From Trongsa (III)

Monday, July 29, 2013

After staying in the guesthouse for 3 weeks, I have shifted to my flat today. It is constructed out of cement fiberboard as main walls insulated in between with thermo-coil. The ceiling has glass wool to retain heat in winter. The cozy luminaries form a perfect interior. The flat boasts of 2 bedrooms, 1 living room, 1 kitchen & 2 toilets. It is furnished with sofa sets, 32 inch LCD, dressing mirror, 1 cupboard, 1 queen-size bed, 1 single bed with mattresses, pillows, towels, curtains, bed covers and dining set. The kitchen and toilets are connected to geysers each. The refrigerator is on the way. Everything should cost me Nu. 2600 per month as house rent. It is cheap and I scream “fantabulous”.
But this flat is too big for me. It will only become small if I have my family but they will never come here. Therefore, I am looking for an alternative option - to get a new family. Of my colleague and his wife who do not have a house right now. There are many like him, who have put up in the private houses, without basic utilities, as far as 10km from the work place. We talked about it last night but I saw a glimpse of reservation from him today. It must be his wife, I thought. Not of the kind of feeling insecurity living along with a single person but from the privacy point of view. I told him the wall is sound proof.
Did I see that naughty smile? I stressed upon having a rakhi system in our culture so that I become brother to his wife right away. Later, he told me he will wait for another month until new house comes up in the colony. I told him I lost my new family and corrected that our culture is fine without the rakhi system.
Until then, for all the exorbitant house rents that I paid in Thimphu, it is the “revenge” coming all the way from type III of temporary colony, Langthel, Trongsa.

From Trongsa (II)

Monday, July 22, 2013

I have put up in a transit camp. It has the facilities of a three star hotel except there is no wi-fi and data card fails to connect it. I spent the first weekend in Langhtel in the project office. There were other colleagues who came to work. They are all hard working people. No officer leaves office at 5.30. They remain seated working on the bills until 7 p.m., play table tennis which is nearby, have dinner in the mess and leave to their respective beds around 9.30. I envy how each of them take their work professionally. Having come from civil service very recently, I could only draw huge contrast of professionalism in these two public sectors.

I have one cozy empty bed beside me (which instills natural yearnings to see it occupied by someone who leaves long strands of left over from her head the next day). It has become a dumping yard of my clothes. In the mornings I don’t waste time wearing gho. Nobody wears gho. The tunnels have yet to see people in Bhutanese attire. I got a pair of gumboot which I have kept in the office. They are big. The size that fits me is out of stock. I got yellow safety helmet. Yellow helmets are worn by laborers, the store keeper told me. White helmet followed the fate of black gumboot. I am a worker so I wear them. In big gumboot and yellow helmet, I drive bolero to the site. I don’t expect rocks to identify me as engineer from the color of my head. It is my head that instructs contractor to put correct methodologies of work like an engineer. And that matters.

There are no cock-teasers (intentionally did not look for synonym of this word) around. Most are males. There are few females but a man in yellow helmet and over sized gumboot behind the wheels doesn't make their heads turn around. I am safe inside my pants.

I remember telling my friend that we should remind ourselves of not letting loose in the wild while being away from our homes. “It is the test of commitments,” we agreed. And the reality, there does not even exist one entrance exams for us.

Hello from Trongsa (I)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A few updates here. I am globally positioned in between the rough coordinates of 250000 easting and 300000 northing. Locally I am along the longitude that cuts Bhutan into two halves. I am in Trongsa Dzongkhag at a place called Langthel which nests at 1230 meters above mean sea level. I have been hearing about hydro power projects for years and now I am into it to help turning four giant turbines to produce 180 mega watt each from Mangdechu.

It was not in my wildest dreams that the river which flows under Bjeezam would provide me food, clothing and shelter. I have crossed this river several times in the past. I don’t remember once that I tried to look twice as I passed by it. Caution to note: nothing in this world is there to ignore altogether. An old tree standing below the narrow road could prove pivotal if an ill fated overturned car is stopped by its stem.

Six pairs of eyes glued onto me in the 12 x 15 feet room. The number 1 asked me questions related to my past experiences. I kept my answers precise and to the point while covering I have technically practiced everything under the sun that shone in Bhutan. “It is only the field of hydro power that  is absent in my CV,” I said. “It is as good as I have constructed airport for it consists of runway and the buildings. I have constructed roads and buildings before. I don’t see railways coming to Bhutan and therefore, I am left only to construct tunnels and dams.” I waited for the next question.

“You had handled only small packages,” the number 2 said. I had constructed water supply schemes to buildings to roads to bridges and to them I was the small time project manager. It was no time and place for me to retaliate. “Our one project is above Rs. 5000 million. How will you handle such a huge project?” number 1 asked.

“Sir, I will try my best. I am a hard working person. I can work in extreme pressure. I know I can do it,” this reply is a bullshit. I did not say it and would never say it.  If I am the interviewer, I would immediately reject that interviewee.

I cleared my throat, tactically placed my brand new lagey on the table and locked my fingers. “Sir, the figures don’t matter to me,” I said. “It is the workmanship that counts. It is about abiding strictly to the technical specifications apart from timely contract management meetings and following the financial rules that counts. If we follow it, the figures how big they may seem will fall in place automatically,” I replied.

I was then asked series of questions which don’t warrant to remind here. A week later I received a call of my result that leads me to appreciate the river the flows under Bjeezam all through the times I passed over it.

The new place, the new work - the responsibility is huge. I had never been a leader to many people. But I feel lucky I came from an organization that induces leadership to its employees every day. It is the show time but I am being mindful of my colleagues and others around me. It is the test of time that I remain emotionally intelligent without losing the focus of outcome we collectively desire in the end. I have made the promise that I live up to their expectation and they categories me as a good human being, a good colleague and a tireless no-nonsense worker at the job.

To son, to daughter

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The eyes that don't see a thing
The lips that don't speak a word
The ears that hear only rumbling words
The skin that changes its color every day,
I am coming home my son
To test if you see my circling finger
To lock your mouth
To sing you a lullaby
To change your nappy
Holding your tiny toes.
Daddy is coming home soon, son.
You have become a big sister
But to me you shall always remain my little girl.
Two nights, the terrible nights
I have choked to tell you the tales.
Mamma told me you cried
Before you went to bed.
I am coming home, my girl
To tell you the stories you like
On fairy tales, of you
All through the night.

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