Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When we were young

My Q&A team - Rinchen, P Rai, Nim, Kinzang, Tshering Tobgay, Tshering 
Norbu, Late Sherub and Sonam Loday. Most of them are still my best friends. 
Nim, Sonam Loday and Late Sherub were also in the production of "School 
Among Glaciers" - by far the biggest documentary BBS ever produced.
Between 2003 and 2005 I used to anchor a TV show on BBS TV - "Q&A with Dorji Wangchuk". I am most probably the first TV anchor in Bhutan. Definitely the first to have a show with the name of anchor tied to it. Anchors are different from newsreaders in that they conduct the show. It is a tough job. You have to look at the guests, listen, analyse, remember the questions, don't forget the facts, make follow-up questions, react accordingly, smile when you have to, keep the time, make the show interesting.

My generation in BBS perhaps started the era of discussion of issues on TV - as a public forum. This may sound banal these days but within the context of Bhutan of those years it was a very significant development. Government ministers and secretaries were untouchables (not Harijan. I mean they were unreachable). We, especially my producer Tshering Choden, had to cajole lot of officials, massage their egos and gulp down our own - and we had to also plead with many to come to the studios. For, to be questioned by a young TV host was too unbecoming and demeaning for them. But slowly things started brightening up. People started coming. And above all, the audience accepted a young brat question authorities, which was until then a social tabu.  

And in this way, I feel, perhaps my team and I, unknowingly, contributed to the culture of public discourse that was essential as Bhutan entered the era of parliamentary democracy in #2008. My two cents to nation building, I guess.

Back to my team, we were all young (I was the oldest, 36), we took pride in what we were doing and we were on top of the world. We worked hard and we partied too. Sometimes we hit every bar in town - in one single night. We monopolised the dance floors. We were welcome everywhere. The small town, which Thimphu was back then, loved us. 

We had our time, we were cocky but only when Uli and Tom (not in the pix) were not around or grilling us. These two guys were frightening figures and would be close to punching us for every mistake we made. After every show we presented ourselves in front of them like a kindergarten in front of a class teacher. We would be so scared. But I owe a lot to these two German super guys for teaching me the art and craft of TV journalism and documentary making that would ultimately become my profession - away from the engineering degree I pursued in Italy.

Life is too short to be stuck in one place. Keep moving. Have fun. Make more friends. Follow your heart. Nothing is permanent. Start and end everything your way.

1 comment:

  1. it was nice to plough through your young memoirs. Keep inspiring us.