Dear Ama,
Before I tell you anything, I just want to say that I am doing good here in my college and now, I am also adapting with everything that's changed from being transferred out of home. I am coming to know that there's more to life than cherries and chocolates. It's always in my prayers to have our Koen-cho-sum bless you, my dear Ama and Apa. Maybe, most of the time in life, all we can do is pray. We might believe that there is God or there isn't, but deep inside all of us, we all believe that there's always someone who watches us all and our happiness.

Now, let me share with you something, Ama. Something which didn't bother me for long but now, it does. I have been receiving a call from an unknown caller which started shortly after I bought a new SIM card four years back. The voice makes me feel so familiar to her. With her voice, I have pictured her to be a woman in her late 60's from the Eastern part of Bhutan. The way she speaks is how our older people used to speak back in our village, Trashi Yangtse. The gentleness and compassionate tone in her voice makes it really difficult to reject her call directly saying that she called a wrong number. Each time she calls, I show all my softness to say, "Please Aunt, would you let your son or daughter recheck the number because I am not the Kota Pema that you wanted to call. It's been like 50th time you have called till now. It is just a waste of your time and mobile's account balance. For me, it doesn't matter."

For the past four years, she called at least once a month. And sometimes, even once a week. It didn't really bother me. Rather, I felt sorry for her that she had to waste so much of her energy on having found someone she didn't want to find. It didn't bother me but now, it does. Ama, I know it is really difficult to resist the demise of our beloved Grandma a month ago. It always makes me want to go back to her and still today, I can't believe she is not in this world anymore. I didn't want to remind you about this but what I want to tell you today is that the unknown elderly woman, who calls me owing to her wrong number, reminds me of our beloved Grandma. Their voice are indistinguishably similar. The love and generosity I used to hear in our Grandma's voice, I hear in her.
...still today, I can't believe she is not in this world anymore.
I am sure that, by now, she knows that my number is a wrong number that she is calling. But besides the fact, she calls before I forget. Ama, you used to tell me that we meet people by our own fate and it is not a coincidence. You wanted me to appreciate all the people around me. I have shared this incident to one of my friends who suggested me to change my number but I have refused it. I don't want to change my number and it is okay to receive a call from her now. Over some period of time, I feel bonded to someone I don't even know who and where. I am rather happy that I knew how important it is to keep in touch with the ones who are beloved to us. The unknown elderly woman has called me more than anyone who is known to me.

I have concluded that she is an old woman in search of her son. Maybe, no one misses us more than our mother does. One day, their son will marry a lady and leave home. That time, no matter how much a mother loves her son, she have to let go. Only a mother knows what it really is to let go. Ama, I always appreciated how much you valued me as a son. Since I was a child, I read so many fairy tales and always wanted to meet an angel not realizing that you were the real angel.
Only a mother knows what it really is to let go.

'Dear Ama' is a series of letters I look forward to write for my mom about everything that goes inside of me and everything that goes around me. There are numerous things that I really wish I could share with her at some point. And writing down could be one of those few things that really ease me.

Dear Ama,
I can realize that it took you so much of love and care to make me who I am today. I know that your love was unimaginable and your care unconditional. In every step I make, and in every breathe I take, I fear that all your effort might go in vain. And, at times, I pray to God that all I want in this life is to keep you happy, because you deserve it. In fact, you deserve more. Please, understand me at times when I make you feel low because I may hurt your sentiments unintentionally. My emotions are like vagabond; it always wanders from place to place. And I beg your pardon when my undesired emotions meet your days.

