Friday, September 20, 2013

Landscape Painting of Drugyal Dzong, Paro

This is a landscape oil painting I am currently working - on a very large canvas size of 4x3 ft. Needless to say what I am painting 'What' as the readers and all visitors will at the mere sight of it will be able to say 'what I am painting' 

Yes I am painting the famous Drukgyal Dzong which was once a grand fortress historically built by Tenzin Drukdra in 1649 at the behest of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel to commemorate victory over an invasion from Tibet. The dzong lies in upper part of the Paro in Drugyal valley. Albeit now in ruins the Drugyal Dzong is however a very popular place of importance for tourist visits. 

Shown below is the original reference image from which I am painting.

Ever since I came across this picture I was greatly inspired to give a try in painting this striking scene.

I knew I would not be able to paint exactly the same as what it looked like. It is almost next to impossible for a painter to bring out the same image as it is; only a camera can capture the exact replica of the original. 

Nevertheless keeping the essence of the original image as it is I have, as a painter, used some artistic licences to alter certain elements of the original image. And thus painted this landscape scenery in accordance with how I desired to project the painting to the viewers.  

In fact this painting has taken quite a long time to complete and is still in process with its revised version which I am retouching again. 

The earlier version lacked some focal points of emphasis as I squinted critically over the painting. Finally I decided to repaint with more emphasis on focal points though a lot of time would be consumed by the retouching. 

The viewers might now see for yourself the obvious difference in the painting with middle ground (i.e. the scenery around the ruined dzong and houses) appearing more focused with contrasting light and shadow colors than what was in the previous version.   

The revised version (which is how the painting will look like in finished version) is still to be completed. I am now contented with the revision.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My 12 Long Years of Stay at Sherubtse, Kanglung.

Sherubtse College, Kanglung was and will forever remain in my heart as the historic and apex seat of my education – both schooling as well as college.  The 7 years of schooling from 1971 – 1977 and 5 years of college from  July, 1981 – May, 1986 is what translates into 12 long years of my peak learning in Sherubtse, Kanglung.

I was neither born in Kanglung nor an inhabitant living in the vicinity of Kanglung which guaranteed such a precious opportunity of getting education in Sherubtse. The readers might wonder how I landed in Sherubtse though I hail from Sako Village under Thrimshing Gewog, which is far from Kanglung.

Here is the brief history of how I landed in Sherubtse, Kanglung...........

I began my primary education originally in Thungkhar Primary School (TPS) under Thrimshing Dungkhag in Eastern Bhutan. TPS was so near to my village (about one and half kilometers away) that I would daily walk to school and even walk back home for lunch. 

Thungkhar Primary School

As I recall the past now I vividly recollect that 3 students including myself from Class 2 were selected from TPS in 1970 to try our luck in getting admission in Sherubtse Public School, Kanglung. In those years the present so called Sherubtse College was historically known as Sherubtse Public School (SPS). The written examination for selection was conducted in Wamrong Junior School but I can hardly recall what type of questions was set up for the exam. All I can recollect now is that all three of us passed the exam and were selected for a golden admission in SPS.

So the year 1970 was indeed a turning point in my school life.  

Early 1971 academic session we reported to the most renowned SPS in Kanglung to continue our primary education. As we were still kids and not fully matured our parents of course had to accompany us. I cannot remember how old we were; must have been probably 10 years old since I was admitted to school quite late then.

Late Father William Mackey, the Son of Bhutan, was then the Principal of SPS. He was a very jolly educationist with full of humour and jokes. He used to often tease every student and make fun with everyone with his broken Sharchopkha. But when he got agitated he was a real TERROR. We could often understand his temper from his natural whitish face to reddish look when angry.  No one would dare go near him let alone utter anything. 

We 3 students of TPS who were most fortunate in getting the golden admission in SPS were at the same time quite unlucky in having to restart our education again from Class I instead of actually continuing from Class III onwards. I don’t remember why we were made to restart from Class I. I guess the only reason could have been because of our low standard of education in primary school.  As a result we lost solid two years of our past experience.           

Our past school days spent in SPS from 1971 to 1977 was very sacred and most cherishing. Education in those days was completely free in that we were provided with everything that we required; from  yearly school uniforms (Gho with Tego), mattresses, bedsheets, towels, pillows with pillow covers and blankets to toiletries such as soaps, tooth brush and tooth paste to steel boxes, slippers and canvas shoes etc. The life buoy and sunlight soaps were provided every weekend that we could hardly finish using all of them. So we would often stock the unused soaps securely and present as gifts to our parents, relatives and friends whenever we visited home during summer and winter vacations. Not a penny was spent even for the text and exercise books. EVERYTHING WAS FREE in those days and I do not know how our Royal Govt of Bhutan could afford such a free provision of education.  

