist and a Exhibition producer, Ditte Marie Seeberg through the support of DANIDA, Aarhus Kommune, Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD) and the National Museum of Bhutan. This is an audio-visual exhibition with various display of the Bhutanese artifacts, mainly focused on the Bhutanese children and their reflections on life. Its purpose is to provide an insight into childhood conditions at home and school vis-a-vis the concept of Gross National Happiness. The exhibition is open for public from 10th February 2012 till 25th March 2012.

Not only did i get to meet the rest of the Bhutanese living in Denmark, I also had the privilege of meeting and discussing various aspects of life with the Director of the National Musuem of Bhutan, Khenpo Phuntshok Tashi. Khenpo is also the author of various books like Invoking Happiness: guide to the sacred festivals of Bhutan and Gross National Happiness, Mindful Living in Bhutan, The Positive Impact of the Gomchen tradition on achieving and maintaining Gross National Happiness, and The Thirteen Arts and Crafts of Bhutan.

                                           (Photo courtesy:

The event for the day ended with a brief teaching on mindfulness by the Khenpo followed by a short meditation. And now as usual, I am back to assignments and submissions.
For more info visit

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Useful Tips and Tricks

I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the useful tips which i compiled from different sources. Kindly experiment it at your own will and risk.
  1. Natural Mosquito Repellent: Rub Vick's Vaporub® on your pants and legs to ward off mosquitoes.
  2. Before you wear a new garment, put a little clear nail polish on the front and back of each button. Buttons will stay on longer when their threads are sealed.
  3. Zippers won't stick if you rub them with the edge of a bar of soap or candle. 
  4. To remove pesky bottle tops and jar lids, don a pair of rubber gloves or rap a thick rubber band around the lid, then twist to open. Works like a charm. 
  5. Have you ever peeled garlic or handled it and your hands get smelly. The next time that happens, take any stainless steel bowl, pan or other stainless steel kitchen gadget and rub your hands on it. It will take away the smell of garlic. 
  6. If the clothes get stained with ink, smear the spot with cooked rice and rub it for a while. You can then wash your cloth to remove the ink stain completely.
  7. To sharpen scissors,stack three aluminum foil together and then cut them with the scissors. You will see surprising result.
  8. Soothe a stinging burn from insects by applying toothpaste. It temporarily relieves the sting and prevents the wound from weeping or opening. 
  9. Cure for headaches: Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away. 
  10. When you get a splinter, reach for the scotch tape/cellotape before resorting to tweezers or a needle. Simply put the scotch tape/cellotape over the splinter, and then pull it off. Scotch tape removes most splinters painlessly and easily.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The blogosphere botch

I would like to inform my friends that, the transfer of my blog from the blogspot to my personal domain has caused some minor problem with the follower widget. I personally apologize you all for this problem and I really feel bad as the time and effort you took to sign up as a member has all been wasted. You are once again requested to join this site as a member.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Supreme words of Buddha

If only this deluded mind of ours could understand this profound teachings of the Buddha, this world would be a better place to live in. Imagine every being in this world following nothing but these supreme words of the Enlightened One, this world that we live in would be a heavenly abode in itself. A world without war, crime, famine, hatred, anger, so on and so forth - free from all the negative actions. I ask to myself when do we each see a Buddha in us and this be the ultimate Buddhaland.
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