Saturday, August 6, 2016

Of Dreams and Role Models - Finale

Disappointments are …
…a part of the package for those who dare to dream. They come, at times, without any warning – as a bolt from the blues. That is called fate. Other times it comes as betrayals, rejections and human wickedness. That is destiny.

Sometimes when your journey comes to a dead end, you need to go back to
where everything began. You realise you have come a long way.
For the young, who are trying to get their first break, they come in form of long waiting game - thanks to general apathy and indifference. In an age where everything runs at cyber speed, it can be frustrating when things don’t move at the speed you would expect or the way you would want. 

My life may look rosy – full of adventures, surrounded by wonderful people and with amazing achievements under my belt. 

From walking barefoot in Trashigang to dining with heads of States in the Imperial Palace of Japan, yes, I have come a long way. But I had my fair share of disappointments and setbacks at several stages in my life. I have also found myself in the darkest pitch where I felt scared, lonely and insignificant. 

But when I look back I find those disappointments were not as bad as I thought back then. They actually opened my eyes and made me discover my true friends, and how much my siblings and my family loved me and were ready to stand by me - and how many relatives I had. Everyone were wishing me to spring back to life - filled with new promises and prominence. 

Disappointments also made me wiser. They taught me to cherish every person I meet, and every moment I live and every opportunity that came along.
In achievements I found my enemies. But in disappointments I found myself 
Yes, we live in a cruel world of enemies and envies. People creating nothing but falsities around you. Those who were ahead of me saw me as threats. Random people who have not even known me but couldn’t succeed themselves because of their own shortcomings targeted me for being little more successful than them.

What I learnt in the end is that there is absolutely a very fine line between achievements and disappointments – between success and failure. They are non-dualistic in nature. So, do not think that achievements are absolutely wonderful and disappointments are necessarily bad. Deal with both very carefully – and as they come. And if you should find yourself in a hole, there is only one way out - and that is to climb up. Cry if you must. Then, take a deep breath, wipe your tears, jump out of the hole and start running again. And don't look back. 
Success is when someone builds a bridge for you to visit them.
On my way to Lamga village in Central Bhutan.

Now there is one thing …
… that stands between you and your dreams; between you and your “success” and between you and your talent. That is called ego. And we Bhutanese seem to have more than any other nationality that I have come across. I have been to 39 countries so far and have met every nationality on Earth.

Thanks to our ego, we have territorialism in the bureaucracy; gang fights among our teens, unemployment among our youth and tensions among colleagues at work place. Because of ego, many civil servants are not civil at all let alone servants. People who have just landed their first job don’t need mentors or seniors advising them. Those who don't even have jobs don't want to do certain tasks. Some of our elected officials and bureaucrats become wise and enlightened overnight once they adorn the kabney and patang. Actors and directors who make couple of films forget who gave them their first break. I have not met a single Bhutanese who told me something like, "If it were not for him or her I would have never made it." Of course, there are lots of lip services of endless gratitudes to the monarchs. 
If we Bhutanese can do away with just 10% of our ego, 90% of the problems in this country will be solved.
In all these years of being in the media, interviewing many successful people I have never met one Bhutanese who acknowledged another Bhutanese publicly or privately. Of course, I have had many Bhutanese - even senior officials, say that our King is our role model. Some even claimed the King as a mentor and as a drinchhen ghi phamaBut one is supposed follow one’s role model and emulate him. Instead, people chase Prados, grab lands and foreign trips or try to head for Australia. Recently, while our Role Model was in the South braving the rain, flood, leeches and security threats to be among those affected by the massive rainfall, we were all lining up to hoard fuel and food in the capital, Thimphu. Wasn’t it a shame that the PM had to tweet to the people not to panic and not to hoard?

In closing …
… there will surely be more dreams to come in our lives and many more role models as guiding companions. Stretch your mind, dream big, keep on dreaming, and never give up. 
For, once you stop dreaming, you stop learning; and once you stop learning, your stop living.
You may not turn out to be a Kung Fu master, land on the Moon, win the Olympic Gold, play like Pele, or even look like Clint Eastwood (although now I feel I much look better than him).  
But, in the journey we call “life”, getting there is less important than gaining valuable experience along the way.  
There is no such thing as “achieving nothing” unless, of course, you have no dreams at all.

There is a poem that couldn’t have summarized my thoughts any better.  It is called “Ithaka” by a Greek poet, C. P. Cavafy. I dedicate this to all the readers and wish you successful dreams and surmountable disappointments.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope that your journey is a long one,
full of adventures, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon
— don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare sensation touches
your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon —
you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope that your journey is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;

May you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn, and learn again from those who know.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so that you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor,
Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become,
so full of experience,
you will have understood by then
what these Ithakas mean.


  1. Just too good and lines have been fantastically so true.

  2. I read for the 2nd time, i shall read few more times whenever i feel uncomfortable and the way ahead is cloudy.
    thank u sir

  3. Enjoyed reading this ! Couldn't help but feel how similar our views are !! While I cannot to have lived and learnt as much as you have, I cannot hwelp but think all the hopeless nights I also spent thinking now what?? I never let myself in that hole much longer though for the same reason that one must get up and keep running at life ! I don't know when will I ever be able to achieve the dreams that I have , that I always preciously cherished but I made a promise to not give up no matter what !

  4. Wonderful lines sir. I must say your thoughts have come to me as one of the biggest lesson. Thank you..

  5. I am so happy that my story resonates with that of many.

    It's true what Gandhi said, "Why we have many bodies? We have buy one soul".

    My hopes and prayers that you will achieve your dreams and more than that you will tide over your disappointments.