„Hurray! It’s a beef curry”

What would be your reaction if a vegetarian person, sitting next to you in a dining hall, saw you eating meat and said, “ Don’t get me wrong friend, I love to see you eating meat, I feel proud when I see meat”? I used to eat beef, pork, and mutton during my childhood days. As a girl born in small village, where most of the people rely on farm work and domestic animals for their living, I usually enjoyed every meal cooked by my mother and never asked her the reasons behind eating different types of food and meat. Though my determined and hardworking mother had a lot of household chores and farm work to do, she always took some time out of her busy schedule for us, my brothers and me. I used to watch her doing work and learned many things from her in that way becoming the  apple to her eyes. She taught me how to do dishes, clean rooms, and look after our cattle. I loved to look after cattle and play with their newborn calves. The way the newborn calves slept on green grasses under a hot sunshine, showing their tongues out and eyes half shut, made me to put a bucket of cold water over them. Since I didn’t have any girlfriends to play with me, except my mother, the cows and their calves, the dogs and their puppies, and the cats, all became my good friends.

My mother always used to cook delicious, hot, chopped beef curry especially for me whenever she sees me upset or unhappy, because it was my favorite curry. Although my two brothers usually isolated me while playing games such as football and gameboy, they had never complained about my favorite food. It’s unique smell of the mixture of chopped beef, local cheese, chopped onions, a few pieces of chilies, and butter always left us unsatisfied with our first share. We went for second share and sometimes even for third share, which caused our mother to check whether we had got any holes behind our back.

I still remember how my mother cooked beef curry in our tiny kitchen. She used to add more cheese so that it would taste more delicious. I used to stay beside her and watch her making it with her heart full of love and care towards me. Every ingredient she put in the beef curry carried with it a message, saying “Your mama loves you more than herself.” These feelings used to inspire me and give me a hope to live my life to the fullest.

Moreover, my dedicated father, who believes in god and hard work, always said “You are our family’s norbu, diamond. Hurting your feelings is like committing a big crime. You are the only daughter to us and the only sister to two of them. ” This made me to feel as if I were a princess. I used to touch his hard cracked fingers and look into his beatific brown eyes whenever he said it. Similarly, though my brothers spent less time with me, they used to bring dolls, toys, and pink candies for me when they went out buy goods. Moreover, when I fell on my sick bed, my brothers used to act as doctors and sometimes would say “You should eat your meals on time. If you eat a heavy lunch now, you would be able to play by evening,” which somehow helped my mama to feed me.

Another reason why I liked a beef curry so much was whenever there were party invitations from our neighbors, relatives and friends, I was the one to attain all the invitations either with my mom, dad, or my brothers. It was because during special occasions such as marriages, birthdays, and New Year celebrations, all the people in my village cook beef curry as one of the main items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost, every household had a minimum of two to three cows and they killed one cow or ox annually to perform annual rituals. My father used to say “Without meat, it’s impossible to celebrate any kinds of festival or ceremonies.”

It was when I turned ten, my mother decided to take me with her on a pilgrimage to Bihar in India during the winter vacation. I felt as if I were on the top of the world when my mom told me about her decision. I started to pack my things – which included some new clothes and coins that I collected in my piggy box – two nights before our departure. We decided to go to India with my aunty, her family and our neighbor, Mr. Tashi, who had been on pilgrimages to India twice before. He was the one to inspire my parents to take that journey. He told my parents about a very holy place known as Buddha Gaya in Bihar, where Buddha, founder of Buddhism became enlightened. Although my parents hadn’t had any idea about the place, they had heard the name of the place through a Bhutanese proverb, which says “Before your death, you should see Lhasa in Tibet and Buddha Gaya in India once in order to get rid of all the sins you have committed in this life and purify your mind and soul.”

My mom packed her goods along with mine. She packed some dry beef and chilies. And the night before we left, she prepared red rice, a traditional Bhutanese food that has a nutty taste, and dry, red, hot chilies mixed with cheese and onions. Though the dish was fantastic, I asked for a piece of dry beef. “Why can’t you eat your food with what you have in front of you,” my elder brother yelled at me. “Sometimes, you should realize that you cannot always remain like a baby who always nags and weeps,” he continued. I couldn’t say anything, but I didn’t eat my meal until my mom passed me a piece of dry beef. Though he was only 13, he scolded me as if he were an old experienced grandpa. I wished to hit on his egg shaped head with my plate but when I saw my father looking at both of us, I just looked down on my plate and counted one to a hundred. However, when I left for bed, I murmured to myself, “It’s better for me not to take any meals than to have meals without beef.”