I just want to write you a little bit about how my life is at the moment having moved into a hostel of a college from home. Being in school was a lot easier for me, honestly, because I was a day-scholar for all my schooling years. I never went through hardships because you were always there for me. Well, the difference I am struggling at this moment is having to save money for my own, buy the ration for my room, cook myself, clean the room, maintain by bed, remind myself to drink water and eat fruits, and of course numerous things. Sometimes, I go broke just few days after you and Dad send me some cash. All the matters are really common for all the students in here. Please, don't take it as a complaint, but rather as a story of a different life I am living. It is really interesting and I am sure I will look back and smile someday.
I am sure I will look back and smile someday.
I realized that the happiness inside four walls depend solely upon 'compromising' for one another. We are of four here in the room. It feels like a family for most of the time because we understand each other and we don't quarrel over little stuffs that has potential to get dissolved in our own hearts. Ama, you always told me to be good with friends because they are the only ones who will look after me when I am sick in your absence. Sometimes, I lose it when they don't go according to how I want it to go. Maybe that is normal because we consider it normal in our family too. I am learning what it takes to make a family happier and to keep the bond alive. It takes a lot and a lot and a lot of sacrifice. You must sacrifice your ego. You must sacrifice your comfort. You must sacrifice your fear. You must sacrifice your opinions, too. The more we sacrifice, the happier we stay together.
It takes a lot and a lot and a lot of sacrifice.
I am pretty sure that Dad and you could have expected me to go somewhere other than Sherubtse College. Maybe expected me to join an engineering college. I couldn't do it. Please forgive me. But let's believe that wherever I reach, it is because of my own fate plus there could be a good reason for me being where I am at this moment. Dear Ama, you used to tell me that as long as I have my two feet and two arms, I can survive in this world. It didn't only tell me about strength but also gave me a hope to move on from many things that matter to me. I believe in myself, that I can do better than this and a better life awaits. It's not a matter of self-esteem, but a matter of self-respect.
It didn't only tell me about strength but also gave me a hope to move on from many things that matter to me.
I miss home so bad at times. Ama, I don't want to wish anything of you now. I just want to thank you for everything you have sacrificed for me till now to keep the love strong and to keep the family happy. I understand now. I am getting what you were trying to say all this time. I am learning and realizing things as I am standing apart from your safe zone now. But anyway, college is good to me and I want you to know that I will make the best use of the time given to me right now to stay here. There are bigger and more fearful things that could be coming next. But I will make sure that whenever I fall, I get up because there is your strength guarding me.


"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken man" - Frederick Douglass

It has become Mantra for some people to always say our beloved Fourth King's incredible line, "Future of our country lies in the hands of current generation of youth". We have been hearing it for countless times from countless people. No matter how talented, skilled and professional our current adults are, they will somehow be replaced by our current youth someday. Our country will be in the hands of the children we see today.

I don't know what parenting is, how difficult it is or how it must be done. I just know that it must be really important in the life of a child and, in a long run, the state of our country. I strongly believe that the love we have for our country is directly or indirectly expressed to how we treat our children. And if we treat our children right, we are treating our country's future right.

It is no doubt. Every parents will say words like, 'Boy, don't do drugs', 'Girl, don't loiter around', 'Boy, don't fight', 'Girl, don't date until 18', blah blah blah... It isn't too difficult to say that, is it? It is difficult to portray it. Young minds don't listen to words, they listen to actions.

Parents are too strict at times. But it is not parenting, I think. It actually teaches children how to find ways to survive their strict parents by telling what is not true and expressing what they don't feel. Some even says that parenting is like a prison. You give freedom to your children within a certain fenced boundary. But within that boundary, the children must be free to explore anything he or she likes. The children shall not be told what is wrong or right but have to be shown.

Wikipedia says, "Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship." Are we supporting our children in these aspects? And it even says that parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the bio-relationships which literally makes us all a part of care-givers and supporters for all the children without considering biological relationships. Therefore, parenting is less of a family-thing, and more of a gross responsibility.

Thus, I think it is one responsibity of everyone of us to think about making every children productive and giving them the support that they need. All of us are the parents of our country because we have it in our hands what our country must go through next. Should we do good things and show a better example to our children? Yes, we should. It is important. Really important, I think.
"Life is a journey, walk it."

I have seen Taktshang in photos till now. But recently, some of my friends wanted to plan a trip there. "We are making this trip for you, since you are always wandering around eastern forests", joked one friend. I couldn't show any excitement that time because I was actually satisfied seeing photos of Taktshang anywhere, until one day...

