My Favorite Character from Vasant Moon’s autobiography, Growing Up Untouchables in India

While reading Vasant Moon’s autobiography Growing Up Untouchables In India, I really admired Vasant Moon’s mother’s character. Moon portrayed his mother as a very determined, dedicated, and diligently working woman.

Although, her husband ruined her married life, she didn’t waive her hope to live a better life. She left her husband taking full responsibilities to look after two children. At first, she relied on her father; however, her life was shattered after his death. Her father’s property was all conquered by her ruthless half brother. Many women suggested her to go back to her husband’s house. However, she didn’t listen to anyone; instead she started to wonder around many different places in quest of job. She knew that she, a mahar woman, will not get a job in Brahamans’ houses located around her house due to caste system in Hindu religion, which considers Brahaman as highest caste and “Dalit,” untouchables as lowest (22). Still then she didn’t alter her mind. She was confident enough to feed her children by herself no matter whatever circumstances she face. She persevered looking for a job even though she earned only one or two rupees per day. Moreover, she didn’t deter her son from continuing his education. Moon tends to divulge about his mother’s hope and determination when he say “Our economic situation was very bad because mother has no regular work. But she never left the vasti….” (52). I thought that in a society, where there is caste discrimination, It’s very hard for a woman especially from a poor background to look after her children due to many reasons. However, Moon’s mother changed my thoughts.

I also really appreciated her good attributes when she said “…I will go hungry, but I will not steal. I may die of hunger but not lay my hands on anyone else’s goods…” (75). It’s because this few lines clearly portrays her honesty, and purity.  Over all, I liked the way Moon has described his mother and I like her characters the most from his autobiography.

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Importance of religion in my life

 

What is a religion? Some people especially religious minded people tend to say it is a part of culture and it plays important role in shaping one’s life. Moreover, they say it’s one of the ways to unite people of same interest and beliefs together no matter whether they are from poor or rich backgrounds. However, some people who do not believe in religion say that it will dominate your imagination or thinking power. It will build false notions and ideas inside your mind creating subjective views.

But for me, though I believe in religion I couldn’t practice everything written in the doctrine. It’s not because I am not interested but it’s very hard for me to follow each and everything mentioned in the doctrine. As per my religion, it’s very important for one to have a pure mind in order to get enlightenment. Pure mind means refraining oneself from greed, jealousy, anger, and timidness. It means averting our self from committing ten sins which includes killing, stealing, lying, doing sexual misconducts, sowing discord, speaking harsh words, telling worthless words, and thinking bad things about others. I always remember them and chant prayers before eating breakfast and going to bed. However, I have always failed to apply them in practical life. Every day, I either get angry or lazy.

Still then, I will not give up. It is because I have learned that it’s not money, education, sunny days, and marriage that will give us real happiness, but it’s the religion and friends or family ties that that give us real happiness, and it’s true for me. I feel happy when I start my days by praying to my god. I feel happy when I visit Buddha’s sacred places. I feel happier when I do some charitable work.  I think my religion has never discriminated or ruined my life; instead it has helped me to overcome difficult situations. It somehow motivates me to be happy with what I have and what I am now. Therefore, religion is very important in my life. What about you?

The Symbolism of Kabney and Rachu in Bhutan

Although we all are called as human beings in general, we have different ways of living and doing things. It is because of our artificially constructed national borders that has divided us, human beings, into different groups with different cultures, beliefs, norms, and manners. Every culture has its own symbols, tangible things that stand for something else, and metonym, small part of something that constitutes its whole part.

In Bhutan, kabney, a silk scarf worn with gho, national dress for men, is a symbol that shows different groups of professions. Colors of Kabney varies with one’s profession; however, all kabneys are 300 cm long and 90 cm wide usually with fringes on both ends. Just like the crown stand as a symbol for a queen, saffron kabney,in Bhutan, stand as a symbol for Druk Gyalpo, king, and Je Khenpo, chief abbot. Likewise, blue kabney stand for legislature, green stand for judiciary, orange stand for cabinets, and white stand for common men of Bhutan. Moreover, some kabney have stripes with different colors, which also differs with one’s rank.