Next day, we said goodbye and left for the pilgrimage. We had spend almost two weeks in Buddha Gaya and within those two weeks, I learned a lot about compassion, charity, love, and peace from many great peasants like Dailai lama and Penor Rinpoche. Though I was too young to understand everything said by them, I understood that all the living animals in this world were once our own parents and we should never cause them any harm. Moreover, I met a great number of Buddhist monks who were all vegetarian. One of them even showed me a movie, which showed how ruthless butchers slaughter innocent animals in order to eradicate the thirst and greed of meat lovers. After watching the bloody scenes, the tears shed by the animals, the sharp and shiny knives of the evil eyed butchers, and the animals dying, I couldn’t even eat my dinner.

It was in the morning when I went for a walk. I saw many birds chirping, the sun peeking out from behind the clouds, incense burning in and around Buddhist temples and monks feeding grains to a flock of birds. Suddenly, I remembered how my animals back home accompanied me when I was in need of friends. However, instead of reciprocating their love, I ate their meat. I felt remorse about every time I had eaten meat. I didn’t say anything to my mother, but I decided to make a decision on my own. I went near a huge old sacred fig tree called a Bodhi tree; a tree under which Buddha got answers to all his questions about birth, aging, sickness and death, and there I promised not to eat meat any more. At that moment, I didn’t think about my temptation toward a beef curry nor did I worry about the future.

That night, I said “Mama, I have decided not to eat any kind of meat, not even beef. I learned a lot about the importance of loving all the living beings. I love my animals a lot.” My mom didn’t respond immediately, instead she looked into my eyes for some time as if she had seen a diamond rolling inside my eyes. My aunt dogmatically said, “Are you crazy, you won’t be able to eat without meat when you grow old and start to lose your strength.” I ignored her response and looked towards my mom. After a long sigh, my mom said “I am happy that I brought you here and I am happier because you learned something from this. However, you shouldn’t stop eating eggs. You are small and you need a lot of protein to become a strong woman in the future.” I wondered why she took some time to answer. Is it because she could no longer show her love towards me through a beef curry? Am I alienating myself from my mama? What would she make for me apart from a beef curry when I feel unhappy? Such questions ran through my mind throughout the night.

When we came back home, many people were surprised by the news. Most of them said, “Preaching is easy, but following what you preach is hard. Similarly, making a pomise is easy but keeping it is very difficult. Without eating meat, people will not get all the nutrition that is required for a body to grow strong and healthy.”  They even kept their eyes on me.

Very soon I am going to celebrate my 21st birthday. “Be ready to become a healthy looking 21 year old lady soon,” is what my friends have been saying nowadays. I still remember all those moments as fresh as a cucumber. I sometimes look in the mirror and ask myself how did I stop eating a beef curry without which I can’t even take a spoon of rice? Do I still miss the way my mom used to spread her love for me through that beef curry? Do I look healthy? Yes, I do miss my childhood days and my connection with my mom through the beef curry. However, I am no more a little girl. As my brother said I am no more an innocent little girl who needs proof to examine her love. I knew that my mother’s love for me is unconditional and it will be with me no matter whatever I become or wherever I am. Moreover, I sacrificed one favorite curry and in return I got three favorites, Shamu datshi, mushroom with cheese, Kewa datshi, potato with cheese, and Ema datshi, chili with cheese, which are all made with my mama’s love.

 

A great number of my good friends eat meat, but I don’t look at them in negative sense or get furious. I accepted them as themselves and learned to be happy when I see meat. Whenever, I see a beef curry, I remember my childhood days and my parents’ support, the great monks’ guidance, my desire, and the peoples’ eyes on me that have helped me to remain as a vegetarian. Getting addicted to meat and saying “It’s impossible to eat meals without meat,” is not always true. My appetite and my taste have changed after becoming a vegetarian, but the love that I get from my mama, my family, and my friends is the same, only my way of recognizing their love has matured.  I don’t want to eat the beef curry throughout my life, but I still feel pleasant when I see it.

-Dorji Om

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UG1 (AUW)

Drukgyel Dzong

My Visit to Drukgyel Dzong in Paro Bhutan

 

On 18thMay 2013, Saika, my best friend from Bangladesh, and I went to visit Drukgyal Dzong. Drukgyel Dzong, which means the fortress of the victorious Drukpas , was built in 1649 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal as a symbol to celebrate the Bhutanese’s victory over Tibetan invading forces and also to protect Bhutan from future foreign invading forces. Although the Dzong was used for storing granaries, arms, and religious for many years in the past, in 1950s the Dzong was almost completely destroyed by a fire.

Today, you will find the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. And it has become one of the tourist places in Paro Bhutan. Therefore, I took Saika to show Drukgyel Dzong. At that time, the weather was cloudy and there was a slight rainfall. Two of us had a good time taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful scene. It will just take maximum 20 minutes to see the Dzong but we stayed for 2 hours. Saika said that she enjoyed breathing fresh air, feeling the cool monsoon air, hearing silence, and walking in and around the Dzong. It is one of the best places to be with nature and its beauty.

