“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” ― Maya Angelou

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Find Meaning in Tradition this Raksha Bandhan.


Being an elder sister is a task and quite honestly I find it very conflictive, the harmony between best friend, supporter, guide, confidant, teacher, loving sibling, driving instructor, sex educator, homework back up, Didi, gossip companion, psychiatrist, make up guru, nutritionist, the model for responsive behavior, 2 am fridge foodie companion, the one to try your first burnt cooking experiment, the one you decided to poop on as a baby, the boyfriend adviser, the one mum holds responsible for all your stunts, the tolerater, learning the art of being amused when annoyed, the bank, the punching bag, the bouncer, the one and only back up plan in your teen disasters, its hard to achieve balance ? isn't it


like every year the symbolic custom of Rakhi is back to get me annoyed at the prodigious of Indian tradition.



  1. Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters; the festival is also popularly used to celebrate any brother-sister like loving protective relationship between men and women who are relatives or biologically unrelated. The brother pledges to protect her and take care of his sister under all circumstances.
See how wikipedias definition can annoy u if you only got sisters and you appose the celebration to only be about brothers who are strong enough to be protective. I am very protective of my sisters and yes they are as protective of me as I am of them. Guess what? no brothers involved.. we buy the Rakhis, we tie the Rakhis... and they mean more than empty promises of protection. 



Dear Men who get a Rakhi tied on their wrist,

if you can't do the protection then stop with the hypocrisy. 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat - "aping western culture led to a rise in rape crimes in the country"

"One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana," Kailash Vijayvargiya

Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana - describes Delhi Rape as "Small Incident" 

Banwari Lal Singhal, BJP legislator from Alwar city constituency in Rajasthan - "wearing skirts in schools led to sexual harassment."

* http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.ibtimes.co.in/bizarre-comments-by-politicians-on-rape-in-india-420585

Brother or Sister share this if you appose the Hippocratic attitude. We don't need men to be protectors, we need brave men who have the voice to speak up. Happy Rakhi   
 



Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Road less Traveled

Two paths one well traveled and respected, 
One overgrown and neglected
To be adventurous or to be virtuous.


























Thought it is hard to ascertain
I have decided hence
That when two paths diverge in the wood
That sometimes the path you take makes no Difference 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

An open letter: To the teachers who need to learn what respect is?


I am a human being, a child who knows perhaps less than you; but as human as you are, in my country I call you guru, and that means I respect you as a tutor and a teacher and look upon you to be a guiding light in my life.

Unfortunately, this respect when not reciprocated and that’s when and why I stand up and refuse to respect. I am your student, not your punching bag or therapist to tolerate your drama and emotional swings, DO NOT try to disrespect me as a human being; you have no right to humiliate me or insult me or make a comment on who I am and who I will be.

It seems my respect towards you has been feeding that ego of yours and stupidity combined with arrogance I see has got you a long way. Some days as I wait outside of your class, I think of the time when you were a student and I wonder as to who must have wounded you, as it seems like you have been sharpening  your claws ever since.  I am not concerned with your liking or disliking me. I will not argue at the pettiness of the issues that you spite; but I remind myself that life is a battlefield and demons I will face. I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinion I have no respect and I will not begin now. Bidding farewell to the claws that scraped my peace and disturbed my sanity. You don’t owe me respect, you owe yourself the truth.  I will not carry the hate, I wish you luck but I also wish for you to realize that I was a child that you inconsiderately kicked into darkness when your duty was to be the guiding light, there are many like me who fear your claws tearing up their future for a pittance of marks. For the ones afraid, all I can say is, “No one can define you, without your authority”. And for those who betray their own; the ones that tilt where the benefit lies, you need not worry about self respect because you got to have it to lose it.

