Friday, August 10, 2012

AWAY FROM HOME

 Early at 4:30 AM, I got up as  informed by one of my friends to report Paro air port at 6 AM. My aunt Leymo, sister Yeshi Wangmo and Tshering Dema were at Paro to see me off.  At 8:00 AM, the Druk Air has taken off towards the Indra Gandhi International Air port, Delhi. For most of us, it was the first experience flying in an air bus. Our Bhutanese stewards and stewardesses were quite kind and generous .During the course of flying, cabin assistant explained different types of mountains that are popular in the world and we could glimpse peaks enveloped by permanent snow.

After 1 hour and 30 minutes journey, Druk Air landed in Delhi International Air Port. We all went inside the immigration office. There were Indian men in the counter where we have to produce pass port. They scolded us badly for not being in queue.  From immigration office, we went to bus stop to get slip in lieu of ticket to go to the Domestic Air Port, Delhi. When we reached inside the domestic air port immigration office, they asked us to show pass port but some of our friends didn't own it. They were sent to get sign from immigration officer. Then they checked our luggage thoroughly and spotted chili pickles and meat pickles in one of the ladies luggage. Immigration officials confiscated the items and asked to throw. Upon her repeated pleas they gave back her items. 

Our next flied to Amritsar was at 2:30 PM but we arrived at 9: 30 AM prior to the flied schedule. So we decided to have lunch. We ordered rice with plain vegetable curry that cost us RS.170/- double the cost of rice with chicken in Bhutan. Norbu, one of the friends drank just a cup of beer that cost him Rs.200/- It was amazing to know that Indian sell beer in packs like that of  hard drinks sold int Bhutan.

Exactly at 2: 00 PM Spice bus picked us up to the Spice Jet Port. The Spice Jet lifted into the air at 2:30 PM. It was approximately one hour and fifteen minutes journey from Delhi to Amritsar domestic air port.  From Amritsar we were picked up by the University Bus. It is two hours journey to reach in the university. We were directly directed to the Admission Block where international coordinator welcomed us and guided to the dormitory.  International coordinator said without admission being done we must eat food from the mess paying cash so we did in the evening but in the morning we all lied that we were fresh and yet to get our mess card. 

On 31st we had our admission; submission of original academic transcripts, migration certificate, hotel fee, tuition fee, laundry fee and admitting into UMS (i.e. university management system).  From 1st to 3rd August we were left free to roam around the campus and city nearby.  Freshmen induction course started from 4th to 6th August to get new students familiarize with the rules and regulation of the university. I, teacher in Bhutan became student in India commencing from 7th August, struggling to get in to the classroom situation and fighting to concentrate on lectures. I was dripped into thoughts of my past school life in 1990s sitting back on the chair and scribbling notes from the chalkboard. Never mind what sort of situation confessed, learning is life long process going to stop simultaneously with breathing.

 
FUNNY INCIDENCE
1.      Kuzang, one friend hit his head to the glass door of Shopping Mall while going in.
2.    One of the Sherubtse Assistant Lecturer lost way in the university campus while returning home. 
3.  Many Bhutanese students got ragged by Mess Contractor for no mess card carried while attending meals.
4. Very first day of our class 11 Bhutanese students lost in the nine storied building to find Political class.
5.   Two Bhutanese Economic students nearly died inside the elevator when light went off.
6.    One history student lost way while returning to the dormitory after class.
7.  One friend; Tandin wangchuk fell down inside the Air bus toilet when there was turbulence in thick cloud.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life Saga

Life consist series of tales and anecdotes without which, is flavorless.
 
Traveling through Sarpang-Gelephu high way get me back to those tiresome winter days loaded with four-five hundred oranges in a bamboo basket, fully soaked in dripping sweats, and stomach furiously growled for lunch. It was in chilly winter at times of student life, I with friends used to arrive at Sarpang for temporary job "transport oranges from off road to on road." Rose, early in the dawn and slept late at night, sheltered beneath the shabby trees, toiled whole months along the river side and oranges were only our lunch. With tormented struggle, we would earn few bucks to buy school uniforms, stationery and some pocket money that eventually eased the burden on family. As soon as orange season get off, we return home with fainted energy not even able to walk, eyes sunken inside the socket figuratively that of skeleton in science lab. Believe it or not, that was how education cost me at times.   

 I was born to the family of Tshewang Dorji and Gyem Lhamo in the village called Khomshar, Bardho, Zhemgang. I am the eldest of four siblings. Out of which only two survived, me and a sister. A brother and a sister left the world for peaceful heavenly abode. Dearly parents toiled hard to provide us education without any income source. I remain indebted to parents and teachers for shaping what I am at now. 