Rachu is worn by Bhutanese women with kira, national dress for women. It is usually worn on the left shoulder. Just like kabney, some rachus represents women’s profession. However, most of the women wear red color rachu with different intricate designs. Both kabney and rachu are used as a way of showing respect while visiting temples, attaining official meetings, meeting high officials, and celebrating festivals.  Kabney and rachu also play important role in protecting and promoting Bhutanese culture and tradition.

Therefore, it’s must for a Bhutanese citizen to wear Kabney or rachu along with their national dresses during important or special occasions.

Bhutanese Phallus

I found the article “The Anthropology of Manners” written by Edward T. Hall, well – known anthropologist and an expert on cultural differences in communication, manners, and perception of time, very interesting and useful. The article tends to make us wary about different manners practiced in different countries. Through this article I come to know that perceptions of time and proxemics differ from place to place or culture to culture, and it’s very essiantial for us to know about it in order to have a sociable conversation with foreigners.

In one of the paragraphs, Hall mentioned about  “evil eyes”. According to hall, in Iran, mothers spend money to remove “evil eyes” from their children. They do not appreciate Americans or other people patting their infants especially under the baby’s chin (248). This paragraph made me to think about our manners for removing “evil eyes”.

In Bhutan, mostly in village areas, you can see Phallus , a penis-shaped object,  paintings painted on the walls and doors of houses and buildings. Many foreigners or tourists usually get surprised or embarrassed  at their first sight. However, they appreciate it when they come to know that Bhutanese people draw Phallus on the walls and doors of their houses in order to drive away the “evil eyes” or bad lucks. You can not only see the paintings of phallus but also handmade wodden phallus hung either above the main entry doors or under rooftops at the four corners of their houses. It is also one of the most important tools for Atsaras (masked clowns) during Bhutanese special festivals such as Tshechu festival. People bow their head in front of clowns to get bless from phallus.                           

Though there are no tangible or legitimate evidences to prove that the history of phallus is related to Lama Drukpa Kinley, also known as Divine Madman who spread Buddhist teaching by subduing demons and evils using his penis, Bhutanese people believe that Drukpa Kinley came to Bhutan from Tibet before Buddhism was considered as the state religion, and he subdued a lot of demons in order to bring peace and happiness. Since phallus is related to Drukpa Kinley’s history, Bhutanese people pay respect to it and worship it. Making fun or thinking bad things about phallus while visiting Bhutanese houses or buildings is taken as a great insult not only to Drukpa Kinley but also to his followers.

Therefore, my dear friends remember my blog when you travel to Bhutan and visit Bhutanese traditional houses and buildings.

 

My Village

Some people, who give more importance to their health, consider my village as one of the best places to settle in. It’s because Paro Hospital, one of the biggest hospital in the western part of Bhutan, is located near my village. Others say that since it is located near Paro International Airport, the only airport in the landlocked country, and Paro Dzong, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, it’s best site for constructing hotels and shopping malls. Old people say that no matter whether your village is under a bridge or not, it will be the best place for you to live in. My village is famously known as geptay, land of happiness. It is located in the western part of Bhutan, and it falls under Paro district. It covers a hundred acres of land, and approximately 2,000 people live and work in it.

The houses are not crowded; instead, they are built away from each other. If a person walks on foot from his or her own house, he or she will take minimum three minutes to reach his or her nearest neighbor.  In the past, when I was a kid, I used to hear one neighbor calling another neighbor from their windows. I used to hear a community messenger shouting and conveying the message, sent by community heads, from door to door. However, nowadays, due to an increase in the number of people using cell phones and telephones, I don’t see or hear anyone shouting from outside.

Most of the houses are two- storied Bhutanese style houses. They are mostly constructed by local carpenters. The upper story is used for people and the lower story is mostly used for storing grains and crops. Most of the house owners own their own play ground in front of their houses.  They use it for different purposes such as to let their children play, to take rest, to dry their crops, and to park their cars.

Most of the people living in Geptay are farmers, and they mainly depend on their farmlands for their income. Their farmlands are located half miles away from their houses. Since the village is located in quite a hilly area, the houses are located on hills, and the farmlands are located on the lower planes. Although they used domestic animals such as oxen to plough their land, and horses to carry their goods, today, they use tractors and new advanced farm machines to do farm work, and vehicles to carry their goods.