Farewell,


A voice that’s not afraid of the truth.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Roar


Rights and wrongs the perplex of mankind  evolving with rules to be broken and fences to be mended, thrown to the wolfs of today, standing with the fear of being brave, waiting to rise while standing at the edge terrified of the fall. Silken locks and dry eyes are what make young blood beguiled. When the capacity to sustain the madness is drowning, she forgets the perplexes.  No more terrified to be brave, no more rules and no more fences…she looks to the open sky and Roars

 “it’s my life”


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Love is the beauty of the soul

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing 
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there." Rumi

- Kala Ghoda Mumbai 2014

To the ones that love fearlessly and dream Limitlessly 



Friday, 10 January 2014

freedom from fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
- Marianne Williamson

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Live the moment


So many revelations, time against life, living by the hours my days pass, years have taken away from me what I should have savored.

 Waking up to the sunlight has it replaced the beauty of staying up with the night? Youth has become wrinkled like the wise woman’s hands, she held my face in her palms predicting that time would pass and so would I.

I just have to hold on to it, grab it in my palms, forcing it to stay longer, forgetting the tomorrow,  breathing in today, accepting the present it gives me. Unwrapping it gently smiling all along because the smiles shaped my face, reassuring time that I didn't waste it, I valued it.


 I didn't only hold my suitcase and walk to the terminal, I didn't just hop into the next train; I didn't just go get it. I waited, I took a breath, I smiled, I didn't need the luggage. I didn't need to go get it. I needed to wait for it to come, because revelations were to be given a chance, because time wasn't in the grains of sand, it was in the golden sunshine and silver moonlight that were becoming insignificant in comparison to the glow of my iPhone. 

Because music wasn't in the words, it was in the sea as the waves hustled. It was in the chatter of the grasshopper not in the vibrations of my phone, it was in the beat of my heart not in the beat that I danced to at the club, because time was in my eyes not around the wrinkles that surrounded them

These thoughts still taunt that part of my mind willing to listen, it’s not in the moments, it’s in the memories.  Had I forgotten to live the moments ? Will I have no memories then?  Will this pass too? What if I can’t hold on to it and it slips like sand?  So I decided to look to the sky remembering to live every time its lights shined on my face.


Immature right, the little things I think about when all I should be thinking about is the assignment I have to submit the very next day.  


Thursday, 6 June 2013

Happiness infinite



Happiness is a state of mind, you were mistaken if you thought that the mind would allow such a state to last. As it appears our minds are really nasty, they are constantly making plans to destroy this happiness. If you don’t believe me, self reflect…those times you were blissful and didn't care for all the grief in the wicked world…the afternoons on a rainy Sunday when the family had feasted and smiled together…the day you got that first pay check…the smile on your baby’s face for the first time..The sparkle in your lover’s eyes …the moments when mum said she loved you no matter what.  The fact that you only remember the happiness and don’t feel it any more is because of the freaky interference of the mind…always waiting to make happiness a memory never letting it seep into the soul and remain there for eternity.
I most recently came across a blog with rules to be happy…the word rule has its way of ruining the fun in most things so let’s call it mantras for happiness..

Cultivate optimism


 Practice spirituality


Be silly sometimes

Stop over thinking

Peruse a passion

And finally value happiness.



 contact me at divinitymalshe@yahoo.in for a blog shutout ! love hearing from you all...

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Twilight Sun



Live like there’s no midnight, read through the night to behold the light.


I love to read, alright that’s an understatement I’m entranced with books. And lately this fascination got me to perceive the world when it’s neither night nor day. Staying up till midnight is quite natural to me, it’s like my artistic mind kicks in, like the stars sprinkling inspiration. Staying up till three am is not that rare as I get sucked into the book and just can’t stop turning the pages. Staying up till five, it’s like being slurped into a world where life actually has meaning and reality and my pillow seems too imprudent for me to want to return to. The splendor of a rising sun fused with the sweet chirping of the early risers.


                    Last night I couldn't sleep, and let me tell you I do look forward to a minimum five hours of coma induced sleepiness. But when the black sky started to turn dark blue I couldn't just pull my curtains together. I didn't want to, I should have but it was unbearable to look away. Getting snug close to my window I witnessed the most mesmerizing light of the day, the onset of dawn. Every minute the heavens transformed, dusky blue turning lighter and lighter till flickers of radiance glimmered through the heavens, the light got brighter and the day came to life. I actually saw the dark sky weaken as the light got stronger, and then every shadow faded away. This sounds like no big deal, my sister called me the crazy insomniac but in all honesty what I beheld was magic.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Celebrations


The world believes in the power of its goddesses yet it only celebrates women’s day as one day in an entire year. So much meaning absorbed in a thoughtlessly used term by many…"Happy women’s day”     If it were a day to celebrate the existence of women, it would be every day.