In the past, most of the people were uneducated and engulfed with ignorance that perhaps led living in darkness. They didn’t really know the value of education and the status of living in the society. They didn’t want children going to the school. My parents too didn’t allow me to go to the school. I have been at home with parents helping them looking after the cattle. In the year 1990, a new school was opened in my village under the leadership of Mr. Tshering Wormling. I insisted parents to send me off but they didn’t. I saw friends happily going to the school so I went with them without notice of my parents. When I enrolled in the school, I was then eight years of age. No surprise there were many older students than me. I studied at Khomshar Community Primary school up to class three and transferred to Bardho Community Primary in 1995. I found teachers so strict and students aged at twenties. Types of meals served were beyond imagination. The morning breakfast was porridge made with leftover dinner. Dinner and lunch were served few spoonfuls that could just withhold life. During weekends we had to work for teachers in their fields and gardens. In some weekends we had to take leave at home to get some edible items that would supplement upon the meals got from the school. When I ponder back that spicy life, the school was actually supported by WFP because rations come from government and I could faintly remember sign board written WFP store. But we the borders were made to contribute 20 dreys kharang, 10 phetas salt, and 20 kilograms vegetables in lieu of Nu.100/- or either,  day scholars just the half as they get only lunch. On Saturdays borders had to collect firewood and vegetables from the forest. Sometimes the school remained closed due to ration depletion in the store and sent us home to get rations.

After the examination all teachers used to go at their respective villages to spend three months winter vacation and the bigger boys ought to help carrying things to reach at road point. It takes three days minimum to reach at the road point Dakphel. When we return they used to give us Nu. 50/- or Nu.100/- at the most. I studied up to class Six and successfully completed in 1997. Knowing nothing about love affairs I had a girl friend called Karma Tshojay. During one of the intervals we just giggled in front of the class and Mr. K.B Rai, the teacher seen us. He called in the WFP store and scolded, so we broke up our relation. We didn’t talk till 15th December.  

During those times class VI students had to appear Bhutan Common Exam and all class six students under Zhemgang must come to the Dzongkhag for examination in December. Most of the students have not seen vehicle before, it was good time for exposing out from the confined remote. Bhutan Common Examination lasted for two weeks. It was conducted in Zhemgang High School. Food and lodging also accommodated in their hostel.  After examination we were paid sum of Nu.250/- as TA/DA. Our escort teacher said it was left over sum deducted for food and lodging expenses.

Then I completed lower secondary school from Yebilaptsa Junior High School in year 1999. It was most troubling student life I have ever sensed. Teachers were so strict and beat like anything. Meals were given a small scoop full which amount only two mouthful gulps. Most of the students came from least advantaged family background thus hardly have money to buy goods required and I used to get maximum of Nu.1500/- at beginning that had to last till summer vacation. It was most hungry moment and had no alternatives then to steal fruits and edibles from others’ orchard. In 2000, I joined Zhemgang Higher Secondary school in class IX. Days turned better, got good foods, can fish and soya beans powder with tea.  And I studied in same school for last four years and completed class 12 in 2003.

In 2004, January ISC exam result was declared. Some qualified for higher studies some did not. I was in the middle path. I so decided to join teaching profession. I filled forms duly. RCSC prioritized science students and shortlisted first. I was ranked on 39 positions. After the selection interview we were called for two weeks orientation or induction course. We had couple weeks of familiarization on teaching skills and tactics in the auditorium of Motithang School. At the last day of the orientation we were given placement. I was placed at Wangdi Phodrang.  Dzongkhag Education Officer then placed me at Uma Community Primary school as an apprentice teacher. The school was situated at the distance of 25 kilometers on road from the dzongkhag and three hours of foot journey from Baychu. I have been there for 9 months. Teaching was not a piece of job I came to realized. I had two adopted sisters. They were been so kind and generous to me. I have attended their Choku twice. I had a girl friend Deki Seldon, she waited till 2008. Later she married with my school mate hailing from Bumthang..

 In 2005, a cohort of new B.Ed trainees joined the national institute of education, Samtse. Training life seemed better than schooling life in terms of food, lodge and life styles. After couple of weeks, lecturers loaded us with piles of assignments and presentation. At first we were confused how to go about assignments and had difficulty in finding resources. Gradually we could cope up with the life style of the institute. In year 2006, July we were sent to different schools for teaching practice at the length of 6 months. I was placed in Khuruthang Middle Secondary School, Punakha. I stayed at NRTI, Lobesa with uncle and aunt. The distance from the school to my resident was 10 kilometers. There were few groups of students studying at Khuruthang MSS, Punakha HSS and Ugyen Academic and staying up at NRTI. There was a private bus to transport us up and down. We were charged Nu.700/- in a month. Early at 7:00 AM bus came to pick up and reached back home at 5 PM.  Our contract bus was irregular so often we had to go by taxi which charged us Nu.25/- for one way. I served there for almost six months without lunch. At the end of the teaching practice I became so thin. Days of my teaching practice were bitter and tough. I had associate teacher, Madam Tshering Lhadon, who always wanted to observe my teaching. I had very toughed time dealing with her but another dzongkha associate teacher Tashi Phuntsho been so kind. He helped me a lot. The principal Lhaki Wangmo was even strict and authoritarian.  Perhaps, I enjoyed the days with gents teachers enormously. We used to play football against Punakha HSS staffs and Ugyen Academic staffs. Our bet was on dinner. Most of the time we used to lost so had to bear the cost of dinner but regular teachers borne even my share. We also once played khuru with Academic staffs and won the match. In December 15th I was given farewell and relived on 18th.

