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A Culture of Appreciation

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Whether it is the fourth Thursday of November in USA or the second Monday of October in Canada, people in these countries have a reason to celebrate. History has enough evidence to reveal that commemorations have more or less remained the same, be it with respect to their significance or the purpose with which they originated; but festivals have slightly changed their dynamics, their root of significance and their purpose over the time. Who among those pilgrims, would have thought that the little feast they enjoyed to thank god for their harvest, in the Plymouth Plantation (now in the state of Massachusetts) would eventually become a Thanks Giving day for all and declared a national holiday. Clearly, this is evidence that any good thing done for a common cause is written down in history. However, the meaning and purpose with which Thanks Giving originated have slightly changed with the passage of time. But this has happened to so many other festivals celebrated in the other parts of the world, and I believe it is the demand of time.

Whether to accept and adopt the western culture or to take the best things out of it to fit ours is a choice of ours that need to be made wisely. To make this decision, one needs to understand the etymology of “culture”. Culture is different from customs or traditions. In reality, cultures are created by those who live in them as we interact and then talk about what we do and how we do it. We formulate a set of shared values, habits, models and conditions or norms that work in a society whether we mean it or not. Sometimes we do this in an intentional and productive way and at other times we get hiccoughs – meaning setbacks. Appreciative inquiries and insightful analysis done by focusing on the strengths and capabilities of our people and organizations, and then on what might be even better, should be taken into consideration while making these choices. If I were to make a choice, I would choose to extract the best values out of a culture, be it western or eastern, and mix it with ours to make it richer. Let the readers not misunderstand me. I am in no way trying to say that we should “adopt” western culture and set aside ours. If the message be understood that way, I shall be guilty of spreading wrong information and you of selective listening. What I mean here is that there is a lot to learn from the meaning with which Thanks Giving is celebrated here.

Having talked about the culture of appreciation in my previous article, it is my quest to recognize and reward excellence; be it just in the form of a “Thank You” or any other gesture, for those people whose contribution(s) in various phases of our exiled life have been so worthy that we feel proud of whom we are. There cannot be a better occasion to thank them than this particular day. Not that they gave us as big a thing as an identity, but they made sure that we did not lose it. It will be a great injustice on my part not to thank the Government of Nepal who gave us the asylum, to begin with, and the final share, of course, should go to the resettling agencies, their governments and their volunteers. But more importantly, there are hundreds of other individuals, dozens of agencies and scores of other groups, who bravely stood up for us and made our life easier than it would have been otherwise. The list is non-exhaustive and at this time my intension is neither to embarrass anybody by listing nor to do an injustice by not listing. Be it of the size of a grain of rice or the size of an elephant, a positive contribution to the society deserves equal round of applauses, full of appreciation and gratitude. Let me take this opportunity, on behalf of all the Bhutanese community, to thank all those positive contributors of our society, for their effortless stunt and selfless dedication.

Even having said so, my will to recognize the contributions of one particular group of people, whose repercussions are now reflected in the society, still puts them on the top of the list. Not that I want to overlook others, but to me, they stand out in the crowd. Even before the existence of any agencies, and while their counterparts were busy looking for a better opportunity to shape their lives, this group of noble people sat down in a corner of a small hut in Maidhar and started writing their mission. They knew nothing favored them, but they fought hard. Their dedication and unity paid them off. They accomplished their mission. I am talking about none other than the small group of people who started the education system in the refugee camp. It was long after the institution was set up that they were assured of some help by any agency. One can logically argue that education would have started anyway, and I agree, but would not have been possible until two years time from then. It is also not difficult to research and see how many refugee camps in the world have education facility. I do not know whether this event will be written down in History and the heroes be remembered, but certainly, them and their noble contribution will remain in My History forever.

“Whichever part of the world you live right now, I want you to accept my sincere salute and hopefully from those people who take my side. It is your teaching, your encouragement, your enduring lessons on unity, your positive attitude and your selfless act of will that is reflected in our society through the younger generation”.