They then wouldn't feel the need to cover their beautiful faces, if they felt safe in the world that claimed to celebrate them. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Beauty of life


Beauty of life
Some days are ordinary
Some days are sad  
Some days are pensive
some days are unlit and gloomy
some days spent revisiting memories.

Very few are the days when we wake up smiling wishing for life to smile back at us, not clogged with the problems of our worlds, not haunted by the failures of our past. 
Only appreciating the dew drops of a fresh new morning, another day gifted to us by our creator, another page in our diaries, another chance to love and be loved, another chance to look up at the sky and wonder of its exuberance, another chance to live and smile. We need to remember such days, hold on to their warmth, hugging them to our hearts, promising to not forget what gratification and bliss feels like.




Monday, 31 December 2012

The future



2013
New changes
Center for Social Research-
"It will take some time, but certainly there is a beginning."



New 
Challenges
The anti-corruption movement



New hopes
I desire
 Freedom, respect and equality
I stand for
The justice of a brave heart



Travel Journal ( Milind Nerurkar) : AN INDIAN IN BHUTAN


                                   
  AN INDIAN IN BHUTAN

Why Bhutan?  So many friends asked me this question, and it was indeed very difficult to answer. Honestly, it was not very easy to explain why I chose such an odd destination for my wife's 50th birth day celebration. One of the reasons is that I am not a very religious person and any place with a very sanctimonious environment drags me towards it like a magnet. Also the country was described by everyone as "The Final Shangrila" i.e. the last paradise and a nearly agonistic like me, would definitely like to wash all my sins at such an abode.



          The first thing we noticed was the name of the air line 'DRUK AIR" which is the Royal Bhutan Air-line DRUK means dragon and unlike we Indians the locals revere the dragon. Druk Lager Beer, Druk Handicraft Emporium, so much so I saw, a pizza parlour with a board "Druk Pizza" Long live the dragon, why should we Indians be surprised when we bow down before politicians, mafia goombas, corrupt government servants and police officers, which are worse they any dragons. The Bhutanese air-hostesses were beautiful and compared to the Indigo ones on the Mumbai – Kolkata flight they had a regal and a royal halo.
          I am used to the phrase the "Unwanted Indian" especially in our neighbouring  countries in which I also include the hostile Kashmir, and I had come to know that it was the only neighbourly destination where we are welcome. From my guide Mrs. Tibi, my driver Mr. Difu, one and every one were very friendly and earnestly eager to help to make our stay a memorable one. This was also one of the reasons I have chose Bhutan. We Maharastrians, love to reside in a cocoon; my sons, my daughters, my wife and my house, leaving Mumbai is a great adventure for us. Also one of the reasons is that unlike the Gujarathi's and the Marwari's who are hopping in the domestic and International – circuits we are short of expendable cash. Anyway Bhutan which is much more expensive then
Singapore was and Bangkok was decided one and for all.  My wife deserved an outing for her 50th Birth day and we had embarked to explore the amazing landscape of a magical nation.

          I have a habit of snooping around and talking with any one and every one on topics which matter and don't matter. The flight to Paro airport offers one of the finest experiences at 38,000 ft. The pilot has to navigate the plane through narrow mountain peaks. For that the Air Bus plane, have to be fitted with extra powerful engines to enable the captain to cruise craftily. The weather here is temperamental, and many a time the visibility may turn out to be low, so the pilot cannot land till he sees the tarmac which can be approached through two narrow mountain peaks just far enough to accommodate the Air Bus. A pilot has said that he keeps  circling  till the tarmac is visible. For this function they were send on a special training course to Australia where they have learned their skills religiously! Our safe landing was a proof of that!

The Paro airport runway
          
My neighbour on the adjacent seat was a Bhutanese. He was returning to Bhutan after eight-month stay in Mumbai, and his eyes lit up when he came to know I am from the same city. He worked for Bhutan Telecom and about seven to eight of them were sent to different cities of India and after completion of their Training, had assembled to in Kolkata to return to their mother country. He said that he had come to the conclusions that Mumbai was the ideal city for the likes of him. The others who were placed in other cities like Bangalore had their times of trouble with the locals. As the plane started descending, he showed me houses surrounded by fields divided into parts. Some parts were painted red, I asked him about it. He said that they were red chillies left for drying.

 Ema-datse
         
RED CHILLIES - They always feature in Bhutanese traditional food. Our first meal we were served Ema-datse; red chillies in Cheese sauce, is like our mixed raita. Every non-vegetarian dish with pork or chicken had to have a liberal spread of red chillies in a whole or powdered form. The Ema-Datse did set my stomach on fire and only after having a pint or two of Real Panda the local non-distilled beer, did it calm down. Mutton or lamb is rarity here. At the first red panda tasted liked soap water. But like any other booze after a couple of swigs,  I, started liking it.

          Amazing as it may be, the Bhutanese History is full of folklore and mythology In a temple of in the capital Thimpu we found  three idols one at the centre, very huge : The Buddha; to the left Guru Rinpoches' a little smaller and to the right of Ngawang Namgyal, still little smaller. The same is the set up in every Bhutan Temple, more or less.

          Namgyal is sort of the father of the nation, for the locals. He was born in Tibet in a Royal sect. In his teens his rival of the same age was made the king and left him frustrated. In the night he had a raven in his dream flying to the South of Tibet. He took it as a divine signal and started his journey to the south i.e. Bhutan. As he reached have he found that the polity was broken into groups and were fighting against each other to be one up. He united the entire group under one command, one religious leader i.e. himself and gave birth to this new revitalised country. The raven is called Mahakala and he is given a title ZHABDRUNG. Zhabdrung Rimpoche the first amongst the line age of Zhabrungs. The Mahakala's idol is to the left of Namgyal in most of the temples.
         
          The lama Drupka Kunley or the Mad Monk is an iconic figure in the Local Mythology. This monk was called mad because he took wine, rather enjoyed having it, spoke in vulgar and obscene language and slept with many ladies, many a times the wives of his hosts. I think there was a method in madness; probably he wanted to challenge the people to discard their misconceptions. The Bhutanese national animal is a strange one. It has a face of goat and body of a cow but longer then the former and smaller then the latter: It is a vanishing species and the Govt. of Bhutan is doing its utmost to save it. It is called Takin and the Divine mad monk was responsible for his creation. Once during a discourse his followers urged him to show some divine magic. With great reluctance, he agreed for the same. He had a liberal dose of wine which made him hungry. He asked his disciples to catch one goat and cow which were grazing in the vicinity. The disciple promptly brought the two animals which the Lama ate, so much so that only bones were left. Then he joined the left over bones to create the Takin. Punakha was the capital city of Bhutan till 1953, till they shifted to the present capital city of Thimpu. It has a Temple called CHIMI-LAKHANG, dedicated to this eccentric Monk. We visited it, a sort of mini-hike. CHI means dog, MI. means No and Lakhang means Temple. Temple with no the dogs. The locals revere it and everywhere in the vicinity you find wooden replica of phalluses. Smaller ones were also there for sale. The Japanese and the Chinese tourist took a lot of photographs at the restaurant adjoining the temple for Lunch, by standing near a huge replica of phallus. Touching it ensures fertility, I was told by my guide. I am going to write to their government to forbid Indians from touching it. We do not want to break the Chinese record of being the most populated nation.

 The Stupa of the buried dog.
         
This monk when walking across the Duchalla pass the highest point between Thimpu and Punakha, saw that the demons were troubling the locals by devouring   their cattle. He caught their leader, a female, one who knowing the power of the monk tranformed herself into a dog which he killed and buried near Chimi-Lakhang and hence, the name. A stupa has been built at the very place when the dog was buried.