The Yesterday
We were of five. Three friends were told to pack only curries for the lunch. And two (which includes me), were to bring only rice. I always loved journeys and adventures. The night, I was visualizing my trip.

The Today
At 9 in the morning, we moved from Thimphu. It was little foggy and in the middle of the way, it rained. We anticipated the unfavourable journey due to the whether.

It took around an hour to reach the parking of Taktshang. We decided to leave the packed lunch in the car and have it when we get back. Actually, I though the journey would be little short but it was quite a walk.

We began the walk upwards. I saw an elderly man, who was a tourist, walking down alone. He was with a rain coat. Rain was sprinkling. "Hello. How was the trip?", a friend of mine asked. "So easy." He lied.

We were of four boys and a girl. The girl was in difficulty. She had to walk with a stick. I wanted to walk with her and three other friends went far forward. I pretended like I was accompanying her but let me admit, I walked with her because I couldn't catch the gentlemen in the front.

At certain point, the three friends were waiting. They said that Taktshang should actually be visible from that point but the fog prevented the visual. And they added that Lungten (me) have no Lungten (prophecy) to visit Taktshang. Hmm...

I was actually surprised by the number of tourists we met on the way. They were countless and from various parts of the earth. One time, I asked an elderly woman, "How was the trip?". She curiously glanced at her guide. I don't remember what the guide told her. I heard something like 'shi sha sho la mamo pala...". And then the woman told me, "beautiful but..." and she pointed her index finger to her knees which was muddy. I understood she slipped.

We continued our journey. We reached Taktshang Cafeteria where the price of the Tea was Nu 150. So that's ahemm... a little too much, I thought, for me.

We continued our journey upwards. I haven't seen Taktshang yet because of the fog. As we walked upwards, I looked aside and suddenly got my palms together upon seeing a little portion of Taktshang. I got the energy to walk a little faster.

There we reached the top and had to walk through the trail by then. And here we did it. The Taktshang that I saw in pictures and the Taktshang I saw in real had a difference of sky and earth. The feeling was completely out of my mind. It was extra-ordinarily beautiful and full of power. I was wondering, how in those times, it could have been built in such a speechless site.

We wore our formal uniforms and before entering, we took lot of photos. We then entered the phenomenal Taktshang and, honestly, everything inside was what we see in Monasteries. The wonders all lie in it's location, the breezy waterfalls, the precision of architecture that is too catchy of eyes and souls and mainly it's height of beauty.

We then walked back. Our prayer is all that we left.

The Tomorrow
Well. I understood that there is more to life than everything that we face daily. There are more places that we have to walk to, more paths that we have to walk through and more people we have to walk with. It must be full of surprises. And for now, all I can say is that life is worth living.

I can’t bear the ache of seeing Facebook taking away all the time and data in the expensive mobile phones of our Youth, and generally one-sixth of the planet, statistically. For some people, Facebook is the internet or internet is the Facebook. As soon as they connect to internet, it’s only Facebook they access till they disconnect to internet. But there are other more productive, amazing and beautiful things that everyone can do using internet.

1.    Read free books
One mesmerizing app I have in my cell phone is Amazon Kindle. It’s true that we must buy books from its store. But I don’t. It may be illegal but I download freely the eBooks from some websites I search using Google. That’s possible (for your kind information). And yes, every book can be freely downloaded. And again for your information, I am reading the eBook, “The Sun Also Rises” by Hemingway. If his book is available freely somewhere in the internet, let alone others.

2.    Blog
You can freely create a blog, which is like your portfolio that you maintained when you were in high school. You can write something, beautify with some pictures and even upload some videos you create. And basically, the difference is you can get audiences. And by the way, you are reading someone’s blog. You may attack me with a question that it’s same as writing something or posting a photo in Facebook and Instagram. But the differences are; every blogs have a unique URL and people can directly visit you, blogs allow you to have people view articles the way you like to show them, blogs make people interested in your works more than Social Media does.

