March 15, 2017

Learning to burn and shine like the Japanese

In schools, what had singled out our Indian friends from us was their tireless pursuit of being studious. Obvious it was, that they topped every exams and spared not even a tiny test. So from early on, noticing in my Indian friends the industrious trait, I grew up with a belief that they were the most hardworking people.  

Even as I went to a college in India, the trend never failed to amaze me. I rather stumbled upon many Indian friends who would commit diligently in study matters.

Not until I came as a student in Japan did the very belief I have held firmly for last many years begin to falter gradually. Simply put, I almost went mad at the first sight. Then it had me ponder heavily on my resilience as a post graduate student and mused if my “its ok” mentality could fare strong in the survival of fittest. Not before long the confidence slowly dwindled away in the face of overly workaholic milieu.

It has been quite some time now in the lab. Ever since the start, I have been in attendance for not less than nearly eight hours every weekdays. However, mine deserves no mention (comes nowhere near comparison) as some of our Japanese lab members work as late as 2 or 3 in the morning.

Their indefatigable stamina and patience to work for any stretch of time defines how robust they could be in chasing their dreams.

In a country where people work day in and day out, I have seen, felt and heard, they endeavor to achieve perfection in everything they do. And the best of all- people take work, whether white or blue collar, personal or public, as their own and grumble less. Thus, hardly is there any compromise in the quality of the work.

Needless to say, this is why even at the mention of the name Japan, many relate to it as ‘near perfect’. They have stood the test of time, created annals of history and achieved immensely in diverse area within a short span. It is thus only natural that many developing countries look up to Japan as the big brother.

And to myself it as an infallible proof that anything that calls for sacrifice is worth the reward.

On the contrary, I come from a 9am to 5pm working culture. Because my circadian rhythm was fine-tuned with working fixed amount of time back home, it took quite a long to cope up with the engaging schedule and move a little harder beyond. Now that I am able to get rid of the complacent attitude, it feels wonderful to have an aura of willingness to work at any point of time. Conceivably, without even my realizing of it, the Japanese formula has really helped the social circle around expand with a stronger network.

Moreover, now I have come to deeply empathize the connotation- the land of rising sun. And I will fain accept that the making of this great nation was like the sun itself- burn and shine.

Every day, every morning witnessing the rush hour of cars in the streets and people in the subways, and as the busy nation teems to life.... I wonder if the sun could ever set in the hearts of Japanese people. 

January 27, 2017

Thank you, 2016

2016 had been a wonderful year in numerous ways.

The birth of our prince was the best thing that ever happened.

On a personal note, the year was an impartial merger of ups and downs. Glad that I have endured the worst of times, turned it into positive vibes and fared well.

Of all, winning a prestigious scholarship was the most accomplished feeling. Like they say, it was a dream come true.

One of the cherished days goes back to the time when I was invited for a send-off lunch at His Excellency Kenji Hiramatsu’s residence. The event, first of its kind, was brainchild of Japanese embassy, New Delhi, India. The news came like a bombshell. I was the lone Bhutanese among other MEXT fellows from various parts of India.

Never in my life, have I chanced so closer upon such a pluripotent figure and make conversation akin to a long lost companions. HE had every good stories to narrate about Bhutan and shared his beautiful affairs with the tiny kingdom.

We had delectable Japanese cuisines and bantered a lot. In addition, I have also had good chance to rub shoulders with some famed Japanese businessman and well-read Indian officials.

The program ended with a photo session. Getting to pose right next to His Excellency was once in a life time deal done.

As I took my sabbatical leave last year, so did my first batch of students graduate out of high school. Today many of them are freshman in various universities.

We swap words whenever time permits. And it is a sheer delight to know they are getting along well as a conscientious and competent persons. It is my great expectation that, three or four years from now, we would all complete our studies and do ourselves proud.

I have also successfully passed my entrance exam conducted last November. Now my candidature is secured. Come April, I will be enrolled as master student. 

While I can’t wait to start the first semester, I am well aware that the task ahead is daunting. But I am all geared up to embrace it from day one until the tail end. In fact, as a research student I have been put into tests several times. It was challenging but certainly not impossible. 

Another one that makes 2016 a singular year is the fact that, in my quest for learning I have bumped into so many beautiful people. Some days visiting it would be real trip down memory lane.

However, I candidly admit that I failed terribly to keep pace with writing and reading. Few posts on blog and a book to my list, what a disaster it was.

So far, for all the good things that came my way, I thank the omnipotent almighty above for being my eternal guide and answering every call. Special mention goes to my parents, siblings and beautiful other half for everything. And not to go oblivious of all those who resolutely believed in me.

As the promising New Year makes the onward march of time, I commit nothing extraordinary than to just learn, unlearn, relearn and travel a bit.

