This episode of The Mindful Initiative podcast unravels the fascinating and inspiring story of Dr. Saamdu Chetri’s life. As the Executive Director and one of the principal architects of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Center appointed by its President Princess Kezang Choden Wangchuck and her Board of Directors, Dr. Chetri’s is a phenomenal story as he walks us through the tapestry of his life that has had a good share of turbulent times and great accomplishments. But what comes shining through is his equanimity through all the good and bad times of life. A leaf that all of us can certainly take out of the book of his life.
Show Transcription >>
Nitesh Batra: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Mindful Initiative podcast. It’s a day of privilege for me and our podcast because amongst us we have Dr Saamdu Chetri who is from Bhutan and then we’ll, we’ll know more about him, but he was one of the people who’s been responsible for Happiness Index in Bhutan and now probably all over the world as well.
Dr. Chetri: Stand in front of the mirror and look at that person in the mirror and say that you are a unique creation on this planet. You can do much better than what you’re doing and you have the ability to get to the goal that you have in your mind.
Dr. Chetri: And then I walk my path, you know, I begin my day knowing that I may not wake up tomorrow again. So I take that as a blessing; that I am alive is already a magic for me.
Nitesh Batra: So welcome to the show, Dr. Chetri.
Dr. Chetri: Thank you so much, Nitesh. Thank you so much. In fact, this is an honor for me.
Nitesh Batra: Dr Chetri, for most of our guests who come on the show I like to know a little bit about their background and their upbringing as to what led them to where they are and what have they been doing of late. So if you’d like to share a few details about that?
Dr. Chetri: Thank you. In fact, I was born in a cow shed in a very remote part of the country, grew up among animals and plants and when I was nine years old, my father wanted to bring me to school. And the school that we could go to is also a school that was born together with me in the same year. He thought I would, I was living on dairy products that I would get weak. So he brought the cow together with me to the school. Well, I continued my studies, but many times I left studies to go back home, to work in the fields. But that was not what was destined for me. My mother kept on chasing. And finally, I did complete my graduation. I did my Master’s, I did my Ph.D in Micro Finance and I decided finally, this is not the right path for me.
Dr. Chetri: And I changed my path altogether. But, some of the offices that I’ve worked in, I began as one of the first government graduates who could actually have been easily sitting on an officer’s chair, decided to… you know, leave that and go into the private sector. So, I’ve been a challenger for my own self all the time. And worked six years in private sector with the maternal uncle of the 4th king. After that I got into an international organization to work for the Swiss agency for development cooperation and help us in Bhutan and worked with them for 18 years and decided, oh, it’s time for me to retire and go home and be with my community, work with them, be with them. So I left my job and went back home. After a year, His Majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the 4th king, decided to give democracy to the people and then I was asked to come back by friends and people in the higher spaces to help them form a party.
Dr. Chetri: And I got into that mode and we formed a party called People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, which translates into English “Blissfully Harmonious Party”. And I was a campaigning manager. I didn’t want to join politics directly, but then I had to work for the Prime Minister, the then Prime Minister. Of the 47 seats as a campaigning manager, we took 45 seats and we formed the government. And the Prime Minister wanted me to work with him. So I worked five years with him. Before his government was over, he asked me that you always were aspiring to become a teacher, why don’t you become a global teacher? And I said, “How could I do that, Your Excellency?” And he said, why don’t you create a GNH Center? And that’s where I began creating the GNH center. Of course, it was under a board that we created. He himself was one of the board directors.
Dr. Chetri: We have our Royal Highness Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (འཇིགས་མེད་གེ་སར་རྣམ་རྒྱལ་དབང་ཕྱུག), the Prince of Bhutan on the board as the President now. And I became also, not only the founding member of GNH Center, but also Executive Director of the center and I ran for six years, made it a non-profit organization, but a sustainable one and decided again to retire and go back home to the village. In the meantime, I was visiting IIT Kharagpur and also I had a request from China to come to China to help them. So I was intending to go to China and in the meantime, I wrote a letter to Kharagpur and they said, “why don’t you come here?” So I started to evaluate. Money wise, was much better in China, but the culture, food, society that so close in India then I thought maybe for two years—it is just two years. So I’ll work for those two years and then take my next turn to China.
