October 26, 2009

On being what I am today

I always wanted to be anything but a teacher.

When I was in high school in the early 90s, I did not have much knowledge about the career options. The subject like career education was alien to us. The only career we were aware of was… teacher, doctor, and engineer. And while in school, we never bothered to ask our teachers and elders.

When I finished my high school, I was grateful that I was free, free from the burden of studies. My parents wanted me to continue my studies but I wasn't interested. I said I had enough of my studies and wanted to work against the wishes of my parents.

I had ample job opportunities and I joined my group of friends to attend the interview in the capital. We did attend the many interviews…… for NRTI, RIHS, NIE and so on…… and even got selected in almost all. But when the time came for us to join the training, the majority of my friends opted for teaching and I just followed them. I did my 2 years course at TTC, Paro, got a certificate on teaching and have been teaching since.

Reflecting on what I decided, I know that I did not become a teacher by choice. It just happened and now I believe that I was destined to be one – to bring little changes in the life of many learners.

With the passage of time, teaching has become very satisfying and fruitful. profession for me. I try my best to bring little changes in the life of the learners in my own small ways.

And now wherever I travel, I meet my students serving the country in various organizations at their own capacity and it is indeed very gratifying to see them all leading a successful and satisfying life.


October 24, 2009

Why I decided to live….

I was alone in the house because I wanted to be, to recollect my thoughts and take a decision. I wanted to, because life has been messy since the time I remember.

I had no friends in the school because I did not want anyone to know what was happening in my house and my life. To the others, I and my family were perfect – an ideal family. Both my mom and dad were working and we had everything we could wish for. But only I and my brother knew the truth. The truth, that happened every night between the four walls of our home.

There wasn’t a single night that I had slept peacefully when dad was home. Every night was spent in fear. The fear that I might hear the screams and bangs from the next room. Most of the time, we would cover our heads under the blankets to muffle away the sounds.

Every morning, my mom would cover the bruises with her makeup kit and pretend nothing happened. But I knew! But what could a ten year old girl do? All I could do was wish that all these were dream.

Then one day, everyone was out. My mom was at work and my brother was at a friend’s place and dad... he had left us. He said that he wanted to be separate from his wife. My mom, she said that she had had enough and wanted to be happy. But what about us? His children! Did we do anything to cause their breakup? I had no answer. No one seemed to care anymore. I had nothing to live for. I just wanted to die and I was preparing for it.

As I prepared to bid farewell to the world, I could visualize my mom kneeling beside my lifeless body and screaming my name.
And as I closed my eyes and said my final prayers aloud, I began to feel dizzy and fell to the floor. My entire body began to shake and I was experiencing a massive seizure which continued like eternity. And as I lay on the ground I saw the picture of my brother staring at me. It was as if the picture was pleading me to live. I then asked myself,“what am I doing?” Am I being fair to my brother who looks up to me for everything? What would he do if I am no longer around? Will he be able to cope up with the separation of another family member? I then decided that no matter what happened I would stand by my brother and try to live everyday for his sake.

After that I began to open up and made friends. My friends helped me ease my stress. And at home I am in better terms with my mom. I, no longer blame her for dad’s leaving. I just try to make life easier for my brother who is everything to me now and I am much happier than I was.

(This is fictitious work conceived with the ideas collected during the gossip with the friends)

October 19, 2009

The New Tandin of the family.

There is a large family with eight siblings out of which five of them are female.

It so happened that the eldest born of the first sister was named Tandin, the name given from Changangkhag Lhakhang. Incidentally the first born of the second sister was also named Tandin by a lam. The two Tandins wanted the third sister’s first born to be Tandin so the baby was named Tandin.

And then the fourth sister gave birth to a girl child and she was also named Tandin but to avoid confusion they all have different second name. The four elder Tandins are girls.

Recently the youngest sister gave birth to a son and he is not spared. After a much thought the baby is now named Rinsel Tandin Dorji. He became the newest Tandin of the family.

Thus all the first born of the sisters are named Tandin.


A New Year Gift!

‘……………………….. I have never come across such a fine fellow like Dorji in my life and never will.’ I thought as I moved on through that maddening crowd in Phuentsholing town.

It was a snowy morning at the capital in the mid 90s. The people were busy moving in and around the bus station, waiting for the buses to reach at their destination.
I was on winter vacation heading towards Phuentsholing. I felt so cold, so old in the dazzling snow near the standing bus. Thinking who would be next to my seat I got in. The passengers were in, except for the one who, was to be next to me was missing. I sat quietly near the window, watching at the sight of lovely snowfall over the naked apple trees.

In a moment, I watched at my watch. It was exactly 7.AM. There was hardly 5 minutes left for the departure. I became a bit worried least my co-passenger may miss the bus. My eye surveyed recklessly over the station just to trace for the signal but it was all in vain.

The bus started to move then. ‘A passenger has not come yet’ I shouted at the top of my voice. ‘Who cares, we are getting late!’ there was chorus reply from the passengers. To which I felt disappointed and kept silent.

