Archive for October 2009

Cabbages and Bamboo shoots

October 27, 2009

Nothing to eat. Cabbages and bamboo shoots. Cabbages lasted for a week. After that, bamboo shoots were all he would find.

He ate bamboo shoots in the morning, bamboo shoots in the afternoon, bamboo shoots in the evening, bamboo shoots in between. He ate bamboo shoots for weeks, months.

For some reason, he likened himself to a giant panda. The comparison shocked him and wondered if he was endangered too.

There was no mistake, he reflected sadly.



October 24, 2009

The judge was loud, bits and pieces of doma spewed out into the crowd. The crowd laughed. I smiled. The judge was furious. He could have just smiled and maintained a little decorum in the room.

You are worse than an animal. The judge judged me. I never saw any creature more precarious and snobbish than you.

It was an accident, I wanted to lie. Truth was stronger. I stayed with the fact that I killed a man.

The judge was straightforward with the verdict. Guilty as charged, he said, and awarded life imprisonment. He left the bench with a funny smile – one of dismay and disgust, one that says – I wish you rot in hell. Maybe he meant the prison.

I haven’t rotted a bit, but the toilet stinks, doesn’t it? And these mosquitoes, such tiny little creatures, such appetite for blood.

uses of lungs

October 23, 2009

Cheap cigarettes.

It was cheap because everyone could afford to buy and smoke too, said someone who was dull but important.

Moreover, he added, everyone has the right to die of cancer, yes the lung one or the mouth one and even the other ones. Cancer, like any other form of disease that took away your life, is a gift, a gift to know that you will die, he said beaming with self-satisfaction.

I did not understand what the hell he was talking about.

Broadly speaking, he continued, lungs have three uses,
– inhale
– exhale
– cancer

Wisdom according to an old man

October 22, 2009

I always see him tilling the soil or plucking the weeds off the lawn. He coughs harshly without covering his mouth then looks at me and smiles, some teeth still remaining. He wears thick glasses.

Besides coughing, he does not seem to make much noise.

Once during a hot afternoon, he goes around asking for help to assemble a mobile phone sent by his son in the city and falls down hurting himself. The heat was too much, he recalls later. A couple of men carry him to his home and assemble the phone. They play through all the ringtones for him to choose. Any sound will do, he says, just as long as I know someone’s calling. Pa, they tell him, this even has camera. The hell with camera, he growls, who puts camera into a phone?

I see him again today, plucking off weeds from the hard lawn as usual. I go towards him; he looks up at me from the glasses and smiles.

Strong old man! I try to praise him.


You embarrass the young men, I tell him, aren’t you even tired?

He coughs dryly, breathes laboriously and smiles. He takes out tobacco from a pouch and rolls them into a paper. Tucking his glasses on the collar, he wipes sweat from his face with a large handkerchief.

We talk of his past, my past, the future and current affairs. We even talk of girls and sex and HIV and AIDS. We talk of diseases and bird flu and swine flu and flu A and flu Mexico and flu America and sars.

Every time he talks, he spits out tobacco leaves, puffing out volume of smoke from his mouth and nostrils and squint his eyes so narrow that I wonder if he saw anything.

He laughs when we talk of philosophy.

Philosophy? He laughs, it’s nothing but foolish vents of a fool! He lives a life so imperfect that he sees perfection in his ideals. Sorry but I will talk nothing more about philosophy. So saying, he throws away the cigarette butt into the bush, almost angrily.

Then what about wisdom? I ask.

Wisdom? He laughs again. Well, wisdom is nothing but an empty bag.

Before I ask him what he means, he waves his arm in the air and walks away.

short note

October 21, 2009

Suffering either strengthens or weakens a man…

pǝddı1ɟ ɯ,ı ‘ʎǝɥ

October 21, 2009

ǝɥ-ǝɥ-ǝɥ…ʞuıʇs ʎɯ ʇǝb noʎ ɟı ‘ʍou ,uıddı1ɟ ǝɥʇ 11ɐ ɯ,ı puɐ

…uoıʇɔǝɟɹǝd ʎɯ pǝuınɹ ɹǝǝq ,o ǝ1dnoɔ ɐ .ooʇ ɹɐɯɯɐɹb puɐ .sdɐɔ ǝɥʇ 11ɐ buıso1 ɯɐ ı ‘ʎɐʍ ǝɥʇ ʎq

…ʇɐǝɹb buıɥʇǝɯos buıop ɯ,ı ɟı sɐ ʇxǝʇ buıddı1ɟ ʇsnظ ‘ǝɹɐɥs oʇ buıɥʇou ‘ǝʇıɹʍ oʇ buıɥʇou ‘ǝɯıʇ ɟo ǝʇsɐʍ ɐ ʇsnظ sı sıɥʇ ‘ʎɐʍʎuɐ

¿ʇɐɥʍ ɹo ʇoıpı noʎ
…sʇxǝʇ dı1ɟ uɐɔ noʎ ‘ǝɹǝɥʇ
bɹo.ʇxǝʇdı1ɟ ʇısıʌ ɹo
ʇı ǝ1boob ‘pɐǝɥɐ ob ‘sǝʎ
…ooʇ ɯǝɥʇ dı1ɟ oʇ ʍoɥ ʍouʞ 11ıʍ noʎ
‘ʇı ǝ1boob ʇsnظ
…ʎɐs ı ¿ʇoıpı uɐ noʎ ǝɹɐ ¿ɥnɥ
¿ʇxǝʇ ǝɥʇ dı1ɟ ǝɥ uɐɔ ʍoɥ ‘ʎɐs noʎ ‘ʇnq

.ʇǝʎ ʇou ‘ʇǝʎ ʇou
‘ɥbnoɥʇ ʞunɹp ʎ11ɐǝɹ ʇou ɯ,ı
‘suoɯǝp uǝʞunɹp ‘s1ǝbuɐ uǝʞunɹp


October 20, 2009

In a remote village, a foreigner drew a modest crowd around him. He smiled, panning his camcorder across a group of cheering and jumping children. Good, good, he said, and smiled some more.

Discorded music that almost sounded like faint beatings on cans and pots and pans or something like water drops falling on cans and pots and pans.

What’s that? The foreigner wanted to know.

Dranyen – Bhutanese guitar, the guide told him.

No, said a village wise man returned from a university from the United States, it’s not a guitar. It’s a kind of lute.

Jigme Dukpa played it good. So many people began to play, some better than Jigme Dukpa. People modestly say, Jigme Dukpa plays the best. He’s the best. He was the best.

To play, a bone plectrum plucked the badminton or fishing rod strings, tightened on a bridge on animal hide stretched over the soundboard, along the fret-less neck. Six wooden tuning pegs fixed on a C shaped peg-box decorated with some mythical sea-monster and a shorter string in the middle of the fret-less neck with a tuning peg jutting out like a lever that touch the stomach. Highly decorated.

A musical instrument, quaint and lethargic…