Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy April Fools' Day

In the morning, I was trying to explain to my baby what an April Fools’ Day mean but he was least interested. He is in class I and he is just 7 years oldJ. He is sick and he was least bothered to hear me out but still I went on explaining how people try to make a fool of you on this day.

April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world on April 1 of every year. It is celebrated as a day that tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness.

But do we really tolerate the jokes?

I have been fooled so many times before and I am determined not to be fooled today. I have been reminding myself that today is Fools’ day and that I should not be fooled.
I lit a cigarette, my morning dose without which I cannot work, and waited for someone I could fool. It is 8.45 am in the morning and it is too early for anyone to turn up at the office. My guy with today’s Observer issue joins me at the balcony where we normally smoke. Ting!!!!it clicked and he tries to fool me.

“Baby your kira has cigarette burns,” he said and in reply I said “April Fools’ Day my love.”

I don’t want to be fooled today but I sure want to wish everyone “HAPPY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY” and enjoying fooling J

Sunday, March 27, 2011

a prudish urban bhutan takes the phallus away

It was in the winter of 2001 during Daga Tshechu as I sat with hundreds of others waiting for blessings from an almighty phallus. My embarrassment escalated seeing my father sitting in a tent.

The practice of blessing-receiving, hanging of the wooden phallus on doors and the painting of it on walls still continue.

But, the divine phallus has slowly started disappearing from urban Bhutan.
With the display so openly and rampant in rural areas, it is not a shocking sight for our villagers. However, the sight sure is an embarrassment for few in the city.

“Driving pass a building which has a phallus painted on the wall is always the most embarrassing moment for me, especially when I am with my father. It is more embarrassing seeing a big wooden phallus when I visit my village,” said Karma Choden, a teenage student.

The phallus is said to protect us from malicious gossips and that it drives away evil.
But many urban buildings seem to avoid painting the phallus today. Taking a stroll across Thimphu, one can see only a few paintings. But it would be on old buildings.

Earlier, every corner had a sign of a phallus. The stair railings had it, and a locket with a phallus was a showpiece hanging on everyone’s neck.

But now even the wooden phalluses in fields are being replaced by scarecrows.

During the rabney of a new house, a ritual of hanging of phalluses takes place to purify the ground and ward off evil spirits. The phalluses are hung from the eaves of the house in each of the four directions. 
“It protects my home and my family from evil spirits, it takes away the sting,” said Angay Gyem, with a toothless smile while chanting her prayers.

The paintings are all associated with the famous Buddhist saint; Drukpa Kunley also called the Divine Madman.

It is said that he would ward off evil spirits and subdue them with his penis. Painters use their imagination to carve and paint the phallus. It comes in different sizes, shapes, carved in wood, metal, stone and cloth.

Now we see it mostly in handicraft shops or as a decoration piece.

The disappearing of the phallus from the city seems to have come with modern education.  Are we becoming too prudish?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

a half mast

~The national flag at Phunsum Primary School, Thimphu, is flying at half mast as a symbol of respect and mourning for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami~