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A rare resolution at birthday

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A rare resolution at birthday

I am not sure if the book will come out in the same name going forward –  but yes, it shall be a book about our community – our stories, issues and concerns –  about Bhutan and the Bhutanese –  about what we lost and what we gained as humans.

Think of birthdays – and the pomp and show; gifts and party; drinks and dances; the splendor  – they all come to mind; naturally. Birthdays are celebrated across numerous cultures and countries. But as children growing up in a village; I and my four siblings never celebrated any birthdays. During those days, birthday celebration was not in fashion. Today, it has become a social norm – the first thing children want on parents’ calendar. Make sure that your kids’ birthdays are celebrated each year – for celebrating their birthdays is also celebrating them. It is a rare privilege to us parents and for the children. New birthday clothes, lots of gifting and people coming to the house always mean a lot of excitement and fun to them.

I have tried to keep birthdays simple for my children. In my household, a birthday anniversary – even for my kids – is only a household occasion – attended by a few family relatives. I tend to think that internalization of the significance and value of any birthday matter more than the flamboyance that often accompanies birthdays. I think that a birthday anniversary should be more meditative than celebrative. Birthdays should symbolize a growth in progression; an acceptance of responsibility and maturity.

Birthdays are more for kids than us adults. As we grow older as I am rapidly doing – the fascination that surrounds a birthday begins to gradually disappear. Birthdays aren’t as exciting; gifts aren’t attractive – unless someone can add years to our life. A new birthday each year steals the thrill and induces fear in peoples’ minds. Each new calendar brings a frightful reflection – the extent of green time left to enjoy and experience is slipping away. Yet, some of us adults still dare to celebrate birthdays and we may do so for a different reason and in a different style.

The rationalization is in making birthdays – a valuable social tool – to do something significant and positively meaningful while we can. We have torn piles of calendars and made many trips round the sun. If anything, speaking in the Bhutanese context; our lives have been very eventful and full of hard experiences – good and bad – some useful and some useless – some to be digested – some to be discarded. We have witnessed enough changes globally and in our own domestic context; historically as well as politically – experiences that the past five generations together had not known.

The ‘generation thing’ is structurally hierarchical. There is ‘my past generation’, ‘my generation’ and the ‘next generation’. Each generation owes the next, a moral responsibility. But the premise always remains the same. The values and experiences of the preceding generation are passed on to the next generation – the next generation picks and chooses from them and moves on – without needing to hit ground zero again. Each generation wants its following generation to do better – and they mostly have. Studies show that civilizations and cultures grow steady and last long if each younger generation chooses to construct their own lives without breaking away from the collective experiences of the past. The more civilized, developed countries have long kept this practice live by encouraging people to write books and biographies and archiving them for the benefit of the upcoming generation. These values and experiences offer some gainful insights in building community organizations in the future. Such a practice is noble as it strikes a harmony between continuity and change as much as it helps the next generation save a lot of time in civilization.

The realization is here – and I am setting up to do my part. This October 19th I finally decided to celebrate my birthday – my first in life – that too in my own selfish way. No party, no balloons and no birthday cakes. I remembered my parents, for without them my own birthday couldn’t be here. Then I hugged my family – I am glad that each year – I am here to kiss them. And then; I sat quietly and made a solemn commitment to spin my much coveted interest into a birthday resolution. It was a very clean birthday – no late night party – no food or alcohol wastage. My window to the world opened the first day I was born on this earth. My birth anniversary now opens my window as I see it. My birthday resolution goes like this – “I shall write and publish a book on ‘Politics of Gross National Happiness’ on or before October 19, 2015”. That is my mission statement and my objective; emphasis added.

I am not sure if the book will come out in the same name going forward –  but yes, it shall be a book about our community – our stories, issues and concerns –  about Bhutan and the Bhutanese –  about what we lost and what we gained as humans. A birthday is a private affair for many but I tend to shred that practice and turn it into a community fare. When the fruit of my labor finally hits your book shelf; each of you should be able to see ‘a piece of yourself’ acting through the lines. As I write this, I am remembering the next generation and my own – in whose respect and honor – I humbly dedicate my next three birthday anniversaries.

I have posted my resolution on Face book – not necessarily to raise expectations – but to open up the agenda to you – the stakeholders. Your support and critique during the course of writing the book shall be dearly valued and appreciated.

After my birthday message has gone, several well wishers commented to wish me well. I accept the good wishes that you have sent, as your birthday gifts to me. Many people have offered to buy and read the book that I have not even written. I rest assured of your readership.

What was surprising – I was astonished to discover that there is a gossip going around in the community; that my book is already published and is out in the market. Some people have contacted me to inquire about it; others have called me to congratulate. The power of gossip is astonishingly efficient, especially in our community. Some people are experts at making a ‘remix’ of everything and distributing it with their own twist to it; others feed on it without checking facts. Well, this write up should end all such misconceptions and gossip trips. The fact is that the book shall be out only on or sometimes before October 19th, 2015. Those of you who actually know the truth – please feel it as your moral responsibility to send out the right message.