Nitesh Batra: It’s a phenomenal journey of a lot of things that have happened over the past so many years. And you haven’t had an easy childhood either. You, you just brushed through that part, you went to your education. But the motivation for other people to be happy, one of the things which a lot of countries look up to, they look up to Bhutan, is about people being happy and simple. And how does that happen in Bhutan? If you can throw a little bit light on that because like me, a lot of our listeners may not know about the people of Bhutan.
Dr. Chetri: All right. In fact, I think all Bhutanese, when we begin to walk and talk, something that we are told and taught is, be content with what you have and we are being made aware all the time that we don’t know whether we’ll wake up tomorrow or not. Life is so impermanent. So, we are taken to that journey to remind ourselves now and then, that I may not be here tomorrow. So, I need to be content with what I have. If I want greater things in life and if I don’t appreciate what I have, parents tell us that you cannot get that. So, I think the simple concept of accepting things as they are, happens to be the journey that we all Bhutanese take and happens to be the criteria for every Bhutanese to be happy because we accept ourselves then and we become ourselves.
Dr. Chetri: We don’t compare with others and we, we don’t envy others. You know, we say what I have is enough. And I think largely it’s also out of the Buddhist and Hindu teaching back there that really modulates every child in the country to learn, to share and care. That’s yet another very powerful thing that we have. So, the community vitality, the cultural diversity works because there’s so much of trust within the human beings, within families, within communities. We try and share with each other whatever resources we have; time and money for common causes within the society. So, I think this actually journey makes all Bhutanese happy. And of course, we are not what we think we are. We are part of the greater environment, you know? So therefore, Bhutan has 72% of forest cover.
Dr. Chetri: We are 80% green if you consider the Alpine shrubs and all that. But just the standing trees, we have about 72% in the country, and I know that this environment also has direct effect on everybody because our organisms quickly tie with the organisms of the nature and there is always a calming effect. So, in any valley you go, turn around and you see only forest. Having said that, I think the community vitality, living together biologically I think, we are also genetically meant to live together. So, living together is also yet another very powerful component of our happiness and government of Bhutan tries to say that you need to live at least with three generations together because we know that grandparents are the source of how we call it in Sanskrit “Sanskar” or the values are actually grandparents and if they’re living together, actually the grandchildren get those “Sanskar” and they also evolve into being very happy, kind, compassionate, empathetic human beings.
Nitesh Batra: So 72% of the country is with trees and generations living together. A lot of things are happening, and I also happened to know that the amount of carbon dioxide that’s emitted from where Bhutan is in negative, so it’s helping in a way India and China reduce their carbon imprint. But I guess, India and China need to do more on that front. About the children living together. So you don’t have an easy childhood as well. And you had some of your own challenges and just by saying that, being content is not easy. But you’re the one who has lived through that as well and being content with what that is. If you can shed a light on some of the difficult times you have had during the childhood and how you adapted or if you’re still working through them over the years, that will be interesting.
Dr. Chetri: Yes, right. Actually, you know, being born in a cow shed in remote Bhutan itself is a challenge, you know, for young days to cover. We didn’t have water. You had to walk one kilometer. So as a child I had a small pot. I would wake up every morning invariably. Even today, I have this habit of waking up at four o’clock in the morning, much before 4, in fact. But I also go to bed before 9. I’m already fast asleep by 9. So, this is still living in me. We didn’t have electricity in those days. We didn’t have any kind of roads or we never saw what a car looked like. Forget about the modernity that is there today. So, we had our share of life and then, you know, early morning I would go and get a bucket full of water that I could carry as a young boy, bring home and prepare tea for my parents, you know, before they even get out of their bed.
