The Degenerate Party of Torchlights – Jurmi Chhowing


First up, just so you know, I’m not an adherent of any political party.

The last time I was, the year was 2008, and I became an unwilling yet active participant of the democratic process that ended rather ignominiously for the headlining party in 2013. And like me, many came out scathing; holding their tails between their legs at what the chosen party had landed up concocting – a broth so vile it brought about their ignominious end.

Or so it seemed, to put it mildly.

Not that I was a party-zealot. I could have been one – a real contender – but my so called journalistic ethos bound me in, making certain I’d closeted myself to become a bonafide hypocrite; albeit with the best of intentions. And that is what politics does; it has this uncanny power to unleash the worst bits in ourselves.

A decade back – I was – as all Bhutanese were, hypnotized by the blinding beams of the Degenerate Party of Torchlights. And the seductive foil of their silver-tongued snake of a leadership. But time tells, the bells toll, and by 2013 the serpents in that pit had shed their private skins to reveal their public snake-skins.

Thankfully, I was gone. A part of me still feels like the coward that ran away from the battlefields when the war for the honor of the homeland was waging, if you will excuse the militaristic metaphor. But there is no barring the fact that it was a marring war.The stakes are high – after all – we are but a small nation of 700,000 brethren where every voice counts as a recognizable echo. In this land of passing familiarity, strangers are just a glance, a greeting, a handshake and a friendship away, including our so called enemies. Unless something disturbingly sinister is lurking, as was the endgame for that Degenerate Party of Torchlights, who shed their inhibitions to demonstrate their ambitions; naked as a new born babe, but stripped of the innocence. This proved to be their curse, and for want of a nest, their flocks were lost.

As cowardly as I feel about my unintentional absence, I’m glad the circus came to town and put on a halt and a show. And how the spectators saw through the shambles, or partook of it. That makes me ashamed of my countrymen who cheered from the rows and the rafters, and proud of my countrymen who saw through the hides and left those treacherous tides.

The resonance is loud and clear – abandon caution and politics becomes the bedrock of ambition that can blindly catapult both candidature and base to heightened realms of starry delusions plotting a changing of the guards and siring new dynasties.Today, barring a nominal few good men and women, there are no good men or women running the electoral race, unless proven, and none of them are proven as yet. But they do enjoy the benefit of the doubt, as did the ones prior, who were accorded the same generosity and repaid it back so falsely.

The onus is squarely onto us to pick our teeth using the sharpest toothpicks available, or fashioning one to better pick the meat; and to swallow it in or spit it out.

I’m spitting it out. Now the leaking batteries in the cells of the Degenerate Party of Torchlights are fusing out, and the party without a peripheral vision has now struck a chord with Madam X. The song they are gonna be singing is gonna be a tone-deaf jam-session of mayhem-melodies presented as merry-making serenades.Ambition gets the better of ourselves; every time. But in electoral maneuverings, that ambition must be observed and curtailed, wherever it shows its manipulating grump, like Richard The Third and his conniving hump.

But I’m also glad to hear of their duet. Just as every dog has its day, no knowing cat will give a meow. Either way, they are on Desolation Row, and Dylan wouldn’t be happy to have them there either. Their dimming torchlight has now morphed into a flickering wick burning out the last dregs of their inessential oils. I hope they burn out. And meditate in the darkness to rediscover an ember to save their own sold-out souls.

But unlike 2008, today I’m a decided voter. And the flashlight party is not getting my precious vote. No Sir. Even though the disturbing news on the rotting grapevine is that this party of poopers still commands the stray support of a cesspool of cohorts gone bonkers in the Deep Corn Lands of the East. Be careful – my Wheaties – what you hope to eat to break your nightlong fast could land up eating you by breaking dawn. And by repercussion – me – and I’ve no desire to become their breakfast, or anyone else’s meal for that matter.

Now you can try forcing in some faith in a politician; there is literally no other way, but you cannot quite put your trust in one. Trust must be earned, and earning anything of note takes time. Sometimes they earn it and then break it apart by desiring more, as amply exhibited by that party.

It is a dichotomy dressed in a paradox juxtaposition-ing itself as a non-oxymoron parading in the middle as the collective ‘Us’ – abusing the hallowed names of King, Country and People. But I’m not renting that dark hollow. I’d venture a peek in that cavernous hole if they went about dissolving the remnants of their flashlights, retired some obstinate old batteries, and began anew with a whole new cell. If ever.So what do you do? You keep your trump cards close to your chest – closer than you ever have. And you watch and match the word to the deed; the talk to the walk; and keep up the need to maintain the heed. You use your common sense. You raise your antennas north, and separate the chalk from the cheese.

And you do that in every direction. Because, as Doctor King Schultz put it in Django, ‘Bromhilda Von Shaft is Worth It’.

And Our Kingdom is Worth It.And finally, someone’s gotta touch you. It is the only way to feel yourself. There is no other way. It may be the lover. It may be the friend. But it will seldom be the politician. Unless the politician is such a lover. And such a friend. But is there such a dove perched on your hand? In your small little precious land? Playing a fair game? Peering out of your selected frame?

I do. And it is not the faces of the Degenerate Party of Torchlights. No matter how many new faces they present as the next new light.

Because they are demonstrably not worth it.

(The writer is an editor, writer and founder of yallamma_the_writing_company)