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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014
Bhutan: Dodgy geography, but great alliteration
Manas Chakravarty
June 21, 2014
First Published: 22:46 IST(21/6/2014)
Last Updated: 23:00 IST(21/6/2014)

Bhutan is a wonderful place to visit, as the following account of my travels there shows:

Guide: Hello and welcome, we’re so glad to have you with us. Let’s start our trip.

Me: Thank you, your country is really beautiful. Reminds me of Swaziland.

Guide: Eh?

Me: The place with mountains and banks with lots of black money?

Guide: Oh, I thought they had safari parks.

Me: You’re confusing ski-ing with safari-ing.

Guide: You don’t mean Switzerland, do you?

Me: Never mind, it doesn’t matter. I would like to tell you of a new slogan I coined about the relationship between our new government and your country. N4N.

Guide: What?

Me: NDA for Nepal, of course.

Guide: Ah, have you been to Nepal?

Me: Well, I’m here now, right?

Guide: But this is Bhutan.

Me: Eh? Ah, of course, slip of the tongue.

Guide: No problem, it happens. I call India Pakistan sometimes.

Me: Guess what’s B4B then?

Guide: Hmmm ... BJP for Burundi?

Me: Burundi?

Guide: Yes, the place next to Rwanda.

Me: Of course, near Bathinda.

Guide: Possibly…geography is not my strong point.

Me: Don’t worry, you’ll learn. By B4B I meant Bharat for Bhutan. As in India helping Bhutan, you know.

Guide: Why not make it B4B4B—BJP for Bharat for Bhutan?

Me: Wonderful. But I can do better. B4B4B2B—BJP for Bharat for Bhutan to Bangladesh. How about that, eh? What is that huge shaggy creature?

Guide: Oh, that’s a yak. There are also dzos, which are hybrids. There are lots of yaks in Druk-Yul, which is  our name for Bhutan. We call ourselves Drukpa. Our currency is the ngultrum and the traditional dish I like the most is thukpa.

Me: Ok, ok, I get it. By the way, in India we have the 3Ds, you must have heard of them?

Guide: 3D movies?

Me: Don’t be silly. Democracy, demography and demand. We have 3Ds, what do you have?

Guide: See that building on top of the mountain over there? That’s a dzong. Our language is called Dzongkha. Add Druk-yul and Druk-pa. That’s 4 Ds.

Me: Wow, you beat us. But to continue with the Bs, I can expand that to B8B4B4B4B2B. It’s B ate Beans for BJP for Bharat for Bhutan to Bangladesh.

Guide: Bravo, bravo, sheer genius. What is the initial B?

Me: Oh, can be anybody. Could be Bunty, for example, or Balasubramanian.

Guide: Ah, here we are. Look, they’ve all come out to welcome you. Could you give a short speech?

Me: Dear Yak-yuls, I am honoured to be received by such lovely Ladakhi ladies, the 3 Ls. May you have many dzos. I love your big shaggy dzongs, your ngultrums and I would like to have a drukpa for lunch. And let me say in your language—ni hao.

As I expected, the speech was a big hit. The Bhutanese only clap to ward off evil spirits, so they didn’t clap, but showed their appreciation in the traditional way, by holding their bellies, howling and rolling around on the floor.


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