          It is holy country! The shrines are also in the order of hierarchy. Starting with stupa, then temple, monastry and fortress in that order. The people are strong in their beliefs. At one place just after the landed at Paro, when he were moving on towards Thimpu the guide stopped us at place strange in nature. It was a meeting point of two rivers and three mountains and it spells destruction to those who pass that place. To ward of the evil spirits we found three stupas one, in  the Nepalese style, other the Bhutanese style, and the last in the Tibetan Style. But I was told it is not a rule, as stupas one also built in memoriam of great Bhutanese. In 2004 their army flushed out the Assamese separatists who were attacking India with Bhutan as their base. They lost many soldiers in the entire process and in their memory; the queen ordered 108 stupas to be built at the Duchalla pass. It is a wonderful memento of the acknowledgement of the Government for their own countrymen and also of the friendship of their country towards us! I really felt at peace while moving amongst the stupas. Buddhism is magical and mystical, I made peace with myself at every shine and monument I  visited.

stupas at the duchalla pass
          A temple, as I have already described its set up, is a place of worship, Lakhang as it is known, it does have monks staying and meditating. These monks have a tough life, they sleep on wooden floors, they meditate, and are always a source of motivation, for others to lead a happy and contended life. GNH – GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS a phrase coined by their benevolent king for his subjects  happiness. These people favour compassisn our capitalism, well being over productivity, all according to Buddhist tenets, which makes me feel that it is the greatest religion in the world. A Monastery is sort of a Nunnery, training grounds for the monks, and where the higher abbots stay and preach, much bigger is size and more regal in appearance. A fortress includes all, a temple, a monastry, some stupas and over and about all the government offices. Fortresses are called a Dzongs and the best one is the Punakha Dzong.

PHOCHU AND MOCHU MEETING
          It is in the bank of the river Punatsangha which further goes and meets the Bramhaputra. It has round about 400 monks learning the tenents of Buddha and his Dhamma. It has everything, stupas, temples, and government offices. It is the winter capital of the government. The Thimpu Dzong where the cabinet meets is also a great sight with similar characteristics. The king and queen live in a small house near the Dzong. Compare this with the gigantic palaces of the Indian princes, we find that their king believes in simple living and high thinking. Our princes were tyrants, womanizers and deserved the treatment they got.. Their religion teaches them benevolence and the more I wandered around, the more I found it fascinating. Every were, i.e. every hotel, every shop, every museum we find the Royal couples photo. He is handsome and she is beautiful beyond imagination.

 LONG LIVE THE ROYAL COUPLE!
          The fortress of Punakha Dzong has been built in midst of two rivers one male river phochu and other female river mochu; chu means water. At the huge temple, with a huge Buddha statue at the centre, Guru Rampoche  (Padmasambhava) to the right and Zhabdrung I (Namgyal), to the left. There was also a Buddha statue with folded hands. i.e. The future Buddha, he is called Maitreya, the past was Gautam Buddha and the present Buddha is also there but I could not find him and to hide my ignorance I did not have the inclination to ask my guide about it. The guides are a rare species found in abundance, when crossed with a tricky question, they make a face as if "what should, I do with this dumb man”? But he himself told me a Buddha is born everyday but we do not know where; Buddha, Buddha, Buddha, here a Buddha, there a Buddha every, where a Buddha Buddha i.e. Bhutan.!

The Buddha that can be viewed from Thimpu
          It is a country which has excess power. It exports the excess to India and gets hefty revenue in return. It is strange that we Indian know so little of our neighbours, but then we know so little of so many things, that we living a comfort zone with our ignorance. Three hydro-electric projects are in full swing and two are in the process of completion. Next revenue earner is  Tourism. The SAARC countries’ citizens do not require a VISA. The others have to get one and also pay dollars 250 dollars per day for their stay in the country. It was really nice to know that the money includes lodging, boarding and travelling and is shared without any problems by the agents, The Hotel Owners and the Tourism Council : what a fantastic way of sharing the spoils!

