Sunday, January 13, 2013

At the doorway to Bhutan Civil Service: Am I Making the Right Decision?

Every individual has to decide whether it is right or wrong, true or false, big or small and for nation or self. Sometimes one right decision would bestow upon you the world’s greatest achievement and other time one wrong decision will take you to abyss of failure. Whether for good or bad, one must decide. If you don’t take a walk along a path, you will never reach the destination. One must be captain of one’s life who takes responsibility to choose the route not taken or road beaten. Consequently, one must be able to accept the consequence of one decision. While taking the decision for future one seldom knows right or wrong. All one should know is that decision made from pure feeling of heart is hardly go wrong. Even if it does, one gets satisfied in knowing that a best shot possible was given. After all, beauty of life is not in reaching destination but in journey which comprises of numerous trials and errors. The journey itself is a success as one gets to know what works and what doesn’t.
My life has always been a journey laden with emotional turbulence which makes it more worthwhile now. My entry into this world itself was a flop. I care less for the entry though because nobody has liberty to choose where to born and when to be born. Parents never choose biological children and children never chose biological parents. Soul of every creature just entered into empty worm blown away by the merit of past life. However, once you are received into this planet, one must decide one’s course of life. Every day, thousand of decisions are made by an individual. While many fail, few succeed. 
The greatest decision I made that would have greatest ramification was joining the school. I was nine years old then. At that time, I didn’t feel overage because students who were ten years older were in the same class. That was the typical school scene in the village a million light years behind urban Bhutan. As years went by, most of my friends dropped out of the school. Some due to shame of being overage, some because they didn’t see need for education, some didn’t want to suffer the torture at the hand of teacher while some were forced by parents to drop out. With transfer to urban areas for higher studies, I felt disproportionately overage throughout the years. By the time I was in class twelve, my desk mate was six years younger than me. That was the most awkward moment of my life. I felt I was oldest student in the planet.
As said earlier, one must be able to live with consequence of one’s decision. I had to wear same uniform darned and fade for five years in stretch at one time. I had to past a polythene file under my shoes with help of thump pin because the sole was impaled by pebbles beyond repair. The tears shed, energy sweated and blood ooze from backs, legs and hands every winter break working was not sufficient even to buy the necessities for the schools. Asking money (though I did) from poor siblings was a shameful experience.

After class ten, another great decision had to be made; the decision that was under my control though something in life is beyond one’s control. Many students joined the science stream aided by ego that those who took science were intelligent while others were all nitwits. Worse, teachers would coerce students in joining science stream as long as eligibility criteria were fulfilled. I was one of them. But after almost three months later, I realized that science stream was not for me. With my hard work and interests, I would never become doctor or engineer. My only aim was to be a first guy to finish degree among descendents of my grandfather (who had five children and numerous grand children.) I believe I did just that. So I shifted to arts stream despite severe resistance from teachers, friends and family members; some educated wanna-be consultants had told my family members that I would never get job by taking arts stream unless I could excel.
 Another tough decision had to be made after class twelve. That was where I think I had made a big mistake. My marks couldn’t qualify me for LLB which I had hoped because seats were reduced to three from 13 in previous year. I then wanted to take Geography with English at Sherubtse but then my friends convinced me to take Cinema because it was scholarship based on academic merit. In 2006, getting professional scholarship based on academic merit was a huge craze. The government sent me to a Film and Television School in India along with two of other students. Unfortunately, there was no degree in the fields we were sent for. There was only diploma. There seemed to have some miscommunication between not-so-agile officials of Ministry of Education and highly-skilled marketing agents of institute. We had to take a degree from other university which was optional in the college as many Indians from rich family had come to live their fantasy in film school. For college, giving degree didn’t matter as they were aiming to generate money instilling bollywood dream to wanna-be directors, actors and editors. Worse, paralysis had to strike me in my first year. Thus, I wasted away three years of college life without adding any substantive knowledge of relevance.

Due to wrong academic season, we were late for RCSE by a month. Wasting one year for guy with no source of income was huge challenge. The newspapers were bought with sole aim of finding vacancy announcements. Much to my dismay, vacancies were for engineers, for people with commercial and business degree. The vacancy for humanities backgrounds were restricted to honours students and degrees many employers were familiar with. There was no vacancy for those with Mass Communication, Advertising and Journalism, a peculiar course akin to a proverb, ‘master of none and jack of all.’ Truthfully, I was jack of few only. The wait for vacancy for general graduates seemed like eternity. Worse, the students from Kanglung always boasted of having double degree which sent shivers down my spine. Later, I realized they didn’t have double degree. What they had was double subject degree. I started boasting that I had double degree too because three years graduate diploma from deemed university is mistakenly accepted as degree by some not-so-careful employers.
One fateful noon, I heard that there were two vacancies for commercial producer in BBS. Despite my disinterests, I thought I would manage pretty well as I have additional three years diploma in film studies. Competition was fierce but I got through after a face-to-face accusation to the panel about favoritism there. However, job responsibility after signing of employment contract shocked me. In media parlance, the job of commercial producer should be execution of creative works like writing and producing paid advertisements. There, the work was marketing just like marketing officers; the dignified beggars.
Almost two years, I sweated my lungs out. Coupled with lack of marketing knowledge to the lack of motivation, the result was horrible. Every meeting, I wanted to pick fight with bosses. I had to return their advice with most venomous reply I could find. So one day, I gave a thought that I should shift to administrative jobs. For a guy who has irrelevant degree and who has no Big Papa and Big Uncle, only way I found was Royal Civil Service Exam though belated one at that as my friends were already into job after post graduation from Royal Institute of Management.

With expecting wife who loved to nag at every turn due to mood swing (I don’t blame her because every pregnant woman has that symtom), a job with enormous monetary target and with a reality show eating my head, I gave a shot at the exam that Bhutanese considered most elite of all. Except for handwriting which was worsened by paralytic hand, I did well in two subjects but I spoiled dzongkha. I was devastated.  But then, with grace of god, I qualified for Royal Institute of Management,

But today, the fear still lurked in my mind. Did I make the right decision? Am I walking away from responsibility in the corporation? What if the decision I took was another mistake? Today, I am running at 28 years of age. I have daughter of my own. Where will I run away if I don’t like the job I get? Besides, it isn’t easy to run away from civil service. But then, I made this decision after careful thought. I should be able to live with the consequence. After all, decisions made from heart are seldom wrong.
In future, I will tell my daughter to discuss what she wanted to do with me but decide herself. I will tell her that a decision made is like a spit which can’t be retrieved once out of the mouth. I will tell her that decision right or wrong made from heart hardly leaves a place for regret. Most of all, I will tell her that learning to decide from once mistake is a mark of wise human being but learning from others mistake is a mark of wiser human being.


  1. hi ata..m really touched by ur master piece...i broke into tears..Everything happens for a good reason and in your place i think you have made the right decision...don't look back and i wish u all the success and courage to soar higher and prove to the world that you are worth it..

    infact, i know you don,t vividly remember me but seriously you have been a great inspiration to me. indeed i should say that it is you who encouraged and inspired me to take dry arts despite so many challenges and confrontations from others... but my mind was all set and now i feel that i have made the right choice. for that too i owe you...
    I pray and wish for your successful life ahead and keep inspiring me...

  2. Hi Kota, I know now because I have seen you. I hope you are doing good there because here in PGDNL everybody is trying to throttle others to get few coveted seat to Judiciary.

    Thank you for calling me your aspiration because it seems a stone like me has accidentally rub the gold like you and you are shinning now..