Just at the nick of time, I heard the deep sweet voice, ‘wait for me!’ I peeped hopefully through the half condensed glass window and. Saw a man running towards the bus. ‘He must be the one!’ I thought undoubtedly.

He came in and sat next to me. He breathed so heavily chewing Doma at the same time. He looked so simple and dignified in his faded Mentse Mathra Gho, with a neatly placed Gong and Lageys. I hadn’t chance to meet such a person on formal dress, in such freezing unfriendly weather. His simplicity and identity were what impressed me most at the very first sight.

He tool a few minutes to normalize his breathing. When he did it successfully he just gave me a bear welcoming smile and said, ‘HI!’ ‘Hello’ I replied strangely. I felt somewhat uncomfortable, so returned his smile.

Though we were completely strangers we became friend within a short range of time. I had never expected it would happen the way it happened. That was a strange thing, a strange way how I became so closed, so fast with that unknown person.

After sometime, we chatted casually, freely on varying topics, as if we were seasoned friends. There was a free flow of thoughts between us. A sense of apprehension developed with a little comprehension yet I did not bother it much.
Feasting our eyes at the snowfall outside and listening to the sweet music inside, we were deeply engrossed in our won deep thoughts when I broke the silence, ‘How many children do u have?’ ‘I have two’. He answered proudly. Without nay rhyme or reason I requested. ‘Tell me your love story’.

‘It’s a very simple one. It began just twenty one years back.’ He disclosed it gladly. ‘Dema my wife, came to my life like the first snowfall when, I first met her in one of the New Year celebrations. It was on 21st February 1975. I still remember that day, that first sunshine of the day of my life.’ He took out Doma from his Hemchu, offered me one, had himself another and continued his story’. You know, my feelings towards her began barely in the mist of uncertainty and, in an utter confusion. Of course, she was aware of it.

Consequently, I made an attempt to express my feelings personally and privately to her. When I had done it, she did respect and reciprocate my love, of and only if I love her only. Thereafter, we loved each other and reached at high height and got married….’

As he narrated his fond memories, I saw some indication of delights in his a pair of blue eyes. Equally I found passengers were listening attentively the conversation.

Motivated and urged by the story, I once more questioned, ‘what is your idea of love?’ to this he responded immediately adjusting the gong around his neck. ‘Love is tying happiness in happiness’. He whispered as if, it is a matter most important.
Then staring at my eyes he said, ‘What is your ides?’ ‘It is a sweet joy….. something that sort of thing.’ ‘Ha…….ha……..ha…he laughed in a tone of great appreciation.

How our time dragged on our moment we did not notice and realized where we had reached up to. The bus stopped. ‘It’s lunch time.’ Shouted one of the passengers from the back row. We went to hotel and had Red Rice and Ema Datsi. It was nice it met our appetite.

Subsequently, the bus moved on. Once more for the last time, I put another interrogation, ‘Did you give presents to your wife so far?’ I tried to criticize him. ‘so far t haven’t. I felt it but I failed. Until recently I had an idea. Am I going to do it soon’ he explained regretfully – a compunction indeed.’

‘this is the one’. He took out instantly from his Hemchu’. ‘What is it?’ I asked deliberately as I caught hold of it from his hand. He answered’ A New Year gift!’ this time his voice became a bit sentimental.

It was an envelope but something in it. ‘Must be very precious thing’. I imagined. ‘May I look at it?’ I asked intentionally. ‘Yes why not! He said without any hesitation.

Then I put my fingers inside the enclosed envelope and fumbled for sometime. To my madness, I found a piece of paper0 a locally made paper (Dheysho) in which he had written.

Dema my dear,
I have been waiting so long for this day just to remind, I love you only.
Your Dorji

Dorji critically observed my face when I returned it. Then he smiled sweetly adding another unexpected beauty of his face. At the same time, for him, it was a matter of pride and shame. Pride, because, it is a wonderful gift for his humane expression. Shame because, I have known it, be it a highest form of gift or a just simple one.
After all, gift was and is to be known.

I patted on his shoulder and remarked, ‘it is so appropriate. That is it….’ At this critical moment, the bus suddenly came to a grinding halt. We were already at bus stop. So we said goodbye to each other. It was a time- a time to be; on our own way, in our own place and at our own work.

(This story was a written by my husband as my New Year’s Gift during our first Anniversary. It was also published in the Kuensel many years ago. )

The Realization

It seemed just yesterday that I was cuddling my daughter, seeing her toothless smile which brought laughter among the adults. Then the babbling of the first word “Apa”, while I urged her to say “Ama” and then her first day in the school where she did not let me go out of sight even for a minute. How fast the time flies I know not. But now I see my daughter almost as tall as me and taking care of her younger brother and helping me with the household chores after the school hours.

A few weeks ago I was down with fever and was taking rest when my daughter brought me a steaming cup of coffee into the room and insisted me to drink. I looked into her and a thought crossed my mind. Where had all the time gone!

I was visualizing my daughter as a kid when I realized that she had grown into a young lady without my knowledge. Looking back I realized that more than a decade had passed and my daughter is no more a kid but a young lady.