Later in 1978 when Sherubtse Public School became Pre-University, all students from Class VII and below - headed by Late William Father Mackey as the new Principal - moved down to a new Jigme Sherubling High School in Khaling. 

Jigme Sherubling High School

So the rest of my school years from Class VIII to X were spent in Khaling from 1978 to 1980 from where I successfully completed my matriculation. This period (1978-80) was the only 3 years of my stay out of Sherubtse, Kanglung as later I had to move to Sherubtse again to pursue pre-university education.

I completed my pre-university education (ISC) in Commerce in another 2 years of stay in Kanglung from 1981 to 1982. 

At the back of my mind I had a notion that like our predecessors we might be also sent to various colleges in India for degree course after completion of Class XII. However, the excitement of visiting India and getting ourselves exposed to totally different college atmosphere was more of a day dream than a reality as things did not click in our favour.

Before we could complete Class XII, the RGOB had already finalized its decision to update the Sherubtse College to a new Degree College from 1983 onwards. Though we missed our chances to visit India we were, however, honoured to start the Degree Courses, the first of its kind in Bhutan, in Sherubtse College.

The final and last 3 years of my stay in Kanglung thus coincided with 3 years of degree course in B.Com from June, 1983 to May, 1986. This completed my 12 years long journey of education and meritorious stay in Sherubtse College, Kanglung from where I achieved highest education degree in B.Com and even won a bronze medalist in 2nd position in B.Com.

I take pride to be a real Sherubtsian and am highly indebted to none other than Late Father William Mackey who created a golden opportunity of my learning in the apex institute and for shaping my life’s career with good education and making me into “what I am today”. All my heartfelt gratitude and thanks goes out to Fr.Mackey to whom I pay my wholehearted Tribute.

The 12 long years of my stay in Sherubtse, Kanglung was worth the ‘Lifespan’ spent indeed for it gave me wholesome ‘Education’ and ‘Experience’ that is indispensable in one’s life. I also take pride in becoming a Pioneer Graduate from Sherubtse College as I was one among the group to become the first graduate from only degree college that Bhutan could boast in those days.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reflections on Life and Impermanence

Photo Courtesy: Kuensel

As I watched the glimpses of funeral pyre of 11 soldiers being broadcast by BBS in its news hour at 7 pm yesterday evening, I was overcome by sheer emotions and grief which gave rise to series of random thoughts and questions to myself. The same must have been felt by every one of the viewers, if not all.

Ø  Was it destined that all Eleven (11) of them will breathe their last breadth at the Same Time’, on the Same Day’ and at the Same Spot’ at Anakha, Haa on 2nd Sept, 2013?

Ø  Was even their ‘Karma’ same for all of them?

Ø  Would all of the deceased have ever expected that they would face such a most ‘Tragic, Accidental and Untimely’ death such as Anakha incident despite the knowledge that all of us are bound to die one day?

Most of the deceased must have been so young with full of vigour and plenty of life’s aspirations in store for them. Few may have been recently married with their beloved ones while few others might have just been gifted with beloved kids and wife – a family life that was to be still explored and experienced.
Photo courtesy - Kuensel 

The most ironical and saddest part is that the Anakha incident has not only cut short the lifespan of all the deceased but have also been denied of all the opportunities that life had in store for them. What a pity indeed!

Nevertheless, as the country and its people have offered a most befitting gun salute and a solemn respect (as per army’s rule) to all the deceased at the funeral, let us all pray that their souls rest in peace and be reborn as human beings again in Bhutan only. Let us also pray and wish that the bereaved families gain inner strength and courage to continue their living. 

To conclude, the abrupt end to the lives of 11 soldiers such as Anakha is enough signal to remind all of us to reflect on life and its impermanence - we all know life is not only short but even its existence is impermanent. 

So when it is crystal clear that none of us can escape the death trap, the only thing we can do while we are alive is dedicate ourselves to true Buddhism and its practices. This is the only sacred thing that will be of immense help in life after death.

So friends why don’t we begin practicing Buddhism (“Choe”) today when we are alive since tomorrow is totally uncertain.