May 2017 bring us all the happiness.

December 26, 2016

The walk and the talk

It was during 2013 election. I was placed at one of the extreme places of Zhemgang, along with complete knots of strangers, to dispatch my duty as polling officer. Little did I know that the road less trodden would flash as fond memories today.

The first few hours of the journey wasn’t lively. So it took a while to break the ice.
Gradually, as we pushed further into the wild, close we felt and so full of live, the interaction became. Among us was a guy with an extensive experiences of travelling the pockets of our country, which made our journey increasingly exciting.

Our presiding officer stealing some furtive glances.

His stories were mainly that of pain and gain. Sacrifice and struggles. Tears and smiles. Diligence and reward.

As I kept listening to his account I could not help but relate it to my own life. I felt blessed to have been raised by a decent parents. However, his story had me wondered immensely on the sacrifices and struggles every parents make to comfortably raise their children, which to many of us remain frozen with time.

Once I jokingly confided that every time I receive my salary it puts me in a heavy state of dilemma. He seemed to have stirred by the funny remark and asks for the justifications.

“I am puzzled as I know not what to shop at the month end- cooking oil or an underwear”.

To my answer, he breaks into a wild laughter and forgets the lengthy trial ahead of us. On resuming his wisdom packed wrinkles, he rivets on setting priorities in life and leaves me with the same choice again- whether I should buy a cooking oil or an underwear.

“Life is not easy”, he further continued with a deep sigh as we ascended the hills. Coincidentally, and to his thoughtful tone, I said that my dad must have walked thousand miles to earn a handsome travel allowances. He paused for a short respite, dabbed the sweat and rejoined circuitously, “How do you feel cruising all these greasy and narrow paths?” Then he chortles expecting some response from my side.

My lips were half asunder as if to speak, I drew in a long breath but it escaped into a silence instead of a response. 

Noticing the silence, he adds that the real pain is earning by self and making a wise choice.

True to his words, evoking the yesteryears, I would almost achieve buying everything that came my way. Making a choice was easy then. I just had to make a list and wait for the money from home.

Meanwhile, we wait for our friends to catch us and watch the light slowly fade down the horizon. Together, off we went to lodge at our designated place and called it a night.

An elder by age, experience and wisdom, he revealed out some of the findings and interventions of his experiments with so called survival and living. Moreover, his story of becoming a sole breadwinner and taking charge of his families emboldened me to rethink and live life more meaningfully.

October 19, 2016

Lab diary

Recently, I joined my school as research student. Now, I am affiliated to reproductive science lab, graduate school of bio-agricultural sciences.

Looking back, learning Japanese language in a span of four months was fun as well as pain in the neck. In fact, a good success story for beginner like me.

Since the program was designed like a crash course it helped accelerate my language learning skills. Many tireless efforts and unwilling sacrifices were put into it to keep up with the daily lightning speed lessons. However, at the end it paid off well. At least it doesn’t make me feel alienated now.
from google
On the contrary, working in the lab for past few days had been a different story. At the very start, getting to know about the laboratory life posed a great challenge as everything was brand new. Let alone other tasks even a simple chore like borrowing books could not be performed on my own. I felt naïve and wondered if it was going to perpetuate.

Deprived of guidance, I kept reading all day long often going oblivious of my own purpose in the lab. On few occasions, a sentence or two would go around. That was it. Like working bees, hardly anyone had time.

Soon things started to fall on right track. I was assigned with my lab tutor.
Because professors have tight schedule almost every day- lab tutors are vested with a responsibility to handle the newbies. From general rules of the lab to conducting student practice, they play the role of professors, and often runs errands.

Interestingly, they can be compeers and not necessarily seniors. In the due time, such mutual relationship gradually eases the confusions and working in the lab becomes so much fun. In other sense, there is no need for excess coaching class once the master course begins in full swing.

As we are all put together in the lab- doctoral, master and few final year students, it creates an ideal place for breeding different ideas. Not only does it foster good learning atmosphere but also presents cross cultural exchange opportunities to better understand the diversity of the world. Furthermore, collaborating in team helps to gather all the pieces together and solve the puzzle.

Working in a group comprised of different levels also translates to learning from anyone- PhD or master or final year candidate.

My first lesson came from a final year student. It was about animal duty- changing of beddings, replenishing food and water for the rats and mice. Additionally, she also briefed on the records that has to be maintained in the animal room, and report any emergencies to the staff.

Championing the art of animal duty is essential, perhaps compulsory, because the entire experiment can fail miserably even if a single animal is let loose. So as a member of reproductive science it is indispensable to master the task, especially the animal handling. Most importantly, getting conversant with the rodents behavior allows for the smooth conduct of the practical.

While I remain as an ardent learner today, I pledge to commit with indefatigable stamina and make the best use of finest minds here.