In 2007, February 23rd we all got in Samtse College of Education as final year B.Ed. When we looked at the days back, it was sensed we have done nothing worthy and left with few months to wear the shoes of a teacher. Everyone felt guilty and rushed inside the Library for research and learned more. Most of the B.Ed final year trainees were seen inside the Library whereas other fresh B.Eds in the play fields. Shortly, December appeared and all out going B.Eds were thronged in the auditorium for oath taking followed by farewell dinner. On 18th December we all departed with office order and asked us to join respective Dzongkhags on stipulated date.  I felt life free out of caged since I have been in the hostel right from the class four till last date of the B.Ed training. The financial shortage was main problem during learning days owing to the poor family back ground. I had to withstand with two-three ghos and one pair of shoes throughout the semesters. Training mates so often criticized me owing to the unconditional lifestyle I used to be. I felt mentally relieved while passing out from the college as I was going to be employed soon and need not have to depend others any more.
On 7th February 2008, I went to Zhemgang Dzongkhag Education office for orientation and placement. When I looked at the list, I was placed in Kaktong CPS which is one of the remote schools. I begged DEO to change the school. After my several pleas I was asked to go to the Thrisa CPS. This school is even far flung from the previous one. I never gave up requesting him to change my school. Then he placed me at Budashi CPS which is quite near comparing two other schools. After the placement, we wrote an application for Dasho Dzongdag to give us advance salary for settlement. Dasho kindly granted us Nu.5000/- and my uncle Ugyen Thinley gave me Nu. 10000/- With that I went to Gelephu for shopping and had to settle life bitterly for next four months without pay.

On 10th February,  I joined the school as a fresh teacher. Though I am from Zhemgang I haven’t been to lower Kheng before. Lifestyle there was bit different. The school was perched on a table land of 1 acre area and one storied building with four units. There were classes up to two. The school was headed by Pema Norbu. Two of us managed the school for one and half months. In April one lady apprentice teacher joined us and eased our burdens.

After mid-term we gathered back and carried on regular work. Lady apprentice teacher; Lhaki Wangmo was deligent and hard working staff. In December 18th 2008, we bid her farewell. 

In 2011, I got transfer in Tsirang Dzongkhag. On 7th February we were called for placement and placed at Gopini CPS. I haven’t been to this place before and knew no one. Time passed and came to get few peoples. Mr. Kunzang Thinley, teacher made me known with Euchung Lhamo and Dechen Denkar. I had short playful times with them.

In 2012, I got another friend called karma Lhazin. She was a broken heart girl who often used to drench in own tears. I felt empathy upon her and liked to console her with my love and care. I have seen her crying and getting hurt with pettifogging reasons which clearly denotes her sensitiveness. Hereafter, I don’t like to see her being in gloomy mood rather love to see leading her exhilarating life ahead. She remained most of the time sick, her parents did not understand condition in whichever ways she tried to explain them. She had chronic tonsillitis right from the tender age. Doctors advised to operate it but she refused to do owing to her timidity. She remains under the pain most of the time. Many times health personnel referred her to the hospital but parents cut her way off. She is now fad up and no more like to say she is sick unless in serious condition. If anybody knows her condition is so painful and pitiful. She is a love inflicted girl who ever comes in her way, she never forget previous boy friend Ugyen.  She still holds bulk of his photos and dialogues recorded in her cell phone. The love intensity for him was far above the ground.

In April, 2012 I applied for GoI Scholarship in humanities (social science) and short listed. RCSC called up for interview and got selected. On 12th July, we were asked to attend orientation in RCSC conference hall for pre-departure briefing. I attended the orientation and scheduled to leave on 30th July. On 19th of August, I was bid fare well by the Goipini CPS family. On 30th of July, we flied from Paro Air port to Delhi International Air port. On same day, we transited from Delhi to Armitsar in Spice Jet. We were picked up by the University bus from Armitsar and joined the Lovely Professional University family.

On 31st July, we were called for admission. A group of 24 Bhutanese students thronged inside the admission hall to complete documentations. From 1st August to 3rd we were given freedom to loiter around the campus and city. From 4th induction course for fresher students commenced. They briefed us on Lovely Professional University Management system, hostel rules and curriculum procedures. On 5th cultural affairs staged beautiful cultural items. On 6th we had university campus tour in the morning and Jalandhar City tour in the evening.  From 7th our classes swung with full rhythm. Once again, I was taken back to my schooling life but different in mind set. Being student at old age was tough and had difficult time coping up with the classroom settings. Nonetheless, I had to adapt with the conditions that university aspired.

Education Tours
Wonderland

Bakhranangal


Rock garden
 
Wonderland

Ladakh

Ladakh
Science City
Tsho Pema










After two years of vigorous study, I am back to Bhutan and placed in Drukjey HSS, Dagana. I joined the duty on 15th July 2014 with new hope and aspirations to educate future citizens.

On 25th November 2016, Dasho Dzongdag of Dagana Dzongkhag Administration conferred Khadhar and awarded Certificates to the academic toppers of 2015 on behalf His majesty  the king of Bhutan.