The wait…………

Thinking of you brings smile on my lips and twinkle in my eyes. I try to keep myself occupied but I find that I am not able to concentrate on what I do. I just eagerly wait for the calls that you make everyday without a miss. I need that to be connected to you.

It has been only a month but it seems like you have been gone for ages. Does it happen to everyone else? I just wonder.

The house which we called our home now gives a haunted look and I’m scared to open the door. The days are all empty and the nights are lonely. I wish I could get to you sooner but I know that I have to wait. And I eagerly wait for December to approach when we all will be together once like the good old days.

The First Love

She entered a class. Everyone looked at her thinking that she had come to the wrong classroom. Some boys sitting at the back bench called out saying that classroom belonging to the junior students was down stairs. She was new to the school so she went outside and waited for the teacher to come. Luckily the teacher came sooner than expected and she was spared the humiliation. The teacher took her inside and introduced her to the class. She was the skinniest one in the class so the whole class ended up calling her the tiny one. In the class was a boy with whom she didn’t converse much through their first year in the school.

A year ended and the school closed for the winter holidays. She was busy helping her mother with household chores when one day the postman handed her a letter. Thinking it might be from her friends she took the letter but was surprised to find an unfamiliar handwriting. She was even more surprised to know the writer. He was no other than the classmate with whom she had hardly exchanged a few words in their year together as classmates. He had expressed his feelings, saying that he was in love with her. She thought that she was being made fun of and didn’t bother to give a response.

The school reopened and they were once again in the same class and they went on as if nothing had happened. This time the boy was not going to take no for answer so he started talking to her on a smallest pretext. The girl started to like his company and waited eagerly for him.

By then it was mid year and as the time went by she fell desperately in love with him.

They finished their high school and she opted for a simple job, while he went on to pursue his dreams and continued his studies. They kept in touch through letters but the letters became less frequent with time and the distance grew. She feared that in time it might not come at all but she still kept hoping against hope that he might still have some feelings for her. Her presumption proved true when she stopping getting any letter. He did not inform nor notify her. He just slipped away from her life. She just wanted to know why he went away without any explanation. She was heart broken! Can the love be this cruel! Her life seemed just fine only a year before and now she was all alone wishing that the world would end.

She thought she wouldn’t be able to trust anyone.

It is truly said that it is difficult to forget the first love but with time, everything becomes just the memories. Time is truly a best healer. Now when she remembers those tender moments, it’s not with wounded heart but with knowing understanding because it has given her an experience of life time and made her stronger & wiser.

The Mistake.

She sat as the dusk was setting in, unaware of the darkness creeping around her. Her thoughts were far away.

Karma and Lhaden had met some years ago at a workplace. They were acquaintance, so off and on they cracked some jokes and gathered for some social gathering and that was all. They weren’t close friends. After about a year or two they went on their own ways to pursue their career.

Then they met again two years ago both happily married with loving families. Since they were old acquaintance it was natural that they talked as and when they met. But then the fate played a dirty joke on them. Karma, though, was a man with loving wife and children, his flirty nature sometimes strayed him away from the social norms. He started to make calls to Lhaden as and when he felt like and poor woman considering him as a friend responded to his call and as the call became more frequent he started making some flattering remarks to Lhaden which she ignored knowing his nature.

They exchanged friendly messages though SMS from time to time. One evening Lhaden’s husband was out of station and knowing it, karma came to her house on a pretext and called her outside the house. They talked for some time and as she asked him to leave, he wouldn’t bulge saying that he wouldn’t leave without a kiss. She didn’t know how to react on that, so she simply said that her kisses were meant only for her husband. She insisted on him to leave before anyone comes and sees them. He left but before leaving he came to her and kissed her on the cheeks. She became angry because he had crossed the threshold of friendship and simply asked him to leave and not to contact her anymore.

Karma, feeling hurt left without a backward glance.

They still see each other socially but there is no closeness that they shared earlier. They are more like strangers now. The guilt of letting the other man kiss her is killing her. She knows that she didn’t encourage him but now she is scared to be friend any man fearing it might lead to such bitter experience and she is still wondering where she went wrong.

(This writing is purely based on imagination. Any resemblance to any reader is purely coincidental)

Letting go………

Someone gave me a card once which read, “Two roads diverged in the woods and I took the path less travelled and that has made all the difference”. I used to treasure those lines during myschool days and after that.

The one who gave me the card did follow the road less travelled and I lost track of him. But I remembered him in my lonely moments and wished him back to my life.

The years passed and I met someone who made my dreams come true. I was never lonely after that but at the back of my mind I always felt some shadow over my happily settled life. I wished that he had explained why he went away after giving me so much hope.

Then recently I saw his profile on the face book and added him as friend. I had no explanation to why I did that.

One day, I was just browsing the site when he came on line and we had a chat. We caught up with what was happening in the other’s life. I didn’t ask him why he left without a word nor was there any need to ask for one. I just understood. After the chat I felt like something had been lifted from my heart that had been there all these years. I felt very light and jubilant. I felt very free. Then I realized what it feels to let go and let live.

It is truly said that “no matter what you are experiencing in your life right now, trust that all is good and unfolding in your best interest”.