Blessed Rainy Day and my wishful thinking...

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The sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatsho said “If, by bathing in water cleanses defilements of the mind, then the golden-eyed fish of the water, must have been liberated by now”. Such a witty observation and argument though.   I too have a doubt as a person on the path to learning Buddhist philosophy. But this way I am neither presuming thruebab as a part of Buddhist philosophy, nor am I negating the idea of thrue. I seriously don’t know. But thruebab is good time.

If it is a festival of mundane mirth so be it, let’s make it merrier. All I know is, on this day the water bodies are believed to be blessed with elixir, which can cleanse the defilements of the body, speech and mind. Until now I only have this level of knowledge. I celebrated more like a seasonal festival than a budhist tradition. But no doubt, this is definitely a time to celebrate for many reasons.

It signifies the transition of seasons. Warm and rainy summers give way to ocher autumn. The lively green, turning to golden-yellow. Autumn brings its joy of golden harvests to the largely agrarian population of Bhutan. Valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa and Wangdue and some southern and eastern dzongkhags (districts) would be awaiting the bountiful paddy harvest. Sub-alpine places like Bumthang, Haa and Gasa would be waiting to fill up their granaries with wheat, buckwheat and Barley. Good harvests are happiness indices for Bhutanese people.

Thrue is a curtain raiser to the long queue of festivals. It is primer of all festivals, which usually come in the month of October and November. After the long tiring summer of works and waiting, suddenly it’s a signal for festivities and merriment. This time in a Bhutanese life is following Gandhiji “Work as if you are to live forever and enjoy as if you are to die tomorrow”. First part is complied painstakingly the whole summer and now it’s time to reap & enjoy. We Bhutanese take it very seriously. We believe in eating like a king on such occasions and drink almost like a fish. This is so fulfilling and deeply satisfying (vouched by experience).

On the contrary, it is also a reminder of impermanence. It means change is imminent and religious festivals remind you to take life more seriously. Although they come in the disguised form of Atsara’s and Acho Phento’s, they tell you a harsh truth if you have the necessary inclination to listen. After breaking your backs for the whole summer, now you have a little breather. So, spend time in contemplating on this fleeting life and make it meaningful by doing some practice. (Sorry for being dramatic but this is how life is)

As for me, it is a time to reminisce the previous celebrations and do some wishful thinking. I wish I could boil the red rice for thugpa for tomorrow morning. Churn the Suja and get drunk with the aroma of it. I wish I could mix fresh butter with zaw and then lick my fingers like a child. Then appreciate the flowery patterns of the khabzey, the dexterity of our women folk. 

I wish I could arrange some variety of fresh local fruits, thinking of which wet my mouth. I wish I could help my wife chop some veggies and slice some meat. Crush some thingnay and peel some garlic. Pinch some red chilies and cut some tomatoes. I like cooking but because my wife does it, I love her. The best I can reasonably assure you is a proper mouth watering Bhutanese eazey. Partially burnt dry chilies, roasted tree tomatoes, crushed ginger & pepper and topping it with sprinklers of fresh local cheese. Best served from my favorite utensil, the wooden tsiku (mortar and pestle). 

Having described my imagination, I am still short by reality. But I can afford to take pride in my fantasy, because reality of a thrue is for one day and my fantasy can be forever, having etched deep in my head & heart. 

Be it Thrue or any other festival, in the end what matters is how deeply you have enjoyed. Its time you prepare to enjoy and sign off for me until next post.


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