Let’s all take a few private moments on this day of Thanks Giving to reflect upon those and make it a point to let them know that we are thankful for what they did to us. Let us not be like the hog that sits under a tree eating acorns but never bothers where the acorns came from. Our society, which was long been infected by skepticism, misunderstandings and ego problems is now looking more unified which is very encouraging. But we still need to forget the differences, as some of it can still be felt, and minimize the generation gap. Eventually, a time has to come when the older generation has to coordinate shoulder to shoulder with the younger generations to accomplish our long mission of struggle. It is not wise to wait for this time too long. We know we faced troubles in the past, but why not count the blessings rather than the troubles, and yet not become complacent. The past days are gone and gone forever. We also know that when problems seem insurmountable, quitting seems to be the only way out. But winners only get struck by the defeat, they don’t get destroyed. It is very important to remain persistent in our mission and not allow obstinacy to follow us. We have a long way to go and our experiences evidently speak that breaking of such a chain of unity is not uncommon within us. Yet again, let’s smell the roses. We will be disappointed because we know we will fail many times, but we will be doomed if we don’t try. We have sown the seed and the tree is going to grow. Let’s all make it so big that one day down the line, we all can sit under it and enjoy the shade in the scorching sun. Last but not the least I would like to quote what Robert Frost said in one of his famous poems, while riding on his horse in a deep forest, so much fascinated by the beauty of the forest, he never wished to come back. Yet he stopped in the middle and said:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep

And miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep

(A Mathematician by profession, Mishra currently works as marketing manager in a Virginia-based IT company. He can be reached at: dhruvaenator@gmail.com)

38 COMMENTS

  1. So nicely composed. I dont know if Ratan, Rizal and Balaram have/will read this! Pls, ask them to do so. They will learn many things. Thx Mishra. Seems you need to write abt how our seniors started my education. Can you volunteer? Namaskar, Hari

  2. Dear Dhurvajee,
    Let me not name the individuals but we shared our tiny heart and brain to the general good in the mercy of innocency. People never met their expectation. It was quite tough to win the heart of ‘Gargandawalas’ but we won them to establish the base. And to shape them into direction is also one of the achievement that needs space.
    After establishing the school, Maidhar situation was deteriorating and I remember that I went for the funeral of 22 children in a day. I have a far uncle who lost all his 3 children. And our small school shed was blow by the wind at Maidhar river bank. Such calamities never stopped us and we gave the continuation with our scare means. For the first time when officials from CARITAS Nepal gave the visit, we were interviewed and we strongly raised our desire in the future preception of our valued generation. They were convienced and helped us with the available resources as per their constraints. This has become the point of departure.
    Today same grain spread worldwide with inherited qualities. The very base touched many lifes and smoothen the path. This has helped in the transformation and respectful integration.
    Postulate of Dhurvajee carries meaning and weight. Let’s find out evidence to acknowlege the contributions.
    Good Luck!

  3. Dear Dai,
    I really appreciate your memorable and suggestive “Article” towards New generation.I want to take your words on credit “Whichever part of the world you live right now, I want you to accept my sincere salute and hopefully from those people who take my side. It is your teaching, your encouragement, your enduring lessons on unity, your positive attitude and your selfless act of will that is reflected in our society through the younger generation”.
    Wonderful Salute makes me to Say” system is in our hand, try to sown the seed and after join hands and lets go for freedom of free”
    At last, On the Special day Brother you remain the past, for that we also would like to give Thanks y=t.

    IF MISTAKE, PLEASE I”M SO SORRY HI. Happy Thanks giving

  4. Thank you very much Dhurba Sir, You may not know i am the regular reader of your articles. The way you write, is reality rather then exeggeration. I love reading your articele and,wishyou all the success, please keep writing, Please write about your experiences while teaching in the camp schools and try to compare the education facilities, infrastructure of the camp schools and of the Boarding schools of Nepal.