In the middle of the village, there is a big oak tree, where all the children gather together to play games and sports. Children from rich families come with their expensive toys and bicycles. They bully the poor small kids while playing games such as hide and seek or touch and run. They always coerce the poor kids from poor backgrounds to either chase them or search them. Although, parents are not near to their children, they can easily keep eyes on their children when their children are playing under the oak tree. Since the oak tree is in the middle of the village, they can easily see their children from all the directions. Therefore, the parents dispatch their children to play under the oak tree.

Since the village is located near Paro Hospital, it has many shops and hotels. There are two main roads, a road that leads to the hospital and another one to Olathang Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Paro. The roads are always busy with different types of vehicles passing by.  Besides the roads, early in the morning and in the evening, farmers come to sell their fresh vegetables and homemade products. Government servants and tourist usually buy their goods there. Young beautiful village girls also come to sell their dairy products, and hot tasty boiled corns. Students are their daily customers.

Just one kilometer away, above the village in the hilly area, a small temple was constructed in 1940s by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, Tibetan monk, in order to protect the villagers from harmful devils and demons. Women from each household always go once a week to the temple to pay respect and worship our local deities. They offer a bottle of fresh milk, a bowl of red rice, and a hand of banana or other fruits. Nearby the temple, there is a stupa constructed by the affluent people to help all the living beings to purify their mind, and to terminate their sins. It’s a place where we can see a larger number of old people chanting prayers, and narrating their past stories to each other.

Almost all the people living in my village are Buddhist; therefore, early in the morning, when the village seems as fresh as cucumber, we can smell the smell of butter lamp and hear people reciting Buddha’s doctrine from almost every household. Then, until the night falls, we can see the villagers busily working as bees. When night falls, at around 6:00pm, the caretaker of the temple blows a shell trumpet which stops the people in the village from continuing their work. They, then, call it a day and go back to their respective houses. The next day, the same routine begins again, and it remains the same except during special occasions.

Red rice, hot dry red chillis, green vegetables, potatoes, pork, beef, and dry yak meat are the daily diets eaten by the people in my village, and it is considered tastier when it’s cooked by the mothers. Most of the children and adults love to have red rice, hot chillis mixed with cheese, dry yak meat, and suja, butter tea, as their lunch. It’s mandatory for all the family members to be on time for breakfast and dinner. Family members make a big circle with father, head of the family, sitting near the windows.

Although the village seems small, people inside the village are living comfortable lives. There is no severe gender or racial discrimination. Every individual is given their rights to express their thought and ideas. The unity among the villagers, grassy hills in and around the village, colorful prayer flags flattering on the top of the hills, green farmlands on the lower planes, and uniformly constructed traditional Bhutanese houses on hills always make the village more attractive and beautiful place to live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is committing suicide a good decision?

No matter whether we are in traumatic or heartbreaking situation, I think committing suicide is very illlegitimate solution for our problems. Whenever I heard about suicide cases, I used to feel little sorry for the victims and forget it.  It’s because we are born only once on this watery mother planet and we should make full use of it. Our life is not fully ours. Some part of it belongs to our parents, some to gods, and the rest to us. I think gods send us on this earth for a good purpose. Moreover, our parents have struggled a lot to make us as a good children, obedient student, and loyal citizen. Therefore, we should never forget to think about them.  Being a human, we cannot get rid of birth, aging, sickness, and death. We face many obstacles and distractions in our life that may ruin our life. During such miserable period, we have to be optimist; we should take every obstacle as a challenge that will drive us towards success. We should think about worst situations that seems more terrible and wretched than ours and try to see our problems as a piece of cake. We mustn’t undermine our talents or prodigy under any circumstances.  Moreover, we should turn our deaf ears to cynic people at such moments.

