Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Dream - Fulfilled

Ever since the announcement of the Royal Wedding by His Majesty the King at the inaugural address of 7th Session of Parliament on Friday the 20th May, 2011 I had a dream of presenting a gift to Their Majesties. The gift that instantly struck to my mind was nothing special or extraordinary than a simple oil portrait of the Royal Couple.

The news of royal bride’s deep love and admiration for fine art inspired me more than anything else to give a try in painting an oil portrait of the royal couple though I had never painted portraits of our great Kings and Queens except some Dzongs and landscape scenery paintings.

I started painting the portrait of the royal couple since August, 2011 on a small canvass of 14 by 18 inches size. It took me exactly eight weekends to complete it as Saturdays and Sundays were the only free hours available to do the painting. Nevertheless, despite such limited time at my disposal I could finish the portrait painting which was framed it ready just barely a week before the final count down of historic royal wedding day.

Thus, on 12th Oct, 2011 I took the completed portrait to Thimphu. My family also accompanied me. Our only wish was to present the portrait as a humble gift and pay our tribute to Their Majesties during the 3 days Royal Wedding celebrations from 13 – 15 Oct, 2011.

After the historic and grand royal wedding celebrations in Punakha on 13th Oct, the royal entourage returned to Thimphu on 14th Oct during which all the students, civil servants and general public of Thimphu received His Majesty the King, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk and Her Majesty the Queen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuk with unlimited rejoice and offerings heartfelt greetings of good wishes and Tashi Delek on the successful royal wedding. It was indeed a big welcome to Their Majesties by an unimaginable large gathering of well wishers and people of Bhutan who thronged all along the main street of Thimphu City stretched from Simtokha to Tashi Chodzong.

I also joined with the long procession of well wishers just above Druk Taj Hotel and after 5 long hours of patience wait from 4.20 pm to 9.20 pm I got the golden opportunity to offer the oil portrait gift when Their Majesties finally approached the point where I had been anxiously waiting.

The portrait that I was going to offer as a gift to Their Majesties was beautifully wrapped with a special Bhutanese ‘Baysho’ paper and nicely tied with a Tashi Delek scarf.

The moment Their Majesties came near me I presented the gift to His Majesty the King and reported in Dzongkha, “Miwang Gnadag Rinpoche dang Ashi Nyiki Portrait Art Enla”.

HM the King instantly looked at the wrapped gift with a big surprise and lost no time in asking the questions in English,

“Oh! Really? Who painted it?”

I gracefully answered back in Dzongkha, “Nga ghi chab chab enla”
“Can I open it?” was what HM the King further questioned in English to which I answered, “Yes, Your Majesty”

HM the King then unfurled the scarf knot tied around the portrait gift after which we tore open the ‘Baysho’ paper.

On seeing the portrait art HM the King loved the painting and commented, “Wonderful and well done!” and further asked me, “Do you paint regularly?”

“I just gave a try” was what I could simply answer to which HM the Queen quickly commented, “Nice try!”

HM the King then asked me in Dzongkha, “Choegi ming gachi mo? La gatey baydho?”

I respectfully answered that I am Ugyen Wangdi, working in Bank of Bhutan, Phuentsholing.

HM the King then said, “Thank you very much. I shall send you a letter of thanks and a gift in
return” to which I remained speechless not knowing what to say.

HM walked forward a little, looked at me from a few yards distance and thanked me repeatedly for the gift that I had just presented.

I now realize that a simple portrait gift of mine had the power to draw the attention of Their Majesties for almost 7 minutes during which I had such golden opportunity of personally interacting and exchanging words with them that I never dreamed of. Not only I alone, even my family members including my wife, son and daughter had great opportunity to see and hear Their Majesties very closely.

I am very happy that I could fulfill my dream of gifting an oil portrait as a tribute to Their Majesties on the most befitting occasion of the historic royal wedding. I shall remember and cherish the 14th Oct, 2011 as a great and most memorable day in my life on which I received words of admiration from our great King and Queen. I am even more inspired now to specialize in portrait paintings of great people on a much larger size and present as gifts on special occasions. The 5 hours of patience was worth the wait indeed.

Lastly I pay my sincere respect and deepest gratitude to Their Majesties for their wedding ceremony without which I would not have been able to bring out such a befitting gift of a Royal Portrait. I also wish to thank my family members, relatives and all my friends and colleagues for their unfailing support and encouragement in fulfilling my ‘dream’of presenting a portrait art gift to Their Majesties.

Long live Their Majesties and a very happy Married Life!