    Thanks

    Monarath

  5. Dhurbaji,
    Your ‘A Culture of Appretiation – I & II’ has, I feel, proved you not only a numerical mathematician but a social mathemagician as well. Impeccable are your presentation and flow of thoughts. Your voyage all the way is scholastic and parabolic.
    The concluding stanza of the poem has further added flavor to the write up. The poem was inked by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, if I am not mistaken.
    Wish that you could give chance in future to taste new recipes with the tip of your magical pen.
    Good Luck!

  6. Dear Dai,

    My sincere greetings and happy Thanksgiving to you.
    On this auspicious occasion of thanksgiving I would like to thank you for everything you did and have been doing for the community, with your brilliant and social brain.

    You are our example and inspiration. Your article touched me. You spoke my heart. I am always thankful to the one’s who have helped me and/or anyone in need. Yes, a simple and easy to say words ” Thank you” carry a real meaning of appreciation. I personally think there’s nothing wrong in accepting or adopting good culture be it from anywhere. Finally, I wish and request you to share and spread all good and encouraging words to the world. God bless you.

    Thank you for your great article.

  7. Durbaji,
    Thanks for your article Culture Of Appriciation.Welcomposed creative ideas are always apreciated.Creative Ideas come from creative minds and creative minds together propound philosophy.
    Thanks and Hope to read more in the days ahead.

  8. Dhurbaji,
    Nice to see you again with an articulating and reflective write up.
    ”Thank you” is indeed a very simple word which we use every now and then. You have successfully defined this word in our context. I appreciate your vision, positive thoughts and writing skill. Keep it up.

  9. For people like me who hate this “political stuffs” this article sounds more suited; full of inspiration to carry with. I read both of your pieces and they are very powerful and inspirational in nature; thanks, Mr. Mishra-ji. For sure I will continue to expect more of such pieces from your “pointing-tip-full pen”. Our community is in kind need of writers like you who will continue to give new directions. Yes, THANK YOU is very simple in nature but yet we have ignored its usage often.

    Good luck in your writing process!

  10. Thank you K. P sir for pointing out my blunder. The poet is actually Robert Frost not William Wordsworth. Apologies for the error.
    Thank you

  11. Dear Dhruva Mishra,
    Thanks for the Thanksgiving article.You have brought out the matter at the right time, and I believe that if you continue to write, you will be able to stir the ice frozen mentality of the people who only see the negative side of any thing at any time.
    NP Subedi

  12. Sir Nameste!
    Thank so so much for publishing such a beautiful article.
    I always love reading your articles.Hope to see more of such articles
    published.
    Thank You
    Narayan Neupane
    Beldangi II
    Sector A2,04

  13. The “culture of appreciation” is an eye catching phrase. But how much it is practiced by writer himself is a question mark. It becomes ironic when the preacher himself don’t appreciate. Just saying thank you doesn’t mean you appreciate, it should involve your heart.

    The government of Bhutan spent resources to educate and keep you healthy, which is why you are able to write and come to limelight. Did you ever say ‘thank you’ for that other than just bashing the image of the country who provided for you? It would be interesting to hear an unbaised opinion from you. Someone has mentioned above about the ‘GHARGANDA” -will you elaborate and let the world know how the innocent people became victim of BPP and Gharganda’s decapitation propaganda and became refugee?

  14. Dhrubajee,
    II Series of “Culture of Appreciation” is really appreciative one. Shiv Khera,a veteran Indian Writer wrote – “Winners do not do different things but does things differently”. Your flow of words is nothing different or new what we experienced or still experiencing but expressed the fact chronologically and interestingly. But our so called Netas never did anything differently coz of lack of Political Knowledge, resources,vision and capacity. We need to praise our social workers and thank them but beside there were and still such elements who are distracting the community and bringing misunderstandings amongst each other due to greed and egoism in the name of community. Your writeup reflects the real step for the civilized and modern thinking or community which we still lack and make great obstacles for progress. We can flatly say that a person without education in this modern world is like a “Dogs tail which neither covers the back nor helps to do anything”. We are just gradually maturing for appreciating as we celebrate “THANKS GIVING” which itself is celebrated as National Festival out here in the US with no discrimination and any conservative thinking. We need to modify our mindset and primitive culture and tradition in this 21st century and build a scientific and time and energy saving mechanism in the Nepali Culture and Tradition which has crippled ourselves by the division of various castes and lots of discriminations. What I would suggest as well wisher – “Better not to reveal what we have thought upon doing, but by wise counsel keep it secret, being determined to carry it into execution”…..Hope to hear such words of wisdom and appreciation!