I know practicing what we preach is quite tough, but directly shutting down life without even waiting or thinking about other alternatives is not good. Just imagine what would be the consequences if you commit a suicide? Obviously, it will become hot news for few days; everybody will talk about you and feel sorry for you. However as days goes by there won’t be anyone to lament your absence.  Everyone will be engaged to his or her own life. Even your own beloved ones will forget about you after some years. You will be the greatest loser then.  Therefore, it’s must to abstain ourselves from committing suicide. We should think twice before making suicide plan as our deduction.

When I read the play “Death of salesman” written by Arthur Miller, I remembered about The Joy Club written by Amy Tan. In the “Death of salesman” Willy Loman, one of the main characters in the play, commits suicide in order to help his family; similarly, in The Joy Luck Club, the Mother of two children, An-Mei Hsu who is one of the main characters the story and her brother, commits suicide in order to make An-Mei Hsu’s and her brother’s life bright (270-3).  Both of them died for their family’s happiness but do you think their families’ problems were stopped permanently?  What will their family do if they face the same problem again?
Therefore, I think committing suicide is a permanent solution to our erratic or temporary problems. Say big “No” to suicide.

My little confusion…

Dreams, hopes, aims, and goals are the main foundations of our life without which we may not have successful life. I dream a lot both day and night. However, my dreams are usually limited to my temporary desire. To be candid, I’ve never dreamt about my future career. I just tried to grab some of the important opportunities that are found on my way, and I just went wherever my fate has taken me. I still wonder where my fate will take me and how long will I stay on this watery planet. However, after reading some poems related to our dreams and hopes, I started pondering about my dreams and hopes. I tried to compare and contrast some of the poems and I got stuck in between two of them, “Dreams” and “My Family”.

According to the poem “Dreams” written by Langston Hughes, we should have dreams, and we should work towards achieving our dreams. It says that if we don’t have dreams or if we let go our dreams, our life will become like a “broken-wing bird” (3), or like a “barren field” (3), which means we won’t have successful or colorful life in the future. Rather, it will become meaningless and absurd.

However, in the poem “My Family” written by Garrison Keillor, Keillor’s great grandma’s husband, John, gives up his dreams for his wife’s happiness. Although, he kept his dreams alive inside his heart, he stopped working towards achieving his dreams. His dreams remained unrevealed until it’s too late to be disclosed.

Even though, John didn’t work towards achieving his dreams, it’s not mentioned that he had an unsuccessful life. In fact, it seems he had spent a good and long life with his beloved wife. For example, John and his wife lived forty years together in a farm where they made their own home (36-40).

Therefore, my confusion is, if we don’t hold to our dreams or if we don’t dream and stop working towards achieving it, will our life become vulnerable and worthless just like it’s mentioned in the poem “Dreams” or will it be “beautiful” as mentioned in the poem “My Family”?

What do you, my dear friends, think??

My Response to “The Road Not Taken”

“The Road Not Taken” written by Robert Forst tends tell us about the uncountable choices that come in our lives and the differences they make. In the poem, the speaker seems quite confused when he reached to the forks in the road during the autumn season. However, after standing and observing both roads for a long time, the speaker chooses the road “less traveled by” and leaves the faded road for another day. In the conclusion, the speaker says that in the future, he or she’d be talking about the road he or she had chosen and the differences it has brought in his or her life. The speaker’s tone neither seems happy nor upset.

 I enjoyed reading the poem and admired the way the speaker chose his or her road. I think the speaker listens less to other people, and listens more to his or her own intuition. It’s because he or she chose the grassy road even though the other road seems more faded and used by travelers. The speaker also seems adventurous. For example, “I took the one less traveled by,” (19) shows the speaker as a person wanting to experience new things.

Moreover, I like the way the speaker concluded. It’s because since he or she didn’t mention any emotions, the poem can be related to all the readers’ lives no matter whether the readers have taken right or wrong decision in their lives.

 Unlike the speaker, I usually depend on my parents and elders suggestion whenever I am in dilemma. However, last year I listened to my own intuition and chose to come to AUW declining other options. I had always wished to study abroad and experience new things. I chose the road less travelled by, or in other words, I applied for admission in AUW, although only few students from Bhutan were present in AUW. My decision has brought many changes and differences in my life. However, just like the speaker, I feel neither happy nor remorse over my decision. I come to know that every single decision we make in our day to day life builds our future. Roads are one of the tangible examples that exemplify the choices and opportunities which come in our life. We shouldn’t regret or think about what if we had taken the other choice. It’s useless to cry over spilled milk. Just be satisfied with what you have and what you are then only we our every choice will be right.