          The remaining are the 13 traditional crafts like painting, woodcarving, weaving … etc. We went to the school where they teach these fine arts to students. The magic in their hands was admirable, but some thoughts came to my mind. What they lack is colleges of humanities and science in every district How many years they can survive only on artisanship. A bulk of the tourist will be from India, in future and the Indian tourist is not interested so much in handicrafts. He likes good food, good wine and good surrounding 

learning  artisan skills
          Bhutan is covered on three sides by India and one by China. Its strategic value is great for us. If we continue to take this dependable neighbour for granted, things might get sour. We have to try to make them modern in their approach. We have to help them to establish a sound middle and higher education set up. We should remember that if we throw peanuts monkeys will gather. I must have done nearly 700 km by road. I noticed coasters by Toyota as public transport. The guide showed me some buses which were introuduce in the public transport which were imported from China. This in a warning signal, as our buses made by Tatas, Ashok Leyland are much better than the Chinese ones, but by sowing small acorns the Chinese will convert their into mighty oaks. So much for our foreign policy and other economic doomsday neglects.

          Some little different things which I noticed really amazed me. In every hotel, as soon as we checked in, the luggage was carried from the car to the room by ladies. They were really young girls in their teens. The waitresses in the restaurants all over were just girls. I had a feeling that if they had been in Mumbai, they could have been my students learning Mathematics. Whatever the Bhutan government may talk of GNH, they would have been more happy learning different subjects which matter in developing GNK, GROSS. NATIONAL KNOWLEDGE. Every where I found the boys as guides or helping the girls. It is beyond imaginaton to comprehend the hard work done by there lovely maidens. The males were drivers, monks,tourist guides and assistants to female who were doing the main hard work everywhere.

 students at Art and Craft School
          But things are changing all round. In Thimpu I saw a new township developing. New Thimpu: the new one is well planned with parking, broad roads and well arranged buildings. The sectors are very much similar to New Mumbai. These new developments are going to bring new waves, where the young will seek new challenges, experiment new styles, new avenues and thirst for  more and more satisfaction to suffice their hunger for debonair and different horizons. GNK will have to be given its due by the authorities The national dress of Bhutan Gho and Kira. Gho for men and kira for women. It was nice to see that 90% of the population sticking to their national dress. But for how long and till when? I hope their utopian tradition do not get crushed the new tornadoes of Laplops, internet, ipads, windows and other flood of Rock Music, Bollywood and fashions, Long live the Mountain Kingdom!

THE TAKTSHANG OR THE TIGER'S NEST MONASTRY
          The last day in Bhutan, after five days of enchantment, was reserved for the best. If you have not seen the Taj, you have not been to India, the same way if you have not seen the Tiger's Nest Dzong, you have not seen Bhutan. We were on to the Taktshang monastry, but when we reached the base camp we started getting nervous about the climb which was steep.  We looked for an alternative mode of assistance. We were suggested horses, but all were booked in advanced. There was a mule and a horse, just brought from Ethiopia as they looked well starved. The guide told me that mule was for me as it could carry a heavy load. But as we embarked on our trot along the sleeps climb, we started getting jitters. At any point of time we were feeling sorry for both the animals. It was a scene where the half starved carried the over fed. The Tigers Nest or Taktshang Dzong is at the highest point in Paro. The fittest can finish the hike back and forth in four hours. With the sedentary life style in college or otherwise any one can give a thought to our plight when we started our climb. Even on the horseback we were breathless. The animals walk ON the edge of the mountain pass, where a fall is a direct short cut to heaven, right down the valley. We stopped half way, where there is a cafeteria with complimentary Tea, Coffee and crackers from the government Tourism council and then returned back .The only problem for a  Travelling  Indian is food. They do not say so much, but I feel there are two circuits, one Indian and other for foreigners (Europe, America, Japan, Thailand) Unfortunately we were in the European Circuit. The food all around were boiled vegetable and chicken The other extreme of their culinary exploit is spicy beyond imaginations. Bhutanese preparation of chicken and egg are as good as boiled ones. Hence break- fast was eggs to order, some fruit, beacon (never eatable) toast jam, butter, Tea & Coffee in abundance. For me breakfast is Iddli wada Sambhar, Batata wada, Dosa, nothing of that sort here. On the fourth the and fifth day with temperature falling only quality wine which is very reasonably priced by Indian standard saved me from starvation. J & B special, Black and white Scotch whisky was just 100 Rs. a peg. The technique of gulping food with whisky is tough job till you get used to it. Any way on last two days I put my foot down and insisted for an Indian menu. The chef was summoned and food with somewhat Indian style was served to us.