  15. (this is in reference to lotus flower’s comments)
    Mr. Lotus, i guess you are write in saying that the writer’s phrase in an eye catching. your name is not an exception.
    firstly, writers often write for readers, not for themselves. its up to us, whether or not to abstract any good from thier art. i dont find any point in your probe in to the writer’s practicality of what he writes. you could have better used that time trying to enquire what the writer is actually trying to give us.
    secondly, again you are right, that the writer forgot to thank that so-called “Bhutan Government”. it’s almost two decades that the writer used those facilities, so probably he forgot. but you should not miss to thank him, coz its still teaching you how to run, itself being legless though.
    thirdly, i really could not understand the intention of your criticism. but Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!
    for writer’s attention
    dear Mr. Mishra,
    It goes, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”
    we look forward to read similar articles in the times to come.

  16. yes this is the point .someone has to start thinking of what went well in the difficult years we had .This is on eof them .I know how difficult was the education environment at maidhar .but we made it
    thanks to the author of the article and the comments that followed
    we still need to be together though we live far apart
    this is a excellent literature and very proactive and positive attitude
    my hats off for you

  17. This article has nothing concrete! just bla bla bla. Wordsworth’s “Hoods are lovely dark and deep……is not a new thing for any grade 10 students from Bhutan.

  18. Yes, it is a great article with positive outlook on the changing culture of Bhutanese in exile. I am convinced that, for us the change will come in two steps:
    1. See the change you want to bring (you will not see this in the first place if you do not accept the omnipresent realities)
    2. Become the change you want to See (Do you know where you are going?)

    Appropriately this timely piece is a great “Thanksgiving” gift,reflective and retrospective with futuristic optimism. I would like to thank Mr. Mishra for his efforts and excellent writings. Will like to hear some more in the days to come.
    Thank you
    Dick Chhetri

  19. While reading the storty I felt that the author contributed to our society in Maidhar. But, nothing has been elaborated in this part. Seems, he doesn’t want to bring the whole history in the public digestion. I think readers will be interested to read about life in Maidhar. Can any senior write a diary of one day for juniors lime me.

    Tilak Chh
    Goldhap

  20. Dhruva sir,
    Here in the Netherlands, at Leiden at Pieters Church; I heard huge bells rang remembering the hospitality. At verginia, away from the bells you sat behind the computer and came up with well articulated article. Appreciations for your line of thinking and for projection of another dimension to appreciating things.
    Continuity of such plesure giving write-up is expected.

    Lakshmi Prasad Dhakal
    Amsterdam

  21. When Dr.Govind Rizal decided to give a pause, new writers like Dr. Rai and Mathemathician Mishra have come up. Hey BNS why dont you pay these great people so that capable ones like Dr. Lakshmi, Dr. Prakash, Gazmere brothers, Mr Giri and so on start their stories? Start collecting funds to support your writer or be ready to face the fate of Bhutanusa.com! I salute both writers and BNS team.

  22. Hey fried MG, how much you are contributing for BNS. Bhotangaes are never ready to contribute 4 media. They need to learn frm Exile Journalism of Sri Lankan jouros, each one getting support frm friends. So, no doubt BNS will die one day as we are not ready to support them. Khudos to these poor fellows. I know their hardsip. You may know them. Time to cutdown no of beer bottles we drink here in America so that we save for our media. Im ready hai part!

  23. Dhruva Sir,

    Thank you very much for letting the people know once again where we were, and what we did. Your article reminded me of many things those which were on a way of fading away.

    Thank you once again.