Dr. Chetri: That was a promise that I gave to myself, that I need to serve my parents because I am because of them. Still my respect for them and for every parent on this planet is so very high. Just talking about today, driving from Netrahat (in Jharkhand), I saw a lady with a baby on her back and she was working and I cried thinking about my mother. She would have done exactly the same, you know, because that was the way of life. But we have always accepted who we are, what we are. When that acceptance comes into us, then we realize that nothing bothers us anymore, you know, so it helps us to grow better. And so my childhood has been very rough. Nothing really to live on except dairy products, and all that. A little bit of whatever you could crop on them, you know, a rugged hillside and things like that. And even when I came to school, it was not an easy thing. Although my father brought a cow with me to school. It was not easy because people coming from that remote area….your dress, the way you dress, the way you walked or some very different from the so called little urban, urbanized area. So they would call me Bhutangi Tuligana, which means…Tuligana is a bird–a nasty, dirty, smelly bird, actually, that’s the name of the bird –Tuligana and Bhutangi means the guy from really deep inside of the country, you know. So they used to call me with that name, but I never took it to heart, in my heart because I knew what they’re saying is, they’re saying. Not me. So I believed in me, myself very strongly.
Dr. Chetri: And that was my childhood that I came through. And as young as I was just 14 years, I got married. And another part of my journey began. Although before that actually when I was just 11 years old, my house broke. In other words, all my brothers separated from home because I think they were not doing well. My father was very angry. I don’t remember the real reasons, but they all separated and there was nobody to look after parents. I was just 11 years old. So the first time I gave up schooling. And I worked at home for one whole year until my brother came to rescue. And then he found a solution that somebody would look after my parents. Then I went to my schooling again. At the age of 14 I got married and it was yet another tough journey for me. Wife at home, parents alone because after I got married you know, the in-between solution that was worked out by my brother, that person also left home.
Dr. Chetri: So my old parents and my wife, you know, young wife, who was barely 12 years old. So you know, I carried my life this way. I completed my graduation, although. But in between there a lot of stories. Like, my wife got raped. I was graduating then. I already had a daughter when I was 20 years old. Then, she was pregnant again. And I was in my final years of my schooling, my graduation in Chandigarh and she was raped. And then when I got a letter from my father that your wife would be delivering very soon, but she was raped and this and that, immediately I took leave and went home. And then I told her, look, this is not your problem. Forget it as a bad dream. You know, because we can’t do anything about it. What has happened has happened, accept it and forget it as a bad dream. But I think although she believed in me, deep down probably she was really in turmoil, which I didn’t understand then. She said, “I want you to meet this man or did this act.” He was a forest officer, so he was in a place 125/130 kilometers away from my hometown to a place called Phuntsholing. I wanted to meet him.
Dr. Chetri: So I took an appointment, although he didn’t want to meet to me, but I kind of convinced that I wanted to meet him and I didn’t have any intention to hit him or to kill him or do anything because I thought, I don’t know the real story how this whole thing developed. Why did he have to do that act? All I wanted to ask him was because of his act, the pain that he brought in the family was so large, I wanted to make him reflect on this. Then I wanted to also get a promise from him that he will not do this act again in his life. That’s all I wanted. So, finally he agreed at five o’clock that on a particular day, that we’ll meet. And I went to meet him, but um, he wasn’t there and they told me that he was 45 kilometers up somewhere, but he was coming down for a meeting– he said a very important meeting and he asked two of the guards to remain behind.
Dr. Chetri: So we’re here. That’s what they said. So waited five, six, seven and they confirmed that he has left at 3.30 or something from 45 kilometers up the mountain called a place called Gedu. But he wasn’t there. At 8.30 about, we got the final message. By then they had dressed him, that he had run over the hill, gone down and killed himself. So it was a terrible accident actually. So he died in an accident. I couldn’t meet him. Went back, completed my graduation, came back and then, just before I came back, we lost her- my wife. I got information saying that she’s not at home. She has left home. We don’t know where she went. And it was a turmoil for me. So I came back and reported to police and we started to, we did that search, for about six months. We didn’t find where she was.