Rudi’s Blog

Coming Soon

My Village

by Dorji Om

Old people say that no matter whether your village is under a bridge or not, it is the best place for you to live. My village is famously known as Geptay, land of happiness. It is located in the western part of Bhutan, and falls under the Paro district. It covers a hundred acres of land, and approximately 2,000 people live and work in it. There are many things that make my village precious. My village is one of the best places to settle because Paro Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in the western part of Bhutan, is located in my village.There are many hotels, shopping malls, and handicraft shops in my village because Paro International Airport, the only airport in my landlocked country, and Paro Dzong, one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan, are located either in or near my village.

In my village, if a person walks on foot from his or her own house, he or she will take a minimum of three minutes to reach his or her nearest neighbor. When I was a kid, I used to hear one neighbor calling another neighbor from their windows. I used to hear a community messenger shouting and conveying messages, sent by community heads, from door to door. However, nowadays, due to an increase in the number of people using cell phones and telephones, I don’t see or hear anyone shouting outside.

 

Most of the houses in my village are two-story Bhutanese style houses, constructed by our local carpenters. We use the upper story for ourselves. Most of us have a kitchen, a sitting room, two bed rooms, and an alter room in our upper story. The Lower story is where we store grains and crops. Most of us own our own play ground in front of our houses. We use it to let  our children play, to take rest, to dry our crops, and to park  our cars.

Like my family, most of the people living in Geptay are farmers, and they mainly depend on their farmlands for their income. Since the village is located in quite a hilly area, the houses are located on hills, and the farmlands are located on the lower plains, half a mile away from where we live. Although we traditionally used domestic animals such as oxen to plough our land, and horses to carry our goods, today, we use new advanced farm machines in our fields and vehicles to carry our goods.

There are two main roads in my village, a road that leads to the hospital and another one to Olathang Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Paro. The roads are always busy with different types of vehicles passing by. Early in the morning and in the evening, farmers come to sell their fresh vegetables and homemade products along the roads. Government servants and tourists usually buy their goods there. Young beautiful village girls also go to sell their dairy products, and hot tasty boiled corn. Students are their daily customers.

Almost all the people living in my village are Buddhist. Early in the morning, when the village seems as fresh as cucumber, we can smell the scent of butter lamp, a conspicuous feature used in Bhutanese alter rooms and temples as one of the ritual items, and hear people reciting Buddha’s doctrine from almost every household. Then, until the night falls, we can see the villagers busily working as bees. When night falls, at around 6:00pm, the caretaker of atemple blows a shell trumpet which stops the people in the village from continuing their work. They, then, call it a day and go back to their respective houses. The next day, the same routine begins again, and it remains the same except during special occasions.

Just one kilometer away, above the village in the hilly area, a small temple was constructed in 1940s by the Tibetan monk Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in order to protect the villagers from harmful devils and demons. Women from each household always go once a week to the temple to pay respect and worship our local deities. They offer a bottle of fresh milk, a bowl of red rice, and a hand of banana or other fruits. Nearby the temple, there is a stupa constructed by the affluent people to help all the living beings to purify their mind, and to terminate their sins. It’s a place where we can see a larger number of old people chanting prayers, and narrating their past stories to each other.

Red rice, hot dry red chillis, green vegetables, potatoes, pork, beef, and dry yak meat are the daily diets eaten by the people in my village, and it is considered tastier when it’s cooked by the mothers. Most of the children and adults love to have red rice, hot chillis mixed with cheese, dry yak meat, and suja, butter tea, as their lunch. It’s mandatory for all the family members to be on time for breakfast and dinner. Family members make a big circle with father, head of the family, sitting near the windows.

Although the village seems small, people inside the village are living comfortable lives. There is no severe gender or racial discrimination. Every individual is given their rights to express their thought and ideas. The unity among the villagers, grassy hills in and around the village, colorful prayer flags fluttering on the top of the hills, green farmlands on the lower planes, and uniformly constructed traditional Bhutanese houses on hills always make the village more attractive and beautiful place to live in.

by Dorji Om

Blog – coming soon

Demnächst/ Coming soon

 

Hier findest Du in Kürze Gedanken von Dorji Om, einer jungen Studentin, die aus Bhutan stammt und derzeit in Bangladesh studiert.
Sie ist nicht nur ein Fan von rudileiberl, sondern möchte gerne ihre Erfahrungen mit Euch teilen.

 

Here you will find topics and suggestions of a Young Asian Student. Coming from Bhutan she is in these days at University in Chittagong.

Being  a fan of rudileiberl she would like to share her experiences with our friends.

 

Wir freuen uns auf ihre Beiträge/ we look forward to her blogs