  24. The emergence of new, young contributors like Dhruva Mishra, Santi Ram Poudel, Nandita Khanal etc should be reckoned as a positive development. Dhruva Mishra’s article has come as an ice breaker in a world of steoreotype thinking that existed and continues to exist in many ways among the younger generation about some of the valuable contributions left behind by the seniors. Appreciate the positive thoght process shaped up in the article.

  25. hei mr. mishra.. appreciation for your best composed article. can we ‘resettled bhutanese’ appreciate gov. of bhutan for giving us these great oppurtunities in the third countries by not taking us back in autocratic bhutan?????? let’s appreciate king 4 & mr. tek nath and other bpp self porclaimed leaders for creating such a great atmosphere. ‘let’s forget our dark days and look forward for new oppourtunities in the new land’.

  26. This is an article written with absolute brilliance. I,certainly, fell short of words to express my gratitude to the writer. As a receipient of his education.I am truly blessed and much of the bhutanese community know about his contribution to the education in the refugee camp.I hope he continues to educate our society with his magical pen now.
    No matter how good sombody writes,there are always some people who see the negatave side of it. Mr.lotus flower argued that the writer should have been grateful to RGOB for his education and health facilities he got while in Bhutan. Honestly,he should have done this. But not to RGOB but to UNICEF and WHO who provided him these facilities while he was in Bhutan.

  27. The article must be read thrice .. four times or even more so that the sense intended would get assimilated into the blood of individuals who are not tryig to adjust to the changing demand of the milieu..
    Great work.. Dhruba Sir

  28. It’s so marvelous to express thankful and strong gratitude on someone’s excellency and good help. This articles is really impressive, indeed. I would like to express strong appreciation on this article and way of using words to explain broad visions of thanksgiving celebration. congratulation for doing such a creditable job.
    Best of luck.

  29. Mr Dhurva,
    It’s so marvelous to express thankful and strong gratitude on someone’s excellency and good help. This articles is really impressive, indeed. I would like to express strong appreciation on this article and way of using words to explain broad visions of thanksgiving celebration. congratulation for doing such a creditable job.
    Best of luck.

  30. Dhurbaji,
    Appreciated very much !! Sentence sequences,flow of thoughts, useses of words,tone,rhythm everything is favulous. Great write up !! I enjoyed every bit of it. Thank you very much for publishing such a weighty article. Thumbs up !

  31. Dhruva Mishra Ji:

    In your article, you thanked Government of Nepal, resettling agencies, groups and all other individuals who helped you during your stay in refugee camps in Nepal.

    No offense or disrespect to you but I think you are being ungrateful to this country, the country that feeds you, the strongest, the wealthiest and most generous country in the world, by not thanking America for accepting thousands of Bhutanese refugees living in camps in Nepal.

    But that is OK, because America does not need your “Appreciation”, and it will continue helping those who need help, no matter what part of the world they live in.

    I live in state of Massachusetts where recently a school has been closed for lack of funds. Hundreds of school children were sent to another school far away from that school. That school was closed permanently because the City Government and the State Government did not have enough money to continue running that school.

    America and Americans, now do not have the kind of money they used to have. And still the United States of America spends at least 1 billion dollars a year to help refugees.

    Millions of Americans do not have jobs, but most of the Bhutanese refugees resettled here in America have jobs, some of them have two or three jobs. Many Americans cannot afford to buy a nice car, but almost every Bhutanese refugee resettled here has nice and expensive car. Not only that many Bhutanese refugees resettled here in America send thousands of dollars to their relatives and friends living in the camps in Nepal, every month.

    Honestly, I am happy to see that former Bhutanese refugees are living a very happy life here in America. However, I think it is not nice to just use someone and then completely ignore and forget all about that help.

    Unfortunately, some of those refugees do not even bother saying, “Thank you” to America. Is that called “A Culture Of Appreciation” Dhruva Mishra
    Ji?

    Mr. Shahid M. Pasha, Massachusetts, USA.

  32. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you could write next articles referring to
    this article. I desire to read more things about it! PSG Trøje KelvinKin Barcelona kläde
    LoraYazzi

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