3.    It can employ you
Well, I always wanted to learn computer programming languages. I came through a website called FreeCodeCamp where I have learned HTML and CSS till date. And you know what? After completing their courses, they provide us with certificates which allows us to work in companies in foreign countries. I am waiting for that day. So have you ever thought internet can employ you? Yes, it can.

4.    Learn what you like
Bought a Guitar but need a teacher? You don’t. YouTube is the key. I learned guitar back in class six. That’s when I always used to go to father’s office, download a heavy load of Guitar Tutorials, then when the person the video says you to do as him, he becomes your teacher. That way, you can brush the future that you can’t stop from arriving. Using internet, you can learn how to bake a cake, open a bakery and that’s it. How’s the idea?

5.    Become an online Kapil Sharma
I don’t watch his show by the way. I don’t understand Hindi. Maybe I should use internet to learn Hindi. Coming to the point, you can create your own reality show using internet. Ryan Higa is a popular Asian who touched worldwide audiences with his funny videos on YouTube. I watch him every single time. You can be a star using internet. The difference between the videos you may share on FB and YouTube is that the videos you upload on FB remains in a constricted circle but the videos on YouTube are encircled with large amount of audiences.

6.    Explore the world virtually
Using Google Earth, you can see the world on your palm. If you love seeing different places, why don’t you just download the app and travel virtually to United States. You can see the 3D buildings and structures. You can see how streets are, where the roads lead to and maybe how their environments are comparing to theirs. It is really satisfying to see the world outside ours virtually.

7.    Become a freelancer
There are websites which let you be a journalist to their company. You can be a researcher too. And interestingly, they will pay you. You can even write your short novels and distribute using internet. Maybe if luck favors, you may be called by someone else who will sponsor to publish your book for real. The only limit is the sky. There are real happenings like this.

Now get off Facebook and do something useful!

This article is written based on my perspective, feelings and experiences. Jotted down like a diary of my daily life, it must not apply to every participants.
It’s about the three days Youth forum held at DYS in Thimphu, participated by six youth from every youth centers in Bhutan.

28th December 2015 – Reporting Day
I don’t really remember how the day has begun but I remember how it ended. I and my band-mates were at audition for Music Spotlight, BBS. It took more time than I expected because of the registration (I didn’t know this should be done) at the gate. And we received calls from our youth madam that we must report at the DYS at 3:00 PM which we could not. Directly from BBS Studio, we (I and my friend Jamyang, the co-participant of forum) ran to DYS in tense and sweats but a taxi helped when I felt my wallet rocking in the big pocket.

After getting dropped below DYS gate, we walked in with some nervousness, so happened that it was our first time in this place. I could see familiar faces at the awning. We moved forward to let know that those people were our fellow mates from Zhemgang with our caring Youth madam (I will thank her in later part) waiting patiently for our arrival.

No sooner did we smile at our fellows than two girls of DYS came to us for hostel allocation. Out of those two girls, I am quite familiar with the one, Lekzin Dema whom I have in contact over Facebook though we never met even once before.

Then some boys guided us to the DYS hostel. But as I was nothing ready to settle in hostel, I promised our madam that I will be back from Yangchenphug (that’s where my belongings resided) in two hours after bringing some clothes and Laptop.
As promised, it happened, punctual and perfect.

The first thing I liked when I first came to DYS is the dinner. Then all the participants joined the introductory session at auditorium but to be honest, new people never got familiar enough with the session.
After that, we got a bed in the hostel, free and fine, met new friends, sang some songs with guitar, and I called it a day.

29th December 2015 – Commencing Day
The three days grand youth forum began with a………….. breakfast. Haha
Some sense of humour.
Breakfast was followed by registration of participants. Then anyone can imagine the following programs; welcome and overview of the program, presentations by two youth centers (Harmony and S/Jongkhar), then a break was set for tea and snacks.

I was nervous then! For the next set of presentations, Zhemgang was included and I was the presenter. Let’s get back to work!