Dr. Chetri: So we finally did her last rites, even. And in the meantime, I got married because I had little kids. And I got married to a friend, a lady, such a great lady who said, I know your problems, I’ll come with you to look after your children. You don’t have to marry me, you have to feed me, clothe to me, give me pocket money. And I thought she would be my best wife. So I asked her and she said, no, I cannot say yes. You have to ask my hand with my parents. So it was a tough job. They didn’t agree. So the last day actually I was intending to say bye to the family. I went to their house. It was still in the graduation period of time, you know. I was just finishing my graduation. And she had left home, there was nobody and we knew that should have killed herself.
Dr. Chetri: So I needed somebody, couldn’t convince anybody. So I went to bid farewell and then I found she was alone at home. So we chatted for a while and as I was leaving, the mother in law came in. I met her at the door and then she pushed me in and said, when did you come? I said, maybe an hour ago. And she said, you wait here. Took the daughter in. I don’t know what they talked. She came out and said, you’re going to marry her. I think she had totally taken wrongly our meeting there. But it was a blessing in disguise for me. Got married, came and she promised that she would look after our children for six years. So when the youngest guy was 6+, we got our first child from the present wife. So it has been a hard journey for me in life. But I’ve always accepted things as they are because I know deep down that it’s designed somewhere. All that we need to have is right intention. And if we have right intention, accept things as they are, you know, have right efforts, everything will fall in place. When the time right time comes, right circumstances come and right attitude happens.
Nitesh Batra: Oh Dr. Chetri. I, I was just speechless. So while I was listening to the entire childhood and so many things have happened and sitting in front of me with such calmness and your face is so bright and you’re teaching people how to be happy despite the challenges that have happened. What does it mean to be happy, Dr. Chetri?
Nitesh Batra: Well, to me, um, as you just said, that, you know, calmness, you know, in your mind and peace in your heart. I feel this is happiness for me and this I get just because I don’t live in the past, nor do I think about future. I try to, you know, work, what is there today for me and what can I do one good thing that if he ever tomorrow came, that I would be happy about or that it would take me to a next level. So I tried to nurture myself in through these mechanisms and I also try to, you know, reap, harvest, whatever the day gives me. So in the morning as I get up, the first thing I do is, I say thank you mother earth as I step down onto her. That I’m alive, I will walk on you, forgive me, you know, you nourish me, I’m grateful to you. I’ll try and do my best today. And if I make mistakes or unintentionally any mistakes or if I happen to do anything wrong, forgive me. I leave the rest to you, you know, So I just remember some of the deities that I worship. I remember them and then I walk my path. You know, I begin my day knowing that I may not wake up tomorrow again. So I take that as a blessing that I’m alive is already a magic for me.
Nitesh Batra: The urban cities in India and some of the other parts of Asia are becoming more Western in the way they live and the way they conduct themselves. And thinking about the idea of future is what is expected for most of us or that’s what we are taught. Because we are working towards that. And one of the things or one of the challenges which people have is letting go of their past as well. Now, as someone who practices that, how do you make this as scalable? Or scalable maybe too farfetched or too further ahead, but how do you make it an idea that people buy into? Because they are so attached to their past and so much looking forward to the future.
Dr. Chetri: Well I think uh, that’s how the journey of Bhutan began sometime ago. That his majesty, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck who was a prince of 16 years old. He was in England and he was visiting from some Nordic countries and he found out that the kind of happiness that people derived was from out of lot of consumption and production. Lot of waste. And he thought of his little country and realized, “I can’t bring this concept back home. I need to think differently.” So he thought, what would be those things that people want at the end of the life or all their life? What is that one thing they would have as a goal? And he realized that all human beings want to be happy. And that’s how you came with this concept of Gross National Happiness, actually. But then something wonderful he did was he went to people and said, how can I make you happy?
