Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Here we go round the mulberry bush

History, they say, repeats itself. So does life too. ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’ was a game I played as a child with other children holding hands and going round and round and jumping in a circle. As I move into my mid-life with no trace of childhood habits whatsoever, I find myself playing the game all over again. But this time there is no hand to hold or circlings to be done. You are on the steering of your car and going round and round of Thimphu.

Well, you guessed it right. I am referring at the way we are shepherded around Thimphu by our traffic system. The way the traffic flow has been designed (or ill-designed) we are pushed into unnecessary traffic jams and into burning the pricy petrol. A friend of mine told me that the country that doesn’t produce any oil has the largest number of one-way traffic roads and a terrible traffic management system. I couldn’t agree with him more.

From my office in Hongkong market, as you drive down from Swiss Bakery I have noticed someone has put boulders to push us towards Chorten. I don’t know if this iss even a work of a government agency.  Definitely I can say it is a bad joke and behind every bad joke there is someone playing God. (The boulders have now been removed.  I wonder if it was because of this article).  

Then there is that horrible wall that extends the entire stretch of the new boulevard.  If you come down the Chang Gangkha School, you have to drive all the way to Chubachu even if you are headed for the Swimming Pool.  If people have not felt stupid building it, I feel stupid driving it!  This wall even reminds me of the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Berlin. Physical wall, some say, develops into mental wall over a period of time.  There is a theory that East Berliners have still not recovered from the mental wall they built during the Cold War period.  So, soon we will have East and West Thimphu. I fall on West Thimphu and you? May be people who planned it never heard a saying – build bridges not walls. The walling mania of course is quite contagious. The Changlam has just been walled making us go and take a round near BNB to get into the Changlam Plaza. Then the other one is the BOD channels. Coming into Thimphu and after crossing the infamous saddle bridge, you are pushed into the heart of city, and into a sure jam, even if your destination is the Memorial Chorten or you are carrying an injured man to the hospital - for which you want to shoot straight up towards the Memorial Chorten.

But there is one road I could never figure out how to use it or who uses it. The middle road that runs along Norzin Lam and the Taj Hotel (in the picture). Or was it built to be a symbolic reminder of the famous middle-path we Bhutanese never follow anyway?

I used to love playing ‘mulberry bush’. But when you are way past your times, it is an outright waste of time, energy and fuel. Anyone who does something on this issue will get a standing ovation from me on this blog, I promise.


  1. I can identify with your pains. Yes... so much pains that sometimes I choose to walk..

  2. yo .yeah ..right .. but who's listening? traffic policemen are full of themselves ..they wont listen to you..if u argue, they want your documents.
    why dont u put it up on Bhtuan Times.. it wil get more coverage we might see some reaction(positive)

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  5. Here is a trick for those of you get caught in the confusion.

    The moment a cop pulls you over, put on the most innocent face you can imagine. Greet the officer smiling from ear to ear and don't hesitate to call him Dasho. Bow down or butter up or sweeten or do what ever you have to do with your words, but say yes to everything and make him believe that he is the wisest man at that moment. Give him the saddest story you can cook up. Tell him your nearest and dearest somebody is in trouble. Swear to god and repeat again that you will not repeat again. He will let you go. But don't just go away yet, you have just succeeded in clearing your neck, but woke up Mr. ego in him. Drive around the corner and watch closely as he pulls over a Dasho. If you have a camera, capture the look on his face as he gets it right there.