So presentations were continued after break by Bajo and Tashigang. All the presentations were focusing on very similar topics of Youth Issues like drugs abuse, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism, groupism, broken families etc.

So then came my turn to present on behalf of Zhemgang youth family. I began my presentation with saying a little fact (as a humour); “In olden days, house were made with the windows that can be opened easily from outside, and therefore, gentlemen used to go for night hunting. But today, the windows can’t be opened from outside, therefore, gentlemen became too reckless that they RAPE on the street.”

I also talked on same issues as other presenters. And ended my presentation by saying, “His Majesty always mention that the country’s stability depends on the hands of today’s youth. These are just words until someone comes in and gives it a meaning. So all of you, you are the meaning.”

And it was lunch which was continued by the presentations of Paro, Gelephu and Changjiji. Then recess. Phuntsholing and Mongar followed with the presentations.

The day has been quite congested though I liked it and everyone would have felt the same. Around evening 5, consolidation program was followed by bonding session where we played some games by forming groups consisting of mixture of participants from all the youth centers.
Back to dinner again. Then to bed. The day seemed longer than we lived.

30th December 2015 – Issue Discussion Day
Waking up at 6 was not a challenge due to the excitement we got for the day even though the room temperature was freezing. And breakfast again.

Till lunch was consumed by discussion of issues presented by different youth centers, tea sessions and role of youth in youth development.

After lunch was an exciting moment; Local tour. We went to Bhutan Postal Museum. It was an amazing moment to see all those stuffs, artifacts and some stories within the arts. Then all of us moved to Memorial Chorten. Some of us, who doesn’t stay in Thimphu, went to Little Bhutan. I loved it, seriously. And the night session was full of songs and dances by participants which wasn’t too catchy to eyes.

31st December 2015 – The Closing Day
Morning was exciting. We visited Buddha Point, Takin Zoo, and Ludrong Palace out of which the two places, I was reaching for the first time. Not only did I went to Takin Zoo for the first time but also I am seeing a real takin for the first time. Speechless Ludrong Palace got me and Jamyang into a tensing situation. We forgot that it was our day to Filming in BBS Music Spotlight. I received a call from the producer and, booooom, we were already late and had to cancel. But it was worth it after getting to go to places where we never reached before with people whom we never met before.

Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa, the minister of Education was welcomed at around two o’clock. Some presenters presented him the issues which we discussed and transformed into a powerpoint. He gave us a talk, then, which almost kicked all of us to sleep.

After the meet with Lyonpo, it was already dark and we had to prepare for camp fire. I don’t know what happened at DYS then. Our band had to perform at Space 34 for the New Year Eve. It was the first time I am joining a night club. After doing some singing, we joined the floor! We shook ourselves without any reason. I don’t think someone have to really go to exercises if they come to night clubs. People jumped, shook, and never got tired. I think I lost some kg jumping for no reason there.

One very fact, I can at least say, I was the only head in the room without a drink or a cigarette. I don’t do it.

1st January 2015

So dances continued from 2015 to 2016. It was 2:00 AM and the club had to close. So I headed to DYS hostel with my mates. I thought the hostel would have been closed by now. I was completely wrong. I have hardly seen a person sleeping in the hostel. I entered in and acted drunk! Haha. Some of them believed while my fellow mate Sonam (the law captain of our shool) knew that I was just acting that way. Maybe he really know who I am. At around 5 AM, we slept.

I really really want to thank our youth madam for her impressive and care and support to us during our stay in DYS. I never felt the absence of my Mummy when I was with her.
And I wanted to thank all the people involved for their immense hospitality and fun which I made me impossible to remove it from my heart.

The morning was an emotional part. I had to say Bye to those people who became my very close friends. Tears fell, and I think it is normal. Only if we departed without feelings, that really is abnormal. I and Sonam walked together till Memorial Chorten where we departed having different way to move forward, me to Yangchenphug and him to Olakha.

Just like a sad movie ending with a melancholic background music, I can still feel the winds that blew through my cheek as I walked along Lungten Zampa.