Dr. Chetri: And people said, okay, great king, whatever you give us, whatever you tell us, we’ll be happy. He said, “No, you have to take a decision on your own. You have to decide what happiness means to you. I can provide conditions towards that, but I can’t give you happiness.” So in the same way, I think happiness is something that we cannot force into somebody. But what we can do through this concept is ask them, right questions, ask them what do you want of your life? And if they say happiness, then we can say, okay, there are some techniques, tools, skills that you can develop around happiness. And I think this very fact actually has also been realized in IIT Kharagpur. Therefore, they found that you know, students coming from all over competitive world, they suddenly find that they are one of the many competitors for the same thing, you know. Who have stood up in their own space and area so highly. So now the challenge comes to them is how do I overcome myself? You know, they are faced with this challenge but by facing that challenge, what we try to do is induce them into an induction program to open them up and show them a path when difficulty arises, how do they do? You are first from here, your are first from there, she’s first…. you all can’t be first here. One of you will be first. Next time you’ll be first, next time she’ll be first. It will be competition but how do you embark that in these uncertainties? How do you manage yourself? Do you know yourself? Do you know others? So, we try to carry them through this process. In the same way, I think we need to bring this sensitization in the urban areas.
Dr. Chetri: Really target a few people probably who are really very depressed, very anxious and take them through a journey as a proof that it works. And once you have proven, then probably, you can advertise that, look, people under this category, we did this and they now are much happier doing well, much better. There’s no one formula which we can take and make people understand. If you say, Oh, I have a happiness center. Come, I’ll make you happy, does not work at all. I think we need to touch their nerves a bit, you know and see what they really want. So many people in their areas, they want to be leaders. So you could call happy leadership journey or something. You can title the programs that you want to run. Although it is all about happiness. But you just can title in a way that you can win their hearts, that’s the place I need to go to.
Dr. Chetri: And then of course you can carry them through the journey, which they would not have realized at all. And they’ll go back full of appreciation because this is what I practice also, back in Bhutan with GNH center. Most –all of my clients rather, were Westerners. They came from all over the world and all we did was took them through a journey of 7 to 10 days. You know, depending on what time the groups came with and we have this process called Theory U. The founding person is a Prof. Otto Scharmer from MIT in Boston. He started an institute called Presencing Institute. So this Theory U is his theory. What he does is, he lets people observe, feel– lot of throwing of information into them. And we ask them to really open their mind and sit. No question, no assessment, no evaluation in the mind.
Dr. Chetri: Just listen and observe whatever you can, but keep your mind to open. And the next we do is, we take them through visual things. So we take them on a journey of what we want to really bring them home to. So we take them through that journey that they can visualize, feel for themselves, see, you know, observe and after that, we take them back for a retreat and throw them right questions so that they begin to think, oh, this is what I need to do. And then we help them for a small prototype, what they want to do when they go back home. So this is a journey that we take. It seems to be very effective. And we don’t have just name of happiness, you know. One common was journey through Gross National Happiness. That was the only thing. Otherwise we have leadership in happy leaders, happy teachers change the world, things like that, in education. So we can title in such a way and then buy their hearts to come and join you so that you can spread this concept of happiness, you know?
Nitesh Batra: So you start somewhere, start somewhere, you start small and depending upon how it’s spreading, you grow and grow.
Dr. Chetri: Exactly. Exactly.
Nitesh Batra: Yeah. And then you customize it depending upon who the audience is.
Dr. Chetri: Exactly. Yes. Their needs and who the audience is. Yes.
Nitesh Batra: And talking about that, you’ve been working with some of the governments in India as well to make happiness as part of the curriculum in schools and some of the other areas. Can you talk a little bit about that as well?