Leave that as it may, and let’s be back on birthday resolution. Ordinary individuals can do extraordinary things if they commit to do something higher – above and beyond themselves. There are over 70,000 Bhutanese people in the Diaspora. Each day, week or month – there are hundreds of birthdays – some are celebrated – some are not. Even if a few people – in one of these birthdays make a social pledge like I have – it could spark as many minds to make similar commitments each day; as there are number of individuals celebrating birthdays. If resolved and acted upon, that should be enough to set the stage for dynamism – a momentum for change which may produce significant results – significantly bigger than what many organized bodies may accomplish. No membership, no rules, no manifesto, no structure, no committees, no fundraisers etc – just ordinary individuals committing to do something – and producing extraordinary results. If I decide to do one thing, it means something – if five of us decide to do something – it means more. But if ten of us, fifty, hundred or a thousand of us decide to make a simple but a constructive birthday resolution – the impact could be incredible. Mind you – a commitment to buy a house, a business, a car or even to obtain a degree or to get tied up in a nuptial loop – will not do. Your resolution should have a utilitarian purpose – a social purpose – and no commercial intent. Mr. Jogen Gazmere has committed to produce a film of his own by 2014. I am sure his debut show will unravel Mr. Gazmere’s brilliance of artistry and originality – while attempting to release and heal some of the social apprehensions that dwell in our community. Thanks for setting – what I would call a responsible birthday cub (RBC) – and I assure you – that I am already in.

Those of you, who are eager to join this auspicious club – Welcome!  On your march; get, set and go.

November 3, 2012.
Charlottesville, VA

The Author is a long time writer and often writes articles for news columns. He has written over 40 articles so far – published in the mainstream media in Nepal and through BNS. He is one of the Contributing Editors of Bhutan News Service and currently lives in Charlottesville, VA with his family. He can be reached at [email protected] 

20 COMMENTS

  1. Good Luck RP Dazu,

    Very Nice reflection and encouraging commitment. I will neither be surprised nor jealous if your handiwork hit the market by 19 October 2013.
    I like your way of imposing deadlines on oneself.

  2. निक्कै खुसि लाग्यो– यो मानेमा-ढिलै भए पनि सोच बनाउनु भए छ। Best Wishes in Advance R.P Sir.
    यहाहरु त पुरानै प्रतिभा हुनुहुन्छ। अझ पनि भनौ यहाँहरुसंगै भुटानको-आन्दोलन र प्रजातन्त्र प्रप्तार्थ्य गरिएका पछिल्ला सत्य-तथ्य घटना विवरण लगायत् , भुटानका प्रसासनका धेरै कुराको ज्ञान छ। दस वर्ष भन्दा अगाडी नै गरिनुथ्यो जो गरिएन, बितेको छैन। हौसला मिलोस। हल्ला मात्र नहोस् पक्का दर्बिलो पुस्तक जन्मियोस। सत्य कुराहरुको उत्खनन गरोस पुस्तकले। मेरो पार्टी, मेरो संगठनले उसो गर्यो, फलानो पार्टी-संगठनले यसो गरेन नलेखियोस। भुटानले के गर्यो, के गरेन, गर्नुपर्छ बरु त्यो समेटियोस। । हामीले (पनि म र म भन्दा Junior Generationका साथिहरुले) थोरै त्यो र यो भुटानको साब्दिक स्पर्श गर्न पाइयोस।
    Dom Kafle
    Adelaide

  3. I want to congratulate you for the birthday resolution that you’ve made, and indeed for a “utilitarian purpose.” I trust that your forthcoming work will help set right, the Bhutanese history, which has thus far been partisan and lop-sided. I trust the strength of your commitment and wish you good luck in your endeavor. Please let me know, if there is anything I need do to assist you in bringing this project into fruition.

  4. Very well said RP and good narration. I seemed to have noticed your great day in the Facebook. I like your resolution and encouragement to all Bhutanese to be reflective of their lives. You are right 70,000 plus people’s creativity would bring lot of innovative ideas. You paint an easy picture of advancing civilization through birthday resolutions. Wish you all good luck in not sharing the book yet but giving it a worthwhile reading shape.

  5. RP daju, very fascinating article as always. Great mind sees great significance in small things -like b’day, which is nothing but fun-time for ordinaries and you have truly inspired all the readers though this write up.

    Congrats in advance and good luck with your endeavor in publishing the book.

  6. Felt like the one of those ‘”treasuries of short stories”‘.—— the book that carries a hell lot of fairy tales and fictions. Well Rp ji, given your long-felt dream and resolution having popped out of your recent birthday and most importantly, your tricks to groove the readers like me with your profusely gold-plated vocabs…I am led to believe that the moon is not that distant for you. Come on bro, just start rolling your pen from now until it transforms into a beautiful tome. let the book hit the stands from your next birthday. Eager to grab one !