          Our vacation or pilgrimage to an enchanting land was coming to an end. Anything about Bhutan in cold print without the mention of Guru Rampoche is meaningless. He bought Buddhism to Bhutan. Before that the locals were nomadic tribal’s, eating anything and everything and also indulging in cannibalism. By bringing religious order he gave the land a nation hood. He had divine powers. At the Taktshang Monastery before it was built he came riding on tiger and destroyed the demons. He is the most devotedly revered saint in the country.

THE HOTEL IN A FOREST(GANGTEY)
          Gangtey in a small village like from at a height of 2500 ft. above sea level. It is a place which the black necked white cranes migrate form Tibetian plate from September to Novermber. The  Govt. is serious in preserving this variety  and has the Black necked crane preserving Dept. From a very powerful  binoculars we watched the cranes eating worms and bamboo shoots in the marshes of Gangtey . The hotel there was made completely of wood and everything from floor to cots creaked with weight. Me and my wife and another European couple were the only occupants in the 40 room fantasy of a hotel. The temperature fell to Zero at 4 p.m. and only a powerful heater, served us from freezing. The Dining hall had an amazing heater which made the surroundings warm by wood planks continually put for burning in the furnace, but the smoke getting released only from the CHIMNEY on the roof.

          The owner, a local lady insisted that I should have a STONE BATH. A wooden tube filled with water divided into two part 20% for red hot stones, and 80% for human body. The stones are made red hot by building a fire of wooden logs, one hour prior to the start of the bath. The hot water comes from the smaller wing to the bigger wing through four shafts. The cold stones are replaced by hot ones throughout for one hour.

          Some medicinal herbs are put which give a very musky aroma, but which definitely freshen you up. It was a great experience, sub-zero temperature outside, and very warm feeling inside. The whole set up is in a tent with cloths acting as curtains and doors. This stone bath has medicinal values and I feel giddy after completion. The guide said the feeling of guideless is confirmatory test of healthiness. Long line guides and the likes of them!

          The Bhutanese believe that spirits do exists. Just as there are classes of humans, there are classes in spirits. They have the same feelings as homo sapiens. Spirits do show traits of love, anger, fear, generosity and revenge. Just like us there are good and bad ones in them. We are many times scared of spirits but the spirits are also scared of senior lamas and abbots. Mating between male spirits and female humans result in progeny with extraordinary powers. Mind you when you are here, you are in wonderland.

          The currency is called Nutrerm, (1 Nu) is equivalent to one rupee. We were told that 500 and 1000 denominations are not accepted, but we found that to the contrary to our experiences. They took Rs.500 everywhere and Rs.1000 at selected places. What I found odd that credit cards are rejected everywhere. The prefer cash to credit and if definitely goes with their philosophy that credit should be only in form of blessings.

          As the plane took off from Kolkata, random thoughts passed my mind: Buddhas, Lamas, Dzongs, spirits, guides, mountain peaks, stupas not in any particular order. The more I thought about them the more I became down to earth in my approach towards life. To be happy and contended individually is easy, but to be the same enmasse for a population can only be found in the Divine Land which I had just left for my hometown Mumbai. The further you go from your house, the more you start longing to get back to it. So much so for an Indian in Bhutan!
- Milind Nerurkar.

Milind Nerurkar
Is a lecturer in Math’s at Wilson College for the last 34 years. He is an excellent teacher, who in spite of teaching MATHS has first love for English language. Thanks to the help received from his illustrious colleagues from the English Dept., he could polish his skills for English in cold print. Their encouragement only made him write the travelogue, which he feels, deserves the critical appreciation of those who read it.
Milind Nerurkar :   latika46@hotmail.com