Dr. Chetri: Yes. The Rekhi Center of Excellence for the Science of Happiness at IIT Kharagpur, which actually is funded by Rekhi and our director is very much you know, supportive of the whole idea. I think that’s how it to birth two years ago. And, you know, the head of department, Mr Patnaik is actually the coordinator for the center and he has a team of eight, nine people who are directly involved also in this Rekhi. But they are from the Humanities Department. So, they are very involved in fact. And I’m involved not directly, but as an external kind of a person observing from outside and maybe providing feedback and if I see some advice required and then giving those kind of things. But we’ve been very involved at the Rekhi Center, the IIT Humanities Department under the name of Rekhi Center. We’ve been very involved in helping develop indexes for Madhya Pradesh government.
Dr. Chetri: We in fact sampled 23,000 samples and we collected 900 samples. We did an analysis and we wrote a report and presented on an international conference. Highly appreciated and just two months ago we finished the final edits of the questionnaire. Now these 23,000 samples will be collected, probably, they will be the largest in the world in terms of happiness. And I hope this will give a mesmerizing concept about a new concept altogether about happiness. So we also tried to see through three areas. One is so called Autonomy, the other is Acceptance and then Affluence. What are these three areas? We find that these three areas are very important for people’s happiness. Like we talk about MBA. And so one through the provision by the government, one on people’s own efforts and accords and individual. So these three things we are trying to see to combine to see how the results will be.
Dr. Chetri: I don’t know, by end of the year we should have something out. And is another city, a new city in Kolkata, which also our colleagues are working very hard on. Likewise, we have small projects all through in India and we have three, four courses actually at IIT Kharagpur. We are developing into a neuro labs now –neurological labs. So we have a neuroscientist, Prof Manas, and very soon, maybe within the next six months we should be able to roll out even that. So it will be one of the primary psychological, really neuro based research that’s going to happen at IIT Kharagpur. And I think we will have, you know, like controlled group for this to take them through this process. So some of the skills that we will develop is mindfulness and meditation definitely. And look through how it works. So we have introduction to gross national happiness as a three credit course which I teach.
Dr. Chetri: Then we have Science of Happiness which is also three credit course where 8-9 professors are involved in. Then, we have Happiness at Work Place. Then… Now we are developing retreats– Happiness Retreats for shorter courses. And now, we have opened with the blessings of the Director, we have opened up for research scholars and we have 18 applicants. Of which 15 have been selected. On the 4th of December 2018 they will sit for exams and let’s see how many of them pass. And they come from different disciplines, you know. So we are very hopeful that we will produce one of the largest groups of happiness scholars out of this, whoever would be selected.
Nitesh Batra: It’s one of the first centers in India, which is directly relating neuroplasticity, to happiness or mindfulness. There have been smaller centers across India, which are doing researches in FMRI as well. But I think this has been one of the largest institutions in the country. So I’m really looking forward to the results and I’m really looking forward to what kind of research that comes out so that we can start applying it. A lot of us know about that happiness is within us. We would like to be happy with whatever situation is given. But if science backs it, people believe it more and more.
Dr. Chetri: Exactly. Exactly. Yes. This is the whole idea why we want to really ground it down here. Although we know there are so many research done outside of India but you know if you deeply look down, look into the whole thing what India has given to the world. Everything, actually. And why do we copy them back? You know we should do it in our own land here.
Nitesh Batra: And that’s what is exactly happening. It’ll become more indigenous. That’s what we are getting forward to.
Nitesh Batra: We’re getting towards the end of our time. I have one final question. So given the scale of work and then the body of work that you have had over the years, if you had a message for our listeners and people who are going to tune in later, what would that be in terms of being content which you talked about and being happy and its relation to their day to day life?