    Nashville, Tennessee

  7. Daju,

    What an inspiring act to put your goals in ink! I highly appreciate your conviction. Please accept my heartiest congratulations and best wishes. May your next birthdays bring you even more such perspicuous resolutions and achievements!

    Reading about birthdays and especially birthday resolutions, the reader in me cannot help but slightly disagree to a few sentences in your writings above. Toward the end, you write, “Mind you – a commitment to buy a house, a business, a car or even to obtain a degree or to get tied up in a nuptial loop – will not do. Your resolution should have a utilitarian purpose – a social purpose – and no commercial intent.” As much as I believe in the principals of utilitarianism, I feel that without first committing to individual objectivism, fulfilling a utilitarian purpose will be a challenge. I think that an individual without having gained his own purpose (be it materialistic or intellectual) will have little to offer to the rest of the population.

    We come from a society that already undermines individualism to an extent that an individual dream is deemed immoral and selfish. This is one reason why our culture does not include birthday celebrations. But in this increasingly competitive new world that we have chosen to live, individual empowerment may ensure establishment of a strong community. Therefore, a little dose of individualism, even in form of a corporeal birthday resolution, will do us much good and consequently serve a greater social purpose. Contriving for utilitarian ends has marred our society so much so that our modesty is mistaken for lack of confidence, our humility comes across as ignorance and our generosity is taken as a weakness. The introduction of birthday celebrating culture is a welcome change, a change that recognizes and celebrates one’s self. And by drawing a birthday resolution, I see it as taking a step further…you are not only acknowledging your individual self, but also proclaiming your individual purpose.

    Daju, I am just trying to set a trend of constructive critique and feedbacks. I hope you will take it with an open mind. I thank you for taking a very bold step.

    With great admiration,

    Yeshey

  8. Bainee Yeshey,

    I welcome your very frank and constructive comment and critique. Thanks.

    You are exactly right to say that individualism should not be sacrificed at the alter of collective good – especially if the individual himself/herself has not gained his own purpose. There are two sides to anything. There are also individuals who in the pursuit of personal self empowerment become totally ignorant of the larger interests of the society. In fact, they often use the society as a hostage to gain their own purpose.

    I think both individualism and collective responsibility need to go hand in globe with each other – and both should have reasonable limits.

    I did not want to include my own private goals and ambitions in my writing which is presented to the public. But sure I have my materialistic ambitions – as any individual. I just went a step ahead and thought about doing a little more.

    I completely agree with Bainee’s view. Thanks again.

  9. I am proud of you dai, it is in fact, a rear resolution. I think all of us should take your example and ask the younger generations to consider the path embrace by you.
    I think we have limited writers in the entire community. As such the need of social thinkers and writers is the need of the hour.
    When a society feels the pulse of competition to race with the time, the production of writers, social workers and thinkers is inevitable, which culminates the development of intelligentsia that might trigger and rejuvenate the long term prosperity in a society. I hope people will surely aspire by the steps taken by you and hope other will follow your footprints.
    Dai, best of luck and good wishes in your endeavors. I am waiting to see your book even before the pronounced date.
    Thanks

  10. Individual feelings and community based feelings may create a great difference. we want community based activities that drive to our success. we need more writers, scientists, professors, medical doctors, artists, engineers etc to keep our societies strong and healthy. It is the beginning and continuity is a most. also, we are masters of unspoken words and a servant of spoken words.

  11. मैले ढिलाई गरेर भाये पनि लेखक दाईलाई हौसलाका दुइ सब्द राख्ने औसर लेए। सरर माथिको लेख् पड्दा हाम्रो विद्वान सुब्बा दाइको प्रकासित पुस्तकको बिगापन पो होकी जस्तो लग्यो। फेरी अलिक तल पड्दा जन्म दिवसको सार्थकताको लेख होकी जस्तो लग्यो। आजै तल्ल जआदा गर्भको भ्रुण भित्र रहेको पुस्तकको कल्पना पो रहेछ।अनि मैले सोचन थाले , ती औटी कपनिक केटि जसले आफ्नो टाउकामाथि धूदको बाल्टी बोकेर सम्जेको सार्थक बेहा गर्ने सपना जस्तो! बाल्टी खस्दा सबै कल्पना हुरीले उदाई दिन्छ। कतै हाम्रा लेखक ले यस्तै त अवस्य सोचेको हैन होला। लामो गर्बमा रहेको भ्रुण पुस्तक को जन्म ओक्तोबेर 19 2015 मा हुने रहेछ। December 21 2012 पनि तेस्तै सोच्दा सोच्दै बित्यो , अब सुब्बा लेखक को कृति पड़न पाइने भो बाइस महिना पछि!