 

 

 

Response to “Double Face”

“Double Face” is one of the chapters from The Joy Luck Club written by Amy tan. In this chapter, the mother, Lindo Jong, and her daughter, Waverly Jong, begins to “talk” each other’s language and starts to understand each other more profoundly. Ying- Ying realizes that it was her fault to expect her daughter to learn Chinese culture in American circumstances. She comes to know that it’s very difficult for oneself to practice one’s culture in another country, where everything including language, clothing, and thinking, is different (289). However, Lindo Jong didn’t have any bad intentions for expecting her daughter to learn Chinese culture in America. She loves her daughter more than herself. Her willingness to cut her hair for her daughter’s happiness indicates her true love for her daughter. Lindo Jong tends to show the difference between “American face” and “Chinese face”. She lost her “Chinese face” while migrating from china to America. She appears to be saying that people with “Chinese face” are more candid, sincere, and unprofessional compared to the people with the “American face”. Although she didn’t like American culture as much as she liked her Chinese culture, she somehow accepted some American culture. She realized it when she went back to China, where the Chinese authorities charged her foreign prices (304).Her daughter, Waverly, taught her that both of them look “devious”, double faces, and it’s a good sign if they know how to get what they want.  Waverly also starts to love Chinese culture.

I liked this chapter especially when Lindo Jong tells about how her daughter felt ashamed of her. It’s because I too had a same experience. When I was in pre primary school, I always ask my father to sign on my test papers and result sheets. When teachers invite our parents to come for a meeting, I used to remind my father again and again about the meeting. I never asked my mother to come. Do you know why? It was because my mother doesn’t know how to write her signature. My friend’s used to back bite about those student’s parents who used their thumbs to sign on the papers. I felt bad, and in order to keep my dignity, I never invited my mother to my school. However, I never thought about how bad she might have felt. Lindo Jong made me to realize my selfish act. I put my mother in Lindo Jong’s shoes and went back to the past. I saw my mother being hurt by her only daughter.  I felt deeply remorse. Thank you, Lindo Jong, for teaching me a lesson. I promise to never hurt my mother again because I am a big girl now.

Suyuan Woo’s Character

From The Joy Luck Club written by Amy Tan, I like Suyan Woo’s Character. Suyan Woo appears to be very determined, optimistic, and strong woman. During the Japanese invasion in China, Woo founded the Joy Luck Club in order to bring hope to be lucky or to bring hope to their joy (10-4). Moreover, she continues the Joy Luck Club in America with another three women.  Although she had fled from China leaving behind her everything, which includes her home, parents, family, friends, husband, and two twin daughters, she started a better life in America. She got married again, she opened Joy Luck club and began to rehabilitate. Although she did not know how to speak English fluently, she did not see America as a strange place where almost all the people speak English. Rather, she defined America as place where people could do many things to make better life (141).

Moreover, she did not forget about China. While leaving her twin daughters in China, she left them on the road with enough money, jewelries, and photos with her information on its back so that she could get find them again (327). After marrying Canning, her second husband, in America, they went back to China on “Tour”. At that time also she looked for her daughters. She wrote many letters from America to her Chinese friends to find her daughters. Even though she heard that streets name in china had been changed, she persevered to write letters. She did not lose hope (328-9). These evidences show how determined and strong she was.

If we were in her case, firstly I guess a great many of us won’t be able to come up with ideas like Joy Luck Club to help Chinese people during the calamities. Secondly, we’d take time to adapt in another big country like America without our friends and beloved ones. It’s nature for most of us to feel apprehensive and get culture shock when we alter our home. Moreover, it’s very hard to be optimistic and face challenges and obstacles for many of us. We either seek our parents’, friends’, teachers’ or elders’ suggestion during tough situations. However, Woo didn’t even share about her twin daughters to her husband.

Therefore, I really appreciate Suyuan Woo’s character. She exemplifies a character of a strong and determined woman.