Dr. Chetri: Right. First thing is to be yourself. I would advise all of you who are listening to me, stand in front of the mirror and look at that person in the mirror and say that you are a unique creation on this planet. You can do much better than what you’re doing and you have the ability to get to the goal that you have in your mind and by that you become yourself. You know really yourself, not in competition, not in comparing, not complaining, but be yourself. Live your own life, compete yourself. That is the first thing I would like to say. The next thing is, learn to forgive and forgive yourself. Learn to forgive others. Forgive yourself. Very important. Have right intentions all the time. Whatever comes with that, you know your efforts will be right. Your actions will be right. But during that process, even if you made any mistakes, just let it go because you’ll be forgiven. And if nothing happens, even with your best of intentions, don’t worry because universe has something else for you. So nothing to worry about. Just continue your life as it is. Be grateful to yourself. Be grateful to what you have, what you get every day. And try and give something everyday, invariably something to others and say, sorry and thank you every moment in your life. I guarantee you, you’ll always be happy. You’ll do better and better in your lives.
Nitesh Batra: Thank you. That’s a wonderful message and I don’t want to leave out that Bhutan is such a beautiful country of yours and if you would like to talk a little bit about where people should go and what they should do if they visit Bhutan and I think everyone should. But that would be a great thing if you can talk a little bit about where should they go and what’s the best time to visit Bhutan?
Dr. Chetri: All right. Yes. As you mentioned, Bhutan is a beautiful country. I think Bhutanese themselves don’t really know that it’s such a beautiful country, but we realize only when people come and say, wow, Bhutan is so beautiful, people are so happy. The places to go to Bhutan. Of course if you fly in from Kolkata or anywhere, you land in Paro the only international airport that we have. Paro is a place to visit, a beautiful valley. Then you have Thimpu, Haa on the western side. You have Punakha , Wangdue on the western part. Depends how long you want to go. If you just go for a week, the places that you can cover is Paro, Thimpu and Punakha. They’re all really lovely places in the western part of the country. If you have a little more than let’s say 8/9 days, then include Haa as well. It’s also on the western side and it’s beautiful. And then if you go for more days, 10 to 12 to 15 days, then go as far as Bumthang is concerned, central part of Bhutan.
Dr. Chetri: I would advise if you have time, take a journey from Guwahati, enter from the east and exit from the West. That would be the most beautiful. The times to visit actually is March-May is a beautiful time. Even early part of June is good. Then the rains start and then autumn is a good time beginning from mid of September onwards until end of November, but it becomes a little chilly in which part you are in the country during November because the temperature slide down to 19 degrees about during the day, if you have sunny days. So, but the chances of having sunny days almost a hundred percent. So you can be warm always during the day, but nights– it’s a bit cold. But you have many places to visit. But mainly when you go for a week, you go to these three places generally. And there are wonderful trekking paths and you know, a day hikes. And it is mesmerizing…every step that you take in the country.
Nitesh Batra: Perfect. That makes me want to go. The way we end our podcasts usually is we ask three very random questions to our guests. So if you are ready for it, my first question is, what’s your one childhood memory that comes to your mind right now?
Dr. Chetri: Well, being with cows.
Nitesh Batra: What’s your favorite food?
Dr. Chetri: Rajma and rice.
Nitesh Batra: That’s my favorite as well. I love Rajma Chawal–it’s, it’s amazing. And I know you love songs. What’s your favorite song?
Dr. Chetri: Well, I started with the song Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai…. That’s probably my most favorite because that was the first Hindi song I ever sang.
Nitesh Batra: And I also know that you sing. So, I would like you to sing a few lines for our listeners if you can, please.
Dr. Chetri: Okay. I’ll try. I’m not a singer. A bathroom singer, definitely. (Sings….)
Nitesh Batra: Wow, that was beautiful. That was beautiful. Thank you so much for singing and thank you so much for being part of our podcast.
Dr. Chetri: An honor. Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you. Niteshji, thank you.
Nitesh Batra: Thank you so much everyone who has tuned in to listen to our podcast, The Mindful Initiative. If you like our show, please share it with your friends and family and don’t forget to rate us either on iTunes or anywhere you get our podcast. A podcast is available on Android and Google Play and on iTunes and on our website at themindfulinitiative.com. Thank you so much.
Editing: Juan Pablo Velasquez Luna
Transcription: Gita Venkat